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Orchard Girls

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WWEW: Beer Batter Deep Fried Zucchini w/ Special Sauce

Hey everyone! It's time for What We Eat Wednesday! A couple of weeks ago, my husband brought home some freshly picked zucchini from one of his customer's gardens. I had been itching to try some deep fried zucchini, and I figured this would be the perfect time. It ended up being a big hit, so I decided to share the recipe with you guys. :)
Ingredients:
2-3 zucchinis, sliced
12 oz bottle of beer
1 1/2 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
oil for deep frying

Instructions:
1. Put oil into saucepan and bring up to medium heat. Not too hot!
2. Put 1/2 cup of the flour in a small to medium bowl and set aside.
3. Mix all other ingredients (except the zucchini) into a medium bowl.
4. Dip slices of zucchini in flour, then the beer batter, and place in oil to deep fry. Let them fry for a minute or so, until the batter has turned golden brown.
5. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Let cool and enjoy!

Special Sauce Ingredients (like a fry sauce!):
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (regular is fine, too!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions:
1. Just mix all ingredients up and let sit in the fridge for at least a half hour to chill.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! I'm already craving them again!
Have an amazing Wednesday !

Check out all of the wonderful linky parties we link to by clicking

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mommy and Me - Elephant Handprint Art

Today, I wanted to share a quick project. This post is going to be a short one – it isn’t so much a ‘how to’ post as it is a ‘cool idea’ post! Lol. My mom showed me a picture of these elephant handprints from somewhere online, and she wanted me to try it with Adeline. I thought it was super cute, so we tried it the other day, and I love how it turned out!
I put a little finger paint on Addie’s hand, and pressed her hand on the paper. Of course, she wanted to eat the paper instead – it took 3 tries to get a decent print. Haha. Her hand print was a little crooked, so I had to make it look like she was going down a hill. 
Next I did mine (you have to make sure you do them close to the top of the paper, because you end up turning it so the hand prints are upside down. Here is how ours turned out! I spray painted this frame and matte square that I got at Goodwill so it would match the painting.
Let us know what you think! Think you’ll give it a try? Feel free to share a link to yours if you do, I’d love to see.
Here is my big girl - 8 Months old now!
Have  a wonderful day,
We will be linking up to these lovely parties HERE!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Puffed Pastry Pizza Pockets

Good morning everyone. I hope your weekend is going well. We don't usually post on the weekends, but since our last post was Thursday, I wanted to give you guys something!! This recipe is so super easy and it was very delicious. Ya know, I was always scared of using "puffed pastry", guess what? Not anymore! It's easy and there are SO many different recipes you can use it for. Today I am going to share with you my 
"Puffed Pastry Pizza Pockets"

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 Puffed Pastry Sheets (Cut into squares -thawed)
  • 1 can Pizza Sauce (I used Contadina Roma Style Tomatoes Pizza Sauce)
  • Pepperoni  ( I use Armour)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (as desired)
  • Basil (sprinkled on)
  • Any other toppings you'd like!
  • toothpicks, too

Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 - Once you cut your pastry sheets into squares and they're thawed out. Spread your pizza sauce on them. Then you're going to want to add all your toppings. I just sprinkled basil, then added  my cheese and pepperonis...like this:
Next you'll need your toothpicks, so get them ready. Now fold two of the corners in slightly, and then fold another corner covering the two little corners and then lastly fold the remaining corner over top of that. If that made no sense whatsoever, sorry. Lol. Here is a picture to better explain: 
Once they are all folded, go ahead and stick a toothpick into them, so they don't unfold while they are baking. Put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If they're in a 9x13 dish (which is what I did) they may take a little bit longer (more like 25 minutes) but just check them every once in a while to make sure! :) Pretty 
easy, huh? 
These were actually delicious the next day as leftover's too, that is always a plus!! I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!
P.S - We will  be linking up to these lovely parties, HERE!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why not help the Boys and Girls Club – by doing what you love; SHOPPING! #sponsored, #tools4BTS

*Disclosure - I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. 


