Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She's a Good Girl!

Today our Aussie pup, Molly really earned her kibble. Lauren arrived from work at the house there in Texas when she was greeted by 4 Round Rock police officers. Apparently, the door had blown open in the wind & the Brinks Home monitoring system called the Round Rock PD to our home. The officers couldn't go into the house because Molly wouldn't let anyone in her home~open door or not.(this is a dog who has no open door policy!) Molly had every intention of holding the fort down. When Lauren arrived home the men asked her to get the dog & secure her. Molly immediately came when Lauren called & sat at Lauren's feet. The police then did a thorough search of the entire house & pronounced all well & gave Molly much needed kudos. That's our Molly! What a dog.

As dogs go Molly may look like your average canine but today she's our furry heroine.

As much as we miss her here in Mexico, I know she is best there keeping hearth & home safe in Texas.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothing to Declare

Customs House~Laredo Texas

With increased security guidelines buzzing about the Internet the last few weeks it was a little strange to head to the border with a new car for registration & driving into Mexico. The Government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country especially the border crossings. Military checkpoints have drastically increased in border areas since New Years. (or so say our consulate bulletins) U.S. citizens are advised to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways. Blah, could grow old & gray reading all of the advice given. Part of the security measures are common sense and additional 9/11 Homeland Security measures. But all said & done the crossing this time was no different than it was over a year ago when we brought our first vehicle into Mexico. I do however think we are becoming rather cynical to the whole South of the Border policy & registration for car tags. While we registered our car & provided our mountain of paperwork I noticed a really "skeezie" looking local guy registering a car to bring into the country. He hauled out a wad of cash that I am sure was misbegotten of some nature. There husband & I were, dotting our I's & crossing our T's...Picture if you will an image fitting an FBI's most wanted poster! (ie: Skeezie guy in line next to us!)
It's all okay though! I just wait for people like that to get stuck at the border & have a full on vehicle search. (while I snicker) It totally happens! Of this I am certain. It's called "Karma" Baby!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tomato Mexi~tizer!

The fresh vegetable selection in Mexico is an incredible & endless variety. I made this Appetizer with a diary product found in Mexico called Jocoque. Jocoque has a flavor like sour cream but is almost as thick as cream cheese. Lebanese in originit is reported to have health benefits similar to yogurt. Certainly cream cheese can be substituted if you cannot find Jocoque in a Latin or Mexican market

Jocoque & cheese stuffed tomatoes
3/4 cup Shredded Monterrey Jack or Chihuahua cheese
1/2 cup Jocoque, (cream cheese will be fine but less of a true flavor)
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley, reserve extra leaves for garnish
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

Mix above ingredients together, chill & prepare tomatoes for stuffing. Use 12 small vine ripe tomatoes, slice off top, core tomato with melon ball tool & then rest upside down on paper towel to drain remaining juice 5 to 10 min. Stuff with cheese mixture & garnish with parsley.

*The tomatoes I used were about 2 inches in diameter~

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Many hands make light work~

John Heywood made that statement we use nearly 500 years ago & it is as true today as it was then.

Several of us worked much of the morning yesterday making hundreds of meatballs & spaghetti sauce for the Casa Hogar Douglas kids. The Ex Patriot community down here in Monterrey does much to help out many of local organizations which seem to have scant funds to serve many needs. These women are extraordinary & make life South of the Border a little more like home. Have you ever made 100's of meatballs at once? Better yet, have you ever seen the joy those meatballs bring to the faces of an entire group of hungry kiddos? Yes & yes again is my answer on both of the questions. Rewarding smiles & full a full tummy for each of those kids is the full measure of a days work. Everyone seems to have a favorite meatball recipe so I won't post a recipe just now but keep in mind how you too can share joy just by spending a few extra hours volunteering to do for someone else. The rewards are endless~

Soup's on South of the Border~

Hearty Mushroom Soup
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups of crimini ( or wild mushrooms), sliced
2 cups of shitake mushrooms
4 Tbsp. flour (or other thickening agent)
1/2 red wine
2 pints or 5 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
salt & pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley
~in stock pot make a roux with flour & the oil brown up & then saute the onion & garlic in the roux 4-5 min. Add the mushrooms, saute another 3 -4 min. slowly stir in the wine, mustard, salt, pepper & vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer & let cook for 25-30 min. This will give the mushrooms, wine & seasonings time to enhance the flavor of the mushrooms. The liquid will reduce slightly. Serve & top with parsley. Serves 6.
*I served mine with ready made polenta we bought here at the store in a tube similar to sausage. I baked it & topped with cheese. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A few more fun holiday photos~

While we were home for Christmas Katerina visited the next door neighbors & saw some kitten friends. Those Texas cats know how to celebrate in style. The whole thing is kind of new to our little Mexican import though! She just doesn't get the whole dressing up your animal thing...Molly & Jack certainly didn't get the whole Santa thing from a dog's perspective!!! I think for the pets as with kids it is all about the gifts~

A fur flying good time was had by all!

Christmas comes but once a year~ Get your hats & scarves ready Zoe & Stella, Katerina will be ready next time!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Knitting South of the Border

I have finally found a yarn shop here in Monterrey with very high quality yarns that I am used to being able to find at home. Perseverance does pay off. The shop was so well arranged & had beautiful skeins of wools, mohair & acrylics that I wanted to reach out & touch. I can tell I will spend alot of time in the "Crochet" shop...
I also had time this past weekend to finish my cable knit scarf. Now if it will only get cool enough again to wear it!

Lentejas con Champinones

Dining in Mexico I have seen lentils or lentejas used in many forms. It's actually an item imported to Mexico from Spain centuries ago. This is a recipe for a warm & filling winter dish, it's origin is the Andalusian region of Spain. It is historically early Hispano-Muslim cuisine. We see a great deal of Arabian cuisine mixed into the foods of Northern Mexico. Who knew? I am amazed at the parallel cultures I see down here South of the Border.

Lentils & Mushrooms
1 small onion sliced
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
2 lg. tomatoes, diced
1/2 c. brown or green lentils, soaked overnight
*1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
*salt, pepper, paprika to taste.
Saute 1st 5 ingredients till tender then add lentils & 3/4 c. H2O & simmer till lentils are soft, sprinkle with parsley, season & serve. This is a wonderful side dish or main course.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! ~ from Deep in the Heart of Texas all the way to Mexico

A friend sent me this beautiful New Years wish; I am passing it on this day~

Here’s to the new year...
May it bring more joy and success
And less grief and regret.

To our dreams...
May we never stop believing in them
And taking the actions that will make them a reality.

To our friends and loved ones
May we take the time to let them know
How much it means to us
To have them in our lives.

Let us encourage more and criticize less,
Give more and need less.
And whenever we can,
Let us create harmony and peace.

To new beginnings...
Let us start fresh, right now,
To make this the very best year ever.