Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & Visions of Halloweens Past

Liv and her brother - 2001
"Enjoy every moment, because before you know it they'll be all grown up." 

My Dad has repeated these words over and over since I was little myself, and the older I get, the more I come to understand exactly what he means.  Here it is Halloween night, a night we used to look forward to for weeks.  We would decorate the house, make multiple visits to pumpkin patches, and spend days planning out our pumpkin carvings.  Then on the afternoon of Halloween Day, we'd cover the kitchen table and let the scooping begin.

Fits of laughter echoed through the kitchen as the kids touched the pumpkin insides, running their fingers through the stringy parts and squishing seeds across the room.  Daddy would help them carefully cut what they had drawn on the front, and occasionally we would mess up and cut the teeth out by accident.  "It just adds character!", we would tell the kids, and they would agree.

As dusk set, the costuming would begin.  Visions of Darth Vader and Buzz Lightyear still fill my memories, along with a few princesses thrown in along the way.  With my visiting mom at the door, our family would head out into the neighborhood together, the kids running ahead as us parents stayed back to chat with neighbors we really didn't see all that often.  Mr. Passini would always have a cold beer for my husband with a comment of, "I'll bet your in need of one of these!" as he pressed it into my husband's eager hand.

When the complaints of, "My bag is too heavy!"  and "I'm tired!" began to set in, we'd head for home.  Once there, the kids would dump the candy in the middle of the kitchen table and bargain each other for trades of their favorite pieces.  I was always amazed at the amount of wrappers in the bottom of their treat bags as I never really saw them eating on the road.  Sly little guys they were.

Today, I sit here all by myself, glass of wine in hand along with a handful of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. My mom didn't make here this year, she's home with a cold.  My son?  Well he's too old for trick or treating.  He left around 6 when a girl picked him up in her car.  Off to a teenage party they went, along with a promise to "Make Good Choices" and an agreement to be home by 10.

Liv had a couple of girlfriends over, and I loved hearing them chatter as they put on their make up and costumes, and I was more than thrilled when they asked if I could help them put on their false eyelashesThen before I knew it, they shot out the door with a, "See you at 9:00, Mom!" and they were gone.

Halloween 2012...
And here I sit watching as our neighborhood grows up. The hundreds of kids who used to ring the doorbell for hours on end, has turned into only 6 groups tonight, and one of them was the little neighbor girl who is only 2.  No walking and chatting with neighbors for me, and no little hand reaching into mine looking for a little warmth as her eyelids began to droop in the chilly air.

Dad was right.  Enjoy every moment because before you know it they will be all grown up...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds from one pumpkin, washed and cleaned of "strings"
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Dry the pumpkin seeds and drizzle with about 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and give a good mix with your hands.

Spread onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or alternatively, lined with a silicone mat.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven, cool and store in an airtight container for about a week.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quinoa Roundup - Bringing out your inner warrior!!

Are you a quinoa fan??  I am.  Since discovering the tiny grain-like seeds a few years back, quinoa has become a staple in my diet.  Lately, even my family is jumping on the quinoa bandwagon, though they may not be quite as obsessed with ingredient as I.

A native to the Andean regions of Peru, quinoa is truly an "ancient grain" (though it is in reality a seed) with a near 9,000 year history.  Once called "The Gold of the Incas", quinoa is not only high in protein, but a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids.

In addition to protein, the tiny seed is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, potentially making quinoa valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  Add the fact that quinoa helps build muscle, promotes weight loss and stabilizes blood sugar levels, and I think we have a winner.

Used by Inca Warriors as an energy source to increase stamina, I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate the ingredient into our busy lifestyle.  With a little help from my good friends in the fabulous food blogging community, I have a wonderful quinoa roundup for you to help bring out your own inner warrior.  Join me in a look at some first-class quinoa recipes along with some spectacular photographs.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Almond Tuilles

Almond Tuilles, review of the Kosher Baker

Some 20 years ago my husband bought me my first cookbook.  Pretty, its glossy pages splashed with colorful, enticing photos made me want to head straight to the kitchen (I think that's what he hoped for!).  Little did my dear husband know that 20 years later he would be complaining about my "collection" of cookbooks and their overflow onto shelves around the house.

