Food & Swine

fun veggie cups, gator rides and #8


These little veggie cups with a modified semi-homemade Dill-Ranch Dressing are quick and easy to make and never disappoint. Serve these for preschool snacks, at a bridal shower or for a luncheon.  They are especially nice when served at a birthday party… instead of the traditional veggie tray (*ie: everyone including your Uncle Fester touching your crudité unmercifully, knicking every single carrot with their less than germ-free hands and then double-dipping into the communal dip pot. Touch, scoop, lick, slurp, repeat.  Eww.)

I’m going to leave you with the basic dressing recipe that is semi-homemade and then let you decide how you want to chop your veggies (various heights make it interesting).  I used the standard favorites for my cups.  (Carrots, celery, mini cucumbers and cherry tomatoes)

The dip is in the bottom of the cup… the veggies are pre-dressed.  Amen.

*Full recipe at the end of the post.


Gatorade… I mean Gator Ride:

After plenty of begging for Gatorade (for an hour or so)… I finally discovered that a “Gator RIDE” is what he was trying to get-at.  We bundled up… and I mean bundled.  Seriously APRIL… get it together!

Serious as always, chubby and completely content riding along.


The water was calm and beautiful (amazingly for the wind we were having on and off all day).


Thank goodness we were not on foot… that is NOT a fun walk with a crabby/wiggly 40# two year old and a recent surgery.  The kid is heavier than lead.  Even heavier when he doesn’t want to go inside.  Yikes.  So we drove around forever, and the gas needle hardly moved.  Sweet.


Annie is our big black lab who had a great time chasing us around the place.  I still haven’t taught her how to sit on the Gator with us but she enjoys running around quite a bit.  She’s due for ACL surgery soon but seems to be getting along alright at the moment so we’re putting it off, maybe indefinitely.



I nearly crumbled to tears when my daughter returned home from her tee ball pictures (my husband had to take her because I was in the middle of a baking class!)… she pulled the crumpled purple mass out of her bat-pack, and revealed her jersey to me with a giant smile.


Like someone else in the house… (she was proud and happy to surprise me, it was of her own doing.) Be still my aching heart!  My children are growing up too fast.

Jeepers, make me feel short Dad.  (For those who don’t know me well, I am 5’10” tall and my Dad outpaces me in the height department quite substantially).

Cristen I9A

Seriously… what are you here for?  THE FOOD!  Back to business.

Semi homemade dressing means: a packet plus some additional ingredients. GO!


Semi-Homemade Garlic Dill Ranch Dressing

3/4 C mayonnaise

1/4 C sour cream

1 C buttermilk

1 packet of ranch dressing dry mix

1-2 TBSP fresh dill

3 cloves of smashed garlic. (Garlic Instructions: Smash garlic with 1/4 tsp salt by chopping garlic and then mashing it together with salt, it will break down into a mushy paste.)

1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.  Whisk well.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or more, to thicken a bit.  Pour into serving vessels, (a couple TBSP in each cup) and top with spears of vegetables.  Serve immediately. (Makes roughly 2 1/2 C or enough for 8-12 dressing cups depending on size.)

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  • Reply Lisa B April 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I’ll never forget the most frustrating day when Addi was little — she kept whining for a B-Box and I went through every single snack, toy, clothing item… EVERYTHING. My younger brother randomly stopped by and she asked him for a B-Box and he held out his hand and said “Show Me” — and she led him to the basement where we kept our spare fridge.. and picked out a JUICE BOX. B-Box=Juice Box — Ha! He still loves to tell that story — he’s kidless and it makes him feel all special that he one up’d me :)

    FYI — H was ADORABLE at pictures. And Ainsley wants her horse jacket — she is obsessed with horses lately.

    • Reply Cristen April 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      That’s so cute! Thanks for sharing. I just love to hear those stories. I’m sure we can help you find a cute horse jacket for Ainsley. :) I got to see the rest of your crew last night before practice. It was so chilly out there! We’ll be seeing you at the ballpark this summer!

  • Reply Sandi April 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for the idea Cristen. Would work well when I have my grandkids! ssc

  • Reply Jennifer Flaa (@JeniEats) April 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I have a thing for ranch. I’ll put it on anything. The seasoning packets taste so much better than the shelf stable bottled ranch. Will have to try your method.

    • Reply Cristen April 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks! Ranch is the King of Condiments in our house. My son loves it, but the shelf stable product leaves him with a rash wherever it touches his face. (All over his face usually… he’s messy!) I hope you enjoy it! I love lots of dill… it gets pretty spicy though!

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