Mini surprise

If you're looking for a fun kitchen activity with the kids that requires no extra ingredients, take Pillsbury brownie minis for a spin. These come with their own pan and require nothing more than adding water. Available at grocery stores.

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Fruits of Portugal

If you can't take a trip to Portugal, visit the groves of its Alentejo region via Herdade do Esporao extra virgin olive oil. The chic matte-black glass bottle alone is enough to make us feel a bit more cultured for using it. Available for $20 at

Wine of the week

2008 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir 'Dussin Vineyard'

Region: Willamette Valley, Ore.

Price: About $45

Style: Coolly elegant

What it goes with: Poultry

It's a beautiful pinot noir from winemaker Lynn Penner. The fruit is dark and ripe, but there's no trace of jam. But there's more than just fruit - sweet spices, a hint of vanilla and smoke.

Save this bottle for dinner with someone who will appreciate its finesse.

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