Category Archives: Dinner Outings

A Relaxing Wine Night

Oh the joys of Saturday!!! 

It’s a relaxing cloudy/rainy morning here in Richmond but I’m okay with that… for now 🙂

I’ve been lounging around looking through some recipe books for the upcoming week and watching tv, no complaints here!

Speaking of lounging, last night The Man and I decided to get our lounge on at a wine bar just down the street which we really like, The Wine Loft.

We had some yummy pours as well as a light appetizer before heading home.

P.S.  My IPhone definitely didn’t take good pics in the darkly lit room!

 This was a red blend of four different wines and was deelish!

The Man enjoyed a local Kluge Cru (Charlottesville, VA) which is actually a Chardonnay that has been blended with brandy and then aged in Jack Daniels barrels, it is AMAZING when served over ice.

Woah 19% alcohol though 😉

Caramalized onion and mushroom flatbread – holy yum!

Definitely one of my favorite places to celebrate the end of a super busy work week 🙂

We also made a stop at World Market (my obsession?) for this new wall hanging for our living room…

And yes, our walls are blue!  Love it.

Today I have a few things planned, including getting my hair did, finding a yummy appetizer to make for Super Bowl Sunday and then having Fanatic Mom and Dad over for a belated birthday dinner!

A fun recipe awaits….. 😉

Before I go, let’s get into another one of the new Cho flavors, which continue to impress me.

The lemon was next on my to-try list and I gobbled it up yesterday afternoon!

Kind of reminded me of some sort of lemon pie/dessert, but once again not super sweet and with a little bit of that “pucker” that you’d expect from a lemon.

I liked it.  I liked it alot.  I kind of wanted to dip a sugar cookie into it.  Don’t ask why, it just sounded so good 🙂

Overall, here’s my ranking of the new flavors:

1.   Black Cherry

2.  Mango

3.  Lemon

I’d have to say that pineapple is still by all time #1 favorite, but these are some great other flavor options to mix things up!

Next up:  Chobani Champions!

Note that I received all of these Chobani products for free.

Happy Saturday!!

Birthday at Balliceaux

Last night was my official birthday celebration!!

Two of my besties from college made it in for the occassion along with my Richmond besties and my favorite foodie ever 🙂

We all met up at a restaurant in The Fan (by my old house) called Balliceaux

I’d really been looking forward to trying this place and was definitely not disappointed!

I did miss my DSLR though 😉

The menu had some phenomenal choices and it was hard to choose an entree, but the Grilled Vegetable Lasagna ended up winning out.

Fresh house made pasta/ eggplant/ mushroom/ zucchini/ roasted garlic pomodoro.

 

Served with a bed of greens on top, so creative and a great addition of flavor.

‘Twas delicious!

The Man chose the Sesame-Potato crusted Catfish.

Served with spicy grilled sweet potatoes and honey glazed broccoli rabe.  

Even though I really enjoyed my lasagna, I must say that this dish was amazingggggg.  The fish was cooked perfectly and had such a nice crust, the sweet potatoes were divine (and the broccoli rabe was even cleared off his plate).

Wow I’d go back just for this dish!!

To finish things off The Man and I shared a four-layer cake that was the size of my head haha.

Moist & delicious.

Balliceaux was definitely the perfect place to spend some quality time with great friends, such an awesome night! 😀

Oh, and as if the company and the food wasn’t enough, check out these super fun gifts that I was lucky enough to receive too.

(My friends know me too well).

Mexican inspired measuring cups – how freaking outta control cute are these?!?!?!?!

Laura just knows 😉

And this amazingly scented candle which is currently making my kitchen smell like the freshness of spring!

Love it Brittany 🙂

Well I better get back to the kitchen, I’ve got lots of fun things going on in there today including a fun new dinner I’m trying out for tonight (The Man’s parents are coming over!) and dinner prep for tomorrow night…

Can’t wait to share both of these dishes with you guys too! 😀

See you soon!

Tacky Sweaters & the Such!

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Wel I was up bright n’ early for another session with the Traveling Yoga Sisters this morning. It was glorious 🙂

But let’s back track to last night’s festivities, shall we??

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party anyone…?? 😛

Yea yea yea, not exactly a “sweater” but we all know my affinity towards all things Mexican food so this shirt was just too good to pass up!