Hence, when one more cookbook arrived on my doorstep our reactions were quite different.  While my eyes lit up (as did Liv's) at the hefty, picture filled volume in my hands, his eyes squinted and asked, "So where are we going to put that one??"

Almond Tuilles and a review of the Kosher Baker
Paula Shoyer's, The Kosher Baker, is one of those pretty books with beautiful photography throughout, and recipes covering baking from cookies to cakes to pastries to breads.  Receiving an offer to review the book, my first thought was, "Well, I'm not Jewish, so a Kosher Cookbook?"

The book, however, brings some "160 dairy-free desserts suitable for every occasion and holiday".  While the holiday restrictions don't apply to me or my family, my lactose intolerant son's dietary restrictions do, and a book of dairy free desserts and baked goods has earned its place on my space-limited shelf.

Becoming lactose intolerant suddenly at the age of 14, my son has improved his eating habits, but dearly misses some of his favorites... pizza, ice cream, anything baked with butter, and many breads which often include dairy.  Ms. Shoyer's book covers much of the baked portion of his reminiscings, and we set to pick which recipe we would make first.

Leaving him with a few scraps of paper, I asked him to mark the pages of recipes he would like.  First on his list was the Challah, a bread similar to one we used to have every so often and that he loved.  Ours, as with some Challah, is made with decent amounts of butter and milk, and has not made an appearance on our table for a few years due to his restrictions.  Ms. Shoyer's dairy-free recipe has been saved and a version will most likely grace our Thanksgiving table this year.

Almond Tuilles and a review of The Kosher Baker
In the mean time, we settled (with a little urging from me) on a beautiful Almond Tuille recipe featuring a thin, crispy cookie, flecked with sliced almonds and enhanced with orange peel.  Tasting something similar on our trip to Italy last year, I agreed to give the cookie a try.

Listed in the "multiple-step" section of the book, the recipe is a bit labor intensive but worth every effort.  Spreading the chilled batter into very thin rounds is key to making an evenly browned crisp, however I've discovered that an evenly heating oven might be key as well.  For the last year I've struggled with my slowly failing oven, and this recipe proved difficult with my old somewhat-faithful.

Our cookies browned nicely on the outer edges while the middles didn't brown evenly no matter how thinly I spread them.  I fully blame the oven and it's lack of heating, but it may, perhaps, have been combined with operator error.  Watching the cookies closely is also key, as these little guys will go from a beautiful golden brown to a not so beautiful burnt in the blink of an eye.

Once baked, the cookies are removed immediately from the baking sheet and shaped into whatever shape the baker prefers, little bowls when pushed into mini muffin tins, cigarette style when wrapped around the handle of a wooden spoon, or simply flat and round when left as is.

Working fast, as the cookies crisp as they cool, the cookies are shaped as desired, and once they are cool have a crisp crunch bringing a delightful dose of orange flavor.  Somewhat addicting, Liv enhanced ours with a few squiggles of dark chocolate (I can only imagine how good that would have been enhanced with at touch of my beloved Grand Marnier!), and our batch disappeared in a little less than a day.

Not being familiar with kosher ingredients however, a bit of research was required to find and learn about the parve substitutes recommended.  The book calls for "parve margarine" frequently, and I'm still not exactly certain what that is, but as Earth Balance butter substitute has been a staple in our house for years it became our butter substitute of choice.  Dairy-free substitutions also include parve cream cheese, parve chocolate, soy milk and parve whipping cream.

Ms. Shoyer's book covers classics as well as specialty desserts, all the while remaining dairy free, and we have a number of pages turned down for future reference.  Currently, though, the book is on its way to a friend and Kosher Baker, Jocelyn, and I'm eager to hear her review of the book as she enters the holiday season.

A beautiful gift for anyone looking for Kosher and/or dairy-free recipes, if your baker loves beautiful cookbooks like I do, you won't see her for a few hours after she receives The Kosher Baker.

Almond Tuilles, a review of The Kosher Baker

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roasted Whole Chicken with Smoked Paprika

Whole chicken, roasted chicken, smoked paprika

There's something about the aroma of a roasting chicken on a chilly evening that makes fall so appreciated.  After months of watermelons, grilling, and salads, even I'm ready for a nice, juicy chicken.

