Friday, February 5, 2010

Grocery Day

Is it pathetic that grocery shopping is the highlight of my social life each week? That is to say, I'm outside of these four walls that surround me, and there are people my age milling about. So it's not social. But it *feels social after a week of homeschool and toddler-speak.

I grocery shop once every three weeks, with short trips in between for fresh produce. My most recent goal is to buy only dairy (because we have no cows or chickens) and produce (because it's winter and I can't grow it) and baking/dry goods (until I have a wheat field and a sugar farm, anyway.)

I'm almost succeeding. We're eating almost entirely from scratch, still a lot from the freezer (veggies frozen from last year's garden) and I love the satisfaction in that.

I finally figured out a recipe for ranch dressing that tastes just like the real thing, is healthful - even medicinal - and includes no gmo's or msg or artificial colors and flavors and preservatives and even no dairy. It takes less than five minutes to mix up a batch and I can eat as much as I want without feeling bad about it. And we all know that the only good reason to eat raw vegetables is for the ranch, so this pleases me.

In addition to the ranch, I've concocted a fantastic balsamic dressing that's equally as easy to prepare. One more store-bought convenience food I can scratch off the weekly grocery list because I can make it better and cheaper and healthier from scratch.

Dairy-free ranch dressing:
1/2 c. canned coconut milk (not the sweetened stuff, just plain coconut milk. look in the Asian foods section.)
3/4 c. Vegenaise mayonnaise substitute (made from grapeseed oil)
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients well. Let sit for an hour before serving so flavors mingle. (I use my stick blender for this, it works great.)

Balsamic dressing:

1 c. olive oil
4 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine all ingredients except oil in a glass jar. Stirring briskly, pour the oil in as slowly as you can manage, stirring constantly.

The other option is the stick blender or a small food processor - process until the mixture becomes slightly thickened and is rather creamy in texture. I like this more than just stirring.

I don't think I ever even considered salad dressing to be a convenience food until a couple of years ago, and even then I was afraid to try making it myself on any sort of regular basis. But with some practice, it's pretty easy to get used to.


Anonymous said...

Go, you!!! I tried to make ranch dressing out of coconut milk a while back, and put 'way too much garlic in. I wound up making about 1/2 gallon in stead of the 2 cups I'd planned on.
I'll try out your recipe w/ something else for the Veganaise-- we're allergic to it.
I hear you on the grocery store trips: I go once a week after dark to see my "friends" -- the checkers & stockers :-P

Dani said...

I may have to try your ranch dressing recipe. Mark can't have ranch because it's high in fat/sodium, but if I can make it a healthier way, he can have it.

And I totally LOVE veganaise. It tastes just like mayo but is so much better for you.

Just Me said...

not pathetic at all. For me, the highlight of my social life is picking my kids up from school. I have met some really awesome other moms.

Wendy said...

THat is wonderful that you are only shopping every 3 weeks and not touching the "inside" aisles. Good for you!!

Wendy said...

btw, as long as you're not hitting on the bag boy, I think you're ok. My big thing is mail. I practically run to the door at mail time. And often, I check and double check and keep checking until the mail gets there. Sundays suck b/c there's no mail.

Deb said...

Hey Julie..... so how long do the leftovers survive in the fridge? Where can I find this Veganaise?

I love reading your blogs.... I'm all caught up now! LOL