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9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try

9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try

Have more zucchini than you know what to do with?  Here are 9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try!

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Zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables available!  Zucchini is technically a fruit, but for all intents and purpose it’s treated like a vegetable.  No matter, what a zucchini is, is delicious.  If you’re one of the lucky ones you have a huge summer crop, with more zucchini than you know what to do with.  But if you’re like me and you don’t have a personal crop, you can buy plenty of zucchini from your local farmers markets or grocery store, and that is exactly what I do all summer long.  All zucchini all the time.

Zucchini is great to have on hand because there are so many delicious ways to cook and bake with it without getting bored.  Over the years here on my blog, I’ve shared a few of my favourite zucchini recipes, so I thought I would share them with you again, all in one easy to access place!

Here are 9 Delicious Zucchini Recipes To Try!

Zucchini, Cheddar & Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread

Zucchini, Cheddar Cheese & Chive Buttermilk Quick Bread:  Quick bread recipes are fantastic, and this particular recipe is one of my favourites.  Aside from the delicious flavour, one of the best things about this bread is that you can have it made, baked and on the table in just over an hour.  Fresh bread for dinner?  Yes please.

Zucchini Bake {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Bake I have been making and enjoying this Zucchini Bake recipe for many, many years because my Mom made it for us when I was a kid, and now I make it for my family.  It is a great side dish recipe that pairs well with chicken and BBQ’d meats.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake {A Pretty Life}

Chocolate Zucchini Cake:  You can’t have a zucchini recipe round up without a sweet zucchini loaf or cake!  This Chocolate Zucchini Cake is so tender and chocolatey that it would even make a great birthday cake!

Best Ever Zucchini Bread {A Pretty Life}

Best Ever Zucchini Bread:  I may be biased because this recipe comes from my Mom, but I really do think this is the best ever zucchini bread.  I make many, many loaves of this bread over the summer!  This is a great recipe because it makes 2 loaves, so you can freeze one for later.  Bonus!

Zucchini Muffins {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Muffins:  Zucchini muffins are a nice way to use up zucchini.  This is basically the same recipe as my zucchini loaf, but instead I made it into muffins.  These are great because they are easy to pack into lunches or served as snacks.

Zucchini Bread Pancakes {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Bread Pancakes: Zucchini pancakes are SO delicious.  They’re sweet, cinnamon-y and perfect for breakfast.  My kids love them.

Zucchini Fritters {A Pretty Life}

Zucchini Fritters:  Zucchini Fritters are a great summer side dish or snack idea.  They’re excellent served with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.  So good.

Tomato, Basil & Zucchini Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato, Basil & Zucchini Goat Cheese Tart:  Tarts are always a big hit around here!  A savoury tart such as this one is a great light dinner idea or summer appetizer.

Tomato Zucchini Skillet {A Pretty Life}

Tomato Zucchini Skillet:  I think this skillet just might be my most made dish of all time.  During the summer I likely make it once a week because it’s an excellent way to use up a tonne of zucchini, and it pairs wonderfully with any type of BBQ.  The flavour is great and it’s loaded with vegetable goodness!

I hope you found some zucchini recipe inspiration for your home!  What are your favourite ways to enjoy zucchini?

Have a delicious day!

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Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids {A Pretty Life}

Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids!

Camping in your own backyard can be so much fun for your family!  To make sure it’s a great time, here are some Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids!

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Our family loves to camp, in fact camping is the way we holiday over the summer months.  It’s such a great way to spend quality time as a family, and not only that, it is a really affordable holiday.  If time permitted we would camp every weekend of the summer, but that’s not always possible, so the next best thing is camping out in the backyard!  Kids love camping in the backyard…it’s endless hours of fun from set up to sun down!

Here are some tips so you can have a great time camping out with your kids!

Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids {A Pretty Life}

Get the kids involved in the set up!

When kids are involved in the planning and set up of any activity, the more likely it is that they will enjoy it!  If they’re old enough they can set up the tent (woohoo!), then fill it up with all of their blankets, pillows and comfort items.  Including the dog.

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Make it comfortable!