I mean, if that’s not fitting for the Fanatic then I don’t know what is 😉

Before we headed to the party I whipped up a quick dinner.  If you remember I had a wisdom tooth yanked just the other day so still staying away from certain foods i.e. crunchy chips & crackers, which we all know are the staple at parties alongside dips!

A quick veggie fried rice came together and I’ll tell you what, this little dinner really impressed.

Would you believe me if I told you that this was fried rice was made without any oil and still tasted decadent?? 

Well believe it.  I couldn’t believe how well this method worked without the addition of fat… I actually did it on accident but ended up being so pleased with the results!

And don’t worry, I plan on making this later this week so The Man can try it too so you know a recipe is coming your way 😀

 Upon arriving at the party there were lots of yummy treats to indulge in… and thankfully a friend had brought some soft bread so that I got to try some of the deliciousness too!

New dip recipe, love love love.

Good times were had by all 😛

And when we got home, this happened…

Not sure if Miss Diva is giving her “strike-a-pose” look or her “why-do-I-have-to-live-with-these-crazy-people” look haha.

Cutest thing ever?

Now I’m off, busy day of shopping ahead!

Enjoy your Saturday everyone 🙂

Come spend Thanksgiving Day with me!

This year I spent Thanksgiving with The Man’s family and friends…

It was a glorious day full of great company and delicious food 😀

Although I missed the Fanatic Fam very much, it sure was nice to have a wonderful place to spend the holiday and the food was not to disappoint!

The Man’s Mom wanted to make sure I had some familiar family dishes at the table, so I was assigned the task of bringing two sides.  This was totally awesome, because I don’t know that it would be Thanksgiving to me without my Nanny’s sweet potato & pineapple casserole 😀

It was also great because not only were there the usual T-Day suspects, but also some new-to-me dishes that I wasn’t used to having on the holiday table.

So come on, come spend Thanksgiving Day with me!

We started the afternoon with some snacks to hold us over until an early dinner.

These olives were stuffed with full garlic cloves – oh yes – and they were delicious!

No vampires here 😛

The Man’s Mom had the table set beautifully!

Looked magazine-worthy if you ask me.

Most of the dinner prep had occurred the night before, remember the cranberry apple relish recipe from last night? 

So we didn’t have to spend all day in the kitchen, instead we got to hang out and relax… and act goofy, shocker there 😛

Cheese please?

So what ended up on our dinner plates?!

Here. We. Go!!!

Turkey.

Classic.

My Nanny’s sweet potato casserole (wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it to me!)

Sweet potatoes, pineapple and gooey marshmallows.  Ahhh I feel like I’m 10 years old again 🙂

Recipe coming tomorrow!

Pineapple stuffing.

Yea, this stuff is pretty insane.

Mashed potatoes.

These were made with cream cheese & sour cream, skins on.  Plus they were done ahead of time and warmed in the crockpot all day, what a great idea!

More stuffing.  Plus some bubbly 😉

What did I miss?

Hmmm… let’s see.

Green bean casserole.  Cranberry Apple Relish.

Yep, I think that about covers it all.

Oh but wait, we’re not done yetttttt!

Loosen that belt loop a notch (or two) 😉

Pumpkin pie.

Baked apples w/ ice cream.

Apple Cherry Tart.

Ooooey gooey goodness.

I’m full all over again just thinking about it all 😛

What a fabulous day it was, now time to go lounge on the couch and recover from all the tasty treats that were had earlier in the day… and maybe rest up for some holiday shopping w/ the rest of the world tomorrow!

Plus be on the lookout for that sweet potato casserole recipe tomorrow, it’s a recipe that’s not only great for the Thanksgiving but also for the December holidays too 🙂

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU!!!

Cooking Demo – Turkey Day Style!

Last night was spent eating some Thanksgiving Day treats just a little bit early!

Our local Whole Foods offers a cooking demo each month and Chef Jesse does a great job tailoring each class for the season.

So of course this month’s menu had a holiday theme, and the chef did a great job giving us some delicious ideas for Turkey Day entertaining!

Getting the party started with some vino.  A Riesling to be exact. 

Upon first sip I wasn’t too impressed with this sweet wine, but as I continued to drink more, a tart & fruity flavor began to shine through and really began to enjoy it!

At $8.99 a pop, this is a steal 😀

My favorite dish of the night came up first and although not the most photogenic, it sure was a good one!

