Thursday, January 29

{Health and Fitness}: A Hearty Salad Niḉoise!

Hello Friends!

I hope you are well faring well with the cold weather and storms if they are affecting you.  Maybe this is the perfect time to think about a vacation to a lovely tropical island in the sun.  As previously posted there are some wonderful Offers and Specials running in many hotels at this time, so a very good time to jump on them before they expire.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a healthy and hearty version of a Salad Niḉoise from Chef Maurice over at the beautiful Jamaica Inn.  

This is so easy to make and so good for you. This classic Niḉoise can be made with just plain white tuna from the can (which is how you usually see it done) or with fresh tuna (grilled or even lightly seared) mahi mahi and  salmon.  I added in to the menu, a wonderful Salmon Niḉoise at The Caves when I was the manager there and it received great reviews.

This French salad always has certain ingredients that can be interchanged depending on what you have on hand, it can be put together on a bed of lettuce or organic greens (or not), but it always has eggs, olives, green beans, anchovies and a classic vinaigrette.  Some restaurants I have been to use red peppers, shallots and artichoke hearts as additions, which is really divine too.

What I love about a Niḉoise is that not only is it good for you, it is filling.  So it's a great option for not just lunch but dinner too!  We have it on our lunch menu at Jamaica Inn so if you are planning a visit there, do remember to order it, you will not be disappointed.

This is the classic Jamaica Inn version. Chef Maurice used fresh tuna for this wonderful and hearty salad. The fresh tuna is grilled to perfection, no more than four minutes on each side (this is a tuna steak), but it is also marinated before hand. Chef whips up a fab marinade that includes: a clove (or two) of minced garlic, 1 small onion chopped finely, half an escallion chopped, a tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper and evoo (extra virgin olive oil.) Marinate for up to thirty minutes before grilling.

Build the salad starting with organic greens (lettuce, arugula, mixed greens) - one hard boiled egg halved, 6 black olives, 2 small tomatoes quartered, two small Irish potatoes (cooked and quartered), as well as half a cup of cooked green string beans.  Place the cooked Tuna steak on top with half a lemon. If you like anchovies, then you can add one anchovy to the top of the tuna.

For the Special Dressing courtesy of Chef Maurice (for one serving):

 - Equal parts of EVOO and Rice Wine Vinegar
 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
 - salt and pepper to taste
 - 1 garlic clove crushed
 - if you have fresh ginger on hand, a dash of ginger
 - Mix or shake in a mason jar.

How is your fitness and health journey for the year so far going?  I have gotten back to the gym after a two month hiatus after being ill, and now back on track.  As you all know working out is great but we have to take care that the nutrition part of it is adding up to our workouts.  All depending on your goals for fitness - whether you are just trying to maintain, build muscle or run a marathon - it all comes back to the "right foods."

If you are someone who is looking to get fit and healthy but not ready to get to the gym, then I have a perfect recommendation for a fab website with over 400 workouts (Pilates, Yoga, low impact cardio, to high, etc. etc.) - at Fitness Blender.  There is also a wonderful resource of information on eating healthy and even pages you can download and print to keep you on the right track each day as well as programs they offer for fitness and nutrition.

My goals for this year in terms of fitness (and I will be blogging more about this over the year) is to build muscle (lift more heavier weights and build up slowly!), so I can see the muscle definition form more and more. That for me involves more weight training coupled with a few cardio blasts per week.  I am all for it. I love to run and also would love to build up the mileage over time. This means for me in terms of nutrition (and not wanting or needing to lose weight) more protein in my diet from day to day...protein shakes are part of it and there is wealth of information on various products we can use to build muscle through not only working out but by a specific diet.  I am looking forward to another year of healthy living, and more yoga too!

This recipe is one of the recipes that I think are just fabulous if you are on a similar path, or just love salads!


Tuesday, January 13

Winter Specials and More in Jamaica!

Hi Friends,

Oooh, the weather seems to be quite chilly currently in the USA and UK! (and I should throw in Canada too) - I see nothing predicted but Winter Storms and big chills for the rest of the month.  I am sure many of you are checking out rates and packages for hotels here in Jamaica that you are interested in booking, feeling so cold.

Well rest assured that despite the chilly weather where you are, it continues to be beautiful and sunny here in Jamaica.  I have often written about the fabulous and surreal days at this time of year in Jamaica...I have posted many "Winter Sunset" pictures (that sounded so paradoxical but 'tis true.) - The mix of cool and breezy evenings plus the bright orange sunsets make for a very romantic and exquisite setting.

I have listed below some Winter Specials from my fave hotels, plus a packing list ideas for you ladies - keeping in mind that at this time of year it can be slightly chilly here in the evenings (which means it is about 72-28 degrees) so wraps and shawls are a must!