Roasted chicken is one dish I can always count on making the kids happy.  Clean plates abound, and requests for seconds are music to my ears.  Even the pups get in on the action and enjoy a few slices with their regular fare.

Smoked Paprika

Rubbing these few ingredients onto the chicken couldn't be easier making this an ideal busy weeknight dinner.  Just before school pick up I prepare the chicken with the rub, and allow him to come to room temp as I gather the kids from school.  Popping him into the preheated oven about 4 PM, I have dinner on the table by 6, and if I've been ultra organized, the sides are already done and I have a few hours to finish up other activities (like writing blog posts!) while the chicken nearly prepares itself.

Tender, juicy and full of flavor, this chicken is sure to be a family pleaser.  The aroma alone is guaranteed to have hungry teens willingly appearing from all corners of the house and proclaiming you the best cook ever.

Whole Roasted Chicken, rubbed with smoked paprika, garlic and olive oil.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies - Food Photography on Black

Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies

Just when I think I'm getting a better grip on this whole food photography thing, my Food Styling and Photography Group, The Inspired Plate, throws up a new styling challenge, and I realize my grip isn't quite as tight as I had thought.  Months ago our first challenge included Photography on White.  As that is my preferred food photography style, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and didn't struggle much for inspiration.

As such, when this month's challenge of Photography on Black came around I figured,  "I shoot on white, how different can it be to shoot on black?".  After days of shooting, re-shooting, and re-shooting again, I can honestly say that shooting on black is hugely different than shooting on white, and brings with it a whole new set of "issues" for the photographer to deal with.

Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocoalte, photography on a black background
Reflections and light became my largest obstacles in trying to capture a decent image.  In some cases, the black background took on a fairly unattractive bluish hue, while different lighting directions brought fairly bright reflections washing any drama out of the scene.

Without the luxury of professional lighting, I am almost wholly dependent on natural light.  As luck would have it, our San Diego June Gloom (only now it is in October) brought 3 days of grey, hot and humid weather, and while I loved the 80º plus temps, my photo shoots on black remained dull and somewhat lifeless with the murky light.

Finally, my beloved sun once again showed its lovely face, and as it set into our smooth Pacific it cast a beautiful golden glow over my house.  Throwing my newly made black board (it's a simple plywood square spray painted with chalkboard paint) up with my bread machine behind it for support, the cookies set up fairly quickly on a piece of donated burlap (many thanks to Captain Greg - you may remember our Gelato making neighbor?) and I was on my way.

Over the years my personal food styling technique has evolved as much out of necessity as it has out of preference.  Simplicity, for me, keeps the focus on the food, and it also works well with my fairly small store of food styling props.  As much as I would love shelves of colorful fabrics, stacks of dishes and bowls, and collections of eclectic props, I have learned to heavily rely on my basics, plus a few food ingredients.

White Chocolate chips backlit on a black background

With our Oatmeal Cookies featuring cranberries, white chocolate chips and a touch of heart healthy quinoa, these ingredients served as my props for the first and second shots.  A simple glass of milk added a bit of elevation, and a remnant square of red fabric added color to another cookie shot.

As the sun set lower and lower, the back lighting reflecting off of the black had me playing with the white chocolate chips and my son laughing at me saying, "Really... you are really taking pictures of chocolate chips??", as he snagged a few while walking by.

Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocoalte, photography on a black background
Though I'm not sure I'm totally sold on the black background or my ability to make it look appealing, I am positively sold on these Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies.

Improving the nutrition in the treats, a touch of quinoa flour added protein and no one noticed a thing.  I took advantage of my recent batch of Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice and tossed in the white chips and cranberries for a change.

Liv's girlfriends devoured a bag of the cookies at lunch, and comments of, "Mrs. Kelly, you are the best mom ever!  Can you make those cookies again?" were music to my ears.

The real test, however, was my husband.  With Oatmeal Raisin his all time favorite cookie, I wasn't sure if he would notice the different recipe.  As he arrived home from work, a couple of cookies quickly found their way into his hands, but a comment of, "These are awesome, but different, huh?" stopped me in my tracks.  Fearing he could taste the quinoa (he's not a huge fan) I paused, and then breathed a sigh of relief as he continued, "I like the cranberries in place of the raisins.  Good job."

