Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner


Let’s take a moment from food recipes and turn our attention to other kinds of recipes, shall we? My husband informed me a few years ago that I was becoming quite the granola. I’ve been known to make my own body scrub, deodorant, and as pictured above, all-purpose cleaner. The thing is, though, I’m not full-on crunchy granola. Sure, I may make these and have them on hand, but if you walked through my house, opened up my cabinets and looked in my drawers, you’d also find a fair share amount of these items that I’ve purchased from the store. It’s a happy medium, a balance that sometimes teeters more one way than the other. I’m neither black or white, all or nothing, but very much a solid gray, split down the middle.

This is hands down the best cleaner for grimy showers and ovens that have had one too many spills, baked and caked on that even a chisel takes some work to get it clean, and everything in between.

I found the recipe online a few years ago, took a screenshot, and wrote it on the bottle with a Sharpie, but over time & a combination of the cleaning solution and water erased even the penned Sharpie.


  • 10 oz. of water
  • 8 oz. of vinegar
  • 4 oz. of lemon juice
  • 2 oz. of liquid Dawn liquid soap


In a large spray bottle, add the water, vinegar, lemon juice, and lastly, the Dawn liquid soap.  If you start with the Dawn, you will be fighting suds as you add the water, vinegar, and lemon juice. Screw the nozzle back on give it a subtle side to side shake and get your clean on. For best results of cleaning a grimy shower and a caked & baked on oven, apply an even spray, coating the surface and allow to sit overnight. Wipe and rinse in the morning. Voila. Good as new.


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Neiman Marcus Cookies


Sometimes when I’m taking a breather from the day and am scrolling through Facebook, the NY Times posts a recipe and my interest is piqued. I take a few screen shots, to save for later, resume scrolling, and then a few days later am reminded of said recipe when I stumble on it again.

When I first read the article, it detailed the story of the lady who was wowed by the Neiman Marcus cookies. I mean, really? Who doesn’t like to be wowed by cookies.

Below are the screen shots of the recipe. I did modify the recipe a bit & those are listed after the recipes.

Recipe 1

Recipe 2

Recipe 3

As noted above, I made a few changes, mostly because I didn’t have specific ingredients on hand. For instance, I’ve seen recipes that have listed dark brown sugar, but because I generally always have light brown sugar on hand, I’m not going to run to the store to purchase the other. Maybe it truly heightens the results of the finished product, I don’t know. Also, I didn’t have a chocolate bar on hand to grate it up and add to the dough. The chocolate chips seemed more than enough. Lastly, because I knew my family would appreciate the omission of the nuts, I opted to forgo those, though I’m sure those would have added a certain depth to the cookie.

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Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs


  • 1 package egg noodles

for the meatballs:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
  • olive oil

for the sauce:

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 32oz container beef broth
  • 2 cups  milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


for the meatballs:
Mix together all ingredients for the meatballs; set aside. Using a 2 inch cookie scoop, roll out meatballs and line on a baking sheet. Once the meatballs have been made, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over the skillet so that it’s lightly coated to prevent the meatballs from sticking. Once the oil has heated, add the meatballs & turn every couple of minutes to ensure browning on all sides. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and transfer the meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels.
for the sauce:
Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium-low heat. Melt butter and whisk in flour until it has turned golden brown. Slowly whisk in beef broth and cook until thickened, then add in milk or cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper. Continue to stir until well-combined. Add meatballs back into the skillet, turning to coat well.
Prepare the egg noodles according to package instruction. Drain and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter cookies with Hershey Kisses & a childhood favorite. Need I say more?


  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar (1/2 cup more for rolling dough balls in)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag Hershey Kisses


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the sugars, shortening, butter, and peanut butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and incorporate dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Using a large 2 tbsp. cookie scoop, smooth out the balls and roll in sugar. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes.

Remove from oven and lightly press a Kiss into the center of each cookie.

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Chile Relleno Chicken Soup

Chile Relleno Chicken Soup

I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but springtime in the Midwest is unpredictable, at best. It’s quite possible to experience all 4 seasons in a week’s time starting the week with temps in the high 80’s, prime weather conditions for tornados, to torrential downpours, and then even so much snow that there are school closures! All at the end of April and in the beginning of May. Before too long it will be miserably hot and humid so I enjoy the variety.

