Air Fryer Zucchini

Ever wish you could have yummy warm fried zucchini without the guilt of eating deep fried food? Now there is a solution! I LOVE my air frier- I can honestly say, most of the things I make in there actually taste fried! I recently upgraded to the GoWise Air Frier and have no complaints.

Ingredients: 

  • Zucchinis (thinly sliced, I use a Nutri Chopper to make long thin slices)
  • 6-8 oz of soda water
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 3-4 cups panko
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Romano cheese (optional- I don’t always have this cheese on hand)
  • ½ tsp chopped parsley (optional)

The secret ingredient is the soda water- this makes the zucchini very crispy after it comes out of the air frier!

Combine ½ cup flour, 4 tbs cornstarch, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp garlic (I use dry unsalted garlic), and add to 6 oz soda water and whisk together – do not over-mix (you don’t want the soda water to lose all of its carbonation. Batter should be the consistency of thin pancake batter- if it is too thick, soda water can be added.

Next step, dip the zucchini slices in the batter, then into the panko. Lay all the zucchini on a baking sheet until you are ready to air fry it.

Air fry the zucchini at 400F for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is crispy- I think the cook times depend on the type of air frier used! Garnish the zucchini with the Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese and chopped parsley. I promise they will be the BEST you have ever tried!

Personally, I love to pair the zucchini with lemon aioli sauce.

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon- juice and zest to taste
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs finely chopped chives
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients together, and serve with the warm air fried zucchini! ENJOY!

Always, living my best life ❤

Nashville: A Weekend Travel Guide

Nashville is a great place to spend a weekend. Both times I went, we rented an AirBNB and it was a great experience! I definitely recommend it. We got in on Friday afternoon and headed to The Gluch, a neighborhood near downtown Nashville. Our first stop was The Pub Nashville, a British Pub with an extensive selection of draft beer! I got a seasonal beer: the Wicked Weed Passion Fruit Lychee Burst beer, and it was amazing. Also the home made pretzels were soft and warm, served with beer cheese!

Our next stop that afternoon was Yazoo Brewing Company. I came here the first time I was in Nashville and it is a great place, both with indoor and outdoor seating. The weather was beautiful even though it was April.

At that point we had definitely worked up an appetite so we decided to try Burger Republic for a late meal in the afternoon. They claimed to be one of the best burgers in America. I don’t know if I would necessarily agree with this statement being from Chicago, but it was pretty good. One of the things we quickly recognized was that tater tots were on every menu we saw in Nashville!

Since we traveled that morning, we decided to watch the sunset on the rooftop of our building and call it an early night. We just grabbed a bite to eat at a local bar in East Nashville before going to bed that evening. A lot of our friends told us to go to Biscuit Love while in Nashville, and they are usually not wrong. So we started Saturday morning off in a line for about an hour to wait for a table at one of the most talked about places in Nashville, and it was WELL WORTH IT! While waiting in line, we grabbedd coffee from around the corner at Killebrew, which made the line go a little faster!

After a long wait in line we were finally inside. We decided to get the East Nasty, which was a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with fried boneless chicken thigh, covered in aged cheddar and sausage gravy– fun fact: this was named the best sandwich in America. We also got the Bill Neil, which was cheese grits, gulf rock shrimp, mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, lemon tabasco sauce and green onion. This was also very good! PSA: get the chai tea latte, comes in both hot and iced!

The weather was beautiful, so we decided to walk to Broadway and wanter down the street until we got to the river. After our long walk, soaking up all the sun we could get, we decided to go to Five Daughters Bakery to eat some 100-layer donuts. YES 100 LAYERS…SO AMAZING AND FLAKY! We then spent the rest of the early afternoon walking around the very hip 12 South area.

We then headed back to our place for the afternoon, to rest and come back out for happy hour. The started our evening on the rooftop at Bourbon Steak. The views were amazing, and we enjoyed the sunset up there.

Our next stop was Milk & Honey, another highly recommended restaurant in Nashville. We decided to head here for dinner and were not disappointed! The dinner was delicious, just what we needed before heading back into Broadway for the night!

After dinner we spent the evening on Broadway barhopping. We started at Honky Tonk Central, then Acme Feed & Seed, and ended the night at Mellow Mushroom. The weather was beautiful so we actually were able to hang out on the rooftops. The last rooftop even had heat lamps. We enjoyed some live music throughout the night and had a great time!

We ended Sunday in East Nashville by our AirBNB. First stop was East Park Donut & Coffee, followed by brunch at Butcher & Bee.

After that we were ready to head to the airport and go home! It was a wonderful weekend!

———– ❤ ————

I wanted to add a bit in here about my last trip to Nashville. It was for my friend’s Bachelorette party, so the night on Broadway was similar but we did a few things that I wanted to highlight as fun things to do while in Nashville. I highly recommend Arrington Vineyards!

