Well, what feels like a majority of the month of July being spent oceanside at one of my favorite beaches ever, is finally coming to a close…

Ocean looked almost tropical on this day, so crazy! I mean… North Carolina?

And I’d be lyin’ if I said I’m not a little bit bummed about that 😉

However I’m so very grateful for all the blue skies, sunny days and time spent with loved ones creating fabulous memories that I know I’ll cherish forever!!



I’m still trying to figure out how we were so fortunate to have amazing not-too-hot summer temperatures and not a drop of rain during the entire week either, but hey, who am I to question things??


Only a quick offshore storm that I was just fine with staying far away in the distance!!


Pretty much the most incredible weather and water conditions that I can remember in my many years of traveling to the Outer Banks…

And for that, I am thankful 😀


But now it’s back to reality… *sigh*

Back to alarm clocks. Back to days spent indoors. Back to the normal buzz of life, sans ocean and sand-filled days. Back to “real life” or so they call it 😛

So I thought, hey, if you can’t beat ’em then why not join ’em. And have a little fun with it!

So in an effort to “balance” out what seems to be days on end of vacation, I have decided to challenge myself to come up with some frugal and waist-line friendly recipes for the rest of the month. Figured that might keep me entertained 😉

And you know what that means… I’ll be sharing them with YOU!!

Sound ok? Good.

First up, a simple lunch or dinner idea using this new Chobani flavor.


COCONUT?!?! I mean. Be still, my beating heart…

Only my favorite flavor of anything ever in all the world (this is a fact, friends). And also pretty fitting for a post-vacation treat, right?

This new recipe, which has just 6 simple ingredients, I think you guys are really going to like. Or at least I hope so, since I know I sure did 🙂

More to come… happy Sunday!

July 4th. At one of my favorite places of all time…


Outer Banks, NC.

We meet again 🙂


With some of my favorite people.


Doing some of my favorite things.


Great wine. Delicious snacks.

Trio Restaurant & Wine Bar.


Long warm sunny beach days.


Soundside cocktails.


With sunset views.


And fresh local eats to die for.

Tuna Carpaccio. The Brine and Bottle.


Already can’t wait to make the drive in over this bridge again in just a few short days for round 2…

 Life is good 😀

 Well. That lil’ break from the CookinFanatic kitchen continues…


And bloody marys poolside have taken over 😛

Kidding. Sorta?

But would you be impressed if I told you that this take-two beach excursion around I actually made it into the kitchen… ?!

Filet dinner. Beach style 🙂


Can’t beat this meal as a happy-arrival-to-the-beach-for-a-long-weekend meal now can you??

And at least I can take credit for those asparagus! 😉

However. Let’s move onto more things I can’t take kitchen credit for that were completely and totally delicious. Unless you count (1) ordering them or (2) eating them haha.

Like this for instance, which our OBX friends were so kind to invite us over to share…


Fresh tuna and mahi, just caught the day before while deep sea fishing.

Cooked to perfection on the grill, both steak style (rare of course!) and breaded & lightly fried…


This fried version was better than ANY restaurant I’ve ever been to. The end.

Perfectly crisp and hot out of the fryer while fall apart flakey and moist in the middle. This, my friends, was fried fish PERFECTION.

And this fried green tomato & mozzarella salad from Outer Banks Brewing Station


What a fun twist on a classic, right?!

Definitely enjoyed this one!

Dinner at this new-to-me OBX spot, The Brine & Bottle, on the soundfront was also a really fun tasting experience.

Plus the decor/location was just as cute as could be.


Seemed like the mozzarella salad theme continued here with a house-pulled mozzarella salad w/ preserved tomato, pesto and tapenade…


What a fun idea to incorporate olives into the mix, loved that.

Which was just one of manyyyy small plates we gave a try. And by that, I mean I’m pretty sure we tried 90% of them. Lol. Hey, it happens!

And of course nothing is more fun than catching up with friends over all this good food and enjoying many an hour in the sun, breathing in that fresh ocean air 🙂


But as wonderful as all these vacations have been, sometimes coming home to this sweet face…


And a home cooked meal made from fresh farmers market goods…


Is just the perfect way to end a crazy whirlwind of vacation travel 🙂

And who knows. Maybe I’ll even work up a new recipe with these goodies sometime this week. That’d be shocking, now wouldn’t it? 😉

Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday weekend too!!