Category Archives: Tips

13 Pieces Of Graduation Advice I Wish I’d Gotten

High schools all across the country are holding graduation ceremonies this month.  It’s the last time most seniors and their classmates will all be in the same place at the same time.

Most will hear speeches from the valedictorian, high school staff, and maybe someone from the community.  All will probably share an inspiring message but it might not necessarily be practical advice.

That’s where I come in!  Here are some nuggets of graduation advice I wish I would have gotten before heading off to college.

1. It’s great to make new friends… but don’t forget the ones who were with you all through grade school and high school.  I wish I had stayed in better contact with my high school friends.   Facebook and Twitter make it easier to keep in touch today than when I was in college.

2. I know you’re getting away from home (and that’s great) but don’t forget where you came from.  Go back and visit every once in awhile. As a bonus you can do laundry!  And be sure to visit your grandparents.

3. Don’t save all your laundry until you go home and don’t try and do it one load at a time in the dorms.  Do it at a laundromat.  Figure out when the off time is and you’ll be able to do several loads at the same time.  Plus, you can study while you wait.

4. Try not to schedule any classes before 10am on Mondays.  This will give you extra time if you’re coming off a rough weekend.

5. Try not to schedule any classes after 3pm on Fridays.  This will get you a jumpstart on the weekend.

6. Work study is great… but you’ll make more money and probably have more flexible hours if you get a part-time job off campus.

7. There will be great food at the cafeteria but you don’t need to eat it all.

8. Stay active.  Join an intramural team.  Utilize the gym and workout facilities on campus.

9. Don’t skip class!  Do the math and see what each class costs.  Not for the semester but each individual class period.  It’ll make you think twice about skipping.

10. Take advantage of everything your college provides.  Your tuition covers more than just school.  There are plenty of other activities that as a student you can attend for no extra cost.  Go to sporting events, plays, vocal performances, lectures, etc.  Get a calendar of events from the campus activities board.

11. If you’re a person of faith attend worship regularly.  Many campuses have special services just for students.  There are plenty of temptations at college.  Church will help keep you grounded.

12. Have a budget, balance your accounts, and save money! You’ve got the benefit of years and years of compound interest. Use it wisely.

13. Find a balance between work, study, and play.  Work hard and study… but don’t forget to have a little fun too!

What advice do you wish you would have gotten at your high school graduation?

This song has always been a favorite of mine… and contains some great advice too!

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Tuna Melt Quesadillas

I’ve shared meal ideas before.  The kind where it’s not really a recipe but more an idea that you can take in whatever direction you want. Here’s another one:

Tuna Melt Quesadillas.

The basic idea starts with only four in ingredients; tuna, tortillas, salad dressing, and shredded cheese.

Tuna quesadilla ingredients

Drain 2 cans of tuna and add to a bowl.  Mix in about a cup of shredded cheese and some salad dressing.

Tuna Mixture

I don’t bother measuring the dressing. Just be sure to use enough to make it spreadable on a tortilla.

Spreading tuna mixture on tortillaEven though you could spread it on the entire tortilla and top with another one I’ve found it’s easier to work with in the pan if you fold it over.

Cooking tuna quesadilla

Cook two at a time over medium heat to golden brown, turning every so often.

Browned tuna quesadilla

Move to a plate and cut with a pizza cutter.

Cut tuna quesadilla

The number of quesadillas you get depends on how thick you spread the tuna mixture. I usually get about 6.

That’s it! Pretty easy.  One of my daughters likes to dip them in sour cream.  The other likes them plain.  Either way they are delicious.

Here’s where you get to be creative… you could mix up the type of cheese.  We’ve used mozzarella, cheddar, cheddar jack, and colby-jack.  All work great!

You can even switch up the dressing.  We prefer ranch or Italian.

Other options would be to include diced onion, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, or any mix-in’s you like.

This is an inexpensive, quick, and easy meal idea that kids love.  The best thing is we almost always have all the ingredients we need in our pantry.

Have you ever made something like this? What’s your favorite thing to make with tuna.

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Kitchen Experiment: Roasted Ranch Chickpeas

It’s no secret that I love to cook… and share that love with my kids.  I get especially excited when making something new.  Before embarking on a new recipe I’ll do lots of research.  That’s what I’ve been up to this week.

A friend from work shared a Facebook pic and post of some roasted chickpeas he had made.  They sounded like an interesting snack.  I got my friend’s recipe and then searched online for other recipes.

Google “roasted chickpeas” and you’ll find a ton of recipes.  I read a bunch of them and then came up with a game plan for my own modified recipe.

For our first batch I went with a ranch flavor.  Both my kids like ranch so I thought it would be the best shot I had to getting them on board to liking this healthy snack.

Ingredients for roasted chickpeas

Today my oldest and I gave it a try! I’ll share the recipe we went with, things I learned throughout the process, and how I’ll do it differently next time. Yes, my whole family enjoyed them enough for there to be a next time.

Roasted Ranch Chickpeas

3 – 15oz cans of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

1 – tablespoon olive oil

1 – package dry ranch dressing

Open the chickpeas and dump into a strainer to rinse.

Rinsing chickpeas

Then put into a cloth kitchen towel to dry and rub gently to remove the skins.

Chickpea Skins

Put onto a cookie sheet and place in an unheated oven and turn to 400 degrees.  (I did this step to help get them dry.  From what I’ve read they get crispier if they are really dry).

Oven set to 400 degrees

Putting dried chickpeas on pan

dried chickpeas on pan

Once the oven reaches 300 degrees pull the chickpeas and put in a bowl and toss with the olive oil.

Pouring olive oil

When all the chickpeas are coated sprinkle in the ranch mix and stir.

Adding ranch to chickpeas

Return to the cookie sheet and bake for 50 minutes… gently shaking the pan every ten minutes.

Seasoned chickpeas ready to roast

After 50 minutes turn the oven off, keep the door closed, and leave the chickpeas in for another 30 to 60 minutes.

Then take from the oven, cool completely, and enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas on pan

They’re great for snacking… but would be a great crouton replacement on a salad or an addition to trail or Chex Mix.

My thoughts on this recipe:

For the first time it went pretty well.  Next time I’ll only use 2 cans of garbanzo beans.  My initial thought was, “what could one extra can hurt? Why not make more?”

Turns out I think they would get more uniformly crispy with a little extra space on the pan for air circulation.  Plus, they are more filling than I had anticipated.

Other recipes call for 2 tablespoons of oil.  I think one is plenty.

These were good but a little bland.  I think by switching to 2 cans it would increase the flavor.  A half teaspoon of seasoning salt might not hurt.

While it’s good to try and remove the peels I don’t think getting 100 percent of them is necessary.

You could modify the recipe and season however you like… but in my opinion, bold flavors are the way to go.  My friend used cumin, chili powder, and lime juice.  They were awesome!

One other way to go would be sweet.  I’m looking forward to trying it with a mixture of pure maple syrup and cinnamon.

Have you ever roasted chickpeas? What tips do you have?

Roasted Chickpeas before and after
Roasted Chickpeas: Before & After
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