Birthday Weekend Getaway

My Guy’s Birthday

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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And it so didn’t disappoint.

Just Beautiful! ♥

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 ūüėČ ¬†We headed off to do a little ice skating with Santa.

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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.

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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…



Jill ♥

Marita’s Pound Cake

♥  My Hubby has a big Birthday coming ♥

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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. ūüėČ

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:

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  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder sift with flour
  • 1¬ľ cup sugar
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • ¬ĺ milk
  • 5 eggs
  • ¬Ĺ raisins
  • ¬ľ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Here is what you need to do:

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Whip together butter and sugar until nicely blended.

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

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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.

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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..



Jill ♥

Garlic Lemon Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles

A Quick and Easy Meal.


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:


  • 1 lb of¬†cleaned shrimp
  • 2 – 3 ¬†zucchini’s (depending on size)
  • ¬ľ 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 :


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 and just love it.


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.


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


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





Jill ♥



Mandel Bread

ūüéĄ My Grandma’s Christmas cookie.¬†ūüéĄ

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My grandmother’s favorite cookie to make for Christmas is traditionally a cookie that is made for passover, but she loved them and every year she would make a big batch at Christmas time¬†to share with us all.

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She loved this cookie so much, she actually typed the recipe up. How cute was she!!!! I just love this piece of paper , so I framed it and keep it stored with my Christmas decorations to display on my kitchen counter each year.

Here is what you will need:

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  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¬ľ cup sugar
  • ¬ĺ cup of veggie oil
  • 1¬ľ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Here is what you need to do:

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Mix eggs, sugar, oil and almond extract until nicely blended.

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Slowly mix in flour and baking powder.

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By hand mix in chocolate chips and walnuts and make sure that all ingredients are mixed in evenly. The batter will be sticky, so you will need to oil your hands to form into a loaf.

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This recipe makes three loaves. Two will fit nicely on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 -50 minutes. You want the loaves to be golden brown.

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Let them cool completely and then slice into 1 inch cookies.

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Time to decorate. :)

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My grandmother would use a tub of store-bought icing to frost the cookies, but I like to drizzle  them in melted chocolate and then top with fun Christmas sprinkles.



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This is a terrible picture, but look how cute Jaxie is in the back just wishing a cookie would fall. ¬†ūüėČ

A great thing about this recipe is that you can change-up the add ins with whatever you like. Almonds, cranberries and dark chocolate might be in my next batch. :)

Hope you like them.



Jill ♥

Thanksgiving Leftovers Pot Pie

Now, let’s see what I have left to use.

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In my house the day after Thanksgiving is officially called “Leftovers Pot Pie Day”. ¬†Every year I just take whatever is left from our Thanksgiving dinner and bake it into a yummy personal pot pie. The ingredients aren’t always the same, but somehow they always turn out great and my kids look forward to digging into one.

Here is what I am using this year :

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  • leftover turkey
  • leftover string bean casserole
  • leftover potato gratin
  • leftover brussels sprouts
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 packages of pie crust
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do :

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Chop up your leftovers into bite size pieces.


Next, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and then stir in flour. Cook for a few minutes and then add in milk. Season with salt & pepper and make sure to give a good stir once in a while. Cook until thickened. Stir in chopped up leftovers and cook on low for a few minutes.



Line your baking dish with half of a pie crust and fill up with filling. Cover with other half of crust making sure to crimp the edges. Cut three slits in the center and give the top a brushing of egg wash. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and bubbly.


I have made pot pies with a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a bag of frozen mixed veggies and they still turn out great. So have fun and get creative and most of all….

Enjoy :)

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Happy Thanksgiving



Jill ♥

Turkey Sugar Cream Cheese Cookies

KK’s in the kitchen. :)

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One of my most favorite things about holiday baking is that when its time to make cookies, my daughter Kailey ( a.k.a. KK ) is always happy to help out.  I just adore being around her and her fantastic self, so if it takes making a batch of her favorite sugar cream cheese cookies to get her with me, Then So Be It!!! I even get to use one of my fun springerle molds, which is how I learned about this recipe.

Here is what you will need:

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  • 2 cups of flour
  • ¬ľ teaspoon salt
  • ¬ĺ cup butter – softened
  • ¬ĺ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces cream cheese – softened

Here is what you need to do:

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Sift together the flour and salt. ¬†Cream butter and cream cheese together and gradually add in sugar until it’s all mixed. Add egg yolk and vanilla and then slowly add in the flour/salt mixture.

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Give the sides of the bowl a good scrapping and then give the cookie dough a good mix by hand.

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Wrap the finished dough up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I usually make  the dough the night before and roll out and bake the cookies in the morning.

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This dough works great with any cookie cutter, but what I love is that it holds its shape so well that I get to use my turkey mold that I bought online at .

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Roll out your dough evenly to about¬†¬ľ inch thickness, making sure all your tools and surfaces are thoroughly floured.

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Place cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. They will be light in color and slightly browned on the bottom.


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Jill ♥



Yukon Gold Potato Gratin

Thanksgiving is not a time for counting calories and this gratin is so worth every one. ¬†ūüėČ


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There is just something about cheese and potatoes that makes me a happy girl. :) ¬†That’s why I only make this dish about twice a year, because I just can’t stop taking one more spoonful. ¬†Let’s just say¬†”¬†IT’S ON ” ¬†when this comes to the table.

