Apr 16, 2012 Paid/Sponsored Post
[The following post was written as part of my paid ambassadorship with Hidden Valley.]
I have to admit, when I first saw this recipe for Bloomin’ Lasagna on the Hidden Valley website (a version of spinach lasagna with ranch dressing in it), I was skeptical. Actually, I think I wrinkled my nose and said “gross!”
I love ranch dressing. I’ve always loved it on salads, or as a veggie dip, and I add Hidden Valley Ranch mix to mashed potatoes – it’s amazing. But my initial reaction to the very idea of mixing tomato sauce with ranch was not good.
However, curiosity got the best of me. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to see what they tasted like together. Plus, the recipe looked fun – I’d only made lasagna the traditional way, with the noodles layered and the filling in between. I really wanted to try this.
I made this recipe on Saturday for dinner, and it was ridiculously easy. While the lasagna was cooking I mixed the filling ingredients together. I used pre-washed baby spinach since I can’t stand washing greens of any kind. Instead of the Hidden Valley Original Ranch the recipe called for, I used the light version since that’s what I already had open in the fridge. And a great tip for shredding mozzarella: put the block of cheese in the freezer for about 20 minutes first. You don’t want it to freeze, just harden up a bit.
Mar 23, 2011 Randomosity
I’m writing this with possibly the worst garlic breath I’ve had in a while, but it was totally worth it. I got a very nice shout-out on a post about a Hidden Valley Ranch event my friend Nicole and I both attended a little while back, and included in her post was a simple and fantastic-looking recipe for Ranched-Up Hummus Dip (and check out the picture of Fiona up on the counter with Hidden Valley Ranch celebrity spokesmom Angie Harmon!). Since I had all of the ingredients I made some, and since I love garlic I doubled it to two cloves. And wowee was that a lot of garlic in one little recipe. Next time I’m going to use one clove like the recipe said!
And I will definitely make this recipe again. It took literally five minutes start to finish. I could whip this up for a surprise guest, put out some pita bread, and look really impressive. I only had a few spoonsful because I had just eaten some more of the delicious Cauliflower-Potato Mash I made yesterday – that one is going into my permanent rotation of recipes. The rest of the dip will be eaten throughout the afternoon with pita wedges, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and blanched green beans, followed by half a bottle of mouthwash before tonight’s PTA meeting.
It felt like a “grazing day” when I woke up so it was pure serendipity that I came across this recipe today!
I’ve had this video open in a tab on my computer for weeks, just because every few days or so when I need a laugh I watch it again. I’m not sure what my fascination is. I guess because Darth Vader doing anything other than being menacing is automatically funny (search “Darth Vader funny videos” sometime), and Can’t Touch This was just awesome. Put them together? Comedy gold.
I have no idea if this story is real and the video authentic. If it is, it’s just delicious: guy steals laptop and takes it home, records himself dancing, and laptop owner is able to access the files remotely. He posts dancing video on YouTube, causing thief to beg him to take the video down.
And if it isn’t real, well then, it was a genius attempt at a viral video and still very funny. Thanks very much to my friend (and fellow Blogging Angel) Rebecca for tweeting the link!
I love pretty much everything Aaron Traister writes in Redbook. This collection of the 18 most annoying male habits, explained may actually be a public service though, heading off a couple of fights between me and my husband. And it’s hilarious.
I wrote a post last week about my daughter’s fatalistic attitude towards her future in light of the recent earthquake/tsunami tragedy in Japan. A commenter very helpfully put this link in the comments about how to talk to children after a tragedy, and I’m finding it really useful and realistic. So thanks very much to Tracy for the link!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 14 (Hidden Valley Ranch). Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jun 20, 2009 Love Your Veggies
- If you think you’ll be able to show up at Home Depot towards the end of June and find seeds, you’re in for a surprise.
- Bags of potting soil are heavy. Really heavy. And if they start to slip from your grip and you try to lift them up, they spill dirt all over you.
- By mid June, Burpee.com is done shipping tomato plants.
- The really pretty, huge, well-designed strawberry pot you saw in a magazine costs $600.
- Corn cross pollinates, and since you only have room right now to grow 6-8 stalks, you may end up producing 12 cornless cobs.
- No matter how hungry your kids say they are when you stop at the local hardware store to get seeds, look carefully at what you’re buying, because bush beans are not the same a pole beans and will not climb up the corn stalk.
- If you can’t find corn seeds, you may or may not be able to buy corn on the cob, take off some kernels, and plant them. I guess we’ll find out.
- When your husband says that he will be done with your planting tub in a week, ignore him and go out and buy containers right away so that you don’t miss planting season.
Despite all that, tomorrow I’ll be planting the tomatoes, the cucumbers, and one pot (half) of the corn. Corn is supposed to be planted in warm sunny dry weather, but that’s not coming to Brooklyn any time soon, so if I wait for that, there’s more chance that I’ll be harvesting corn in the snow. So, I’m going to plant half now in the 60-degree rain, and half in a couple of weeks in the sunny dry weather. We’ll see what happens. If/when the corn germinates, I’ll plant the beans and zucchini around them.
When I was in Chicago for the Love Your Veggies retreat, sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch, I was raring to go. I wanted to hit the ground running with the planting as soon as I got back to Brooklyn. But the renovation, back doors, and ambitious husbands got in the way. This may not be my year for yummy corn and juicy tomatoes, but I’m going to try my hardest! What gives me hope is the memory of my sister wanting to plant tomatoes when we were kids. She cut open a tomato, put a dozen or so seeds on a paper towel to dry, and planted them. We all laughed at her. Until huge delicious tomatoes started growing.