Catch a cool special offer over at the chic and fabulous Goldeneye this year running from now to December 15th with a five night minimum (see details in the link above!)

Top pic: lagoon suites, and bottom pic, I am sitting in front of one of the one bedroom beach cottages (there are two, and three bedroom available.) check out more details and packages in the link above.

Cannot take another Winter Storm?  Then hurry and catch this special offer running to the 7th of February at my very fave - Jamaica Inn.  The picture below shows the romantic premier suites with the beautiful and expansive verandas on the beach...picture waking up to the view of the Caribbean Sea right at your fingertips!  You will get a $50.00 Spa credit when you book this package (one of the Spa rooms are pictured below.)

For all travel from now to March 16th, 2016 you can catch quite a special offer running until the 18th of February at Couples Resorts!  Check out the super duper special prices in the link attached.

 A Private Dinner set up at Couples on the beach, make sure you book one when here! 
There are two resorts in Ocho Rios and two in Negril, you will truly be able to find one that you love, and with this special offer - all are affordable right now!

And ladies...what to pack for these exquisite hotels? I have some tips below:

Packing List for Winter Season in Jamaica

A large hat is super important down here in Jamaica to protect your face from those harmful rays.  If you don't want to pack it, wear it on the plane!

Travel in style with luggage that stands out.  Don't be the last person at that luggage belt waiting for your black suitcase like all the other thousand black suitcases :-)

Resort wear here in Jamaica becomes more fashionable each year...make sure you are staying up in the fashion and pack some shorts for dinner! These metallic shorts are my current faves - match up with a breezy cream top and Tory Burch sandals.  

I love this dress for an evening out for a private dinner on the beach with your other half, so beautiful!  Remember to pack a scarf if you are traveling to Jamaica from January to April (evening's are nice and cool, especially if dining out al fresco.)

Evening bags are a must for dinner.  Travel lightly from your room to one of your hotel's restaurants with a stunner like this one above.

No tan before you travel?  No problem man.  Make sure you incorporate a good sun powder for your face (this one is amazing, by Smashbox.) 

Espadrilles will never go out of style, especially here in Jamaica - make sure you pack a pair, or two, or three!

Beach totes are so important to throw in your kindle, Ipad, phone, towel, beach wrap and suntan products - make it fashionable with this cute one from Tommy Hilfiger.

I hope to see you all in Jamaica soon!

Friday, January 9

My Fave Restaurant in Jamaica!

Hi Friends,

I thought it was time I posted about a restaurant that I just rave over and have never, in over ten years had a meal that was not under "par excellence."  I write alot on this Blog about many restaurants and hotels - and the whole premise of what I write about is a guide to you, the reader based on what I consider to be an excellent place to stay or eat here in Jamaica.  There is nothing on this Blog that has not been carefully selected by me as a place that I have no problem recommending!

So without further adieu let's talk about Toscanini.  It is an authentic Italian restaurant with a Caribbean flare, housed in a gingerbread "great house" and owned by a brother-sister team who have had many years experience owning restaurants.  London born restaurateurs, Lella and Pierluigi (PG) Ricci are the force behind this successful and award winning restaurant, PG being the Chef and Lella the "face" of Toscanini and who you will meet upon arrival.  

Both are just as assiduous about not only the high quality of food served up, but the consistent and top notch service they have become so well known for. Having catered and continue to host not only international celebrities and past Presidents, but a loyal array of Jamaican residents who consider this gem the first stop when passing through Ocho Rios.

 The actual 'house' of Toscanini is Harmony Hall Art Gallery - with the restaurant located on the ground floor.  It is a beautiful old great house that was purchased and lovingly restored by Annabella and Peter Proudlock.  Annabella, a well-known Artist in Jamaica and the Caribbean now has a collection of art from other well knows Artists throughout the Caribbean on sale upstairs in the Art Gallery.
 Pasta is freshly made each day and this is one of their most popular pasta dishes, the "Pasta Ortolano" which is roasted veggies in an olive oil sauce.  Mouthwateringly good!  Home-made Focaccia is also baked daily and Lella ensures that she inspects all the fresh sea-food the fishermen deliver for high quality.  Look out for Mahi-Mahi, snapper, lobster tail and marlin in the repertoire of dishes offered daily.
Fresh salads are also a daily feature of the Chalk Board Specials depending on what is in season.  This is one of my faves, avocado and beets.

One of the lovely features of the restaurant are the famous Chalkboard menus that are changed from season to season.
The wine collection is impressive and all the wines are kept in a temperature controlled wine cellar. 