Set up air mattresses, have sleeping bags, pillows and plenty of extra blankets available in case it is cold at night!  The biggest thing that will ruin any camping trip is an uncomfortable tent and sleeping situation.  We have learned this the hard way over the years!  The biggest tip I can share about sleeping in a tent, is to make sure you roll out a thick blanket underneath the air mattresses (so between the ground and the mattress), that way no one will get cold from the air coming up from the ground.  I remember one night camping with friends, and my daughter and I were on an air mattress directly on the tent floor…oh my word.  We have never had a more uncomfortable and cold night camping EVER.  Ever.  I had to get up in the middle of the night and lay out every towel and piece of clothing I could find…good times.

Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids {A Pretty Life}

Make sure the kids have access to good night lighting!

I think the biggest fear with any kind of camping with kids, is the fear of the dark.  To combat this, our kids have the Energizer® Vision HD Headlights that I bought at Walmart.  These are great because the adjustable head bands fit comfortably, and they have 3 light settings.  Headlamps are perfect for late night reading and trips to the bathroom!  I also got them an Energizer Portable Lantern to have set up inside the tent for comfort…and I love that it won’t get hot.

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Tips for Backyard Camping with Kids {A Pretty Life}

Do the things you would do if you were in a campground, like having a campfire!

It almost seems impossible not to have a campfire if you’re going to be spending the night in a tent, even if it is in your backyard.  Break out those marshmallows and get roasting!  You can even make dinner over the fire…fire roasted hot dogs are the best!  When you think about it, backyard camping is a lot easier because you’ve got the kitchen right at your fingertips, plus you don’t have to worry about coolers and ice!

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Have fun!

Most importantly have fun!  Don’t stress about the details because really, if you forget something you can just go get it.  The whole point is to embrace summer holidays and have fun!

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Now It’s Time to WIN!

One Canadian A Pretty Life reader will win a $500 Walmart Gift Card!  To enter, leave a blog post comment telling me what you would buy for your own backyard campout!  Good luck!

 

Happy camping!

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Disclosure:  Thank you to Energizer Canada for sponsoring this post.  As always all thoughts, text, and opinions are my own.  We enjoy a good campout!  🙂

Easy DIY Patio Lights  {A Pretty Life}

Easy DIY Patio Lights

String patio lights around your deck or patio space to make a magical nighttime garden retreat!

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For as long as I can remember I have wanted to string patio lights around my deck but just never got around to making it happen.  I decided to change that this year, and get it done.  And now that the lights are up, I’m sad that I took so long to do it!  I love how my deck looks all lit up at night, SO SO much.  So much.

Easy DIY Patio Lights {A Pretty Life}4

This really is the easiest project I have ever tackled.  It’s almost too easy and embarrassing to share here, but I’m going to because if you have ever considered doing this to your deck space I want you to know you should.  Don’t wait another second because you’ll love the outcome.

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This is not a fancy project by any stretch, but then again I’m not fancy.  Sometimes I just want things done in a simplistic way, and that’s what I got with this light project.  To string the lights I used 2x2x8 treated lumber poles and stainless steel screw eye rings.  I screwed the eye rings into the centres of the tops of the poles.  Then we secured the poles to the corners of our deck by screwing them into the sides of our deck base.  Then I strung 4 sets of outdoor lights from eye ring to eye ring.

Done.  Really simple.

To recap, here are the supplies I used:

  • The lights are from Lowe’s and you can see them here.  They are a 2.4 watt indoor/outdoor 13.4 feet, 10 bulb LED light string.
  • 2x2x8 treated lumber poles
  • stainless steel screw eye rings

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Easy DIY Patio Lights {A Pretty Life}5

And look how pretty they look!  Whimsical like a rustic garden party.  The whole deck is softly lit up…sigh.  I could sit out here all night long…the lights, the evening scented stock…I love it so much.

Easy DIY Patio Lights {A Pretty Life}2

So if you have waited to do this for your deck, don’t wait any longer!

Have an inspired day!

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Disclosure:  The lights and supplies I used for this project were gifted to me by Lowe’s Canada. As always, all thoughts, ideas, opinions and such are my own.  I really really love this project!

Container Gardening  {A Pretty Life}2

Tips to get your container garden ready for planting!

