Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip

Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip | The Happy HousewifeBy contributing writer Kristia

Ranch dressing is a staple at my house. We use it for salads, raw vegetables, and our favorite wing recipes. I attribute ranch dressing to the reason my oldest daughter will sit and eat a plate full of raw vegetables, such as broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, and sweet peppers. She has rated my homemade version two thumbs up.

Homemade ranch dressing or dip is so easy to make and it tastes so much better than what comes out of a bottle. It stores in the fridge for up to a week, but mine never seems to last that long when I make it.

Don’t be afraid to buy fresh parsley or chives if they aren’t available in your garden yet. This recipe only calls for one tablespoon each, so you’ll have leftover herbs if you buy from a store, but they both freeze easily. Just wash and dry the herbs. Chop and store in a freezer bag. Take out what you need and put directly into any recipe.

Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip | The Happy Housewife

Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  1. Pour all of the ingredients into a mason jar or bowl and cover with a lid.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more so the flavors will blend together.


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Pizza Dip

Pizza Dip | The Happy Housewife
By contributing writer Lynn

This pizza dip takes the flavors of pizza and turns it into an appetizer that’s perfect for game day munching. And with the Olympics coming on the heels of  the Super Bowl, you might be making this recipe a lot this month. Of course, pizza dip is delicious any day and is sure to be eaten up in a hurry.

Pizza Dip | The Happy Housewife

Pizza Dip
Recipe type: Snack
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups pizza or marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces pepperoni, chopped
  • 4 ounces Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 3.8-ounce can sliced olives, drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese, divided
  • chips or bread sticks for serving
  1. In a bowl mix together cream cheese and pizza sauce.
  2. Stir in pepperoni, Canadian bacon, olives, and 1½ cups cheese.
  3. Spread into an 9 x 9 inch or similar sized dish.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.


Need more snacking ideas?

Lynn writes at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, sharing cooking tips, recipes, and ideas of how to fit a love of cooking into a busy life. She also has a special allergy section  where she shares recipes and thoughts on living with food allergies.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Homemade Lara Bars

Homemade Lara Bars | The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tessa

With a new year upon us, we all seem eager to start afresh and eat a bit healthier after the holidays.  Why not take some time to whip up your very own flavor of Homemade Lara Bars and save yourself some major cash on a nutritious snack?!  They could not be any easier or quicker to make, and no surprise, the homemade version wins out in the taste department too!

Our family has these snacks on hand all the time, and I have shown you how to make our favorite flavor below. However, the technique is the same for all flavors.  Here are some ideas to get your creative juices going:

  • Cashews + chocolate chips = Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Walnuts + cocoa powder = Chocolate Brownie
  • Cashews + almonds + cinnamon + vanilla = Snickerdoodle
  • Almonds + cashews + unsweetened grated coconut + coconut oil or butter = Coconut Cream Pie

Play with any combination of nuts you like and consider different spices or dried fruits and citrus zests.  With the basic method under your belt, you will be a whiz!  I have a couple of of non-traditional Lara Bars you could check out, one is even nut free: Chocolate Chip Lara Bars and Brazil Nut, Lime, & Hemp Power Bars.

Method Note:  In this recipe, I have toasted the nuts for a more complex flavor that my family loves.  This is totally optional in all flavors and just adds another option for varying the flavors!

Homemade Lara Bars

Homemade Lara Bars


  • 2½ cups pecans
  • ¼ cup cacao powder (see note)
  • 15-20 large Medjool dates, pitted, or about 8-9 ounces (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Optional Add In’s: coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, any dried fruit


  1. Lightly toast the pecans by spreading them out on a cookie sheet and baking at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. You will smell them, toasty and wonderful. Careful not to burn them, it will happen quickly!
  2. Blend toasted pecans and cacao powder in a food processor until powdery and coarsely ground. Do not process so long that you have nut butter.
  3. Add in dates and process until blended into dry ingredients, this might take a minute.
  4. Pulse in the vanilla until well combined.
  5. Add dried cranberries, pulsing a few times to mix.
  6. Press mixture into an 8×8 inch dish. Freeze or refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm, and then cut into 16 squares.


Use unsweetened and high quality cocoa. It makes a big difference in the taste. I love Dagoba.

Don’t use other date varieties. Medjool are the Cadillacs of the date world-- much softer and more caramel flavors than other varieties.


More Snack Ideas from The Happy Housewife

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Raisin Free Trail Mix & Giveaway

I love trail mix. It is one of my favorite snacks to take when we are on the go. It holds up well when you travel and the kids love it.

I’m not a huge fan of premade trailmix for one reason.


It seems like every trail mix you buy at the store contains a ridiculous amount of raisins. The problem is that there is only one child who likes raisins in my house and even I tend to pick around them when I’m eating it.

I realize the raisins were added to trail mix for that salty sweet combination everyone loves, but you can get that just as easily with chocolate.

Chocolate – Raisins

Is this really even a debate?

I rest my case.

Raisin Free Trail Mix


  • Lightly salted peanuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate candy
  • Dried fruit
  • Goldfish crackers


  1. Mix together all the ingredients.
  2. Serve.
  3. Store in an airtight container.

The cool thing about trail mix is that really anything goes. You put in what you like and leave out what you don’t. It’s cheaper to make it yourself since you know your kids will be eating everything in it instead of just picking out the things they like.

After you make your trail mix take your family to see the new animated family movie The Nut Job. It looks like a pretty funny family movie about a squirrel who accidentally burns down the neighborhood tree leaving his friends with nothing to eat for the winter.

The squirrel happens upon Maury’s Nut Shop, the one place that can supply everyone nuts for the winter. There are plenty of fart jokes and physical comedy (you know the animated kind) to keep little boys happy and there is a cute pug for the little girls. (My girls love pugs)


This looks like a fun movie for the whole family and I have a $50 AMC gift card to giveaway to one reader! 

To enter the giveaway leave a comment sharing the one thing you must have in your trail mix. For additional entries you can tweet about this giveaway using the hashtag #thenutjob. Please leave a comment letting me know you tweeted. Giveaway ends January 21, 2014.

For more information about this movie check out Facebook and Twitter.




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