Category Archives: Tips

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. Maybe a different kind of olive oil like Spanish extra virgin olive oil from websites similar to might inject a different flavor to them as well.

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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Wallpaper Inspiration

If you’re looking for a way to add a little personal touch to your workspace I’ve got a tech tip for you!  It’s one I discovered by accident today.

Our family had a great weekend attending our daughters’ final dance competition of the season.  We came away with several great pictures!  I thought about using one of them as the wallpaper on my work computer.

The thing is… I couldn’t decide which one.  That’s when I realized I didn’t have to pick.  My computer would rotate through them at whatever time interval I chose.  I went with 5 minutes.

Every time I came back into my office and looked at my computer it made me smile.  It will definitely help if I’m having a bad day!

Dual Computer monitors

To make this happen I’d suggest creating a “wallpaper folder” and save a bunch of photos into it.  If you’re looking for your favorite pics you might download some from Facebook… since you’ve probably shared all your favorites.

Mac users in order to set your wallpaper go to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > the wallpaper folder you created.  Check the box for “change picture” and set the time interval.

PC users this guide should get you going.

You could use pictures of family and friends, your favorite vacation spot, your kid’s artwork, or even a picture of a goal of yours.  Saving money for a new vehicle? You could put a picture of it as your wallpaper to keep you motivated.

I’m looking forward to adding a whole lot more pictures and setting the computer to display them at random.  That way I’m always surprised!

What picture do you have for your computer wallpaper right now?

Every plain wall deserves a piece of work, so why not cover it with a smile? - Shawn Lukas Click To Tweet

By the way… the pictures in this post are of the standing desk I made and use at work.  If you’re interested you can read more about it here.

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Homemade Shower Cleaner: Does It Work?

Cleaning the shower is one of those chores in our house that over the years has ended up being “my job”. Mainly because the smell of most cleaners gives my wife a headache. I find the smell annoying but it doesn’t make me sick.

My wife was telling me recently about a homemade shower cleaner a co-worker of hers uses.  She remembered that it contained white vinegar and that you heated it up.

With those nuggets of info I went to Google looking for a “recipe” for homemade shower cleaners. What I found were several different ones. I decided to go with the easiest… and the one I knew we had everything on hand to make.

All I needed was a 1.5 cups of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Dawn Dish Soap, and a spray bottle to put them in.


I measured the vinegar in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring glass and microwaved it for 2 minutes. While it was heating up I added the dish soap to the spray bottle. Using a funnel helped.

Then, I slowly and carefully poured the heated vinegar into the bottle with the soap. You might want to set the bottle in your sink and pour it there. Less of a chance of burning yourself.

Next, screw the spray pump into the bottle and tighten. Then shake to mix it up. That’s it! Armed with this new concoction I set out to clean our shower.

So, how did the homemade shower cleaner work? Quite well, actually. Just as good as any “scrubbing bubbles” or “spray foam” type of cleaner I’ve used before.

How about the smell? It was really strong at first. I think that’s because I used it right away while it was still warm. Warm vinegar is something I’m used to smelling because I run it through my Keurig to clean it.

That warm vinegar smell also reminds me of dying Easter eggs because some of the dyes call for using vinegar and hot water.

Had I let the homemade cleaner cool down a bit… or sprayed it in the shower and then left for awhile I don’t think the smell would have been as strong. Even at it’s strongest it wasn’t any worse than the typical chemical smell of the average cleaner.

To clean the curtain liner I filled the tub with warm water, poured in some vinegar, and added some Dawn. I let the liner soak in that solution for a half hour or so which cleaned it up pretty well.


After cleaning the shower and liner I gave it a coat of Gel Gloss. I love this stuff. It polishes and protects the shower and makes it easier to clean the next time.


This homemade shower cleaner recipe is one I’ll definitely use again. We always have the supplies on hand to make it. Plus, it costs a lot less than chemical cleaners.

Do you have some homemade cleaning recipes or tips? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear them.

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