Home Happenings… Homemade Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but I’m going to own up to it publicly. I have owned my house since February 2017 and have never deep cleaned the kitchen cabinets. I wipe them down on occasion but I’m talking a real deep cleaning. Today I finally had enough of the grease, grime, and food buildup that I made my own Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner.

I’ve heard of Borax before but had never used it for anything and oh man!! What a mess it made, although very worth it.

So, learn from my mistake and do not sweep and mop your floors before taking on this project because I ended up with Borax crystals all over my kitchen counters. No big deal sweeping up the mess but I ended up having to do double work because of having swept beforehand.

This Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner worked very well and took off years of build up. I am very impressed and will be using this method again in the near future to keep up with maintaining the cleanliness of my cabinets.

Another insider tip… don’t plan on cleaning your kitchen cabinets if your arms are already sore from an arm workout. Even the little bit of elbow grease needed was quite a workout. Haha!

Here’s what you’ll need:

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid dish soap
  • 2 cloths
  • bowl
  • Magic Eraser Sponge for tough stains
  • Q-Tips for the corners of cabinets

And Action:

Add Borax, vinegar and dish soap into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Dampen one of the cloths with the cleaning solution.

Gently wipe down the entire surface of the kitchen cabinet with the cleaning solution. Give extra attention to the knobs if you have them and corners because dust builds up there. Once all of the cabinets are wiped down you’ll take the other cloth, dampen it with some clean water and gently wipe all of the cabinets down to remove residue. If there were any tough stains that the cleaning solution did not take out you’ll use the Magic Eraser to help with those and use the Q-Tips for any corners that still have buildup or dust.

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner - Under Cabinet Before

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner - Under Cabinet After

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Fit Food… Herb Grilled Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings are something I cannot resist. The crispy skin to meat ratio is heavenly. They have been a favorite food of mine since I was a child. Every birthday I would ask my mom for them for my special birthday dinner with a side of homemade ranch dressing.

Herb Grilled Chicken Wings

These Herb Grilled Chicken Wings would be perfect with a side of potato salad for a Summer dinner on the patio. Whatever you decide to serve these with or if you chose to eat them on their own be sure to have them hot off the grill so the skin stays nice and crispy. Yummy!

Come Fall for football season these will be on repeat every Sunday.

Knowing that the oregano and rosemary in this recipe will be needed much more in the upcoming months I decided to go to the nursery to pick up some planters to grow the herbs so I can use fresh instead of dried. I know that will be a game changer.

Herb Grilled Chicken Wings

Makes 2 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • dried oregano, to taste
  • dried rosemary, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/4 lb chicken wings

And Action:

Combine all ingredients in a gallon size Ziploc, seal the Ziploc, and toss to coat the chicken wings. Chill at least one hour or overnight is best.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Remove wings from the marinade and grill, covered, turning occasional, until golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Sweat Sets… Getting In Shape By Summer’s End – Week 3

Week 3 of 13:

Monday, July 2nd, 2018: 82 days until Fall

7:00 am – I felt somewhat ambitious when it came to packing my lunchbox today by pulling out just about every fruit I had in the house to make a Rainbow Fruit Salad and then I put together a Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta.

8:00 am – I arrived to work hungry so I had my Rainbow Fruit Salad right away and then followed it up with my coffee. I never am hungry like that when I get to work.

1:00 pm – I put together my Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta in the break room and got a couple comments about “how healthy” I am. I accidentally put too much cheese on my salad and hated the fact that I wasted some of it.

2:00 pm – Started to get hungry and wanted to order the hangar steak from Union Kitchen but their phone line was busy and I didn’t have the energy to keep trying to get through. I finally gave up on finding another option until I remembered that I had some peanuts in my desk drawer and ate them at 3pm.

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 10

6:00 pm – I was given a special order for a birthday this evening for Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. So I had to go to the store to pick up some cubed steaks. I had everything else on hand already. I honestly thought about how I could make mine diet friendly and for whatever reason I completely forgot what my game plan was and ended up eating the food as a cheat meal. Dinner wasn’t ready until about 8pm. This was a labor of love kinda meal and I dirtied a shit ton of dishes. Ugh. I’m so full and feel like going straight to bed. Food coma. Haha!

8:30 pm – It’s time to meal plan before bed.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018: 81 days until Fall

7:00 am – After getting ready for work I packed my lunch grabbing a leftover Rainbow Fruit Salad and putting together a Watermelon Salad with Fresh Herbs. I also made an iced coffee to go.

