Homemade, Real-Food Ranch Dressing

Homemade, real-food ranch dressing. Better than the stuff from the store!Homemade, Real-Food Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing.  It’s tangy, it’s tasty, it’s downright delicious (unless you are my husband – then you think it’s gross).  Until recently, my kids had never tasted ranch dressing.  I knew that had to change, but I just wasn’t wild about this:

Soybean Oil, Water, Egg Yolk, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavors (Soy), Spices. Less than 1% of Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate. (source)

Soybean oil? Modified Food Starch?  MSG?  And sugar as the fourth ingredient?That’s just the beginning of my issues with store-bought ranch dressings.  You can read more about why we avoid store-bought dressings here.

I wanted to give my kids a real ranch experience.  I wanted a dressing that tasted addictingly-delicious without the actual excitotoxins.  I wanted flavor! So I went to the drawing board and came up with this recipe.

I don’t want to brag…but it’s AMAZING!  I think I should just retire from blogging now.

Not only does this taste better than the store-bought stuff, but it’s full of probiotics and healthy fats. It’s nutrient-dense and something you can feel good about slathering on your kids’ vegetables and your salad. It’s not the simplest of recipes, but I promise it is worth it.  

Homemade, real-food ranch dressing. Better than the stuff from the store!

Please Note:

  •  It’s important you make your own mayonnaise for this recipe.  If you use store-bought mayo, then you will just be adding in a lot of those ingredients that we are trying to avoid.  I promise it is so easy to make your own mayo.  I use this recipe that uses coconut oil and olive oil as the base.
  • The honey is optional.  The store-bought versions contain a lot of sugar, so if you are weaning your family off the store-bought kind, you may want to add a little honey until their taste buds adjust to not needing so much sugar.
  • The only kind of salt that we use is Real Salt.  You can read why here.  If you are using white table salt for your recipe, you will probably want to start with 1/4 tsp and go from there based on taste.
  • This recipe seems kind of liquidy at first and if you taste it right away it won’t wow you.  You have to let the flavors meld together in the refrigerator for several hours, or even better, over-night.  It thickens up and the flavor becomes more intense.
  • For a dip, try doing 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream (leaving out the buttermilk) with the same seasonings.  Add the apple cider vinegar a teaspoon at a time until you have the thickness/tanginess that you prefer.
Homemade, Real-Food, Ranch Dressing
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Just like the store-bought stuff, but even better. This homemade, real-food ranch dressing is something you will feel good about feeding your family.
Serves: 1 cup
  • ⅓ cup homemade mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (or milk with a dash of vinegar set aside for a couple of minutes)
  • 1-2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • ¾ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  • (optional) ¼ - 1 tsp raw honey
  1. If using buttermilk, then add 1 TB of apple cider vinegar to the milk and set aside for a couple minutes. If using regular milk with a dash of vinegar, then add 2 TB of apple cider vinegar and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender or in a bowl with an immersion blender. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Do you love ranch dressing?  What is your favorite way to eat it?

Don’t forget to check out the other homemade salad dressings in this series:

4 Signs Your Preschooler is Ready to Write

4 signs your preschooler is ready to writeI don’t blog about it very often, but I actually have a double undergraduate degree in special education (cross-categorical) and elementary education and a Master’s degree in teaching reading. I’ve taught in a variety of settings in both the public and private sectors. However, now that my firstborn, who yesterday looked like this


Photo Credit: White Dove Photography

And today looks like this,

october 2010 014is almost ready to start school, I am about to venture into a whole new world of education – homeschooling.

I LOVE teaching.  It is so rewarding to watch a child learn something and then be able to apply it independently.  It’s amazing actually. And I can’t wait to experience this with my own kiddos.

One of the benefits of having a background in special education is I really had to learn how to take each concept that a student must know and break it down into the smallest parts.  For example: If a student is struggling with handwriting, I have to dissect the many different abilities that go into being able to write to determine where the student is struggling.  It could be anything from fine motor control skills to poor eye sight. I once had a fourth grade student who had horrendous hand writing.  His parents finally took him to the eye doctor (he had been failing his school eye exams) and they discovered he was legally blind.  No wonder he had a hard time writing!

