Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lucky me, I've had enough! I'll be smiling soon though:)

Okay, this isn't an entire post whining about me but I do want to update family & friends about a couple of items~

1) I've been out of sorts in recent months with the saga of endless tooth problems which all started over a innocent Spinach Salad. I had a small surgical procedure this week, pretty glad it's over & now my mouth is making a full recovery. The Mister will be a happy man if he doesn't have to sit in the dental surgical center holding my hand through anymore of those events!!! I have had relatively little pain, stitches are out as of today, so very soon chewing will be back to normal. That's why I am considering myself Lucky! The teeth in my mouth remain intact. Can I hear an Amen??

2) The last & very important issue is that I along with other bloggers have been hit with an evil Spammer lately. If you check or read the comments on my blog DO NOT, EVER click on some sort of link which tells you "here it is", "Look", "Check it out" or otherwise. It is a virus & you will have huge problems. I believe blogspot is aware of this issue & trying to resolve this. If you cannot read an entire comment, don't click anything though. Gracias & Buen dia! Your Texas to Mexico connection.

Spring time = Relaxation

Trips home sometimes mean total relaxation & a rare worry free weekend. For some relaxation is complete in mind, body & spirit!

For some it's a careless, stress free weekend with family doing things that aren't done often enough...

For others it's just having fun & watching the sun going down in our favorite state.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Margaritas for North & South of the Border!

In the interest of keeping an open mind when crossing that next border, Salute!

~Margaritas con Agave Nectar~
1 1/2 ounces ultra-premium tequila
3/4 oz. triple orange liqueur
1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz. agave nectar
1 slice limes
1 orange peel
1) Pour the tequila, orange liqueur, juices, and nectar into an ice-filled shaker.
2) Add the orange peel, shake vigoriously, and strain into chilled margarita glass.
3) Garnish with a lime wheel and the orange peel.
4) Drink & enjoy!

Longer lines than usual at the border!

Easter holiday or Semana Santa gives most people in Mexico a week holiday. The holiday also makes for some very long lines at the border. Seemingly everyone was making a run for the border the day we crossed at Nuevo Laredo. Our normal 5 hour trip turned into a 12 hour trip with the long, long wait. There were car searches on both sides & it seemed if street vendors could be selling "stuff" they were. The car lines on the Mexican side looked like a rolling market place. We observed anything & everything being sold car to car. It was a hot melange of food, exhaust fumes, sweaty bodies & beggars just outside of our car window. I'm glad people see more welcoming sites in Mexico; as Nuevo Laredo these days would be a real "turn off" for even the most seasoned Tourista! Welcome to Mexico is writen above the border entry but it certainly isn't the feeling one gets when the Army tanks sit just across the river from Laredo. For those of us who remember Laredo in it's finer moments there is hope for a brighter future. (1970's & 1980's it was fun & relatively safe...truly dating myself here!) Things can always change. For now the "Girl's trips" to the border for shopping at Marti's, Margaritas at the Cadillac Bar & fun are just a memory of the past. We seriously don't worry when we travel through Nuevo Laredo, it just makes me sad.

Of note this little tank had an amphibious propeller at the back, the only water close was the Rio Grande. Hmmm!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Baking for the Spring Breakers, "Easter Cakelets"

Buttery Pound Cake~Cakelets
1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup milk

*Glaze with simple syrup of 1/2 H2O & 1/2 c. Sugar bring to a boil & add 1 tsp. Amaretto. Sift powdered sugar over the top & cool.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each addition. Add extracts, beating just until blended. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed until combined. Add milk, beating until smooth. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup **Bundt pan.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Serve with desired toppings.

Makes 10 to 12 servings
**I actually cut this recipe in half for the small amount of "Cakelets" I wanted to make for Spring Break. This recipe cut in half makes one pan of the Nordic ware Cakelets.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Paella tiempo!