I have exciting news to share with you all. I have been chosen to be a Boys & Girls Club (BGCA) Back-to-School-Ambassador. Why is this exciting news? Well, for a few years of my life I worked as a director at a before/after school program for elementary aged kids. They have a special place in my heart. This age is SO fun to hangout with, and I loved working with them, kids are SO fun, aren't they?! The Boys and Girls Club, specifically, has so many great opportunities for kids of all ages, and from all different walks of life.

Now, looking back, I realize how important before and after-school programs are to children. I watched some of these kids struggle, because they weren’t prepared for school. This really tugs at my heart; it is such a shame, because most kids this age, are eager and ready to learn about the world around them.  I am so excited to share this great opportunity with all of you! There is a way YOU AND I can help these children, who may be struggling with things at home that we have no idea about. Help the kids in your neighborhood, by making their ‘back to school’ experience worry free. BGCA has partnered with jcpenney for the ’jcpenneycares round up campaign’. This is such an awesome campaign; when shopping at JCP in the month of July, you will have the chance to round-up your purchase to the nearest whole dollar to help make a difference by supporting after-school programs at Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. And guess what? 100% of the donations raised will go towards BGCA! How cool is that? Funds raised at checkout will go toward supporting BGCA’s More Members More Often initiative. The initiative focuses on attracting more your people to join the Club, motivating existing members to increase their participation and retaining youth as members over longer periods of time.
Boys and Girls Club - Campaign
Helping children start their school year off on the right foot!


So please, I am asking you now to do your part to help. This is such an easy opportunity, how could you pass it up? Most likely you will already be shopping for back to school items for your kids anyway, why not check out JCP – and “round up”!

For more information about the ‘jcpenney cares round up campaign’ go to www.greatfutures.org/backtoschool

Feel free to check out their facebook's below:
BGCA or JcPenney
Love this post? Want to share this great opportunity with your family and friends – feel free to “retweet” or post on facebook, by hitting the share button at the bottom of this post!
OR simply "retweet" this on twitter to help spread the word!
@bgca_clubs
#tools4BTS

Thank you so much for doing YOUR part to help,

Thrifty Thursday: DIY Seaglass

You all know that I am in love with anything nautical/ocean inspired. Well, I decided to try my hand in making some "seaglass" bottles!

I did a bit of research online, and it sounded like I would need either some mod podge, or elmers glue for the base. I went with mod podge, as I knew I could get it in the matte finish. Somewhere along the way, I read something about using dish soap to help make the "frosted" look on the glass. So, those are my 2 tricks! The other things I used were: gel food coloring (blue & green), a 1 inch paint brush, cup for mixing, and paper plates for setting the glass on while painting them, and letting them dry.

I used about 3 Tbs of the matte mod podge, 3 drops of dawn dish soap, 3 drops blue food coloring, and 1 drop green. I mixed them all up in my cup, and started painting it on my jar. Right away, I noticed some streaking from the brush bristles. But I let it be.
I wanted it to have a little bit more color, so I did a second coat. You could leave it as it, if you'd like. It could have also been my food coloring, I believe they were a lighter blue and green. Here they are with the 2 coats.
Aren't they pretty? They do have some streaking, but that's okay with me. Something that's nice about this mixture is that it can be washed off and redone. If you'd like to make it more permanent, I'm sure you could spray it with some kind of varnish. I'm just going to leave them and see how they hold up. Also, you could apply the mixture inside the jar, swirl it around until it coats everything, and put it upside down to dry. I want to use mine for flowers, so that wouldn't work out for me very well.

