Teavana’s Perfecta Maker

It’s tea time. :)

FullSizeRender-68

Nothing makes me happier than a yummy cup of tea in the afternoon, especially on really chilly days. As soon as the baby settles in for his afternoon nap, I get right on with making myself a nice hot cup of green tea.  I’ve always been happy with the little bags you buy at the supermarket, but that all changed when I received this tea maker for Christmas.  Teavana’s tea’s are delicious and this Perfecta Maker is not only fun to use, it delivers a flavorful cup of tea every time.

IMG_4573

All you have to do is measure out your tea leaves, fill it up with boiling water and let it sit for a bit. You then just place it on top of your cup and let it drain right in.

FullSizeRender-67

Today I mixed Jade Citrus Mint leaves with my green tea leaves and it was sooooo good.  Add a couple of cookies to the mix and I am one happy camper.

FullSizeRender-66

The cookies were compliments of this fun gift that my big guy gave to his sister.

How cute is he!!!

Enjoy and Stay Warm :)

 

xoxo

Jill 

Arroz Con Pollo estilo Paella

Chicken and Rice Paella Style.

FullSizeRender-65

Arroz con pollo is a popular dish in my house. It’s so easy to put together and you can make it all in one pan, which I love!!! This recipe happened one day when I was shopping and came upon some yummy looking chorizo. I thought it would be great to cook up my arroz con pollo like a paella and add in the chorizo and shrimp, and in the end make my whole family happy. :)

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 pack of chicken thighs and legs
  • 3 chorizo links
  • 1 lb of cleaned shrimp
  • ½ of a medium spanish onion – diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 ¼ cups of chicken broth
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • good pinch of saffron
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do:

FullSizeRender-52

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.

FullSizeRender-53

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to an oven proof pan and brown up your chorizo. An enamel or cast iron pan would work great.

FullSizeRender-54

Remove when done and set aside. Slice them up when they have cooled down a bit.

FullSizeRender-56

Add another tablespoon of olive oil and brown up the chicken pieces on both sides.

And….

You guessed it, remove and set aside. 😉

FullSizeRender-57

Add last tablespoon of olive oil and cook diced onions for a few minutes.

FullSizeRender-58

Pour in ¼ cup of chicken broth and with a wooden spoon scrape up all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan.

FullSizeRender-59

Toss in the cup of rice and cook for a minute.

FullSizeRender-60

Pour in 2 cups of chicken broth.

FullSizeRender-61

And the good pinch of saffron and give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil.

FullSizeRender-55

On a side note. I get my saffron at Trader Joe’s.

FullSizeRender-62

Give one good last stir and add in your sliced up chorizo and chicken pieces. Making sure to add in any juices from the plates and that all meats are tucked in nicely. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

FullSizeRender-63

Add in the clean shrimp and peas. Give a slight stir, making sure everything has a place and place pan in your oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

FullSizeRender-65

Just have to give a shout out to my sweetie latino husband for naming this recipe. Love ya 😘

Hope you like it.

 

xoxo

Jill 

 

Eggs Rancheros

💃 Brunch is Fun💃

FullSizeRender-51

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not much of a night owl. My jammies are most likely on by 7 and it’s pretty safe to say, that I will be asleep by 9 .😴😴😴

I guess that’s why I love a Brunch party so much. I get to get together with people I love at my most perkiest time of the day. It’s even totally appropriate to serve cocktails, which just makes it a win win in my book. A brunch is so easy to put together with yummy bagels, breads, muffins, fun butter spreads, jellies, but you definitely want to serve up some nice warm eggs and not spend the whole time in the kitchen doing so. Eggs Rancheros are so simple to make and definitely the way to go for a fun, successful brunch party.

Here is what you will need:

FullSizeRender-43

  • corn tortillas
  • eggs
  • salsa
  • black beans
  • green onion
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • avocado
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do:

FullSizeRender-45

Brush your corn tortillas with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until slightly browned and crunched up. Keep an eye on them, they can turn on you in a few seconds.

