Bacon Ranch Salad

1110Before I started eliminating processed food from my diet, Suddenly Salad Bacon  Ranch pasta salad appeared on my table almost weekly.  It was quick, easy and, best of all, cheap.  What more could you ask for?   I was really disappointed that Suddenly Salads couldn’t be part of my diet anymore.

What I didn’t know then is that homemade Bacon Ranch pasta salad is just quick, easy and cheap as the boxed stuff and best of all, devoid of unnecessary chemicals the manufactures feel need to be there.

Last week I gave you a recipe for a homemade ranch dressing mix.  You can use that here.  You could also buy a package of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix or use already prepared ranch salad dressing mix here also.  Also, feel free to add or eliminate any vegetables you want.

Bacon Ranch Salad


1 cup dry shell pasta

½ cup frozen peas

1/3 cup real mayonnaise

1 ½ tsp ranch dressing mix

1-2 baby carrots, shredded

1 TBS bacon bits

¼ tsp onion powder

Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Add shell pasta and carrot; boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together, the peas, ranch mix, bacon bits, onion powder, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Add pasta and carrots. Stir together until everything is coated. Chill and serve.

Fancy Hamburgers

1092The fourth of July is just around the corner.  I actually have the day off so I am going to cook up a special 4th of July menu for myself and a few friends.  I decided on burgers, a pasta salad and an apple pie for dessert.  Nothing too fancy.

I found the burger recipe in a 1973 Good Housekeeping Cooking for Two cookbook.

Fancy Hamburgers


1/2 lb ground beef

2 TBS sour cream

1 TBS bread crumbs

6- 8 fresh mushrooms, trimmed and chopped

1 green onion, finely sliced

1 TBS fresh chopped parsley

1/2 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients; mix well.  Shape into 2 large patties.  Heat a medium frying pan over high heat; reduce heat to medium.  Cook on first side, for about 8 minutes.  Flip the patties and cook for 8 more minutes or until your desired degree of doneness. 

My Awesome Customers

Monday I ranted about my asshole customer so today, I want to rave about my awesome customers.  Believe it or not there are more awesome customers than asshole customers, the awesome customers just don’t get the press that asshole customers do.  I would like to change that.  Here are some of my awesome customers from the last couple of weeks.

Last week I was complaining about my hair getting in my face all the time, I haven’t had long hair for very long.  This little girl handed me her barrettes and said. ” When my hair gets in my face my mommy put these in.  Maybe your mommy could put them in for you.”  I wear the barrettes every time I wear my hair in a pony tail.

I had a customer buy me a breakfast sandwich from the restraunt at the front of the store because he heard me say I was hungry and it was a long time until lunch.  He said I shouldn’t be hungry when I am working so hard.

Then there is Deb.  I only know her by her culinary reputation and the fact she has come through my line many times. She has read my blog and had such nice things to say about it.  One afternoon when she came through my line I asked her if she knew of any good Indian cookbooks because I am kind of curry crazy at the moment.  She gave me some ideas that I knew I could get at the library.  A few days after our talk she brought me her copies of the cookbook we talked about.  She told me not to worry about getting them back to her until I was done with them.

See good, kind, nice people are out there.  I just let the one asshole blind me to them.  I do that in a lot of areas of my life.  So from now on when I get mired in the garbage that life sometimes deals me, I am going to remember all the good things that I have in my life and be grateful.


Ranch Dressing Mix

When you work in retail for as long as I have, 10 years at the end of July, nothing about people’s  behavior really surprises you any more.  You either learn it isn’t personal because they don’t know a damn thing about you or you quit. I try to tell all my trainees to remember we don’t know anything about our customers lives.  They have may recently lost a spouse or been diagnosed with some awful disease.  These things don’t excuse bad behavior but it does make it a little more understandable.   My point is we don’t know why people behave the way they do we just need to get over and do our job.  Sometimes, however, it feels very personal and I don’t care what is going on in your life.  There is absolutely no excuse for your behavior.

This morning busy checking people out, joking around as I always do. A man in 20’s came through, I didn’t really pay much attention. I was busy doing my job.  A few minutes after leaving my line he comes back and asks if he left his phone.  I tell him that I hadn’t seen it and no one had said anything about seeing it.  He left again and a few minutes later came back with our customer service manager accusing me of stealing his phone.  He was  yelling at the customer manager, yelling at my customers and yelling at me.  Bless our beautiful customer service manager.  She had enough presence of mind to send someone for our asset protection guy so he could check the security tapes. Meanwhile,  the guy is standing at the end of my line ranting and raving. My customers are getting pissed, not at me, I am trying keep doing my job and not get upset, I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but at him.  All of a sudden the guy turns around and stalks to the little restraunt at the front of the store.  After a moment he comes out of the restraunt and leaves the store.   According to the asset protection guy the asshole didn’t have his phone the entire time he was in my line.  After attacking my honor as a human being, my integrity as a human being and as an employee, after embarassing me in front of my coworker and customers, after just generally making me feel like shit and so angry I had to leave the line and go to the break room until I could calm down that asshole left his phone in the restaraunt. I handle thousands of dollars every day so an accusation of theft could have cost me my job, the way I support me and mine.  So what was the point of this behavior?  If you are going to make such horrible accusations shouldn’t you be damn sure your phone has really been stolden?

So what does this rant have to do with today’s recipe? Absolutely nothing. It just ticked me off and I am having a hard time letting it go.  I thought by sharing it with you all I could actually get it out of my system before I explode.  Thanks for listening to my rant.

Ranch Dressing Mix


1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder

1 TBS dried parsley, crushed

1 tsp dried dill weed

1 tsp dried onion flakes

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all the ingredients in a blender.  Blend at high speed until smooth.  Store in an air tight container for up to 1 month.

1 tablespoon mix = 1 envelope Ranch dressing mix

Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing


1 TBS ranch dressing mix

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup milk

Combine all ingredients is a small bowl.  Whisk until well combined.  Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to two weeks.


Garlic Mushroom Quinoa


Now that you know how to cook quinoa, I thought you might like a recipe using it.  I like to cook the quinoa until it is a little brown and crispy.

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1/ cup water

1/2 tsp olive oil

1 TBS butter

8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

1 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the water and quinoa.  Bring the water to a boil; reduce the heat to medium.  Cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.   Meanwhile, thinly slice the mushrooms.  Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Melt the butter.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Saute the mushrooms until they release their juices and camelize, 10 -15 minutes.  When the quinoa and mushrooms are done, combine them is a big bowl and stir to combine.