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getting in the mood

September 27, 2016

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I am doing my best to get into the fall mood.  This year, it seems particularly difficult for me to welcome the new season.

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I decided to use a couple hours of free time to visit some local farms; hoping to shake off some of my resistance to the change of season.

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Okay – it was nice to get out and get a little fresh air, but I am still not feeling fall!  How to you get into the spirit of autumn?

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I have one last idea to help change my seasonal outlook – a trip on Saturday that is sure to push me over the edge into fall mode…I will share that with you next week!  ;)

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Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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a library themed restaurant

September 23, 2016

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I can’t help but share some photos from a visit to a new restaurant; today on Friday field trip.

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You know my penchant for a good theme!

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Well, The Library Wine Bar and Bistro is housed in the building that was originally a city library, built in 1899 and it totally embraces its roots!

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It has been restored back to its classic, architectural beauty by the Gouveia family of Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford, Connecticut.  Yes, the same vineyard I visited and shared on last week’s Friday field trip!

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I am totally in love with this place!  In my imagination, I have already planned an entire library themed shower in one of the restaurant’s beautiful private rooms!

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I hope I have inspired your imagination as well!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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easy salt cellar diy

September 20, 2016

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Yes, I do have a Weck jar addiction.  I can’t help it.  I see the Weck jar as the sophisticated cousin of the Mason jar…so much design sense…so much class!

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You have seen me use the Weck jar in many ways in the past. Today, I am sharing my latest use for the beloved Weck jar!

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When I recently found an unidentified small insect in my salt cellar, I decided it was time to find one with a lid!  I know insects are probably not attracted to salt…and, it may have been a one-time incident, but it was an occurrence that needed to be avoided in the future!  Yuck!

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Shopping around for a replacement salt cellar, I happened upon a life-changing item… a wooden top for a Weck jar!  OMG!  How is it possible I have never seen these before?  I instantly grabbed one to fit one of my small Weck jars – the perfect size for a new covered salt cellar!

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How simple, yet how exciting!  Love it!

I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own use for a Weck jar with a lid!  I can already imagine some cool Halloween applications!

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Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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a connecticut vineyard

September 16, 2016

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Connecticut may not seem a likely state for vineyards, but we do have them!  Today’s photos for Friday field trip prove it!

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Recently, I attended a meeting that was held at a vineyard.  Although the meeting was held indoors – someone made a bad call there – I took a few moments to sneak outside to check out the view.

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A warm summer evening was the perfect time to enjoy the lovely grounds!

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I now have Gouveia Vineyards on my list of places to visit.  I plan on returning when I have some time to really explore!  This could be a perfect leaf peeping location!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Have a really marvelous weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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roasted bell pepper walnut dip

September 13, 2016

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I love this dip!  I was inspired to create it by a recipe in last month’s giveaway book.  (Click here for more on the book.)  I had all the ingredients on hand and thought it sounded great to use as a veggie dip.

After making it and tasting it, I decided this dip is a ‘must make’ for fall.  When the sour cream and chips or cheesy nachos make an appearance during television football, I am enjoying this healthful dip with some veggies or some crisp whole wheat pita chips!

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The recipe says red bell peppers, but any color sweet bell pepper will do – I have used yellow or orange as well.  I recommend serving this dip warm or at room temperature, and I think my flavorful Penzy’s smoked paprika makes it extra special!

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To make :

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the peppers with the coconut oil and put them onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until blistered and blackened in a few places.  Transfer the peppers to a bowl and immediately cover it with plastic wrap.  Set the covered bowl aside for 10 minutes to give the steam the chance to make the skins remove easily.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Spread the walnuts on a separate baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, watching carefully that they do not burn.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Remove the peppers from the bowl, and after giving them a chance to cool, slip off their skins and discard them.  Remove and discard their stems as well.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process to preferred consistency.  You may want to leave the dip a little chunky.  Season to taste – I used 1/2 tsp fine sea salt.

