Magnificent Marco Island

I love the west coast of Florida. I have often blogged about my love for Sanibel, Captiva, Naples and Marco Island.  So, when my husband asked me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday last month (given Covid-19 is limiting our options right now) I immediately chose to spend some time at the beach, where I am always happiest! We decided to head over to Marco Island and stayed at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, which is absolutely stunning. We have stayed there in the past but had not been since 2015, and boy has it changed. The property was completely remodeled in 2017 with the addition of a gorgeous new building, new restaurants, event spaces and an arcade for kids. We stayed in a beachfront view room which had amazing views and celebrated my birthday at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Ario, which I highly recommend.

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Hotel lobby (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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The beautiful beach resort (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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Our room

 

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Ario Restaurant (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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Sunset view from our room

We also tried out a few restaurants around the island and one that we really enjoyed was Fin Bistro. We each had the Panko Herb Crusted Yellowtail Snapper over rock shrimp and squash risotto served with coconut brown butter sauce. Delicious! And of course we had to end the meal with a Key Lime flan, which was delectable. Take a look:

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Snapper with Risotto

 

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Key Lime Flan

Next came the cute shops which I always like to peruse. Now I will say, Marco Island doesn’t seem to have that many specialty shops or boutiques, when compared to Sanibel or Naples, however I did manage to find a few interesting places.

Beachworks. Located in the Marco Town Center Mall, Beachworks carries a good selection of Fresh Produce clothing and Big Head t-shirts. They also offer a variety of summery tops, dresses, sandals, a few small souvenirs and SunBum suntan lotions.
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Butterfly Beach. Located at the Esplanade Shoppes, (they also have stores in Naples, Sanibel, Fort Meyers and soon Sarasota) this cute boutique carries adorable bathing suits and clothing for kids and adults, as well as jewelry; as their website says, bringing West Coast style to the beaches of Florida.
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Blue Mangrove Gallery. Blue Mangrove Gallery is one of my favorite places to visit on the island. Many local and Florida artists are on display, including original oils, photography, stain glass, jewelry, ceramics, notepads, a kid’s section, books, accent furniture & more. IMG_9812

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Here are a few more photos from our beautiful weekend trip:

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View from our balcony

 

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The beach in the afternoon, the water was so warm.

 
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The shells I collected…

 

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One of the many gorgeous homes throughout the island

 

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Another gorgeous home

Have you visited Marco Island?  I would love to know what you enjoyed most?

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Bachour Miami

You can say my family definitely has a sweet tooth and we are always on the hunt for a new dessert place. We recently picked up some pastries and sweets at the amazingly exquisite and delicious Bachour, located in Coral Gables (they also have another location at the Time Out Market in Miami Beach). Bachour opened in the spring of 2019 by master pastry chef Antonio Bachour (read more about him here). Not only is this place gorgeous from the moment you walk in with the beautiful flower adorned front door, but the actual desserts, aside from being delectable, are such a work of art, you almost feel badly biting into them! Bachour also offers unique brunch items (guava and cream cheese pancakes) and a contemporary American menu featuring a full-line of viennoiserie, egg-based dishes, tartines, sandwiches, salads and main courses. As far as the bakery items go, I couldn’t even begin to choose which are my favorites. I have never been a huge fan of macarons, until I tasted these and fell in love and the alfajores are amazing! My husband is addicted to the dulce de leche croissants.  Something for everyone. Take a look:

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The entrance to Bachour

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So hard to choose…

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Coconut cheesecake

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Bon bons

guava and cheese pancakes

Guava and cream cheese pancakes

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Amazing selection of croissants

Spanish Scramble

Spanish Scramble; scrambled eggs, Serrano ham , manchego cheese , crispy Serrano ham , confit tomatoes , toasted sourdough, my favorite breakfast item!

more desserts

Delicious!

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Orecchiette Bolognese

strawberry shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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Yummy macarons

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A family favorite, Dulce de Leche alfajores

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We bought an array of new goodies to try, including guava bonbons!

