Tag Archives: grilled cheese

The big 2-1!

Hey friends!

Well I’m happy to report that last night was a success… and besides being just a lil’ tired today I feel great! 

Now the other Fanatic… hmmm not so sure her response will be the same 😉

I even got in a 6 round slim down session after dragging lil’ sis to the farmer’s market (I was shocked she wanted to go!)

One of my favorite farmers even hooked me up with some extra “on the house” baby bok choy since he felt bad not having it for me last week… how sweet was that?!?!

Anywho, let’s go for a last night recap, shall we?!

Festivities took place in a part of town where I used to live called The Fan.  It’s located just west of downtown Richmond (see how the streets “fan” out?) and is full of gorgeous old houses, family owned restaurants and lots of cute bars all within walking distance of each other.


We started the night by meeting up with some friends at a place I used to go to quite often when I lived down here, DeLux.

Steph, Kim (aka mini-Fanatic) and one of my best friends Tammy

They have a fabulous dinner menu and an extensive martini & mojito selection!

First legal drink out in Richmond for mini-Fanatic, courtesy of Tammy!

Lil’ sis definitely got her tan on while in Bermuda this past week, so summery!

Once we sat down for dinner it was time to make some appetizer decisions!  Check out their menu here if ya want, it’ll make you drool, I promise 😉

Lobster Dip – artichoke, roasted peppers & lobster meat served w/ fried flour tortilla chips

Fried Calamari – served w/ tzatziki sauce


For the main course the girls went with salads, which are phenomenal here!

I had the blurry 😉 blackened tuna salad

Mixed greens, corn relish, avocado, cucumbers and pico de gallo (chipotle ranch not necessary!)

The guys stuck with the short rib grilled cheese

Pulled short ribs, Swiss, caramelized onions and garlic mayonnaise w/ sweet potato fries

And as if all that wasn’t enough, The Man twisted my arm into ordering dessert haha righttttt 😛

Krispy Kreme bread pudding

Yes, you read that right.  Holy outta this world… it tasted like breakfast + dessert HEAVEN.  I don’t even really like doughnuts but this was soooooo indulgently good and so worth it 😀

A few more drinks were had before we realized it was 11pm and we had been at dinner for over 2 hours!! 

Dragonberry mojito anyone???

At that point we decided to head elsewhere, and what better than one of my favorite bars in The Fan, Three Monkeys

3 Monkey's

When I lived down here this was our go-to spot… and also where The Man and I began our lil’ love affair some 2+ years ago 😉

Actually… it was right in this very spot where Mr. Man approached me while I was hanging out with mini-fanatic one Thursday night after a girl’s night dinner!

And thennnn, look who showed up too…

None other than Miss EatingBirdFood herself! 😀

After another round of drinks…

… including the obligatory shooter w/ big sis, we headed over to another bar down the street.

What is going on here hahaha?!?!?!

No pics though bc this place was packeddddd…. after fighting the crowd we decided that it was time to call it a night and head home!

And how could you not be excited about coming home to this furry friend 😉


So pretty much a great night all around… while I may not be as wild & crazy as I used to be, I definitely still enjoy heading out for some great food, drinks and company!

Now it’s off to relax, I need some serious downtime today after a long work week and late night out 😛

See you friends later!


Kale + Apples + Onion Oh My!

Happy “Monday-is-over” night everyone!

Hope you made it through the first day of the week okay 🙂

I woke up this morning without my alarm and seriously thought it was Sunday morning… hate when the ol’ brain plays dirty tricks like that 😛

Anywho, after a full day of work I headed home and was more than ready to crank of a workout… it has been a while if you remember since my lil’ exercise hiatus this past week!

YogaWorks Body Slim.

I love you.

After that I knew that I wanted to make something fresh yet easy for dinner.

Here comes the farmer’s market purchases into play!

First up, fresh kale.

After talking with the farmer who sold me this kale I decided to take his suggestion of cooking it with apples to sweeten up the natural “bitterness” of the vegetable.  I also added in some onion!

This is my first kale experience too fyi… I’ve tried swiss chard and spinach but not this guy yet!

Edit:  Okay apparently in my Monday night haze I forgot that I had recently made kale chips haha oops!  Which I disliked too btw.  Good thing I gave kale a second chance!

Into the hot pan went some EVOO and the onion, followed by the apple.  After about 10 minutes once they had tendered up a bit, in went the kale cooked until wilted.  Splash of white balsamic vin plus S&P for good measure 😉

Farmer knows his stuff, this combo of flavors was fabulous!!!  I know who’ll be buying kale again veryyyy soon 😉

Alongside this kale fiesta I made up some grilled cheeses, but not just any grilled cheese my friends!

