Healthy & Hearty Avocado Zucchini Pasta

This post is happening because a miracle occurred and I felt like cooking on a Friday night. I’ll seriously do anything to avoid finishing a paper but this pasta was worth the procrastination!

done
Finished product. Cheese required. Sauce inspired by Damn Delicious and zucchini noodle instruction by Inspiralized.
ing
Spiralizer in action. This is seriously the best tool and super cheap, too!
zuc
Yes, the middle of the zucchini will look like this after spiralizing. Use it to scare your dog or husband.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 2 medium avocados (ripe)
  • 2 small lemons
  • 4 Trader Joe’s fresh basil cubes (thawed)
  • 2 cubes Trader Joe’s fresh garlic cubes (thawed)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional for added spice)
pan
Cooking the zucchini noodles. Added spinach for extra green!

Step 1 – Spiralize the zucchinis following the directions from your machine. Cut the noodles so they are not endlessly long! Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add noodles. Saute for about one minute. Add spinach. Saute an additional minute or two until everything is just slightly soft. Put into strainer to reduce excess water and set aside.

process
I like my sauce chunky in case you could not tell!

Step 2 – Add the juice of both lemons, about 1/3 cup of olive oil, both avocados, basil cubes, garlic cubes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste) to the food process. Pulse until smooth. Or leave a bit chunky as I did above. This sauce is delicious either way!

mag spag
Dig in. A side of Charlie Hunnam is highly recommended.

Step 3 – Add sauce to your zucchini and spinach and enjoy! (Hint – since the sauce is not warm, microwave everything for one minute after mixing together so your cheese will melt.)

Happy (and healthy) eating!

Summer Beach Read: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

With my Ph.D. program, I have not had much time this summer to read anything beyond Student Development Theory. (Sighs.) But I did order Luckiest Girl Alive on my iPad prior to our CO trip in June and devoured it on the plane. I can never read on planes but this one had me hooked the entire flight, turbulence and all. Even Reese Witherspoon loved it and already bought the production rights. (I can so see her as Ani, too.)

This book has it all for a day at the pool. You will love it if you enjoyed Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling it. The author describes more below.

Happy Reading!

Monday Inspiration: What I’m Loving This Week.

Trainwreck = Hilarious. See. It. Now. Perfect date night. Best part? When her bodybuilder BF finds her phone contact list.

Anyone that knows me, knows of my obsession with LaCroix (and all carbonated water). I’m trying these cocktail recipes from Gizmodo stat!

Kupah confronts Clint & JJ tonight. If you aren’t asking yourself who the hell these people are, you are also tuning in for Men Tell All!

Need an excuse to shop? (No, you don’t.) Hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale which opened to the public last Friday, July 17 and runs through Monday, August 3! This is truly a unique sale as all of the items are brand new for fall. I may have a few packages coming my way.

wrigs

Lastly, would someone date this face? Tindog wants to find out. #swipebite

Happy Monday!

Sohltravels: Fort Collins, CO

Back in June, Craig and I were lucky enough to travel to Fort Collins, Colorado for the wedding of our dear friends Josh and Kristine. “Jostine” were both at our wedding and started dating shortly there-after. (Everyone thought they were a couple at our wedding anyway.) So needless to say, we were more than excited to head out west to celebrate.

mandy weddings
Enjoying the beautiful wedding of our dear friends Josh & Kristine! My mom helped me pick out this awesome fit and flare dress from J Crew. On sale now!
craig wedding
My guy Craig. Best wedding date ever. We are renowned for our dorky dance moves. Taylor Swift had us hitting the floor big time for #jostine2015.
craig mandy
Fun at the photo booth. Did I mention this wedding had a food truck serving the best sandwiches?! Amaze.

Since both of us are in school, this is a light year for vacations. So we decided to live it up for CO and take a good few days of real vacation along with the wedding. It was the best time. Fort Collins blew me away! I would highly recommend taking a trip. And if you go, here is what you should do: Day 1 – Fly into Denver and rent a car. The car was a lifesaver and helped us to be able to make the most of our time. The drive to Fort Collins is less than 2 hours. Upon arrival, head straight to The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro to get your drink on. Order a red flight and a white flight. And all the cheese. And all the meats. And all the bread. Seriously, this place is perfect. Sit by the window and people watch. Book your stay at the Armstrong Hotel. When you tell people in town where you are staying, they will nod along and say “the only place to stay” – our waiter at the Welsh Rabbit even says he stays there for fun to treat himself! The room was adorable. The staff attentive. And the amenities spot-on. My favorite perks? Free bottles of water and pixie sticks in the lobby and free use of an amazeballs gym a short walk away. Once you’re at the Armstrong, stay at the Armstrong for the night. Enjoy one of Fort Collins best dessert spots The Chocolate Cafe for a drink and a sweet and then head down to Ace Gillett’s Lounge for jazz and a night cap.

craig wine
First stop post airport. The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Bistro. All smiles. All wine.
white rabbit
Bread and olive oil after my own heart. Have you ever tried a caper berry? You should. So good with wine and cheese of course.
croissant
Double chocolate martini and white chocolate croissant bread pudding at The Chocolate Cafe. Enough said.

