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february book giveaway!

January 31, 2017

giveaway for feb 2017pleasure in simple things blog

This month’s book giveaway selection is Sweeter off the Vine:  Fruit Desserts for Every Season by Yossy Arefi. 

I love cookbooks that organize recipes by the season!  And, this cozy collection fills that order by providing heirloom-quality recipes for sweet treats that truly cherish fruit; season by season.  Yossy Arefi’s recipes showcase what’s fresh and vibrant any time of year by enhancing the sweetness of fruits with bold flavors inspired by her heritage.

pleasure in simple things blog feb giveaway

Accompanied by gorgeous photography – a requirement for all cookbooks in my library – Sweeter off the Vine is a must-have for bakers of all abilities.

Enter to win this month’s selection by leaving a comment on this post, or on Instagram or Facebook.  A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month.  Good luck!

recipe book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

Congrats to Barb, the winner of last month’s giveaway selection The Blender Girl Smoothies by Tess Masters (click here for more on the book).  I know you will enjoy trying all the delicious and healthful smoothie recipes in this collection Barb!

Instagram users, please read on for this month’s challenge!  In keeping with our ‘fruity’ theme, let’s share photos of fruit this month!  Whether it be a bright display in the grocery store or a creation from your kitchen; show us your fruit using hashtag #pleasuregram!

Feb2017 Insta challenge pleasure in simple things blog

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


valentines at terrain

January 27, 2017

succulents at Terrain Valentine pleasure in simple things blog

Today’s Friday field trip is to a familiar location if you frequent my blog.  I made a quick trip to Terrain this week between some work meetings, and I wanted to share some Valentine’s Day inspiration!  I always feel sorry for those of you that aren’t close enough to a Terrain to frequent it, but by sharing I hope I can inspire you just the same!

There are some signs of transitioning into spring with some new displays in the store…

Spring at Terrain Valentine pleasure in simple things blog

But looking around at inspiration for Valentine’s Day, there is plenty!  From the heart shaped planters…

heart planters Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

…to creative sweets!

Terrain Valentine heart candy pleasure in simple things blog

Chocolate valentine hearts at Terrain in Westport, Connecticut.


Terrain Valentine marshmallows pleasure in simple things blog

Some adorable heart shaped marshmallows at Terrain in Westport, Connecticut.


If you would rather buy a plant already potted, there are some cuties!

Terrain violets pleasure in simple things blog

Terrain Valentine succulents pleasure in simple things blog

I was inspired to create some plantings of my own when I saw these pretty drinking glasses in the sale section!  I bought a couple of these beauties as well as some ferns to create my own plantings!  Won’t these be adorable as planters?

Terrain sale glasses pleasure in simple things blog

I found one other item I want to use for a DIY.  Can you guess what I will use these for?  Hint…it is not for Valentine’s Day!

Fern notes Terrain pleasure in simple things blog

Thank you for joining me today for Friday field trip!  I hope I have given you a little Valentine’s Day inspiration – botanical style!

Ferns at Terrain pleasure in simple things blogHave a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie



trendy turmeric

January 24, 2017

turmeric tea pleasure in simple things blog

Turmeric milk (also referred to as turmeric tea or golden milk) seems to be ‘a thing’ right now.  It is a hot drink patterned after something called haldi doodh in India.  Used as an immunity booster – along the lines of how chicken soup is used here in the states – Indian mothers used warm milk and turmeric as a cure-all for what ailed their young ones.

turmeric spice pleasure in simple things blog

Drinks reminiscent of haldi doodh are making a big appearance of late – so much so, I am surprised a turmeric latte has not shown up on the current Starbucks menu!  Maybe it has!  Though many combinations of ingredients have shown up and claimed themselves golden milk, I am assured by Indian friends that the inspiration drink contained only 2 ingredients – milk and turmeric.    So, like others before me, I am modifying the two basic ingredients to best fit my taste!

I am not sure everyone will enjoy the taste of turmeric.  Mixed with the ingredients here, it reminds me of something along the lines of a Chai tea.  Give it a try and see what you think!  Here is my version of warm turmeric or ‘golden’ milk:

turmeric tea recipe pleasure in simple things blog

Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Since the original intent of haldi doodh was to create a drink with health benefits, I tried to make my version as health conscious as possible.  For this reason, I used organic turmeric and ginger, raw honey, and unsweetened almond milk.