Another fun activity was the Pedal Tavern. We decided to do it mid afternoon, and use it as our “pregame” into the night!

Overall, I definitely recommend Nashville for a weekend trip! Great with your girls, your spouse, or even a big group!

Always, living my best life ❤

Thai Salad with Air Fried Shrimp

We just got an air fryer and I was super excited to use it. The first thing we made with it was shrimp which turned out amazing! We have a GoWise air fryer, I linked the exact one we have.

To make the salad use the following ingredients, I just eyeballed how much of each ingredient I wanted to use and chopped everything up:

  • Napa Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Shredded carrots- I just bought a pre shredded bag to save time
  • Red bell pepper
  • English Cucumber
  • Cooked Shelled Edamame- I bought it frozen and cooked it in a microwave safe bowl for 4.5 minutes
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Peanuts- I used roasted unsalted peanuts
It almost looks too pretty to eat!!!

After you chop everything up, don’t add the dressing until you are going to serve the salad. You can also store the salad overnight and add dressing the next day. This is a great recipe for meal prep! I paired my salad with homemade peanut dressing. In a blender blend together the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

I added some water to dilute the dressing, I also tasted it at the end, and ended up adding a little more ginger and soy sauce. I used the small attachment to my ninja to avoid having to clean the whole blender when I was done.

The last step is to air fry the shrimp. I peeled and cleaned the shrimp, I suggest fresh shrimp as opposed to frozen shrimp. I then breaded the shrimp in the following order: flour–> egg wash –> panko and stuck it in the air fryer. I sprayed the breaded shrimp lightly with avocado oil. The key things are time and temperature when cooking in the air fryer. I cooked it at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. About half way through, I pulled out the bucket and shook the shrimp around. This meal took about 20 minutes to make, the longest part was cutting the vegetables!

As you can see, the shrimp turned out crispy and delicious!

Always, living my best life ❤

L’ours Bakery + Eatlay Chicago- Biata

I was off on Valentine’s Day this year and had the perfect day! It started with a coffee at L’OURS BAKERY COFFEE. Definitely a cute coffee shop centrally located in Little Italy. It was pretty large, great work space for those who want to study or work from home.

Later that night I finally got to go to a popup restaurant at Eatlay Chicago called Biata. The restaurant concept was the Italian Alps: MELTED CHEESES AND WARM WINES! I was pretty much in heaven during dinner!

The decor and ambiance was beautiful, super cozy and warm, literally felt like we were in a cabin.

The warm wine was yummy! I didn’t think I would be a fan of warm wine, but I was quiet pleased with it. The cheese/ food was absolutely amazing. It was very rich and CHEESY but that’s my favorite, so I wasn’t complaining.

Desert wasn’t an option after a meal like that, I was way to full to have anything else! Definitely a great experience!

Always, living my best life ❤

S.K.Y.

Since it was restaurant week, we wanted to try a new restaurant and S.K.Y. was on the Chicago Top 50 restaurant list. Although they didn’t have a restaurant week menu we wanted to try it anyways.

We started with drinks and appetizers. Everything was family style and we placed our whole order at once and the kitchen timed it out for us. We started with cornbread madeleines and black truffle croquettes.

We then got Maine lobster dumplings, pasta regu which was an off the menu special and organic fried chicken, which seemed to be a crowd favorite when we looked up the menu.

We had saved just enough room for some dessert. We decided to get a green tea dessert served with caramel donuts, some of our favorite things in one dessert.

Always, living my best life ❤

etta

While my cousin was in town from Seattle we all decided to have family dinner at etta. I had been wanting to try this place for a while now so I was super excited to go! The restaurant is located in Bucktown, so it’s a further trip for us, but well worth it!

The minute we walked in, we loved it. It was very aesthetically pleasing. We had 9:45pm reservations, but it was packed when we walked in so had to wait. However they were nice enough to give us complimentary champagne while waiting for our table.

We started with the fire-baked focaccia served with ricotta honey & truffle, and the spicy meatballs and ricotta pillows (2 orders) which I would highly recommend! Then we followed up with 3 pastas, 2 pizzas and 2 proteins for the 6 of us. The menu is intended to be family style, so it’s a great place to go with a larger group! I think it was safe to say we ordered too much food.

Everything came out as it was ready, and it was fresh and tasted amazing. They timed it well in the kitchen, we had exactly enough time to enjoy each plate before the next one came out. I think that this may be a summer date night spot in the near future.

Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert but the dessert menu looked very good.

Always, living my best life ❤

Vol. 39

It’s always nice to find a new spot and fall in love with it! We decided to try Vol. 39 and walking it we appreciated the ambiance, definitely our vibe. Their charcuterie menu looked awesome but we had dinner plans for restaurant week, so we stuck to drinks. They had an extensive Old Fashioned list, and one that stood out was the Vol. 39, a $35 drink. I got a classic cocktail, and I couldn’t resist and he got the Vol. 39.