7:30 am – I left the house so hungry. The last two mornings I have been hungry first thing in the morning. This is out of the norm for me. I normally get hungry for breakfast around 9am.

8:00 am – First person I saw when I was walking up to the office door was my bestie and I suggested we go to Stripes to get the tacos. These gas station tacos are amazing and they cook everything right in front of you. She ignored me knowing my goals and stayed strong for both of us.

10:00 am – An email from my bestie came through inviting me to get lunch with her. I had no idea where she was wanting to go but I still accepted.

11:00 am – She picked Slim Chickens. I got a 6 wing plate with sriracha garlic sauce and replaced the french fries with a side salad and ranch. I also got an unsweetened ice tea and didn’t eat my buttery toast. I was satisfied with my lunch and couldn’t eat it all.

5:30 pm – Finally got hungry and had the leftover Rainbow Fruit Salad. The fruit was a little bit mushy but I still took it all down.

7:30 pm – Decided to start putting my dinner together before I head to a puppy client. I’m trying the hard boiled egg method using the oven and can’t wait to see how this turns out. I’m making a Mashed Avocado Egg Salad and wanted to put it on some bread but my French bread is rock hard and the English Muffins were questionable so the plan will be to have it on a bed of spinach with mixed greens. I’ll have dinner once I get back. I know I will be so hungry when I get home.

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 11

9:00 pm – This Mashed Avocado Egg Salad was the best egg salad I have ever had. The dijon and lemon juice make it so you don’t even miss the mayo. I’ll be making this one again. Yum! It’s incredibly filling too.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018: 80 days until Fall

12:00 am – I had terrible heartburn and hiccups. Ouch! Ugh!

7:00 am – TMI but I woke up gassy from last night’s dinner but after using the restroom I was no longer bloated. I feel thinner. I am loving this round of my get in shape journey so much more than my first attempt at the beginning of the year. Maybe I just wasn’t ready at that time.

I made a cup of coffee and sat on the couch to look out the window. We are having the most beautiful rainy day. I am loving the grey skies and cooler temps. I absolutely love rainy days when I have no where to go but today I do have a couple of errands to run but it’s really no big deal because it’s nowhere too far from the house.

9:00 am – Got back from my puppy client drenched so I reheated my coffee to help warm me up. I’m about to make my meal plan for the day and then have something for breakfast. I am so hungry.

10:30 am – I had my Watermelon Salad with Fresh Herbs that I packed for my lunchbox yesterday. This is the most crave worthy watermelon salad ever. I will be making this one   again and again. Wow!!

11:30 am – Fighting a craving for buttered toast.

I was waiting on the arrival of the plumber and didn’t want to get into anything I couldn’t finish before then so I held off on cooking. He arrived around noon and I found out I have a water and roof leak. Holy hell! My stress levels are through the roof right now. I am going to take it one day at a time. Ugh. The stress temporarily suppressed my appetite. I grabbed a snack of some kalamata olives around 2pm.

3:00 pm – Heated up the leftover Butternut Squash Soup that I froze the other day. I have been so cold and have not been able to warm up since I got soaked earlier this morning when I had my puppy clients and had to meet the plumber. I need a bubble bath.

6:30 pm – Got a 35 minute cardio session in. My step count ended at 6,400. Still maintain my stance that getting in 10,000 steps a day takes work and I have yet to hit mine since starting this get fit journey.

7:00 pm – Hungry! I really don’t want to cook this evening and am craving Thai food. What to do, what to do?

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 12

9:30 pm – Put in an order for Chili’s. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this was for me to be good and make a healthy choice. The first thing that popped up on the menu was three big burgers and they look incredible! Everything sounded good. Instead I decided on their Mango-Chile Chicken swapping out the Mexican rice for asparagus. I’m dedicated to this get fit journey and going to make the best choices whenever I can.

Thursday, July 5th, 2018: 79 days until Fall

7:00 am – Packed my lunchbox and left for work.

8:00 am – I was full of energy this morning so I started my morning with water instead of my usual cup of coffee. It’s interesting that I started my period and have bad cramps but no fatigue like I normally do. I did wake up to some joint pain in my body. Thanks PMS!

10:00 am – Breakfast was two hard boiled eggs and an avocado. One of my favorite breakfast combinations.