FullSizeRender-46

Add salsa and black beans to an oven proof pan and place in a oven to for 10 minutes to get warmed up.

FullSizeRender-47

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle shredded cheese all around. Make a little well with a spoon and break in your eggs.

FullSizeRender-48

Cook until your eggs are done and then toss around the sliced green onion and a good cracking of fresh black pepper.

FullSizeRender-49

Set it up on your buffet table with the crunchy tortillas, avocado and maybe some sour cream.

FullSizeRender-50

Let your guest help themselves, so you can get your grub on.

FullSizeRender-44

Just have to add in a perfect brunch cocktail. Double the Bubbles :)

Set up a bar with your favorite Prosecco and fruity flavored Sanpellegrino. Cut up some fresh fruit slices to go with the drinks and…..

Enjoy

 

xoxo

Jill 

Fruity Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s time for a salad.

FullSizeRender-42

I don’t know about you, but I ate like I was going to the electric chair this holiday season. So I’d say it’s definitely time to do some damage control and get some good old healthy salad eating in, and fast because Superbowl is coming and this girl never turns down a wing. 😉

I’m actually a big fan of salads and just love all the different combinations that you can put together.  I usually stick to a light balsamic dressing that I have been making for years, but recently I started grinding up fresh fruit and adding it to the dressing to give my salads an extra kick.

So I’ll start with my…

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here is what you will need:

FullSizeRender-34

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot – peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Here is what you need to do:

FullSizeRender-35

Measure and chop everything up and toss it into a storage jar. Give a really good shake and your done. :)

FullSizeRender-36

It really is an easy to make, light, not overpowering dressing that coats the lettuce leaves perfectly.

But…

FullSizeRender-37

Why not add a little something extra to make it even yummier and good for you.

FullSizeRender-38

So with todays salad being spinach leaves with strawberries slices, goat cheese, and crunchy sesame sticks, I thought it would be great to grind up a bunch of strawberries and add the puree to the dressing.

FullSizeRender-39FullSizeRender-40

If I was the only one eating the dressing, I would just pour the puree into the vinaigrette.  My family is not a fan of chunky dressings, so I strained the puree through a sieve and helped push the strawberry juice through with a whisk.

FullSizeRender-41

I just love the color the strawberry puree gives to the vinaigrette.

IMG_4399

The best thing about this dressing is that you can add any fruit that you love and it will be great. Mangos, blueberries, raspberries, papaya. The list is endless….

:)

 

xoxo

Jill 

How to Make an Irish Man Cry

“There are two kinds of people in this world. The givers and the takers. The takers sometimes eat better, but the givers always sleep better”

Danny Thomas

FullSizeRender-33

It was a Saturday night and I had to be around 8 or 9 years old. My father, brother and I were watching T.V. and I was performing my duties as the remote control. 😉  As I turned the little knob to see what was on each channel, my dads face lit up when he saw Danny Thomas. He was a big fan of his, so he told me to leave it on this channel to see what the show was about.  We all sat back to watch what was a program about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the children who they were helping fight cancer.  I sat back in awe of this amazing hospital and all that they do for their patients. They turn no one away and medical expenses are never an issue for the families. They then showed a story about a little boy who was just so cute with this beautiful spirit that just shined in his eyes. He had a very rare cancer and was in for the fight of his life. He proudly held up a picture he drew of warriors trying to beat up his cancer and talked about how he just couldn’t wait to get home to play with his friends again.  Danny Thomas then came on to say how with only a few dollars a month we could help support the hospital and families that were in need.  It all seemed so simple in my young eyes, so I turned to look at my dad and with tears in his eyes he said “Go get me the phone.”   My father gave each month for the remainder of his life.  My husband and I have been donating monthly for the past 21 years.   This year we decided to also give a special end of year donation in honor of my dad.

I recently added a link on my blog that makes it so simple to make a one time donation in honor of someone or sign up to make that monthly donation that is so needed to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Whatever you feel comfortable with would be Awesome!!

 

xoxo

Jill 

Turkey Chili

A Quick & Easy Meal on a Busy Night.

