Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Make Me A Meal: Stuffed Zucchini

When a co-worker offers you a homegrown zucchini
**that dwarfs the size of a football**
you make stuffed zucchini
my way of paying homage to my late great grandpa
Growing up my mom would take my sister and I out to my Great Grandparent's farm
And I just remember how big his zucchini's were - compared to the little ones we used to get at our local farm - and just hoping that my mom would bring it home to make stuffed zucchini.
(I found out when asking my mom for the recipe for her stuffed zucchini that my great grandpa used to brag about how large he could grow them... apparently being not appropriate at all times runs in my family!)
It's one of those meals that will always take me back - regardless of how old I am!
As much as I enjoyed making this dish, I enjoyed walking down memory lane while cutting up the onions, mushrooms, and browning the sausage.. and I was giddy with excitement for it to be cooked so I could enjoy it!

1 homegrown, as big as a football zucchini
1 lb Italian Sausage (I used turkey sausage - out of the casing)
1 medium diced up onion
1 small package of mushrooms
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes
Italian Bread crumbs
Garlic, Oregano, Salt and Pepper

Cut end off of the zucchini, and slice in half

Scoop out the middle of the zucchini with all of the seeds
Once the seeds have been removed, shell out a little more of the actual zucchini
and save for later to use in the stuffing
Microwave the zucchini for 10 minutes to give a head start on the cooking
(This will be the perfect amount of time for you to cook the stuffing)

Brown sausage, onion, mushrooms, and garlic

Add bread crumbs just enough so the stuffing is still tacky - and not too dry
Add 1 cup of mozzarella - and it will begin to melt
Season lightly with oregano, salt and pepper

Place stuffing inside the microwaved zucchini boats
Bake for 15 minutes on 350

Pull zucchini out of the oven and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese

Place dish back in the oven but under the broiler
Until the cheese is golden brown


I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did!
There is something special about making something that is so memorable from your childhood!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

All things loved in July

I cannot believe the month of July has already come and gone.
Here is a look back on a few things that I have fallen in love with this month!
1. Open Table
If you don't have this app yet - download it now!
It makes making reservations so easy.  
It is similar to urban spoon that they have recommendations of local places
along with menus, and reviews.
And even better yet, after so many reservations you
get money back!

2. Smirnoff Sorbet Light
This is my new go-to summer drink.  One shot of this 78 calorie liquor in one of these Sparkling Ice drinks and you've got yourself a refreshing, low cal sweet drink.  Perfect for the pool!

3.  Garth Brooks Radio on iHeartRadio and Y2Kountry
After Garth announced that he was going to go back on tour, I decided I wanted to listen to the songs that me loving country music nearly 20 years ago.  I started listening to Garth Brooks on iHeartRadio.. and let me tell you, its the good stuff! The un-auto-tuned Taylor Swift, the days when Tim McGraw used to be enjoyable to listen to (white tee shirt days), and plenty of John Michael Montgomery and Garth to go on for days!  
Then SiriusXM tested out Y2Kountry a few months ago, and finally made it a station.  I can now listen to the songs of the early 2000's in the car.
It's nice to have a new variety of songs to listen to, although I do still love me some Luke Bryan!



4. Spanx

Yes, I proudly bought my first pair this summer.. and yes, they are a game changer!
Why diet and exercise when you can wear these and they make you 2 sizes smaller?
Can we say these are a GEM in a maxi dress?
They smooth you out and suck you in.. yes please!

5. Body Buddy

I was complaining to my grandma over Memorial Day weekend that it's not easy putting sunblock on your own back.  She told me about this Body Buddy that she bought for my great grandma.
You put your lotion on the applicator and put it behind your back, and it applies the lotion evenly so you do not miss a spot.

I use it for not only sunblock but also moisturizing lotion.

Thank you Nonna for buying all of us girls one of these! They are awesome!



Monday, July 28, 2014

Unexpected Lessons from my Puppy

Things I never thought I would learn from my puppy:

(1) Brushing her hair the day before going to the groomers is this same equivalent as flossing your teeth the day before you go to the dentist.