I find this drink is a nice alternative to coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, and since I normally drink a few glasses of almond milk during the day anyway, I am not adding to my daily calorie count by turning one of those glasses into a warm  ‘golden milk.’  And, the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric can’t hurt!

turmeric tea and snack pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to try turmeric in your milk – possibly to create your own version!  Enjoy!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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trying a golden latte

January 20, 2017

Heirloom Market pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I am taking you for a quick cup of latte and some toast.

This is served up in the Comstock Ferre & Co. building in the historic town of Old Wethersfield, Connecticut.  The Heirloom Market – an organic food company and café – is housed in the same building as the nation’s oldest seed company, founded in 1811.  Still selling Baker Creek Heirloom seeds, the company has stuck to its roots (pun intended).

pear toast pleasure in simple things blog

menu heirloom market pleasure in simple things blog

My visit was on a gloomy day and my intent was to try the golden latte at the market.  I have been doing some research on warm turmeric drinks and heard about the golden latte made with turmeric, so I ordered one and added a yummy pear toast!

visiting heirloom market pleasure in simple things blog

If you enjoy history, you will definitely want to check out this spot as well as the immediate area.  The Old Wethersfield Historic District is the largest historic district in the State of Connecticut and contains over 150 structures built prior to 1850.

Golden Milk at the heirloom market in Wethersfield

Thanks for stopping by!   I hope I have inspired you to stop in historic Wethersfield or to combine some ingredients to create your own delicious toast.  Join me Tuesday when I will talk about trendy turmeric drinks and share a recipe!

cider pleasure in simple things blog

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


bird feeder diy valentine gift

January 17, 2017

making diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

A bird feeder is a great gift you can make yourself.  Who doesn’t enjoy watching a free nature show from their window?

Hanging bird feeders made from bird seed are really simple and inexpensive to make.  A simple DIY, the bird seed is held together with clear gelatin and hangs from a tree branch with a piece of twine.

diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog heart

As a Valentine, a feeder can be packaged up really cute with a corny Valentine saying!  I love  “Valentine, you are so very tweet!”  So appropriate for a bird themed gift!  And, a small bird from a craft store is the perfect addition to the wrapping!

Choose an appropriate shaped cookie cutter to use as a mold.  I chose a heart to go along with a Valentine theme, but also chose a state-shaped mold to make a ‘state pride’ feeder to gift to an out-of-state relative.  Cookie cutters are available in virtually any shape so, have fun with it!

diy state pride bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

Supplies Needed:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 envelopes unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 2 cups bird seed
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Cooking spray
  • Drinking straw
  • Twine

Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on a flat baking sheet.  Set out desired cookie cutters onto the sheet.  Use cooking spray to spray the surface/cutters.  Cut the straw into 2” pieces and set aside.

a collage diy bird feeders valentines gifts
Heat 2/3 cup water in a medium saucepan; removing from the heat just before it starts to boil.  Sprinkle the contents of 2 envelopes (4 come in a package) of Knox unflavored gelatin on top of the water and let dissolve, stirring as necessary.  After the gelatin is fully incorporated, let the mixture stand 5 minutes – enough to cool down, but not enough to completely set.  Stir in 2 cups of bird seed, mixing thoroughly.  I used the seed for small birds – small seed pieces best stick together.

Place the bird seed mixture into the cutter molds; pressing firmly in place.  Insert a piece of straw into each piece to create a hole for hanging.

Place the sheet in fridge to set.  After an hour or two, remove each feeder from its cookie cutter and lay flat to dry overnight.

Remove straw pieces and let dry a couple days before adding twine to each feeder for hanging.

diy CT state bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

Package as desired.  Makes approximately 2-4 feeders, depending on the size of the cookie cutters.  (For example, one batch could fill one 5” cookie cutter, one 4” cookie cutter and one 3” inch cookie cutter.)

gifting diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are inspired to make and gift a bird seed feeder for Valentine’s Day!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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word for the year 2017

January 13, 2017

treasure 2017 word for the year pleasure in simple things blog

I don’t typically choose a word for the year – I’ve only done so once before.  But, since this year is a very special year, I felt compelled to choose one.