Whew.  Extraordinarily successful cookies along with successful enough photos and a new title of "Best Mom Ever"? ... I'm a happy girl.

For more stunning Photography on Black follow our Inspired Plate Blog Circle... next up we travel across the country to the fabulous Tiffany Dahle from Peanut Blossom.

And... did you know The Inspired Plate Team now has a Facebook Page?  Join us for more food photography and styling challenges and let us inspire you!

Quinoa Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and White Chocoalte, photography on a black background.  Includes a red napkin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Liv's Power Frittata with Quinoa and Veggies

Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing.  Like I mentioned in the last post, Liv secured a green food aversion from an early age, and it wasn't until the last year or so that she has entertained the thought that green veggies might actually taste good.

Dancing on her competitive team has her spending time with girls years older than she is.  Girls, who as they enter adolescence, tend to work on healthier diets as the teenage years tend bring hordes of "teenager" issues including acne and extra weight.  As such, many of these girls have been found snacking on broccoli and hummus, lunching on spinach salads topped with chicken, and filling breakfast omelets with zucchini.

Ever the picky eater, Liv made the comment, "Eeeww!  You really like spinach?", only once or twice before she discovered that, yes, many of her friends do eat green.  It was about that time that I snuck a handful of spinach into her smoothie without her noticing and then told her about it.  On our next car pool day I had her usual smoothie, and she made a point of asking in front of the other girls, "Mom, you did put the spinach in the smoothie... right?".

To which the other girls said, "Eeeww!  You put spinach in a smoothie?"

And her quick response sounding so grown up included, "Oh, yes... it so good for you and you can't even taste it!"

Since then she has become an olive oil and age white balsamic connoisseur (favoring the 35 year aged balsamic... I hope she gets a good job when she grows up!), a Ceasar Salad lover (with chicken preferably), and a veggie omelet requester.

Working hard last weekend on a Broadcasting Competition Project (some 20 hours in 3 days!), she found herself pretty darn exhausted and we concurred that today would be a nice day for her to be "sick" from school.  With our day filled with plans of cookie baking and caramel apple dipping, getting a healthy meal in first seemed to be a good idea.

Ever trying to get her to expand her food repertoire, today's surprise addition was quinoa - once again something she has not cared to try.  As we had more time on our day together, we decided a fritatta might be more fun than the usual veggie scramble, and she set to helping me chop onions, broccoli and her now favorite spinach.  Slipping about 1/2 a cup of cooked quinoa into the eggs, she didn't even notice.

She loved the triangle cut pieces in place of the usual scramble, and had at least 3 bites before she asked what those "little things" were in the fritatta.  "Quinoa, I told her.  It adds tons of protein and vitamins.  Believe it or not, it used to be called The Gold of the Incas, and has been around for 9,000 years, and it's actually a seed, though many people refer to it as a grain."

She nodded as she took another bite, then proceeded to clean her plate.  My girl is growing up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hidden Valley's Lunch Break for Kids Program and Our Interview with Celebrity Chef, Susan Feniger

Susan Feniger's Yogurt Ranch Dip
Susan Feniger's Ranch Yogurt Dip combining Greek-style yogurt and tomatoes with Hidden Valley Ranch Seasonings!
You've all seen that commercial on TV.  You know the one... the one in that gorgeous "Hidden Valley" with families gathered around an endless picnic table set out amongst the fields.  The bright colors of the commercial always stick with me, that and the smiling faces of kids and adults alike enjoying mounds of fabulous food while they spend a day at the ranch together.  I've always wanted to join them for a meal at the Ranch which apparently, is set just up the road from me in the lovely Santa Barbara area.

A close second though, is a some of that creamy Hidden Valley Ranch dressing that can to this day, almost always be found in my fridge.  A dip the kids have lovingly referred to as "Dip-Dip" since they were about the age of two, ranch dressing fits nicely into our lunch breaks.

