Friday, September 13, 2013

Everyone Should Have Their Own Robot

Green iRobot Logo via iRobot

I Heart iRobot.  For realsies.  This is a post I intended to write a long time ago.  I am a HUGE fan of iRobot.  I own both the Roomba and Scooba models and can not say enough good things about them.  Anyone who comes to my house gets introduced to them at some point.  Often, I refer to them as my kids.  Their names are Claire and Sam.  As in, Claire Redfield & Sam Fisher.  If they ever (who am I kidding?!) When they have a baby robot, she will be named Lara Croft.  Don't hate.  I have a photo album dedicated to my robots on facebook.  Seriously.

Had I known they would one day become celebrities, I would have taken better pictures when they were first born.  I regret to say I never took pictures of Claire (the Scooba aka the mop), when she first came to live with us.  But, when her boyfriend Sam moved in, it was so on.  I understood the power of the robot by then.

A Little History.
Meet Claire.  She was born in January, 2010.  I found her online.  At the time, it was the only way she could be had.  I ordered her directly from iRobot.  I paid $599 with free shipping.  OUCH.  But, I would do it again.  In an instant.  Even if it meant blowing the dust off of my American Express.

Claire aka iRobot Scooba 380, cleaning our floors.

Claire is an extremely hard worker.  She even cleans our guest house.

Claire, age 2

It wasn't long before I decided Claire needed a boyfriend.
Meet Sam.  Born April 27th, 2012.

Sam Fisher aka iRobot Roomba 560
I purchased Sam from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I utilized a 20% off coupon and a free upgrade kit with purchase.  I paid just under $400.

Don't doubt the cleaning power of the Roomba. This is after 3 cleaning cycles of all rooms. Our floors are super clean, too. We never, ever wear shoes indoors.

Gross, eh?

 Sam even cleans under the table and between the chairs.

I love this little guy.  Our cat, not so much.

The Nitty, Gritty Details.
Both units are low maintenance and easy to use.  Because it uses water, the Scooba requires a bit more maintenance (aka cleaning) to keep it working efficiently.  It is all really easy, though.  The Roomba picks up the grossest stuff you don't even know is in your house.  It cleans under the beds and in closets.  You can even schedule your Roomba to turn on automatically every day of the week!  Need I say more?

Some people may think they are too loud.  In my opinion, the noise level is the equivalent of a blow dryer on the low setting.  It does not bother me at all.  Better than having to bust out the Shark Steam Mop or Dyson (my other mop and vacuum power couple of choice).

The Roomba with an upgraded bin kit works great.  We have a Husky dog and a Siamese kitty and there is not a speck hair on my tile after these robots have done their daily chores.  If you are wondering how the animals like the robots - they have never bothered the dog and with our cat, it was touch and go at first, but now he doesn't even move when the robots come near him.  Like as in, he stays asleep.

In October of 2012, I had to replace Claire's battery pack.  This cost me $69.70, including shipping.  Again, I ordered directly from iRobot.  I have not had a problem since.

Do you have access to a Bed, Bath & Beyond?  If so, utilize their 20% off coupon and call it a day.  They have the best return policy, hands-down.  Especially, if let's say, the robot eats a few Nerf bullets and never sounds the same again.  BOOM!  Return and get a new one.  You will be right around the $300-400 mark with the upgrade and the one with scheduling.   No need to get all cray-cray and buy the that's just LAZY!

So, what are you waiting for?  Step up your robot game, today.  Your floors and your white socks will thank you.  This has been a public service announcement to dirty floors everywhere.

Disclaimer:  If you think I am alone in my Robot fandom, think again!  People everywhere name their robots and even let their kids ride on them! (Not recommended by iRobot).  Yes, I really refer to them by their names.  You can ask anyone who knows me.  Also, at some point, I would love to own my very own iRobot pool cleaning and gutter cleaning robots, too.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Liebster Award (is what exactly)?

photo via Photo Science Channel
Today I received a notification that I had been nominated for something called a "Liebster Award".  Say whaatt?  No really, what is a Liebster award?  I had no idea.  So, I asked my two most trusted friends, who always give me great answers, Google and wiki.

