Monthly Archives: July 2010

Three Monkeys!

Good morning!!

Ahhh Saturday mornings… you make life complete 🙂

Well before I head off to the farmer’s market with Mini-Fanatic, how about a recap of our night out last night?

On the agenda, Three Monkeys!

This is a restaurant this is a block over from my old row house in The Fan area of downtown Richmond and one that I used to go to way too much to admit 😉

They have a wide selection of seriously delicious dishes (from gourmet pizzas to grilled eggplant sandwiches to falafel and spanakopita to the most delicious crab dip on earth) and not to mention a pretty sweet drink menu as well!

I think I’ve also told ya’ll as well why this place holds a special place in my heart —> guess who met here?!?!

So I was pretty excited because I finally got to wear my new dress that I picked up during our beach vacation in the OBX!

We went for a late dinner and had to wait a while to eat (pretty normal for Fan restaurants, but so totally worth it!) so of course a large glass of Chardonnay was necessary 😉

Once we sat down I knew that an old favorite just had to be ordered… I present to you one of my favorite restaurant items ever:

Hummus Platter

Simple and delicious.  Pretty much heaven on a plate.

We have – hummus, feta, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pepperoncini all topped with a delicious vinaigrette and served w/ unseen herbed bread which is some of the best bread ever!

Devoured.

The Man ordered the Shrimp & Scallops which was prepared w/ orecchiette and a 3-cheese sauce.

He loved it!

All in all it was a great night out.  And of course I always love seeing my best friend Tammy & her fiancé especially since her and I spent manyyyyy a night here w/ some Chardonnay, crab dip and hummus platters in our single-girl past 😉

Blondies 🙂

Alright, time to go wake up Mini-Fanatic to go hit the farmer’s market… hopefully she’s ready to rise hahaha.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Scary Storms & Spicy Pasta Bakes

Wow friends, I sure am happy that it’s Friday!! Smiley

And also that this past Thursday is over…

Richmond got slammed with one of the worst storms I’ve seen in a long time yesterday.

Right before rush hour it rolled in and left very shortly after that, but not without some major damage to the entire metro area.

There were trees down everywhere, the roads, on houses you name it.  The power was out for 45,000 people, including the office building that I work in.

It took me over 30 minutes to get home, which is a drive of about 2 miles.

The roads were full of debris, traffic lights were out on major roads causing utter chaos…

And fires also broke out around town including one within walking distance of our house *scary*

Let’s just say that this “little storm” definitely left some tornado-like damage in it’s path, and was of the worst I’ve seen since living here in a long time.

Prayers go out to all the folks who had damage done to their cars, houses, etc. and I’m just thankful that everyone is okay!

Well after that stressful end to the day, it was time for an easy and comforting dinner.

Spicy Pepperoni Pasta Bake

  • angel hair pasta
  • Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce (one of the best!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • pepperoni, quartered
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Parm, shredded
  • S&P
  • EVOO
  • fresh basil

I first cooked the onion in about 1 tsp EVOO until tender (season w/ S&P), adding the garlic towards the end.

While that was going I gave the noodles a quick boil & drained once done.

I also got the pepperoni & basil chopped and the cheeses grated.

Then all that was left to do was stir everything together (except cheeses), including the sauce.

Put into a baking dish.

Top with lotsa shredded cheese

And bake for 10 minutes at 375F until everything is melted!

His and hers side salad w/ romaine, tomato, cucumber, onion, oregano, S&P, balsamic, EVOO to round out the meal.

And voilà!  Dinner is served Smiley

Loved this simple, easy dinner and The Man was pretty happy about it too!  The spicy Monterey Jack cheese really added a nice “kick” to the dish and the pepperoni was a fun addition as well.

And with that, I’m off… fun plans for tonight and I’m ready to get outta this cubicle!

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!

Food lottery!

Well the beach vacay must have seriously kicked my cookin’ mojo into high gear because this week’s meals have been top notch!

*Toots own horn*

Okay but really, I pretty much attribute the deliciousness of our meals recently to the wonderful fresh summer flavors that are all around us right now! Smiley

For instance, in last night’s meal:

Pico de Gallo

Fresh summer flavors!

