Friday, January 19, 2024

12 Month Photo Wall Collage made with Dollar Tree Cutting Boards


Made this wall collage with a photo from each month of the year with Dollar Tree Cutting boards, the dollar tree level :) for spacing and leveling, and small nails where I hung metal clips from Hobby Lobby. Easy to change out! I might paint the boards later, I haven't decided.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Mexican Egg Breakfast Quesadilla

One of my favorite go to breakfast meals inspired by a huevos rancheros recipe I saw. Also great for lunch!

Per Serving:

Nonstick spray or oil or butter

2 corn tortillas (I like the yellow ones from Aldi)

1 egg

Small handful of shredded cheese of choice

3 T El Pato, enchilada sauce, or other smooth non chunky salsa

Salt and pepper

Optional Toppings to Serve: avocado, sour cream, cojita or feta cheese, cilantro, salsa

Heat nonstick pan over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or use a small amount of oil or butter. Crack egg into middle of pan. Once the white starts cooking gently mix in the yoke. Add 1 T of the el pato, a little cheese, and salt and pepper. When egg is about halfway cooked top with 1 corn tortilla and spread 1 T of the el pato on top of the tortilla. Once egg is more cooked and comes off easily from the pan flip it over. Top with the second tortilla and spread the last of the el pato over the top. Continue cooking until lightly browned on both sides. Serve immediately with avocado, sour cream, cojita or feta cheese sprinkles, cilantro, and or additional salsa.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Hidden Veggie Chicken Noodle Soup


Not only tasty but results in a gorgeous vibrant colored broth! Veggies are blended into the broth after being cooked so you have minimal chopping to do and less whining from picky eaters :)

8 cups water or chicken broth (or ½ and ½)*

1 small to medium onion (whole, peeled)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into a few pieces

2 celery ribs, cut in half

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon salt

2 small to medium chicken breasts or 1 extra large (or 1 large split chicken breast)

¾ cup orzo or equivalent of small noodles (or 2 peeled and cubed potatoes)

Herbs and seasoning to taste**

Add everything (expect pasta and herbs) to large pot on stove or slow cooker or to electric pressure cooker (on low/med saute or slow cook setting). Bring to simmer and skim foam top if fat from chicken accumulates. Let simmer for at least 40 minutes, covered, or until vegetables are soft and chicken shreds easily. 

Remove chicken and shred. Remove vegetables and add to blender with 1-2 cups of the broth. Blend until completely smooth (or use immersion blender). Add back to pot and stir. Add chicken and stir.  Bring back to simmer and add orzo or pasta of choice. Simmer until tender (about 9-11 minutes for orzo)

Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

*When I used all water I had to add 2 teaspoons of Tones Chicken Base for added flavor

**I added ½ teaspoon dried oregano and ¼ teaspoon dried cilantro. You can add whatever herbs you want!

Slightly adapted from

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Kitty Cat Face Cake


8 inch round cake with triangle ears from cupcakes. 

Scooter Birthday Cake

Baked in a large loaf pan, froze it, then carved out the ramp. Made scooter out of cookie painted with frosting paint and stick pretzels and small chocolate cookies for the wheels. I used a glue gun to assemble the scooter. 


Alladin Magic Carpet Cake


Free hand cut a sugar cookie for the lamp and baked it with a wooden skewer or popsicle stick so you can stick it into the cake. Coated with glaze and crushed graham cracker mixed with gold sprinkles. 

Mermaid Barbie Cake


Used a cream cheese mint recipe to create the tail and the star fish (star fish used a mold, tail I free handed formed) and the green stones. I painted the fin and stones with my edible frosting paint and crystal sprinkles. Used a barbie that already had a swimsuit painted on. Used crushed graham cracker for sand. Vanilla wafers for clam shells. 

Harry Potter Birthday Cake


I warmed a caramel in the microwave to soften it (about 10/15 seconds) and wrapped it around a pretzel rod for the wand. I used a fruit by the foot for the scarf and piped stripes with yellow stripes of frosting. The glasses were purchased from Amazon. The snitch is a ferrero rocher with paper wings glued to it. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Easy Ramen Broth with Non Fried Noodles


I finally perfected a tasty diy ramen broth with non fried noodles! Should be able to find all the items at most grocery stores :)

2 cups water (+2 teaspoons chicken bouillon paste) or 2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Knorr tomato bouillon

½ teaspoon go chu Chang sauce

2-3 oz dried ramen noodles (non fried from Asian section of grocery store)

Add protein/veggies/egg if desired!