Hope you give this easy project a try! I love how mine turned out! Let us know what you think!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WWEW: Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

This is such an easy meal that tastes so good, I just HAD to share!
Chicken and Veggie Kabobs
Doesn't that just make your mouth water? mMmmm!!
Alrighty here's the breakdown....
Ingredients:
Veggies:
- (1) Orange Pepper
-(1)Sweet Red Pepper
-(1-2)Zucchini
-(1)Yellow Summer Squash
-(1-2)Potatos 
(I suggest boiling the potatos before hand -they take to long to cook otherwise)
-(1/2-1)Red Onion
Meat:
-(6 Strips)Chicken
(*This makes about 10 skewers - Enough for 4-5 people*)
Chicken and Veggie Marinade
Veggie Marinade:
Cut all your Vegetables up into bite sized pieces (like the picture above). Put all your cut up veggies into a large ziplock bag and add your marinade (which includes:)
- 1/2 cup Kraft italian Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
- 1tsp Lemon Juice
-1/2 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
-1/2 tsp seasoning salt
Chicken Marinade:
Thaw out your chicken strips (or breasts) and cut into bite sized pieces. Put your chicken pieces in a seperate bag and marinade with the following:
-1/3 cup BBQ Sauce
-Green Onions (as desired)
-1-2 Cloves Garlic (Or garlic salt)
-Seasoning Salt (as desired)
-Onion Powder (as desired)
Alright - let your veggies and chicken marinate in the fridge for at least a 1/2 hour (longer if you want). Once your ingredients have marinated take them out of their bags and put them on your skewers (I used wooden ones (**soak them in water for at least 1/2 hr -so they don't burn**).
Chicken and Veggie Kabobs
While your putting your kabobs together - heat up the grill and once your kabobs are done - Put em on the grill and cook about 6 minutes on each side until they are fully cooked (mainly the chicken).
Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Here are my finished Kabobs! These were so delicious. With our dinner I served the Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs with Alfredo Noodles and Garlic bread and butter! 
Chicken and Veggie Kabobs - Orchard Girls
 What do you think? You should definitely give these a try and when you do - let me know how they turn out, we love hearing from you. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read out blog. Don't forget to "pin" any of the above pictures for later use! ALSO - We just joined the "twitter scene" and would LOVE for you to follow along with us. You can follow us by clicking below.
Happy Eating,
We will be linking this post up to these lovely parties HERE!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Living Room Mood Board

Happy Tuesday, everyone! As I mentioned in my Entryway Reveal post, I've been planning on painting our living room walls and trim. Well, I have since accomplished that, but it has left me rethinking my design plan for this room. I've been trying to make sure everything is cohesive and well thought-out before I nail a bunch of holes in my freshly painted walls!

To help my vision, I decided to make a mood board. I've never made one before, and it was really fun to do! So, without further adieu- here yah go!

And here is a breakdown of the pieces:
1. A vintage pull down map. We have a map similar to this in coloring. We found it at an antique shop in Iowa during a long road trip. You can find similar ones in other antique shops, or on ebay.
2. Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. This is the color I painted my walls. I am IN LOVE. I will do a whole post on this someday soon.
3. This is a painting named Squall by Eric Sloane. I love his artwork, and this painting sums up a lot of the artwork I already own.
4. Our gray Ektorp Sectional from Ikea. You can watch us assemble it in a time-lapse video!
5. Pillow 1 and Pillow 2 from West Elm.
6. Awesome coffee table from Pottery Barn. Adam and I plan on making a coffee table that is very similar to this.
7. Cabinet from Target. We plan on getting something like this for our TV.
8. Glass Vase from Target.
9. Rug from West Elm.
10. Tri-Pod Lamp from Target.

I hope you enjoyed my very first mood board ever! I hope to show you all how I use this as inspiration for our living room soon.

Also, if you guys want to see little snip-its of big projects we're doing, or peeks into our day, we have a widget in our sidebar that takes you to our instagram! There is a sneek-peek of our so fresh and so clean painted living room.

Have a great day!
Click here to see the linky parties we link to.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Create A Finance Binder + FREE Spreadsheets

Hey everyone! It's FRIDAY! Can I get a HOORAY?! It's been a long week.

