Gourmet French Fries – A Simple Pleasure

French fries. When it comes to simple pleasures, you can’t get much simpler than that.

But I discovered a dressed up version of this familiar snack on our recent vacation and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Truffle Parmesan Fries. Yum!

They might not look like it, but these little morsels of goodness are so full of flavor they can actually make your taste buds sing. At least that’s what happened to me. 🙂
Idaho potatoes dressed in truffle oil, hand shaved parmesan and italian parsley.
Simple. But oh what a pleasure-packed treat they are. Can’t wait until next time…

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A Sweet & Simple Summer Pleasure



 As a kid growing up in the southern U.S., my memories of summertime include, among other things, catching lightning bugs (fireflies), splashing in sprinklers and running to meet the ice cream truck as it made regular rounds through our neighborhood. With music blaring and bells ringing, it was nearly impossible to miss.

And who can resist any sweet, frozen concoction that promises to help you beat the heat?

Recently, I found this recipe for chocolate gelato on eatingwell.com. It’s dairy-free and less fat than regular ice cream but my taste buds can’t tell the difference. And, with the long, hot days of summer already upon us (at least around here), I decided to give it a try.

My husband and I each enjoyed a cup of this cold, creamy treat with some pecans mixed in. We also added a few raspberries for some extra zing.

The result?

Well, let’s just say this little indulgence made me smile, recalling the summers of my childhood and leaving me with yet another simple pleasure for which to be thankful.

 

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Ingredients
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural
2 14-ounce cans “lite” coconut milk (3 1/2 cups), divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
 
Preparation

1.Put cocoa in a medium bowl and whisk in enough coconut milk (about 2/3 cup) to make a smooth paste. Stir in vanilla.

2.Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the remaining coconut milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture begins to barely simmer around the edges. Then, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and corners of the pan to prevent scorching, let the mixture simmer for 21/2 to 3 minutes to fully cook the cornstarch. Scrape the hot mixture into the bowl with the cocoa mixture. Whisk until well blended. Let cool, undisturbed, for about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

3.Pour the gelato mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

A Kid, A Cow and A Whole Lot Of Questions

Meet Nick, the youngest of my nephews. He’s full of spunk and full of questions.

This picture was taken this past Thanksgiving when I caught him eating his special “turkey” cookie before the main meal. He kept asking if he could eat his chicken cookie (guess he likes chicken more than turkey). We held him off as long as we could but he finally ran out of patience.

Today, I got a message from my sister as she was eating lunch out with my nephews. It made me laugh so I’m sharing it with you just as it came to me:

“We’re at Chic-fil-a where the cow is making an appearance. The cow comes over then walks off as Nick shouts: MOOOOM, WHY IS HE HERE?? IS HE HUNGRY? MOOOOOOM, DO COWS EAT CHICKEN?!??! MOM….DO COWS TALK??? MOM…HOW COME HE’S NOT TALKING? MOM, DID HE GO TO THE POTTY? MOM….DO COWS PEE MILK?!?

That cow couldn’t get away fast enough!!!”

I let out a hearty chuckle because it is so refreshing to see the world through the eyes of a four year old. To remember what it was like to be so full of questions and live every day like it was one big adventure.

Curiosity leads to learning. It leads to growing and becoming more of who we are meant to be. It is a sign of our longing to experience life to the fullest. And I hope that, no matter how old I get, I never outgrow that desire.

Thanks to Nick for reminding me that curiosity is one of life’s simple pleasures…and so is a good laugh!

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“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of its mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” ~ Albert Einstein

Unexpected Inspiration – A Simple Pleasure

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I have to admit. Finding the Inspiring is not always easy. Yes, the Lord makes known His goodness to us and reveals His presence daily. I believe that what the scripture says is true:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen… Romans 1:20

But there are times when the world presses in and it seems as if we are surrounded by evil. Have you noticed how the media is getting bolder and bolder in their promotion of immorality? Oh, it’s disguised as entertainment, hidden under a veil of laughter and applause, but we know the truth.

And that is why this video downright knocked my socks off! A declaration of God’s awesome power and greatness on National TV! Practically unheard of these days.

My sister-in-law had told me about the show that aired recently highlighting women in country music. How Carrie Underwood, backed by none other than Vince Gill, brought the house to their feet with her rendition of the classic hymn “How Great Thou Art”. I was excited to see it on YouTube and am happy to share it with you today. Because finding the inspiring when and where you least expect it is truly a simple pleasure.

Guilt-Free Treats – A Simple Pleasure

I was born with a sweet tooth. Well, to be clear, not just one but every tooth in my mouth has always craved the sweet stuff.

Over the last year or so, though, I have realized that I need to cut way back on my sugar intake. The goal is a healthier body and lifestyle. Finding ways to decrease refined sugar in my diet while not feeling dessert-deprived has become a high priority for me.

I found this Banana Nut Cookie  recipe online under the diabetic dessert category on recipes.com. It is sweetened only with raisins and bananas. This is great as is but I decided to play around with the recipe a bit to make it a little more of a decadent, yet still healthy, indulgence.

To add more sweetness I added about half a teaspoon of agave nectar (a natural sweetener which has a lower glycemic index than processed sugar). I found this informative article on agave and how to choose the best brand. Thankfully, I’ve been using the one recommended here.

And, instead of raisins, I tossed in some chocolate chips. The higher cacao percentage the better. If I had dark chocolate I would have used that instead.

Also, I usually substitute unsweetened, natural applesauce in place of the oil but didn’t have it on hand. Next time, though.

These little treats are just that. A real treat.

They’re my guilt-free simple pleasure this week!

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Banana Nut Cookies

YIELD: 3 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked regular oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Combine banana, oil, and vanilla; stir well. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Let stand 15 minutes.
3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.