D.I.Y. Caesar Salad

Summer is creeping up right around the corner and I am so excited that we can start using our beautiful outdoor patio! This past, Saturday, I did a DIY caesar salad and strawberry shortcake. Truth be told, I’d never had anything but angel food cake or those weird sickly sweet shortcake cake’s from the grocery store.


Overhead of our outside dining table – corn on the cob, grilled romaine, grilled shrimp, cherry tomatoes, homemade croutons and caesar dressing.

shrimpcaesar salad

I accidentally made my salad too big because everything looked so delicious!


We went to IKEA and I bought a dozen of these white napkins with the red stripe. They’re quintessential french and it just makes any dinner more chic.


I love this handsome guy! This is “you did a good job on dinner, honey” face.

Grilled Caesar Salad

1 package romaine hearts – halved and greased

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1 small container of anchovies ( we buy these from trader joes)

1 pound shrimp marinated in Greek/ Italian seasonings and a bit of oil and skewered

6 pieces of thick bread – cubed, mixed with oil and seasonings (I used Provencal Herbs from Whole Foods) and toasted

1 container of Homemade Caesar salad dressing like this one here


1. Grill the Romaine Hearts and the marinated shrimp

2. Place the shrimp skewers and the grilled romaine on a large platter

3. On another large platter or  plate put a container with the cherry tomatoes, minced anchovies (if you like extra on your salad), ceasar dressing and the croutons.

4. Open a bottle of good wine! We drank it with a nice light pink Rose!


Strawberry Shortcake with Buttermilk Biscuits

With the warm weather and strawberries on sale this was a perfect after dinner dessert for us! It came together in like 10 mins and just had to bake for about 20 mins and put together within 5 mins!

I used this recipe here!

I think this dinner is flexible for if you have 2 people or 10 people over. Everything is quick to assemble and you could make the shortcake and whip cream earlier in the day and make that a DIY as well!

What fun things do you do for your warm summer nights on the patio?


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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2013

Mother’s day is right around the corner and so I’ve put together a gift guide of things that I think all the mother’s in my life would love! Mother’s day doesn’t have to just be for your biological mom! It can be a day to celebrate all the women in your life who have helped nuture, guide and raise you. I know in that respect I am very lucky and have a small group of women in my life support me.


1. Anthropologie Cardigan – $68.00

2. Madewell Purse – $168.00

3. Lollia Hand Creme  – $24.00

4. kate spade earrings – $48.00

5. Caudalie Face Mist  – $18.00

6. Anthropologie Candle – $20.00

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Spaghetti {Squash} and Meatballs

We love to cook over here and for my birthday I received two great cookbooks – The Meatball Shop Cookbook and The Girl and The Fig Cookbook. With our crazy work schedules I don’t usually have much time to do something fancy on a work night but I have been dying to try a meatball recipe out of the Meatball Shop cookbook. So, last night we roasted spaghetti squash, rolled some meatballs and feasted.  Spaghetti squash is a great way to add in extra veggies!


The Meatball Shop’s Classic Meatballs


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef ( I used 85/15)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried ( I used dried)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • 4 cups classic tomato sauce (see below)

For the Classic Tomato Sauce (which I didn’t make –  I used Trader Joe’s Pomodoro instead with some sauteed onions) 

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Two 26-ounce boxes Pomi Chopped Tomatoes or two 28-ounch cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs 9about 1 ½ inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.


Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.

When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan. Pour the tomato sauce over them. Return the meatballs to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.

For the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Recipe courtesy of “The Meatball Shop.”

This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

From the book, THE MEATBALL SHOP COOKBOOK by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow. Copyright (c) 2011 by Michael Holzman and Daniel Chernow.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash (the size doesn’t matter)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt


Wash and halve the spaghetti squash. Apply a bit of olive oil to the interior of the squash ( I usually drizzle and then use my fingers to spread it on the squash interior). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and place face down on a tin foil lined cookie sheet (the foil is only for an easier cleanup). Roast at 425 for 30-60 mins (really depends on your squash size). The squash will be done when you rake a fork over the interior of the squash and spaghetti like strands pull off easily. Its always good to try it as well and make sure that it tastes cooked – not too hard and not mushy.

I don’t really have an accurate recipe so do a quick google search if you feel this isn’t enough of a guideline.


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29th Birthday and thoughts

Its been ages since I stopped by and I guess I keep on putting it off because every post after being gone for ever seems like my new post won’t ever be good enough.

This past weekend was my 29th birthday. It was a great weekend spent up in Sonoma – drinking wine, lounging by the pool and most importantly, spending lots of great time with good friends. I’m not one of those people who is concerned about turning 30. I actually look forward to my age. I’ve been finding life gets better and better the older I get – the more I can afford to travel, buy nice things (aka wine), my career is propelling forward, and etc… I am embracing what is ahead of me instead of clinging to what is behind me.

Thought I would share some instagrams from the weekend! Feel free to follow me at jackandtill on instagram!

It was a great birthday weekend and I am so grateful for the people who are in my life and supporting me! Here’s to making this year an amazing one as I can’t wait to see what my 30’s bring

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