Simmer broth add noodles and cook for 2-5 minutes depending on package instructons and desired tenderness. Serve immediately!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Chocolate Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

chocolate whole wheat yogurt panacakes with caramel syrup the nightlife of a scientist

Chocolate Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

A decadant twist on my famous Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes

Dry Ingredients (mix in large bowl)
1 cup whole white wheat flour (120 grams)
1.5 cups all-purpose white flour (180 grams)
2 tablespoons sugar (only need 1 T if using sweetened yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tablespoon salt
2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder (depending on preference)

Wet Ingredients (add to quart measuring glass)
1 cup milk minus 2T plus 2T vinegar
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular, whole fat works best)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water or milk* (or more if needed to thin batter at the end)

In a quart measuring glass add 2 T white vinegar, add milk up to 1 cup total volume, add yogurt up to 2 cups total volume, add oil up to 2.5 cups total volume, then add ¼ cup water and 2 eggs. Combine with a fork or whisk and let sit. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour wet ingredients into the well. Stir with a fork until just combined. *Depending on the consistency of the yogurt you are using, you may need to add some additional water or milk if the batter is too dry or thick. Use a spring handled scoop to measure out batter onto griddle.  Makes 12-18 pancakes.

Easy Caramel Syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup

Bring to simmer over medium heat while stirring in large sauce pan. Turn to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent boiling over or burning. Stir occasionally.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Creamy Zuchinni and Broccolli Soup


Creamy Zucchini and Broccoli Soup

All you have to do is roughly chop the vegetables and the rest is easy peasy! A perfect summer or early fall soup whenever zuchinni is in abundance :) Serve with crusty bread or a salad! 

3 pounds, half zucchini and half broccoli florets, roughly chopped

1 small onion, roughly chopped

2-3 cups chicken broth*

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 clove garlic (optional)

Cook in pressure cooker on high for 15-20 minutes or simmer in pot on stove top, covered, until vegetables are very tender. Puree with immersion blender. 

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Add cream, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. *Add additional chicken broth to thin to desired consistency. Serve immediately.  

Toppings for individual servings:

parmesan cheese

bacon crumbles


Adapted from the Recipe Critic

Monday, August 2, 2021

GoSili Flexible Reusable Straws - Monday Must Have!


We are obsessed with these straw! They are flexible, no worries about biting them, and best of all crazy easy to clean! They are clear enough that you can see what's inside and they rinse out easily in the sink or dishwasher. Just roll it between your fingers to get anything that might be stuck, like smoothie bits! You will never need a pesky straw brush to clean them :)

You can find them online from a bunch of different stores! Just google them!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Korean Beef Haystacks


Just a little variation on my Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps! The perfect quick dinner for summer nights or anytime you’re cravin’ some Asian! So easy to make and won’t heat up the kitchen too much! Gluten free with a tasty sauce that resembles a light teriyaki. Just think of them like an Asian street taco :)

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼-1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger or ginger paste
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

For Serving:
steamed white rice
steamed broccoli florets
steamed or raw shredded carrots
chopped cilantro
chopped peanuts or sliced almonds

Brown ground beef and drain any grease if necessary. Add remaining ingredients and stir until heated. Simmer on low to tenderize meat more, but not required. Serve with steamed rice on lettuce leaves. Top individual wraps with shredded carrots and chopped peanuts.  

Variation: If the sauce is too sweet for your taste, half each of the sugars. 

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Kristi's Kitchen Hack #7 - Boxed Stuffing Breadcrumbs!

These are the best and easiest breadcrumbs to keep on hand for EVERYTHING! Take any flavor of dry boxed stuffing, put it in the blender, and keep it in a container in the cupboard or fridge/freezer. The are perfectly seasoned and absolutely tasty for breading vegetables and chicken, topping casseroles, used in my famous chicken pillow recipe, and any other time you need some breadcrumbs! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Make in the Morning Pizza Dough (My Favorite Same Day Recipe Yet!)


The best pizza I've made so far in my home kitchen! Slightly adapted from Ken Forkish's Book - The Elements of Pizza. You start the dough first thing in the morning and it's ready by dinner time! Definitely need a pizza steel for the best outcome as it will mimic the high heat of a commercial pizza oven so your pizza cooks quickly with the beautiful crusty bubbles :)

In the morning when you get up:

Heat 2 cups of water in a large measuring glass in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until it reaches 90-95 degrees fahrenheit. 

