Before we get to this lil’ spicy Cinco de Mayo treat…



I just HAVE to share this super healthy and oh so flavorful soup recipe with you guys that I whipped up last week.

That ok? Okay good 🙂


Because this take on a traditional chicken soup has the most deliciously subtle sesame flavor and a mixture of textures that is just too good not to share!


With hearty mushrooms,


melt in your mouth carrots


flavorful chicken breast,



lightly cooked and still slightly “crisp” lacinato kale,


and an out of the norm soup add-in —> quinoa!


In place of a more traditional noodle 🙂


Fun, right?!

This was my first time using lacinato kale in the kitchen and I loved it.

This kale has a flatter leaf than the curly kale I’m more accustomed and just the best texture!


So yes. Here we are.

A filling yet healthy easy dinner option and a fun twist on a more traditional chicken soup 🙂


Because what fun is cooking if you can’t mix things up like that? 😉


And p.s. — I didn’t even add ANY oh my beloved spicy chili sauce to serve.

I know, right?! It must have been that good 😛


Well it appears as though summer has made herself an early appearance this year! 🙂

In the form of much welcomed 80 degree weather after snow storms just a short yet distant memory ago…?


Can we just talk about how much I adore hot summer weather too by the way?!

Ok good. Glad we’re all on the same page here 🙂

So to welcome in the gloriously warm temps this week I threw together what just may be deemed the CookinFanatic summer pasta salad for the season!!

This one far surpassed my taste-pectations and also comes Fanatic Mom and Lil Sis approved…

I WILL be making this again. Many times if I know myself well enough 😉 It was just so good!


Ignore the soy sauce. It didn’t make the cut.

Not only is it super fresh. Super healthy. And super delicious. But also super economical, veggie-fied and bikini-season-friendly! 🙂

I mean. What more can you want from a warm weather basically no-cook recipe… right?


Bright summer veggies. 


Combined with hearty whole wheat pasta elbows.


Creamy delicious chickpeas, which are such a staple in summer salads around this kitchen!


Fresh cilantro. Just probably my favorite fresh herb of all time. Adore it.


And topped with the most flavorfully easy Asian inspired dressings yet! 🙂


Fresh ginger. Sweet white balsamic vinegar. Spicy sambal oelek*. Toasty sesame oil. Salt. Pepper. Done.

* You can find sambal oelek at the Asian market or Asian foods aisle of most grocery stores. Substitute sriracha if you prefer, although this will add a hint of garlic flavor to the pasta salad.


You can’t tell me that you wouldn’t want to dig into that too?! 🙂


Refreshing & light. Perfect served alone or atop a bed of greens with some additional dressing.


Or even with topped with salad shrimp or chopped grilled chicken to please any meat-eater that might be dining as well!


I think this is a recipe that you will enjoy as much as we did 🙂

This weekend… just sparklinggggg dahhhhling!!!

Maybe even more  so than these delicious sunny patio champagne cocktails…??


Or maybe just as much 😉

Amuse at the VMFA.

Such fabulous weather. So many great times with friends.

Sometimes I just have to stop and wonder how life can be just so good!!

And then be thankful 🙂


Oh yes. And then there was this.

80 degrees. My heaven!!!!


Having a vacation day Monday may have been the best decision yet 😉



For both myself and you guys…

Because look what this Monday brought to the Fanatic kitchen!


This Asian inspired chickpea pasta salad might be one of my favorites yet.

Spicy sesame dressing, cool veggies, creamy chickpeas, tender pasta ahhhh my tastebuds are singing louder than the birds outside!!

I’ll be back to share more soon, happy Monday 🙂