We love Bachour and will definitely be visiting again soon, especially because they also offer outdoor dining during these Covid-19 pandemic times. Have you been to Bachour? I would love to know what you liked most.My Signature

Summer of Sanibel

The Summer of 2020 has definitely presented some challenges for vacations and trips, as my family will not be flying anywhere just yet. Thankfully, living in Miami allows us the flexibility to drive over to the Southwest coast of Florida often. We love all of the towns in that area, Naples, Marco Island, Ft. Meyers, Sanibel and Captiva. But by far, Sanibel has always been our favorite. Given the current situation, we took advantage and recently spent a few weekends in Sanibel, as it is also a great place to escape the crowds.  A few years ago I posted some of my favorite Sanibel shops.  Sadly, a few of those have since closed but I did find some more new shops and restaurants when we visited recently. We also stayed at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa for the first time, which was really nice as well. There is lots to do on this tiny island, something for everyone, great restaurants, awesome little shops, bike-riding, shelling (some of the best in the world), swimming, kayaking, you name it.  And one of the things I love most is the laid back, cozy (almost bohemian) lifestyle of the island.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Most of the accommodations that you will find in Sanibel are typical 2-3 story motel type properties. Many of them are in need of some major upgrades or remodeling as they are quite old.  But then one doesn’t come here for the luxurious high rise hotels.  However, this summer we stayed a few times at the Sundial Beach Resort, which we really liked.  We reserved a one-bedroom suite with a pullout couch.  The room was very clean and comfortable.  We didn’t use the kitchenette (I do not cook on vacation), but it can come in very handy if you are traveling with young kids and are staying for a week.

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Entrance to the hotel (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)

 

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Pool/cabana area (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)

 

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The comfortable king size bedroom.

 

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Our daughter kayaking, one of the many complimentary activities provided by the resort.

Traders Sanibel
We finally got around to having dinner at Traders.  I have to say it’s now one of my favorite places on the island for a nice meal. They offer a variety of great starters and many yummy seafood dishes.  I had the scallops and ravioli and my husband had the macadamia encrusted grouper with mango sauce and yellow rice. Our daughter opted for a parmesan encrusted chicken breast.  Everything was delicious and we also loved the decor of the place. Make sure you also check out the amazingly beautiful gift shop on the way out, selling everything from stuffed animals to sea salt scrubs.  Definitely one of our favorite stores in Sanibel.

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Traders Restaurant (photo courtesy of Traders)

 

Traders food

All so yummy!

 

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The gift shop

Synergy Sportswear
Synergy is located in Tahitian Gardens, one of the small shopping centers on the island. Synergy is a “Life is Good genuine neighborhood shop.” They carry a large selection of men’s, women’s and kid’s Life is Good clothing, apparel, and accessories. Synergy is also Sanibel’s only authorized Alex & Ani retailer.

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Life is Good stickers

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Great selection of t-shirts

The Blue Giraffe
We had heard of this place many times but had never tried it.  We decided to have lunch here one day after a morning at the beach. The food was really good. I especially loved the Mexican street corn, charbroiled corn on the cob, topped with queso fresco, avocado cream, cilantro and blacked spice.  As with all places in Sanibel, the decor was also very cute. The menu offers many different items to choose from.

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Club sandwich, Mexican street corn and shredded pork sliders

 

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The interior dining room

 

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Outdoor dining area

Whims
Tucked away in the corner of the Bailey’s shopping center, you will find Whims. Whims sells unique clothing and accessories, as well as some decorative home items, along with some distinctive Sanibel keepsakes. The saleslady (possibly owner?) is also a sweetheart.  My daughter found some beautiful little bracelets for her baby cousin and she also purchased a very pretty small leather purse.

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Whims

 

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Lots of items to choose from.

Sea Glass Lane
We stumbled upon this gorgeous (and a bit pricey) shop while browsing through Periwinkle Place. The store sells beautiful resort style women’s clothing and accessories. The decor is also beautiful, very beachy.

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Sea Glass Lane

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Bailey’s General Store
And last but certainly not least, Bailey’s is amazing!  Not only do they sell anything you may need in terms of food, sundries, liquor and gifts but they also have a coffee bar at the entrance (many consider this the best coffee on the island) and the bakery makes all of the donuts, pastries, muffins, cookies and fudge (yes fudge) fresh daily! You can also order amazing cakes and pies for special occasions. We bought some amazingly yummy key lime cookies on our last visit.