This spring I am working with Lowe’s Canada to share some ideas and tips for container gardening, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I absolutely love gardening!

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Spring here in Calgary has come very early!  In fact I saw on Facebook that 2 years ago at this time we were under a foot of snow!  Crazy.  But not this year.  This year we have already had over 10 days of 20+ degree weather, so I have the gardening bug really bad.  It’s hard not to when some years we only have just over 2 months to enjoy our garden in full bloom.  It’s still possible that we could get a spring snow storm, but for now I’m going to enjoy this early arrival of summer (and have blankets ready on hand!).

Container Gardening

Last week with my kids in tow, we headed out to Lowe’s to start our garden shopping.  I was amazed at how full the centre was already for the month of April.  From now until June truckloads and truckloads of plants will arrive every week…it’s a gardeners dream!  On my first trip I wanted to keep things fairly simple and mostly just purchase items that I needed to get my garden ready for planting.  This year I’ve scaled down my garden significantly, removing planter boxes and perennials, and instead I will be focussing all of my gardening efforts on containers.  We have a large deck off the back of our home which is a perfect sunny space for many many containers of flowers.

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While I was at Lowe’s I spoke with the garden centre manager Hazel, who is also a horticulturalist, and she was a tremendous help!  I had so many questions about pots, fertilizers, flower arrangements…and she was able to answer everything.  I’m heading into this garden season ready to have my best garden yet.

Container Gardening {A Pretty Life}

Before I started my planting I took inventory of the supplies I had at home, and surprisingly I was in need of quite a few things.  It was time for new pots, clean soil, new hoses and tools, all of which I was able to get at Lowe’s.  This is my list of my container garden must haves.

Container Garden Must Haves:

  • Flower pots:  These are a personal preference.  I like to use self watering pots and heavy glazed pots that hold water well.
  • Potting soil:  Get a good potting soil that provides optimum aeration, drainage and nutrients.  I’m using Pro-Mix Potting Soil in my containers this year.
  • Compost:  Compost is rich in nutrients.  It increases plant stem strength, promotes vigorous root growth, foliage, and flowering.  I’m using Biomax Sheep Manure Compost mixed in with my soil this year.
  • Garden trowel:  This tool is a must for planting flowers!
  • Garden hose
  • Spray gun hose attachment:  I like the nozzles with the adjustable spray patterns.  This is the one I’m using.
  • Fertilizer: A tip from my Lowe’s expert is to use a fertilizer with a higher 3rd number.  I’m using Plant-Prod 15-15-30 Tomato & Vegetable fertilizer for my flower pots.
  • Gardening gloves:  Keep your hands and manicures soft and clean all gardening season long!  😉
  • Watering can:  I use a watering can to water and fertilize all of my potted plants.

Container Gardening {A Pretty Life}

My Molly trying to get in on all the fun!  I will say gardening with a puppy is a whole new experience…and a wee bit frustrating. 😉

Container Gardening

The flower pots I’m using this year are these square Mayne Self-Watering planters.  I love the idea of even more low maintenance as far as my flowers go.  These planters have a built-in water reservoir that encourages healthy plant growth by allowing plants to practically water themselves, this means that plants stay happy between waterings.

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I also love that they look so nice on my deck!

I’m also using this type of planter for my sweet peas.  I just added this metal trellis for the vines to climb once they become established.

Before it’s time to actually plant, a few things should be done ahead of time.  These are steps like cleaning and preparing pots, mixing soil, planning floral arrangement ideas…all steps towards a beautiful garden.

Getting ready to plant:

  • Have all of your tools ready.  Hoses, watering cans, fertilizer, soil…
  • Clean out your pots.  Remove old plants, and any soil that may have moulds or disease from last season.  You many even need to bleach wash old pots that you think may have disease (like powdery mildew).
  • Fill your pots with new soil and compost if needed.  Mix your potting soil with some compost to help with moisture retention, which means your plant are less likely to dry out between waterings.  The compost also adds a lot of nutrients to the soil.  This year I used a mixture of Pro-Mix Potting Soil and Biomax Sheep Manure Compost.