(2) She has expensive taste in shoes as chew toys... Only the best, Jack Rogers, Tory Burch, Ugg Slippers... forget the Old Navy flip flops or the Target flats.

(3) I buy 14lb bags of dog food for a 4 lb dog ... Oh the irony

(4) She specializes in finding cool air return vents.. regardless of where we might be

(5) Poor girl has more nicknames and probably will never learn that her name is Calloway... and not Callie, Girlfriend, Pipsqueak, Little Miss, Little Bit, Little Shit (I mean that in the nicest way possible!)

(6)  She too has a complex when she gets a bad haircut, or has a bad hair day.  The first few days home from the groomer she is not pleased with the way she looks.

(7) Small dog toys are a joke to her.. in her eyes, the bigger the better.

I cannot wait to learn more from this little fur child of mine.

She certainly keeps me on my toes, but makes being at home that much more fun!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Make Me A Meal: Caprese Pasta Salad

Happy Monday!
We had our first (of many) pool parties at my parent's house this past weekend.
I offered to bring pasta salad as my contribution.  I have made this before, but didn't remember it being this good!
It's a different twist than your typical pasta salad, but so fresh (and easy)!
1 package of 9 oz Whole Wheat Tortellini
1 container of Mozzarella Cheese Balls
Handful of Fresh Basil
1 package of Cherry Tomatoes
Balsamic Glaze
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp of salt
Make dressing up and allow to sit for at least an hour.
Cook pasta according to package (7-10 minutes).  Slice mozzarella balls in fourths.
Cut tomatoes into fourths.
Slice fresh basil.
Toss the pasta with the dressing.
Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the bowl of pasta.
And Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking a leap of faith

A year ago this week I decided to make a life changing decision…

I put in my 4 week notice, at a place that I had been for 8 years.  A team that I was completely comfortable with, a company that was nationally recognized as being one of the top 100 places to work for the past 6 years in a row, and a job that I was becoming routine, (although my candidates made it the furthest thing from boring).. to do something completely different!
I took a leap of faith…  It wasn’t just a new job.. but a new career.
I had many concerns leaving my structured, HR position, and moving into a laid back, creative, commercial printing customer service job.. however, I had to trust that I knew what I was doing.
I was going to work for my family business.
I had been given an opportunity to work with a sales rep that knows the business very well, and is very dedicated to the company as well as her career.  If I was going to learn the business, and take a new position in a field I knew NOTHING about, I knew I wanted to work under her.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also concerned about working with my family every day.  I would go from seeing my dad and sister every Sunday, to seeing them every day but Saturday.  That’s A LOT of family time. 
I can’t say there weren’t days that I haven’t left the office confused, frustrated and upset… but that’s to be expected when I have been cherry picked from my everything I have ever known and dropped into a whole new setting. 
There were days that I felt as if I was never going to understand printing, or figuring out all the processes that were put in place (in a not very process oriented company I might add), or that I was never going to fully comprehend working directly for someone, (I was now not just representing myself, but also my sales rep, and the company)… but I have muddled through it.  It certainly has been a SLOW learning process at times, but looking back, I had a major learning curve to overcome.
In the past year I have had to learn new vocabulary words (that could be a whole blog post just for printing terms!), new processes, 130 associates names, job titles, machines used, and  getting used to smelling of aqueous coating every day when I get home from work.
But in the end, I think I made one heck of a decision.
Looking back at nearly one year into my new career… I have to say, I am beyond proud to say I work for my family business.  I’m so glad that I have been given this opportunity.  I have more appreciation daily for what my grandfather has created in a company, and what my dad has been able to maintain for almost 50 years.
It certainly wasn’t an easy decision, but one that I have no regrets making.
I leave my desk every day feeling fulfilled.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DIY Patriotic Door Hanger

When can you be more American than a World Cup Game and the 4th of July all in one week????

..Exactly what I thought!