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The coffee bar

 

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Variety of fudge flavors made fresh daily.

 

Here are a few more photos from our various trips this summer:IMG_E9264IMG_E9219IMG_E6884IMG_E9252IMG_9266IMG_9258IMG_9260
We love Sanibel and visit every summer.  Have you been to Sanibel?  I would love to hear what you enjoyed most.

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10 Dorm Must Haves

Five months have passed since our daughter came home for Spring Break and never returned to school as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Here we are in early August and we find ourselves packing to head back to Notre Dame for move-in. Time sure does fly even when you are not having fun (although we have loved the family quality time this quarantine has afforded us). Move-in can be a very overwhelming time as dorm rooms are so tiny (most of them anyway) and it’s hard to imagine where everything will fit. Last year when our daughter first moved in, she had made lists of everything she thought she would need. Needless to say, many trips were made to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond for returns and exchanges. Remember, less is more, especially when living with roommates in very tight quarters. Here is my list of 10 dorm room must-haves for college students. It goes without say that in addition to these items it’s always smart to have a good supply of cleaning products on hand (Lysol, cleaning wipes, etc.), a first aid kit with essentials, an additional phone charger, some cute bedding and wall decor and an Amazon prime subscription for things they can order throughout the year as they become necessary.

Bedside 4-Drawer Storage Cart   By far my daughter tells me this is the best item she brought with her last year.  She says it’s the perfect place to keep her important items near to her bed. They come in different configurations and colors to choose from and they are a huge help.

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4-Drawer Storage Cart; $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Keurig Mini single serve coffee maker College students have a hard time waking up in the mornings.  Having the ability to make a quick cup of coffee in their room before they leave for class, saves them the time of passing by the dining hall or campus Starbucks.  These come in very handy and also come in a variety of colors.

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Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker; $80 at Target

Over the door hanging mirror  This is also a necessity as there is no other place for them to look at themselves once they’re dressed anywhere in the dorm (I have been told this is super important).  My daughter’s room last year thankfully had one on the inside door of the closet, but not all dorm rooms have these.

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Over-The-Door Hanging Mirror; $25 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Command strips and wall ledges These were fantastic. We basically hung up EVERYTHING with these command strips, hooks and wall ledges. Just be careful when it’s time to move out as they can be a bit tricky to remove.

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Command Clear Variety Kit; $20 and Command Quartz 4 In. Floating Wall Ledges; $12 both available at Amazon

Rolling cart These can be used to store snacks, cleaning supplies, books, jewelry, just about anything.  They come in a variety of colors and the convenient casters let you move it around.

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Lexington 3-Tier Rolling Cart; $30 at Michaels

Foam mattress topper  It is no secret that the mattresses supplied in the dorms are super thin and quite uncomfortable. Your child will have a much better night’s sleep with a mattress topper.  It will make the bed feel much more like the one from home. Here is a good one, a bit pricey but definitely worth it.

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Therapedic Dreamy 2.5-Inch Serene Foam Performance Mattress Topper; $150 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed risers These are definitely necessary if your child’s furniture is not modular and cannot be lofted, which was our case last year. These risers will provide additional space below the bed for portable plastic drawers and allow for extra storage. You can even purchase ones with integrated USB ports and plugs.

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Bed Risers with Power Outlet and USB Ports – 7.25 Inch Size Furniture Risers; $35 at Amazon

Over the door hook rack  This is another item that we purchased last minute and was a huge life saver for hanging coats, robes and even towels.

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Home Basics® Over-the-Door Hook; $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Collapsible laundry basket These come in very handy, as again, space is very tight in the rooms and this basket can be put away in the closet or you can stand it up against a wall after you’re done using it. Any item that is space saving is a winner.

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SAMMART Collapsible 3 Handled Plastic Laundry Basket – Foldable Pop Up Storage Container/Organizer; $30 at Amazon

Mini Fridge And last but not least, all college dorm rooms need a mini fridge to store cold drinks and snacks as well as left over food.  I would suggest waiting until you can see the size of the dorm room as many of these fridges vary slightly in size.