11:00 am – My bestie invited me to have lunch at Pholicious. We have been wanting to try this place out for awhile now. I ordered the Shrimp Pho which was 3 cups worth of soup and only 250 calories. I ordered mine with the spring roll instead of the egg rolls and when it came time to get the drink I knew I had to get the Thai Iced Tea but got it without the tapioca pearls. We could not even finish these bowls and I stayed filled up until I got hungry after work.

2:00 pm – Got some steps while with a puppy client and noticed I was feeling a little bit tired but sprang right out of it on the drive back to the office.

6:30 pm – Sautéed some shredded red and green cabbage for an easy snack. I’m sure I’ll get hungry in a little bit but this will do for now.

8:00 pm – Made a Watermelon and Cucumber Salad after talking myself out of Chick-Fil-A since I don’t need to be spending money on fast food when I have food at home and I was going to get a salad anyway so why not make my own? Not the same kind, but still a salad.

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 13

9:00 pm – I had some kale ranch chips and some mixed nuts before bed.

Friday, July 6th, 2018: 78 days until Fall

6:30 am – Had a puppy client first thing this morning and took him on a walk while the weather was still cooled off in the low 70’s.

I had plans of working from home as of last night when the plumber scheduled an appointment for today but realized I left my laptop at work and had to go into the office instead until the appointment time.

Because I wasn’t going to be at work long I decided I wasn’t going to pack my lunchbox but instead just take some mixed nuts for a snack.

8:30 am – When I got to work I made my coffee and had the mixed nuts. A little later my coworker asked if I wanted to go to the back with her and she bought me a package of pork skins. These pork skins aren’t very good but for a zero carb spicy snack they will do the trick.

I had to deal with the plumber from 11am until 2pm and then I had to race over to a puppy client’s house. I started to get so hungry but didn’t have any food on me and I wasn’t going to spend money on fast food because again, I still have food in my fridge, freezer and pantry.

4:30 pm – I got home from my puppy client’s house and I decided to pan fry a sirloin steak and served it with some steak sauce. I have another one that I’ll heat and eat when I get hungry later.

5:00 pm – Went to Starbucks to get my Friday “treat”. I got a Venti Unsweetened Iced Passiontango Tea with Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup and Heavy Cream. Best Summer treat, low calorie, and a healthier choice. Yummy!

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 14

9:00 pm – Heated up the last sirloin steak that needed to be ate up. I was almost too tired to eat but I knew I would wake up hungry in the middle of the night if I didn’t. I ended up calling it a night before 10pm.

Saturday, July 7th, 2018: 77 days until Fall

6:00 am – Woke up, showered, did my hair and makeup and got dressed to head to my puppy client homes this morning. I was able to get a walk in with one but had to make it a shorter one since I was on a time limit since I had to wait for the roofing contractor to come out to fix the leak.

9:30 am – After the roofing contractor left I went to Starbucks to pick up a Venti Iced Coffee with Sugar Free Vanilla, Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce, and Heavy Cream. This is dessert in a cup. So good and the new go to.

10:30 am – Put together my meal plan, pulled out chicken breasts to defrost, and took note of a new to me restaurant I would like to try today if I can fit in a trip to The Woodlands. It’s called Bellagreen.

12:00 pm – Had Slim Chickens for lunch and ended up getting the same thing as the other day, 6 wings with Sriracha Garlic sauce and a side salad with ranch dressing. I could not eat all of the salad again. It’s a substantial portion of food. I don’t even miss the fries or soda.

5:30 pm – I need to eat dinner before I tackle three puppy clients this evening. I had my leftover salad from lunch and added some red onions. Yummy! I’ll end up getting home too late to get to try out Bellagreen so I’ll have to save that for another day.

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 15

8:00 pm – Between dog clients I got invited to have IHOP for dinner and I received the best compliment from someone who sees me on the regular and they asked if I have been losing weight. I ordered the Quick 2 Egg Breakfast which was scrambled eggs with cheese, 2 slices of bacon, hashbrowns and instead of toast I asked for extra hashbrowns. The hashbrowns gave me dry mouth of I had to use some ketchup. Dinner was so good but I definitely went over my calories, carbs, and fat so I can’t have too many repeat days like this or else I’ll undo my progress.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018: 76 days until Fall

6:00 am – After my busy day and long evening I feel asleep around 12:30am and had to be up early to take care of three puppy clients. I was able to fit in a mini cardio session while at the first home but the others don’t allow for it due to the type of service they get.

9:30 am – I was so hungry while at my last puppy client’s house but I waited until I came back home to start meal planning. My phone battery was low, I have food at the house, and I try to give undivided attention to my puppies so I didn’t resort to grabbing anything while I was out.