Bacon-Wrapped Manchego Stuffed Dates

I love playing with different flavors and textures like this.  Sweet, soft dates plus salty, crispy bacon all wrapped around gooey melted cheese was a serious party for the tastebuds.

This recipe is going to be recreated at home soon!

Next up were some fun lil’ snacks 🙂

Cheese “Straws”

These were not very “straw” shaped however they tasted great. 

You just can’t go wrong with anything made out of a combo of cheese + butter now can you? 😉

There were plain cheese as well as bacon jalapeno cheese flavors.  I enjoyed the plain cheese the most and think it would go great with a glass of light red wine!

The main event of the evening was a recipe that you probably wouldn’t think of for a traditional Thanksgiving Day table, however the curry has such a warm & cozy flavor that I think it might just work.

Thai Red Curry Squash Soup

Flavors of coconut milk, lemongrass, lime and curry melded so nicely with the creamy squash base.  I really enjoyed this one too!

Next up were a few recipes that I unfortunately didn’t get to taste thanks to having to leave a bit early…

But head over to Miss Brittany’s site for her reviews of these dishes (well, sans turkey of course!) if you’d like!

Want a fun way to use puff pastry?  How about layers of fruit chutney and melted cheese?  Sounded good to me 😀

A perfectly brined turkey perhaps?  Brining is the secret to a moist and juicy bird!

Or perhaps some pumpkin pie?  Mmmm definitely one of my favorite desserts!

My apologies for the early bail out, and believe me, I wish I could’ve tasted the last of these scrumptious treats too!

But as I said, I had to leave a little early to get home…

Why you ask?  To pack and get ready for a trip up North today! But more to come on that later… I promise 😀

Hopefully Lucy Dog and The Man will be okay for a few days without me, good thing I’ve stashed away some homemade meals so they don’t get too hungry… 😉

HAPPY TUESDAY!

Epic Vegan (And Vegetarian) Beer Dinner

And epic it was!

The story continues…

The Man and I chose the vegetarian option (vs. the vegan) – which honestly I was nervous about since The Man isn’t really into “all things vegetarian” or “anything vegetarian” to be honest.

But boy was I surprised!

I think he loved it just as much as I did.  The chef was super super talented and we were in awe of each and every delicious bite.

So here’s how it went down, ranked in order of my favorite dishes of course! 😀

Note:  It was rather dim in the dining area so I did the best I could to capture the dishes on camera.

(1)  Pumpernickel Toasts w/ Brown Sugar Onions, Cabot Cheddar Nutmeg Sauce, Warm Spinach & Golden Raisin Salad.

Paired with Chouffe Trippel IPA

Let’s just talk about this dish for a minute.  Holy wow.  This dish absolutely blew me away.  The parsnip swirl served alongside was too die for.  The spinach salad had the most fantastic vinaigrette.  And the onion toasts?  Wow wow wow.

This dish won “best in show” for both The Man and I.  He also commented that this was the one he was least excited about and couldn’t believe how it turned out.  Food, always surprising you, no?!

(2) Brussels Sprout Spring Rolls w/ Wholegrain Mustard and Sour Cherry Sauce

Paired with Maredsus Brun

These spring rolls were cooked to perfection.  Not too greasy and perfectly crisp.  The tangy mustard and the sour cherry sauce were fabulous, they all worked together so well. 

(3)  Red Chili Rooster Wings w/ Pickled Daikon Radish

Served with Ommegang Abbey Ale

These were made from gluten and let’s just say that The Man cleared his plate… and then the rest of mine.  No joke.  For him not being an avid “meat-look-alike” eater, I would say that this was a good attestation to just how good this dish was 😛

I also hear that the chef is very well known for her meat-look-alike creations and now I completely understand why!

(4)  Truffle Honey Frites w/ Fresh Herbs and Parmigianna Reggiano

Paired with Duvel Strong Golden Ale

These were actually the start to the meal, and they wow’ed us right away.  We really didn’t think that anything was going to top these and you can see how that turned out 😉  That’s how good they were!

They had been fried “a few times” we were told… not an everyday meal item but definitely an amazing treat!  The vegan option had “nooch” crumbles too, which I heard were fantastic from the diners sitting near us.

We also decided that we may never eat Parm w/out honey on top again.  What a great snack idea!

