Tag Archives: giveaway

Fresh & Delicious

What a weekend!

Not only has this one been full of day-into-night poolside parties with friends and family, relaxation & movie days but also fresh & delicious foods 🙂

Tomato season is reaching it’s best, and these cherry golds are pop-in-your mouth sweet.  Hence why they sit on the counter for easy reach, I can’t stop eating them!

I am declaring them my favorite vegetable fruit (haha right Erica!).  Hands down.

(I know, serious words, right?)

Homemade salsa verde – screams summer fresh!

  • 6-8 tomatillos, husked and boiled about 5 minutes until tender
  • 1/2 large tomato
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 poblano, seeds removed
  • large handful fresh cilantro
  • small spoonful sugar

Combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth using either an immersion blender or food processor.  Serve w/ tortilla chips.

Love the change up from the typical red salsa.  If you haven’t worked with tomatillos before, don’t be afraid!  They are so easy to use in recipes and offer such a different flavor that we just love 😛

Many folks confuse these with a green tomato (eh hmm boyfriend 😉 ) but in fact, they are just relatives.  Tomatillos are enclosed in a husk, have a flavor that is more citric/tart (I think) and are common in Mexican cuisine (salsa verde!)

And the veggies keep on comin’…

The light purple eggplant is just gorgeous, me thinks!

Let’s put that grill to work.

Hickory smoked bbq chicken, white potato, grilled zucchini, eggplant & onion and some more of those sneaky cherry gold tomatoes (told ya!)

And now it’s Monday… but at least I’m not at work 😛

Unfortunately I need to get some work done from home before we enjoy some more pool time today.  Then who knows what else.  Enjoy your day!



Seriously Legit.

Totally went MIA… work has been crazy busy these past few days up until late today.

So I’m going to have to leave you with some of our recent eats, how about it?!

And also wish you a very happy holiday weekend 🙂

Grass-fed burger w/ cayenne, dijon and worcestershire topped with onion & a Hanover tomato.

The Man’s creation – impressive – yes!  Delicious – check!

Fresh summer squash from the farmer’s market.

Cute lil’ patio tomato + giant basil from our garden *squeal* !!

Fresh zucchini & squash saute, w/ onions, tomatoes and basil.

Ham, cheese and crackers.  Such a simple summer dinner staple…

Speaking of those, here’s another 😉

Spiced steamed shrimp w/ cocktail sauce.  Love.

Lemon poundcake cake pop.  Candy Valley Cake Company really has this thing down, holy yum.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go enjoy one of our new purchases.

The guys at Once Upon A Vine can do no wrong.  This beer is seriously legit, even if you don’t love beer.  Kind of like a beer cream soda, seriously, love it.

So glad it’s the weekend, have a good one! 😛

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Tropical Traditions Coconut Chips giveaway!!!  Speaking of summer…

Coco-Chippy Giveaway!

Well I’m sure that ya’ll are familiar with my love (okay, obsession) for Tropical Traditions products 🙂

From their gold label virgin coconut oil to their organic coconut peanut butter and even their coconut lotion, this company has some seriously awesome goods!

Well guess what, I’ve been trying out another one of these fabulous products over the past few days and must say that I am lovin’ it!  So you know that means I have to share it with you friends 😀

Know what this is?

Coconut Chips!!

Now we all know my love for coconut is a bit, shall we say, outta control 😉 so when I got the opportunity to try these beauties  you know I was all for it!

Tropical Traditions coconut chips are made from organic coconuts, contain NO additives or preservatives and are not sweetened.

Unlike most coconut on the market, their coconut is NOT treated with sulfites to keep it white either.

A+ in my book.

So how have I been eating my coconut chips?  Well aside from a handful here and there, I’ve been adding them to my oatmeal every morning and love the flavor + texture that they add to my usual breakfast.

Peachy Coco-Chippy oats, some stirred in and some on top.  Perfection.

They are great for a snack, great in cooking and I imagine would be fabulous in baked goods too!

So guess what friends… you know what this means…. it’sssssss


Coconut Chips - 1 gallon pail

Yes, that’s right, the friends at TropTraditions are offering the chance for one of you to win your own organic coconut chips and all you have to do to enter is one or all of the following:

  1. Go visit my friends over at Tropical Traditions & sign up for their newsletter, then leave me a comment below telling me you’ve done so and you’re in!  Could it get any easier, seriously? (note:  you must do this in order to enter any bonus entries below )
  2. Bonus Entry 1:  Follow Tropical Traditions (@troptraditions) on Twitter, leaving me a comment below saying you’ve done so.
  3. Bonus Entry 2:  Spread the word on twitter by copying & pasting the following, leaving me a comment below saying you’ve done so:  “Enter to win FREE  Organic Coconut Chips from @Cookinfanatic1   http://bit.ly/aOA1VW @TropTraditions #giveaway”
  4. Bonus Entry 3:  Post a link back to this giveaway on your blog, leaving me a comment below saying you’ve done so.

I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner on Monday, July 5!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

A storm is comin’!

Well hello there everyone!

Happy to report that we made it back alive from our river tubing trip yesterday…

Why do I say that you ask?? Oh just wait for it!

