Wednesday, September 30, 2009

october is texas wine month

Per Vintage Texas:

"No need to cram your winery trips into one or two weekends this month, you’ll have 31 days to explore, savor and relish in the beauty and excellence of the wineries of the Hill Country. With 24 participating wineries there is an endless combination of day trips for you, your family and friends. Texas Wine Month is about showcasing the wines of the 24 wineries in the Texas Hill Country. With your Trail ticket, each participating winery will offer a minimum of 1 and up to 3 complimentary tastes of wine.

The Texas Wine Month ticket acts as a Golden Ticket for trail patrons again this year! Texas Hill Country Wineries has partnered with local restaurants, hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and wine shops to give you more opportunities along the trail. Each business has provided a special discount or complimentary offer to trail ticket holders only. In addition to the Golden Ticket offers, your ticket will act as entry into the Texas Wine Month raffle and make you eligible to receive the Texas Hill Country Wineries recipe collection."

More information at Texas Hill Country Wineries

And from Greater Houston Weekly:
October is Texas Wine Month
Texas kicked off Texas Wine Month early with a huge party on Sept. 25 at the State Fair of Texas. Texas wines will be featured at the State Fair of Texas Wine Garden until Oct. 18 in Dallas. Lots of GO TEXAN wine events are highlighted during October and include:

Oct. 2 – Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail Vintner’s Dinner at Messina Hof Winery Restaurant in Bryan. For more information, call (800) 736-9463 ext 234.

Oct. 2–4 – Fifth Annual Texas Fall Fest and Texas Wine Auction at Horseshoe Bay. For more information, go to

Oct. 3-4 – Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail Fall Harvest, including Grand Opening for Retreat Hill Winery east of Navasota. For more information on this wine trail, go to

Oct. 9-10 – 23rd Annual Gruene Music and Wine Festival. For more information, go to

Oct. 9-11 – 20th Annual Conroe Catfish Festival featuring “Texas Wine and Food Street” (

Oct. 10 and 11 – Bayou City Art Festival featuring a Texas-sized wine expo

glow in the dark

Like most people, I'm a huge candle aficionado--I never can seem to get enough. So "The Magic of Candlelight: 39 ways to glow beautifully throughout the year" article in Real Simple Magazine is right up my waxy alley. A few of my favorite inspirations from the piece:

Light the way up a spiral staircase with simple glass candle-holders

Transform small pumpkins and gourds into candlesticks (just hollow out the center and add white tapers) for a Halloween or Thanksgiving display

Add a merry note to a staircase by lining it with leaf-and-berry-adorned takes on luminarias

Lend a glow to a backyard bash by arranging tea lights in tiny hurricane lamps and terra-cotta pots clustered in groups

Nothing gives guests a warmer welcome ... than candles illuminating their pathway

A quick way to transform an everyday table: Cover a shallow tray or platter with a dozen pillar candles of varying sizes and diameters

Monday, September 28, 2009

cooking the cowboy way

New cookbooks are a dime a dozen, but soon-to-be-released Cooking the Cowboy Way: Recipes Inspired by Campfires, Chuck Wagons, and Ranch Kitchens by Grady Spears (October 20, 2009) definitely looks purchase-worthy.

From the publisher:
"Native Texan and cowboy-turned-chef Grady Spears has created cowboy menus for restaurants he co-owned in Fort Worth, Texas; Granbury, Texas; and Beverly Hills, California, as well as for the Bush family at the Texas Governor's Mansion. This is Grady's fifth cookbook. He owns Grady's Restaurant in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas."

A few of the mouth-watering recipes include: Wildcatter Creamed Spinach, Cayenne-rubbed Ribeye with Lime Butter, Wild Mustang Salad, Grilled Salmon with Barbecue Sauce, Autumn Pear Crisp, and a Wildcatter Top-shelf Margarita.

And based on a sneak preview from Google books, the photography inside is equally delicious.

Can't wait to get my hands on it and test-drive some of its offerings soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

vera : : paprika

Latest from Vera Bradley ... Paprika. I really like it:
"Orange was all the rage in Europe -- adding vibrance and happiness to fall." A pinch of curry with cranberry, cream and turquoise blend to create Paprika, a hot color that'll spice up your wardrobe.

pictured: bucket tote, taxi wallet, & mini hipster

Saturday, September 26, 2009

back from the farmers market

The Farm Patch in Bryan, TX -- a feel-good place, if ever there was one. Grabbed some flowers and pumpkins ... so wishing I hadn't just stocked up a couple of days ago on produce from my "commercial" grocer, as the fresh-from-the-local-farms spread I saw today was breath-taking.

Friday, September 25, 2009

let the wild rumpus start

Where the Wild Things Are ... Coming October 16!

The movie trailer totally makes me tear up. And the casting of the boy who plays Max is perfect.

Love this song/video -- All is Love -- by Karen O, who is responsible for the entire soundtrack:

video link: Bits of Beauty

Thursday, September 24, 2009

and down poured the night rain ....

It's cool and wet here in College Station on this first-Thursday-of-fall night.

As I type, a fantastic smelling roast (thank you, ABC Dragoo -- you inspired me, and I'm drooling in anticipation!) is braising in the oven.

The latest fall Yankee Candles are burning all around.

Thursday night college football on ESPN is alive and well on the TV.

My Boodles Gin with orange juice -- currently in hand -- is bringing a much-needed sense of warmth and relaxation to an overly-frazzled psyche. Temporarily, anyway, all dissertation thoughts are pushed back into the farthest recesses of my mind.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and count your blessings. And I am blessed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

apple and pumpkin pocket pie molds

From Williams-Sonoma. These look fun.

"...make individual pies filled with your favorite sweet and savory fillings – from fresh fruit to meats and cheeses. First, use the rim of the mold to cut pastry dough into apple and pumpkin shapes, complete with decorative vents. Then arrange the dough inside the mold, fill the inner pocket with your preferred ingredients, and close the top to seal and crimp your pies. Whether you choose to bake or deep-fry your creations, you’ll end up with a tasty snack to enjoy at home or on the go. Recipe included."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

picture perfect

Two things I ♥:

(1) my nephews

(2) these rustic frames from 2DogsWoodWorking in which to display my boys' cuteness