Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dogs & Cola de Caballo

A hearty tail wagging given to us by the Cola de Caballo guide! A Real 4 Legged Mexican Cutie!

There are always plenty of dogs in Mexico! Our visit to Cola de Caballo today was no different. We arrived up at the Falls between Rain Showers & immediately found ourselves tagged by a very friendly dog. No stranger to tourists she was quite sweet & probably well taken care of as dogs down here go. She gave Jacqueline & Ashley the doggie "look" & acted as our guide up to the falls. She only required some Cheetos & a bag of Chicarones (Pork Rinds) as payment for her services. She actually knew the drill as the girls stepped up to the snack bar to buy her some goodies. Alert ears pricked up & a wagging tail told us she totally knew where the food could be found at the park. This pup was one smart & patient dog! As we left the Cola de Caballo Park she peeled away from us & went to find another diversion for the afternoon!

The recent heavy rains made the trip to the falls worth while! Cola de Caballo, different from one month to the next.

Lunch & Toe Rings!

Making those toes sparkle!!

The Pueblo Santiago holds many things yet to be explored but today between rain storms we managed to visit the well known "7 Mile Market" & grab a bite to eat at Restaurante La Palomas. We all succumbed to hunger & had a meal laden with too many meat & cheese items with a few peppers & frijoles thrown in for good measure. Afterward we visited 7 Mile Market which yes, stretches for about 7 miles give or take a few meters & has almost anything a tourist or native would might want. The girls found interesting little toe rings & a few touristy items. The toe rings they put on once we made it through a rain shower back to the car. Toe rings do add a dazzle & get those toes ready for something! Not sure what~ but they looked cute!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Girls are in Town!!!!

After unloading boxes & getting ready we have our first visitors! Jacqueline & Ashley! The best friends will take Monterrey by storm! Woohoo!!!! A good time will be had by all!! A little sightseeing, sunning & relaxing is in store!

We have be relaxing & having low key meals. We had an easy Spanish Garlic Dip with our grilled steaks & veggies last night for dinner al Fresco.

Spanish Roasted Garlic Dip

2 Whole Heads Garlic, broken up still in the skins
5 Tbsp. Sour Cream
4 Tbsp. Lite Mayonaise
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper & Paprika to taste

Roast Garlic coated with about 1 Tbsp oil, in oven on a cookie sheet for 25 min. @ 250. Cool, remove from skins & mash with fork then blend or food process the Garlic with rest of ingredients & chill. Great flavor without being overpowering!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Essential Mango~

Mango~it's whats for dinner...and drinks!

There are some specimens of Mango trees known to be over 300 years old and still fruiting. Pretty incredible when you think of the fact that trees that were serving the needs of the Spanish 300 years ago can still be found here today!

Mangos are routinely paired with Poultry & Seafood in the tropics making it very versatile & able to fit into almost any meal.
In Mexico the street vendors sometimes sell whole mangoes on a stick, dipped in the chili-salt mixture. I can skip the chili/salt mixture but the mangos here are always delicious!

Mango Arroz Ensalada
1 c. uncooked Arroz Salvaje Covadonga~
(*Wildrice & Long grain rice blend)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Sherry or Cider Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Ripe Mangos, peeled, pitted & sliced
3 Celery stalks, sliced
1/2 c. dried Apricots, chopped
1/4 c. Almond slivers, lightly toasted
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
Cook rice according to directions, set aside & cool. Mix Oil, Vinegar, Salt & Pepper; pour over rice & toss. Chill slightly.
Mix together Mango, Celery, Apricots, Almonds & Cilantro. Add to the rice mixture & serve.
Serves very well topped with poached or broiled chicken or seafood.
*Arroz Salvaje is a popular brand in Mexico but very much the same as Uncle Ben's or other blends of Wild & long grain rice or Wild & Basmati rice.

It's whats for Cocktail Hour too!!! Mango-Tinis

Mango Nectar
squeeze of lemon
hearty dose of Finlandia Mango Vodka
shaken and strained into a Martini glass. Garnish with lemon slice.

The fruit flesh of a ripe mango contains about 15% sugar, up to 1% protein, and significant amounts of vitamins A, B and C. So they aren't too bad for you either!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Glass in Mexico

Touring the glass museum reveals beautiful Mexican glass.

We toured the Museo del Vidrio in downtown Monterrey today. The museum is housed on the grounds of the manufacturing facility of Vitro. Grupo Vitro is one of the largest glass manufacturing entities in the hemisphere. They make pressed, blown & flat glassware as well as beautiful art glass pieces to rival the fine European glass artists. I think most of us have a concept of Mexican glassware as being heavy glass with the blue tint to it. When one is used to the atypical look of glassware sold at the border towns it is nice to see delicate & beautiful pieces which are the opposite of that image. The history of glass displayed at the Museo del Vidrio explains how glass has been manufactured in Mexico since the early part of the 16th century. Altogether interesting for anyone who loves glassware or history.