You need to show your pride anywhere and every where you possibly can...

so why not include your front door!
Supplies needed -
Wooden Letter - Michaels
Paint - Navy and Red
 Painters Tape
Star Stencil
Paint Brush
Burlap (not pictured)
I marked off the red and white stripes with painters tape.  It was easier for me to just have the stripes be 2 rows of blue tape thick - and I started half way down my letter.

Add caption

Unfortunately part of the painters tape pulled the original white paint off of the letter - I had to go back and touch up the white

I used a stencil to trace the white stars 

Hot glue the burlap to the back of your letter

Tie a bow around it and you are good to go!

Place your hanger on your front door proudly!

Happy World Cup Day and 4th of July week!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Love/Hate Relationship

... with running
Love: The satisfaction after a long run
Hate: Every step along the way
Love: Running starts your metabolism and you can eat... A LOT
Hate: When you stop running and so does your metabolism - but you still love to eat
Love: Running races to stay motivated
Hate: The money it costs to run a race
Love: The feeling you get after you work out, you swear you feel skinnier, look thinner and have a positive attitude 
Hate: When you try on those jeans that gave you a muffin top yesterday, and they STILL give you a muffin top

Love: Taking a 5 month break from running
Hate: Starting back up, regaining confidence that I can really do this again
Love: Being able to workout year round on a treadmill, and keep a consistent speed with a belt pushing you forward constantly... it's much easier.
Hate: When I get outside and I'm now not only running on solid (not moving) pavement, but dealing with elevation, wind, heat, ect. and I do not run as fast!
Love: Knowing that someone is taking pictures at the races.
Hate: Seeing the race picture - does anyone look cute while running?
I have run 7 half marathons, and competitively walked/ran a full marathon which is more than I ever expected to do in my lifetime.
So I suppose the loves on this list, do outweigh the hates.
But until all of my hates turn into loves, I will continue to run, and push through the next run.
My most recent 1/2 marathon, Cap City, May 3, 2014


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

All things LOVED in April

1. Blogging
Blogging is a lot like running/exercising to me.
It is the first thing to be cut out of my busy/hectic schedule, and you don't realize how much you miss it until you start it back up again. 
And you don't realize how hard it is to start back up again after you have been on a hiatus until you make that first move.
But nonetheless.. I'm happy to be back!
2. Southern Charm
Did you watch this series on Bravo?
If you didn't, you happen to love the south, and you enjoy a good reality series.. I would HIGHLY recommend setting your DVR to catch an upcoming marathon.
It is one of those shows, I thought I would start watching and see if I got hooked or not.. and I didn't even have to wait for the first commercial break to know that I was going love Monday night TV!
I love the different personalities, and the lifestyle that this cast members live, and the little bit of drama the unfolds during the season... maybe its just a way for this Ohio girl to pretend like she lives in the south for an hour every week?  Either way, I certainly hope they bring it back for another season!
3. La Croix Berry Water
I decided to try this when I walked by it on sale at the store one day.  I have heard that you either love it or hate it...
Fortunately for me, I absolutely LOVE it! I think it is beyond refreshing and something different to sip on throughout the day at work that is not a diet coke or water!
4.Lilly Pultizer Phone Case with Credit Card Slot
I bought this case off of Rue La La a few weeks ago.  It is SO nice just to be able to grab my phone with my credit card and ID in it and go.  Whether its just running into the store to get something, or dropping it into a small clutch to carry for the night.  It makes everything that much more convenient.  And yes.. it certainly doesn't hurt that its a cute print too! 
5. Nomad Charger
I received this as a gift, and it has come in handy quiet often.
This little gadget goes on your key chain (they also have one the size of a credit card) and as long as you have a USB port you can charge your phone.  Its nice to always have a charger with you wherever you may go.. as long as there is a USB port too!
Do you have anything new that you tried this month that you would suggest trying?
Or anything that you LOVE that you are willing to share?
Let me know - I'm always up for new products/items/food...
Happy almost May!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Call me a bandwagon fan...