Day 2 – Start the day off at Lucile’s Creole Cafe. Get exactly what we got and do not stray. Chicory coffee. Beignets. Cajun omelet with both grits and potatoes. Lemon poppyseed pancakes with strawberry rubarb jam. Game over. Since you are now very full, walk around a bit. Fort Collins has tons of adorable, original shops to duck into. (Tell your husband to head back to the hotel.) My favorite store was Rain. Bought the cutest wedding gift and gorgeous scarf. Next head out for an afternoon hike at Horsetooth Mountain. This is a great starter hike (and post ridiculous breakfast hike). You won’t need lunch so stop at a grocery store, grab some trail mix, water and green juice and get going. We picked a hike that took about 3 hours and was the perfect workout to fill the day. After you get back, shower up and look yo best, head out to dinner. There are so many great options. We would recommend going Italian with the eggplant parm at Bisetti’s or pizza at Uncle’s Pizzeria. Lastly, end your night by finding the hidden clock in the heart of downtown and slipping into Social for a cocktail (or three).

Mandy hiking horse head
Day 1 Hike at Horsetooth Mountain. A rough start after too many beignets. (Worth it.)
rocky mt national craig
Beautiful scenery. Handsome guy.

Day 3 – Get ready to be one with nature! Rocky National Park day! But first coffee. Hit up Snooze for some grub. We loved the pineapple upside down cake pancakes and fresh breakfast tacos. (You’ve picked up on that we always share a sweet and savory meal, right?) And if you are like my husband, get bourbon in your coffee. When in Rome. Afterwards, spend your day in Rocky Mountain National Park! We actually had some luck leaving Fort Collins a little later (around 11am – we were in vacation mode) as morning traffic had died down. RMNP is well worth the drive. Don’t miss it! We parked our car in the park and ride and took a bus to our hiking destination (Bear Lake). We had an amazing day hiking, talking and enjoying the fresh air at 10,000 feet. My favorite part was eating lunch with 2 hangry squirrels on a rock.

rmn
Rocky Mountain National Park was the highlight of our trip!
rmn scenery
And that my friends is how you do CO.

Until next time.

Review: Urban Decay Naked Smoky

Upon waking up on Sunday, July 12, I was the first in on line to buy the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette! After using my Naked 2 palette almost exclusively on a daily basis for the past two years, I knew this would be a worthy investment as the colors are very different. It arrived within days (thank you Sephora VIB Rouge!) and I was not disappointed! It’s beautiful! All you need to do is read the other reviews on Sephora to see I am not alone in my delight.

I do have to say the pigmentation on most colors is leaning towards the light side. But you guys, this is a good thing! Unless you are Kim Kardashian, you do not want these colors to have full pigmentation as you could not wear them on a daily basis if they did. The softness of this palette is its best feature as is the brush which is better than the brush on Naked 2 imo. I also love how the left side of the palette is sparkly (but not overly so – all colors are extremely wearable) and the right side is more matte.

Naked Smoky also comes with a step by step tutorial on four different eye looks. Today I attempted “Everyday Smoky” and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of following the steps. What do you think? Loving this palette? Do tell.

urban decay
Everyday Smoky & Friends
shadows
Beautiful New Colors
open eye
Eyes Wide Open
closed eye
Eyes Wide Shut

Shop this look and my other everyday favorites used with today’s smoky eye:

Urban Decay Naked Smoky – Still in stock! Yay!
Urban Decay Primer Potion Original – get the smaller version so it won’t dry out!
Tarte Rainforest Eye & Cheek Palette – perfect for travel.
Tarte Bronze & Glow Contour Brush – the best on the market.
Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glace – your lips but better.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 – great mixed with your moisturizer.
Burt’s Bees Renewal Firming Day Lotion w/SPF 30 – wonderful (affordable!) day lotion.
Lancome Cils Booster Mascara Base – keeps your lashes full all day.
Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara – great drugstore option.