Positive Thoughts & Lamb Shepherd Pie

May all your dreams come true.

I was at a great event last week, called “Create your Dream Year in 2014” hosted by motivational speakers Patricia Moreno and Terri Cole. All female speakers shared their personal journey, some of the struggles they’ve dealt with are; alcohol and drug addictions, broken marriage, low self esteem and fear of ending up alone. It was touching to hear their stories, very brave to open up to all these strangers in a room, and very powerful to hear how they changed their life. Even though their life experiences were all different, they all changed it the same way. How? By changing their thoughts!

By shifting their perception from “not feeling worthy” and “not having enough” to “I AM worthy” and “I have everything I need”.  Putting fear aside and filling the space up with love. Your thoughts create feelings and those feelings create actions that ultimately determine your reality. If you want to live a happy life, it’s important to have happy thoughts.  Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, even if you don’t fully believe it yet; fake it until you make it :)

This might not be a new concept to you but it’s always good to be reminded again. I left the event inspired and excited about the new year. What do you want to manifest in 2014?


When I woke up saturday morning it was snowing!! It was magical and I couldn’t wait to go outside. A perfect day to go ice-skating in Bryant Park with a bunch of awesome friends.  I hadn’t been ice skating in about seven years, but quickly got the hang of it again. Boy we had so much fun chasing each other, skating backwards and dancing on ice  :)  Isn’t it the best feeling to come back home after a fun day out in the cold; tired and hungry. And all you want to eat is comfort food… oh yeah! This Shepherd Pie recipe is a real treat, I made it twice now and the original recipe says it’s eight servings but I can tell you that both times the four of us cleaned out the oven dish :)

I found this recipe on food network and thought it was close to perfect. I couldn’t resist making it healthier; I added some extra veggies, replaced heavy whip with whole milk and used a little less meat.


Shepherd Pie 

Serves 4 hungry adults :)

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For directions click here  (Just keep in mind that I changed the ingredient list a bit)

If you have any great winter recipes you’d like to share with me, please do! I would love to know what you eat this season!

Lots of love,


Culinary journey + wheat berries recipe!


I was raised in small village in Holland and our food was very basic. We grew some of our food, and our diet mainly consists of bread, dairy products, fruit, potatoes vegetables and some meat. My mum only used a little salt to season our food, there was no garlic or any other spices to be found in our house. Sound unimaginable now but back then it was normal, I didn’t know any different. Oh, boy, was I up for a culinary ride when I moved to Italy at age seventeen and entered a career that would take me around the world! I remember being in Spain for a job, where they served toasted bread with fresh tomatoes and garlic, a very common side dish called pan con tomate. I couldn’t believe my taste buds when I took the first bite and naively asked the crew the name of this miracle flavor. The answer was incredulous, and accompanied by looks of sheer disbelief. Did the señorita mean garlic? I was blown away as I realized that a single plant could add so much to a dish. It quickly dawned on me how much I’d been missing. I started opening my mind to explore and discover new flavors every day.

My mum was visiting last week and I took her on a culinary journey. Even though over the years she’s become more creative and she eats a great variety of food there were still so many things she had never heard of and never tried before. Every day again I introduced her to new food and she loved it. I had her try acai, chia seeds, vegan food, raw fish, smoked salmon, falafel and chicken curry. It was so much fun to see her enjoy all these new flavors and textures.  We cooked together and talked a lot about health and nutrition. When my “Integrative nutrition” study book came in she picked it up and couldn’t stop reading. She went home inspired and happy. We had some great bonding time and I’m grateful we share this interest now! :)


When I was Vegan for a week I discovered wheat berries at the local farmers market. I really like the sweet, nutty taste and it has delightful chewy texture. At first I thought they weren’t fully cooked but after a few bites I really enjoyed the texture. I enjoy finding new delicious ways of satisfying  my big (healthy) appetite. This recipe is a really satisfying vegan meal, full of vitamins and fiber!