Green Veggies, broccoli, Cucumber, Zucchini
Liv seems to have been born with a dislike of nearly all green food (with the exception of avocado), and try as I might to get her to eat veggies when she was little, every veggie with a green hue quickly found its way to the floor.  Visiting friends one day, they placed a small dollop of Ranch Dressing on her high chair table, and much to my surprise, she dipped her zucchini into the dressing and popped it into her mouth.  I was fairly certain that the rest of the zucchini would find it's way (now smeared with dressing) onto the floor, and you can imagine my absolute astonishment when she promptly picked up another piece, dipped it, and ate it too.

From that day forward, green food made its way into her diet as a vehicle for that creamy ranch.  Calls of "Dip-Dip" rang in my ears as her ranch bowl emptied, and I happily refilled both the dressing bowl and broccoli bowl as she would proceed to clear her plate again.  Ranch and broccoli, the perfect partnership to get good foods into growing bodies.
Hidden Valley Ranch with Broccoli

Hidden Valley seems to have a flair for good partnerships, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Lunch Break for Kids program.  Working with the Chef and Child Foundation, Hidden Valley is promoting fundraisers across the country beginning today, October 15th, 2012.

Highlighting ways for parents and kids to come together with chefs and schools to learn more about how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections, celebrity chefs including Stephan Pyles, Susan Feniger (see our interview with Susan below!), and Ford Fry, will be holding fabulous fundraising events at their restaurants during this week.

Susan Feniger's restaurant, Street, in Los Angeles, is hosting a Lunch Break for Kids event this coming Wednesday, October 17th during the dinner hours, and we have been lucky enough to receive one of the recipes from the event!  Should you wish to visit the event in person, reservations are recommended, but not required.  We'd love to hear about your evening if you are close enough to attend!

Susan's Kids Falafel Wrap with Hidden Valley Ranch Yogurt Sauce looks to be a sure hit.  With our time limited last weekend, Liv and I didn't have time to make the entire recipe, however we did toss together the creamy yogurt sauce for an afternoon "dip-dip" snack.  Mixed with Greek-style yogurt, a touch of Hidden Valley Ranch's Seasoning Mix and a good dose of diced tomato, Liv once again ate her broccoli.  Thanks Ms. Feniger... we can't wait to try the entire wrap!

Susan Feniger
As part of the DailyBuzz Food's Tastemaker Program's partnership with Hidden Valley, Liv Life received the incredible opportunity to interview Ms. Feniger, who you may know as half of the amazing duo, the Two Hot Tamales.

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken have together logged nearly 400 episodes on The Food Network, she has appeared on Season 2 of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters", "Chef vs. City", and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate".  Susan has also recently opened her restaurant, Street, in addition to releasing a new cookbook (it's on my Christmas list!), Susan Feniger's Street Food.

I personally discovered Susan nearly 15 years ago as my husband and I dined at the Mandalay Bay Border Grill which she owns with Ms. Milliken.  With additional Border Grill locations in Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles, the Tamales have now introduced the mobile Border Grill Food Truck in the L.A. area.

And now, I present, Ms. Susan Feniger:

Liv Life: Some 12 years ago my husband and I discovered the Mandalay Bay Border Grill as we enjoyed our first weekend without kids in over 5 years.  I vividly remember an extraordinarily tender skirt steak marinated with flavors of lime and cilantro.  What, in your opinion, is most important for a successful marinade? 

Susan Feniger: Trick to a great marinade is it has to be strong and powerful (not necessarily spicy) but powerful so you taste that the meat was marinated in the beginning!  We typically add fresh lime, not too much though, because too much will cook the meat, and we don’t want that.  Using skirt steak it’s the perfect cut, in my opinion, to marinate-it’s got great marbling making the skirt taste like butter (also cut across the grain)! Love that with a minty lime cooler which is made from tons of fresh mint, fresh lime, little sugar and sparkling water. 

LL:  Locally here in San Diego, food trucks are popping up all over the place with each gaining groups of dedicated followers.  I’ve read about your Border Grill Food Truck, and I’m curious about the challenges of cooking on a truck as opposed to cooking in a “real” kitchen? 

SF:  Mary Sue and I are used to teeny kitchens …we started in a very small one, and at my newest restaurant STREET the kitchen is about the size of the one Mary Sue and I started in!  But on a truck for sure there are some limitations (although you work around those!)  Not a lot of room to heat up dishes slow and without rushing.  Truck world is all about rushing, so we’ve had to be creative how to get to an event, get food hot, cook food to order and feel like it’s the quality of the truck.  I think we’ve gotten it figured out.  Trick with Trucks: it’s fast and furious… so cooks have to be the same!