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Mini Fridge; $160 at Home Depot

I hope you enjoy your child’s move-in experience.  I know we were all very happy when the room was completed and everything was in its place. I hope we have the same luck this year.

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Pink Lemonade Pie Squares

Summertime is my favorite time of the year, for many reasons. One of them being, refreshing, summer desserts. I love lemons and anything related to them such as, lemonade, key lime pie, lemon squares, you name it. I recently came across a very easy recipe for frozen pink lemonade pie squares, and can I tell you, they are amazing.  All I had to hear was cream cheese, condensed milk, cool whip and Oreos…I was sold! So sweet, yummy, light and refreshing. Anyone can make them.

Ingredients
22 Golden Oreos crushed

1/2 stick butter softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces frozen pink lemonade concentrate thawed
8 ounces Cool Whip
Red food coloring

Instructions
Mix together the crushed Oreos and butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan. You can also just use a graham cracker pie crust if you prefer, but the Oreos make it different and delicious.

In a mixer, beat the softened cream cheese for about 2 minutes until it is fluffy and smooth. Add in the sweetened condensed milk (as usual, I added an additional 1/4 can), pink lemonade concentrate and red food coloring (only 4 drops, I made the mistake of using too many and mine came out dark pink) and mix it well. Fold in the Cool Whip using a spatula.  Don’t mix it with the mixer or it won’t be fluffy. Pour this mixture over the crust and freeze for approximately 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Should look like this:

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I love easy recipes and you can’t go wrong with this one. Have you ever made frozen lemonade pie?  I would love to hear how you make it.My Signature

When the Cypress Whispers

Continuing with my book reviews, here’s my next pick…

When the Cypress Whispers is a novel set in the beautiful island of Erikousa in Greece.  Naturally, I was enticed by the story and the cover, as I love all things related to Greece (a slight obsession of mine).  This was the first novel I’ve read by Yvette Manessis Corporon, an Emmy Award winning writer, producer and author. She is currently a Senior Producer with the syndicated entertainment news show, EXTRA. I really enjoyed this book because it connected the author to her Greek roots, and while there is a bit of a love story in the novel, it also speaks of Greek traditions that the author learned from her own grandmother. I am truly looking forward to reading her second novel, Something Beautiful Happened, also set in Greece.

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When the Cypress Whispers: A Novel (Synopsis)
The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she’s been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family’s old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.

Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne’s fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.

After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fiance-everything she’s ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne’s new life- and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter- stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again.

Pickup a copy or download it to your e-reader and enjoy a great read, I promise you will truly enjoy this story.

Have you read any good books lately?  I love suggestions!

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Mini Bacon & Cheese Meatloaves

Meat loaf is a staple for dinner in our house, we all love it and I have been making it quite often during this quarantine time. A few days ago we were getting pretty bored of all our usual dinner meals, however, I didn’t feel like going food shopping or inventing something new to cook. So, my daughter went on Supercook.com in search of some new recipes. This is a website (and there are many other similar ones) that will provide recipes for you once you input the ingredients you have at home, very convenient. That’s how we found the Mini Bacon & Cheese Meatloaves (as usual I made my own adjustments to the recipe).  The best part is how easy they are to make and they are delicious too!

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
4-5 slices of bacon
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of Goya Adobo seasoning
1/2 an envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine beef with remainder of ingredients (except bacon slices).

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Mix until well combined. Your mixture should be firm, but, not too dry. Adjust bread crumbs to form mixture to your liking. Form meat into 4-5 individual loaves. Wrap a single piece of bacon around each loaf. Spread tops with additional shredded cheese to your liking.  My daughter and I love cheese so we decided to add some extra.

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Place on baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until meat is done and no longer pink. The final product should look something like this:

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Serve with mashed potatoes, mac and cheese or steamed vegetables and you have a tasty new way of enjoying meatloaf! Have you ever made these mini meatloaves? I’d love to try some different recipes if you have one.