Upon further research regarding the origins of the Liebster Award, I only became more confused.  It is like the game of Blog Telephone.  Some people say in its original form, it was a chain letter, while others say the original rules were much different than those being used today.

Basically, a Liebster Award is:
A Blog Award

"A blog award is an award for the best blog in a given category. Some blog awards are based on a public vote and others are based on a fixed set of criteria applied by a panel of judges.

Like film or television awarding committees, blog awards are started by a certain body, usually composed of blog enthusiasts. Since blogging is an Internet activity, most of the process is done online.

Nominees are usually accepted from anyone in the Internet as long as the one who nominates adhere to given policies and procedures. The nominated websites, varying from independent servers to provider hosted are scanned by a selected team of judges.
The filtered nominees are then announced online or by other means such as newspaper or radio stations. Other bloggers or Internet users are given the opportunity to vote for several categories such as Best Single Post, Best Blog Site, Best Design, and others. The winners are announced in a ceremonial night usually held in large venues and online.
There are also blog awards initiated by small groups of bloggers in certain locations. The nomination and selection process is usually the same with major awarding bodies but the awarding is usually less extravagant." 

Uhm, OK...thanks?  I guess this is pretty cool.  Right?  Regardless, this "Liebster Award" comes with some stipulations.  As in some things I need to do to pay it forward, so to speak.  So, here we go...

To make things easy, I am basing my response on the directions found on the blog of the person who nominated me:  Always Blabbing

The Rules:
  1. You must link back to the person that nominated you.  Check.
  2. You must answer the 11 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick 11 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers.
  4. You must come up with 11 questions for you nominees to answer.
  5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.
The questions I was given (in purple font, mind you):

1. Eyeliner gel or pencil?  Pencil.
2. Favorite nail polish.  Essie.
3. Dream vacation destination?  Anywhere I can snorkel.
4. Sandals or boots?  Havaianas all day.
5. Favorite Season?  I live in California, need I say more?
6. Favorite Holiday?  Summer Vacation.  Be quiet, it is a holiday for me.
7. Colored mascara yay or nay?  Definitely not.
8. Do you have animals?  Unfortunately.  I say that because while I love our fur balls, I have become allergic.  The dog resides outdoors, so she is ok.  The cat, however, is about to kick rocks.
9. One make up product you can't live without: Only one?  Lip balm with SPF.
10.  Favorite Movie?  I see what you are trying to do:  If I were to answer this, you would be able to hack every single account in my name.  My second favorite movie, The Count of Monte Cristo.
11. Favorite Food?  Healthy: Grilled Veggies.  Not so healthy:  My MIL's Tacos.  They.  Are.  The.  Bomb.

My 11 Nominees:

Seriously?  This is going to be the most difficult one.  I am THE ONLY PERSON with a blog who I know who has less than 200 followers.  Hmmm.  Okay, here goes.  Never mind it's not going to work.  Instead, I am listing my top 11 blogs I read the mostWhat?  This is blog telephone, remember?  Everyone else has altered the rules, so I am going to, too.  I will even go one step further and give a description as to WHY I heart these blogs so much.
  1. Pretties & Posies I LOVE her white furniture.  Seriously, I am addicted to all things white.  Also, her pictures are gorgeous.  Go check them out.
  2. Dreamy Whites This is the blog that inspired to me to take the plunge and purchase my white sofa.  A year later, I can not complain.  Much.
  3. Thrifty Decor Chick I do not thing there is anything this "chick" can't do  She is like AMAZING.  Also, her house is gorgeous.
  4. The Design Junkie I first met Chrissa back in our MySpace days (don't judge us) and instantly fell in love with her writing style.  Fast forward many years later, and we are still friends (like in the Internet sense of the word, but whatevas).  I absolutely adore her style, her heart and she makes like awesome things.  Just go read her blog already.  PS.  She also has a white couch.  So there.
  5. The House of Smiths This family has got to be fake.  (I kid.)  I mean, their house is perfect, their kids look perfect and their blog is filled with all things fabulous.
  6. Cozy. Cottage. Cute.  The name says enough.  Super cute site.
  7. One Good Thing by Jillee  I want her to be related to me.  She makes her own LAUNDRY SOAP!  Seriously though, I used her recipe on how to clean my expensive pillows and make them bright white again.  It worked and she is awesome.
  8. IHeart Organizing  This is the site any busy mom needs to subscribe to.  She has awesome ideas and I love her blog theme.  It is so pretty.
  9. Trippin with Stanley  I stumbled upon this blog while researching RV design ideas.  (You can read that post here.)  These people made their home on wheels so cute and even gave him a name.  They blog all about their adventures.  Fun!
  10. Romantiska Hem  Since we are on the topic of RV's, this is the most chic one I have ever seen.  So beautiful, you won't even mind that the entire site is in German (?).
  11. Vena The Great  Last, but definitely not least ~ this woman is amazing in all things hair, design, photos and even soap making.  Plus, she is super pretty on the inside and out!