Remember this Virginia garlic cheese I purchased at the Farmer’s Market?  Oh yea, that was happenin’

This stuff is amazingly deelish!  A lil’ sprinkling of dried oregano really made this sammie stand out 🙂

The Man had a side salad with his since he is not a fan of cooked greens…

With our new fave dressing combo, simple olive oil & white balsamic vinegar!

While we’re on the topic of fresh vegetables, check out this article that I was directed too today via twitter.

California Approves Cancer-Causing Chemical for Strawberries

Just sad.  I know another only organic or only local item that will be added to our list…

Want to know what else is sad?  How the majority of the American public is most likely unaware of things like this 😦

So quick sidenote, but lately it has really come to my attention at how misinformed/uninformed a good part of our country is when it comes to food.  As food bloggers we really have an advantage in being so involved in the food community and gaining knowledge that most others would not have direct access to. 

Which brings me to this question…

Where do you draw the line on “pushing” this food knowledge & even your eating ideals on friends/family based on the information learned out in the food world? 

Alright well before I go, guess what?!?!?!


Galaxy Granola anyone? 😉

Enjoy your night!

Gettin’ ready for the weekend!!

Hey friends!  Well thought I’d check in with ya’ll real quick before the weekend craziness ensues 😀

After work I came home and enjoyed one of my favorite types of workouts, which includes choosing 2 or 3 shorter sessions on ExerciseTV & doing them back to back.  So crucial.

Today’s workout “menu” included:

Oh yea, and check out this fabulous spread I pulled together for lunch today (love the new office, I can swing home for lunch & to see Lucy Dog on slower days!)

That would be one of the best “grilled” cheeses I have ever had thanks to the help of this lil’ gem

Plus some fresh basil, oh em gee don’t know how this sammie tasted so good but it surpassed my expectations like whoa!

Also had some Food Should Taste Good Olive chips w/ salsa and sweet peppers to go alongside 🙂

Perfect lunch, and guess what, it may just be the perfect dinner 😉

Right now I’ve got the ancho chile chicken cooking away in preperation for tomorrow and once Laura gets here we are making Mexican brownies from scratch! 

Remember the homemade ancho chile & tomatillo sauce I made last weekend?  Well I saved some of it in the freezer & put it to good use second time around, ole!

However the end result may be even more flavorful since I am using boneless, skinless chicken thighs this time around and they impart such a great richness to Mexican dishes (at least that’s my personal opinion….)

Alright, cocktail hour party prep is calling my name!  I hope to see you friends tomorrow but if not, do forgive me, as it’s gonna be a busy day… and know that I’ll be back as soon as I can with Cinco de Mayo food & party recaps 😛

Giveaway Time, Okay!

I think we all know how much I adore my Cuisinart hand stick blender (or my mom’s that I’ve been “borrowing” for a few months now 😉 ) …  And speaking of, did you know that CSN stores offer a variety of products to furnish your kitchen, everything from home bars and counter stools to cookware, flatware and drinkware including this fabulous Cuisinart smart stick hand blender as well?!

This kitchen tool seriously saved the dayweek  month when I was so sick with tonsilitis and when I got my tonsils removed.  But it also has found a happy place in my kitchen helping me with all sorts of fun recipes! 

From “nurse me back to health” Tropical Smoothies

To impromptu filling for Sweet Potato & Coconut Wrappers

Even mashing up the ingredients for Pizza Bean Burgers

To “right in the crockpot” Potato Soup

And not to forget Sweet Potato, Coconut and Peanut Butter Mash!

This kitchen tool is one that I find so useful for so many things and one that I adore!

And did you know that it has been rated the “best basic hand blender” too?

Well guess what, the fabulous folks over at CSN have offered to give one of you readers your very own Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender CSB-76!!

Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender in White - CSB-76

Well truly they offered to either (1) let me try one of their fabulous products myself so fanatic mom coulda got her blender back haha or (2) let me give one away to ya’ll…  I’ll send mad momma to you friends for that one 😉 jk!

So here’s the deal, for your chance to win your very own Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender you can do any or all of the following (each one = an entry):

  1. Leave me a comment with what you think your favorite way to use this kitchen tool would be.
  2. Tweet up the giveaway “Check out @cookinfanatic1 giveaway for your chance to win your own Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender http://wp.me/pC3u2-2cj!” and leave me a comment below telling me you’ve done so.
  3. Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment below with a link back to the post.

I’ll randomly select the winner on Monday, April 26 (entries due by 5pm) 😀

Oh, and what’s that you say, what’s for dinner tonight?