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Cuban-Style Arroz con Leche

Growing up, my grandmother was the queen of Cuban desserts. I have a tremendous sweet tooth so I know good desserts when I taste them and I have yet to find anything remotely as delicious as my grandmother’s Arroz con Leche (rice pudding, my favorite), Flan or Natilla (and I live in Miami, where Cuban bakeries and restaurants are a dime a dozen).  Hers were simply in a league of their own.  Sadly, I don’t have my grandmother’s recipe, so being my perfectionist OCD self, I decided to google Arroz con Leche recipes and found one that I really liked and made a few adjustments. I know there are many recipes out there that only use cow milk, however, I cannot imagine making this dessert without condensed and evaporated milk. This recipe is super easy to follow and will make for a very sweet and creamy Arroz con Leche.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of short grain rice

2 cups of water
Zest from one lemon
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 14 oz. can of condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Ground cinnamon for garnish

Cook the rice in a saucepan with water, lemon zest, and a 2 cinnamon sticks. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until the water is mostly absorbed and rice is tender. Drain any excess water and remove the cinnamon sticks.

Add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, salt, and vanilla extract to the rice and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness. Should start to look like this:
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Remove from heat and serve in smaller jars or bowls for individual servings if you wish. Top with ground cinnamon and chill in the refrigerator overnight (some like to serve it warm, I prefer it chilled). A delicious refreshing summertime dessert!
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Have you ever made homemade Arroz con Leche?  I would love to know if you have a different recipe?My Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, and if you’re still trying to look for some creative and different gifts for all of the special dads, grandpas, uncles, etc, in your life, here’s a quick list:

For the ice-cream loving dads, here’s a gift I think is pretty unique.  eCreamery’s Father’s Day Gift Packs. They offer very creative packaging with names such as Property of Dad and My Dad My Hero, and you can choose from a variety of flavors like Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Cups & Fudge Swirls, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream and Brownie Batter.

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Father’s Day Classic Collection, photo courtesy of ecreamery.com

For the man who enjoys wearing some bling, here is a very original braided leather bracelet, available at mynamenecklace.com. You can personalize by choosing the names of the children.

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Men Braided Leather Bracelet with Small Custom Beads in Silver, photo courtesy of mynamenecklace.com

I love the idea behind ManCrates.com. You can choose crates for all types of hobbies, from the chef to the sports fanatic. Man Crates has your manly-man covered.

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Beer Aficionado Crate, photo courtesy of mancrates.com

Another cute gift for dad from his young kids is the What I Love About Dad Fill In The Love Book Journal, available at Amazon. This is a great way for the little ones to express what they love about their dads:

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What I Love About Dad Fill-Inn Journal, photo courtesy of Amazon

For those dads that enjoy some snacking while watching TV or hanging out outside here’s a good choice, Man Snack Bucket, available at gifts.com.

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Man Snack Bucket, photo courtesy of gifts.com

For the dads that love to plan trips and travel (like my hubby), here’s a great idea, the Atlas Obscura, available on Amazon:

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Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

And last but certainly not least, here’s a cute idea for Dad from his little girl, a key chain and necklace set, available on Amazon:

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There is The Girl she Stole My Heart she Calls me Daddy – Daughter Keychain, Necklace Set – Father’s Day Gift

I hope you find some good gift ideas here. Wishing you all a wonderful Father’s Day with your loved ones.

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Gilmore Girls Road Trip

A few years ago, my daughter and I binge watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix. We have a very close relationship so naturally we immediately fell in love with the show, all of the characters and the fictional town of Stars Hollow.  As I like to say, she is the Rory to my Lorelai. Since we love to travel and Spring Break was approaching at the time, my daughter planned a Mother/Daughter Gilmore Girls road trip, visiting some of Connecticut’s most picturesque small towns (similar to our own Gilmore Girls Fan Fest).

We flew to Hartford and then ventured through Litchfield, Kent, New Milford, Washington Depot (which inspired the show’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino to develop Gilmore Girls during her stay in town) and back to New Haven. My daughter put a lot of thought and planning into this trip and came up with the perfect itinerary.  The only thing I would suggest to do differently would be to maybe go in the fall, as in March the weather was cool and cloudy.  We had so much fun, here’s how our trip panned out.

