Furnace Brook Winery

I've been delinquent in my posting of wonderous Berkshire/Massachusetts Finds lately, and decided it was high-time to feature one of my favorites.

While on our honeymoon, Michael and I stopped by a winery for fun, and it happened to be the Furnace Brook Winery. (http://www.furnacebrookwinery.com/) It featured many award winning wines, and one hard cider that's won a few titles. We tried the Johnny Mash Hard Cider, and I have to say, it's the best cider I've had. Yes, it indeed beats the Woodchuck we have here in Dallas. (By Far!) The winery also has orchards where you can pick to your heart's content and enjoy the fruits of your labor (PUN) outside in the awesome summer/fall weather on shaded picnic tables. It's a great way to spend a picturesque afternoon with a lovie.

Make a visit next time you're in Richmond, Massachusetts!


TDM - Turkey Day Mood

I'm sorry about the super inside-post I wrote the other day. Things have been really weird with the family lately. Hopefully everything will be sorted out soon. I want everyone to be HAPPY!

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! It's exciting! I've been getting in the Turkey Day mood lately, and have made a few dinners because of that. Last night I made an Asian-inspired honey cornish game hen with roasted parsnips. It was a success! If only I had an army of people to roast a turkey for! I'd love to try it, but I think it will be awhile before I do. This year my mom has asked me to make several things on the menu, so I am planning that this week. I am in charge of a vegetable plate (with two dips), three kinds of dinner rolls, and a blueberry cobbler. I'll take pictures of all of it. I hope nothing turns out terrible. Wish me luck!

Look at my creepy cat!


Trying News from Unexpected Land

Sometimes it's more important to accept and show you love someone than to show them you think they're unwise and irresponsible. Choose which is more important.

It's more important to keep someone close than to push them away.

It's best to show someone they matter to you instead of the moral disagreement you have with their lifestyle.

Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut and your heart open.

Especially when it's the ones you love the most.

Some say you hurt the people you love the most more often than anyone else in your life. This shouldn't be our nature.

We have to reach beyond our many differences and secure the bonds between us. It's the only way we can keep sane. It's hard to see the similarities when so much has changed over the years. Faded. Some similarities maybe have been eliminated.

We have to find common ground.

Then the complexities of life won't seem so oppressive, and our days will be brighter.



The season has ended what little autumn Texas sees, and brought a tiny bit of winter. I'm not certain if autumn is completely over, but I am sad to see it go if it has.

It's now time to gear up for the busiest time of year. News is always brought to every family gathering I attend, and I'm eager to know what's transpired after the majority of 2009 has passed. I'll be cooking for each event, so I hope to have pictures and recipes to share.

Have a happy, chilly day!


Unhappy with Oprah

I feel strongly about this - don't laugh.

Yes, I'm one of the millions that have read the Twilight series. I admit it. They were a fun read, and I enjoy being in-the-know about this craze and all that goes along with it. However, I am very disappointed in the episode of Oprah today, which featured the author of the Twilight books, Stephenie Meyer. Oprah promised ME (a small exaggeration, but go with it) she would ask Stephenie if there will be a 5th installment of the series...NEVER happened.

I can't tell you how ridiculous it is that Oprah dangled this carrot of a revelation in front of all the fans (TWICE), and then never made mention of it later. Does she think she won't have the 13-year-olds blasting her on their LiveJournals, or the 10th grade English teachers giving her an earful on the Oprah Web site?! (Not to mention the married 20-something that DVR's Oprah regularly...)

I hope that someone will get through to Oprah, and in some Skype session, phone call or whatever - this burning question of Midnight Sun, or what ever name Stephenie Meyer chooses, and if it will ever be completed or restarted.

I hope I haven't scared you all.

Oh, Oprah.


Waiting on Photos

We're back from a fabulous time in Austin! I don't have any photos yet, but I will post them as soon as I do.

I'll try to give a small summary of what we did: look and eat. Done.

Friday we got in to Austin just in time for dinner. Qas made us Pakistani home-cookin, which was amazing. That's even an understatement. It was like no other food I've eaten in restaurants, and so much more flavorful. I'm hoping to get the recipes to try them in my kitchen at home. We spent the rest of the night catching up and talking each other's ears off.

Saturday morning we woke up and went to Mozart's for coffee and a biscotti (http://www.mozartscoffee.com), on Lake Austin. That lake has HUGE fish in it! I wish I would have taken a picture of these fish - and not to mention the size of the turtles! It was like an aquarium! Then we took a car tour, with the windows down, of Westlake Hills. Located off of Red Bud Trail, this is one of the nicest areas in the city. It had some great modern homes, adjacent to older split-levels with tons of charm. We lunched at Blue Dahlia in the up-and-coming part of East Austin. We sat on the back patio, that was shaded by overhead reed mats and palms. GREAT weather. I had the fig, honey and ricotta tartine, and Michael had a chicken salad and dried cranberry tartine. Very nice. Later, we traveled over to Pedernales State Park for some hiking and relaxing beside nature. Dinner was at Ranch 616, where the nightly specials is where it's at! I had the mixed grill special, which involved barbecued quail, venison, sausage, smoked poblano mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Michael and Jamie had the same special: filet mignon, pork tenderloin, asparagus, and lobster. Qas had another mixed plate of lobster, crab, duck and amazing sides. It was such a great meal! One of the hosts was a jerk, but every other person on the waitstaff was excellent. Then, in efforts to have a stupidly good time, we went to the bowling alley down the street for a little Buck Sisters versus the Men bowling action. Needless to say, The Buck Sisters were somewhat all bark and no bite, but didn't lose by much. A rematch is in order. Then we got changed and went downtown for some drinks and dancing. Dancing on Qas, Jamie and Michael's parts. I don't dance...well. We ended up seeing a few of my friends from college at the club, and got to have some fun with that.

Sunday we had brunch, home made by Jamie. I contributed a Challah, and she made eggs, sausage, Provencal tomatoes, and chai. Then we made a final tour of The Oasis and Lake Travis. It was misty, but still beautiful. Sometimes I forget those cliffs aren't in the Mediterranean, and are in the middle of Texas. Then we had an early dinner at El Borrego de Oro, and got on the road. We made a quick stop by Amy's Ice Cream (http://www.amysicecreams.com) before heading out of town for good so Michael could savor the flavor of Mexican Vanilla.

It was an excellent and tasty trip!


Weekend in Austin!

Today I am off work, which means my weekend started Wednesday night! I am prepping for this weekend when we go see Jamie and Qas in Austin.
I'm excited to visit Austin and be shown around by two people that actually live there. I've been to Austin before and always did the tour of the Capitol (yawn!) and other usual things. This time I'm going to experience the city with people that know the ins and outs - where the good features are. I'm mostly excited about the weather and the food! I'll post when I return!


Pumpkin House

The Great Pumpkin House at the Dallas Arboretum

...it's more like a hut.