Wheat berries can take a fair amount of time to cook (up to 50 minutes), so making a big batch in the beginning of the week and storing it in the refrigerator is both a smart idea and a great beginning to many quick, healthy meals throughout the week! And it’s cheap too, I got a bag for $1.50!

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Do wheat berries need to be soaked?I pre-soaked the wheat berries (overnight) but after doing some research it seems like it only cooks 10 minutes faster if you wouldn’t soak them. So no need in doing that.

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Enjoy this wonderful meal!  Sending you lots of love, sunshine and a cool breeze from Miami!

Carrot Quinoa salad with apple, avocado, coconut & toasted almond!


Did you know that Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest?! It’s also one of the few vegetarian “complete” proteins, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs. And on top of that it’s high in iron, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E. Sounds good right?!  Let’s make this ancient grain taste so good that you actually want to eat this a LOT :)

I think plain quinoa can be boring; I usually make it with chicken stock to add some flavor. But this will blow your mind: Quinoa cooked in fresh carrot juice with ginger and union! Topped of with apple, coconut, avocado and toasted almonds! Oh yes, you’ll be eating sweet and fun-colored quinoa tonight!


Note:  I personally didn’t think it needed it, but maybe you want to add a touch of salt to the quinoa.

I like to take out the juicer and make fresh carrot juice for this recipe!direction


Roasted cauliflower with cheese


People teach what they most need to learn. That applies to me too; my biggest challenge was to eat more vegetables. The only way that I was going to eat more veggies was to start enjoying them more; I would have to make them taste good.

Quite frankly I didn’t know how to. My parents didn’t teach me how to cook. When I moved out of my parents house to start a modeling career in Milan I hardly knew how to boil an egg ;)  Who knew that one day I would be writing about yummy vegetable recipes!

Vegetables are so versatile, there’s so many ways you can prepare them and make them taste different every time. Like with cauliflower; I love cauliflower cheese soup, raw cauliflower rice with cashew cheese and now roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese.Do you seet the pattern here? Cheese makes cauliflower tastes SO good.

Some people say you ruin your vegetables with cheese.. not me! LOL


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and garlic.

Season with salt, transfer to baking pan.

Roast for 10 min. Take them out and divide the lemon juice evenly.

Roast for another 30 minutes, until tender and lightly browned

Mix in as much cheese as you like ;)

Have a fun-filled Memorial weekend!

XO Jill


Dinner for breakfast?


I grew up in a small village in the north of Holland where pancakes were served for dinner! It was only when I started traveling to the States that I discovered pancakes were served for breakfast as well! It was a weird idea to eat dinner for breakfast but I only had to try it once to be convinced that pancakes taste fantastic any time of the day! ;)

Another difference is that in Holland we eat crepe-like pancakes, thin but large; as big as your plate. We like to melt butter on the pancake and sprinkle lots of powdered sugar and/or decorate it with a thick and sticky syrup, called “stroop”. We then roll the pancake up, nice an tight and cut into bite-size pieces. Yummm..

This fluffy pancake recipe is a healthier and in my opinion, yummier version of the American pancake. I know it’s sounds almost too good to be true, you’ll only find out when you try it! :) I use whole-wheat flour instead of white, agave instead of sugar and the butter is replaced with coconut oil.

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Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and start mixing in the milk, egg, agave and coconut oil, mix until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled (I use coconut oil) frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop the batter into the pan and brown on both sides.

Serve hot with all your favorite toppings!

My favorites?  Condensed milk, banana, maple syrup, cinnamon, coconut shavings :)

Pineapple chicken curry


Who doesn’t like a good curry?! Have you ever made one yourself? This recipe is very easy to make! You have to get a few ingredients that you might not have in your pantry, like the fish sauce and curry paste but it’s worth getting. Once you try this curry, you’ll be hooked. My friends keep asking me to make this over and over again!  :)

I love the sweetness of the pineapple in this curry, it makes this real comfort food. And I like to mob up the curry sauce with a whole wheat naan. I literally clean my plate with it; when I’m done eating you won’t find a trace… LOL



Last but not least; stir the pineapple in.