So, I was inspired by Kayla's post on making a bill payment station. I, too, pay all of our bills. Until now, I've been solely using spreadsheets on my computer. Every month I would open up my spreadsheet and use it to pay the bills. But then I was thinking, what if we lost that spreadsheet? What if our computer crashed and we lost all of that information? It. would. be. bad. I decided to print them all out and put them into a binder so we would also have a hard copy. I also decided to make you guys some fully downloadable, editable, and printable versions of the spreadsheets I use!
First, I had to go out and get a binder. Is anyone else surprised by the prices on these things? I did NOT want to spend 8 dollars on a binder. I ended up finding this awesome bundle at Target! They just put them out with the school supplies. Go pick up one (or several) before they're gone!
I made a cover page for the binder that you can also use. Here is the free printable (shown in the first picture). (*Edit* I've made a new cover for 2014, get it by clicking here!)

Now, onto what's inside the binder.
Tab 1: Bill payments. I use this spreadsheet for reference when paying bills. It has the name of the bill, when it is due, notes on the payment (like how it's paid), and a box I check after it has been paid for that month. The version of the spreadsheet I have made for you all is through Google Docs. You can download it as an excel file, and then edit it however you please. I've put some examples in each spreadsheet to help clarify where things go. There are formulas built in the spreadsheet for you, as well.
You MUST download and save the spreadsheet to edit!
Tab 2: Extras. Here is where I record all other purchases- like groceries, gas, and random trips to target or dinner/movie. This spreadsheet helps me keep track of the money we have leftover after we pay our bills.
Tab 3: Debt payoff. We are in the process of paying off our debt. College is expensive, despite what admissions counselors tell you! Every month I like to go in and update the amounts we owe on certain things. It feels good to see those numbers going down, and it can help you get a better idea of when certain things will be paid off.
Tab 4: Notes. I keep some notebook paper here for quick note taking or doing some math.
Tab 5: Statements. I keep statements we get in the mail here. Sometimes we get those random bills we need to pay that aren't on the spreadsheet. This helps me not lose them in a pile of other mail!
Pocket Pouch: Voided checks. We deposit our paychecks at home, and I feel like I need to hold onto those checks for a while, just in case. You never know, right?
Pocket Pouch 2: Receipts. If I remember, I stuff all of my receipts in here after recording them on my "extras" spreadsheet.
Things I still want to get: A little pencil pouch that holds things like- stamps, envelopes, checks, post-its & flags, pens & pencils, and a small calculator.

And there you have it! I hope I didn't bore you all to tears. I am a pretty organized/detail-oriented person, and having these spreadsheets really helps me from obsessing/freaking out every time I go to pay the bills. Maybe they will help you, too.

I keep this binder with my Home Binder. I mentioned it in my How to Start Menu Planning post. It's so nice to have everything that is on paper and important put away and organized.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Anyone have any awesome plans? My Dad is coming to stay with us for a few nights, and I am SO excited.

Happy organizing!
Check out the linky parties we link to HERE!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Patio Cart Redo - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our patio cart redo! So, if you missed Part 1 you can check that out HERE! Today I want to share with you a few of the items I used to decorate our FREE patio cart. To start off I used a classic mason jar with fake flowers to add a little color-fun.
Patio Cart Redo - Orchardgirls.blogspot.com
The mason jar was FREE (from my Dad also). Aren't Dad's awesome? :) The flowers were from the dollar store. The next item I want to talk about is the white stand - which was also free. It was silver, and I spray painted it white (much more summer-like).
Patio Cart Redo - orchardgirls.blogspot.com
The yellow flower candle holder on top is from Michael's. I went there over the weekend and they had some awesome deals! A lot of summer clearance items (candle holder was $1.30). Next up is my favorite!
Patio Silverware Holder + FREE Printable
My flower pot silverware holders! This was originally 3 ceramic flower pots (already connected) ($10.00 at Big Lots) they were various colors. I spray painted the entire piece white. I used dark gray yarn and attached my SILVERWARE PRINTABLES to dark gray scrapbook paper to make this cute outdoor silverware holder!
Patio Silverware Holder + FREE Printable
These printables are FREE for you to use, if you'd like. You can find them on our FREE PRINTABLES tab at the top of our blog. And last but not least we have my simple DIY bunting - just for fun! I used Kenzie's quick and easy bunting method to create this.
Patio Cart Bunting - orchardgirls.blogspot.com
Well, that's about it. I hope you enjoyed PART 2 of our patio cart redo. Do you have a patio cart? What do you use it for the most? I can't wait to use mine - probably first up is an overdue bbq at our house! :)
 Be sure to go see the lovely parties we link up to HERE!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WWEW: BLT Dip

