Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday night Fiesta in Las Isabeles

Sometimes it takes the right touch to bring down a "Lurching" Pinata!!!
Utube Video link in box below. Click on the X to see Pinata Power!!

Cupleanos Rodolfo!!!

A Pinata handler is needed for correct Pinata positions!

Some of the singing required a little crowd participation!

Stranger yet is the euphoria that comes over a crowd of adults when a Life Size Pinata is brought out at a party. Probably memories from childhood & the burst of endorphins that one gets to release when beating the heck out of a paper mache' figurine come into play!

Everyone got into the act!

The party for Rodolfo Duran on Saturday night started off with in a big way when the Mega Party company arrived with the Jukebox/Karaoke machine! The strangest things can happen when you put a microphone in someones hand!!
And Nacho was the youngest & cutest party guest of the night!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Flat Stanley has left the building...and the country!

Like all good things the visit did have to come to an end!!
There are times when the last leg of a visit can be the most exciting...such was the case for Flat Stanley's stay in Torreon! While he felt smarter for having visited places of culture like Mercado Juarez & the American School in Torreon it was his quick brush with a certain Torreon horse which will be unforgettable!

The Horse & Donkey carts are a common enough site in Torreon that a brief visit with Flat Stanley seemed safe enough. But certain bad tempered horses are not fit for greeting out of town guests!!! Carolyn & Flat Stanley almost lost some appendages over the brief encounter. Note the angry looking horse face & the distance Carolyn is standing from the irritable equine! Of interest also is the fact that the horse owner was standing close by to threaten the horse had he taken more than a few nips at Carolyn & Flat Stanley! Pesos in hand the owner & cranky horse were soon trotting away much to the relief of Flat Stanley who looked like he broke a sweat over the whole experience. It was a dangerous job Carolyn had escorting Flat Stanley through the daily routine in Torreon. He won't soon forget his visit in Coahuila or a certain golf outing at Montebello. Flat Stanley, what a guy!! Carolyn Gass, what an aunt!

Well, this is the final note on Flat Stanley. He did make one more tour around Torreon before taking his trip home to Peoria, Illinois. My dear friend Carolyn really is the "Aunt of the Year" for her efforts South of the Border making certain that Flat Stanley had a great visit! Safe travels Flat Stanely!!

For more information on the Flat Stanley Literacy project got to:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Curse Of The Crying Woman (La Maldicion De La Llorana)

I really thought I was going to be crying or whining as the case might be about my lost blog posts forever! There is a Mexican story about a crying woman~nothing to do with blogs: I think lost children or husband if I recall correctly...but I was starting to drift that direction~
Thank you blogspot!!!! You have saved my blog & the month of April for me:)
Go to my blog page to view my old posts & on the left side of the blog there is a spot where it says Link to my previous Texas to Mexico 06 posts 93 posts in all! Just below that is the Green dot with the link! 1st part Texas to Mexico Original Blog**** Just click on that text & check it out! Thank heaven for the kinder gentler minds at blogspot who were able to sort through the state of chaos I somehow had my blog posts in!

Monterrey Mexico, high speed, over whelming & beautiful!

The Hotel Safi Lobby

Visiting Monterrey Mexico this past week I was shocked by the growth that has hit the city since we last spent much time there in the 1980's. Monterrey now has more than 3 million people & after seeing the traffic I believe they are all behind the wheel of a vehicle!!! The usual frenetic Mexican energy & speed seems to be the rule of thumb on the roadways there. We were impressed by the lush vegetation & overall beautification that has occurred since the 80's as well. Economic boom has totally translated in the housing starts & overall prices. We saw an area that compares to Rodeo Drive in California there with a freestanding Tiffany's, Gucci & Louis Vuitton store. Times have changed for sure in the industrial capitol of Northern Mexico. Monterrey is now the 3rd largest city in the country but the most expensive to live in. I captured a quick photo of the Santa Caterina Bridge or "Puente de la Unidad" which is an incredible combination of Steel, cantilevered concrete & cables. It is very sculptural in appearance in the city landscape.

This statue in San Pedro, Monterrey is called "God Mother" or Madre de dios, I saw her in front of an office building we were touring in Monterrey. Tucked in among the public gardens & the large number of historic buildings throughout the city there are many statues but this particular piece is held in high regard by the locals and apparently much loved. Her face has great character & strength, which I am sure is part of the charm.

For more about Monterrey Mexico go to:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Toro on the hillside! Frankly, that is no Bull!

My daughter urged me to take a photo of this "Bullboard" as we were driving back from Zacatecas. These huge signs are some of the few signs we see on the Mexican Cuota roads. The oversized bovine signs are part of a world wide hunger campaign where celebrities have painted copies of the "bullboards" & they are then auctioned off for to help fight against hunger.
Check out the website:

“Bullboards” – billboards in the shape of the famous Osborne Bull – can be found all over Spain & also throughout Mexico. My youngest daughter found these Bullboards all over Spain when she traveled there a couple of years ago.