Put medium/large bowl on food scale and tare and add the following (zero the scale after each addition)

1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast 

15 grams salt

1 tablespoon olive oil + the warmed water up to 350 grams total liquid

Stir until yeast and salt are dissolved. Tare the scale.

Add 500 grams all-purpose flour and mix with a danish whisk or your hands just until it forms a shaggy dough. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead on floured counter for 30 seconds to 1 minute until it comes together and is smooth. Let rest, covered, for 1.5-2 hours at room temp (72-80 degrees). 

My Video Tutorials for Shaping and Transferring the Pizza Dough Here!

Divide the dough into 3-4 parts and shape them by  tugging and pulling out a piece of the ball and folding it toward the center, repeat 5-10 times (turning each time until you start to feel resistance. Slide ball on an unfloured section of counter in cupped hands towards you 4-5 times to make it even more taught on the surface.  Let the dough balls sit covered on a floured surface for approximately 6-8 hours (at 72-80 degrees room temp). 

Heat your pizza baking steel at 500-550 degrees (the highest your oven will go) in the middle of your oven for at least 45 minutes. 

Form pizzas on a floured wooden peel and transfer to the steel by carefully shaking/sliding it off. Pizzas should cook in 5-6 minutes. Remove pizza with a metal peel. Brush crust with melted butter and serve immediately.

Link to my pizza making tools:

Wooden Pizza Peel (for building pizza and transferring to steel in oven)

Metal Aluminum Pizza Peel (for removing pizza from oven on baking steel)

Nerd Chef Baking Steel

Monday, February 15, 2021

EASY Paintable or Dippable Faux Royal Frosting (No Egg Whites or Piping Bags!)


Paintable or Dippable Faux Royal Cookie Icing No Egg Whites or Piping Bags

Easy! No egg whites or piping bags needed :) AND it tastes so good! Double or Triple if needed, especially if you will be dipping the cookies. 


4 T powdered sugar

1/2 T water

1-2 drops food coloring

small dish and paint brush or large shallow dish for dipping


Stir in a small bowl until completely smooth, add drop or two of additional water if needed. Paint onto cookies or dip cookies. Should be thick enough for a layer and not run off or soak in, but thin enough to flood itself. Adjust with a drop of water or teaspoon of powdered sugar if needed.

My Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe is Here!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Elsa Frozen Birthday Cake


Frozen Elsa Birthday Cake

I made this cake for by daughter's fourth birthday! I did two layers of 6 inch rounds and 1 layer of a 4 inch round. I used 1 cake recipe found here on my blog and used two batches of my cream cheese decorator frosting found here on my blog. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Extra Cheese Powder for Boxed Macaroni and Cheese!

Extra Cheese Powder to Add to Boxed Macaroni and Cheese

My 4 year old calls it "orange sugar" and says "mommy, don't forget to add the orange sugar!" haha! We have ruined our kids because we take our boxed macaroni and cheese to the next level and add 2 tablespoons of extra cheese powder that we buy from Amazon ;) And just a little fyi, we've tried ALL THE BRANDS and all of the varieties, and in our opinion the cheese powder from spiral boxed macaroni and cheese is better than the cheese powder from elbow shaped boxed macaroni and cheese ... And, the Walmart brand is the best off brand we've found ;) So there you go! More cheese please! 😋

2 Kinds of Cheese Powder We Like:


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Crispy Skillet Breakfast Potatoes

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside :) A quick microwave step at the beginning is the trick to these perfect breakfast potatoes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie - My Favorite Go to Smoothie!

This is my favorite go-to smoothie since I always have the ingredients on hand! Might satisfy a chocolate craving in a healthier sort of way ;) Makes 2 cups and Serves 1-2 people. Nutrition facts are listed below for the entire 2 cups.

1 banana (approx. 95 grams peeled)

2 tablespoons chia seeds or flax seed

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons peanut butter powder

¾ cup milk

1 cup ice (about 10-15 cubes)

handful of spinach or kale leaves (optional)

Blend until smooth. I use the smoothie setting on my Blendtec. Serve immediately!


  • If you have a cheap blender the chia seeds may not grind up all the way, which is fine, but not the best texture, so you might leave those out if your blender isn’t powerful enough. 

  • Also, the sweetness of the final drink will depend on the size of your banana and how ripe it is.

