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green tea holiday bark

December 8, 2017

close up candy bark

I mentioned in a previous post that I found a great recipe book for trying some new food gifts this year.  Today, on Friday field trip, I am taking you into my kitchen to check out the first one I chose to make.  The recipe I tried is candy bark from the new recipe book Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  (For more on this book, click here.)

I couldn’t wait to make this!  I have friends that love green tea and I was sure the bark would look festive with green from the tea and red from freeze dried berries.

piece of candy bark

As it turned out, the recipe did not disappoint!  It looks super festive and tastes great.  I do have a few tips if you decide to make this for giving.

First, green tea powder can be super expensive – shop wisely!  I found some at HomeGoods in the food section for a great price!  You can also probably find it as a teabag.  Just be sure to check the label on whatever you purchase and be sure green tea is the only ingredient.  I found the freeze dried berries at a great price at Target in the section where trail mix and nuts are sold.

collage making candy bark

As far as preparation – do not let the dark chocolate layer get too cold before layering the green tea mixture on top!  What I found out is that the green tea layer does not adhere to the chocolate if it is too cold – as soon as the chocolate is firm, spread the green tea layer on top.  Also, work quickly to add the ingredients to the green tea layer because it sets up quickly!

christmas candy bark

This candy was so easy to put together and so quick to make!  Now, it just needs a cute package for gifting!

gift package of candy bark

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you are inspired to make a food gift of your own.  I have a couple more new recipes I want to try before Christmas!

last of candy bark

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

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advent calendar diy 2017

December 5, 2017

tablescape calendar diy for advent

For those of you that follow this blog regularly, you know I don’t create hanging Advent calendars.  I prefer a tablescape or mantlescape when coming up with my annual creation!

Advent Calendar diy tablescape

This year, I am using small pillow boxes to put together a very simple calendar.  If you want to make one, this is what you will need:

24, 3 1/2” brown paper pillow boxes; 26 feet of 3/4” ribbon of your choice, cut into 13” pieces; 1” adhesive numbers (be sure to have enough numbers for 1 through 24); small candies of your choice.

candies for Advent calendar

I often use champagne bubble candies when styling since I not only love the color white, but I love the way the candies look.  Champagne flavored candies also seem right for a special occasion like Christmas.  You may choose to substitute one of your favorite candies, something homemade, or a candy in a color that coordinates with your own holiday colors.

diy advent calendar supplies

The calendar is easy to assemble.  Fill each box with some of the candy you chose and close.  Tie a piece of ribbon, lengthwise, onto each box.  Use the adhesive letters to add the numbers 1 through 24 to the front of the boxes.

I found my adhesive numbers at a craft store– I thought the dot pattern played well with the candies I chose to use in the boxes.

Lastly, arrange the boxes in a grouping.

creating a diy Advent Calendar

For a mantel, an arrangement using some loose white birch logs would work nice.  For a tablescape, any favorite tray or bowl would work well.  For my Advent calendar tablescape, I am using plants, moss, and tiny lights in a long tray down the middle of my wooden dining room table.

Easy and fun!  I hope I have inspired you to create an Advent calendar for your home!

Advent calendar diy with lights

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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rainbow turkeys at gozzi’s farm

November 28, 2017

pink turkey in Connecticut

You don’t need to purchase a turkey during the holidays to make a tradition of visiting Gozzi’s Turkey Farm in Guilford, Connecticut.  If not purchasing a turkey, why visit a turkey farm?  To get a glimpse of the rainbow colored turkeys, of course!

Orange turkey at Gozzis

Rumor has it that the 15 or so white turkeys housed in a turkey pen each year outside the store were first dyed with 100% natural vegetable based dyes back in the 1940’s and the practice has been maintained as a tradition ever since.

pastel turkeys in CT

To me, the turkeys give more of an Easter vibe than a Thanksgiving vibe, but they certainly are interesting to look at!

Gozzi’s Turkey Farm has been in business over 75 years, developing one of the first strains of white turkeys on the East Coast.

close up of green turkey

With the rise of large turkey producers, Gozzi’s does not sell the large quantities of fresh birds that it once did at its peak back in the 1970’s, but many families still make an annual tradition of purchasing a fresh Gozzi bird!  Many area families also make an annual tradition of viewing the colorful turkeys in the front pen!

ruffled feathers of colored turkeys

This small local turkey farm is located on Route 1 not far off I-95 and the turkeys are in the pen and free to view from Thanksgiving through Christmas during good weather.

gozzis turkey farm sign

Thanks for stopping by!

boots on the farm

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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terrain holiday 2017

November 21, 2017

lighted wreath wall

Typically, this is the week everyone starts thinking about holiday shopping.

lighted balls Terrain

fir trees at Terrain

I have definitely started thinking about it myself and I have visited a few of my favorite stores.  Because I am such a visual person, I don’t really enjoy internet shopping.  I like to see the merchandise and enjoy how it is styled and displayed.  And, I certainly appreciate a beautifully and creatively wrapped purchase over a box left at my doorstep!

lighted tree Terrain

building a zinc village

As a homage to brick and mortar stores, this week I am sharing a few photos from my favorites this holiday season.

greens for the holidays at Terrain

Holiday Magic at Terrain

Today, some photos from my favorite home and garden store – Terrain.  For overall holiday décor, Terrain is hard to beat!  A visit to the Westport store is a sure way to put your holiday spirit into overdrive as well as inspire your holiday décor!

Terrain Holiday

holiday plant at Terrain Westport

Thanks for stopping by!

Holiday tree with red bulbs

Remember to take pleasure in simple things and have a blessed Thanksgiving!   xo Jackie

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holiday cookies

November 17, 2017

Holiday cookies cookbook

2017 has been a good year for cookbooks.  There have been a wide variety of new books published.  This selection includes cookbooks by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Zac Posen – as well as cookbooks by famous chefs like Bobby Flay, Wylie Dufresne, Jacques Pepin and Richard Blais.

But, for recipes to use for holiday gifting, I have a favorite cookbook release this year and I would like to share the title with you today on Friday field trip.

holiday baking

The book?  Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  With some intriguing new dessert recipes accompanied by fabulous photos, I am really enamored with this book!  Can you tell why based on the few photos here?!

holiday cookie trees

The holidays are a time when most people succumb to food temptations and I am no different!  For me, it is definitely a new sweet that will do me in! On Thanksgiving it is all about Eileen’s lemon meringue pie…as far as Christmas is concerned?  You never know!

new holiday cookbook

Because baking is my favorite, I add some new recipes to my holiday repertoire each year – adding some new treats to include with my old standbys!  Making something new to gift to others is a special part of my holiday routine.  This year, the new recipes I try are definitely coming out of Nederlanden’s book!

holiday pinwheel cookies

I can’t wait to share my creations with you on future Friday field trips!

Browse through some of this year’s new cookbooks at your local library!   I hope you are inspired to try at least one new dessert recipe this holiday season! ;)

antique cookie cutters

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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marbleizing baby boos

October 24, 2017

diy marbleizing pumpkins

The best part of October is getting creative with pumpkin decorating!  And, there are so many ways to do so!

Today, I just wanted to take a moment to share the simple technique for creating a marbleized pumpkin.  I thought most people had tried this technique by now, but if you haven’t – you need to!

A marbleized pumpkin is super easy to create.

baby boo and diy green marble

The only materials needed are some warm water, a bottle of nail polish, and a disposable container large enough to accommodate the pumpkin you are planning to marbleize.

I use a disposable container to make clean-up quick and easy and to avoid damage to a regular dish or bowl.  For mini pumpkins, a disposable foil lasagna pan is perfect.

Fill the container with warm water.  Drizzle some of the nail polish over the surface of the water by pouring it in a thin stream in an irregular pattern.  Not much is needed.

marbleizing pumpkin processHold a pumpkin by the stem and dip it into the water.  The nail polish will adhere to the pumpkin in an irregular pattern.  Twist the pumpkin while in the water to create varying patterns.  If you are not understanding how this could work, don’t worry!  After trying it with one pumpkin, you will experience an ‘aha’ moment.  After that one try, you may well be addicted to the process and its many possible outcomes!

some diy marbleized pumpkins

I like to use white pumpkins with a nail polish that coordinates with my décor.  The green I used on these pumpkins creates a look that looks great in my dining room amid my ferns!

Of course, dark colors look the most dramatic.  And, you can use more than one color on a single pumpkin if you’d like.

I hope I have inspired you to try marbleizing a pumpkin!

white baby boo green marbleizing

P.S.  There is a video in my Instagram feed and on my Facebook page if you’d like to see the green marbleized pumpkin creating in process!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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happy spring friends!

April 14, 2017

Happy Easter from pleasure in simple things blog

Hello all!  Please have the very happiest of weekends!  It is a hectic one for me since I am working this weekend and also trying to get ready for a family meal on Sunday – I’m on desserts!  I am taking inspiration from Chef Adam at Sift Bakery :)

For Friday field trip today, please enjoy my favorite homage to Earth Day, coming up on April 22nd.