 PG, Executive Chef and the owner behind this very successful restaurant.
Lella (owner of Toscanini) pictured with Annabella Proudlock, Artist and owner of The Harmony Hall Art Gallery.

If you are visiting Jamaica, I highly recommend Toscanini as a place to dine while here - while they do not have a website you can follow everything on their new Facebook Page.  Also see Trip Advisor for reviews.  The contact details are on the Facebook Page for bookings as well as the phone number.

Pic credits to Raquel Parke (not last two pics) - check out her work on the Facebook Page of the restaurant.

Wednesday, January 7

Looking forward - January!

Hi Friends,

Happy New Year!  A bit late but I do hope you are all looking forward to a new year, new goals, new friends, and cherishing the old memories.  I also hope you are planning on making it Jamaica this year if you have never been.

New Year's in Jamaica was just fabulous and we spent our evening at the beautiful Jamaica Inn, where the theme of the evening was "Marilyn Monroe" - you can read more in this post I did for the Jamaica Inn Blog:

What did you do for New Year's?  I found that many of my friends this time chose to spend the evening with family and just had a lovely dinner and then movie watching at stance about New Year's is that you have to do what you feel in your heart you really want to do - whether low key or party party!

The setting and ambiance at the Marilyn Monroe New Year's Party was all about her favourite colors - red and black.  Let's not forget her fave cocktail - champagne!  As you can see from the pictures below, it was quite an event.

I have started out my year at great speed and goal setting using my new Day Designer by Whitney English (checkout #daydesigner on Instagram to read more about it) and I have to say, if you are looking for an agenda that will really keep you managed in terms of daily tasks, schedule and goal setting - look no further than this one below:

Get your own at: Day Designer

Upcoming I will have the annual Anniversary Party at Couples Tower Isle to report on with pictures soon - and stay tuned for some recipes from a collection of Chef's.  Also coming up a first here on the Blog, a series of House Tours around the island that fit in with the style I love best (other than simple) - vintage, shabby chic, along those lines.  

January is a very active month in Jamaica in terms of events, so if you are here for this month don't forget about Rebel Salute and The Jazz and Blues at the end of the month!

Enjoy the month and stay tuned for fun and interesting posts upcoming!

Monday, December 22

Season's Greetings!

Dear Friends,

I am taking this opportunity to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and New well as to send you good wishes for 2015.  

It has certainly been a year that raced on by, with so many accomplishments and so much more to come in 2015. Of late I have been taking some time to reflect, commence writing a book (more on that in 2015!), catch up with family and do what we call "building and setting the scene for the future to come."

As posted many times before, I am a big believer in being grateful for everything we have in our lives.  Keeping a Gratitude Journal has helped me get through rough times, as well to keep my chin up and to look forward to exciting times to come. If it is one thing you do in 2015, (besides making that long awaited booking for a fab vakay to Jamaica!) make sure you purchase for yourself a beautiful journal to record your daily gratitude.  I guaranty it will change your life.

Of recent I have had many opportunties to visit what is fast becoming my second home - Wellington, Florida where my step-dad resides.  it is one of those smaller, genteel and sweet towns that is well known for polo and equestrian events...but I have also fallen in love with the restaurants, shopping and people!  I have been able to make new friends, as well as to renew friendships with friends who I had not seen in many years (Hi Steve and Jer, miss you guys!) - let's just say 2014 gave me insights on what is truly important, and this next year will continue on the same trend.

Negative people, negative thoughts, and non-positive peeps are not really going to be let into my little world from hereon.  I have decided that for myself I am moving forward with some epic changes next year.  Have you ever decided to change your life for the better and realised along the way that there were too many negative forces around you?  Well trust me, once identified, run for the hills!  As a result, I can see how enriched my life has already become.

In terms of fitness and exercise - I intend to post alot more on my journey next year.  A recent setback (I got quite ill with something similar to dengue, caused by a mosquito and have had debilitating joint pain.) As a result, I have been unable to run or weight train for a month and it has been quite depressing, but I feel that in the New Year I will be back on track.  

I recently attended the Jamaica Inn staff party and caught up with an outstanding employee - Teddy, (pictured above with me) - he has been working at the hotel for 56 years this week, and he has known me since I was a teenager - literally watching me grow up. I love this picture as it really captured the essence of Teddy, his spirit and happy personality which is why the repeat guests just love him.  If you are planning a visit to Jamaica Inn soon, make sure you meet Teddy - he makes the best cocktails ever and loves to play croquet with guests.

I am also leaving you with a fantastic cocktail recipe for the Season, a Sorrel Cosmopolitan!  So divine this fab drink is.

And before I sign off until the New Year, I am sending you all best wishes and a BIG thank you for continuing to read this Blog.

Peace, Jeanine


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