Baked Zucchini Fries

Okay, this is my first recipe post so bare with me! I recently bought zucchini because truthfully I was getting tired of broccoli and brussel sprouts.. not even knowing what to do with zucchini. BUT! These baked zucchini fries actually turned out yummy! I love fried food as much as the next person, but me and hot oil is a recipe for disaster.. so the oven is my safer route.  I would tweek a few things, but I will mention my suggestions in the ingredient list.

edit natural

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 zucchini (makes about a dozen fries)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (I used corn meal cause I had it in the cupboard.. which wasn’t terrible but would be a lot flakier with the panko)
1 egg
1/4 milk
2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (I used garlic salt.. t’was a bit on the salty side)
salt & pepper (season to liking)

Preheat oven for 425 degrees F. Get a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray (or as I like to tell my sister “Pam the sheet first”).  Cut your zucchini into skinny sticks (the skinner the sticks, the more fries you can get out of the recipe.. but I like tasting the zucchini so I made mine a tad meatier).

edit natural1 final

In one bowl, beat your egg and mix in the milk.  In another bowl, you’ll want to mix all your dry ingredients.

Dip your zucchini stick in the egg mixture first (get all the edges well), then in the “bread crumbs” mixture (I just kind of pressed each side in the dry mix, and that worked well).

final edit1

Place breaded sticks on the baking sheet. I sprinkled extra Parmesan cheese on each before I pop it in the oven for 15 mintues! (I LOVE CHEESE)

final edit2

After 15 minutes in the oven, take them out and let them cool for a couple minutes then ENJOY!  I use chipotle ranch for dipping sauce. I think regular ranch, marinara sauce, or a sweet onion dipping sauce would be good with these as well!

Try it out and let me know what you think ladies!

Valentine’s Day Accessories

One week till Valentine’s Day.. which is most definitely a great excuse for date night! But what will you wear?! My favorite trick to update my wardrobe is to accessorize! I’ve come up with a few accessories to make sure you’re looking special for your valentine ..and the best part– they are all under $25!

These are some of my favorites that will revamp your little black dress…

graphic1

Black Heels {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=460950643&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Statement Earrings
{http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=457501965&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Statement Necklace
{http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=463273786&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Eyelashes {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=6771782&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Clutch {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=438205011&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Infinity bracelet {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=470192907&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Crystal bangle {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=458108175&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

Red lipstick {http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=225807727&pid=uid9316-25520854-31}

 

Paris & Abu Dhabi

passport

Big news!! I just booked my flight for Paris and Abu Dhabi!!!

I’m traveling with two of my best friends and my mom. The plan is to spend 3 days in Paris and the girls will stay with me for another 4 days in Abu Dhabi.. however, I’m staying for three and a half weeks in Abu Dhabi because my parents happen to live there!

So, naturally, we have been exploring the web for must-have locations to visit… Our list is getting quite long, so we will probably have to eliminate some locations and settle on only a few. If any of you have visited these locations, let me know where we should visit!

Some picture perfect places in Paris…
1. Eiffel Tower (for obvious reasons)
2. Moulin Rouge (yes, this is my favorite movie of all time!!)
3. Place de la Concorde
4. Notre Dame Catherdal
5. Laduree bakery

Adventuring out in Abu Dhabi & Dubai…
1. The Palm Islands
2. Wadi Wurrayah (natural waterfall and rock pools!)
3. The Old Gold Souk
4. Relaxing on a beach:)

If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments section!

DIY Wedding

With wedding season around the corner, most brides-to-be are stressing about budgets and décor.  Well, ladies don’t fear the option of doing it yourself! My sister recently got married in October and, oh yes, she was that kind of bride that stalked Pinterest for almost all her décor.  And of course, she came to her crafty little sis to duplicate her pins!

So, to help you lucky ladies out with great wedding décor I’m going to attempt to give written tutorials on how I made her table centerpieces, head table arbor, and an extra display board.  FYI, some of these will definitely be easier with a handyman. So if you have one available, use him!