The morning started off bright and early with a 7am wakeup call, gathering of the masses and a lil’ over an hour drive out west to a more rural part of our fine state 🙂

Destination:  Scottsville, VA

The Man’s brother’s birthday celebration day!

Here’s the gang!

They loaded our group on an old yellow school bus with our inner tubes (the coolers got their own, obvi) and drove us up to the departure point.

The bus was H-O-T!!!  The Man purchased this toy the other night, which I laughed at him for doing, who’s laughing now huh?

He makes the weirdest face for pictures, grrrrrrrr!!

We got out on the river and soaked up the rays as we floated along & enjoyed a few beverages 😛

It was definitely hot & sunny, perfect tubing weather… for now. Duh duh duh duh.

I always find it somewhat awkward to wear tennis shoes with a bathing suit, but for the sake of not hurting yourself on the slick river rocks it’s definitely necessary!

River rocks.  Love that our digital camera is waterproof! 😛

There we a couple lil’ banks where we could “pull over” our connected mass of tubes and take a food/drink break which was definitely nice.

Well…… I think we must have stayed at this last beach a little too long because as soon as we got back on the river heading towards then end, some crazy dark storm clouds rolled in.

We thought we could make it to the end, even though we were getting pelted with wind & rain, until lightening began striking really close and the thunder was booming 😦

Ummm I was scared out of my mind, not gonna sugar coat that one.  And there was no nice lil’ beach/bank in SIGHT!

We had to immediately pull over to the river edge, which was a mess of trees/roots/tall grass, and climb our way out of the water to wait for the storm to pass.

Once the thunder began to sound farther away we got back in and made it to the end.

Freezing and scared.  I couldn’t have been happier to see the car and my warm towel!

So that was our adventure… or whatever you want to call it??

Upon arriving back to The Man’s parents house to continue the birthday festivities, his Mom had put together a fabulous spread of food 😀

She definitely saved the day!

Fresh strawberries & chocolate fondue

Fresh fruit w/ the most delicious fruit dip.

Pepperoni & cheese trays.

And unpictured shrimp cocktail, so good!

A late dinner included pork bbq, coleslaw, mac n’ cheese and potato salad… sorry friends, no camera around by that time 😉

Everyone hung out poolside at their house and enjoyed some more beverages until late in the night!

It was a great way to end a fun-filled yet adventurous day 🙂

And now, you must excuse me, as I have to go get ready to have Fanatic Mom & Dad over for dinner tonight!

I’m making one of the dishes that you saw during our Five After Five Whole Foods adventure… can’t wait to see how it turns out.

And if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, you have one more day to win a dozen Candy Valley Cake Pops!!!!!!!!

Cake Pops - BOB

Have a great rest of the weekend friends.

Plaintains. Life Changing.

Happy Friday everyone!! 😀

Gotta make this snappy, we are busy busy tonight getting ready for our all day river tubing adventure tomorrow!

Last minute workout to squeeze in, sandwiches to be made, adult beverages to be bought… you know the drill 😉

And thank you Fanatic Mom for staying with lil’ Lu Dog for us tomorrow, she says that sounds woof-tastic!!

Dinner tonight was an easy night Friday delight…

  • Buffalo Chicken, baked w/ green peppers & onions
  • Sauteed Plaintains
  • Garden Salad

First up, the chicken, which I decided to marinade in this…

The Man picked this out at the store the other day and I knew he’d be pleased with this meal (he’d probably drink the bottle if I didn’t use it soon haha, severe “buffalo sauce” disorder ya think?)

Chicken breast, largely sliced onion and green pepper plus the marinade got happy together while I got my workout on…

Then into a 375F oven for 30 minutes they went.

To go with I decided on plaintains, since I’ve been waiting ever-so-patiently for these suckers to ripen (takes foreverrrrr but so worth it!)

Looks like a rotten banana eh?  Not to worry, this is when the plaintain is at it’s sweetest… yellow & black!

If you remember last time I baked these up in the most glorious mixture of cumin, chili powder, cilantro & coconut oil. So good.

For the sake of time I decided on a simple saute tonight 🙂

1/2 tbslp coconut oil, 1 plaintain sliced on the diagonal.  That’s it.

The smell. Intoxicating.  The taste. Can’t put it into words.

My friends, plaintains are a life changing food.  At least for me.  Saying I adore them would be the understatement of the century.

I liked them like this even more than the last round.  I don’t know if the coconut oil really makes it happen, but these were AMAZINGGGGGGGG!

You know when you close your eyes and make the “mmm” sound while chewing because something is so good? (or is that just me haha)  Yep, that happened for each & every bite of this side dish 😉

Of course there was also a side salad of romaine, cucumber, tomato, green pepper, feta topped with white balsamic vinegar & olive oil, S&P and dried oregano to round out the meal.

Getting tired of this combo yet?  Not I!

Perfect way to end the week!

Well time to run, I can’t wait to soak up the rays from the comforts of my river tube with a frosty beverage in hand early tomorrow morning 😛

But before I go, just your friendly reminder to enter for your chance to win a dozen Candy Valley Cake Pops!!!

Off I go, enjoy your weekend friends!