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The end of summer farmer’s markets have some wonderful bell peppers right now!  I hope I have inspired you to try this healthful dip or to create one of your own!  Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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thoughts on fall fashion 2016

September 9, 2016

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I started to organize my fall wardrobe this past week.  For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a few of my ‘closet’ thoughts.

For this fall, I have a favorite trend.  I am loving exposed shoulders.  (These trendy cutouts are great for all ages since undergarments can still be worn.)  One great dress and one neutral sweater with cutout shoulders are plenty to embrace this continuing trend and stay current with fall!

pizza-shirt-pleasure-in-simple-things-blogAnother fashion favorite for the new season  – and guilty pleasure – is a message tee.  There are so many great ones out there and one t-shirt for weekend wear is a fun and inexpensive way to change things up for the season!  Think ‘powered by caffeine’ or maybe a witty saying exposing your candidate pick this election year, or a tee in support of breast cancer awareness coming up in October.  I love this ‘body by pizza’ tee that I found at Target.  I don’t usually wear tees, but I like to wear one while I do my outdoor painting or projects in the fall, and purchasing a new t-shirt for the season doesn’t break the bank!

cut out sweater for fall

This photo came from The Limited’s website.

Been there, done that.  Sometimes, enough is enough.  When a trend lasts for years, it gets old.  Remember how the chevron pattern was beat into the ground?  I am currently feeling this way about fringe and tassels.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tassel, but I have been embracing this trend for a few years now…time to move on!   Although I will be wearing some of last year’s embellished purchases, I will not be buying any more clothing or accessories with fringe or tassels this fall season!

As always, fashion trends are about what works for you.  I know I will not be purchasing a puffer jacket or wearing statement chokers this season, but this long-limbed gal is loving the extra-long sleeve trend!  And, although I may not purchase velvet clothing this season, I may incorporate this trend into my home décor.

I hope you are inspired to pick one or two trends you love this season and use them to update your fall wardrobe…what are you embracing for the new season?

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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creating a change in perspective

September 6, 2016

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How was your Labor Day weekend?  Mine was great!  I was able to visit a friend I don’t get to see often enough. I left my coastal town in Connecticut to spend some time at my friend’s log cabin in Dutchess County, New York.  Though my usual time off is spent at the beach, my Labor Day off was spent in the woods!

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Changing up surroundings is great for a change in perspective.  Once I recognized this fact, it seemed I had examples of perspective changes all around me this weekend!

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Did the yellow watermelon make you look twice?  Great example, right?  (This was purchased at a farmer’s market over the weekend – very juicy and very yummy!)

Probably the best example I found of a perspective change though; was on our hill walk.  That’s right – not a mountain – just a small hill!  You might think climbing a hill barely worth the time, but you know what?  A walk up this hill – a mere 550 feet above the Hudson River – created an amazing change in perspective.

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Just with this little shift in elevation from the top of the hill, a whole new perspective came into view – the Catskill, Taconic, and Berkshire Mountain ranges as well as much of the Hudson River Valley!

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I am proposing that you create a little change in your own perspective.  Something as simple as changing your usual route to work can be amazing!  Give it a try!  Be inspired to create a little change in your perspective this week.

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Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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summer garden mint

September 2, 2016

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Now that summer is on its way out, you are probably thinking about all the ways you can use or preserve the remaining herbs in your garden.

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a way to use your overwhelming crop of garden mint.

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If you grow mint, you know exactly what I am talking about!  Mint can easily take over a garden!  I learned years ago, the best way to plant mint in the garden is to first plant it in a terracotta pot and then plant the entire pot in the ground.  This contains the growing area and prevents the mint from taking over the entire garden!

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A great way to use your mint is to make some mint syrup!  I love to experiment with all types of simple syrups, but this easy, three ingredient recipe I am sharing today comes from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

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Make up plenty, keeping some for yourself and package some up in pretty bottles to give as gifts.  It can be used in iced tea or seltzer or spooned over fresh fruit or ice cream.  Or, in my case, used on shaved ice or spooned over The Pantry’s sorbet!  Enjoy!

