This month I have added three recipes: Chocolate Covered Strawberries (under Sweet Things), Beth’s Raisin Coconut Granola (under Eye Openers) and Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing (under Leafy Things). Also, links have been added if you would like to take a look at the back story and recipe.
Recently while testing ranch dressing, I got to wondering about bottled Hidden Valley Ranch dressing that you see in grocery stores. I found out that in the 1950s, a former Nebraska cowboy named Steve Henson and his wife were operating a dude ranch. Hidden valley ranch was a quiet vacation getaway in the mountains on the San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County, California. When they served the evening meal, the guests were so taken with the dressing on the salad that they asked for the recipe. Soon the dressing became so popular that they sold the dried herbs by mail order. Because of that success, corporate interest took over and now ranch is the number one salad dressing originating in the US.
Chocolate and flowers are probably the two most popular gifts this month for Valentine’s Day with roses and chocolate covered strawberries being no exception. In my recipe back story, I cover the history of strawberries dipped in chocolate. But what I recently learned is how healthy chocolate and strawberries are for us. Dark chocolate is one of the more powerful sources of antioxidants that boosts our immune system and can improve heart health as well as lowering the risk of infections. I read that this is due to the high levels of iron and magnesium in the cocoa. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, low in calories and a good source of fiber. It’s always nice to know when something so delicious is also good for you!
My cousin Beth Douglas is a wonderful cook as well as an excellent baker. Over the years, she has graciously given us all homemade granola. I like how it tastes, so I asked for the recipe. Beth’s granola is easy to make and delicious. You can enjoy it with milk or yogurt for breakfast. Dave also likes the granola as a handy snack when he is off on one of his hiking adventures.