Tabouli Talk

Tabouli is a favorite food around here. I make it often to take to work for an easy lunch, add into a hummus and veggie pita pocket, with salted pita chips, serve with a light dinner of fish for Hubby… the list goes on.

What is Tabouli? It’s a mix of bulgar wheat, seasonings, and vegetables…. and other things depending on your taste.

And it’s so easy to make! Buy the package of Tabouli (comes with seasoning packet).. it can be found in most groceries, sometimes in the international/ethnic food section. Add boiling water to the bulgar and seasonings and allow to sit in the fridge according to the directions. While the wheat absorbs the water, I prepare my ingredients. I add diced tomatoes, finely chopped Italian parsley (it has a softer taste to it), red onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Some people add cucumber, garlic, salts and such. toss ingredients in and fluff with a fork. It’s that easy! The best part is that the water is the only part that you really have to measure, all of the other ingredients are to your taste. Serve cold. mmm…..Enjoy!

1-2-3 Lemon Pesto Chicken

I should start this post out by stating a little fact about myself: I don’t eat meat (fish, chicken, beef, veal, etc- but I do eat eggs and dairy). I haven’t for about 16 years. I do, however cook meat and such for Hubby. But when I make recipes up, its literally on a whim. I go “hmmm… I wonder if this and this would be good on chicken?” and then I run it by Hubby. I’m never surprised to have some total misses.

This is one of Hubby’s favorite home-runs though. I knew he loved pesto and I whipped this up. Here’s what you need.

Preheat your oven to 375, grease a glass baking dish. I make single servings, but basically you’ll need boneless skinless chicken breasts, lemon juice, pesto and olive oil. For each chicken breast measure 1 Tbsp of each: lemon juice, pesto (I keep Buitoni on hand but homemade, prepackaged mix or whatever will work), and olive oil. Mix in a small bowl.

Brush the mixture onto each chicken breast.

Bake 45 minutes, I like to take it out with about 20 minutes remaining and brush the remainder on to keep it moist and flavorful.

Ta-Da! You can serve this with a simple salad, garlic potatoes or slice it up and toss it with pasta, veggies, parm and more pesto. I often serve it with caesar salad and tortellini since I can eat those too. Whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!

Dirty Little Secrets -Part I

I thought I’d share all of my tried and true cleaning secrets and recipes on here for all of you. You read that right: RECIPES. You see, I don’t buy any cleaning products for my entire house. EVER. None. I haven’t for almost 2 years. Why? Quite a few reasons… in a nutshell: First, I hate spending money on all of these things. They never seem to last long, they smell awful and cost a fortune. Second, Many of your store bought cleaning supplies have the same main ingredient: water. Which ties back to my first point. Who wants to pay for water? Third, most of these products are full of chemicals- many of them harmful… which is why they smell so stinking bad.

I make all of my household solutions with the following:

Baking soda. Mine is used so much that I keep a giant jar of it right next to my flour, sugar and coffee containers on the counter. I go through maybe 12 pounds of it per year. And it’s almost always generic brand. Baking soda is baking soda.

White Vinegar. I often can make it a whole year on about 2 gallons. Another product that is satisfactory when purchased as a generic brand.

White ammonia. Again, generic is perfect. The white part is very important.

Rubbing alcohol. Generic! I only go through a pint each year.

Peroxide. You guessed it- generic! Maybe 2 pints per year for cleaning.

Dawn dish washing liquid. My personal preference and I’ve found to be best smelling. Here, brand can matter. And the blue colored kind is just fine.

Suave hair conditioner. I swear. I but about 4 of these a year. At less than $1 at the grocery its an amazing value! Its almost always just used for scent – I like waterfall. But if coconut or something is your thing, go for it!

Lemon juice, sometimes actual lemons. Lemon juice is naturally antiseptic, acidic and nicely scented. All perfect for my purposes. Actual lemons are only a preference when I make a few of these things. Lemon juice keeps longer in the pantry and fridge.

Essential oils: Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint are best.

I bought all of these AND my homemade laundry detergent supplies in one swoop at Walmart for less than $50!

**Important to note** 

– I always purchase new spray bottles and storage containers for my cleaning supplies. As nice as recycling is… the chemical reaction, burn and explosion risk of splashing new chemicals into old chemical containers FAR out weighs the benefits. Just don’t do it.

Mixing anything is always dangerous. Lots of my cleaners rely on small chemical reactions between acids and bases. Use gloves, glasses operate in a well ventilated area ( I use my back deck). I always take a thorough shower after my mixing to ensure nothing lingers on my skin or runs the risk of getting my eyes or mouth.

-It may be a good idea to test some of these solutions on the surfaces of your home first. For instance, I have Corean countertops. If you have granite or something else you may want to check with your care manual or test a spot yourself before using all over. The same goes for carpet, clothing, tiles, tubs, sinks, flooring, appliances, etc.

-Always store these and all chemicals away from the reach children and pets. Be smart.

And finally….Here are some of my multipurpose solutions you may like to try for yourself!

Lemon Infused Vinegar

Place the peels of 2 lemons in a wine bottle (or any bottle you can reseal well), fill with vinegar. Allow to sit/ferment for 2-4 weeks. Shake the bottle once a week. When ready, strain lemon and debris from vinegar into a new clean container. You can use this vinegar wherever any of my recipes call for vinegar. It takes the funky scent from vinegar and adds to its cleaning power!

“I Wish I Were Windex” Glass Cleaner

1/8 cup White Ammonia

1/4 cup Rubbing Alcohol

1 TBSP Dawn


Mix ingredients together in spray bottle and fill remainder of bottle with water (about 2 cups) and shake. I like this better than actual Windex brand and I’ve turned quite a few friends on to my recipe. Another tip- I use newspaper whenever I have it rather than paper towels. I leaves no lint and less streaks (and its green).

All Purpose Cleaner

1 cup Vinegar

1 TBSP lemon juice


Mix ingredients together. Fill remainder of bottle with water (about 2 cups). I also use lemon infused vinegar rather than the combination. Whatever you have around works.

Pet Stains

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup vinegar

Keep this mix in a spray bottle ready to go. Spray on stain and allow to soak for about 30 minutes. Blot with clean cloth towel. Should still be damp.


Mix a fresh batch of:

1 cup Peroxide

2 TBSP Baking soda

1 “squirt’ (TBSP-ish) Dawn

Shake well and spray this on the stain allow to soak and then dry (overnight-ish).

Mop Mix

1 cup vinegar

1 gallon of water

Mix in bucket and start to mop. That’s it! For a better scent use lemon infused vinegar or add a splash of lemon juice to the bucket. Also, you can use a few drops of essential peppermint or tea tree oils (one or the other. not both and without lemon). Both of these scents naturally deter insects!

Drain Cleaner

Pour 1 cup baking soda down the drain and allow to work on breaking up the grime for about 5 minutes. Then pour 1/2 cup vinegar down the drain. It will foam (chemical reaction creates a non hazardous gas and expands into a foam the pushes through the drain). Cover drain opening with an upside down bowl or cup for about 30 minutes. Uncover, run your faucet at its HOTTEST temperature for 3 straight minutes. Should be like new! My mom did this for years before I ever tried it myself. I haven’t bought Drain-O in 5 years and she hasn’t bought it in about 20 years. I always try this before I call a plumber. If this can’t fix your drain then you definitely need a plumber.

Stay tuned for my next Dirty Little Secrets: Part II is Bathrooms and Part III is Laundry. Prepare for LIFE CHANGING secrets… at least they were for me.