Please, please, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions about any of these creations or need a more in-depth explanation of how to do a section of them.

truffle

This first one, I like to call “The tall truffle”.  This centerpiece was our medium sized centerpiece between the three types.  This one is fairly easy! You’ll need a square 4X4 piece of wood for the base (it does not have to be a thick piece of wood because this centerpiece shouldn’t be top-heavy where it would fall over).  Here’s your first phone call to your handyman …unless you’re comfortable with tools, then go for it! You’ll need a branch cut from a tree… 2-3 inches in diameter and cut it to your preferred length for the centerpiece height (ours were 2 feet in length).  Make sure the cuts are straight, this will make things a lot easier.  Drill your square platform base into one side of the branch piece and drill another (long) screw in the other side with about 2 inches still showing.  You’ll need a Styrofoam ball for the top truffle part. We used silk (fake) flowers for most the centerpieces (believe me, she was adamant about real flowers till she saw a quote from the florist) so you will need lots of fake flowers and lots of variety in them too… However, the truffle centerpiece would look great with all the same type of flowers too. And if you haven’t guessed it, you just shove the fake flowers in the Styrofoam till the truffle is full.  Here’s a helpful hint! When you’re snipping the flowers from the original bouquet it’s much easier to shove the flowers into the Styrofoam when there is a stem to work with, so keep a 1-1.5 inch stem still attached to the head of the flower.  Also, leave a little bare circle somewhere in that truffle (this is where you will attach the bottom branch part to it). Once you have your beautiful truffle full of flowers, find the bare spot and you can either drill a hole with an electric drill or somehow start a hole in the Styrofoam.  Then you’ll place your truffle on the branch piece, bald spot facing down, the nail sticking out from the branch will be pushed in the hole you already started in the Styrofoam. If you need to reinforce the attachment with hot glue, go for it! Just keep in mind, these centerpieces are easier to transport with branch base and flower truffle ball not attached.  To finish off the table, we found green moss to cover the platform base and rustic potpourri pieces to scatter on the moss.

tree center

This centerpiece was our tallest kind of centerpiece.  To start this one is the same as the first! The square base (to stablize the centerpiece) drilled into the branch bottom, but don’t drill the second screw on the other end! Instead, you’ll need to drill a hole into the open branch end and find a full-looking twig branch for the top part to stick into this hole.  Please reinforce with hot glue! This one will need it! At this point, check to make sure this can stand on its own! We don’t want it to fall over on your guests at the table.  From here, I just plucked silk flowers from bouquets and hot glued them on the top part of the cut branch. Don’t be afraid to use different sized flowers and longer ones that make a waterfall-look down one side.  The main portion of the centerpiece is done! We added jewels and lanterns to the top branch pieces to make it look more glamorous! The jewels are actually made from Christmas ornaments!

lantern center

The third kind of centerpieces do not have much crafting to them, simply because we just placed a piece of drift wood, store bought rustic lantern, mason jars, and a few real flowers stuffed in the driftwood nooks to complete those tables.

 headtable3

headtable

headtable2

The head table was my favorite DIY out of the whole wedding! This was called “The arbor”, and no we could not talk my sister into a more simple decoration for the head table, so I figured it out! And if your handyman is still available, you may need him for this project too.  You will need four rather tall branches/trunks of a tree (preferably very straight, pine is a good tree for straight trunks!).  Ours were 5 feet in height, so on top of a table it looked very grand! We screwed in square platforms at the bottom of each for stability. You will also need a wooden lattice (there are white plastic lattices available, and they are lighter than the wood kind but we ended up using a wooden lattice so it wouldn’t sag in the middle of the arbor).  We also stapled beams around the edge of the lattice to assure it wouldn’t sag in the middle.  From there, I stained the lattice a darker color.  We have a willow tree in my front yard so I took some willow branches from it, stripped the leaves from the branches, and weaved them through the lattice. To put this arbor together, you will screw the lattice into the trunks from the top and reinforce stability with side diagonal pieces at the top corners to attach trunks to lattice on each corner (two diagonal pieces for each corner).  To give a more green/natural look to the whole thing we purchased plastic “seaweed-looking” swags at Hobby Lobby and stapled them around the top edges! To complete the look, we hung lanterns from the lattice with yellow glowing LED lights and green moss around the bases.