... I don't care.
Sure, I've been to several Blue Jackets games in the last 14 years they have been in Columbus, but never have I been this into an entire season!
We started off the season slow (like always)
but have finished strong.
We made it to the playoffs for the second time in franchise history and the entire city is FINALLY supporting the team that we have had for so long!
We won the game last Wednesday in OT to tie up the series 2-2.
We knew we had 2 more games to play in the series at least.. which lead us to last night.
I NEVER get to the arena early.. hell, I rarely hear the star spangled banner
but last night was different.  I walked into Nationwide Arena at 6pm,
the energy inside was absolutely indescribable
music blaring, people every where, and a site I've never seen before for a hockey game
I had to pinch myself that we were still in Columbus, Ohio!
I watched practice and warm-ups for the first time ever
Listened to the entire star spangled banner
Watched the "WE ARE THE 5TH LINE" banner be raised with a lift
Felt the vibrations from the cannon being fired
and witnessed the puck being dropped on center ice at the start of the game.

There was not an empty seat in the entire arena - and it just gave me goose bumps to see so many people out supporting OUR team!
The atmosphere was awesome!

The first two periods were anything but easy to watch.
We couldn't pass to our teammates, we were getting penalties called against us left and right, their shot on goals were triple the amount of ours.
Needless to say, we were starting to get defeated... the guys looked tired.
We were down 4-0.. with a hat trick scored by the Penguins nonetheless.
I was hopeful that there was one HELL of a pep talk given to the team after the 2nd period.
I looked at my friends and said, well, we need a miracle... and if we come back from this, there could very easily be a Miracle 2 made!
We came out with a fight that I don't think I have ever seen the jackets have!
We scored 3 unanswered goals to put the game at 4-3, Penguins still on top.
We pulled our goalie with 2 minutes left to play in regulation,
(it was at this point that I think I forgot to breath for the rest of the game - HELLO intense!)
Maybe if we are 5 on 4 we have a chance, hell it worked at the end of game 3!

Unfortunately we had a few shots on goal in the last few minutes, but nothing that capitalized into a goal.
Unfortunately, this was the end of our playoffs
Unfortunately we have to wait until next year for hockey to be back....
....but more than anything
Fortunately, this city is now 100% believers in this team, and this sport, and this game!

The team saluting the fans at the end of the game!
I think these playoffs have made more people hockey fans, and some people bigger hockey fans than we ever imagined!
Thank you CBJ for a WONDERFUL end of the season, and a great run at the playoffs!
The city of Columbus, thanks you!


Friday, April 25, 2014

5 on Friday... Weekend Recap and a big announcement!

Happy Friday!!!
I've had quiet the busy last week, and I have been wanting to recap everything in a blog post.. but thought this would be the best way to do so!
So without further aideu.. here is my first 
5 on Friday
1. NOLA Wedding
I spent last Thursday- (very early) Saturday morning in New Orleans for one of my best friend's wedding.

2. Grace Lou's 1st Birthday Party
I left NOLA and flew into Dayton, Ohio so I could celebrate this little one's first birthday with her.
Earlier this fall, when Grace was only 5 months old, we came up the idea that I would make/plan all the decorations for the party.  I thoroughly enjoyed making the centerpieces, the door hanger and a few other things to go around the club house.
I love that I can still call these girls two of my closest friends even after we moved away from college and back to our hometowns!
3. My sister's BIG announcement
I'm going to be an AUNT!!!
I can't wait for this little peanut to get here already so I can spoil him/her rotten.
 4. Columbus Blue Jackets Playoffs
I admit - I'm a bit of a bandwagon fan on this one.. I've been to several games in the last 10 years, however I've never been more excited for hockey than I am right now.  The jackets are in the playoffs for only the second time, and this entire city is finally backing the team!
5. Another fun filled weekend
I'll be sure to be back next week - but I have a chamber event tonight and another out of town wedding on Saturday.  I'm looking forward to it all!
I feel like this spring has already flown by, but I wouldn't have it any other way!