Archives for the month of: July, 2013

I made a side dish over the weekend with a few simple ingredients, similar to Taco Bell’s “Pintos and Cheese.”

To lighten it up I used fat-free refried beans, chunky salsa, some onion from our garden, and shredded cheese.

It’s cheesy and filling. And has only 3 WW+ points per serving!

skinny pintos and cheese - only a few simple ingredients and only 3 WW+ points



  • 1 c. fat-free refried beans
  • 1/4 c. chunky salsa
  • 1/3 c. shredded cheese
  • 1 green onion, diced


Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl, then add salsa and cheese.

Microwave for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Garnish with onion before serving.


Estimated Nutrition Facts: Per Serving (recipe makes 2 servings)

  • Calories 151.9
  • Total Fat 3.4 g
  • Total Carbohydrate 18.0 g
  • Protein 11.0 g

Taco Bell Copycat: "Skinny" Cheesy Onion Refried Beans

The hubby’s birthday fell on the weekend of July 4 this year, so I went all out (calorie- and sugar- wise) on an ice cream cake to celebrate his day of turning the big 3-5.

Inspired by a recipe from I ended up with this crazy, cold, candy-filled, fattening, sugar-coma-inducing concoction.

Calorie count: Infinite (lol). Deliciousness factor: Off the charts.

candy shop ice cream cake


  • 2 flavors of ice cream (1 quart each). I used chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate.
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • Kit Kat candy bars (I used approximately 40)
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, thawed enough to spread
  • 1 package Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 c. M&M candies
  • parchment paper
  • 9-in springform pan


  • Remove both ice creams from the freezer and let melt so they are soft enough to stir.
  • While waiting on ice cream, combine 24 Oreo cookies and milk in a food processor, which will be the bottom layer for the crust.
  • Coat springform pan with non-stick spray, then place Kit Kat bars upright all around the side of the pan. Place bars as close as possible to each other, with “Kit Kat” facing outward.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper into the same size circle as the size of the bottom of the pan. Line the bottom of the pan with the paper then press the Oreo crust evenly on top of it.
  • Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Spread one kind of ice cream evenly over the Oreo crust, then put back in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Spread the second ice cream over the crust, and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Top with Cool Whip as frosting, then sprinkle M&Ms on top. I added an Oreo, and you could also put Oreo crumbles on top too.
  • Return cake to freezer for 8-10 hours, or overnight, to set.
  • Remove from freezer 10 minutes prior to serving. Remove the springform ring, then slice cake, and serve.

line spring form pan with Kit Kat

blend Oreos and milk in food processor

Oreos + Milk = Crust

line bottom of pan with parchment paper

Oreo crust

3 layers on top of crust: ice cream, more ice cream, then Cool Whip

1st layer of ice cream

2nd layer of ice cream

frost with CoolWhip and top with candy

remove spring form ring before slicing

candy shop ice cream cake

candy shop ice cream cake

July 2014  – Here we are again, another birthday for the hubs! Last year’s ice cream cake was such a hit I made one again. Since we celebrated on the 4th of July, I used just red and blue M&Ms on top for a patriotic theme…

Candy Shop Ice Cream Cake: crust of Oreos, Kit Kat bars all around, 2 kinds of ice cream, top with Cool Whip and candies. Use different colors of MandMs for different themes!

carpet baking soda DIY

Thanks to our 3 kids and 1 dog, our carpets get lots of wear, dirt, spills, and things I don’t even want to know about, lol.

One of my favorite products is Arm & Hammer carpet deodorizer; you sprinkle it on the carpets, let it sit for a few minutes and vacuum up:

arm & hammer

It does have a really strong smell, however, so I decided to try my own with 2 ingredients we already had: baking soda and lemon essential oil. It worked great and it’s just a fraction of the cost of buying the Arm & Hammer shaker box. Our living room smelled like sunshine afterward!



Mix baking soda and essential oil together in a container. Sprinkle on carpets and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Vacuum up the powder as you go.

lemon essential oil

Check out this tip that I saw on (where else) Pinterest:

Unfold the flaps of a juice box so little ones can use the flaps as handles. No more squeezing out the juice! I tried this out with our two oldest kiddos and it really works. Yippee!

juice box trick


I used some pickling cucumbers that we bought from a local produce stand, and some fresh dill from our garden to make a salt & vinegar cucumber salad. It has only four ingredients but lots of flavor.

The entire batch is only 4 Weight Watchers Plus points!

I think this is a good alternative to salt & vinegar chips since it has the tanginess of salt & vinegar and the crunch of the cucumbers, but hardly any fat.

salt and vinegar cucumbers with fresh dill. only 4 ingredients AND only 4 WW+ points.


  • 2 cucumbers, washed & sliced (I used 8 pickling cucumbers since they are smaller)
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 Tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs. fresh dillweed


In a medium-sized bowl, mix together vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Add cucumber slices, then top with dill, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.

Recipe makes 1 serving. Estimated Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories 142.3

Total Fat 0.8 g

Carbohydrate 32.8 g

Dietary Fiber 4.8 g

Protein 4.2 g

UPDATE: I made this recipe using English cucumbers and instead of slicing them into coin shapes, I used a GEFU Spirelli spiral cutter tool. Here’s what it looked like…

Salt and Vinegar Cucumber Salad - spiral cut with the GEFU Spirelli


Gefu spiral cutter - English Cucumber for a salt and vinegar salad recipe {}

little helper :) picking fresh dill for the cucumber recipe

little helper 🙂 picking fresh dill for the cucumber recipe

Here’s a batch I mixed up then put in jelly jars to keep in the fridge:

Salt and Vinegar Cumbers - mix up and keep in a jar in the fridge. Can also add dill.