 cord message

This last DIY was quick and easy! My sister and the groom (now brother-in-law) chose to braid cords during the ceremony, so I made a board with the biblical quote to display the braided cord during the reception.  I just stained the wooden board and wrote in a sharpie to make sure the text was crisp. I found a small hook I could screw into the board to hang the braid on. So cute!

{these wedding photos were taken by an awesome local Omaha photographer, Tammy Muecke! I will link up her website below!}

http://www.tammymueckephotography.com/

Share some of your DIY centerpieces!

Wedding pictures!

Whoo! We finally got some pictures in from my sisters’ wedding!! So..naturally, I must share them with everyone!

Planning a wedding was a tough and stressful job, but in the end it came together beautifully.  With some “troubles” along the way.. one groomsman short and a ring bearer (the 3 year old attended..but was not feeling very celebratory).  We also noticed, while getting ready, that the bridesmaids dresses were different shades of purple.. luckily it was 3 & 3 so we could alternate the girls! And we had to deal with a frigged ceremony outside (with a high of 65 degrees that day..and no, it was not the high during the ceremony) but the wedding went on!

 It really was an awesome night to celebrate the new {now married} couple!! And I’m so glad to finally get a new brother {in-law}:)

So without further ado… here’s pictures galore!!!!

10670219_10152853367216742_3031288096298373987_n

1185696_10152853368936742_2137230268349754769_n

10711091_10152853368041742_3008232535959742924_n

10698499_10152853367831742_6523746993621599213_n

1901168_10152853368261742_3632433512842927637_n

1902744_10152853371081742_7817188594525687825_n

10689780_10152853369596742_7656088764318402513_n

10616474_10152853368591742_38519018151419176_n

10530805_10152853370841742_7742946976705254138_n

10523999_10152853369331742_3092042812432406280_n

10712726_10152853369211742_3735758490546703523_n

1604866_10152853369856742_2055199076603472200_n

1959858_10152853369741742_5165068203151071097_n

10710608_10152853369951742_3334087336003041853_n

10710718_10152853370046742_6324840255978008368_n (1)

10712967_10152853370711742_944809009677436197_n

10710608_10152853367246742_5915764560925733106_n

1006099_10152853370371742_2018590083849354025_n (1)

1475913_10152853370246742_8434600056660546257_n

10355721_10152853367241742_1537988809266680912_n

10672226_10152853371371742_3756254153042846026_n

1901979_10152853371521742_8724474464928366578_n

9014_10152853368926742_4590121694067063384_n

10698597_10152853370986742_194034529130817365_n

1011757_10152853370551742_735230349853446603_n

Fall nail colors

It’s that time of year again.. when we transition our Summer style to new Fall trends! Don’t overlook those nails, ladies! Here’s some nail polish color transitions for Fall!

new roundup12

2nd roundup

NARS Soup Can –>NARS Chinatown
NARS Schiap –> NARS Ithaque
NARS Wind Dancer >> NARS Hell-Bent
NARS Fearless –> NARS Elbrus
NARS L’Avventura –> NARS Crossroads
NARS Night Out –> NARS Mots Bleus
NARS Thasos –> NARS Night Flight
NARS Anarchy –> NARS Bad Influence
NARS Amarapura –> NARS Back Room

Additional colors…

NARS Kalymnos, Mash, Dark Room, Manosque, Shutter
Other Side, La Notte, Endless Night, Pastorale

What is your favorite nail polish color for Fall?