The museum had nice examples of fine crystal glass as well as unique art pieces such as a unique chandelier, some beautiful Japonese pieces & a solid sculptured Toro figure by artist Enrique Canales which was made of millions of pieces of amethyst glass.

Unique & Curvy Chandelier! Very Latin, very Chihuly & almost growing out of the ceiling with those tendrils reaching out!!! For more information on this museum check out the website:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mexican sunset over the mountains

After several hours not to mention days of rain the weather finally cleared just before sunset this evening & we caught a spectacular sunset. Great night for a Kahlua drink~cold of course since it is summer. Be virtuous & eat a salad then splurge & have a decadent cold drink!
Kahlua is a coffee liqueur made from Mexican coffee, sugar cane spirits and a bit of Mexican vanilla.
Kahlua is the 2nd largest single liqueur brand worldwide. Although it wasn't introduced to America until 1962, it's history dates to pre-WWII. When in Rome....Okay Torreon chicas, how about that Martini Tour???? By the way~it's raining again!!!

Espresso Martini
1 oz cold espresso
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur
1 oz white creme de cacao

Pour ingredients into shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled martini glass. It should be somewhat frothy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Foggy Day in Las Misiones~

Monterrey has an elevation of 1740 feet above sea level. We are somewhat higher here in Santiago, N.L. What is a huge change for us here is rainfall there is an average 23 inches of rainfall per year 16 of which falls between June & October. We have had heavy rain & thunderstorms the last few days. A vast difference from the deserts of Coahuila!

The Fog

Fog creeps in & covers the land
you can not see trees, hills
or the mountainsides
only unassuming, grey, sticky fog.

A good Salad to lift those Foggy Day Blues. 24 Hours changes alot of things including weather!!! Making this salad south of the border I have to be on the watch for cans of Water Chestnuts~a difficult to find ingredient in Mexico! This Salad has many names but I think of Texas when I make this, every Grandma has a variation of the recipe. A big salad for a Big State!!!

Iceberg lettuce, 1/2 head approx.
1 can of sliced water chestnuts
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped (or radishes, sliced)
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. sweet red Spanish onion, chopped
1 pkg. frozen green peas
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sugar
4 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
8 slices bacon
1 carton of cherry tomatoes halved
Line large glass bowl with bite-size pieces of lettuce. Over this, sprinkle the waterchestnuts and red pepper (if red pepper is not available, use radishes). Then add a layer of celery and Spanish onion. Next, add thawed frozen peas, then cheddar cheese. Add sugar to mayonnaise and spread over the top. Refrigerate overnight. Then top the salad with crisp fried bacon, crumbled & cherry tomatoes just before serving.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Snack Attack, Puppy Chow Style!

In honor of our newest little friend here I thought this was a perfect recipe to post!!! Even if it does combine Chocolate with Peanut butter~not one of my favorites!

1 pkg. chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter
1 box Corn or Rice Chex
1 c. mixed nuts
1-2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt, mixed into powdered sugar(omit if nuts are salted)
Melt over medium heat in double boiler butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter once melted. Pour over top of cereal and nuts mixture. Mix carefully until all coated.
In (*grocery sized) paper bag pour in 1 cup powdered sugar and coated cereal and nut mixture. Shake until all pieces are coated. This is cute served in "doggie" dishes.
*This works best so the ingredients all are coated & don't stick to the bag.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Newest Family Member!

Along with our move to Monterrey we have another change here in Mexico, one little fluffy Pomeranian Pooch! She is too cute for words & loves to pretend she is not too fearful of a certain Feline Princess in the family! They both proceed with relative caution at this point!

She is a very perky playmate for Katerina~although Katerina generally thinks Dogs are far beneath her!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

On the way to Monterrey

When we drove to Monterrey not for the first time in recent months I noticed all sorts of roadside spectacles. Things I think many of us living in Mexico don't notice at all after a while. I didn't capture each image with the camera but I did snap a few photos on the way. I only wish I had photographed the man herding goats on a bicycle! What priceless views down here in an average day. Necessity is the mother of invention in Mexico!

Many stops along the way offer refreshment while a few offer entertainment of the oldest sort in the world...fewer still offer all of the mentioned!

Pray you don't have a blowout or flat tire but if you do there are many Vulkas on the way which repair tires.

The mountain vistas are beautiful on a clear day. On those days you can't imagine a bluer sky or sharper contrast between mountains & Mexican desert.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

¡Katerina ama hoteles finos! ~Katerina loves fine hotels!

When the moving truck shows up this pint sized cat can hit the road with the finest! Won't mention where but she knows how to travel in style!!! She has a very hip little pet carrier she stows away in & has recently stayed one well rated hotel in Torreon! No one actually knew she was a guest...but this kitty likes fine things & is a very quiet & polite little guest. There is the popular star rating for hotels, maybe there should be a pet rating for hotels!!! This little furball would give her stay 4 stars****

Some cats just know how to travel!!