FullSizeRender-32

This chili recipe is one of my favorite meals to make on those crazy busy days when I feel there is just no way that I can get dinner on the table. It is so simple to put together and works great either stove top or in a slow cooker.

Here is what you will need:

FullSizeRender-29

  • 1 lb of ground turkey.
  • 1 can of pinto beans – drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can of kidney beans – drained and rinsed.
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes.
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce.
  • 1 green bell pepper – diced.
  • ½ of a medium spanish onion – diced.
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning.

Here is what you need to do:

FullSizeRender-30

Cook up the ground turkey in a little olive oil and then add the diced pepper and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes.

FullSizeRender-31

Next, add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans and seasoning packet. Give the chili a good mix and then bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remember to give it a stir every few minutes.

IMG_1790

I like to top my chili with shredded cheddar, avocado chunks and sour cream. :) It is also great over a baked potato and perfect to use for a big dish of nachos.

Hope you like it…

 

xoxo

Jill 

Pecan Snowball Cookies

🎁 My favorite Christmas cookie 🎁

FullSizeRender-27

Everyone I know has a different name for this cookie and a different way to make them.  I have seen chocolate with walnut, lemon, chocolate chip, almond and crescent-shaped versions called Mexican wedding cookies. The list is endless and I’m sure they are all yummy, but my favorite recipe is with pecans and that’s how I make them every year.

Here is what you will need:

FullSizeRender-21

  • 2 sticks of room temperature butter.
  • 1¾ cups flour.
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar and another ½ cup powdered sugar for rolling the cookies in once they are baked.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • 1 cup chopped pecans.

Here is what you need to do:

FullSizeRender-22

Mix room temperature butter with ½ cup sugar until smooth.

FullSizeRender-23

Pour in vanilla, and then mix in flour one spoonful at a time. Toss in pecans and give the batter a good mix by hand.

FullSizeRender-24

Form into small balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

FullSizeRender-25

Bake at 275 degrees for 40 minutes.

FullSizeRender-26

Let them cool for only a bit. You want the cookies a little warm when you roll them in the other ½ cup of powdered sugar.

FullSizeRender-28

This is my number one cookie that I pack up in Christmas tins to give out to family and friends.

IMG_1779

I love to get recipes from friends, so I aways make sure to write-up a recipe card to go along with the cookie delivery.

Hope you like them. 🎅

 

xoxo

Jill 

Birthday Weekend Getaway

My Guy’s Birthday

photo 3-20

Every year I ask my husband what he wants to do for his birthday and every year he will say

” A nice dinner with you and the kids”.

So with this year being extra special I didn’t ask what he would want, I just went ahead and booked what I knew he would love and most likely needed. A quiet relaxing long weekend in Montauk at Gurney’s.

photo 1-21

We don’t get away much without the kiddies, so when Friday came we packed ourselves up and got on the road. :)

photo 3-18

The car ride  was so peaceful and quiet, that before we knew it we were there and had this waiting to greet us when we entered our room.

photo 2-27

And this terrace and lounge waiting for us to take a nap on. 😉

photo 4-17

When I booked our stay I never would have believed that it would be 60 degrees in December, but it was and we planned on enjoying every moment of it. We ordered up room service and stared at our beautiful view for the rest of the day.

photo 5-15

The next morning we woke to this beautiful view, which just kept getting better and better.

photo 1-22

So, we quickly headed outside to take it all in.

photo 2-28

And it so didn’t disappoint.