My 11 Questions for the blogs I nominated:
  1. How do we know each other?
  2. Kindle: yay or nay?
  3. If finances did not play a factor, where would you live?
  4. List one goal you want to accomplish in the near future.
  5. What do you want to be doing in five years?
  6. Ten?
  7. Who inspires you most?
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  9. If you could do any one thing, right now, what would it be?
  10. How many subscribers and/or followers does your blog currently have?
  11. Since this award was originally intended to help bloggers increase their following - in your opinion, what is the single best piece of advice you would give to a person just starting out?
Now I have to notify all of these people....Good Lord
The end.  Carry on minions.  :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Julep Maven August "Classic with a Twist" Box

Julep's August Quote of the Month
Last month I became a Julep Maven by joining Julep's nail polish subscription service.  (You can read all about that here).  Since then, I have yet to be disappointed.  Around the 20th of July, I received an email notifying me the upcoming August Maven boxes were available for preview.  I logged into my Julep account and I have to admit - it was a hard decision to pick only one box.  I almost splurged and upgraded my order to the entire "Garden Party Collection".  Since I had purchased Julep's "Summertime Mystery Box" earlier in July, I just couldn't justify spending more money on polish so soon.  I chose the "August Classic with a Twist" box.  That is my style, after all.  Oh, I also added a couple of add-ons to my order.  I mean, who can resist?!

Fast forward to August 1st.  This arrived in my mailbox:

Yes, the mailman actually crammed the entire box into my mailbox and I almost broke a nail trying to pry it out of there!

Close up view of August Maven Box

One thing I must mention is Julep always has the nicest packaging.  They really go all out on making the most of their monthly themes.  My polishes arrived bubble wrapped in tissue paper with a cute ribbon.  (I opened the packaging before I thought to take a picture).  Also, everything is matchy-matchy, which I adore.

August Classic with a Twist Polishes with Add-Ons

Julep August Classic with a Twist Box Breakdown:

The descriptions for each product come directly from Julep's website.
  • Sylvia - Classic with a Twist: Lilac purple crème
  • Veronica - Classic with a Twist: Modern mauve crème
  • Doublestep Foot Treatment and Friction Stick: This no-mess shea butter treatment nourishes and moisturizes feet, stimulates circulation, and prevents blisters.
  • Features & Benefits:
  • Invisible formula creates a barrier between feet and shoes to protect against blisters
  • Shea butter provides immediate and long-lasting hydration
  • Chili pepper oil invigorates skin and stimulates circulation
  • Vitamin E nourishes rough, dry foot skin
  • No parabens, sulfates, or phthalates
  • A packet of Forget Me Not seeds to plant in my garden

My Add-Ons:
  • Bea - Bombshell:  Lemonade crème
  • The Champagne Trio - A limited edition trio celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the Julep Maven Program.
  • Amity (friendship) - Classic with a Twist: White gold metallic
  • Clio (celebration) - Bombshell: Silver, pink, and lavender multi-dimensional glitter
  • Reiko (gratitude) - It Girl: Rose gold metallic

Package Value Breakdown:
(As of this post all of the individual polishes currently retail for $14.00 or $11.20 if you are a Julep Maven Member)