Well in the spirit of this gloomy, rainy day I decided that we’d be best suited to have our Chicken Noodle Soup & sammich meal tonight, which if you remember from Meal Planning 101 was actually scheduled for Thursday night…

But see friends, even with planning you can still be flexible! 😀

Fanatic Mom got this soup mix for me a while back and I was excited to give it a whirl…

Gotta redeem myself for still holding her Cuisinart blender hostage, no? 😛


Pretty easy eh?  I followed it kinda, using 1 tblsp butter for flavor and only 32oz. of chicken broth (plus 2 small chicken breasts, chopped and cooked in said butter first…)

Mom has been raving about this soup for a while now, and I know why!  This mix was FABULOUS! And not full of sodium like so many soups are… I will definitely buy this again, we LOVED it 🙂

Me to The Man:  “That soup was seriously so good esp for a package mix”

The Man to Me: “That is the understatement of the yearrrrrr. We should buy this again, and have it like, every week.”

First of all, what’s all this “we” business, I’d love to see him grocery shopping 😛 (love you boo!) and secondly, we have only Fanatic Mom to thank for this awesome gift and meal!

To go with our soup I made some grilled cheeses, his and her style!

For him:  Bacon Swiss Grilled cheese (w/a lil’ smear of butter for good measure 😉 )


For her:  Roasted red pepper & fresh basil grilled swiss cheese w/ spicy apple cinnamon ginger mustard

Loved the pops of flavor with this combo, tangy mustard with sweet basil plus ooey gooey cheese was heavenly!

This dinner definitely hit the spot after my post work exercise session, which included:


Well everyone, I better scadaddle (did I just say that?), time for some tv and relaxation… this week has been outta control busy and homegirl needs it 😉

See you back tomorrow!

Alright, here it is :) Fashion show time!

Happy Monday night! 

How is it that saying that just never gets old…? ‘Wanna’ know why?  Bc it means that Monday is ovah! 😀

And ‘wanna’ know what completely rocks my world?  Ohhhh just that it was light out until after 7:30pm tonight even with cloudy conditions – booyah winter, take that!

Aight aight, I’ll get straight into some yummy dinner eats from ghosts of Christmas past? my stash of fave easy meals ever.

Oh yes, the beloved Spicy Pumpkin Soup is BACKKKKKKK!

I mean, remember all the good times we spent together like here and here oh and here 😛

Of course I modified the directions, go figure, but girlfriend’s gotta get that swimsuit figure on 😉

Instead of all that heavy cream, just about 3/4 cup of half n’ half will do ya just fine!


And also let it simmer for about an hour ohhh and a half vs. the 20 minutes they recommend.  I don’t know, I just like when it cooks longer – don’t ask me to make logic out of craziness. Kapeesh? 😛

To go with I made some grilled cheese sammies using our fave cheese, Nature’s Own sandwich rounds & fresh spinach

Simple, satisfying, splendid dinner!  World Market, you are my heaven on earth 😉

Okay okay okay… twist my armmmmmm.  As requested, here’s the goods from yesterday’s shopping adventure!


Adding a new color to my wardrobe life! (Ann Taylor)


A few basic tees (Ann Taylor), I really loved the vibrant colors & they are so soft 🙂

A lil’ pink perhaps?

Maybe green?

Poolside cover up bc I love me some sunshine (Target aka “Tarjay”)

Casual weekend errand running/patio lounging tank top (Tarjay)

And finally a new work top all spring-colored like (or black, whatevs) 😉 (Tarjay)

Alright, well enough of me!  How about a big thank you to all you friends for requesting a lil’ sneak peak at a few new pieces to the ol’ wardrobe 🙂  You really know how to make a girl blush!

And by the way, anyone else find warm weather clothes shopping to be SO much more fun than shopping for winter clothes?  I think I like summer clothes 304,594 times more than sweaters/pants/blahhhh and therefore my bank account suffers 304.594 more times the damage during these times of the year 😉

No. Seriously.

Haha well anyways… my “photographer” awaits me for some Monday night tv (we really know how to live the good life, no?)

Who’s getting pumped for FitBloggin in t-minus 4 days!!! My homegirl Brittany and I are ready to take on Baltimore & represent the RVA 🙂  Let me know if you’re coming too – can’t wait to meet everyone!

Have a fabulous Monday night my friends!

Trick smoothie ;)

Well well friends, the snow has finally stopped so now we are dealing with the “aftermath” of the storm…. for some reason the county/state/whomever did not feel that our street needed any plowing thus far, so it’s pretty nasty out there with the 12″ plus that ended up falling! 😛

The Man is busy digging out the SUV so we can head for a quick grocery store trip, but I think it’s safe to say that Lady BMW, with her rear wheel drive, will not be going anywhere for quite some time haha.