(5) Local Oyster Mushroom Penne w/ Porcini-Truffle Cream

Paired with McChouffe Brown Ale

Even though this dish is last on my list, in no way was it disappointing by any means.  The mushrooms were the perfect compliment to the creamy sauce & tender pasta.  And being made from local ingredients made it that much better too 🙂

And you thought I was done there…

Save room for dessert!!!  Because to top this decadent menu off we had a Leifmans Kreikbeer Milkshake.

Yep, you heard that right.  A beer milkshake!!!  Complete with floating sour cherries (love love love!) throughout.  The Man and I were so full at this point that we really only planned on finishing half of this, yea let’s just say that didn’t happen haha 😉  Empty glasses for all!

This one of a kind cherry beer was killer.  And by far my favorite of the night.  Dare I say better than my beloved pumpkin ale…?

So all in all Cafe Gutenberg did a fabulous job on this meal!  I got to meet some new foodies in Richmond and also enjoy some amazing food.  I’d say that makes for a pretty alright Tuesday night, wouldn’t you? 😉

City Girl

I’m backkkkkkk!!!

This weekend was a fabulous one spent just a few states north of VA 🙂

Remember last year’s visit to see my college bestie Kerri (she’s on the left)…?

jmugirls

Well this year another visit was in order… especially considering Kerri  is expecting her first little girl this February!

So you know that a visit to see that cute lil’ baby bump and spend some time together was definitely in order 😀

We missed you Stine and Laura!

Kerri and her hubby live in the cutest lakeside community just outside New York, so this trip we decided to take a day trek into the big city! 

Waking up Saturday morning to some gorgeous views…

How could this not make you happy?!

But the peaceful lakeside sights didn’t last long as we made our way into the hustle & bustle of the city!

First stop:  Times Square

Heyyyy, look who I found!!!  Yep, The Man was along for the ride 😉  He’s NEVER been into NYC, and he’s FROM New York, can you believe that?

So of course we had to do the quick tourist stop, everyone must see Times Square at least once (right?)

After the stop in that busy spot, we headed down to South Street Seaport to relax a bit, definitely one of my favorite parts of the city!

I think The Man really liked it too!

After walking around for a while we had worked up quite the appetite…  so we settled in at Heartland Brewery for some “appies” and drinks (well, not for the momma-to-be obviously!)

Do I spot pumpkin ale on the menu?!?!  Don’t mind if I do! 😛

And a bloody mary for him, woah there grabby!

This pumpkin ale pretty much rocked my socks off, we decided it was by far the best pumpkin ale we’ve tried this season.

Of course we had to indulge in some “snacks” too 😛

 

Nachos w/ chili on the side plus buffalo chicken spring rolls.

Yum!

After a great day in the city we headed home to do a little relaxing and also get ourselves ready for an Italian feast! 

Destination:  Fratello Brick Oven Pizza 

This fabulous restaurant was in the cutest town of Warwick, NY and it did not disappoint.

Mommy and Daddy to be!

After all the bagels, pizza (penne a la vodka pizza – really, seriously?! heaven), nachos, buffalo chicken and ice cream in my life over the past 24 hours I was in need of some veggies. 

And after spotting this on the menu…

I knew just what I was ordering!

Wow.  Just wow.

How fabulous does that look, I mean seriously?!

And it tasted even better.  Loved this dish.  With a 12 oz. glass of wine side salad alongside this was the perfect meal.

The Man ordered the homemade deep dish lasagna… 

 

and it got rave reviews!

Why is Italian food up north just so much better than in Virginia?  *Le sigh*

So after all the fun, we made our way back to Virginia today just in time for me to whip up a “rebound meal” for dinner tonight… but that’ll just have to wait until tomorrow since this post is already mega-long! 😉

Overall, the weekend gets 5 stars (outta 5, of course!) 

A huge thank you to Kerri and her hubby for having us and to the Daddy-to-be for giving The Man one to many pink tequila shots  hahaha

And you thought I was kidding…

Night ya’ll!

Do you usually indulge when you’re in a city that’s known for its fabulous food?  Or do you stick to your normal eating habits?

To each their own of course, but on a short trip like this I made sure to give all the fabulous foods a try, knowing that I would get back on track once I got home.  

And now it feels good to start the week off right with a healthy, veggie-ful “rebound dinner” tonight.  Time to go eat! 😛