Last evening there was a whole lot of cooking going on here! The barefooted cooks were fabulous in the kitchen. We dined outside on the Paella, bread, wine all from the freshest ingredients possible to find in Mexico. Spectacular end to our day.

Spanish Paella Serves 6-8

2 pinches of saffron threads
1 7/8 cup of short grain rice
16 live mussels (*instead, I generally throw more shrimp in South of the Border)
6 Tbsp. oil
6-8 unboned chicken thighs, excess fat removed, skin on
5 oz chorizo sausage, cut into 1 inch slices, as much casing removed as possible
2 med. onions, chopped
4 lg. garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. mild or hot Spanish paprika, to taste
3 1/2 oz. green beans chopped
7/8 cup of frozen peas
5 c. chicken or vegetable stock
salt & pepper
16 uncooked shrimp, shelled & deveined
2 sweet red peppers, sliced
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped finely

1. Put the saffron threads in a small bowl & pour in 4 Tbsp. hot H2O, set aside. Scrub mussels, removing any beards, & discard any with cracked shells or open ones that do not close when tapped, set aside.

2. Heat 3 Tbsp. of oil in 12-16 in. Paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin sides down & cook for 5 min. until golden & crispy. Transfer to bowl.

3. Add the chorizo to the Paella pan & cook for 1 min. until it starts to crisp. Add to the chicken.

4. Heat another 3 Tbsp. oil in Paella pan. Add the onions and cook for 2 min. then add the garlic & paprika & cook for an additional 3 min. until the onions are soft, but not brown.

5. Add the rice, beans, and peas to the Paella pan and stir until coated in oil. Return the chicken thighs & chorizo & any accumulated juices to the casserole Stir in the stock, saffron liquid *or saffron Paella powder, salt & pepper & bring to a boil stirring.

6. Reduce the heat to low & let simmer, without stirring, for 15 min. or until the rice is almost tender & most liquid is absorbed.

7. Arrange the mussels, shrimp, & sweet pepper strips on top, cover the casserole/Paella pan & continue simmering, without stirring for about 5 min. until shrimp become pink & mussels open.

8. Discard any mussels that do not open. Taste & adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover pan with foil then cover that with a clean large towel. Let rest for about 4-5 min. Serve with lemon wedges & crusty bread.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strolling Santiago, visiting the Mercado & bad kids in a local restaurant~

Yes, another warm weather day here South of the Border~
We strolled the 7 Mile Market area today taking in the sights & smells of the market area along the Caraterra Nacional in Santiago. We walked, talked, shopped & finally had a late lunch where the Spring Breakers saw first hand that not all young kids can behave in restaurants here...(Lord knows, I have seen it more times than not in the afternoons in restaurants here!)

Touring the Santiago Apostal Church in the historic Villa de Santiago gave us a chance to see the changes around the old square & the many buildings which are being renovated, fast becoming shops & quaint restaurants.


We've got a full tank so hang on Baby! Spring Break is on. We have no explaination of what caused the crisis. There has been alot of construction on the mountain behind the houses here & construction here near the spring. Tank trucks with H2O came to the rescue over the weekend. We have water but are using our cistern wisely!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Break'n, relaxing & soaking up the sun!

We have water again with a chance of some rainshowers so bring on the visitors.

Sun & Fun shared between cousins. Familia visitantes en la casa.

Glad the Spring Breakers are here, they are relaxing, eating & catching some zzz's!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Things just aren't ever that simple!

Preparing for our Spring Breakers to arrive here South of the Border~

We received a phone call last night @ 11pm to let us know that the springs have run dry in our colonia & we will have no water for a few days!!! The last word we heard this afternoon is that water tanker trucks will bring in water sometime soon & we will have restricted water service on Monday! The how, when & where concerns us but we can only wait & see what happens on Monday. The old "manana, si, manana" can be a shoulder shrug & kind of indifferent put off at times. South of the Border timing isn't quite what it's cracked up to's to hoping though! A toast with some bottled water~Salute! Right now that H2O may be as precious as fine wine:)