Friday, August 26, 2011

soft preztels

Who doesn't like a nice soft pretzel as a late night snack?  I do!  When I visit the States I always buy the frozen ones at the store and, at night while obsessively watching HGTV, I throw some in the microwave for a little late night snack.

As I have already stated many times, you just can't find those easy to make snacks here.  But, I did come across a recipe for soft pretzels a while back that looked not overly complicated.  Most recipes that I found required all these steps and there was boiling water involved. 

I was just talking with my friend, Heather, yesterday about the fact that I have to make basically everything from scratch. And, it gets old.  Plus, there are some things that I want but making them requires not only making the item from scratch, but even some of the ingredients from scratch.  That just makes it too much work.

But, this particular pretzel recipe is simple and fast.  Well, as fast as a yeast dough recipe gets.  I don't time myself, but I would say in an hour or less you could be enjoying a soft pretzel.  AND, you can make a bunch and freeze the rest.  Then all you need to do is heat them in the oven or if they are small enough, through them in the toaster.

I got the recipe a few years back out of an email that had all these copycat recipes.  This one is supposedly a Auntie Ann's Pretzel.  I don't think I have ever had one so I can't compare.  But, the fact that I can't find any soft pretzels were I live, this one is awesome!


1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/8 tsp. active yeast
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup bread flour (I use all purpose in place of this)
3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. baking soda

To taste:  coarse salt and melted butter

Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve.  Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve; add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic.  Let rise at least 1/2 hour.

while dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with the 2 cups warm water and 2 Tbsp. baking soda.  Be certain to stir often.

After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and shape.  Dip pretzel into soda solution and place on greased baking sheet.  Allow pretzel to rise again.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden.  Brush with melted butter and coarse salt and enjoy.  (It also suggests sprinkling cinnamon sugar on them.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

in case of an emergency

Living in the States, it seems like everything is setup to help someone in need.  A person can dial 911 and without even a spoken word help will show up at your door.

Living here in Mexico, not knowing the language, I sometimes wonder what would happen if I needed help. 

Now the girls are old enough that they could use the phone if needed.  And last night I realized that I have no plan in place if something were to happen to me while the girls are with me.  What if I need them to call for help?

I have no idea if there is a "911" type of number here.  I have seen a 611 or something similar if you are stuck on the side of the road.  But, other than that, I have no idea.  And, if they do have such a service, is the technology setup where it could find my house without an address.

Just so we are a bit more prepared for such a case, last night I showed the girls how to dial Jorge's number.  They picked it right up since I was showing them on my iPhone.  With little icons for them to remember, if I needed them to call him, it would be simple for them.


They know how to push the main button on the phone to wake the phone.

Next, push the green phone button.

Then push the star button

Then push on the letters in the white area and put the phone to your ear.  You will be calling daddy.

If you have small kids, maybe this would be a good time to teach them to dial 911.  You sometimes see those articles that show a child that saved a life by dialing 911 and were only taught days before.

You can view this as my yearly PSA!

Monday, August 22, 2011


I vividly remember having a crazy, messy room when I was little.  There was stuff everywhere.  Under the bed.  Under the dresser.  Under anything that could fit something underneath it.  I know my mom was constantly telling me to clean my room. 

So, you would think that I would understand the girls' room being so messy.  It isn't that I don't understand.  I just can't stand it! 

I bought a shelving until (the one with the TV on it) at Cantia a while back for them.  And, that seemed to help a bit.  Having somewhere to put all their stuff helped to keep their room clean.

This weekend we went to Aguascalientes and stopped by Home Depot.  They had a cute little toy organizer and I snatched it right up!  I am hopping that the girls will love it so much that they will put their toys away. (high hopes, I know)

Today while they were down at their grandma's house I took everything out of their room and mopped the floor and then rearranged the room.  I built the little organizer and went through all their toys and organized them buy type of toy.

I know whenever I rearrange the room the girls totally love it.  They tend to see toys they haven't seen in a while and play in there.  With their toys!  Can you believe that. 

Take a look:

I'll find out how clean they keep when they get home.  I know, high hopes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

chinese goodness

A handful of months back there was a Chinese restaurant that opened up downtown.  And, true to Chinese restaurants, they deliver.  Love that!

We have ordered from there a few times and it has been pretty good.  Last night, however, was the first time I bothered glancing at the menu that Jorge picked up not too long ago. 

I spotted something on their menu and was so excited, hoping that they would be good.   Basically, it is non-crab rangoon. (wonton con queso crema on the menu)  Heck, I can do without the crab.  Let's try it! A while back I tried to make some from scratch, but they didn't turn out.  It will be nice not to have to wait until the States to have some.