10:00 am – First things first… I need a caffeine kick since I’m running on about four hours of sleep, active morning, and the fatigue is kicking in. I had my coffee with some sugar free vanilla creamer and an almond/cashew milk blend.

Completed my Week 3 weigh in and I am so excited and proud of myself with the results! I lost 2.2 lbs this week. Wow! All of these small victories are really adding up. Looking forward to Week 4.

11:00 am – Grabbed a handful of mixed nuts for a quick snack to put something on my stomach.

Time for my weekly FitBit HR cleaning. I just use a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol or a little bit of face cleanser to help remove lotion and makeup buildup and then I dry it with a microfiber cloth. It’s important to keep the device clean to keep it operating properly and to protect your wrist from irritation.

12:00 pm – Had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I wanted a donut so bad but stayed the course and got a ham and egg sandwich (took the croissant off and used it to wipe up the cheese) and had it with hashbrowns and a small iced coffee with almond milk and mocha swirl. Delicious!

7:00 pm – Made Chicken Salad for dinner and intended to put it on salad greens but the last of my romaine was bad and at the time of serving I did not think about cutting up some veggie dippers. Instead I found a box of crackers and grabbed out a serving of them to go with it.

Get in Shape by Summer's End - Day 16

9:00 pm – Meal planning before bedtime.

WEEK 3 RESULTS:

DOWN 2.2 LBS THIS WEEK!!!

TOTAL LOSS IN 3 WEEKS: 4.7 LBS

STARTING WEIGHT: 161.1 LBS

CURRENT WEIGHT: 156.4 LBS

STARTING BODYFAT: 39.0%

CURRENT BODYFAT: 38.7%

Fit Food… Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad makes for a light lunch that won’t leave you feeling weighed down.

I recommend making this Chicken Salad ahead of time and giving it the proper amount of time to chill before serving. It would be delicious on some French bread toasted with garlic butter, or on a bed of springs greens, or as I did, with a handful of crackers because the thought of veggie dippers didn’t even come to mind until it was too late.

Chicken Salad

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show for Boiling the Chicken:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, skin on
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4 green onions, tips cut off
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Stars of the Show for the Chicken Salad:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • dried parsley, to taste
  • dried dill, to taste
  • 1/4 cup mayo, or to taste

And Action:

Start by making the stock. Place all the boiling ingredients into a pot with enough water to cover everything. Once boiling, add the chicken breast. Cook until the chicken is completely done, approximately 15-18 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside to cool down.

Once the chicken is warm, cut it into pieces and place into your food processor. The chicken will mince better if warm and not cold.

Pulse the chicken until minced.

One by one, add the other Chicken Salad ingredients and pulse until minced. Make sure each ingredient is fully minced.

Once you have everything minced, add the mayo, salt and pepper. Continue to add mayo to your liking. Finish with salt and pepper to your liking. Enjoy!

 

Home Happenings… How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients

With my healthy lifestyle change I have an endless mound of dishes in the sink. My dishwasher is the hardest working appliance I have. The oven comes in a close second or maybe it’s the fridge, either way, the dishwasher is my bestest friend in the kitchen.

After running load after load you can only imagine the amount of food particles and bacteria lingering around.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

You can sanitize your dishwasher using just two ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, vinegar and baking soda, three ingredients if you happen to have some lemon essential oil on hand but I did not and that is optional.

After following the cleaning guide below your dishes will come out super clean and this method will help clean the plumbing that is attached to your dishwasher as well. It’s a good idea to disinfect and deep clean the dishwasher once a month. Doing so will help deter mold and mildew from forming.

What You’ll Need:

  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Spray Bottle
  • Microfiber Cloth

And Action:

Empty the dishwasher from any dishes you may have left in there.

How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients - Rack Out

Remove the bottom rack and spray the inside of the dishwasher liberally with vinegar.

How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients - Vinegar

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the seal and the inside of your dishwasher.

How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients - Microfiber Cloths

Put the bottom rack back in the dishwasher and pour 1 cup of vinegar in the bottom with 1 cup of baking soda. If you have the lemon essential oil feel free to add three drops at this time to help deodorize.

How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients - Before

Run on the short or light wash cycle.

How to Clean the Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients - After

While that runs spray the outside of the dishwasher with the vinegar and wipe it down as well. Voila!

*Disclaimer: Consult your appliance manual guide first if you are unsure this is an okay cleaning method. I did not but I also leave life on the edge. Haha!