I’m a big proponent of waiting until a child is developmentally ready before introducing a skill.  So many times we set our children up for failure by expecting too much from them too soon.  Every kid is different and that’s OK.

16554589805_e0d89600a2_bPhoto Credit: frankieleon via Compfight cc

4 Signs Your Preschooler is Ready to Start Writing

So how can we tell when our little ones are ready to start writing?  Here are 4 skills that they need to master first:

1. The letters of the alphabet have meaning to them.  Imagine sitting down and having to write something in Chinese characters.  You are given something to copy.  You look at it and it looks completely foreign to you, but you draw out the formations anyways even though you have no idea what you are writing.  In reality, you are not writing in Chinese characters, you are drawing in Chinese characters.

If a child is taught to write the letter A, but has no prior knowledge about what A is or why A is important, then he or she will just be copying meaningless shapes onto a page.  We want the work our children do to have meaning, and so we must wait until they know WHAT they are writing, before we teach them HOW to write it.

2. They can use small movements with just their fingers to complete fine motor tasks.  When you really think about it, writing is made up of small movements that come more from our fingers than our hand.  If a child is still using his whole hand to complete tasks, and hasn’t mastered the art of using his fingers, he is not ready for handwriting. Can your child remove a sticker from a sticker sheet?  Can she use her fingers to screw a nut onto a bolt? Is he able to color and stay within the lines?  These are all good indicators that your child has mastered the art of using fine motor movements in the fingers.  For a great list of activities and resources that can help your child develop these skills, check out: 21 Ways to Prepare Your Preschooler for Handwriting Success.

3. They can draw straight lines and curves.  Quite simply, the letters of our alphabet are all made up of either straight lines or curved lines.  If a student can’t draw a straight line or a curved line, then they do not have the skills needed to start writing.  A great resource for practicing drawing lines and shapes are the Kumon early learning books.  These books have fun activities like mazes and drawing pictures, that require the students to learn how to draw lines and curves.

4. They can cross their midline.  Pretend there is an imaginary line that vertically separates your child into two symmetrical halves: the left side and the right side.  The ability to cross the midline is when a child can take their dominant hand and easily cross over into the other half of their body. If a child is right-handed, then they are able to cross the midline when their right hand easily and effortlessly crosses over the middle of the body into the left side.  You can see in this picture my son is crossing his midline.

crossing the midline

I can’t tell you how many students I have had that struggle with crossing the midline.  This makes handwriting very hard because the student either has to switch hands every time he gets to the middle of the page, or he has to move his paper to continually keep it on one side of his body. Not being able to cross the midline can also affect reading and gross motor movements.

Crossing the midline requires the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain to work together in coordination.  There are lots of activities and exercises you can do to help your child if he or she struggles with crossing the midline.  Check out the ideas here, here, or here.

Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Write?  Try This Great Resource!

Clearly this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start in evaluating if your child is ready to start writing.  If your child is showing all the signs of readiness, congratulations!  Have fun!  If you are looking for a great, faith-filled resource to guide your handwriting instruction, then I wholeheartedly recommend Write Through The Bible Jr.

This program takes handwriting instruction and adds a Biblical component.  It’s full of fun activities for each day that help your child connect meaning to the letters that they are writing and reinforces the Biblical principle of the week.  My four-year-old begs me everyday to do more writing in his “art book” as he calls it.

The book is available in KJV or ESV Bible translations, ball and stick manuscript, D’nealian manuscript, or cursive fonts, and in digital ($17) or softcover ($27) formats.  Not bad for a whole years worth of handwriting curriculum! We have the ESV, softcover version in D’nealian manuscript.

write through the bible junior


If you are interested, you can download a sample copy of the first weeks lessons here.

Is your child showing all of the signs of writing readiness?  How do you integrate the Bible with writing?