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dominique ansel bakery

June 2, 2017

May's Ansel Cronut Flavor

A trip to a bakery seems an appropriate Friday field trip today on National Donut Day!

We are not visiting just any bakery, but the bakery of James Beard award-winning pastry chef, Dominique Ansel.

Dominique Ansel blossoming hot chocolate

Blossoming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Chef Dominique took New York City by storm when he launched his, now signature pastry, the Cronut!  New Yorkers waited (and still do) in long lines for the opportunity to taste one!

The tasty croissant-doughnut Chef Dominique created was named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2013’ by Time magazine in the year it was introduced.

raspberry Earl Grey Cronut at Ansel

May’s special Cronut flavor at Dominique Ansel Bakery – Raspberry Earl Grey with Earl Grey Sugar.

Chef Dominique’s unique, delectable treats have earned him international recognition with bakeries in Tokyo and London, as well as New York City.  Consistently creating innovative desserts, while maintaining an incredible level of deliciousness, is the Ansel standard.

raspberry coconut pavlova ansel

On my most recent visit to the New York bakery, the new, flavorful kiwi sorbet bar instantly became my favorite Ansel creation of the moment.  This refreshing treat is made up of a kiwi flavored sorbet paired with Tahitian vanilla ice-cream.

Dominique Ansel kiwi sorbet bar

A new, refreshing kiwi sorbet creation by Dominique Ansel.

With some added poppy seeds and a ‘fuzzy’ chocolate exterior, the confection closely resembles an actual kiwi fruit.  Magnificent in both aesthetics and taste!

Ansel Bakery kiwi sorbet bar

I hope you enjoyed today’s visit to the Dominique Ansel Bakery for Friday field trip.

Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like tasting a fabulous donut on National Donut Day!  xo Jackie

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congrats sift bakery!

April 11, 2017

mango pastry at Sift

Sunday night was the finale of Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship and today’s post is dedicated to finalist Chef Adam from Connecticut’s own Sift Bakery in Mystic!

baking championship on food network

Finalist Adam Young from Sift Bakery and his answer to the whoopie pie ‘creature’ challenge on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship competition.

It was so exciting to cheer on a contestant from my home state – particularly from a bakery I so admire.  Creating everything about Sift – not just the baked products he sells, but the bakery space as well, Adam is a true artisan.

pastry case at Sift

A pastry case at Sift Bakery in Mystic, Connecticut.

Sift chocolate croissant

His unbelievable attention to detail is a turn-on for me!  This detail extends from the bakery products to the thoughtfully arranged display cases, beautiful packaging & display cards, and the shop’s impeccable cleanliness.

homemade granola at Sift

Trying to limit an order to one French pastry is a challenge – there are so many seductive choices!

Sift custom cake

A custom cake created at Sift Bakery in Mystic, Connecticut.

If sweets are not your thing, don’t despair!  Sift creates breads, quiches, and sandwiches as well.  In fact, you need not even eat a thing to enjoy Sift…you can enjoy a specialty latte that is sure to rival anything offered at your local coffee shop!

rosemary ginger latte at Sift

Rosemary ginger latte served at Sift Bakery in Mystic, Connecticut.

My favorite latte at Sift was the rosemary ginger…until, I tried the spring special!  Unbelievable!

rosewater latte at Sift Bakery

If you find yourself in or around Mystic, be sure to stop and visit Chef Adam Young’s labor of love called Sift Bakery.  It is worth the trip!

Sift in Mystic CT

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

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wild about harry

November 4, 2016

harry-connick-show-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

If you know me at all, you know my favorite entertainer is Harry Connick, Jr.  I have watched him perform in person more than any other entertainer… in addition to seeing many, many of his concerts, I have watched him perform on Broadway  – from the front row…and,  I even sat in the audience for a taping of one of his holiday specials…and now, I can say I have seen a taping of his new daytime show, Harry!

harry-connick-show-on-cbs-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing a few photos from my first visit to a Harry show taping!

harry-connick-show-taping-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

If you live somewhere commutable to New York City, I definitely recommend requesting tickets to see the Harry show for yourself!  Not only is Harry Connick, Jr. a great guy and a wonderful performer, but his show includes his full orchestra!  A visit to a taping is like attending a concert…Harry singing with a full band…incredible!  The band even performs during the breaks!  And then, a few celebrity guests are thrown in.

harrys-band-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

Photos of Harry or the actual show to be aired are not allowed, so I can’t share that with you, but if you watch the show today, you may just catch a glimpse of me “backing it up” with Harry!

a-ticket-to-harry-show-pleasure-in-simple-things

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

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the woman behind the man

October 28, 2016

lady-birds-desk-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

A recent work trip to Texas gave me the opportunity to visit the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin.

