October 08, 2014

Simple Pleasures


Maybe it's the change of season, more likely it's my own personal change of season, but I'm enjoying a more simple life these days. Even the touches of Autumn that are showing up around our house are simple. A bit of nature, a little texture and warmth. Just enough to signal the change and make it feel a bit cozier around here.


I'm happy to live in a little bubble devoid of politics, scary news stories and reality tv. I prefer small joys like cuddling up and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie or watching newer favorites like Manhattan Love Story (please check it out!) and Cedar Cove which I was a bit embarrassed about since it is geared toward middle-aged women but then I realized that I am a middle-aged woman!


 I love the simple pleasure of going into the kitchen, putting on some lovely music and baking. I always tell my girls, food isn't love, because I don't want them to confuse the two. But then the truth is, it is a little bit, right? It's love and comfort and celebration. I love to cook and bake for people to show my love and appreciation for them. So I guess that makes me a liar. A chocolate brownie baking liar. And really, if you have to be a liar, that's the best kind I think.


Liar's Brownies
2 sticks butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cup flour
 1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter over medium low heat. Take off burner and add vanilla and sugar mixing until combined. Add eggs and blend well. Add unsweetened cocoa, flour and salt and mix just until combined. Pour into 9x13 greased or parchment lined pan (I used a slightly smaller pan which yielded thicker brownies) and bake at 375° 25-30 minutes or until done. All that just mixed into the pot. It couldn't be more simple.

I know you think all I do is bake but I also made a really simple, lovely fish for dinner the other night. I can't show you a picture because A.) I'm not a food photographer. See photo above and B.) If you saw my photo you wouldn't want to make it because see A.).  I heated some butter and olive oil in a skillet, added a couple sprigs of rosemary, put my fish in, seasoned it with salt and pepper, added the zest of one lemon and the juice of 1/2 a lemon sauteed until done and then poured that special sauce over it. It was so good that I spent the rest of the evening talking about how amazing it was. And maybe a little bit the next night too. But really, it was so simple a man could make it. Ok, not mine but maybe yours? If it doesn't involve fire, smoke or a waffle maker my guy isn't interested.


The leaves are really starting to fall here in the Village. While we are finally wrapping up our porch project, there are a couple new improvements on our street creating chaos (because it always gets uglier before it gets prettier) where I had hoped to see only the beauty of Autumn. So I head inside where there is dappled afternoon light coming through the windows. The evenings are getting chilly and it's about time to pull out the flannel sheets. The cozy sweaters are starting to make an appearance and I know hats and scarves aren't far behind. The days are spent knitting, soup making and cozy book reading. The evenings are spent cuddling with my hot natured Hubby who always loves me a little more than usual when the weather turns brisk. Simple pleasures are my favorite.

35 comments:

  1. I love the Jan Karon series! Have you read it already?

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    1. Laura,
      I read the first book years ago but I'm re-reading it and working my way though the whole series this fall!

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  2. I'm going to guess you are rereading the Mitford books in anticipation of the new book. I'm about 70 pages from the end of Somewhere Good. It's, as expected, wonderful! I've laughed, and cried and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I envy you your autumnal weather. We are still blasting the A/C!

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  3. I love this post, everything looks so comfy and inviting. What kind of fish did you cook?

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    1. Sara,
      I think mine was tilapia but any white fish would work. Cod is my fave!

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  4. Sounds so cozy and peaceful. Love the 'liar's brownie' recipe - thanks for sharing. xo Karen

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  5. Those brownies look delicious! And I feel the same way, food is love, on so many levels.

    Happy cuddling!

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  6. I think I would like to come visit your cozy little bubble for a bit because the world is making me a little crazy right now. Gilmore Girls, Hart of Dixie, AND Jan Karon--you're speaking my language! : ) Also, the forgetting about being middle-aged part. It takes you by surprise every now and again, doesn't it? Enjoy your days...

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  7. I aspire to live more simply and more insular but I feel like my work and kids activities really are preventing that but I do guard moments like those you described. I am hosting my first Noonday party on Friday and making your Chocolate Chip Harvest Bundt Cake once again - it's such an awesome fall treat! Sounds like you have quite a nice little life!
    xo~Jill

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  8. I will second all that you said. We have had a tease of Autumn weather, but it seems to be warming back up, longing for those cool brisk mornings to return.

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  9. You are my hero! I like to live in a little bubble too. And, I am learning so much from you and your ability to slow down in life and enjoy the simple pleasures of each new day. I am working toward that!

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    1. Thank you Robyn! That is so sweet of you. It does take some practice!