What is so special about 2017?  We are adding a member to our family!  My daughter is marrying the love of her life; expanding our family by one.

Of course, the feeling is bittersweet…my baby is moving on and I will not be with her every day.  But, it is comforting to know she will be taken care of by a wonderful guy and, I am extremely lucky she has chosen to live nearby.

treasure definition word of the year pleasure in simple things blog

At first I thought I might use the word family for my word of the year.  But, after spending some time thinking about it, I decided the perfect word to be treasure.  As a verb, treasure is “to regard or treat as precious; cherish.”  That’s my word.  And, with synonyms like value and esteem…this word is perfect!

I know 2017 will be a fabulously fun, exciting, and emotion-filled year! xo  I look forward to sharing it with you! :)

treasure is my word for 2017 pleasure in simple things blog

Did you pick a word for the year? I hope today’s Friday field trip has inspired you to think about your year ahead and, if it feels right, to choose a word for the year.

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

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snow much fun!

January 10, 2017

snow treats pleasure in simple things

With this past weekend’s first big snow, I was taken back to thoughts of my childhood snow treats!  Growing up in the Northeast, snow has always been plentiful in the winters and, aside from using it for throwing, riding on, and building with, we also used it as an edible treat!

Eating snow off a mitten was a childhood rite of passage, but as you got a little older and a little more sophisticated, maple syrup or Zarex (a sweetened liquid fruit syrup that was added to water to make a flavored drink) was poured onto a fluffy mound of the white stuff in a bowl to create a sweet treat!

These memories prompted me to go outside and create some sweet treats using snow!  Of course, make these treats only on the coldest of days!

Now that I am doing my best to avoid white sugar completely, my sweeteners of choice are honey and maple syrup.  So, I used these two sweeteners to create my treats!

maple snow candy pleasure in simple things blog

snow candy maple in snow pleasure in simple things blogFirst, a maple ‘taffy.’  I think in the U.S. this practice was adopted from a common one in Canada.  You simply boil up some maple syrup (boil it until it gets to the soft ball stage), pour it into a line in the snow, and collect it by rolling it onto a stick for a sweet pop-type maple treat!

I should mention that I only use 100% maple syrup in my house and that is the only thing I recommend you use with snow.  The corn syrup variety of ‘syrup’ sold in the grocery store for pancakes definitely does not qualify as maple syrup!

The second treat uses honey as a sweetener.  After mixing some vanilla extract into honey and pouring it into the snow, form little frozen balls with a spoon.  Yum!  You can vary the extract or flavor of honey to change up the flavor profile.

honey in the snow pleasure in simple things blog

I hope these two sweet treats have inspired you to create your own ‘snow much fun’ treats!  If you want to be ambitious, any homemade simple syrup can be used to create snow cones using snow…the flavor possibilities are endless!   I am thinking of trying a honey lavender!  Or, with Valentine’s Day approaching, maybe something using rosewater would be intriguing!

snow treats pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like eating some freshly fallen snow!  xo Jackie

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caring for a fiddle-leaf fig

January 6, 2017

Terrain in CT pleasure in simple thing

This week I welcomed a new addition to my household – though not actually a person, this new addition IS a living thing.  I got a new Ficus Lyrata.  Or, as it is commonly referred to, a fiddle-leaf fig.

For quite some time I have wanted to replace a plant that, until recently (RIP), had resided in a corner of my dining room for decades.   I used a Christmas gift certificate to my favorite home and garden store to acquire a replacement plant.  Because of the popularity of fiddle-leaf figs, particularly with decorators, shipments don’t last long at Terrain.  But because I visit the store often, I was able to catch a new shipment arriving.

fiddle-leaf fig plesaure in simple things blog

I spent a bit of time sizing up the contenders at Terrain.  After looking through them all, I found one I connected with…does that sound crazy?  So, with the help of one of my favorite (as well as lovely, knowledgeable and helpful)  Terrain associates, I reviewed the care required for my new household addition.  Knowing that too much love (aka over watering) was the number one reason for fatalities in this variety of plant, I took the suggestion to purchase a water meter.  It is a handy item to own and I do have the tendency to over love my houseplants!

a shipment of fiddle-leaf figs at Terrain

purchasing a fiddle-leaf fig at Terrain

Getting some help picking out a fiddle-leaf fig from one of my favorite Terrain associates in the Westport, CT store.