  • I store my chia and flax seeds and my spinach and kale in the freezer, they last for a long time!

  • I LOVE my 2 Tablespoon stainless steel scoop for this recipe and many more!

  • If you are concerned about your spinach or kale completely blending in, you can blend the leaves and milk until no green specs are visible, first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Kristi's Kitchen Hacks #6 Spray Bottle with Water!

This is one of my best kitchen hack ideas I had a few years ago! So simple but so useful! 😊 I literally use it multiple times a day! Everytime I heat up something in the microwave I just give it a couple sprays: rice, bread, pasta, leftover dinner entrees, etc. When a batter is a little dry, give it a few sprays! Roasting veggies in the oven or sauteing in a frying pan, give them a few sprays to help steam them and speed the cooking process without burning. 

I use this thing ALL. THE. TIME. and I get super angry when I can't find it because my kids stole it and are somewhere in the house spraying each other with it.... 😡😂 Anywhooo .... go pick a cheap one up at Walmart or the dollar store this week and you won't regret it!! 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I finally perfected one of my favorite soups with lots of flavor and a simple trick for a super smooth creamy cheesy base! It's really easy to make and perfect for Fall and Winter dinner menus! Serves 4-6 people. 

4 tablespoons butter

1 small to medium onion, roughly chopped

3 teaspoons minced jar garlic or 3 fresh garlic cloves

1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

1 box chicken broth (32 oz, 4 cups)*

4 cups chopped broccoli, tiny florets

1-2 large carrots, grated, diced, or sliced

2 Cups - Milk/Cream Options:

1 cup milk + 1 cup heavy cream

OR 2 cups half and half

OR 2 cups heavy cream (extra rich/naughty ;))

6 oz grated cheese (cheddar or colby/monterey jack blend)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1.5 oz, optional)

salt to taste at end

Optional Garnish: bacon bits, extra cheese, croutons


Melt butter in a large soup pot.  Add onion and garlic, stirring over low heat until tender. Whisk flour, pepper, and mustard and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth while whisking. Next Step (with caveat*): Puree until smooth with an immersion blender OR use a regular blender to puree the onion/butter/garlic mixture with some of the chicken broth (if using a regular blender blend use room temp broth so you don’t accidentally burn yourself!) This is key to ensuring a super smooth soup texture in the end!

Bring mixture to a simmer. Add broccoli and carrots and continue simmering, covered until broccoli is soft and cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Optionial, you can then mash some of the cooked broccoli if you want with a potato or ground beef masher. Turn heat to low and add dairy/cream mixture, and cheese, stirring until melted and smooth and thoroughly heated. Add salt to taste.

Serve with bacon bits, extra cheese, or croutons!

*If you want the base to be on the thicker side, stick with the two cups of cream, or you can add a tablespoon or two of cornstarch dissolved in cold water at the end.

Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites and Smitten Kitchen.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Thai Coconut Curry (Any Variety)

Basic recipe for a delicious Thai Coconut Curry! Use your favorite curry paste and add your favorite vegetable! My favorite are sweet potato and broccoli :)


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small to medium onion, cut into large pieces 

3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed (3 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon ginger paste (find in produce section) OR 1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoons ground coriander

1-14oz can coconut milk, full fat*

4 tablespoons (60 grams) Thai Curry Paste (any color, red, yellow, green)**

Approximately 2-3 cups of chopped vegetables, whatever combination you like (white potato, sweet potato, carrots, green beans, peas, broccoli)

8-16oz thin sliced chicken breast (depending on how much veggie to chicken ratio you want)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

1-2 tablespoons lime juice (optional to taste)

Water or chicken broth to thin if needed

chopped fresh cilantro and or chopped peanuts, for garnishing individual servings (optional)


Saute onions on medium low heat in oil until tender. Add spices (garlic, ginger, and coriander) and stir for one minute. Add a couple tablespoons of coconut cream from the top of the can and the curry paste. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add rest of coconut milk. Puree with immersion blender (optional).

Add vegetables, chicken, salt, pepper, (and sugar and lime juice to taste). Cover and simmer low for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and vegetables are cooked. 

Thin with ¼ cup of water or chicken broth if needed. Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish individual servings with fresh chopped cilantro and or chopped peanuts.

*I like Chakaoh and Thai Kitchen Brands of coconut milk

** Curry paste brands will vary in taste and heat. I like Mae Ploy, Thai Kitchen and Mae Anong brand