Tag Archives: herbs

Six Savory Salad Dressings

I have had a request for some of my homemade salad dressings.

My search for the best homemade salad dressings started when we finally realized that “The Patriarch” got horrendous migraine headaches when he ate too much MSG.  After looking into the evils of the chemically derived derivative I vowed to NOT ingest that stuff nor feed it to my precious family.  But I will let you do your own research on that topic.

Some of these dressings use fresh fruits in season.  I have not tried using them in a frozen state and the canned variety would be far too sweet.  So plan your salad dressings around what is ripe in your area!

Just a quick side note… MSG is made naturally in some cooking processes.  But that is not the MSG I am referencing above.

This video has a great tip on quick tossing of your salad…  🙂

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  1. Combine 2 fresh, ripe apricots (pitted), 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar in blender; whirl until blended.
  2. With blender running, slowly add 1/4 cup vegetable oil until thick and smooth.
  3. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil.
    Makes 1 cup

This one I found on the internet, but can’t remember where now.  It has gotten rave reviews from church.  I use evaporated cane juice for my sweetener and olive or safflower oil for the vegetable oil.  Stevia can be substituted for a sugar free option.

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Awesome Ranch Dressing, GF
1/2 cup purchased mayonnaise* (unless you make your own, recipe given at bottom of post, it is super easy and quick!)
1/4 c or less raw milk (pasteurized only if you have to) , used to thin out the dressing so don’t add too much
1 – 2 tbsp onion, chopped fine
1  garlic toe, chopped fine
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t dried marjoram leaves
1/2 t celery salt                                                                                                 1/2 t dried savory leaves
1/2 t or more dried parsley
1-2 t liquid whey

Blend till smooth and leave out on the counter for 4-6 hours to develop the probiotic benefits and then refrigerate or serve. Will keep for 1 week or more – if it lasts that long.

Also, to make into a dip, I add equal amounts of sour cream & mayonaise and what milk I think it needs to be the consistency I want it to have.  I have yet to make this dairy free, when I do I will let you know the results!

I got this recipe from a friend and I am not sure where she got it.  But it is by far the best homemade ranch dressing bar none!  I have also added Tabasco sauce (to taste) for a little variety and slight heat.

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Thousand Island Salad Dressing, GF & DF

Yield: 1 cup

1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. evaporated cane juice or honey
1 tsp. chopped pimento – optional
1/2 tsp. onion salt (I use 2 – 3 tbsp of finely chopped onion and 1/2 tsp salt)
black pepper – to taste


-Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
-Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, stirring occasionally, before serving.

·Excellent dressing and simple to make.  Terrific on hamburgers!  This too I got from a friend, though i don’t know where she got it.

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Green Goddess Dressing, GF & DF
1 avocado
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon herbs de provence
½ teaspoon sea salt
3-5 drops stevia
1 cup water

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender
  2. Process on high speed until smooth and creamy
  3. Pour over your favorite salad greens
  4. Store remaining dressing in a glass jar in fridge
  5. Keeps for up to 5 days (if it lasts that long)

Herbs De Provence Seasoning


  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed                                                                                           Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

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Spicy Pear Dressing, GF & DF

  • 1 bosc pear, peeled and seeded
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the pear, honey, salt, and red pepper flakes in a food processor, pulse until blended. Slowly add oil in a stream until emulsified.

Tip: For the fullest flavor, let the dressing set for about 15 minutes in order for the flavors to combine before serving.

TIP: I use ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and it is plenty hot for us.

WARNING! This will increase in heat if stored. I use what I make and dispose of the rest, or use it as a marinade on chicken with vinegar the NEXT day.

Makes 1 cup of dressing.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Vinaigrette, GF & DF

1 cup chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh or frozen strawberries
3 large shallots, coarsely chopped (can use onion or leeks too)
1 tbsp. evaporated cane juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Simmer in small non-reactive saucepan until tender, about 10 minutes. Purée, strain into large bowl and cool.

Whisk in: 3/4 cup safflower, grapeseed or olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

I have never strained mine, I just puree it very well.

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Home Made Mayonnaise

recipe found on the internet


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup safflower, grapeseed, or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in the container of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, then blend on low speed while pouring oil into the blender in a fine stream as the mixture emulsifies and thickens.

I like using my blender, a very old one that is my workhorse!  You can mix by hand, but that works best if you have two people as your arm will get tired.

I also purchase cage-free, farm-fresh, pastured chicken eggs.  No salmonella problems!

