Tag Archives: Texas Hill Country

Tuscany in the Texas Hill Country

Trattoria Lisina – Tuscany in the Texas Hill Country
“Le selle la notte sono grandi e luminose nel cuone profodo del Texas.”*

Good Morning Sweet Friends,

I wanted to share with you today about a lovely restaurant  we have here in the Texas Hill Country … Trattoria Lisina.  My family and I recently celebrated my birthday here enjoying a delicious Sunday dinner in a most delightful setting.

Over the last ten years or so, many new restaurants and wineries  have popped all over the Hill Country and Trattoria Lisina and the adjacent Duchman Winery standout as real stars.

Costolette di Agnello alla Griglia
Texas grass fed lamb chops grilled over oak & pecan, with a reduced balsamic glaze, peperonata & Parmigiano garlic mashed potatoes.  Absolutely delicious!

My Handsome Husband

“Thank you for the wonderful birthday celebration, Honey!  I love you soooooooooo much!!”

Ben with his Grandparents (My Folks)

My Beautiful and Sweet Mom (she’s 87!…shhhh don’t tell anyone) along with my Dad…you’d never guess that dapper cowboy is a former New Yorker!

Grandma and Ben heading over a lovely little bridge that leads to the winery.  I love to see how sweetly Ben walks with his grandmother arm in arm.  Hard to believe he is already close to a head taller than her!

The Vineyard

If you have the chance to visit the Texas Hill Country someday…and I hope you will…be sure to put this restaurant on your list as a must visit.  You’ll be glad you did. :-)

Enjoy!

Love,
Mary
*And if you haven’t already guessed … “Le selle la notte sono grandi e luminose nel cuone profodo del Texas” translates…”The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.” ;-)   This sweet verse from the famous song – extolling the beauty of the Texas night sky – is written on the placemats at Trattoria Lisina.

What a Difference a Day Makes … The Texas Sky

Good Morning Friends,

We have a busy day ahead of us but I wanted to share two pictures with you of a glimpse of the sky outside my kitchen doors.

The other day I caught a glimpse of this as I was cleaning up the dinner dishes.

Come morning, things were quite different…

A cool, foggy morning

Last winter was unusually cold for us in the Hill Country with some nights dipping below the zero mark!  This year has been mix of cold days and warm days creating some interesting foggy mornings.

This week is quite cool…about 42 degrees as I type this, but it’s been great weather for getting our planting done.  I’ll share more pictures tomorrow of our gardening progress.

Have a great day.

Love,
Mary

And So It Begins … Getting the Garden Ready for Spring

My herb garden as it looks today…needs lots of work.

Last week, I started the winter clean-up around our property to prepare for our early spring plantings.  Here in central Texas, the weather is fairly mild in the winter  – with a few cold snaps here and there (just enough to kill lots of plants) – and the summers are scorchers – topping over 100 degrees -  so our “spring” planting comes fairly early in the season.

The Italian Oregano which is along the “barn” garage wall has survived fairly well through our winter but everything else isn’t looking so great. The weather wasn’t the only factor…more about that later…

The flowering trees have been pruned back and the beds mulched.

St. Francis greets us along the garden path.

Obi investigates the yucca branches intruding upon her newly mulched “bed”!

As you can see from the pictures above, everything needs to be fenced or walled off if we have any hope of growing things to be harvested.  The reason?…We certainly must have more deer in our town than people!

I’ve also been saving egg shells to fill with dirt and use for seed plantings.  Once we get a sprout of a seedling, we can put the whole thing in the ground, shell and all.

I have hopes of planting some squash this year along with my usual cherry tomatoes and Italian plum tomatoes.  I’d also like to try a few other things, just haven’t decided on what yet – - – plus I need to do some research as to what will do well in our climate.  I’m thinking, too, of planting a peach tree.  They grow beautifully in the Hill Country.  The Fredericksburg area is famous for them.

In addition to my veggies, I’d like to grow lots of my usual herbs…oregano, basil, thyme, chives, sage, and more.  I love growing a wide variety of basils for making pesto, basil mayonnaise…and just using it in all sorts of dishes.  Yum!


Basil picked from our garden last year.

Basil we picked last year at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls which was later turned into…

Basil Pesto Spread…I added a little less oil to make it thicker to use as a spread on slices of baguette. Out of this world delicious!

After a hard days work in our herb garden! ;-)

My son, Ben, and I have been working on making some garden stepping stones to add to others we’ve made in previous years.  We’re hoping to make enough to complete and entire path for the herb garden.

The stone in the middle was made when Ben was younger…the one to the left when he was older.  I just love seeing the changes.  So sweet!  (The one on the right was made by his obsessive-compulsive mother…who has an extreme need for symmetry! ;-) )

“Talk” with you again soon, my sweet friends.

Love,
Mary

Rainy Day in the Texas Hill Country


Hello to my sweet friends!

This cloudy Monday has found me reminiscing about the clouds and rain of last week…

Last week it was an absolute delight to be lulled to sleep by distant thunder and the patter of rain on our roof. We have been experiencing a terrible drought for so long here in central Texas, that when rain does come, it’s time to rejoice! Even the crashes of lightening that woke us around 1:00 AM were exciting to hear and not looked upon as a nuisance.

The “puddles” on our property with a view of our driveway and our home in the background

The rain came down so hard and lasted all through the night that in the morning our property – with the puddles and the tress boughs hanging down – all most looked like a bayou.  Well, maybe not exactly, but those puddles made us really happy. ;-)

More puddles

The patio wet and dappled with damp leaves

And a full birdbath…albeit a bit kattywompus

The following morning found the weather damp and cold.  So it was cause to light a fire in the kitchen fireplace and then enjoy some hot cocoa.

My son, Ben

Days like this are far and few between and will most likely continue to be so,  at least for the immediate future.  The weatherman tells us their is no end insight for the drought until late spring, at the earliest.

But there was more to this day than just being happy to see the rain.  It was a day when my son and I forgot about school books, homework, activities, and more and just set aside some time to chat about this and that.  Now that was something to be happy about!  Even though he’s a teen, he still likes to chat with his dear old mom.  I love you Ben!

Thanks so much for visiting with me today. :-)

See you soon.

Love,
Mary

Flowers, Pumpkins, and Basil Pesto Spread

About two weeks ago, my sweet friend, Michelle, and I along with our kids visited a local farm in our area that was all decked out for fall.  Even though we have been fighting a drought here in central Texas, the farm still looked beautiful covered in fields of flowers and pumpkins.  We got to cut our own flowers to take home a beautiful bouquet and got to take home a big pumpkin too!

My son, Ben, surveyed the pumpkins so that we would be sure to go home with the best one.

But something that surprised all of us was basil growing amongst all the flowers.  The farmer let us pick lots of it along with our bouquets so we were doubly blessed with a bouquet and the makings for pesto!

I decided to use less olive oil and make the pesto a bit thicker to use as a spread for slices of baguette.  It turned out delicious and my son and I inhaled it!  This makes a tasty appetizer that is fast…and fresh. Enjoy!

If you live in central Texas or are visiting the area, be sure to swing by Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.  It’s a delightful place and you’ll be sure to go home with arm loads of goodies.

Print the Basil Pesto Spread recipe here.

Love,

Mary