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...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa by Brookstone

Hey everyone.  I really need to start posting more.  I have told so many people about this product and every single time I say to myself, "I should write a blog on this...".  Okay, here it is!

The Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa 
Heated Aqua-Jet Foot SpaB
Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa
Heated Aqua-Jet Foot Spa

First, check it out in all its glory:

via Amazon

Looks awesome, right?  Well, it is.  As most of you know, I always do my research when splurging on an item.  This was no exception.  I read reviews, shopped around and waited to see a price drop.  Hoping the price would drop.  Alas, it didn't.  So I went for it.  I chose to order mine from Amazon for a couple of reasons.  First, I am a cardholder and not only is the ordering process as smooth as pie, but I earn reward points.  Also, the price was exactly the same as on the Brookstone website.  Besides, Brookstone has a store on Amazon, so I figured it was pretty much the same thing, right?

On to the details...

  • Heats water and keeps it hot to 115 degrees
  • Jets (that rotate and have two speeds)
  • Deep basin
  • Accommodates larger feet (hello, size 11!)
  • An easy to use drain plug
  • Price  at $129.99 this foot spa ain't for everyone.  (I do most of my own pedicures at home, so it was easy peasy to justify the cost)
  • The "Two rolling nodes" that are supposed to provide a "kneading massage to your arches" - they don't.  (At least not for me)
  •  The removable pumice stone - it really isn't that awesome.
  • It is heavy.  Loaded with water, it is even heavier.
Even with a few cons, (because let's be honest all products have cons), the stuff that does work is so awesome you won't think twice about those things.

A couple of additional points I would like to mention:  First, the customer care department at Brookstone is awesome.  One of my rolling nodes would not stay in its place and kept floating to the top of the basin when it was filled with water.  I went on Amazon and submitted a claim and within a couple of days not only did I receive a replacement in the mail, but they sent me two of them!  Second, based on reviews and the directions that come with it I am afraid to add any products to the water while the unit is operational.  People have posted comments stating adding salts or fizzies to the water has ruined their foot spa.  However, that has not stopped me from using some products while the unit is turned off.  I just make sure to rinse it really well when I am done.

Overall, this thing is super user friendly and looks really nice.  I set it on my kitchen counter,  use the kitchen faucet wand to fill it up and then dump the water in my bathtub when I am done.  I always wipe it down with a warm cloth, turn it upside down and leave it inside of the tub to ensure thorough draining and drying.  After it is dry, I place it in my hallway and I cover it with a clean, dry white towel so it won't get dusty and is ready to use the next time I need it.  I literally use this foot spa at least once a week.  Sometimes, to do complete pedicures and sometimes just to have a nice relaxing soak while watching The Real Housewives.  :)  Oh yeah, I said it.

So, what are you waiting for?  Summer is here and you need to get those feet into shape, sista'!  A long time fan of high(er)-end(ish) nail polish, one of my next blogs will be covering my newest subscription to Julep, a company that sends you nail polishes and other goodies on a monthly basis for less than $20 per shipment.  Other than the huge savings, the best part is you can cancel or defer a shipment at anytime.  I have referral codes with a nice discount if you are interested in trying them out.

Looking for some nail polish inspiration?  Look no further.  Mama has a Pinterest board dedicated to this very subject.  Hollaaaa!

via Pinterest