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is my favorite season!  The colors fairly glow here in the Pacific Northwest’s grey overcast skies.  There is the beauty of new growth sprouting out of the dead of winter, giving the  promise of new life, warmer days, birds singing, flowers blooming and sun shining (well periodically peeking out from behind the clouds here anyway!).  It is a time of anticipation, waiting to see all my favorite flowers budding & blooming once again, the promise of fresh sweet berries and fruits from all those pretty blossoms gracing my table and filling my canning jars.  It is the time when I can throw my windows open wide to air out the house and smell the new spring air.  Once that two minutes has passed the windows will need to be shut quickly to prevent the hail from entering out domicile!!

The other day my dear husband went outside to leave for work and his truck had a flat tire.  He called the Les Schwab people and while they were replacing the tire, all to the eager eyes of “Arrow”, I proceeded to take pictures of all the various signs of spring in our very own front yard.

I also love poetry.  Not all poetry, but lots of it!!  Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickenson, oh and so many more!  Not that I understand all of them, but I still love poetry!!  So I thought I would make a post with my spring photos and some spring poems!

Come with me on a walk through my front yard…


~Mrs. R

An April Day

by Henry W. Longfellow

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain. I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out, and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide,
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April!–many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life’s golden fruit is shed.

These are the lovely pink tulips and grape hyacinth that are in large pots along our “second” driveway.  They are in desperate need of being planted in the ground and out of these now constricting pots.  I thought I didn’t like the color pink.  Then I saw these pretty tulips and I realized I DO like pink.

These are my strawberries.  I have 5 hanging pots along our shed that contain these wonders.  There is nothing like freshly picked ripe strawberries.  YUM!

OK.  You are probably thinking I have lost my mind posting pictures of… weeds.  But wait just a moment… did you know that both of these are edible?  The lovely miniature purple flowered plant is Erodium Cicutarium or the more common names are Storksbill or Crowsfoot.  Not a very pretty name for such a sweet flower!  The common name is derived from the seed pods which look like a storksbill.  My Wild Plants of Greater Seattle book describes it as “edible, bland, and of faint cucumber flavor.”  Good in salads, a major source of vitamin A, and used in herbal medicine to stop bleeding.  One medicinal use apparently is an antidote for strychnine.  You never know when you’ll need an antidote for strychnine.

The lowly little dandelion is also supposed to be quite nutritious and the leaves when gathered prior to the flowers appearing are much less bitter.  The leaves and or roots can be added to soups or stir fries.  The flowers petals can be added to salads.  I think I will try one on tomorrows lunch salad!  They have a variety of medicinal uses, one is for cleaning the gallbladder & liver.  And they are just so cheery with their pretty bright yellow flowers.

Both of these are growing in what should be my “garden”, but is really a weed patch.  OH!  Maybe I should call it my “medicinal garden”!  lol

The Dandelions

by Helen Gray Cone

Upon a showery night and still,
Without a sound of warning,
A trooper band surprised the hill,
And held it in the morning. We were not waked by bugle notes
No cheer our dreams invaded,
And yet, at dawn, their yellow coats
On the green slopes paraded.

We careless folk the deed forgot;
Till one day, idly walking,
We marked upon the self-same spot
A crowd of veterans, talking.

They shook their trembling heads and gray,
With pride and noiseless laughter,
When, well-a-day! they blew away,
And ne’er were heard of after.

Ah.  Now this is another on of my favorites!  Blueberries!!  Of course those wonderful berries are not here just yet.  These are blueberry blossoms!  I always wondered what a blueberry blossom looked like.  Now that I have 5 of these bushes in pots I get to enjoy the all-year beauty of my all time favorite fruit.  I have these pots along our “first” driveway and up by the house.

The Voice of Spring

by Mary Howitt

I am coming, I am coming!
Hark! the honey bee is humming;
See, the lark is soaring high
In the blue and sunny sky,
And the gnats are on the wing
Wheeling round in airy ring. Listen! New-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms–a noisy crowd.
All the birds are singing loud,
And the first white butterfly
In the sunshine dances by.

Look around you, look around!
Flowers in all the fields abound,
Every running stream is bright,
All the orchard trees are white,
And each small and waving shoot
Promises sweet autumn fruit.

Oh.  More on the blueberry thing.  These are the first leaves coming out on one of the bushes.  That is a misnomer!  The “bushes” are only 3 feet tall and fairly spindly!  But they do produce… blueberries!

OK, another weed.  I do not know if this one is edible, but isn’t it a sweet little thing!  This is growing in the grass on the other side of the “first” driveway, also up near the house.

by Evaleen Stein

At evening when I go to bed
I see the stars shine overhead;
They are the little daisies white
That dot the meadow of the Night.

And often while I’m dreaming so,
Across the sky the Moon will go;
It is a lady, sweet and fair,
Who comes to gather daisies there.

For, when at morning I arise,
There’s not a star left in the skies;
She’s picked them all and dropped them down
Into the meadows of the town.