Apr 7, 2009 What's Going On
I’ve mentioned this once or twice on my morning videos, but haven’t written about it: I won a big contest from Hidden Valley Ranch! I entered the Love Your Veggies contest a few months ago, and I won! Me and nine other people, and I’ll get to meet them all in Chicago in a few weeks as part of my prize. We all get to go on a veggie retreat with a celebrity chef, Art Smith, and learn about growing and cooking veggies. The other part of the prize is $5,000 to donate to a community garden. I’m giving it to my kids’ public school, since they’re working on building a greenhouse for the kids.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this trip. For one thing, traveling alone is a rarity these days. I’ve always loved to travel, from the cars to the hotels to eating out all the time. Being in an airport without kids is like walking around without a hundred pounds on my back. Plus, there’s a spa trip involved, and I love spas – double when I’m not paying. And the food! This contest was about yummy veggies, from Hidden Valley Ranch, so I’m expecting lots of deliciously-prepared ranch-flavored vegetables!
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t complain about it in some way, and the part I’m not looking forward to is making arrangements to be gone. I rarely travel without the kids, so there’s nobody to fall back on, no usual babysitter to lean on. The Ass, always supportive, is going to take time off from work to shuttle the kids around. Thank God for The Ass!
Part of the contest involved submitting a picture of a garden that inspires you. I was not being ironic at all when I submitted a picture of my Chia herbs (wow, second time I’ve mentioned Chia in one day!). My friend Amybeth gave me the kit for Christmas, and I’ve had a lot of fun watching them grow.
I waited too long to transfer them to bigger pots, but they seem to be doing mostly great now.
The basil smells amazing right after I water it, and tastes delicious. The parsley has more of a bite than any parsley I’ve ever bought from a store. The chives are delicious. The only dud may be the dill, which doesn’t really taste like anything yet. That was definitely the one that had outgrown its original pot the most, and the parts closest to the dirt are not green. I’ll give the dill another month, and if it doesn’t taste like dill, I’m going to re-plant it with some regular seeds and see what happens.
Here’s what they looked like a month ago when I first switched them to the bigger pots:
And here they are today:
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Jan 15, 2009 Contest/Giveaway
Today is the last day to enter the Hidden Valley Ranch Love Your Veggies contest! Yes, you have to do a little writing, but it really is a little, and upload one picture, just one. And you could win a Moms Retreat and $5,000 to put towards a community garden! Go here to read my post about it, or here to enter.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom
Jan 9, 2009 Contest
I’m a bad vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life, but I really only embraced vegetables somewhat recently. So what does a vegetarian eat if she doesn’t like veggies? Well, this one ate mostly fried mozzarella sticks, pasta, french fries, egg salad, potato chips, and pizza. It’s no wonder that I was 196 pounds after giving birth to my daughter four years ago.
I don’t know why I didn’t eat my veggies for so long. My parents were always very healthy and cooked plenty of vegetables for us, but I think I was just born hating anything that my parents told me I should do. It took me until my twenties to really get over that. But even then, I only wanted veggies prepared for me, in restaurants and salad bars. I didn’t want to do the work.
In the last five years, though, I’ve been having a love affair with vegetables. I love salads, and make really great giant ones with feta and carrots and tomatoes and onions and balsamic vinaigrette. I use a rather expensive pre-washed baby romaine, but it’s totally worth it, because I still don’t like doing the work.
I love cooking broccoli or zucchini with some garlic and dill, or roasting a big squash. I drool over good veggies and look forward to eating them. I eat frozen as often as I eat fresh, and there are some really great frozen veggies out there, with low-calorie sauces. I make the world’s best spinach pizza, with tomatoes and pesto and feta cheese. Baby carrots and ranch are a frequent snack. I eat several different kinds of veggies a day and love finding new recipes.
I have had zero success in transferring this love to my kids.
Each of them went through a phase, around two years of age, where they would eat any vegetable I put in front of them. There was a time when my son lived almost exclusively on broccoli. But as each got older, they decided that vegetables were yucky. They still have their favorites – my son will eat tons of carrots if I saute them with dill, and my daughter will eat bowl after bowl of tomato soup – but they have absolutely no interest in trying anything new at this point and I’m not sure how to handle it. My parents seemed to have done things right. They kept the house stocked with lots of healthy foods, and ate them. But I rebelled by hating healthy food. So I’m not sure what to do with my kids when it comes to veggies. I let them choose which ones they want to eat and prepare them how they like. I eat veggies around them but try not to proselytize. I don’t demonize veggies. You’ll never hear me say that they have to eat their green beans before they can have their dessert (we actually eat dessert before dinner, but that’s a whole other post).
Still, they each only like a couple of veggies, and it’s getting harder to get my daughter to even eat those. So what to do? I’m hoping to get some help from Love Your Veggies. Hidden Valley Ranch started this site, so naturally ranch dressing comes into play. But since I love ranch dressing I won’t hold that against them. The site has some kid friendly recipes and activities centered around veggies. Plus, they’re running a contest right now to send ten moms to Chicago for two days of learning about planting, harvesting, cooking, and eating veggies with kids. The winners get to work with chef Art Smith, and each get $5,000 to donate towards improving or starting a community garden!
To enter, you have to fill out an application and write a bit about why you want to attend the retreat and how you would use the community garden grant. I just entered! I would really love to do this. I love cooking, but often get into a rut when making food, and I know I would get lots of great ideas from going to this event. So good luck to me! But also good luck any of you who enters.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom