Monday, October 31, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks and All That

We've been in Mexico now for almost six years. Time has flown! I was just thinking about how much the kids have grown!

Funny how Doug and I haven't changed a bit! (Don't laugh.)

So in six years, we've experienced 12 "Daylight Savings" changes.

And I've missed every single one. Without exception.

Why is it so difficult? It really shouldn't be. In Mexico, the time changes on the first Sunday of April and the last Sunday of October. Always.

Sunday morning arrived and we were frantically trying to get out the door by 8:30 so that I have time to set up the piano, check the sound and all of that. Evie was scrambling to print out something for the kids' class, when she suddenly called out, "Mom! Something's messed up with your computer clock. It says it's only 7:30."

Once again, I had missed the time change.

So we all relaxed. I got to take a little walk in my garden, Evie finished printing her lesson, Andrew got to eat breakfast. lol

The bummer thing is that my body is still on the "old hour". My trusty inner alarm went off this morning at 5am. Ugh.

However, I won't complain -- I got a lot of tweaking done on our blogs. I've pretty much changed everything. I hope I've made it easier to navigate between blogs, easier to find articles, etc. I still haven't fixed my header photo. Sigh. I guess we can't have it all!!!!

Have a happy Monday, everybody!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You Know You're a Large Family When...

I took a little stroll outside this morning, wandering among my various trees and vines which are doing very well, in spite of me.

I admired the bougainvillea, which now has both white and fuchsia blooms -- not sure exactly how it does that. I praised God for my orange tree and my naranjita, which are both finally beginning to grow. I coaxed a few stray tendrils from the extremely happy and aggressive grape vine back into their proper direction. I pondered my mandarin for a few moments and then prayed a blessing over it; it's in God's hands now!

Then I arrived at the grapefruit tree. Happy sigh.

This tree was in danger of the axe last year. Planted about 5 years ago, it has grown like crazy -- nothing but leaves. Not a single bloom did we find on it. Ever. Our neighbor, Ramon, said to give it one more year. So, we did -- and this year, voila!!! Grapefruit!!!!!!


So, I was admiring the fruit when I noticed something a bit peculiar. A closer look revealed...



My question: Does that mean that the rest are mine?????

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter is Coming and Other Randomness

Yesterday morning, while driving to Boca to buy some water and pick up some lumber at Julio and Lupita’s house, I saw our friend Ramon driving his cows to Las Glorias.

This made me think of several things.

My first thought was, “Now I know that the weather has changed for good.” It’s a sure sign of winter’s approach when Ramon moves his milk cows from his home in Rosales, about 2 miles away, to Las Glorias.

At almost the same moment, I remembered that I’m out of coffee. That’s a very important fact and is related to Ramon and his cows in that just about every morning while the cattle are in Las Glorias, the cowboys stop in for coffee…and bread.

That thought led to my next thought: I need to make some bread today. Or maybe some cookies.

Speaking of cookies, won’t it be wonderful to have fresh milk again, now that the cows have come home?

One of my kids’ favorite stories is entitled “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. I really relate to the characters in that book; such is my life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE Chocoflan

First of all, I want to go on the record as saying that I really don't care for flan. At all. It's kind of like watermelon for me. I'll eat it when it's put in front of me and I've been known to say, "Oh, this is a really good watermelon!" Left unsaid, however, is the rest of the sentence, "For a watermelon." That's how I am with flan.


So, when my friend Melita said that she wanted to learn how to make a Chocoflan, I agreed to search out a recipe. But I wasn't all that excited.

Until I found this recipe at You can click over and see why I was intrigued. I'll wait here.

Anyway, I printed out this recipe and began the translation into Mexican. I say "Mexican", since it's more than the words that need to change in most cases. Of course the measurements would need to change to metric, but although cajeta is easy enough to get here, Cool Whip? No lo hay!

The more I looked over this recipe, the more I just HAD to try it. So last week, for my friend Basilia's birthday, I tried this amazing-looking Chocoflan. (And I made a lemon cake, too, just in case the chocoflan flopped! lol)

I would say that it was a total and complete success! To be honest, I was a bit concerned when I opened the oven door after the first hour. It looked pretty strange and it didn't look like it had done what it was supposed to do, but upon closer inspection -- it was perfect. Sigh.
And tasty. I repent: I do like flan -- as long as it's made more like a cheesecake and has plenty of chocolate! Who wouldn't like this???

You can get this recipe over at the Kraft link above. I found it a bit convoluted trying to follow the recipe, though, so here's how I would write it:

What you'll need:
1 can cajeta (make your own by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for about 30 minutes -- in the can. Just take off the label, put the can in a pan of water and bring it to a boil. Weird, but it works.) You could also use any thick caramel sauce; you won't need very much.
1 can evaporated milk
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
7 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c sugar (the recipe calls for 1 cup -- I put in 3/4 and it was plenty sweet)
1 chocolate cake mix
1 c water
1/3 c cooking oil
(I omitted the sour cream and the Cool Whip as unnecessary. You could garnish with whipped cream, but it really didn't need it!)

For baking you'll need: a 12 cup mold/Bundt pan and a large "turkey roaster" or other pan large enough to hold the cake pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Well-grease a 12 cup mold (I used a Bundt pan).
Pour up to 1/2 cup of caramel sauce into bottom of pan. (I barely used 1/4 cup and that was really plenty.)

In a blender, combine:
1 can evap. milk
1 pkg. cream cheese
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat together:
Chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs

  • Pour chocolate cake batter gently and evenly into the cake mold.
  • Slowly ladle the milk and egg mixture over the top of the cake batter. (This was the crazy part. I thought that the recipe was mixed up, but it really does work!)
  • Gently set the cake mold into the turkey roaster, and fill the roaster with water enough to cover the bottom 1/2 of the cake mold.
  • Cover cake mold with aluminum foil (I missed this step, and the cake ended up a bit browned on the top -- didn't affect the taste at all, though!)
  • Place the roaster pan in the hot oven and bake for 90 minutes. (Until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.)
  • Remove from oven and cool IN THE CAKE MOLD sitting on a wire rack until mold is only warm to the touch. Then REFRIGERATE until completely chilled! If you try to unmold this cake while warm, you'll be eating it with a spoon.
  • After cake is completely chilled, loosen edges gently with a plastic spatula, invert a plate (preferably the plate you'll be serving it on) over the top of the cake mold, and then flip the cake carefully over onto the serving platter.