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Day 1, Hartford

We stayed at the Residence Inn Hartford Downtown and explored Hartford in search of “Emily & Richard’s house” and “Chilton”, where Rory went to school. We decided to also do a bit of sightseeing as this was our first time in Hartford. During our drive through town we stopped at Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery and Pastry Shop for a snack. This is a beautiful, genuine, Italian neighborhood bakery, which we loved and sadly do not have any of in Miami. We also visited the Mark Twain House & Museum, the Old State House and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. In the evening we drove around West Hartford and had dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar.  Very yummy tapas.

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Residence Inn Hartford Downtown

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Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery offers a very large selection of goodies!

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Mark Twain House and Museum

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Connecticut Old State House

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Wadsworth Atheneum

Day 2, Litchfield

Litchfiled was definitely a quaint little town. We stayed at the very cozy Litchfield Inn and drove around searching for “Kim’s Antiques”. We found many charming shops in the center of town, in particular, Litchfield Candy Company.  We took some pictures of the First Congregational Church, visited the Shrine of Lourdes and finally stopped for a late lunch at the West Street Grill.

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The Litchfield Inn

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Lobby of Litchfield Inn

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Litchfield Candy Co.

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Tons of goodies to choose from

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First Congregational Church

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Lourdes Grotto

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Lunch at West Street Grill

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Shops and restaurants on West Street

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Another cute shop in town

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A very charming art, antiques & furnishings store

Day 3, Kent

The drive to Kent took us through some hilly roads so please have your GPS handy and definitely do not drive at night, unless you know the area. We stayed at The Inn at Kent Falls, a very beautiful B&B, which has sadly been permanently closed since our visit. We also strolled along Main Street, where most of the shops and eateries are located. We had some warm coffee and picked up some specialty chocolates at the Kent Coffee and Chocolate Co. and then stopped in at the House of Books. Very quaint little town, with many beautiful Victorian homes.

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Welcome to Kent

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The entryway into the Inn

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The bathroom in our suite

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The homemade breakfast served each morning

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The beautiful farm kitchen

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A visit to the House of Books

Day 4, New Milford & Washington Depot

New Milford was the least of my favorite towns, however, this is where we found the gazebo, similar to the one in Stars Hollow, on the New Milford Town Green.  We walked around and took in some of the shops and eateries on Main Street and Bank Street.  Before heading out, we drove up to the Canterbury School, which my daughter says appeared similar to Chilton, where Rory went to school.

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The gazebo on the town green

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The Canterbury School

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A church in town

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The New Milford Public Library

We then headed to Washington Depot, the town that inspired the show. We stayed at the famous Mayflower Inn & Spa, which is absolutely gorgeous, I highly recommend a stay there.  While exploring the town, we had some coffee at Marty’s,  the “Luke’s” of the town and we also stopped in at the Washington Food Market, which resembled a small market like “Doose’s”. Washington Depot has many charming shops and restaurants, we also visited The Hickory Stick Bookshop  which is a beautiful, independent book store that also sells cards, gifts, plush and toys for kids.  Later in the evening, we had dinner at Community Table, which had amazingly fresh and delicious food.

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Mayflower Inn & Spa, simply stunning property

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Welcome sign, Do Not Disturb sign and brunch

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Our beautiful room

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Marty’s Cafe

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Not quite Luke’s Coffee Shop, but it was cozy and yummy

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Washington Food Market, similar to Doose’s

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Yummy meals at Community Table restaurant

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Hickory Stick Bookshop had lots of great books, cards and stationery gifts as well

Day 5, New Haven

A stop in New Haven was a must, as we had to visit Yale, where Rory went to college.  We stayed at the New Haven Hotel and explored the campus and its surroundings, including the shops on Broadway and of course the Yale Bookstore for t-shirts. We also had pizza at Pepe’s Pizzeria,  still considered one of the best pizzerias in the country.  I must say our pizzas were delicious. In the evening we stopped by Atticus Bookstore and Café for some coffee, scones and pretty postcards.

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Yale University

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More of Yale

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Yale

We truly enjoyed our Gilmore Girls adventure. Have you been to any of these Connecticut towns? I would love to know what you enjoyed most.

My Signature