Hmm, Lavender.  A heavenly aroma.  These are some of the tiny sprouts coming out of  the large plant that I started from seeds!  OK, well maybe it isn’t quite so much on the large side as… small to medium sized?! lol  I was so excited that I was able to start all this from seeds.  I love to rub my hands over the leaves and smell that lovely aroma.  I am hoping to plant more this year.  This is in a pot at the street end of the “first” driveway.

Our ornamental cherry tree is down along the road in the northwest corner of our yard.  It’s is due north of the lavender pot!  Very pretty flowers but produces nothing edible.  The bees LOVE this tree.  There was a whole cloud of busy bees surrounding the top of this tree the other day.  Trees.  I like trees.  I used to LOVE to climb them when I was a little girl.  That is until I kept getting a piece of bark in my eye!   “Arrow” has climbed this tree many times, just NOT when there are any bees interested in it!  A while back “Arrow” took some rope, blankets, and other items and made a little fort in the crook of this tree.  He could actually hide himself in there completely when it was covered with leaves.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling and a creative mind!


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

  • THINK that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
    A tree that may in Summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;
    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

What Is a Tree?
What is a tree”
Well doubtless he
Who dwells in city streets by choice May never know.
But souls that breathe expanding life outdoors
Know trees as brothers, friends; and feel aglow
With kindred fellowship and common voice.

Yes, bees do know
And birds have made
The trees their lifelong homes
And what is nearer or more intimately ours than home?

What is a tree?
The soul of God!
Whose budding leaves and blossoms in the Spring
Bespeak Creation.
Whose shade in Summer cools
The burning heat of life and brings us peace;
Whose bronzing colors in the Autumn landscape glow
With pride of fruitfulness, God’s bounty, man’s maturity.
Whose bare strong arms in Winter steadfast hold
Against- the ice and storms of life when courage sags
When green and sap of youth have lost their bold
Firm power and interest lags.

What is a tree?
Oh! Yes, I know! ‘Tis God.
‘Tis His own way to speak His majesty,
His voice, His power, His love, His mystery..

These are close up shots of the pretty flowers of the Ornamental Cherry tree.  The blossoms are really quite lovely, though little to no fragrance.  Too bad on that score!  I could have had an abundance of “something” to scent some of my soaps right out of my very own yard!

Hydrangea – in much need of being dead headed!  I thought it looked interesting over the winter all covered with the dead flower heads.  But I should have cut them off when the new growth first started appearing… guess I have even more to add to my “to do list”.  This is up next to the house.  Not a good place for a plant that will grow to a large size!  I have to prune this back multiple times through the growing season.  One day I may decided where I want to transplant this so I can trim once a year instead!

Dicentra Spectabillis, also known as bleeding hearts.  Another one of my favorite flowers.  I love the arching branches full of the tiny little heart shaped flowers.  These are along the north side of the house in a pot.  This side of the house gets shade nearly all day.  One reason is the northerly latitude we live at, another is the large number of very tall pine trees in my neighbor’s yards.  So I am working on a shade garden!  So much variety and I didn’t know I could grow so many flowers in the shade!

More shade loving plants on the north side of the house.

Another favorite flower of mine ~ White Trillium.  In all it’s stages of growth this plant reminds me of the Triune Godhead!  It’s leaves appear in succession 1, 2 then 3.  The mature growth has three leaves and the flower has three petals.

I planted this from a seed pod that was given to me.  I bought the wooden planter just for this lovely plant, since it does NOT like to be transplanted.  When you plant a trillium seed pod, you just put a couple of old dead leaves over the pod, water carefully and keep it moist and leave it alone.  It took my seeds 5 or 6 years before they first sprouted!  But they finally did and I am so glad.  The first year’s growth is like a blade of grass on a very thin stalk.  The second year’s growth has two leaves.  The third years growth has three leaves and the flowers and seed pods appear in the fourth year.  They will continue to produce flowers and seed pods every year there after.   In the wooden planted is also a fern.  It just appeared one year and had continued to grow.  I think it is high time for the fern to be removed carefully from the trillium’s planter!

The White Trillium
Trillium graceful, Trillium white,
Star of the woodland, Lady of light
Lo, how she prou!ily
Stands in the glade,
Tri-sceptred sovereign,
Queen of the shade.
Stately she rises,
Slender-stemmed, tall,
Gracious response to Spring’s early call,
Lifting three leaf-arms
High from the sod,
Gazing with pure face lip at her God.
Milena Matcska

And even more shade loving flowering plants on the north side of the house.

Hostas.  I am not sure when I first heard of them, but I love their variety, and this one has lovely purple flowers.  This is a Marginally Variegated variety because the lighter color is on the outside of the leaves.  I also have one with no variegation in color, but a nice dark green leaf and… purple flowers!

Thank you for coming along with me on my ground rounds!  Have a blessed day!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R (aka ~Aunt Mae)