LL:  Congratulations on your Street Food Cookbook!  In the promo you talk about your love of street food.  While much of your past work has had a Mexican flair, Street Food looks to go even more global.  What cultures do you feature in your new book?   Was there anything that stands out in your research that you immediately knew would NOT make the book?  Any spices/ingredients that have become new favorites?   

SF:  In the book we tell a few of my fave travel stories... India, Vietnam, Turkey... very food driven cultures, for sure some of the best… We touch a bit into India, South East Asia for sure, Ukraine, Japan, Middle East.  If  a recipe was too complicated it got booted!  My favorite street food in India: Pani Puri..too many steps…we did put Bhel Puri, similar but not the same… Maybe recipes we felt might be too complicated got booted… Even mandoo dumplings which are easy but they got cut…

LL:  My daughter, Liv, and I are thrilled to be a part of Hidden Valley Ranch’s Lunch Break for Kids Program.  How did you become involved in the efforts to support childhood nutrition education, and what do you believe are some of the most important nutrition ideas we need to be teaching kids today? 

SF:  Listen, it’s all about kids, always has been. They are the future, and their minds and the development of a healthy body and mind is critical in my opinion. Kids being taught to eat properly will change our healthcare system in a big way.   We all FINALLY (well, maybe not all of us) but most know feeding our children properly is a huge issue in our country. There are so many kids that are starving, that it’s scary, when you see the abundance we live in.

Mary Sue, my partner at Border Grill, and I have been involved with Share our Strength for many years. We have taught many young kids classes, from elementary on up. To help educate our young kids is a huge step towards change-they will, already do demand more!

Liv and her dance friends supporting Share Our Strength - 2011.  Our San Diego group raised thousands of dollars over the last two years at our annual bake sales.
So, for me anything I can do to fight childhood hunger and the flip side of the coin which is eating healthy, particularly at school as well as at home,  is such a big part of our responsibility to our kids.  How do we raise awareness? It’s starts with education.

The idea of Hidden Valley beginning this program to help teach our young kids about how to eat better and actually like it! That is a role, that we chefs love. Since we love to cook, the idea of really helping to effect change a little is fantastic. I believe raising money to support education, teaching kids about life and how to live healthy is the answer to so many problems in our society . 

LL:  Tell us about the Fundraiser for Lunch Break for Kids that you are holding at your restaurant, Street in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, October 17th?

SF:  Basically we are just trying to raise awareness to our public... trying to teach them about nutrition and the things we believe in: like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and our commitment to Sustainability, and how do you make something basic and simple for a kid but turn it into something they really want to have because it’s delicious.

On the 17th we are going to be highlighting our new dish using Organic Greek Yoghurt, Hidden Valley spice seasoning, Tomato juice-fresh as a sauce for a very healthy wrap with chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes.  So the concept is take a great salad with a crispy crouton (sort of) drizzled with our yummy yoghurt sauce.

For me, I am lucky to be in this field. We have this incredible opportunity to possibly make a difference. Our goal in working with Hidden Valley is to help children eat better.  Secretly, my mom loved  Hidden Valley and that has stuck with me forever, so I was thrilled to find a great use for it that can also help!

Susan Feniger's Yogurt Ranch Dip

Hidden Valley Ranch Yogurt Dip
Susan Feniger

1 cup Greek Style plain yogurt
1 packet** of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix 1 large tomato, cored and rough chopped
Juice of one lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Let chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

**Liv Life Note:  Liv and I used about 1 Tbs of the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning in our recipe.

Liv's weekend this last weekend was consumed with a Broadcasting Competition Project, and with two days at 9+ hours a day, the kids needed fuel, energy and a break now and then.

Telling the kids we had this post to write, I asked if they would like to pose with the bottle of dressing... not only did they pose, but they laughed, posed again, and tested the dip.  After about 10 minutes of fun though, one of the boys asked, "Can't we just eat it now??".  And they did....

VMS Broadcasting Competition Team... taking a break!

The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.