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6.27.2014

Zucchini Recipe Round-Up



I am assuming you are reading this post because you, like me, have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, and need some more inspiration on what to do with all of it.  I have personally been experimenting with zucchini recipes for weeks (thanks, Pinterest!), and wanted to share my faves.

1. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks


Photo of my attempt

A delicious way to make zucchini that the whole family loved.  See the recipe here at Jo Cooks.  Definitely good served with ranch!

2. Zucchini Chips


Photo of my attempt

I found this yummy recipe here at Frugal Living Mom, but made a few modifications.  First, I used regular white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, since I didn't have any.  It turned out deliciously this way as well.  I also added some garlic powder and paprika to the seasoning mix.  Finally, since I don't have a dehydrator, I baked them at 230 degrees for 1.5 hours on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, which did the trick.  The kids loved this one, and didn't even mind the kick of spice!  You do need to eat right away, as they begin to soften after sitting.

3. Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

http://www.budgetgourmetmom.com/cheesy-zucchini-casserole/
Image Source: Budget Gourmet Mom
 
Oh man, was this a winner! Get the recipe here at Budget Gourmet Mom.  Like the blogger said, it's kind of like a guilt-free mac n' cheese the way this casserole tastes and with it's consistency.  I did a half-batch in a 9"x9" pan which was more than enough for my husband and I plus the two littles.  This is also a meatless dish, which makes it vegetarian-friendly, though not vegan since it has cheese and milk.
 
4. Spicy Orange Beef

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-orange-beef-10000001087096/
Image Source: MyRecipes.com
 
This is a recipe from Cooking Light that I have loved for a long time, as it is quick, delicious, and only a few ingredients (recipe here).  It does not call for zucchini, but I found that if you add halved zucchini ring slices towards the end when you add the sauce mixture, it is a delicious addition!  I was inspired to do this based on the fact that this recipe is Asian in flavor, and that it is not uncommon to find zucchini in Asian dishes (such as Kung Pao Chicken, etc.).
 
Of course, you can also grill zucchini spears and serve as a side-dish with any dinner, or just slice it and snack on it raw with some ranch.  Then there are many zucchini bread recipes, but I have yet to try any.  What are your favorite zucchini recipes?
 

6.24.2014

Travel Tuesday: TripAdvisor

Now that our next travel adventure (Thailand and a quick stop in China!) is imminent, it is hard to think about much else!  Therefore, I couldn't help but do Travel Tuesday today (and don't be surprised if I do it next week too).

Today I want to profess my love for TripAdvisor.  If you've followed any of my other travel posts, you know that I couldn't possibly plan a trip without it. 

http://www.tripadvisor.com

I love TripAdvisor for a few reasons.  One, I have never been steered wrong with it.  Not for hotels, not for attractions, not for restaurants, and not for advice in the forum posts.  I have even used it to learn how to navigate the very complicated (and sometimes tear-your-hair-out frustrating) Renfe train booking process for our trip to Spain (click here for more on that).  I have even discovered local restaurants this way that were some of the best on our trip (like Deva restaurant in Cusco, which our hotel hadn't even heard of, but I learned about from TripAdvisor reviews... more here).  I have found several hotels that may not have the most expensive marketing budgets, or weren't the biggest tourist names, and would otherwise not have found if it weren't for their reviews on TripAdvisor (a few shining examples are Hotel U232 in Barcelona and Hotel Torre Dorada in Cusco). Why is this?  It's because TripAdvisor ratings are based on real reviews from real people. It really helps the DIY travel planner like me sort out the truth while making decisions to stay somewhere half a world away. It is about much more than fancy marketing, and instead about authenticity and customer service.

Another reason I love TripAdvisor is how it connects us, and makes the world feel a little smaller.  You can access "word of mouth" from people all over the world through both the reviews and the forums.  You can find out "the real deal" so to speak when planning the various components of your trip.  I was even able to find my own confidence to participate in the encierro (running of the bulls) during San Fermin as a female, when I couldn't find much other info online.  I went into San Fermin feeling so much more prepared.