Who loves bacon? I'm guessing a fair number of you do. All my bacon-lovers will LOVE this dip. It's a Bacon Lettuce Tomato (aka BLT) dip that tastes just like the beloved sandwich.
Ingredients:
1 lb bacon
1 8oz stick of cream cheese, softened*
1 cup sour cream*
1/2 cup mayo*
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic salt
1 T chives (I used dried)
1/2 t cracked pepper
1/2 t salt
4-5 small tomatoes, seeded and diced (or 2 large tomatoes)
2 cups shredded lettuce

*I did NOT use the fat free, more healthy options. I used the super fatty, oh so delicious options. What can I say? I didn't want a *cough*Ooh, I can't tell this is a weightwatchers recipe*cough* dip. I wanted a freakin' DIP! The lettuce and tomato cancel it all out anyway, right? 

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon. I like to cook mine in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes on cooling racks set on top of a foil lined cookie sheet. Makes it nice and crispy with a lot less grease! Once it's cooked, crumble it. I use my hands. What's a little bacon grease between friends? It looks like ALOT of bacon. Don't worry. It is.
2. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, shredded cheese, and seasonings in an oven safe bowl. Now mix in the bacon.
3. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. While it's baking, dice up the tomatoes and shred the lettuce.
4. Remove from oven and let cool a little bit, then mix in the tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or bread rounds.
I hope you guys give this easy recipe a try. It would be a good one to bring along to a bbq or party!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Check out the linky parties we link to HERE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patio Cart Redo - Part 1

Oh. My. Word! Those are my thoughts after this project. Lol. This was a more challenging project than I had anticipated. I had a vision in my head for what I wanted it to look like, and when that wasn't turning out, I got a bit frustrated. Anyway, I'll just get started and explain as I go.
First things first, I got this cool patio cart from my Dad, for FREE! Yes, free! No complaints about that. If you haven't seen my previous post with my "Patio Mood Board" go check that out. On my board I posted a picture of this patio cart...
Red Patio Cart - Orchard Girls
So, when my Dad said, "hey I've got a cart for you" (for free) You can imagine how excited I was! Here is the one that he gave me...
Patio Cart - Before (OrchardGirls.blogspot.com)
So much potential! It was an off-white creamish color (that's a legit color, right?) and was pretty beat up, and a missing wheel, but definitely fixable things.
Patio Cart - Before (OrchardGirls.blogspot.com)
I wanted to paint it gray and add some stenciling on top of the cart.
Painted Gray...check! Steciling on top...FAIL!
Stencil Fail
After SEVERAL different methods and failing again and again, I gave up on the stenciling. Do you have a tutorial on how to stencil, please post in the comments! I obviously need some assistance. Lol. Anyway, I think it turned out pretty good.....considering! 
Patio Cart - After (orchardgirls.blogspot.com)
Put some new wheels on that bad boy, and spray painted it gray. 
(Paint and Primer in One Granite spray paint from Home Depot)
Patio Cart - After (orchardgirls.blogspot.com)

Patio Cart Redo - Part 1
I think it turned out okay. What do you think? Think I should add some stenciling on top, or just leave it as is? Thank you for stopping by our blog and following along, we really appreciate all your support. 
Be sure to come back on Thursday for PART 2! Where I will talk about all the details of how, and what I used to decorate our Patio Cart - Including some FREE printables for you guys :)
Have a wonderful day,
Be sure to check out the parties we link to HERE!


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