Container Gardening {A Pretty Life}4

Choosing plants for your container garden:

  • Find out what plants grow well in your region.  I live in an area where our winters are harsh and our summers are short, so buying plants can be tricky!  I try to stick to annuals as much as I can during our spring and summer months, because they’re easy to grow and with little care I can have flowers all spring and summer long!  Having said that…
  • Don’t be afraid to use shrubs and perennials in your container garden!  Yes, we don’t have to limit our flower pots to annuals!  Shrubs and perennials look beautiful in flower pots and make great statement arrangements.  Remember they’re just plants and you can replace them each year!  And if you wish to keep them for next year, just make sure to cover and care for them over the winter.
  • Buy plants that work best for your yard and sun.  Check the labels and make sure you’re planting plants that need full sun in the sun, and shade plants in the shade.
  • Use the rule of 3 (or 5 or 7)!  Keep this rule in mind when you’re planning your containers.  Plants always look best when grouped together in uneven numbers like 3, 5, 7.  One lonely plant has very little impact, but group them together in 3, 5, 7 or more and you will have big impact!
  • Thriller, Filler, Spiller:  Have you heard of this gardening rule?  It’s a great one to keep in mind when shopping for your flower pots.  A thriller plant is your big, bold and beautiful centrepiece flower.  The fillers are plants that compliment the thriller plant, but don’t overwhelm it.  The spiller plant is the plant that spills over the side of the container (like a trailing verbena or bacopa or creeping jenny or lobelia)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the garden centre staff questions!  While I was planning and shopping for my garden at Lowe’s, I worked with the most knowledgable and helpful staff member named Hazel!  Hazel is a horticulturalist so she was a wealth of knowledge, and she helped me tremendously, answering all of my questions from planter options to fertilizer recommendations to plant choices.

Planting Tips:

  • Planting Sweet Peas:  This year I’m growing my sweet peas in a flower pot on my deck.  I used 9 packages of various types of sweet peas in one pot!  I planted a bush variety, and 2 different heights of vine varieties so the planter will have sweet peas growing at all height levels!  And yes, you read that right, I used 9 packages.
  • Mix colours and textures.  Our flower pots need not be boring!  Choose 2 or 3 colours for your pot, and pay attention to the foliage.  Foliage can make a big impact too.
  • Pack those plants in!  When putting together your flower pots, pack those plants in!  Yes, fill the pot with as many plants as you can fit (leaving about an inch between each plant).  That way when your flowers start to grow, your pots will fill in and won’t look empty.  With our short growing season here (2 months, 3 if I’m lucky!), I don’t have the luxury of waiting for my planters to fill in, so I have to fill them in from the beginning.
  • Water the roots, not the flowers and foliage.  When watering your plants, try only to water the soil and not the foliage.  This will help prevent plant disease.
  • Water your plants in the morning.  That way they have time to absorb the water throughout the day and in the hot sun.
  • Fertilize your plants once a week.  For beautiful and full flowers you need to fertilize once a week!  Choose a day and stick to it…I fertilize on Mondays!
  • Succulent Tip!  Succulents do not need a lot of water, in fact they like fairly dry soil, so be careful not to overwater them.

Container Gardening {A Pretty Life}

Now my pots are all planted, and all I have to do is wait for everything to fill in and grow.  I’m looking forward to sharing updates of my garden as it grows!

Container Gardening

Happy Planting!

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Disclosure:  I am working with and am compensated by Lowe’s Canada, to bring you tips for container gardening!  But as always, all thoughts, ideas, opinions and such are my own.  I just really love gardening and am thrilled to be able to share ideas and tips with you!

Green and White Easter Table  {A Pretty Life}2

An Easter Table Setting in Green and White

Setting a beautiful table for Easter doesn’t have to be complicated!  Here’s a simple Green & White table setting idea!

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With Easter just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about your brunch and dinner table!  I like to have a pretty and festive table at all of the holidays, but I need it to be simple.  When you’re busy cooking and baking, sometimes the last thing you want to do is set the table, let alone decorate it.  But I like a decorated table, so I’ve just learned to keep things as simple as possible.  That means shopping around my own home for decorations.

Remember, making things pretty does not need to be complicated!  So I wanted to share some ideas with you, just so you can see how easy it is to put together a festive Easter table.  Last week I shared a Robin’s Egg Blue Table Setting, and a Pink & Yellow Table Setting, and today I wanted to share a simple and springy Green & White Table Setting.

