a pretty cool life.: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

recipe: vegetarian zucchini noodle casserole

So. Wow.
You guys.
Two recipe posts in a row.
I'm turning into such a foodie blogger.

My zucchini plant isn't quite ready for picking yet, but this is a great recipe to have on hand later in the summer when your plants go crazy and you have more zucchini than you know what to do with!
{This is also a delicious use of too many zucchinis! :)}

This zucchini noodle casserole is one that my mom made for me in high school.
She wanted to make sure I loaded up on carbs the day before volleyball tournaments {Dr. Atkins wasn't around bad mouthing carbs just yet...} so this was always my dinner of choice.

It's fast, it's yummy, and with a well stocked pantry, the ingredients are almost always on hand.

this post is sponsored by Cans Get You Cooking and Mom it Forward
all opinions and photos are my own

What you'll need:

1/2 c chopped onions
1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
3/4 c water
1/2 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 dashes Tabasco
1 1/2 c cooked macaroni or other shape small pasta
4 tbsp shredded Parmesan or Italian cheese blend

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients, except zucchini and cheese.

Drain pasta and combine it with tomato sauce mixture.

Add in zucchini.

Spray 2 quart casserole with Pam and pour in mixture.

Microwave 15-20 minutes at 50% power and enjoy.
{use your judgment...microwaves are all so different!}

This is another recipe that gets a seal of approval from all three of my children.
And I think that's sweet...
my mom made it for me before volleyball, and now I make it for them before soccer. :)

“Cans Get You Cooking” is a program dedicated to spreading the message that the ironclad technology of cans seals in freshness, flavor, nutrition, and goodness so that you can create meals you feel good about serving and that your family will love.

Find out more by checking them out on facebook, pinterest, and youtube!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

spring veggie recipe: primavera pasta toss

While I'm waiting for our own little veggie patch to get going, I'm a sucker for the farmer's market.
The rainbow of stands makes for such a happy place!

This past weekend I came home with beans, asparagus, tomatoes, and carrots.
The only bummer was I was too late to grab any peonies.  Boo.

I'm also a sucker for warm evenings and eating outside.
All those veggies that look so pretty for sale look just as pretty as dinner on our picnic table!

this post is sponsored by Kraft
of course all opinions are my own

Recently, Kraft invited me to "get zesty" by trying their Zesty Italian Anything Dressing.

Of course I've used Kraft dressings a million times before...on salads, as a marinade for chicken, as party dips...they've been around forever and I think they're pretty much a crowd pleaser.

·         Now Kraft is steaming up the kitchen with fun and flavorful ways to dine at home, and adding a little zest to everyday moments with its Zesty Italian Anything Dressing...just check out their website or facebook page.  Yeow! 

So when this bottle showed up on my doorstep and I thought about what I could make with it...
I looked through Kraft's huge collection of recipes and saw one for the pasta primavera toss and thought it looked yummy and full of veggies.
{Although I really like the looks of the zesty Italian chicken salad!}
Sure enough, it's great!

And so simple, too...

It comes together in about a half hour...

And the boys and the baby even asked for seconds!
That doesn't happen very often! ;)

I can't wait to try this again in the summer with our own veggies!

So just for fun, and in the spirit of "getting zesty," Kraft has offered a giveway bottle of a "zesty Italian" perfume by Versace!  

To be entered to win, just leave a comment about how you add a little zest to your life. 
Giveaway will end on Sunday night and the winner will be contacted next week.  Good luck!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

our summer bucket list.

Making summer bucket/to-do lists is a big thing around blogland.
I'm sure you've seen them all around.

Last year we took the simple route and wrote a few ideas on our kitchen chalkboard {like Meg's...but I guess I didn't blog about it??}
We don't have any crazy hard aspirations for our summers...I think eat lunch at Ikea was the hardest thing on the list...
It works for us at this point in our life. :)
We just come up with things that we would be doing anyway.
If we don't, no big deal.

I was planning on writing this year's list on the chalkboard again, but I came across this super cute {and free!} printable from Lindsay.
So the other day while my two youngest were in bed, my oldest and I broke out the Sharpies and colored our lists {such a huge deal to him...Sharpies are like fabric scissors in this house...mom-only items :)}

His little plans are so sweet to me.
"go to the park"
"go to the pool"
I think I'm going to save it and print these every year from now on to compare...
His charmingly imperfect handwriting...
The fact that he drew lines to make it as neat as possible...
I wish I could freeze time.

I can't believe just how close we are to summer!
Like maybe 4 more school days??
This year went by crazy fast {they all do...}

What are your plans for summer??
Do you write out a list??

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day.

Photobombed patriotic s'mores.

salute the ones who've died
the ones who give their lives
so we don't have to sacrifice
all the things we love

We enjoyed our long weekend, but not without gratitude and thoughtfulness.
I hope your weekend was just as nice.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Here's a tiny peek into what we've been up to over the past week through filtered iphone pics.
If you'd like to follow along on instagram, I'm @aprettycoollife

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Monday, May 20, 2013

a little online shopping

I've always loved online shopping.
No pressure.
No crowds.
No one to see me pick up the same item and put it back and then put it in my cart and then put it back....over and over. ;)

But since I've become a mom, it's become almost a necessity.
No matter how prepared I think we are to go to the store...
someone has to pee.
someone is hungry.
someone is thirsty.
someone doesn't like sitting in the cart.
someone doesn't like walking next to the cart.
someone wants to look in this aisle...
or that one...

And if we somehow manage to get through the store in spite of all that...
I usually forget something.

Seriously.  Online shopping is so perfect for me!

Enter Walmart's new Spark Studio.
I thought I knew everything there is to know about shopping online, but this is a whole new experience.
It's Pinterest and online shopping all in one!

Now I know sometimes Walmart and their shoppers get a bad wrap...
so not the case with Spark Studio.
Since it's set up like Pinterest, you browse items that are the best of the best.
You can even see how many times an item has been pinned.

I love this set up!
I really think {hope??} it's the direction other websites will go in the future.

I set up a Pinterest board of many of my favorite finds...
An aqua cruiser?  I'm so in love.

I would looove an instax camera!

This red bistro set is calling my name.

And in addition to the fun dreamy items, I also pinned the practical.
My fave cookie gifting jars.

We use these cracker jars for everything, especially for parties!

This is our beloved green smoothie blender.
I always like to stock up on flour sack towels for gifting and other rainbowy projects!

And saving my best find for last...
A Jenny Lind bed!
From Walmart!
I love it.
Big Brother has a Jenny Lind bed like this, and as much fun as the hunt was for that one...having this pinned for when I need to upgrade beds for my two youngest is going to be so helpful.

head on over and check out Spark Studio for yourself!
Tell me what you think...what are some of your favorite items??
And if you're interested, you can check out all of my pins right here. :)


This post is sponsored by Walmart, but all opinions and references to uncooperative children in shopping carts are my own.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

recipe: our favorite chocolate chip cookies

I feel a little silly even posting this recipe since I'm sure everyone already has their favorite cookie recipes, but whenever I post a picture of chocolate chip cookie making here or on instagram, someone usually asks what recipe I use. :)

I'm happy to share...and it's never let me down...so here you go!

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 sticks butter, softened to room temp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
as many chocolate chips as your heart desires

Preheat oven to 375* and line baking sheets with parchment.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl and set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Gradually add in flour mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop or big spoon, drop dough onto cookie sheet and bake 9-10ish minutes.

Let cool and dunk in milk!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


A tiny peek into our week before Mother's Day {I'll share more deets from the weekend soon} through filtered iphone pics.
If you'd like to follow along with me on instagram, I'm @aprettycoollife

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