Pico de gallo is a fresh uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, chilis and other ingredients such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro, cucumber, radish or fruit such as mango.  It can be used much like salsa, but since it contains less liquid it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas!

I love making this at home, it’s one of my favorite flavors out of our kitchen Smiley

Fresh flavors

My pico de gallo contained:

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeds removed & chopped
  • bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Chop chop!

I like to make this at least an hour before we are going to eat it so that the flavors really have a chance to get to know each other.

Dishes like this definitely get better with time Smiley

Pico de Gallo

In an effort to use up some items in our fridge, I decided that this pico de gallo would need make an appearance in a creative egg dish of sorts tonight!

Fiesta!

Let's get this party started!

Flour tortillas topped w/ monteray jack and colby jack cheese, broiled until cheese is melted and tortillas begin to crisp up.

Step 1

Topped w/ scrambled eggs plus egg whites (3 eggs + 3 egg whites for 2 servings)

Step 2

And then a generous helping of the pico de gallo!

Step 3

Wow was this good!  I knew it would be tasty, but this was yet another dish that totally exceeded my expectations.  Totally been a theme this week and I can’t say I’m upset about it Smiley

To go with I had some corn topped with more of the pico de gallo

Pico on everythingggg!

So versatile, no?

On a side note, The Man and I had some of these bad boys for dessert

Nature's donut?

Ever had a donut peach?

Not I.  And I think my life was incomplete until now Smiley

These are local from Charlottesville and have the most sweet and juicy flavor of any peach ever.  Plus I love their perfect eating size, makes for the exact perfect bite each time!

The Man instructed me to go buy a dozen more.  I kid you not.

I feel like I hit the food lottery this week!!!!!

Anywho, I hope ya’ll are having a great week so far and if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work go scout out a dozen more of these donut bad boys before they are all gone Smiley

TGIAF!

Sufferin’ Succotash!

Hey hey friends!

Well I’ve got another great recipe for you to get ya through the week 😀

How about it?!

Corn, Edamame & Summer Squash Succotash

I based this recipe off one that caught my eye on Cooking Light, making a few modifications and changes to ingredients to “fanatic-i-fy” the dish.

The line-up

Fanatic version included:

  • 1/2 package frozen organic corn
  • 1/2 package shelled edamame
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tblsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • juice of 1 lime
  • fresh thyme (about 1 tblsp)
  • S&P

First up I boiled the corn & edamame per the directions (about 5 minutes), drained well and set aside.

In that same sauce pan, I gave the onion & summer squash a sauté in EVOO for about 5 minutes.

Onion & squash sauté

Then I added back in the cooked corn & edamame plus the garlic to let heat through.

Edamame & corn

Last came the thyme, rice vinegar, lime juice, S&P to finish the dish.  I let it sit over low heat for about 15 minutes so all the flavors could get happy 🙂

Served up w/ some Frank’s crack hot sauce this dish far surpassed my expectations!

Edamame & corn succotash topped w/ hot sauce!

Something about the combination of the rice vinegar & lime juice gave this recipe such a fresh & deliciously different taste!  I really really really enjoyed this 😛

To add some extra bulk to this veggie-fied dinner I made up a fresh salad of romaine, tomato (last North Carolina ‘mater 😦 ), onion, rest of summer squash (which I steamed for a minute first), cubed Colby Jack cheese, salt, pepper and oregano.

Salad beast

I am loving the combos of flavor on this salad!

Perfectly light & refreshing dinner for a steamy summer night, ya think 😉

Edamame is such a fabulous item to keep stocked in your kitchen, in a pinch it can stand in as a main protein source for your meal and offer up such a fun change from the norm!

You can also feel free to call them “weird pea things” as The Man does.

Example 1:  “Girlfriend is makin’ some weird pea and corn succotashhhhh that smells pretty good, but has weird peasssss…” all in song form (yes, this is what I get to deal with all the time hahaha)

But anywho, let’s save that for another time shall we 😉

Happy Wednesday to you all!