(3) Individual Polishes:  $42.00 / 33.60
Flower Seed Packet: $1.00 (guesstimate)
Champagne Trio (set of 3 polishes):  Normally $42.00, Currently on sale for $20.00
Doublestep Foot Stick: $22.00 / $17.60

Grand Total Retail Value = $107.00 ($85.00 if you factor in the current sale prices)
Maven Subscriber Price (if purchased separately) = $72.20

What I actually Paid
August Box $19.99
Bea Add-On $4.99
Trio Add-On $14.99
Total = $39.97

Overall, I feel like this box is a great value for the money spent.  Also, I like all of the colors.  Especially the glitter polish, "Clio" included in the trio.

Did you purchase a box this month?  What did you get?  Did you love it or hate it?

If you are not already a member and would like to find out what your Julep Maven Style is, use this link to access Julep's style quiz and a special offer just for you.  Use code "FREEBOX" and your first box is free!  You're welcome :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Julep Summertime Mystery Box Reveal

A few days ago I received an email from Julep notifying me their Summertime Mystery Boxes were now available.  Being new to Julep, I was curious to find out more about what a mystery box entailed.

Summertime Mystery Box choices

After clicking the link that was included in the email and googling past mystery boxes I came to the conclusion that I wanted one had to have one.  Basically, Julep will guarantee a specific color (in this case, two) and there will be a minimum dollar amount assigned to the box.  Usually, Julep will offer a couple of different boxes and you really won't have any idea what will be in them.  Because of this, nail polish addicts everywhere will commonly order both boxes, often resulting in duplicate polish colors and/or products.  Alas, Julep made it easier for people who want to try it all and not get duplicates.  This time around they gave us three different box choices.  Summer Days, Summer Nights or a combination of Day & Night.  I went with the combo box.  Of course, the bigger box cost a bit more ($39.99) than the individual Day/Night boxes ($24.99), but I was okay with that.  For $39.99 I was guaranteed to receive $125 - $300 retail value of products.  This amount actually becomes a bit less with my Julep Maven discount, but as I am trying to build my Julep collection, I felt like I would still be getting a great value for my money.

As usual, the products came packaged super cute - ready for gift giving if that's your thing. :)  Okay, so what did I get in my "Mystery Box"?  Here are all the details:

Julep Summertime Big Box Version 2

Colors (the tag for Felicity was missing upon arrival)



Product Breakdown:

I have listed the nail colors in the order pictured above.  The descriptions for each product come directly from Julep's website.  Also, as of this post all of these polishes currently retail for $14.00 or $11.20 if you are a Julep Maven Member.

  • Emmanuelle: Sheer warm pale pink crème
  • Raegan:  Electric dark pink crème
  • Nicolette: Opaque french white
  • Monica: Multidimensional pink glitter (Exclusive to the Summertime Boxes)
  • Kyla: Coral orange glitter (Exclusive to the Summertime Boxes)
  • Felicity: Yellow gold metallic chrome
  • Amber: Golden bronze suede
  • Double Duty Makeup Brush: This unique 2-in-1 tool contains two stackable brushes—a large tapered brush for streak-free foundation application and a flat concealer brush that offers precision coverage and control. ($28.00/Maven Price: $22.40)
  • Toe Separators (they do not sell these individually, but I would guesstimate a price of $1.00)
  • Glycolic Hand Scrub Sample: This "facial for hands" packs a 10% glycolic acid punch. Whisk away dirt and oil and reveal noticeably softer and younger looking hands after just one use.  (Since this is a sample size, I will guess $1.00 here, as well)


Price Breakdown:

(7) Julep Polishes =  $98.00 / $78.40
Double Duty Makeup Brush = $28.00 / $22.40
Toe Separators = $1.00
Glycolic Hand Scrub Sample = $1.00

Grand Total Retail / Maven Subscriber Price = $128.00 / $102.80

Even if I purchased these individually at my Maven discounted price, it is still a decent deal.  Would I choose these specific colors?  Probably not, however, I really do like some of them.  There is always the chance I will try the colors I think I don't like and end up loving them (and vice versa).

When I ordered my Summertime Mystery Big Box, I also added a special "add-on" to my Julep order.  I got this sparkly little number for $6.99!