Click here to see Repurposed Brown Bags.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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50 shades of gray eggs

March 28, 2017

gray easter eggs pleasure in simple things diy

Easter eggs don’t have to be in bright rainbow colors!  This year, I have a gray theme going on.  I think I picked gray because I really want to redo a bathroom in gray and gold, but don’t have the funds needed to do a great job!  So, for now, my Easter eggs will have to satisfy my bathroom vision!

gray easter eggs pleasure in simple things 1

I started by prepping the eggs.  I remove the insides first.  This way, if I want to keep the eggs, they are good for as long as I want them!

basket of gray easter eggs pleasure in simple things blog

I use a pin to put a hole in each side – starting with the smaller side of the egg.  After I get one pin prick, I add a few more to make the hole a tad bigger.  It helps to hold the needle with a dish cloth to get a good grip on it.  Gripping the needle near the end and moving slowly, I pierce the egg using a controlled motion.

eggs for easter pleaasure in simple things blog

After both holes are made, I use an opened paper clip to pierce the insides of the egg.  Pushing the paper clip in, out, and around many times…the more the insides are broken up, the easier it flows out!

gray and gold easter eggs pleasure in simple things blog

On some of the eggs I added gold with gold metallic paint – sometimes using a toothbrush to splatter the paint onto the egg.

Then, I gently blow on the smaller of the 2 holes to completely remove the inside of the egg.  This is a good project during television watching!  (Not during This Is Us though – no distractions needed during that show!)

initial easter egg pleasure in simple things blog

Here I used gold leaf to create an initial on one of the dyed eggs.

For the coloring part, I make my own dye using food coloring.  I simply mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 cup hot water, and food coloring in a cup – one for each color – making sure the container can fit an egg.  I use paste food dye because the colors are more intense, but the drops that most people have in their kitchen work as well.  The liquid food coloring requires at least 20 drops to the mixture to make a good egg color.

gray easter eggs pleasure in simple things 2

Now for the fun part…decorating!

starfish and easter eggs pleasure in simple things

I hope I have inspired you to create some dyed eggs of your own.  If you need some decorating ideas, click here to see a few of my egg decorating ideas from the past, or click here for picnic themed Easter eggs.

dyeing easter eggs pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by and checking out some of this year’s egg creations.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like dyeing an Easter egg!  xo Jackie

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diy easter bird nests

March 21, 2017

forsythia and nest pleasure in simple things blog

In the spirit of spring, today I am sharing an easy DIY for one of the many nests I make out of edible materials.  This one is simply shredded wheat and chocolate chips.

candy easter nest by pleasure in simple things blog

The shredded wheat is the original unsweetened variety that comes in the big ‘logs’…I think you must know what I am referring to.  For the chips, I have used butterscotch flavored chips – chosen because of the color.  You can use the chocolate ones if you prefer a dark brown color for your nests.  White chips are also an option and can be used as white or can be tinted with food coloring in any color you choose.

nests for Easter pleasure in simple things blog

To make:  For 4 small nests, you will need 2 shredded wheat ‘logs’ and about 6 ounces of butterscotch pieces.  First, separate the wheat logs as shown below and set aside.

candy nest collage

nests pleasure in simple things blogMelt the butterscotch pieces slowly over a double boiler just until melted.  Remove from heat and gently fold in the prepared shredded wheat until coated.  Form four nests on waxed paper and leave to harden.  Use jellybeans or small candy eggs to decorate.

These nests make great table decor and are perfect on an Easter table.

nest place card pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to create some of your own nests!

rabbits and nest pleasure in simple things blog

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

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hanging plants in eggs diy

March 14, 2017

plant diy hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

It does seem a little bit crazy to think that while the snow is piling up outside, I am posting an Easter project!  But, hey – we have already changed the clocks and Target has more flavors of Peeps on display than I have ever seen in my entire life!  There are even Peep Oreos on the shelves!  So, I will not feel guilty about starting Easter DIYs!

diy Easter hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

And, if 2 feet of snow is happening while I post this, so be it!  Today’s Easter DIY is a simple one – hanging plants…but, the plants are hanging in eggs!  I guess I could have made the egg hangers myself.  It would probably have been long and tedious work not to break any shells in the process.  And, putting the holes in the eggs would be very delicate work!

hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

Instead, I found the eggs at Terrain for $2.50 a piece…a price well worth the convenience!  With hanging eggs at the ready, the project was super simple…I just planted – very carefully – in each of the eggs and hung them from branches.  Don’t they look super festive!

planting hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

If you want to do this project completely on your own, you can empty out the eggs, make 2 holes and add twine for hanging, but I recommend purchasing eggs ready to go from Terrain!  Or, if you prefer, plant in eggs that don’t hang.  (I like to plant shamrocks or pansies in eggshells.)  For this project, I chose to plant in natural eggs, but you may decide to plant in eggs that you have dyed.  Have fun with it!

diy hanging egg pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to plant in eggshells!

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

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