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  10. Like you, I don't watch the news, politics, or reality TV. In fact, I rarely watch TV. Jeopardy is the only show I watch during the day and sometimes in the evenings, I'll watch Wheel of Fortune or something on HGTV with my husband. Oh - and we watch The Middle on Wed. nights. But, that's it! Never heard of Manhattan Love Story or Cedar Grove. Will have to check them out. Oh my goodness, your brownies look fabulous! I will have to try your recipe but then send the brownies with Brian to work, otherwise I would eat them all. I would like to try your fish recipe but I'm kind of scared! I'm not a huge fish fan, but I do have some in the freezer. I'm never sure how to cook it exactly right either. I know you're not supposed to overcook it, but I don't want to undercook it either. What kind of fish did you use? I forgot what kind is in my freezer...but it's some kind of white fish, wild caught - from Trader Joes. My husband doesn't cook either, but he'll grill.

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    1. Melanie,
      I think I used Tilapia but any white fish will do. What you have sounds perfect! I just make sure it is defrosted and cook it til fork tender. It's worked every time for me!

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  11. What a wonderful post about the simple joys and the pure pleasure of a life lived to the fullest in a sweet way. Loving your pumpkins-they are precious and so are your words. Happy Autumn in the village! xo Diana

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  12. First I just want to say a BIG Thank You for NOT having a gazillion ads that have to load before I can read your post!!! I am getting a bit tired of some of my favorite blogs because of that! I so enjoy each post that you do. I have read the entire Jan Karon series so long ago that I am not in the loop that there is a "new" book coming out? I have read the entire Cedar Cove series and my hubby and I watched each episode on TV last year, but have oddly missed most of them this year....don't think there are reruns either! I have seen Gilmore Girls on occasion, but not Hart of Dixie or Manhattan Love Story, when and where do I find those? As the fall weather rolls in, the TV will be on a bit more. And a chance to cozy up and watch a good program would be a good thing....maybe even with one of your brownies! Have a delightful day!

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  13. Reading this made me smile and feel peaceful, so thanks for that!

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  14. Simple pleasures are the best and i love reading how you are settling into autumn, and making it cozy. gilmore girls and hart of dixie are two of my favorite shows too, i'll have to check out the other two you mentioned. Those brownies look delicious, the best kind of liar to be :)

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  15. I'm with you in enjoying my little world void of newscasts and reality tv, Jen. I sometimes sit in front of the fireplace and knit in complete silence. After a busy day at work, it's therapy for me. And cranking up my music and baking in the kitchen when the weather turns cold is my happy place, too. Lovely post as usual. :)

    Enjoy your favorite season!
    Vickie

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  16. You have such a beautiful way of transporting us to a simpler time. I am so happy to say that the last of my room painting is done until after the first of the year and a simpler way of living is on the way. Before that I have to decide what stays and what goes from all of the things that came out of the living room while I painted. Do you ever get the urge to just give it all away and start over? I do...

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  17. Absolutely lovely post. You are so inspiring!

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  18. Love everything about this warm and cozy post! I am also loving Manhattan Love Story - it's the best new show I've seen in years. I actually recorded the first two episodes, and I've watched them both several times!! I also love to watch Gilmore Girls over and over, and I haven't missed an episode of Cedar Cove!! I think we are a lot alike! Oh, and your brownies look sinfully delicious! Have a great weekend, Jennifer.

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  19. hi jen... i always love catching glimpses of your home... when i know i need to slow down, i read your blog... it's a very calming place! thanks for sharing your simple pleasures! {also... can you believe i've never seen a single episode of gilmore girls? i think i need to do something about that!} have a wonderful weekend, friend!

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  20. Sounds lovely and look how your kitty is enjoying the fall touches too! Love Manhattan Love Story too! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  21. Such a lovely post. I always love catching little glimpses into your beautiful home. It always looks so warm and inviting. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

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  22. I had to laugh at your "liars brownies", well food isn't love but we can comfort and show love with food so it's a pretty fine distinction. I am enjoying some simple pleasures too. The weather has been beautiful and the colors this year are amazing! Enjoy the rest of Autumn Jen :>)

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  23. I agree with you, I like my own little bubble too. I still remember when I watched the Matrix. My thought was forget reality, I'll take the other pill...LOL I love my little world. Enjoy yours. Kit

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  24. Funny you should say that, I was just telling my 20 year old son that I'm starting to really like the hallmark channel. I'm just becoming so world weary, I want to see happiness & innocence. I must be getting old & that is ok! :-)

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  25. Like you, we like to cocoon ourselves away from politics and bad news. Until last December, we didn't even own a television, but with both of our children living nearby, they bought their dad a television to watch sports together.

    I would love to bake all the time like you do, but I am the only sweet tooth in the family and my body is asking to get into shape.

    And, you have a good 10 years before you are middle aged!

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  26. love the mitford books in the basket. (i love re-reading the Christmas mitford right before December!)

    also, i am watching gilmore girls for the first time & enjoying it. (and p.s. i like cedar cove too. but i'm sure that doesn't surprise you!)

    fall weather is just starting to creep into the south and i think that once we get unpacked, the pace of your days sounds lovely.

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  27. Hi Jen!
    I'm watching The Gilmore Girls for the very first time and am wondering how much that influenced your move to the village? I have Cedar Cove in my Nexflix queue, but it's all about Stars Hollow for now. Perfect to knit along with. xoxo

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