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‘unbeetable’ hummus

January 16, 2018

Beet Hummus appetizer at Flora in CT

When I was a kid, I hated beets!  They were a staple on my grandmother’s Sunday table, but I would not go anywhere near them!  But, as an adult, I have developed a fondness for these root vegetables.

My most recent beet discovery came when I visited Flora – a restaurant with a plant based menu located in the Blue Back Square section of West Hartford, Connecticut.  It was the first time I had tried beet hummus and it was absolutely yummy!  This snack motivated me to research every beet hummus recipe I could find to try and recreate Flora’s delicious appetizer the best I could.

Flora in West Hartford, CT

Many of the recipes I found used chickpeas, but I chose to eliminate the chickpeas and make the beets the star of the dish!  If beets appeal to you at all, I would definitely urge you to try beet hummus!  Here is what I did to make beet hummus, as inspired by the one I enjoyed at Flora!

Beet Hummus Recipe

  • ½ lb. fresh beets (4-5 medium), prepared
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (2 lemons) plus 1 Tbsp. zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed

To prepare the beets (cleaning them prior to cooking), I covered them with water in a saucepan and simmered them until tender and they felt soft when pricked with a fork.  It took about 35 minutes.  After they cooled down, I peeled them and cut them into cubes.

I put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and processed until smooth.  When serving, I drizzled the hummus with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Beet Hummus at Flora

Pita chips, as well as fresh carrot and cucumber curls, go great with this hummus!

beet soup

Even though I wouldn’t eat them as a kid, I really enjoy beets as an adult! One of my favorite beet dishes – the beet soup at The River Tavern in Chester, Connecticut.

I think the pretty color of beet hummus makes it ‘unbeetable’ to serve as a Valentine’s Day appetizer!  I hope you are inspired to try it!

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

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at frost glance

January 12, 2018

When Long Island Sound freezes

Bitter cold temperatures made walking along all the town beaches this past week risky business!  I felt I was in danger of frostbite when I took my hand out of my mitten long enough to snap a couple photos!

frozen waves

But, with wind chills below zero and over 13” of snowfall last week, Long Island Sound was definitely something to look at!  I don’t know if I would say the beaches looked magical or if they looked more like something out of a science fiction movie, but they did look amazing!

waves frozen in place CT

For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing some of this frozen beauty through photographs!  And, you don’t have to risk frostbite to enjoy them!

frozen in CT Long Island Sound

Seeing ripples of waves frozen in action is pretty cool (pun intended)!

CT waves frozen in place

Wouldn’t a polar bear look right at home in this photo!  (I was tempted to draw one in!)

frozen long island sound

Thanks for stopping by!

Long Island Sound in freezing temps

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

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homemade chai spice

January 9, 2018

scooping homemade chai spice

I really enjoy the flavor of chai.  At least, what we here in the U.S. call chai.

In India, chai is tea.  Although there are some variations, the basic components are the same – usually a black tea base, whole milk, spices, and a sweetener of white sugar.  Cardamom is the most common ingredient used as a spice, but every family has a blend to suit its tastes.  In the same way, here in the U.S., spices can be adjusted in a homemade chai spice to suit individual tastes.

Home Made Chai Spice Recipe

That is what I decided to do.  It took me quick a bit of experimentation on a recent snow day to come up with my own favorite combination of spices.  I used Penzeys brand spices to make my mix because they are so very flavorful, but you can use whatever you have in your cabinet.

Since I try my best not to eat processed foods (especially with the beginning of a new year), my motivation was to come up with a chai spice to use as a change up for my almond milk.  I will use this in warm almond milk, adding a small amount of honey as a sweetener –  if I am in a really decadent mood!  For a mug of heated milk, I use ½ teaspoon of my homemade spice.

spices for chai spice

This spice can be used to flavor tea, quick breads, smoothies, etc.

I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own chai spice mix.  You can try my combination and adjust the ingredients to your own taste!

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

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christmas movie nostalgia

January 5, 2018

The Winter Warlock

Last year I shared photos from the holiday display at the Beaumont Farm in Wallingford, Connecticut.  It was such a cool display of scenes from the movie Christmas Vacation.  Since I shared those photos, I came to realize that Bill Beaumont, owner of the farm, creates a display every year and has been for around 15 years.

the workshop

entrance to santas workshop

Each year, Beaumont creates a display using a classic Christmas movie as inspiration.  This year, I didn’t make it to the farm until after Christmas, but I still want to share this year’s display for today’s Friday field trip.

mountain of the whispering winds

Beaumont chose an oldie this year – a stop motion Christmas television special originally broadcast in 1970.  The Rankin/Bass production is called Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, based on the song of the same name.

Topper the penguin

If you have ever seen this classic, you know Fred Astaire is the narrator of the movie.  He tells the story of how Santa Claus and several traditions came to be.

North Pole mail

Beaumont did an amazing job of portraying the movie on the corner of his farm – creating 9 characters and 6 scenes that truly give visitors the feel of the original production.

santas worskhop window

Welcome to Somber Town

I wasn’t sure I had seen the movie, but once I started touring the display, I instantly recognized the evil Winter Warlock…I also remembered Burgermeister Meisterburger and Fred Astaire’s postal carrier character.

Mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger

How about you?  Do you remember this movie?

wanted Kris Kringle

I would love to request Elf for next year’s display.  ;)

winter warlock

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

To see last year’s Christmas Vacation display, click here. 

