Texas to Mexico

Discriptions, pictures, recipes & monologue of life for a Texan in Mexico. The Mexico experience...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

After leaving Knippa there was an opportunity to stay overnight in Gonzales Texas. So, John & I stayed at Belle Oaks Inn. We arrived a day before the Inn owners did & they were trusting enough to leave us a key & our suite unlocked. We let ourselves in & had the place to ourselves for the night. It was peaceful & truly beautiful.

Belle Oaks Inn was built by C.E. Dilworth in 1912. The Louisiana Plantation Style mansion was utilized in the early 1940's as a polio hospital before once again being used for a private residence. Our host Richard gave us a tour of the whole house & told us the many painstaking steps it took to get the Inn to the current state. John & I stayed in the private Carriage house behind the main residence. It was a wonderful stay. Gonzales is a town laid out upon & still maintains the original Mexican survey of 1832. The town was at one time a Mecca for ranchers, cattle barons & bankers. The historic homes still line the old streets & while most things were shut down we did enjoy visiting some of the quaint little shops on & around the courthouse square. And of note is the fact that Gonzale is home to the famous "come & take it" cannon where a small group of early Texas settlers dared the Mexican army...to you guessed it "come & take it!" & one thing led to another otherwise the state of Coahuila where we live would be alot further north!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is there ever a case of too much of a good thing? ......Hmmmm!

It all depends on who you ask!

Girls will be girls!


There is such a thing as too much Christmas! Too much fun & turkey will wear a person down!

While visions of sugar plums danced......


This was an awesome dish to go with Mimi's cornbread dressing, veggies & meats.

Asparagus Torte

4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 c. Veg. Oil
1 tsp. Salt
dash Pepper
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Lg. Onion, chopped
1 c. Pioneer Baking Mix
1/2 c. Parmasaen Cheese
3 1/2 c. Fresh Asparagus, chopped

Combine eggs, oregano, oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion in a large bowl. Add baking mix & Parmasaen cheese. Stir till completely mixed. Add Asparagus, stir to coat. Pour into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake @ 350 40-45 min. till golden brown.

There are those who have an impact on your life & make you laugh when you need to & then arrive at the right moment with the killer Asparagus Torte! Good Job Aunt Carol!

The Awesome Aunt!


Well, maybe not such a silent night!
Those Harrington, Decker & Kincke Women are always up to something~sometimes overwhelming the men! Lord only knows what the animals are doing?

Family & fun at Mimi's! Animals get into the action too!

Silent Night at Decker Ranch, Knippa Texas
And it ended up being a very silent & beautiful night. Love those Texas sunsets!


Misty Woods lit up for Christmas!

The University of Texas tree at Misty Woods! Lauren kept the home team represented~Santa should be proud! And the girls in the "hood" shine on!(especially Miss Patti~party Queen of Round Rock!)

Seeing good friends, getting together & having a great Texas get together!

Parties, Fiestas, Home in Oakbluff....ah, Christmas time, to quote Martha Stewart, it's a good thing! Got to love seeing the girls from the neighborhood & dogs in Christmas hats!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Favorite Armadillo Bazaar find!
What is an Armadillo? How Bazaar!! An awesome time was had by all at the Texas original Armadillo Christmas Bazaar!

Lauren & I love to go to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar & find unique Chritmas gifts & get into the Christmas Spirit. With the live music, hand made, one of a kind & just plain strange items it is always fun to stroll & browse. We found our favorite vendors (including the "Beetles pottery people")& listened to awesome Texas music. We did however get a kick out of the prices we saw on the handmade Mexican import items. Somehow I think we have got that market cornered! Austin, there is no place like it in the world!

The Austin Music Hall is home to a Holiday Favorite called the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young~John Lennon


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We had some panic at the border on my part when I realized that I had my passport in another purse at the house in Torreon. After freaking out a bit I called the US Customs agent at the International Bridge where we were crossing & explained my predicament. I was told that a valid form of ID & my birth certificate would be sufficient to get me back home. The Passport is an absolute in airports now but driving or walking across the other forms of ID will be okay till January 2008. Lesson learned! Never leave home in a foreign country without the passport. Saves a great deal of stress as well. I was so blessed thankful when we finally drove across. Of course none of the driving at the border was quick. There was an almost 2 hour wait in the lines at the bridge.