I had never before been to a presidential library and always thought of them as archives and not necessarily something I wanted to visit.  I found out in Texas that I was wrong on that thought.  The LBJ library was not just archives – though there was plenty of that, all stored neatly and expansively in red covered boxes.

lbj-archives-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

In addition to the traditional archives, the building is a storehouse of memorabilia and artifacts, interactive displays, replicas, and presidential telephone recordings – all exquisitely displayed.  Quite honestly, regardless of party affiliation or political beliefs, this historical record of Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th president, is fascinating!

lbj-white-house-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

The Oval Office from 1963 to 1969, when LBJ served as president.

I enjoyed my entire visit, but my favorite part of my tour was the top floor where all the former first lady’s artifacts were on display.  Mrs. Johnson – Lady Bird – was an amazing woman.

portrait-of-lady-bird-johnson-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

A portrait of Lady Bird Johnson at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin, Texas

On Friday field trip today, I am sharing a couple of my favorite photos from my visit to the museum.  The trip created a new motivation to try and visit all of the presidential libraries!  I even picked up a ‘passport’ that I can use to document my visits to each of the 13 libraries!

lady-birds-office-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

Lady Bird’s office during the time she worked on the LBJ Library & Museum.

If you want to learn more about Lady Bird, I highly recommend a great recent nonfiction book (that reads very much like a fiction) titled Lady Bird and Lyndon:  The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President by Betty Boyd Caroli.

Another recent title you might also enjoy if former first ladies are of interest to you is  First Women:  The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower.

lbj-white-house-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog

The outside of the LBJ Library and Museum on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a marvelous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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the beekman boys’ fabulous tomato tart

June 20, 2014

pleasure in simple things tomato tart

You may already know of my infatuation with the Beekman Boys.  I had the good fortune to meet them at the Philadelphia Flower Show this past year and then, lucky enough to see them again at the Country Living Magazine Fair this past month.

I adore their dessert cookbook and now, I am equally enamored with their new vegetable cookbook. The first recipe I tried from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook was the tomato tart and it is definitely a winner!

beekman boys tomato tart recipe

I was so excited by the results; I decided to bring you into my kitchen for Friday field trip this week to share the recipe for this easy and delicious tomato tart.  Using heirloom tomatoes in a variety of sizes and colors helped my tarts resemble works of art!  Everyone should include this recipe in their summer repertoire as an elegant way to serve up the summer harvest!

I suggest purchasing some interesting varieties of tomatoes at your local farmer’s market (or use some from your own garden) and create this awesome tart making sure to include some of your favorite wine and favorite friends!

tomato tart recipe pleasure in simple things

Tomato Tart Recipe

Ingredients

  • Flour, for rolling the pastry
  • 1 sheet (about 8 oz.) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • 2 Tabs olive oil
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound assorted tomatoes, cored, cut into slices, and halved

Preheat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry to a 10 x 15 inch rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.

With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through, the dough.  With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this will allow border to rise higher than the center that’s been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon oil.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, ½ tsp salt, and pepper.  Spread mixture over the center of puff pastry sheet.  Top with tomatoes, overlapping slightly.  Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 Tab oil.

Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is set.

This recipe is for one tart…I doubled it to make two and found it is almost easier to plan on making two when purchasing the ingredients (quantities of goat cheese, ricotta, and puff pastry – 2 sheets come in a box – were easier to purchase for two.)

making a tomato tart pleasure in simple things

Keep this recipe handy for when your garden tomatoes become abundant – it is a super way to celebrate your garden treasures!  If you are interested in more recipes for vegetables, there are many more great ones (and stunning photographs) in The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.

The Beekman Boys at the Country Living Fair 2014 in Rhinebeck NY pleasure in simple things

Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – ‘The Fabulous Beekman Boys’ – discussing the newly released The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook with me at the Country Living Magazine Fair 2014 in Rhinebeck, NY.

I think this recipe is the perfect one to start the summer!  Enjoy! 

Thanks so much for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S. My friend Phyllis planted a white variety of tomatoes in her garden this year…how cool would they look in this tart?

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode.

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super bowl 2014 review

February 7, 2014

NYC for pre Super Bowl

For Friday field trip today I am sharing a few photos from my trip into New York City last weekend to celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII.  Also, I am including some links to my favorite Super Bowl moments – none of which are clips of the actual game!

Macys Super Bowl 2014 NFL shop

This year, the pregame frenzy associated with the Super Bowl was amped up in our area…for the very first time,  the Super Bowl was played in the Northeast – my part of the country – hosted by New York and New Jersey.  So, of course I couldn’t resist checking out all the excitement associated with this nationally recognized sporting event and cultural phenomenon we call “the Super Bowl.”