¡Joyería hecha con Jarros!

This is a necklace we made 2 days ago while passing the time at my house as the movers packed up the house in Torreon. My dear friend Carolyn is modeling the one we made for her with green silky cord, glass & wood beads & small Jarros, called Jarritos. While these necklaces are popular in San Antonio Texas during Fiesta all of the supplies are to be found South of the Border! I have even seen beautiful wreaths of Corn husk flowers decorated with little Jarros in San Antonio.

We made trips over the past month finding the supplies for this snappy little collar. On side trip even involved digging through a couple of baskets full of the little Jarritos while sitting on a not so clean floor of a Mercado!

¡Carolyn hermosa con la joyería de Jarrito!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Never can say goodbye!

Till the next time...Mi Amigas & South of the Border Martha Stewart prodigies!!!!

Pollo Chicas & Cat women keep the economy of Torreon afloat with our little outings! If it hasn't been the silver shop, pewter lady or the talavera place we have found ways to keep ourselves occupied. These chicas have been 100% Gold to me! Te falto alot, ya!

I will miss you mucho chicas!

Nos trasladamos a Monterrey muy pronto

On to Monterrey! But I will pass this way again~sooner than later, Chicas!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Where we are going...

Less than a year after moving to Torreon we have 6 days till we hit the road & move to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. To be truthful, the house is located outside of Monterrey. I am dreading the moving, newness & solitude once again. After the packing here, unpacking there & figuring things out; at least we can settle in to enjoy the lush, green mountain views! No, not a beach & there's no sand, but I can pretend! {I say that since I love the beach & everyone who hears we live in Mexico somehow thinks it is Cancun or Cozumel!} It's not Texas however it puts us a little closer to home at least. Let's face it; we Texans are quite versatile & can handle anything as long as it's not forever! As I have told my daughters many times "forever is a LONG time!"

Drowning my sorrows among the crowds
Walking, but not knowing where to go
Staring blankly like a void should
I am here, I am back
But I forgot my heart
Few thousand miles away
So I’m never at home
Until you’re here with me

~Woei Hern...Home is where the heart is
...Okay, not as sad as is sounds, just a wonderful poem!

Salsa This Pepper!

At a meeting this past week I took a black bean salsa that raised a few eyebrows & had several of the Mexican women asking for the recipe. I do feel flattered if one of the locals wants to know how a Tex~Mex variation of one of their recipes came to be. Texas has such a shared cuisine with Mexico (not to mention a border)so it is nice to put a spin on something new! This does have a kick to it as a few of my Ex Patriot friends were trying to put out the fire while eating this salsa...not mentioning any names though~Lil Martha!! The amount of Chipotle Pepper can be adjusted up or down of course. Chipotles date back to a region that is now northern Mexico City, prior to the Aztec civilization. About 1/5 of the Mexican Jalapeno Pepper crop are processed as Chipotle Peppers. Just don't leave this pepper out entirely since it adds a subtle smokey flavor which is nice with the sweet mango of this recipe!

Mango Black Bean Salsa~with a Kick!
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (7 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 medium mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 finely minced *chipotle peppers in adobo
juice of 2 fresh limes
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve with baked tortilla chips, if desired
*Chipotle Peppers are smoky flavored canned jalapeno peppers. La Costena is a good brand found at home in the latin section of the grocery store. Look for a tiny 7 oz. can.

~Chipotle Cream~

1/3 C. sour cream
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 t. minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Mix all 3 ingredients together & chill.
Nice addition to Tacos, Fajitas or with fresh veggies!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A steak by any other name...

"Down in Mexico they got ranches so big you can’t ride from one end to the other in a week. It ain’t all fenced in and sold off and played out, not down there." ~Cormac Mccarthy, All The Pretty Horses

Cattle production is still a big part of life in Northern Mexico. That said, the beef from the Laguna in Coahuila is well known through out Mexico & Latin America.

Breaded steaks have many names: whether they call it Viener Schnitzel in Austria, or Texas Chicken Fried Steaks, the Southern European influence brought Steak Milanese to Mexico. The thin cut beef of Milanese Steak found at the Mexican meat counter is generally used but in Texas we use Cube Steak. Enjoy!

Steak Milanese
4 beef cube steaks approx. 4 ounces each
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped tomato
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Season beef steaks on both sides with the salt and pepper.
In a shallow dish, beat eggs and water until blended. In a second shallow dish combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Dip each steak into egg mixture then into coating mixture to coat both sides.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 6 Tbsp. oil over medium to medium-high heat until hot. Add two of the steaks and cook 5-6 minutes, turning once. Remove when cooked & keep warm. Repeat with the remaining two steaks.
Sprinkle with chopped tomato and parsley. Serve immediately

Not far from my Mom's~but a long drive from here. Bar none: the Best Chicken Fried Steak in Texas!! If you haven't been to Bill & Rosas in D'hanis Texas, well worth the trip in a state known for cattle production on the other side of the border.