Confident home cooking
For some reason this is what I craved...
Breads, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Salad, Vegetarian

Homecoming Meal

by Nick


After 3 days of non-stop driving, around 2,000 miles, I finally made it safely to our new home in Grand Junction, CO.

The drive itself turned out to be pretty uneventful which is a good thing. I was pretty worried about Tipsy’s ability to make it without freaking out, but she ended up just sleeping for about 95% of the time which was super-sweet.

Then every few hours she’d wake up and I’d look in my rear view window and see this:


After a few minutes she’d realize that we were going very fast (when I took this photo we weren’t moving – don’t worry), so she’d crawl back into her carrier and go back to sleep.

Once we finally got to our destination, I was lucky enough to arrive to a basically set-up house since Betsy got to The Junction a week or so before I did. Most importantly, all of my kitchen stuff was unpacked!

After eating pretty crappy food during the drive out, I was desperately craving a huge salad. As I browsed the produce in the grocery store, I was salivating. I mean, I’m usually excited about salads, but I was really excited to have a nice big salad as my first meal.

For a recipe though, I don’t want to talk about the entire salad because it was pretty standard, but I do want to talk about the dressing and bread that I made!

Avocado Ranch Dressing
Makes enough for two large salads

- 1/2 avocado, mushed
- 1/4 Cup plain yogurt, or sour cream
- 1/4 Cup buttermilk
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper

Ok. So I’m not sure that this is technically a ranch dressing. I think most ranch dressings traditionally have mayo in them, but the flavors were pretty close to me. The buttermilk gives the dressing a nice tangy flavor and the fresh herbs are great in it (although I think you could also use dried if you wanted).

dressing stuff

Ranch dressing? Kind of.

The only important thing to this dressing is to really mush up the avocado well. You want it pretty creamy before you start mixing the other stuff in with it or you’ll have lumps. (Note: If you want lumps of avocado, then don’t mush it up so much.)



Once your avocado is mushed, stir in the yogurt and buttermilk. It should be creamy and not too thick. You should be able to pour it out of the bowl easily.

dressing mixed

Interesting color…

Then just add all your chopped herbs, garlic, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

If you ask me, this is yet another reason why store bought dressings are just unnecessary. This took me maybe 3 minutes and blew most dressings out of the water.

herbs added


Set aside your dressing until you need it. The flavors will get better the longer it sits. If you’re making it more than thirty minutes or so in advance, stick it in the fridge until you need it.

Simple Garlic Bread. Some people are amazing that I can make a salad a full meal, but I really have no problem doing it. Besides using a ton of different veggies in the salad, I almost always serve main course salads with really good bread.

In this case, really good garlic bread.

I don’t exactly have a recipe for this bread because it depends on some factors, namely whether or not I have to engage in a social activity the same night I’m eating it. If yes, I tone down the garlic. If no, then I amp it up by using 3 or 4 cloves.

I just chop up the cloves and add them to a small dish with 2-3 Tablespoons of butter. Melt this slowly in the microwave for a few seconds. Keep a close eye on it!

garlic butta

Can’t go wrong here.

Buy a good loaf of sourdough bread from your local bakery and slice it so that the whole loaf is still attached at the bottom. What I normally do is make one big slice down the middle, then a few perpendicular cuts so the loaf is sliced into pieces, but still one big loaf.

Pour your garlic butter over the loaf and be sure to get the butter down into all the little slices. Use your hands! Get messy. Thank me later.

loaf ready

Really get in there and get messy.

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until it’s nice and crunchy and your whole house smells of garlic.

Meanwhile you can chop up whatever you need for your salad. I went crazy on mine. It had spinach, arugula, green peppers, red peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, radishes, celery, and pepper jack cheese.

Serve up a huge mound of salad and drizzle on the dressing. Set a big hunk of garlic bread next to it and you have yourself a main course salad meal!

salad again

One for one on tasty meals in new kitchen.

This was exactly what my body was craving. I woke up the next day feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

I’m obviously excited to cook in my new kitchen and once I get completely settled, I’ll post some photos of our new place so you guys can check it out!