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word for the year 2018

January 2, 2018


Do you have a word for the year?   I don’t feel a need to have one every year, although I usually have a yearly focus.  For 2018 I have a clear focus, but I find it impossible to find a single word to represent it!

I have some very major schedule changes I want to accomplish in 2018.  I wondered how that could be represented in a single word.  Maybe overhaul?  Revamp?  Redesign?  Not very sexy!  How about something a little more subtle…like shift, change, or redesign?  My 2018 goals just don’t seem to fit into a single word!

I DO think I can represent an attitude for the year with a quote…one of my favorites from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

I think I will leave you with this quote and forget about a single word for 2018.

emerson new year quoteI hope your 2018 fulfills all your dreams!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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january book giveaway!

December 29, 2017

giveaway planner

Today, for the January giveaway, I decided to continue one more month with an organization theme!  Since we all think about getting organized at this time of year, I am giving away a planner and some cute notes!  I am hoping to inspire some organization with style!

Just leave a comment to earn a chance to win!  I will pick the winner at random from the comments at the end of the month.

organizing with a snack

Congrats to Berna, the winner of the December giveaway.  (Click here to see last month’s giveaway).  I know you will put the cute planner and Lilly Pulitzer notebook to good use.  Enjoy!  Thanks to everyone who entered to win!

If you are an Instagram user, please read on!  This month we are sharing our organization photos!  Are you revamping your closet?  Organizing the spice rack?  Whatever your project may be, please share with hashtag #pleasuregram.


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


tis the season

December 26, 2017

xmas in a tub

If you are a follower, you know I post to this blog every Tuesday and Friday without fail.  Guess what?  Today, I did not prepare a post.  Of course I won’t miss a post lol, but I didn’t prepare anything.

Yesterday, I totally lived in the moment with my family.  What a fabulous day!

Today, I am off to work.  So, no post!

In keeping with the wonderful day I had yesterday, I want to thank you all for sharing pleasure in simple things with me.  It is truly a gift to connect with so many people through this blog.

xmas stockings at ohio country living

I will see you again on Friday!

Have a fabulous day enjoying the wonders of the season!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie xo

P.S.  These couple photos were taken at the Country Living Fair in Ohio. :)

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ice, ice baby

December 22, 2017

homemade Irish Cream with home made coffee ice

Making homemade Irish Cream for the holidays is a tradition in my family.  My mom and sister always put it in their Christmas morning coffee.  I prefer to drink it cold.  A great addition to the cold version is coffee ice!  Making ice cubes in advance from leftover coffee makes this special holiday beverage perfect!  But then, a hint of coffee flavor makes many things perfect…think chocolate!

Making special ice cubes is a festive way to enjoy your favorite beverage on Christmas.  Depending on your drink of choice, you can choose to add fruit or herbs to your ice as an alternative to making coffee ice.  For the children’s beverages, try adding mini gummy bears or crushed candy canes to the ice!  What child wouldn’t like to see some gummy bears…or worms!…floating in their juice!

making coffee ice cubes for Irish Cream

Adding extra fun little details at the holidays is a great way to make the day special!

Using decorative ice cube trays is another festive idea.  Ikea usually has some cute ones!  Make little ice cube trees, angels, or other unusual shapes.  There are also trays available that make ice shot glasses if shots are more your thing!

frozen coffee shot glass

If you want our family recipe for homemade Irish Cream, click here.

I hope I have inspired you to make some special ice cubes for the holiday…a cute and easy detail to add to your holiday!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things!

Wishing you and your family much joy this holiday season, Jackie xo

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wrapping it up!

December 19, 2017

black and white xmas wrap

I am always excited to find a great recipe using saffron.  I have a nice big container of it that was a gift from a friend.  I treat it like gold – quite literally – since it is almost as expensive!  (Saffron is the world’s most costly spice by weight.)

pistachio saffron biscotti

Don’t saffron pistachio biscotti sound perfect to enjoy with a hot beverage by a fire?  I thought so!  I made up a batch from a recipe I found in my favorite holiday cookbook (currently)  – Holiday Cookies by Elisabeth de Nederlandens.

black white and trees wrapping

Now that holiday preparations are getting down to the wire, I am ‘wrapping up’ on all counts!  The biscotti is getting packaged on platters or in individual servings as gifts.  Other presents are also getting wrapped and placed under the tree!

biscotti on a plate

It is so hard for me to ‘wrap’ my head (pun intended) around the fact that we are in the last week before Christmas!  This week there will be a major focus on baking, wrapping, and holiday card mailing!  Stop back on Friday to share one last time before Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope your holiday planning is going well and I hope you are inspired to get your baking and wrapping in check!

wrapping in black and white

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – especially during the holiday season, Jackie xo

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holiday 2017 at grace

December 15, 2017

holiday wrap by Grace in Niantic

For Friday field trip today, a visit to one more of my favorite stores for holiday shopping!

feather ornaments

holiday bird

throw selection at Grace in NianticHave a little virtual shopping trip with a few photos from this holiday season at Grace in Niantic, Connecticut.

holiday at Grace

holiday packages at Grace

holiday cutting board at Grace


happy place mugs

buddah head at Grace

throws at Grace

Hope your holiday preparations are coming along!  Thanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

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