At Nuevo Laredo they were trying to get into the Christmas Spirit.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Home to Texas for the Holidays!!!! For anyone old enough to remember Crumley's Grocery Store south of Austin on I-35 this is a wonderful artist's rendition of that great Central Texas landmark. Crumley's is long gone but many remember the whimsical collection of stuff outside the store. I bought a box of Mary Doerr's Christmas cards last year at the Armadillo Bazaar & couldn't bear to part with this one. Can't wait to return to Austin landmarks, family & friends for the holidays! Feliz Navidad! There is no place like home for the Holidays! In fact there is no place in the world like it.


On Calle Revolucion this week I was in a car with several Ex Patriot women when we spotted these little Christmas ornaments that are commonly sold here by the street vendors. I along with a couple of the other women wanted to purchase a few to decorate with & several of us bartered for them. With varying prices among the street vendors I am not so sure the man we were buying from thought that a car full of American & Canadian women were such a good deal for him! These little ornaments are made of foil, paper & tinsel. They are called pinatas since they are the shape of the gift filled Navidad Pinata. When we were at the Mercado Navidad we could smell the various food scents drifting through the market stalls. Truly mouth watering were the Buñuelos that were cooking. Yes, they were cooked in Lard & yes, we left without them but they smelled like heaven after a morning of shopping in the Mercado! The Piloncillo called for in the recipe below is found in Mexican Groceries & is the cone shape of the famous Mexican Sugar Molds now used for candles.

Buñuelos de Navidad -Christmas Sweet Fritters
10 servings
2 cups water
1 lb. flour
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp anisette
9 oz. lard *vegetable shortening is healthy alternative
9 oz. piloncillo -raw sugar

Boil one tablespoon anisette in a cup of water and leave to cool. Mix and sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in the eggs, the yolk and the anisette in water, as required, and knead until the dough stiffens. Form into small balls and roll out on a floured board until very thin. Continue flattening by hand on a napkin and place on a floured table. Heat the lard .Fry one by one in the lard.
Heat the piloncillo in one cup of water with the remaining tablespoon of anisette. This mixture will thicken to a light syrup. remove from heat and strain.
Serve the fritters, broken into pieces, in bowls and pour the syrup over them. *served in Mercado Navidad with sprinkle of cinnamon & sugar only!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Devil in the Navidad Mercado!
I visited the open air Navidad Mercado in downtown Torreon today. There were candies, gorditas, tacos, caldos as well as very typical Mexican Christmas items not to be found in stores. I was very intrigued by the many little Devil figures in the stalls selling the Nativity pieces. Here the Devil figure is used in nativities to show the struggle against evil in the world. One Nativity set had a band of angels watching over the manger while the Devil plotted in the background! A central part of Christmas celebration & Posadas is the Nacimiento. It is similar to a snow village but with a religious focal point. Christmas trees are sometimes used but are considered a luxury for most Mexican families. Nacimientos are added to each year with people passing on literally 100's of pieces to the next generation. The Nacimiento pieces are very reasonable & cost very little since the people from every walk of life seem to have one.
The Mexican Nacimiento is built in tiers and landscaped to represent a barn or shelter. The nativities are put out on December 14 & usually left till February 2, the day of Purification which is the final Christmas holiday celebration. There are the standard Biblical figurines which are added to represent the three wise men, shepherds and the Nino Jesus. Since the Nacimientos & Pastorelas (Pastoral Passion plays of good versus evil) were used by the Spanish priests to convert people to Christianity the figures not only have religious symbolism but also have very historical significance & are more Mexican in origin. I saw a virtual zoo of animals in the Mercado as well as a few Juan Diegos, Priests, Nuns, Saints, bridges, water wells, little Puebla houses & everyday tableaus of life in Mexico that could be imported into a Nativity scene. I saw Diablos~Devils with pitchforks, lurking in caves to tempt the wisemen from thier journey, Diablos carrying liquor bottles, carrying bags of money & one playing a fiddle! Some how Charlie Daniels came to mind with his "Devil went down to Georgia" song! Apparently he went to Mexico as well! The little Diablos are ribald little figures meant to illustrate the worthless qualities of evil & sin. So, this is my story of how I bought a Devil for my Nacimiento as well as a Cactus tree which is truly Mexican!
The one I found was made by the Purepecha-Tarascan Indians from southern Mexico.