Here is what you will need:

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The measurements will depend on how big of a gratin you are making

  • Yukon gold potatoes – cleaned and sliced
  • heavy cream
  • butter – cubed
  • shredded mozzarella – you are going to have to use the supermarket kind for this. Fresh mozzarella will make the gratin too watery.
  • salt

Here is what you need to do:

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Slice your potatoes about a ¬†¬ľ inch thick.

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Layer the potatoes in your baking dish, making sure that they are overlapping. Sprinkle with a little salt.

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Spread around pieces of the cubed butter and lightly pour heavy cream over each row.

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Top with cheese and then get working on the next layer and repeat these steps. I like to only have two layers, so it’s not too thick and cooks evenly. Finish off top with a nice layer of cheese and cover with foil. ¬†Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for an additional 20 -30 minutes. You want the top golden and potatoes fork tender. Let it sit for a bit when it’s done so it will all set up.

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I got this recipe from my mother in law, but I believe she uses two different types of cheese in her version.  Might be fun to add in some of your favorites.

Hope you like it. :)

Next up:

My favorite girlie will help me make

Turkey Sugar Cream Cheese Cookies.



Jill ♥


Individual Sweet Potato Casserole

There just has to be a sweet potato casserole at my Thanksgiving table!!!


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Unfortunately my family doesn’t feel the same way. ¬†For me there is just something about the mixture of a sweet potato with all these trimmings that bring a smile to my face and let me know that the holiday season is officially here. ¬†So instead of making a whole casserole that hardly gets touched, ¬†I make¬†an¬†easy individual sweet potato casserole for fans like me.

Here is what you will need:

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  • sweet potatoes – nice sized and scrubbed clean
  • butter
  • brown sugar
  • mini marshmallows
  • pecans – chopped
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do:


Rub your sweet potatoes with a little oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. ¬†Wrap them up tightly ¬†in foil and place in a slow cooker. Add about a¬†¬Ĺ cup of water to the base of the slow cooker. ¬†It’s ok to stack the potatoes if you are making a bunch. ¬†I like to use the slow cooker with this dish. This way I can set it all up and forget about them until it’s time to finish them under the broiler.


Cook on high for 4 hours.


When they are ready, slice open and break up the inside with a fork. Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt & pepper. Cube up butter and add a few pieces to the mix.  Top with mini marshmallows and chopped pecans and put under broiler until marshmallows are nicely toasted.

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And there you have it. :)

Yukon Gold Potato Gratin up next.



Jill  ♥

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Raise Your Hand If You Love Brussels Sprouts.¬†‚úč



I grew up HATING brussels sprouts. They were these boiled blobs that we were forced to eat and I swore to myself that a brussels sprout would never be on my kitchen table!!!

Well that all changed when I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa and she changed my life forever. :)  Roasted brussels sprouts are delicious and they have turned into a main side dish in my house.  I usually just roast them with a little olive oil and salt & pepper, but for Thanksgiving I like to add a little extra to make sure they turn out to be special and yummy for everyone to enjoy.

Here is what you will need:


  • bunch of brussels sprouts – ¬†clean, cut off stems and then cut in half.
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 shallot – sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do:


Partially cook your bacon and reserve the bacon grease. Don’t let it get to crispy, it will crisp up in the oven.


Give the bacon a good chop.


When the bacon is ready, add the brussels sprouts, chopped bacon and sliced shallots to a sheet pan. Coat with bacon grease, olive oil, salt & pepper. ¬†As Ina would say ” a chef’s best tool are clean hands “. ¬†So just give it all a good toss until everything is mixed and coated. ¬†Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, giving a good toss once in a while.


This dish is so easy to make and will turn any Brussels Sprout hater into a lover every time.

Now what should be next ?¬†ūüėč




Jill ♥

Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower

The first of my Thanksgiving side dishes


Thanksgiving is my husbands favorite holiday and he happily takes charge of preparing the turkey, stuffing and gravy.


He does such an awesome job every year, which puts the pressure on me to whip up some tasty side dishes. I am usually a big fan of roasting vegetables, but its Thanksgiving and time to indulge and worry about calories another day. ūüėČ ¬†So for my next few blogs I’m going to share my favorite side dishes that I make every year.


First up: Cauliflower

I believe this side dish came from my father’s side of the family, but did not include the parmesan cheese. I love the¬†taste the cheese¬†gives to the cauliflower and is even more delicious when you use a piece to soak up some gravy.

Here is what you will need:


  • head of cauliflower
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Here is what you need to do:


Cut the head of cauliflower into good size pieces and steam for about 5 minutes.


While the cauliflower pieces are steaming and getting slightly tender, combine the flour, cheese and large pinch of salt and pepper in a large zip lock bag. Give a good shake and get to beating your eggs.


Time to get yourself set up for some dipping and a shaking. Just dip the cauliflower in the egg and then place it in the bag and shake till coated. I throw a couple of pieces in at a time and start frying while I continue on with coating the rest of the cauliflower. Remember to shake off the excess flour when removing the coated cauliflower from the bag.


Your oil needs to be hot before you start frying up the cauliflower. You want them to get golden brown on each side, so keep turning until they are all done.


Lay your golden brown pieces out on paper towels and give a good sprinkling of kosher salt. Continue on with frying up the rest.


They really are yummy and you won’t be able to resist eating a few while you are finishing up. ¬†I place them in an oven proof¬†shallow dish, so they don’t get mushy and then keep them in my warming draw until dinner time.


Thanksgiving 2014

I think my favorite way to prepare Brussel Sprouts  will be next, so make sure to check back in. :)



Jill ♥

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