Coconut + Curry

Hello everyone!

Can I just tell you how excited I am that ya’ll are loving the Candy Valley Cake Pop giveaway as much as me?!

Makes me happy happy 😀

Maybe even more happy than the impossible yoga session I did after work… anyone ever have one of those “off” days where sometimes the poses just aren’t working out?  Ah well, I still trucked through and it felt great by the end!

That’s the beauty of working out, you don’t have to be perfect everytime & every little bit is great for your body 😉

So the plan for dinner tonight was based around more local pork that I got at the farmer’s market…

Sneak peak?!!?

Don’t mind the background ingredients… we’re workin’ with an imposter pic here! 😛

This time around though I wanted to try something besides roasting, and I was really in the mood for some different flavors.

So this evolved!

  • 1 can light organic coconut milk
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tblsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped (unpic)
  • fresh lemon basil & regular basil – for topping

This was so easy to pull together and the smells were fabulous each step of the way!

First, combine all of the above ingredients except basil in a saucepan, cooking to warm through and let the flavors blend.

Can I drink you please?

Yea, I guess that would be a little much 😉

Then I found another lil’ fun squashie that I picked up at the farmer’s market, did I mention how fun squash can be in the kitchen?! So many varieties!

I heated up 1 tblsp coconut oil and added this squash, chopped up in large pieces and an onion chopped the same way.

After cooking until close to tender it was time to add the pork loin, which I chopped in large pieces and seasoned w/ S&P.

A lil’ extra coconut oil was added before meat went in too. 

I like to use this method for cooking meat/veg… giving the veg a cook first then a push to the perimeter of the pan while the meat browns & absorbs all their great flavor.

Lastly, in went some frozen cauliflower which I just gave a quick heat in the microwave to get ready.

At this point I added the veg/meat mixture to the curry/coconut sauce in a pot, covered and let finish cooking through.

To go with it was time for some TJ’s rice sticks

I’m in love with these guys… seriously.

While these boiled up I removed the curry from the heat and spooned into a mondo-sized bowl, reserving some of the curry/coconut sauce to use to coat the rice sticks once they were done…

Don’t forget to top with your fresh basil!

I then mixed the remaining sauce with said cooked rice sticks…

And served it on up, layer of coconut curry rice sticks topped with coconut curry meat & vegetable mixture and voila!

Yea, this was pretty much amazing!

The sauce – perfect.

The mixture of pork & vegetables with the rick sticks – perfect.

I don’t even know how to explain how excited I was about this finished product!

The flavors of fresh lemon basil really made this dish pop, if you haven’t tried this herb I highly recommend finding some, it’s one of my new favorites!  (Thanks Fanatic Mom for buying it for me, mother’s always know best 😉 )

The Man loved this dish too, such a fun twist of flavors to really liven up the work week.

And b-t-w, it was great with the pork but would be just as fabulous meat-free!

So now I’m off to do what I do best, enjoy some time with my loves and rest up for tomorrow.  This week is almost over, can you believe it?!

Have a great night everyone 😛

Candy Valley Cake Pop Giveaway!

Remember that lil’ giveaway I’ve been tempting you with for a few days now!??! 😉

Well the time is here friends!!

 Cake Pops - BOB

This would be a Candy Valley Cake Pop.

Quite possibly one of the best desserts I have ever had. Period.

If ya’ll remember, I discovered these fabulous treats at the farmer’s market earlier this year and have been in love with them ever since…

This cake is so super moist & flavorful plus coated with a candy shell & toppings, in the most perfect portion size ever… not to mention super cute… dessert WIN!

Well guess what?!?!  Keya, one of the Company’s owners, was kind enough to offer the chance for you friends to WIN some of your very own cake pops too!

A dozen of them to be exact.

Let’s just say I may have to enter this myself, gahhhh I want to win!!  (kidding friends, obviously I’m exempt… 😉 )

So here’s how you can enter!

1. Go visit my friends over at Candy Valley & leave me a comment below telling me which cake pop you’d most like to try!  Could it get any easier, seriously? (note:  you must do this in order to enter any bonus entry below)

2. Bonus Entry:  Go visit Candy Valley on facebook and “Like” these fabulous folks so you can stay up to date on all their fun flavors!  Leave a comment below saying you’ve done so.

3. Bonus Entry:  Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back, leaving a comment saying you’ve done so below.

4. Bonus Entry:  Tweet about this giveaway ‘Check out @cookinfanatic1 blog for your chance to win a dozen Candy Valley Cake Pops!! http://wp.me/pC3u2-2tb’  Leave a comment below saying you’ve done so.

Cake Pops - ZING

I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner Monday, June 14 after 5pm.

Can’t wait to see what all your favorite flavors are, and here’s a sneak peak at my top 3 😛

  1. BOB Chocolate Peanut Butter – chocolate cake w/ peanut butter chips, peanut butter candy shell 
  2. King of Pops – chocolate cake, vanilla candy shell, pretzels, nuts, fleur de sel, chocolate chips, butterscotch, potato chips & more!
  3. RVA Red Velvet – red velvet cake, vanilla candy shell, red velvet cake crumbs