America:  Sterling silver stars with shiny red and royal blue glitter (Currently on sale for $9.99)

So, what do you think?  Would you order a "Mystery Box" and risk getting things you don't really love?  Until I receive duplicates or have a ton of Julep polishes, I am pretty sure I will keep trying my luck.  :)

Would you like to find out what your Julep Maven Style is?  Use this link to access Julep's style quiz and a special offer just for you!

If you did order a Summertime Box, please comment below and feel free to link to your pictures/blog/etc.  I would love to see what you received in yours!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Influenster's SunKissed VoxBox Final Product Reviews

Remember last week when I posted my exciting news?  I had received my very first VoxBox from Influenster!  My box contained four exciting new-to-me products and I started using them almost immediately.  Well, it has been a few days and I have some information to report.





Recently, I was involved in a car accident which resulted in a back injury.  Because of this, I passed this specific product along to my mother-in-law who has a favorite pair of heels she purchased from Nordstrom, but recently have been hurting her feet.  I have seen her wear these sandals and within 20 minutes she takes them off under the table.  No joke.  She wore them for quite a few hours with the inserts and said her feet felt great the entire time!  Score for Dr. Scholl's!!

$3.99 - $4.99
These hair ties are awesome!  I have slept in them, worn them in the pool and even used them on my 6 year old niece.  They stretch well, don't pull your hair and look cute, too!  For thicker hairstyles, use your fingers to stretch it out a couple of times before placing in your hair.  I always buy Goody hair bands and these Ribbon Elastics live up to Goody's good name.  (See what I did there?)  Go get some!!

Excerp from Olay's site:  Finish your daily beauty regimen with the all-in-one solution with 6 skin perfecting benefits:

• Refreshes skin instantly
• Brightens for a radiant glow
• Evens tone with a splash of sheer color
• Hydrates for 24 hours
• Smoothes for softer feeling skin
• Protects against UV damage with SPF 15 

The things I do for this blog...
Out of all of the products, this was my least favorite.  It seemed to work OK, however, I didn't notice that much of a difference in the way my skin looked.  Sure, it did help (somewhat) to even out the overall texture and color, but the scent was a bit much for me.  Fair to note, I am super sensitive to any and all types of fragrance.  Also, it made my skin feel a bit on the oily side - and that is never a good thing.  This product can be purchased through Olay and Amazon.

So many colors to choose from!!

I love me some nail polish and at $2.99 each, what's not to love about this polish?!  I have to say, the color went on smoothly, dried well and was super shiny!
Color: Mardi Gras

It started to chip within 48 hours, but that is the norm for me.  I was cleaning our pool and doing dishes - so kind of my own fault.  The most important thing was that it removed easily with gentle polish remover.  That is not always the case with some of my other polishes.  These 32 shades are available for a limited time, so I will be purchasing more of these from Walgreens ASAP.  What are you waiting for??  Get your Summer mani and pedi on!

In conclusion, I really enjoyed receiving and trying out all of these fun and exciting products.  So, what do you think?  Will you be purchasing any of these products for yourself this Summer season?

Disclaimer: I received all products complimentary from Influenster.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Black Ops II: Vengeance Maps with Detailed Call-outs

Here they are...the third installment of maps for Call of Duty Black Ops II.
Vengeance Map Pack with detailed call-outs.  You can thank me later.  :)

Black Ops II Cove Map with Call-outs
Black Ops II Detour Map with Call-outs
Black Ops II Rush Map with Call-outs
Black Ops II Uplink Map with Call-outs

I don't mind if you would like to share, post to your site or use in any manner, but please link back to this original post.

Disclaimer:  All of the map images were obtained through the Call of Duty Elite website.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Julep Maven "Classic with a Twist Starter Box"

Guess what was delivered to my house today?  Yep, my very first Julep Maven box!  This is something I have been wanting to be part of for about the past year...and finally, one day last week I went for it.  I couldn't be happier.  Julep has this neat little tool on their site that helps you find out what your "Maven Style" is.  My style is "Classic with a Twist", which surprisingly really IS my style.