This past weekend was wet & rainy, cloudy & gray, which I happen to love, and affirms my belief that I could live in the Pacific Northwest with no problems. I’m a natural introvert so spending all day alone in my kitchen was a joy. Therapy, really. And this soup? It warms and nourishes and was gone the next day. Chris informed me this could go into our regular rotation.


  • 5 Poblano peppers, roasted
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  •  1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 32oz container of chicken broth
  • S&P to taste
  • 3/4 of a rotisserie chicken, deboned & shredded (I say 3/4 because we all snacked on it, but by all means, add as much chicken as you want!)
  • 1 8oz pkg of cream cheese, cut into tbsps.
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided


Roast the peppers until skin is charred and blistered. You can do this over the open flame on a gas stove, or by heating your broiler to high and placing poblanos within a few inches of the broiler (turning periodically to get all sides charred). Once charred, place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool, then rub/ peel the skin to remove as much of the blistered skin. Remove the stems, deseed, and finely chop using a food processor.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add onions and garlic and cook for five minutes. Add cumin and peppers and stir for about a minute. Pour in the broth and season with freshly ground salt & pepper to taste, increase heat to a rapid boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add cream cheese and 2 cups of cheese and whisk until melted and incorporated. Stir in the shredded chicken. Serve and top with remaining cheese.

Adapted from: https://asweetlife.org/chile-relleno-chicken-soup/


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Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Sandwich Cake



back slice

side slice

This year while our birthday celebrations weren’t so quiet, my time in the kitchen was lacking. All of our birthdays are within 3 weeks of each other, and sometimes in the years passed, by the end of it all we are simply caked out. For my birthday we spent a few days in Colorado before Chris and I left the girls with my parents and headed to Vegas for a few days, but when we arrived to Colorado mom had made me the infamous carrot cake so we all had some of that. Bri turned 16 this year and her request was a marbled cake with whipped topping ordered from the bakery. Done. We spent Chris’s birthday in Kansas City for the John Mayer concert, but I did end up making a small chocolate cake for him (using my favorite recipe halved) which we had on Easter. Leah rounds out all of our birthday celebrations and she requested an ice cream sandwich cake so that is what she got.

Full cake


  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 gallon Cookies & Cream ice cream, softened
  • 1 box of ice cream sandwiches
  • 1 8oz. container of Cool Whip


Spray the bottom and sides of a springform pan with non-stick spray. Crush the Oreos into a fine crumb, reserving 10-12 for the top of the cake. Stir 1 1/2 tbsp. of milk into the crumbs and press into the bottom and sides of the springform pan.

With the ice cream sandwiches, cut each one in half and then cut each half lengthwise for a total of 4 pieces. Line these pieces up on the sides of the pan, covering the inside perimeter. Spoon in the softened ice cream, spreading and smoothing as you go. Top with Cool Whip and garnish with Oreos. Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

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Sweet & Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

sweet & spicy chicken lettuce wraps

Tap, tap, tap. “Is this thing on?” I say as I lean into the mic. Why, yes! Yes, it is on! It’s always on, I just have to do my part. It’s been quiet in these parts and there’s no reason why other than lack of posting even though I’ve been in the kitchen. Time to remedy that with a recipe I tried back in December.

We have a serious on again off again relationship with carbs & we’re just never truly willing to say, “Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!” Because we’re always welcoming them back with arms (and mouths) wide open. Chris liked these more so than I. As much as I like sweet stuff, when it comes to chicken, I prefer much more spice than sweet. Next time I make these, I will adjust accordingly.


for the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sriracha
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger

for the filling:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 green onions, sliced, separating the green from the white
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, drained & chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, deseeded & diced
  • 2 heads butter lettuce, rinsed & patted dry


In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ground chicken, brown and crumble. While the meat is cooking, add 2 tbsps. of the sauce & incorporate into meat. Once cooked completely, transfer meat to a plate; set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove, add the remaining oil the white of the green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute and return the cooked chicken back to the skillet & stir in the water chestnuts, red pepper, and remainder of the sauce, stirring to combine. Cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Prior to serving, stir in the green of the onion. Wrap with lettuce leaves.

Adapted from: annies-eats.com/2016/10/21/sweet-and-spice-lettuce-wraps


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