Facts: Each bull weighs nearly 9,000 pounds. Its combined weight with 4 steel support turrets and a concrete base exceeds 60 tons.
“El toro” stands 46 feet high, or the height of a four-story building. It is no wonder that these Bullboards can be seen for miles on the roadsides in Mexico & Spain.
Each bull is comprised of 70 individual pieces of sheet metal, which fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
At least 20 gallons of black paint are required to cover the bull.
It takes 1000 bolts to hold each bull together.
I am sure in Mexico it must be a monumental task to erect these Bullboards since they are generally out in the middle of no where or on top of some remote hillside.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mexican Vanilla~a fine vintage

Diploma of Honour, Gold Medal and First Prize at the Vanilla Exhibition~not quite the Nobel Prize but for Vanilla pretty impressive!
La Vencedora Pilgrimage

Hidden treasures to be found in Mexico!

Almost any discerning baker in Texas will tell you the best vanilla to bake with is La Vencedora from Mexico. My family has been using it for as long as I can remember. The strong vanilla flavor is so wonderful & pure that cooks use less of the Mexican vanilla than a recipe calls for in most cases. Before the vanilla was more mainstream it was sold at Mexican border towns in the local liquor stores. I personally have been known to carry multiple bottles of it home in my luggage when I lived in Florida. That practice has produced some highly scented luggage...So, imagine my surprise when I found it was nearly impossible to find good vanilla in the state of Coahuila! It seems that the lesser quality vanillas are sold here locally. I did a vast amount of research & asking everyone where to find La Vencedora. After some sleuthing I discovered it was made in San Luis Potosi. On our visit to San Luis Potosi I was taken to the actual Vanilla factory. Tucked back down a small lane in a historic district is the La Vencedora headquarters. The small unassuming building is known for the distributing the award winning, best vanilla in Mexico. Cooks are known to bid on ebay for whole cases of the fragrant liquid in the bottle with the familiar "red rooster" on the label. La Vencedora is bottled, brewed & distributed from San Luis Potosi since 1917. This vanilla is also a wonderful addition to a pot of coffee, 2-3 Tablespoons adds a heavenly aroma & flavor. he recipe included in this post combines the flavors of Vanilla & Cajeta which is also a product of San Luis Potosi. Enjoy!

Pay de Queso y Nuez con Cajeta (Pecan Cheesecake with Caramel)

*Coronado brand Cajeta, found in most Mexican grocery stores

2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 c. pecans

1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) finely crushed vanilla wafers, graham cracker may be used as well. Both can be hard to find items in Mexico.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 lb cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla, La Vencedora brand if possible!
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer to a 9 inch spring form pan. Pat the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In an electric mixer bowl beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat just until smooth & mixed well.

Drizzle the cajeta evenly over the prepared crust. Pour the cheese filling over the cajeta. Bake until the cheesecake is firm, 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately place in the refrigerator on a kitchen towel. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour over the top of the cheesecake and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Place a circle of pecan halves around the entire outer edge of the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.

To Serve
Release the sides of the spring form pan leaving the cake in the bottom and place the cake on a serving plate. Heat the remaining cajeta to lukewarm. Drizzle some of it around the plate. Slice the cake, place the slices on individual plates, drizzle each serving with more cajeta, and garnish with the remaining chopped nuts.

*If you cannot find Mexican Cajeta you may substitute 1 can of "La Lechera" Dulce de Leche instead. The caramel flavor makes this dish. "La Lechera" is sweetened condensed milk cooked down to a creamy caramel. It is used in Tres Leches.

If you happen to be in the region & want to stop for a visit:
La Vencedora Vanilla
Arteaga No. 150
San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosi, 78340

Barrio de San Sebastián

Monday, April 16, 2007

Great visit & back to Torreon!

Semana Santa~Beautiful time to travel in Mexico!

Mexico is a winding road...full of history & modern day parallels!

When on a vacation in Mexico it is easy to forget where you are & slip into the "South of the Border" frame of mind. Great trip, awesome visit with our family!

Get used to beans, chili paste
And you learn to live and love
Life in the slow lane
And thats why God made Mexico
A place where we can lay low
Maybe Monterey or Acapulco
Anywhere the warm winds blow
Dont you know
Thats why God made
Made Mexico~Tim McGraw

Friday, April 13, 2007

Zacatecas the Road back to Torreon

Pancho Villa was here!

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." Pancho Villa

We arrived in Zacatecas on Easter Sunday. Zacatecas was on the last day of Festival Cultural 2007 a grand event which brought many tourist like ourselves to the historical city. Zacatecas was founded in 1546 & the historical center of town still retains the charm & beauty which drew explorers & early settlers to the area. Zacatecas more currently has several monuments & historical markers commemorating a famous battle fought during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) In June 1914, the City of Zacatecas was taken by Pancho Villa and his Dorados in a battle known as La Toma de Zacatecas (The Taking of Zacatecas). The City of Zacatecas witnessed a large & bloody battle that took place in the fighting against General Victoriano Huerta. When the battle ended, some 7,000 soldiers lay dead. In addition 5000 civilians killed. While there are Fiestas and parties going on many days out of the year in Zacatecas they still remember the past & Pancho Villa is a lingering ghost!

"One fiesta was hardly ended when another began."
John L. Stephens, American writer and explorer, in his Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatán (1841),

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.”

"There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors."
Jim Morrison

A small key opens big doors!

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”

I could spend a lifetime taking photos of doors in Mexico~Dee