It’s all in the wine? ;)

Last night after an awesome Core Yoga session from YogaDownload (anyone else love this site as much as me?!?!) I came up with a stuffed pepper recipe on a whim that both The Man and I have deemed the “best version yet”!

He thinks it was the inclusion of sausage vs. the usual ground beef that kicked it up a notch… I’ll attribute it to the addition of the wine to the recipe this time around 😉  But whatevs!

Sausage Stuffed Peppers w/ Tomatoes & Wine

  • 2 green peppers
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • fresh fennel
  • fresh basil

  • Italian pork sausages (local!)
  • cooked brown rice (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
  • white wine (about 1/4 cup)
  • S&P
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • cheese (I used Parm & Mozzarella)

These sausages are the best – all REAL meat (no weird parts ewww) and from my favorite Amish farmer at the farmer’s market who is leaving me after this week…. nooooooooooo!

Saute up the onion in the EVOO for about 5 minutes, S&P of course.  Then add the sausages, which I removed the casings from and made into “ground sausage” – cook until close to done.  Add in the chopped tomato and garlic at the end and season w/ S&P again (all about the layers people!)

Then in goes the pre-cooked brown rice and your herbs, plus a dash of white wine for flavor & moisture!  I also sprinkled some red pepper flakes in the mix as well 😉

While the rice mixture is cooking, give the hollowed out peppers a quick bath in some boiling water for about 5 minutes to soften up.  Then stuff with the rice mixture, layering some cheese of your choice on both the bottom and the top!

Into a 375F oven for about 20 minutes and you are good to go 😀

I added some Frank’s hot sauce to top mine and served it with a fresh tomato/basil/balsamic salad.  So “summer” of me, right?! 😛

I’m really going to miss these North Carolina tomatoes once they are gone, I think they have Virginia tomatoes beat as sad as it is to say…

Alright friends, hope you’re enjoying your week and see ya back soon!

Sunday Salad Dinner

Monday makes us feel like this…

Especially after a full week of vacation at the beach…

At least that’s what Lucy dog and I think!

And in case you missed our beach vacation dinner recaps, here ya go 😀

Lucy definitely wanted to know where her share of the table scraps were while we were away 😉

While also modeling her new hat…!

Is this not the cutest thing ever?  Because I seriously think it just might be, but I’m kinda partial 😛

Onto our Sunday dinner!

On our way home we made a pit stop by the same farmer’s market we visited on the way down to the beach, there was just no way I was going home without more of their goodies!

I ended up having all the necessary items to pull together a fresh Sunday salad dinner too – no grocery store yet for this gal 😉

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad

The base:

  • farmer’s market lettuce
  • farmer’s market tomato
  • onion
  • lemon basil
  • S&P

The all-star:  Morris Market 5 Roasted Pepper Salsa

Talk about a zing!

I marinated some sliced chicken in a combo of this, a basic Asian toasted sesame dressing and some S&P then cooked it stove top until done.

I also boiled some angel hair pasta, cooled & mixed with more of the sesame dressing plus some black pepper.

Served up:

A layer of salad, some sesame noodles followed by chicken and topped with a drizzle of sesame dressing and voila!

Superb.

Fast, easy, healthy & delicious.  Not much more I could ask for?

Oh wait, maybe just one thing… 😉

Morris Farm Market blueberry shortcake topped with vanilla ice cream plus some fresh peaches/strawberries that I let sit in some sugar for a few hours.

No words.

Have a happy Monday all!

Here fishy fishy!

Our last day at the Outer Banks was spent by the beach for a few hours until the 105 degree heat index sent us indoors for the afternoon!

Jellyfish in the ocean + luke warm pool water, not so refreshing 😉

So instead of just sit around we decided to take a lil’ trip to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island!

Sharkkkkkkkkkkk!

Frog Prince?!

Scaryyyyyy!

Weird, but cute 🙂

And last but not least, my favorite part of the visit!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAroHAJjfHE

This otter was outta control cute, frolicking all around in the water! I loved him 😛

So there you have it, beach vacation was a total success and I am sad to be home and thinking about the “real world” that will hit tomorrow morning…

But such is life!

Time to go make us a fresh dinner & get our relax on, see you for Monday! 😉