Isn't the packaging pretty?

Some of the reasons I decided to order from Julep are because their colors and products are toxin-free, the website is very user-friendly and I love the idea of having new polishes and products shipped directly to me each month without even having to think about it.  However, if I I do think about it - I have options.  I can skip or change an order with no questions asked.  Mama likes that.

What is a Maven, you ask?  The following information can be found on the Julep website, but I decided to make life easy for you:

"Becoming a Julep Maven gives you exclusive access to COLOR. Each month we hand-pick trendsetting new nail colors, cult faves and cutting-edge beauty products that are just right for you. Commitment shy? No problem. YOU decide how often to receive your Julep Maven box, and you can cancel at any time.

We'll send an email previewing your upcoming Julep Maven Box on the 20th of each month. Love what we've chosen for you? Do nothing and your box is on its way. Want to try a new style, send your box to a friend or skip the month (and the bill)? Just log into your account between the 20th and the 24th to submit your request.

Earn on! Earn Julep Jules for referring friends who become Mavens.
Enjoy 20% off all products plus free shipping.
Send your monthly box to a girlfriend! Maven Boxes make perfect gifts.
Satisfaction Guaranteed: If you're ever unhappy with your Julep Maven box, email or call 1-877-651-3292, and we will personally take care of you!"

After you take their Style quiz, they will send you an email with your style and a special offer code to try out Julep at a discounted rate.  I got my first month for FREE.  Yep, for FREE!  Do you see why I am so excited to try Julep out?  Upon checkout they have all these mini-offers you can take advantage of (if you desire to do so).  You are allowed to choose up to four of their "mini-deals" and I chose two.  I ordered their Pedi Prep Set which includes a roll-on callus remover and a Julep Foot File.  The callus remover uses Alpha Hydroxy Acids along with chamomile extract to "soften and prepare calluses for foot filing".  It was something I had my eye on anyway and at the discounted price I had to try it out.  I also ordered their Freedom Polymer Top Coat, a product that has gotten rave reviews and is supposed to extend the life of your manicure, make your nails ultra-shiny, dry quickly and is removable with any regular polish remover (including non-acetone formulas).

The picture below is everything I received in my first Julep package.  My cost was less than $15.00 for everything you see.  They even included a free sample of their hand cream.  Say whaatt?!

To be clear, my "Classic with a Twist Starter Box" shipment included:
This is representative of the type of things that come in the monthly Maven boxes.  According to the Julep website, "Each box will feature over $40 worth of never-before-released polishes, cutting edge treatments and cult favorites".  The other products shown (Pedi Prep Set & Top Coat), I purchased separately.

My first Maven Box and a few other products I ordered.

I have to say, I am an Essie Girl at heart.  Other than the occasional Sephora by Opi, Essie is all I use.  I also do 99% of my own manicures and pedicures at home, so I was super curious to try the Juelp brand and see if I even liked it.

The applicator brush on the Julep polish is different, however I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I got used to it (by my fourth toenail) and at how well the application process went overall.  I applied two coats, but could have gotten away with only one if I was in a hurry.  I used my trusted Essie base and topcoat and then applied the Julep Top Coat I purchased.  I really like the color and the way my pedi turned out.  Also, I liked the "Pedi Prep Set", but I want to use it a few times before I write a formal review on it.  I am curious to see if the Top Coat really extends the life of my pedicure - only time will tell and then I will tell you...

My at-home pedi using Julep color in "Niecy"

Mani using Julep color in "Kennedy"
As you can see, Niecy is a bright, pretty pink and Kennedy stays true to its name - meaning it totally looks like the color of khaki safari pants!  The cuticle oil takes a bit of maneuvering to get it out of the bottle at first (it has one of the roller ball applicators), but once you get it going, it works well.  Also, the cuticle oil has more of a medicinal smell than a fragrance, which I actually prefer.  Overall, I am very happy with my first Julep order.

Would you like to find out what your Julep Maven Style is?  Use this link to access Julep's style quiz and a special offer just for you!  You're welcome.  :)

What colors are you rocking this Summer season?  Please, feel free to comment and tell me below.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunkissed VoxBox

Guess what I woke up to today?!  My very own Sunkissed VoxBox!!  Say whaaat?  I sure did!  I am beyond excited about this specific VoxBox because, well it is Summer and I absolutely love all of the products that were included in it.