Fresh Mint Syrup

  • 1 ¼ cup packed, fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the mint leaves for 10 seconds to set their color.  Drain, run under cold water, and drain again.  Transfer the mint to a food processor and puree.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to melt the sugar.  Stir in the mint, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Strain the syrup thought a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pushing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  To store, transfer to a jar and refrigerate up to 1 month.

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Remember, if you don’t have mint growing in your garden, you can always purchase some at your local farmer’s market or specialty store.  The photos here are from Gilbertie’s Herb Farm in Westport, Connecticut – a great source for fresh herbs.  As you can see, mint comes in many varieties at Gilbertie’s!   Chocolate mint, grapefruit mint, orange mint, ginger mint or any of the many varieties sold at the herb farm would be wonderful to create a syrup this year – and, when planted – many years to come!

Have a fabulous holiday weekend!

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Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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september book giveaway!

August 30, 2016

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September 2016 Year of Cozy Giveaway pleasure in simple things blogWith September here in a couple of days, I am announcing the next giveaway book.  It is The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme.  This book is fabulous!  If I were to write a book, I would want it to look like this!  It includes 125 recipes, crafts, and other ‘homemade adventures.’  Adrianna has created a book that is truly a joy to experience.  The recipes, creative inspirations, and DIYs are organized by season – starting with Autumn/October.  Anyone that reads this book is sure to enjoy a wonderful takeaway – whether it be a new perspective, or a new recipe.

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I feel lucky that Adrianna chose to share her ‘good life’ moments with me in the pages of this creatively inspirational book…I am sure you will feel just as lucky when you read it!  Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy for yourself.  (The photos here weretaken of my own copy of The Year of Cozy.)

Giveaway September 2016 Book pleasure in simple things blog

The winner of the August giveaway,  My New Roots by Sarah Britton is Sheryle.  Enjoy creating some of the healthful plant-based selections in this wonderful cookbook, Sheryle!  Click here to read more about this title.

Instagram users, please read on!  All during the month of September, in keeping with the giveaway book, let’s share things that make our lives cozy!  Use the hashtag #pleasuregram to share!  Have fun with it!

Instagram Challenge September 2016 Book Giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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guilt-free birthday treats

August 26, 2016

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A birthday doesn’t have to be defined by a cake dripping in sugary icing, does it?

Because I gave up processed sugar at the start of 2016, I decided this year I would make my own birthday treats so I wouldn’t feel obligated to indulge in a sugary dessert that might not even be my favorite taste treat.

My two favorite tastes this time of year?  Watermelon and fig…not necessarily combined, of course.

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I looked through this month’s giveaway book, My New Roots by Sarah Britton, to get some recipe ideas!  I decided to make the Walnut Fig Bars.  My love for figs was the motivation for this choice, but it seemed a good recipe to try out for the upcoming fall season as well.  (For a chance to win your own copy of My New Roots, click here and leave a comment.)

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I also leafed through my go-to recipe book, Clean Slate from the editors of Martha Stewart Living for dessert ideas.  This book was given to me as a Christmas gift last year and it jump-started a whole new way of eating – an unprocessed foods way of eating!   I love frozen treats and this book included a few recipes for really simple frozen treat ideas.  I chose a watermelon-lime granita to add to my birthday dessert selection!

With just three ingredients – watermelon, honey, and lime juice – what could be easier, or tastier, for an icy birthday treat!  Watermelon and frozen – a great summer birthday combination!

making watermelon lime granita pleasure in simple things blog

To make:  Pulse 7 cups chopped seedless watermelon, ¼ cup honey and 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice in a food processor until smooth.  Pour into an 8-inch square glass baking dish, cover tightly, and freeze overnight.  To serve, scrape with a fork into bowls.

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My birthday present to myself – unprocessed, guilt-free treats!

Thanks for sharing my birthday treats with me today on Friday field trip!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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