We decided to stay for a second round, and the bartender created a nice floral cocktail for me, off the menu.

We loved this spot and can’t wait to come back! I think the next time we are going to try the small plates.

Always, living my best life ❤

Egg fried “rice”

Today I decided to make egg fried rice without rice. I substituted the rice with Green Giant Riced Broccoli and Cauliflower mix. They have a variety of different riced veggie combos, just use the one you want. The whole bag of “rice” has 80 calories! That’s what makes this recipe so healthy and low in calories.

Ingredients:

  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 package of microwavable frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 package of riced veggies
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove

The prep time was about 15-20 minutes! Warm up the sesame oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and garlic and cooked it for about 5 minutes, turn down the heat right before the onion becomes caramelized. In a separate pan cook the riced veggies, this also takes about 5 minutes. Add the microwaved veggies to the onion/garlic mixture. Push this mixture to the side of the pan and use the other half of the pan to scramble 3-4 eggs (I used 3 this time). Once the eggs are cooked, add the riced veggies and add soy sauce to taste. I didn’t add salt to this recipe because the soy sauce is enough sodium for me, but if you feel you need to add salt, just salt to taste.

It is a very simple recipe and tastes amazing. We ate right away, but I am excited to make this again on a Sunday and use it as my lunch for a few days!

Always, living my best life ❤

The Violet Hour + Pub Royale

We always love to plan elaborate date nights, and we try to hit up as many spots as we can in one night. This time we decided to start at The Violet Hour. A speakeasy I have always wanted to go to. A friend had mentioned that it is quite inside, but it was surprisingly loud that evening, there was even loud music music playing!

Our next stop was dinner, we went to Pub Royale since it was in the same neighborhood as Violet Hour. They had good Indian food as well as Indian fusion food at the restaurant.

We started with an order with the vegetable samosas and the lamb dumplings.

For dinner we split the Pub Royale burger. It was a pretty good burger with spicy pickles and masala aioli.

The desert menu had chai tea dulce de leche donut holes, so naturally we had to order it, also one of the more popular drinks on the menu was a dressed up Hamm’s, which was an interesting twist on beer.

We had a successful date night to say the least!

Always, living my best life ❤

Weekend Rendezvous in New York

I absolutely love New York, it is a fun city to visit but I don’t think I would be able to live there. I think it is just too crowded and too busy for me. I decided it was time to have a quick weekend trip to New York. There were flight delays to New York, as per usual, and I was miraculously able to get on the 5:10 pm flight after work since it was delayed. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait for my 8:35 pm flight which had been pushed to 10pm!

I landed in New York earlier than anticipated, and was able to enjoy Friday night. I dropped my bag off at the hotel and met friends at Buddakan. The evening was filled with good food and good company.

We decided to continue the night and go out for 1 more drink at The Empire Rooftop. We were one of the only ones on the rooftop, it was beautiful. They had the rooftop enclosed for the winter so it was nice and cozy.

The next day, Saturday, was a beautiful and sunny day. I made my way to Best Bagel and Coffee in New York to get an everything bagel with jalapeno cream cheese. Later that morning, we met friends up for brunch at Baar Baar. The indian fusion food was one of my favorites from the weekend! I don’t usually like fusion restaurants, but they did a good job. There was also a DJ there!

The rest of the day we had a food and drink crawl around the city! Our first stop was Mr. Purple, on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo in the Lower East Side. The ambiance was amazing, also there was a hot tub on the roof that hotel guests could use.

Our next spot was dessert! We decided to go to Stuffed for some ice cream + donuts! After dessert we went to Holiday Cocktail Lounge for another drink, it was a dive bar walking distance from Stuffed.

At this point, it was time for more food. We went to Artichoke Pizza. NO JOKE… this is my favorite pizza in the whole world! We got the original artichoke pizza as well as the vodka sauce pizza. Not sure which one I liked more actually. They were both amazing.

We had time for one more spot before heading back to our hotel, so we decided to go to The Belfry. It was beautiful in there, lots of mini lights and greenery. I had my first pickleback shot and it was shockingly good!

After The Belfry, we went back to the hotel and got ready for the evening. I met my cousin and her husband for dinner at Barbounia. We had a quick photo shoot on our hotel rooftop before heading to dinner. After dinner, we went to my favorite bar in New York, Park Avenue Winter. They seasonally change the inside of the restaurant, not just the decor, they paint the inside a different color! I have been to Spring and Summer as well and it is always so well decorated.

After drinks, we decided to meet our friends back up in Time Square. We went to Bar 54 on the Hyatt Rooftop. They actually just had installed heated igloos on their rooftop earlier that week. After that, we ended our night at Magic Hour before getting late night food and heading back to the hotel. The next morning, we met our friends up for brunch at Black Barn.

After brunch we decided to go hang out inside Restoration Hardware for the rest of the afternoon before heading to the airport. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend!

Always, living my best life ❤