I usually eat this curry with brown rice but tried it with quinoa this time and it was really good too!

Inspired by a recipe of Kristy Bachelder on www.allrecipes.com

Cauliflower rice with cashew cheese

Cauliflower rice

It’s Vegan Friday! I really enjoy cooking Vegan as I find most recipes inventive and inspiring. This time I made Krysten Jorgensen’s cauliflower rice with RAW cashew cheese. Wow…..both me and my taste buds are Impressed (while on fire)

This super healthy dish is so tasty and OMG, the cashew cheese is insane! One of the hardest things to give up being Vegan must be cheese, but this truly is a great replacement, and just to remind you….I’m Dutch! :)

I was surprised that hours after this delicious meal I still did not feel hungry. Later I found out why; the recipe was for two persons and I ate it all by myself! LOL!

Tip: There’s a LOT of garlic in this dish, so share it with the person you’re spending your day or evening with ;)

Thanks for sharing this great recipe with MDE Krysten!

This recipe is for two people:

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Budget recipe

Ashley Stetts, creator of “The Frugal Model” asked me to create a budget friendly recipe and I must say it was quite a challenge! Mainly because I purchased all ingredients at Whole foods (a.k.a Whole pay check) and I wanted this meal to be partly organic.

Here it is; I’m proud to present :) the “ Coconut, lemon & ginger chicken with couscous” recipe. This delicious meal was only $4.19 p.p to make!


Find out how these costs were calculated and read the interview in which I’m sharing tips on budget and healthy eatinghttp://thefrugalmodel.com/blog/1936/healthy-cooking-on-a-budget


Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent

Pour in the coconut milk, heat it and add the ginger, lemon juice + cilantro.

Season it to taste with salt and pepper.

Put in the thinly sliced chicken cutlets inside the coconut milk and let everything simmer on low heat for 10 min. Add carrots and let them simmer  with the chicken for another 8-10 minutes.

While the chicken simmers, make the couscous. I always like to add a little butter to my finished couscous to give it a slightly creamy taste. Put the couscous on a plate and scoop the coconut mixture on top of it.

Enjoy! :)

Seafood on the grill


My dear friend Renee Carmody and her husband Nick are visiting from Colorado. They are both “foodies” and I looked forward their visit as I knew that we would be catching up on life over lots of delicious food :)

Renee loves seafood so I took her to Casablanca, a fish market in Miami that sells a variety of fresh fish and seafood. Renee walked around like a kid in a candy store and bought; scallops, crab, octopus and salmon. I had never prepared crab or octopus before so I watched her closely and asked Renee to share her recipe with “Models DO eat”.

The great thing about cooking with friends is that you get to know them better by joining them on a journey into their food universe. Food brings people together as it allows us to share an important part of ourselves and show how much we care.

“Love your friends, cook them a meal.”

Grilled Maryland blue crab  (For 3-4)


Grilled baby octopus ( Side dish for 3-4)




Moroccan salmon with couscous and salad

moroccan salmon

Have you ever been to Morocco? If you haven’t and want to experience it, keep reading ;) I traveled to Morocco for several modeling jobs and it was truly an amazing experience. The country is beautiful and the food is unique and delicious. Whenever I eat this dish, my mind instantly wonders off to the little streets of Marrakech with it’s picturesque restaurants.

The aromatic, slightly bitter taste of cumin and the sweetness of the raisins and cinnamon combined with a crispy salad of cucumber, red union and tomato’s. All these distinct flavors of the Moroccan kitchen truly make my mouth water every time I prepare this.

I just love the fact that couscous is so versatile, quick and easy to prepare (10 min). You’re always guaranteed of great results with minimum effort :) I always stir in a little butter when the couscous is done to enrich the flavor and make it less dry.

Prepare this dish whenever you want to impress your loved one or guests, or if you feel like treating yourself to something special.




Inspired by a recipe on www.foodnetwork.com