Super Bowl pregame craziness 2014

No, I didn’t attend the game – I traveled into New York City to check out all the pregame craziness!  And, craziness there was!

Craziness was witnessed from the time I got onto the train in Connecticut heading to New York City, where people were popping opening bottles of champagne at 9:45am – drinking to celebrate their favorite team’s anticipated win the following day!

Super Bowl Boulevard in NYC 2014

New York City Super Bowl 2014

And in New York City, Times Square hadn’t seen such action since New Year’s Eve…where the entire area from 34th to 44th was turned into ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’ celebrating all things football.  The week-long schedule of events culminated on Saturday with contests, freebies, interactive booths, visiting NFL players signing autographs for the crowd, and a photo ‘op’ with the Vince Lombardi trophy (stand in line to get a photo with a hunk of metal shaped as a football…I don’t think so!).  

Vince Lombardi trophy in NYC

There was a time when I would watch the Super Bowl every year.  Not to watch the game, mind you.  I couldn’t miss the commercials!  Or, the halftime show.  Now the commercials are all available on YouTube before the game is even played…and, the halftime show is just as accessible online after the big contest.  This eliminates any reason for me to actually tune in to see ‘the big game.’

Fox Sports in NYC Super Bowl 2014

And if you were wondering, no…the ‘Puppy Love’ commercial was not my favorite commercial.  I like an ad that uses a little humor, is cleverly done, and best uses talent that makes sense in promoting the product.  These were my top three favorites in no particular order:

 Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Ellen

Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Tim,

Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Anna

There was also one commercial that was notable and worth watching…it starred the 10 year old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (who was gifted a Maserati for her role in this ad)…awesome job and wonderful photography.  You can see the Superbowl XLVIII Maserati commercial here.

NYC Pepsi Ad Super Bowl 2014

As for the halftime show – this year, the Bruno Mars concert was definitely worth a watch in real time  – Congrats to Pepsi and Bruno for an awesome halftime performance!  No wardrobe malfunctions or gimmicks here…just straight up talent and a wonderful display of showmanship: 

Some Bruno Mars Super Bowl performance highlights are here.

A real cool part of being in New York City Saturday pregame – aside from all the energy surrounding me – as I battled the crowds to get back to Grand Central Station to head home, I was able to watch the Super Bowl inspired contest results determining what colors would light the Empire State Building.  

Empire State building prior to Super Bowl 2014

All week prior to the ‘big game’, the colors illuminating the building were determined by tweeting NFL fans.  Each night, the colors (I have admitted I am color obsessed, so this was right up my alley.)  displayed on the building were determined by the largest number of tweeting fans…orange and blue if Broncos fans tweeted the most…blue and green if Seahawks fans tweeted the most.  

Here is the closing ceremony light show for the Seahawks:

You can see the Empire State Building Super Bowl XLVIII Light Show here.

So that’s my Super Bowl 2014 review…hope you enjoyed it…if you expected game highlights, sorry…that’s not my thing.  I only enjoy watching football games where I know the people playing. ;)  Not that I would mind knowing Eric Decker personally!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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book giveaway for february!

January 31, 2014

Lots of Candles, Plenty of CakeThe months sure go by fast…don’t they?  Because it is month’s end, Friday field trip today will be used for the book giveaway since it is already time to announce the winner of January’s book selection, Vedge by Rich Landau & Kate Jacoby.  This wonderful cookbook goes to Erica from Illinois.  Congratulations Erica!  I know you will enjoy this wonderful collection of recipes!

For February, I have chosen the book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen for the giveaway.

Anna Quindlen has been a favorite author of mine for a long time.  As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, this Pulitzer Prize winning author uses her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages.  She celebrates it all – as she considers marriage, girlfriends, mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.

“Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter.  But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends.”

Candid, funny, and moving, this irresistible memoir is filled with sharp insights and revealing observations.

Anna Quindlen

Just leave a comment on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a chance to win this month’s author-signed selection.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

For Instagram users, as a nod to the monthly book selection, February’s Instagram Challenge is to post birthday celebration photos!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share your photos!  Looking forward to lots of candles and plenty of cake. :)

February Instagram Challenge

 

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monthly book giveaway for september!

September 1, 2013

chef anne burrellCelebrity chef Anne Burrell

Congratulations to Gayle M. for winning the August book giveaway – a signed copy of Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.  I know you will enjoy this New York Times bestseller!  Enjoy!  Taking a quick time out of the holiday weekend to announce the September giveaway…

Our September selection is a little different this month.  It is a cookbook!  It happens to be a wonderful cookbook written by celebrity chef Anne Burrell.

Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell

I love this cookbook, and when I got the chance to meet Anne Burrell a few months ago, I knew I wanted to get a signed copy of Cook Like A Rock Star for one of my monthly giveaways on pleasure in simple things.  So, rather than the usual fiction novel, this cookbook will be the giveaway selection for September!

I enjoy watching Anne cook on television and found out she is a real sweetheart in person!  And, believe me, Cook Like A Rock Star is a great addition to any cookbook collection…great recipes and wonderful photographs!

Be sure to leave some comments on the blog, facebook, twitter, or instagram to increase your chances to win!  Good luck!

I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Instagram users – please read on for the September Instagram Challenge…this month a color inspiration is provided each week – use the color of the week to inspire your instagram photos!

September Instagram Challenge

 

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monthly book giveaway for august!

August 1, 2013

author colum mccannWriter Colum McCann

Congratulations to Jacqueline, who writes the blog Marbles Rolling, for winning July’s giveaway!  I know you will enjoy the signed copy of Wonder by R. J. Palacio!

The August selection is a New York Times bestseller written in 2009.  I read Let the Great World Spin some time ago and found it so wonderfully fascinating that when I got the opportunity to see the author speak in Philadelphia last week, I jumped at the chance.

Colum McCann spoke at the Free Library in Philadelphia and read selections from his newest book Trans Atlantic.  Although his newest book seems to contain the same poetic passion that I enjoyed in Let the Great World Spin, I decided to have his last book signed for the giveaway since it was such a favorite of mine.  A passionate, beautifully written book set in New York City in the ’70’s,  McCann provides a very unique reading experience that includes a richness of characters and a vivid depiction of New York.

The New York Times Book Review wrote:

“An emotional tour de force…electric, profound…Like a great pitcher in his prime, McCann is constantly changing speeds, adopting different voices, tones and narrative styles as he shifts between story lines…It is a mark of the novel’s soaring and largely fulfilled ambition that McCann just keeps rolling out new people, deftly linking each to the next as his story moves toward its surprising and deeply affecting conclusion…Let the Great World Spin (feels) like a precursor to…The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

Meeting Colum McCann in Philadelphia

My favorite part of meeting Colum McCann was when he asked me to signed his book!  How fun…although it did catch me off guard!  I guess I should have been a little more thoughtful in what I wrote (Big Fan!?)…but, I was so excited to meet him!

Be sure to leave a comment on a post or on my Facebook page (or Twitter or Instagram) to be entered in the random drawing to win a signed copy of Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for visiting, Jackie

P.S.  Instagram users, please read on for the August word prompt challenge!  Share your photos daily with hashtag #pleasuregram.

august instagram challenge

 

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monthly book giveaway for july!

July 1, 2013

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Congratulations to Emma from Connecticut, winner of the June giveaway book Little Princes by Conor Grennan!  Emma, I know you will enjoy this wonderful read signed by the author.  Now, for our July giveaway selection…

Wonder tattoos

Temporary tattoos distributed by the Fairfield Library during the Fairfield University appearance of author R.J. Palacio, who’s book Wonder was chosen for Fairfield’s 2013 town read.

I don’t like vampires…or zombies…so; I am not a big reader of Young Adult fiction.  Yet, every once in a while a really special book shows up in the YA category that deserves attention.  Books like The Fault in Our Stars or The Book Thief come to mind.   Recently, a book categorized for even younger readers –  9 to 12 year olds -was added to my list of recommended titles.  This book is Wonder by R. J. Palacio, and it is a must read for all ages.

I was lucky enough to catch an appearance by the author when she was in Fairfield, Connecticut, and I am thrilled to be able to give away a copy of Wonder signed by R. J. Palacio to one of my blog readers.  Just leave me a comment during the month of July to be entered into the drawing…each comment qualifies as an entry.

The book’s message?  Choose kindness.  Sounds simple, right?  It certainly should be…and this is the sentiment illustrated beautifully in the story of a young boy with a facial deformity, named August, who mainstreams into school for the first time in fifth grade.  The book starts from Auggie’s point of view, continuing on with the perspectives of others to help tell this story of friendship and acceptance. 

R. J. Palacio, author of the New York Times best seller Wonder.

R. J. Palacio, author of the New York Times best seller Wonder.

Inspired by her own personal experience, Ms. Palacio touches the hearts of all who read the story of young August.  Put this book on your summer reading list.  You will be so glad you did.  And when you finish, you can let your children read it. :)

Be sure to enter to win this marvelous book!

Have a wonderful start to July!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie   Instagram users, please read on… Please share your simple pleasures on Instagram!  Use these word prompts for July to inspire photos to share.  Be sure to tag your  #pleasuregram …share today or every day!  Enjoy!

Instagram #pleasuregram word prompts for July

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