Green and White Easter Table {A Pretty Life}

I bought these cute little white cardboard strawberry baskets at Michaels for less than $4, and to go with them I bought some green paper basket filler.  And because I had some of these fuzzy chicks in my home stash already I decided to use them, but if you have other trinkets or Easter candy use those!

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Really, what I’m learning is any little extra attention you give to your table, is enough.  The simplest things are noticed and appreciated…while it would be nice to have an elaborate table, it’s just not always feasible or affordable.

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Get creative and have fun with it!

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For more Easter table ideas, click on the images below!

A Robin’s Egg Blue Table

Robin's Egg Blue Easter Table Setting {A Pretty Life}

Pink & Yellow Easter Table

Pink and Yellow Easter Table Setting {A Pretty Life}

Easter Bunny Basket Table Setting

Easter Table Setting

Also to go with your table setting, here are some delicious Easter dinner ideas…just click on the titles for the recipes.

Easter Menu {A Pretty Life}

Whisk

Baked Ham

Devilled Eggs

Broccoli Salad with Mandarins, Red Onion & Bacon

Dill Scalloped Potatoes

Parsnip Puree

Glazed Carrots

Roasted Asparagus

Seven Layer Salad

Peanut Butter Confetti Cake

Strawberry Shortcakes

Carrot Cake

Have an inspired and delicious day!  Happy Easter!

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Robin's Egg Blue Easter Table Setting  {A Pretty Life}

An Easter Table Setting in Robin’s Egg Blue

Setting a beautiful table for Easter doesn’t have to be complicated!  Here is an idea for a pretty Robin’s Egg Blue Easter table!

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I’m getting so excited for Easter now that it’s March and the timing feels right to do some planning!  This year we’re having Easter at home, so I am dreaming up ways to decorate our dinner and brunch table.  Last week I showed you an idea for a Pink & Yellow Easter Table, and today I’m sharing an idea for a Robin’s Egg Blue Easter Table.

Robin's Egg Blue Easter Table Setting {A Pretty Life}

I think this is my favourite Easter table colour scheme…I just love love the colour of Robin’s Egg Blue.  Not only that but Robin eggs are the quintessential sign of spring…I remember checking birds nests on the big gas tanks on my Grandparent’s farm with my Grandpa when we’d visit in the spring.  It was always so amazing to see the teeny tiny Robin eggs…these are such good memories for me, and because of these moments I have a fondness for Robin eggs.  I mean how can you not love a Robin egg?  The colour, the speckles…so pretty.

Robin's Egg Blue Easter Table Setting {A Pretty Life}2

This is the easiest table setting to make.  I bought a set of cardboard strawberry baskets in white from Michaels, and filled them up with the decorative Robin eggs, then I added a simple white & grey birch ribbon.  I love how the egg place setting matches so nicely with our dining table chairs, and the new napkins I found at Chapters.  So simple and pretty.

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The whole point of me sharing these table setting ideas is to show you how easy it is to set a beautiful Easter table.  We don’t need to complicate things with elaborate settings.  I know I often feel like I have to go big or go home, then I get overwhelmed at the thought and end up doing nothing, so instead I decided to embrace the simple.  You can shop your own Easter decor stash for ideas, or buy inexpensive embellishments from your local craft store.  It doesn’t take a lot to make a pretty table come together.

Robin's Egg Blue Easter Table Setting {A Pretty Life}4

Just have fun and enjoy putting together your table, because if you like what you are doing it shows!

Whisk

I can’t send you away without sharing some food ideas with you!  So to go with this table setting, here are some delicious Easter dinner ideas…just click on the titles for the recipes.

Easter Menu {A Pretty Life}

Baked Ham  //  Devilled Eggs  //  Broccoli Salad with Mandarins, Red Onion & Bacon  //  Dill Scalloped Potatoes  //  Parsnip Puree  //  Glazed Carrots  //  Roasted Asparagus  //  Seven Layer Salad  //  Peanut Butter Confetti Cake  //  Strawberry Shortcakes  //  Carrot Cake

Have an inspired day!

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