Because of how much I always get out of it, I always feel compelled to pay it forward and add my own reviews.  Click here to see my TripAdvisor profile and view any of my contributions.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/ramonaruby

Circled the part about what percentage of the world I have traveled, as that is not nearly enough.  I need to continue working on that!

Now, go forth and travel!

6.20.2014

Casual Friday: Today's Outfit - 6.20.14


 
 
Happy Friday!  Today's Casual Friday outfit includes a neon tee and necklace from Forever 21, boyfriend jeans from Express, and Seychelles shoes picked up at Neiman Marcus Last Call.
 
I know, this outfit is pretty cas, and not super inspired, but I did commit to posting this each Friday!
 
As always, don't forget to share your OOTD on the Everyday Fabulous Facebook page, tweet me at @ramonaruby, or tag us @everydayfabulous on Instagram so we can share fashion inspiration!
 



6.17.2014

Simple, Chic Dining Room Decor


I am finally getting around to sharing pictures and details of our dining room décor. We love this space, as it is chic, simple, and classic... very indicative of our décor aesthetic.  I am especially proud that we have managed to keep the chairs so white in a house with two toddlers and a dog.  More on that below.

The dining room isn't huge, but was a great starting point with beautiful dark hardwood floors, crown molding and a bay window.  To maximize seating space we decided to go with a round table.

The inspiration came from this chic, simple dining room:





 
Round, 6-person table purchased from Amazon.
 
White Henriksdal chairs from Ikea.  My secret to keeping these dining chairs white is all thanks to Ikea... the slipcovers easily come off and are washing machine safe! Whenever there is a spill that can't be quickly cleaned off (and trust me, there have been many), we just pull it off and toss it in the washer immediately.  They have lasted for a few years without replacement.  See, you can have fabulous white furniture, even with kids and pets!
 
Gray Roman shades from JC Penney.  They have lots of sizing options, which enabled us to get these pretties for a fraction of the cost of custom creating them for our windows.
 
One of my favorite features of the room is the pendant lamp... especially since it cost us about $65!  I had trouble finding these for less than $200, but thanks to this pretty Eden pendant floor lamp from CB2, converted to a ceiling pendant with this easy conversion kit from West Elm, we had the same chic effect for much less dough.  *Note* it appears the project would now cost $85 (the lamp and conversion kit went up $10 each since we purchased them).



The ikat painting I did myself, but totally copied/knocked-off this one I saw on Pinterest from the fabulous Bigger Than the Three of Us:


 
The vases and accessories are pieces we have had from Crate & Barrel for a while.



This hutch has seen many different lives, and was originally given to us for free by a friend trying to get rid of it.  I wish I had photos from every stage, but to describe it, it started as a birch veneer, and we have repainted it several times over the last 9 years to match our current décor (I like to make things work without having to spend a lot to revamp my décor). It was cream/gold, navy blue, black, and now a pale gray.  The handles and knobs are from Home Depot, and the color was one I had custom matched.  Details here in case you would like to recreate it:

 
Please pin and share if this has inspired you!

6.13.2014

Casual Friday: Today's Outfit - 6.13.14

 
 
Happy Friday!  Today's Casual Friday outfit includes Rachel Roy cut-out booties from Neiman Marcus Last Call, top and necklace from Forever 21, and jeans from Express. The top is long-sleeved but nice and thin (good for the warmer weather), and in the season's hot color of white.
 
Don't forget to share your OOTD on the Everyday Fabulous Facebook page, tweet me at @ramonaruby, or tag us @everydayfabulous on Instagram so we can share fashion inspiration!

6.10.2014

Powder Room Transformation

 
Last week we showed you how we transformed our upstairs bathroom from builder-grade to classic, and before that, we showed you how we brought our master bathroom from builder-grade and dated to sleek and contemporary.  Today, we have our final bathroom transformation: the powder room.
 
Aside from our master bath, this could be the most important bathroom in the house.  After all, it's the one our guests use most frequently, and as it is the closest to our living room and kitchen, gets a lot of use from the kiddos and us as well.
 