But let’s rewind to earlier today, shall we?

After breakfast and some meal planning, I decided that it was a perfect day for one of my fave quick yoga routinesYoga Sculpt with Maura Barclay – really got my blood flowing since I was a wee bit tired today thanks to my 8am wake up call (eh hmmm we won’t go there ok?!)  I also did a quick ab routine with “love-him-or-hate-him” Kendall Hogan 😉

Then I was more than ready for a yummy lunch

We had plenty of leftover homemade chicken noodle soup so that was obviously on the menu 😉

And to go with I made a most intriguing sammich using White Sharp Cheddar + Pumpkin Buttah! 🙂

What does pumpkin buttah not make better, sheesh?!?! 😛

After some serious laundry & other household fun, I woke up sleeping beauty to get the cars cleaned off so we could head out to the store right nearby… def won’t be doing this week’s shopping at my normal “food spots” but I think I still put together a pretty good plan considering (such a food snob, this girl 😉 )

While Mr. Sleep-Forever-And-Then-Some cleaned off the cars, I whipped up a smoothie using this guy:

which I won in a giveaway a while back and had been meaning to try out 🙂   If you haven’t noticed, I’m not a big “smoothie” person – I like to chew?! – but I must say that this product may have swayed me a bit!!

Blended up half the packed with:

  • 1/2 banana
  • few frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
  • ice

And voila!


Packed full of great things for my body AND delicious… I loved it!

And get this, I brought some out to Mr. Snow-shoveler-extraordinaire to see if I could get him to try some (hey, 50/50 chance I figured :P) and he immediately took me up on the offer (what??) and then proclaimed this to be “just like the smoothies from the store” (haha whatever that means)… I’m taking it as a good thing though?

Little did Mr. Man know that he just had a trick smoothie with (1) almond milk and (2) natural plant-based super food!!  I was (1) shocked and (2) thrilled at his reaction, so shhhh, don’t tell 🙂

Alright friends, well time to see how car dig-out 2010 is going and get on over to the store….

Don’t forget to enter the Chobani Giveaway too ya’ll – you have til this Friday!!!

Have a lovely Sunday friends 🙂

World Market soup strikes again!

Hey hey friends… well I have some bad news, as the work day progressed today I started to feel a lil’ under the weather 😦  By the time I got home my throat was sore and I felt like all the energy had been sucked outta me.  So needless to say, working out was not an option.  I am a bit stressed bc getting sick right now is just really not going to be workable, esp with my presentation mid-week and all.  Therefore I am laying low and hoping that some rest and vitamins will ward this thing off.

Minor rant, but it really makes me upset when I let myself take a few workout days off and I have a plan to get back on track and then something unexpected happens like not feeling well.  I have extreme exercise guilt 😦  I know it’s unhealthy and I should just be fortunate that I am healthy overall, and I am trying my best to cope with it, but wondered if anyone else experiences the same thing too?

Well, needless to say, guess it was fitting that I had planned on chicken soup tonight (self-fulfilling prophecy?).  I got home and got in my PJs and mustered up some energy to make this since I knew it wouldn’t be too much trouble and would feel so good on my sore throat.

I followed these directions for the Harvest Vegetable Soup, except cut down the EVOO to 1 tblsp.


Gathered up the ingredients


And got to use my new cutting board from Home Goods too 🙂


Then it was time to get the soup a cookin’

Step 1 – saute chopped onion in 1 tblsp EVOO, season with salt & pepper


Step 2 – add chopped chicken breast (1 large) and cook through


Step 3 – add chicken broth, water and rice vegetable mix to pot (set aside pasta & soup base)


and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, add the pasta and let simmer another 10 minutes.  Then add the soup base as directed… and voila!
Steaming hot bowl of delicious 🙂
My mini-bowl due to my sub-par appetite tonight :/
I also made some cheddar, tomato & oregano spiced grilled cheese sammies in the Foreman to go alongside. 

So did the Harvest Vegetable Chicken Soup live up to my expectations?!  YES SIR!!!  

Direct quote from The Man “At first look it looks like the package would just be for decoration but it tastes so good that you could totally give this as a gift”  Proud girlfriend…? 🙂

$3.99, easy, extremely deelish, and leftovers (like a ton) for later… looks like this may be the next item that I clear out from the World Market shelves haha 😉

Alright friends, I am sure you understand that I am outta here to get some rest and pray that I feel better tomorrow.  I hope all of you are having a wonderful start to the week, and not feeling under the weather like this lady!

See you tomorrow 🙂