Just Beautiful! 

photo 3-19

A nice hot cup of coffee was needed next, which was followed by a nice long walk on the beach.

photo 4-18

We walked and talked, found pretty shells, took shadow selfies, :) and looked out into the ocean.

photo 1-23

There is something about the beach that is so calming, especially when there isn’t anyone there.  My husband just loves the peace of it and was definitely enjoying himself.

photo 2-29

And so was I, but it was time to head back and get ready for our couples massage. I will not be showing you any pics from that, but we loved it and were feeling great and now ready for a nice hardy lunch and cocktails back on our lounge.

photo 1-24

:)

photo 2-30

This burger was sooooo worth every calorie and the nap that followed under the December sunshine was unbelievable.

photo 3-21Feeling rested and ready to go after our exhausting afternoon 😉  We headed off to do a little ice skating with Santa.

photo 4-20

Gurney’s set up a faux ice skating rink on top of the roof which had an amazing view and was actually a lot of fun to skate on. Having Santa skating around to take pictures with just made it ten times better in my book.

photo 5-16

We did try to clean ourselves up for a nice dinner, but failed miserably at our timer photo. After a ton of editing this is the best I got. Oh well, we still got to enjoy an amazing dinner at Scarpetta Beach, but were more than happy to be back in our room right after dinner.

This weekend really was meant for us to enjoy some quiet time together and celebrate the wonderful person he is.

I truly was blessed the day this man came into my life!!!

Happy Birthday My Love…

 

xoxo

Jill 

Marita’s Pound Cake

  My Hubby has a big Birthday coming 

photo 1-20

Ok, so I promised that I wasn’t going to mention his age, but I will tell you that he will be Nice & Nifty this coming Monday. 😉

With that said I want everything to be extra special for him and that would have to include making his grandmother’s pound cake, which he grew up eating and just loves. Give him a piece of this cake and a cup of coffee and he is a happy man. It took me a long time to get this recipe down because my husband’s family is “old school” where nothing is really ever measured or written down. They just look at the batter and see if it’s perfect or needs something else.  So with a lot of trial and error I finally got it down :)

Here is what you will need:

photo 1-18

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder sift with flour
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • ¾ milk
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Here is what you need to do:

photo 2-23

Whip together butter and sugar until nicely blended.

photo 3-15

Spoon in flour/baking powder mix and blend it all together.

photo 5-13

Add in eggs one at a time and then pour in milk. Give a good mix.  Sprinkle in nutmeg and raisins and finish off mixing the batter by hand.

photo 1-19

Pour batter into buttered/floured loaf pans. I love to use my pan that makes 4 small loaves, but you can use 2 regular size loaf pans and it will still turn out great. Bake at 350 degrees.

  • 4 small loaves – 30 minutes
  • 2 regular size loaves – 45 to 50 minutes

photo 3-16You want the pound cake to be golden brown and soft to the touch.

photo 2-26The nutmeg gives it a nice flavor and the raisins are a little surprise that are not in every bite.

FullSizeRender-20This is my favorite picture of my husband and his grandmother Marita.  He was two years old and about to move from Colombia to the United States. They adored each other and their relationship is something that my husband will cherish always.

Hope you like it..

 

xoxo

Jill 

Garlic Lemon Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles

A Quick and Easy Meal.

IMG_4470

My husband travels for work a lot and has to eat out quite often, so when he’s home I always want to cook something for him to enjoy and not spend the whole day in the kitchen doing so.  He loves shrimp in garlic sauce over pasta, but I find it to be kinda heavy at times, so I came up with this recipe to try to lighten the dish up a bit.

Here is what you will need:

IMG_4471

  • 1 lb of cleaned shrimp
  • 2 – 3  zucchini’s (depending on size)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 – 8 garlic cloves – minced (also depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do :

FullSizeRender-19

Saute your zucchini noodles in half of your olive oil with a sprinkle of salt & pepper for a few minutes until slightly cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.  To make my zucchini into noodles I use a Veggetti which is so inexpensive and easy to use. I bought this on amazon.com and just love it.

IMG_4466

Next, melt the butter in the other half of olive oil and toss in the minced garlic. Cook for a minute and then toss in your shrimp. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and sprinkle in the garlic powder. Give everything a good mix and cook for a few minutes until shrimp are cooked.

IMG_4467

Toss in your zucchini noodles and season with salt & pepper to your taste.

IMG_4469

Serve it up with a nice warm loaf of crunchy bread and…

Enjoy

 

 

xoxo

Jill 

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 10