The formula for updating this bathroom is not much different from the previous two we highlighted, so I will keep this simple.  For more detailed instructions, please refer to one of the other two posts linked above.
 
 
  • Walls painted beige to match the existing floor tile
  • Cultured marble countertops professionally resurfaced to a bright white
  • Cabinets repainted using Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kits (in Kona, unglazed)
  • Knobs and pulls added from Home Depot

 
  • Existing mirror framed-out using a MirrorMate frame
  • Builder-grade, basic faucet switched out to the Delta Porter faucet in chrome from Home Depot (along with matching hand-towel rack and toilet paper holder)
 
Another easy, but sleek upgrade at Casa de Peters! 

6.06.2014

Casual Friday: Today's Outfit - 6.6.14

 
 
Today's Casual Friday outfit is perfect for my after-work activity... a backyard BBQ for my friend's birthday.  This outfit would also work really well at a festival or concert (in fact, I did wear it at SXSW this year). The lace-trimmed top and jeans are from Express, the fringe booties from American Eagle, and the necklace from Forever 21.  Oh, and check out the hair color! It's a brunette balayage thanks to the fabulous Penny at Vain Salon here in Austin. 
 
Share your OOTD on the Everyday Fabulous Facebook page, or tweet me at @ramonaruby so we can share fashion inspiration!


Oh, and that reminds me!  Everyday Fabulous is now on Instagram.  Follow us @everydayfabulous on Instagram for daily pics on fashion, décor inspiration, cooking and food.

6.03.2014

Bathroom Transformation


Our master bathroom wasn't the only bathroom in our house that needed an update.  All of the bathroom in our house were very much mid-90's builder-grade when we moved it.  But this didn't worry us.  We knew that there was much that could be done cosmetically to make the look work for us.  We took our master bathroom to a contemporary look on a budget, and still love it.  For our upstairs bathroom, we wanted  to do an update, but go more classic than contemporary.  Thankfully, no major renovations were needed, so we were able to do this:
 
 
The first thing we did was professionally resurface the counters.  Like with our master bathroom, we didn't have a problem with the fact that the counters were cultured marble... what we had a problem with was that it was a swirly beige.  We had them resurfaced to a bright white so that they'd be more neutral.
 
After that, we painted the walls a taupe/beige color to coordinate with the existing floor tile. 
 
 
After that, the big job was to paint the cabinets.  If you follow this blog, you probably know that I like contrasts (whites and darks, dark woods, etc.) and am not generally a fan of the plain maple wood look that so many builders used in the 90's.  Since we saw how well the  Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kits worked for our master bathroom, we used them again for this bathroom.  Again, super easy as it doesn't require any stripping or sanding.  It is a full weekend project, however, as there are multiple steps.  But the results are amazing, and you have lots of color and finish options (we chose Kona for this project, unglazed).
 
Of course, we couldn't leave the cabinets naked after painting, so we accessorized them with some simple knob and pull hardware from Home Depot.
  
 
We also used  MirrorMate again to frame the existing mirror.  MirrorMate allows you to input specifics about your mirror (exact size, distance from walls, sink etc.), choose a style and finish for the frame, and for a great deal, sends you four wood pieces and some instructions on how to install your own frame to your existing mirror.  A great price, very easy to do, and as you can see above, provides great impact!  For this bathroom, we chose Cherokee Slim in Espresso Walnut.
 
We changed the builder-grade faucet out to he Delta Porter in chrome from Home Depot, along with matching hand-towel holder.
 
 
The window panels were Waverly brand from Lowe's.
 
 
Coordinating nicely with the curtains is this area rug from Rugs Direct.
 
 
We lucked out with this shower curtain from Target that worked well with the other patterns, and happened to be a complimentary color with the brown.
 
 
 
For art, we were actually able to repurpose some photograph art from our old apartment bathroom in Ikea Ribba frames (you know how I love Ikea frames).

Top it off with some chrome counter accessories, and you are all set!  Next, we will show you the before-and-after for our powder room.