Friday, October 31, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


It's a time for ghosts and goblins, costumes and candy, pumpkins and... pumpkin seeds!

Cut off the top of a pumpkin.

Scoop out the seeds.

Rinse with water and discard all of the orange gunk.

Place on a baking tray with Parchment Paper and plenty of salt.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake until slightly browned.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

After my husband and I were engaged, my future in-laws suggested that we take a trip down to the small village of San Miguel, Mexico, a vacation retreat for his family for many years.

Nestled in the middle of the country, San Miguel is not one of the typical beach destinations that draws many tourists, but rather a truly Spanish looking pueblo.  We rented an adorable Hacienda located on the hillside with a magnificent view of the city.  There are wonderful local women for hire that will pick your meals, do your grocery shopping, and boy oh boy can these ladies cook!  Yummy.  Plus, their Margaritas are the true Mexican recipe.  They go down easy as pie.

The ciudad itself has much to take in and enjoy.  There is an old-school architecture to be found throughout the city and many of the buildings are highlighted with magnificent colors.  The center of town is in el jardin, or the garden.  Here local merchants set up shop selling paintings, jewelry, clothing, antiques, and flowers. 
And of course, there is the joy of the real Mexican cuisine.  Thanks to my future father-in-law, I learned what a Chile Relleno was, and begged to go back for another one the following night.  To this day, I still drool at the mouth thinking about the food I was able to savour down there.  From Carne Asada to Huevos Rancheros and a true Cesar Salad, which recipe was handed down to me by my mother-in-law at a wedding shower.  I keep it locked up safely.

Hot off the press this morning - San Miguel has been ranked 5th in Conde Nast Traveler's Top 25 Cities in the World for the 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Obviously, I couldn't agree more.

And American visitors, not to worry, thanks to the many Texans that have decided to retire to this retreat, you can still find your Starbucks.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pedernales Winery

The Pedernales Winery (pronounced Perd-a-nales) is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Rose Hill in the beautiful Texas hill country. Literally, they are less than 500 feet apart with a boardwalk connecting to two sites. So, the wine tasting makes for a perfect B&B detour, no DD required.

Whether it be morning (no judgement), noon, or night, great views are promised to be had, and a few extra sips (or bottles) will make it all the merrier.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkin Soda

I'm not sure whether it is the enticing labels or the flavors that float my boat (it's both!), but Maine Root sodas get me every time. And with it being October, the first full month of Fall with Halloween just around the corner, I'm a sucker for their Pumpkin Pie.

The soda has a warming sensation with a finishing zing to its flavor. Definitely gets you in the mood...

But better yet, you can try making your own Pumpkin Soda! If you're into that kind of thing, which I am... The easy way? Buy some pumpkin syrup and club soda. Add 3-5 pumps of syrup to the soda, and taste to your liking. Voila!

Alternatively, you can go really homemade with it. If you take a little extra time and put in a little extra effort, you'll have more control over the flavor and contents. Remember, as warm and inviting as pumpkin sounds, the squash itself is actually quite bland, so you'll need a spice or two, but then it's just three simple steps.

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (homemade or canned)

1) In a small pot, combine the water, spice, and sugar.
2) Bring it to a simmer on top of the stove until the sugar is dissolved into a simple syrup consistency.
3) Remove the pot from the heat and add the pumpkin puree.

After the mixture cools, add as much, or as little as you'd like to a cup of club soda for a homemade Halloween treat! The mixture will hold best when refrigerated. Or better yet, freeze some cubes of the mixture and add to soda for that extra flare.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lockhart, TX

All you need to do is look around to see that Lockhart is your quintessential Texas town.

The city is old, but many of the original buildings still remain, like the Courthouse in the middle of town square. Some of the shops have transitioned into different stores, but that classic western style, and even some of the old signage, still remains the same.
Lockhart, Texas Courthouse

When it comes to eatin' in Lockhart, you best be bringin' your appetite.

Known by some as the best BBQ in Texas, and actually entitled such by the Texas legislature, there are three main stomping grounds: Black's, Smitty's, and Kreuz's.

Black's is a classic BBQ joint with a line out the door and a sign that says they are open 8 days a week. Again, Texans take their BBQ very seriously.

Smitty's is housed in the spot previously occupied by Kreuz's. They have kept the original set-up for display, and have plenty of mesquite lined up to fill their wood-burning BBQ pits.

In Lockhart if you go by the Texas theme that bigger is better, then Kreuz is King of BBQ. It's new location may be outside of the town square, but the building itself is hard to miss.

In Lockhart it's a no frills mentality. This kind of BBQ is No Sauce, so don't even ask. But don't worry, the meat itself shines on its own, and before you know it you will be asking for more. They always do...

Y'all come back now, ya hear.