Sunkissed VoxBox

What was included, you ask?  Four exciting products!  Check out the details:

Needless to say, I can't wait to try all of these awesome products out ASAP!  I am going to try the hair ties and BB Cream right now and I plan on giving myself a spa manicure and pedicure tonight.  Oh, and for those who are wondering:  Yes, I will be using my awesome heated foot spa I blogged about earlier this month.  :)

Disclaimer: I received all products complimentary from Influenster.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Garden Fresh Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Spinach and Basil

It is still hard for me to believe I have my own garden and have been able to grow fresh herbs, veggies and fruit successfully!  Who knew it could be this easy?   I was inspired to create this dish using things found in my own front yard.  Yep.  All from my garden I started a few months back.  (You can read all about that journey here).

I belong to many Facebook groups and earlier this morning someone posted a Zucchini Linguine recipe in one of them.  It looked so awesome and sounded so easy to make, I thought, "Shoot, I have most of these ingredients right outside in my garden!"

This was the recipe that inspired mine.  Granted, I made a few substitutions along the way and my pictures in no way look as good as this:

via Feasting at Home

My version still turned out super yummy.  Here is how I made it...

Garden Fresh

Store Bought Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons of Light Olive Oil
  • 5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 8 Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 8 Turns of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

I started by peeling my zucchini and cutting the smaller end off.  I wanted my "noodles" to be similar in size and shape in order to cook evenly.  (Next time I will leave the peeling on - I think it would make for a firmer "pasta").


I used the shorter piece I had cut off to "practice" my technique.  I think my mini noodles turned out pretty well.

Small Zucchini Noodles

Then, I sliced the larger piece into what resembled the approximate size of fettuccine noodles.  At this point, I realized I needed a way bigger knife, but it worked out in the end.

Larger Fettuccine-Like Noodles

Next, I diced 3 cloves of garlic.  My basil wasn't looking that great (blame it on the hot California weather), so I decided I would add some spinach.  I wasn't sure if the two pair well together, so I Googled and voila! there were plenty of recipes out there using both spinach and basil in the same recipe.

Zucchini, Garlic, Basil and Spinach

I copied the "ribbon" technique from the original recipe to cut both the basil and spinach leaves.  It was really easy.  Stack your leaves, roll them and then slice.  Do not slice lengthwise, start at the smaller end and keep slicing until it is all cut up.

Rolled Spinach Leaves

Basil & Spinach Ribbons

Next, I warmed about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and sauteed the diced garlic in the oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Then I added the zucchini, salt and pepper.  I put the lid on and continued to cook the zucchini for about 9 minutes, stirring often.

Cooking Zucchini Pasta

There really is a ton of moisture when cooking zucchini this way and it steams up quite nicely.  Once the zucchini actually started to resemble cooked pasta, I added the basil and spinach and continued to cook for about a minute.  My kitchen smelled heavenly.

Basil & Spinach

Finally, I added the Parmesan cheese.  I used DiGiorno.  It saved me the step of grating my own.  I continued cooking over medium heat for about a minute or so - just until the cheese started to melt.

Parmesan Cheese

Since there was still quite a bit of moisture, I used a slotted spoon to plate the pasta.  I then added some additional Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper.  This is the end result.

I know it does not look super pretty, but I promise it was so flavorful, even my mom, who really doesn't eat this type of stuff, liked it.

Next time I make this I will leave the peeling on the zucchini, cook in a nonstick pan and use half the amount of olive oil.  My thinking is doing all of these things will help eliminate some of the excess moisture.  I could be wrong.  Either way, this was simple and tasted great.  All in all, it took me about 30 minutes to make.  That includes picking the zucchini and herbs from the garden, all of the prep, cooking and taking pictures.  It made three servings the size you see in the picture above.  I could easily grill some chicken at the same time and really have a great meal even the hubs would love.  Please post a comment if you try this and let me know how yours turns out.  Until next time...