So, I brought my new addition home and, with his (I have no idea why I immediately decided its gender) large beautiful leaves, this bold plant is the perfect one for the bright corner in my dining room!

my new fiddle-leaf fig pleasure in simple things blog

My new fiddle-leaf fig in his new home!

I know many of you own one of these plants or would like to own one, so I am sharing tips for success, courtesy of Terrain, on today’s Friday field trip.

leaves of a fiddle-leaf fig pleasure in simple things blog

Light:  Fiddle-leaf figs prefer abundant, indirect light.  Too little light will cause the plant to lose leaves and thin out.  They also tend to grow towards the light, which can create a leaning shape.  Rotate the plant regularly to keep it growing straight and full.

Temperature:  Grow best in humid conditions with temperature consistently above 65 degrees.  It is best to place your fig outdoors in summer when the weather is hot and humid.  When the plant is indoors, place in an area with a consistent temperature and free from drafts.

moisture meter for plants pleasure in simple things blogWatering:  The fiddle-leaf fig thrives with short, dry periods between waterings.  Generally, water every 14 days – adjust depending on the amount of light your plant receives.  Water thoroughly, but be sure that the soil and pot can drain completely.  Do not allow the plant to sit in water, or it may suffer from leaf drop and root rot.


Tips:  Dust the leaves periodically to assure that the plant can absorb as much light as possible.  Use a soft, dry cloth to gently remove any dust buildup.  Do not dust with your hands, as rubbing the leaves can damage them and cause drops of white, milky sap to appear.

Hope this is helpful to fiddle-leaf fig owners or future owners!

my dining room fern pleasure in simple things blog

The only other houseplant in my dining room – this cute little fern.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

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a sundae for the new year

January 3, 2017

Chocolate shell on whipped bananas pleasure in simple things blog

Don’t you love the magic shell you can find in the grocery store in with all the ice cream sauces; near the ice cream cones?  It seems like a wonderful invention – until you take the time to read the ingredients!  Apparently, the way the ‘magic’ is created is with a bunch of preservatives!  Yuck!

Since I pretty much gave up processed foods, I wouldn’t consider eating something like magic shell – knowing it has so many artificial ingredients.  So, I am really excited about the easy recipe I found for a magic chocolate shell – using no processed ingredients!

chocolate shell starting to harden pleasure in simple things blog

You can see the chocolate shell starting to set – it takes only about 30 seconds!

The recipe is from a book called 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food by Lisa Leake.

This simple recipe is perfect as a first post for the new year because, although combined with Ms. Leake’s ‘ice cream’ suggestion it seems very decadent, it fits right in with most any healthful eating resolution!

Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

Melt 2 Tablespoons coconut oil until just melted (a few seconds), in the microwave.  Add 2 Tablespoons honey and 4 teaspoons cocoa powder (I used ‘special dark’ 100% cacao).  Whisk until well combined.

Pour over cold ice cream – after about 30 seconds, it will turn into a hard shell!

valentine sundae pleasure in simple things blog

Chocolate shell over whipped banana ‘ice cream’ is the perfect guilt-free Valentine’s Day treat!

If sauce should harden in the bowl before using, simply microwave to melt.  Store leftovers for up to 1 week in fridge and use microwave to melt as needed.

finished whipped bananas pleasure in simple things blogI enjoy my chocolate shell over Ms. Leake’s super easy-to-make alternative to traditional ice cream – frozen whipped bananas!  To make your own, simply cut 4 to 5 peeled bananas into 3 or 4 pieces each and freeze.  In a blender, combine the frozen bananas with ¼ cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk and sometimes add a little organic peanut butter!)  Blend and keep adding small amounts of milk until the consistency resembles ice cream.


making banana ice cream pleasure in simple things blog

(Note:  I sometimes need to soften the frozen bananas up slightly in the microwave before blending if they are too rock solid – my blender can’t handle it!)

Banana ‘ice cream’ and homemade magic chocolate shell make for a guilt-free treat!  Enjoy!Thank you for stopping by!  Happy, happy 2017 – wishing you the very best year yet!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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