It was really good!  I only wished I would've ordered more!  I did share with Jorge.  He should count himself lucky. :)

And, we ordered our regular Mongolian Beef!  It is really good!  Not as good as PF Chang's.  But, good enough for Jalos!

Their menu looks like it was copied straight from the US.

It's only 9:22 am.  I wonder if it is too early for them to deliver. HA!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

an easy meal

You might think I am weird when I tell you that I love sloppy joes.  I always have.  Other than breakfast for dinner, sloppy joes was always my favorite meal that my mom would make.  That with tater tots. 

When I moved to Mexico I remember looking in the stores, hoping, not expecting, to find a can of Manwich.  Of course I never found any.  So, I turned to the internet.  I think looking for the sloppy joes recipe was the first step towards me realizing that you could make most anything from scratch.  Why I didn't realize that before, who knows.  I just never cooked much and never gave it much thought.  Of course I still battle with finding ingredients.

I think that is when I stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman's blog.  Glad I did!  She had a recipe that looked promising.  At the time I didn't realize she was a goddess in the kitchen and I need not doubt how good they would turn out.

The recipe is so simple and quick.  Since she has a pretty step-by-step recipe on her blog, there is no need for that on here.  I just wanted to share the recipe with you if you happen to be a freak like me and like sloppy joes. 

I usually leave out all the "optional" ingredients just to make it that much simpler. 

Excuse me now while I go and eat my sandwich!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

treasures found in the laundry

I did what felt like 10,000 loads of laundry yesterday.  Doing laundry, especially when you have kids, is always bound to produce little treasures that were left in pockets.

Yesterday's bounty was a bit odd since I found money that isn't even from this country.

2 Hot Wheel cars
a dime
a penny
a 10 cent peice of Mexican money
a 100 pesos coin that isn't even in production anymore
a plastic rhino
a finger that is broken off of some statue (for some reason Emily loves this finger...)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

night out on the town

I had mentioned that the Virgin was here for the first two weeks of August.  Well, that means more people than normal.  And, it gives everyone another reason to go downtown. 

Sunday night we joined some of those people.  We went to a bar that has just recently opened a new area of the building.  We sat on the rooftop so we could get a good view of the fireworks that were happening.

I stand out enough as is when I go anywhere here, so usually I avoid taking my camera to not draw anymore attention.  But, having an iPhone helps capture pics.  And, since I have the dinosaur iPhone, the original one, it doesn't take the best quality pics.  They are, however, good enough to share my evening with you.

Looking down on the crowd from the rooftop bar.

Another view looking down.

Jorge paid the band to play for us.

And, just so we are clear, I'm not a fan.

Jorge bought me flowers.  Sweet boy.

View of the church before the fireworks.

It looks like the church is on fire, but it isn't.  They put a strip of fireworks on the building.  Kind of crazy!

It is hard to get a shot of the fireworks with my phone camera.

Some of the fireworks.

This is so crazy that I felt it is worthy of being posted again. :)

interesting sights

Two weeks ago we went to McDonald's.  While standing in line it was impossible to overlook the lovely pants the lady in front of us was wearing.  I think it was her tribute to the late Randy "Macho Man" Savage. 

The other night we went out on the town.  We partied like it was 1999.  OK.  Not really.  But, we did go out and had a good night.  We had been on a rooftop bar and were getting ready to leave and I spotted these two ladies.  I think they should have consulted each other before they decided on their outfits.

Yesterday we went to San Jan to the Bodega.  We didn't really need anything.  We were just bored.  On the way to the checkout lanes we pass the razor and such.  I glanced over and saw a package of razors that was offer a free product with the purchase.  A free condom.  What?  Is that not odd.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the fair

Have you missed me?  It has been quite a few days since I have posted something.  It is mainly due to the fact that our internet has been goofing up.  Part of the day it would work fine.  Other parts of the day it would lose connection or be painfully slow.

We called Telmex the other day and I talked with a lady that walked me through changing some settings on my router.  Ever since then we have been good to go!  Which is good because not having the internet causes me not to be able to work.  No good!  Especially since it is our end of month.  But, things are back to normal now.

The Virgin is here.  Not in my house, but here in Jalos.  The first two weeks of August every year is when they bring the Blessed Virgin Mary here.  People come from out of town so the town is a bit more crowded these days.  During our Carnival in Feb/March and during these two weeks that lead up the Assumption of the Virgin, there is a little fair that comes to town.  It is the same every year, but the girls love going.

We went this past weekend and the girls had a blast.  Here are some pictures from that.

A small view of the fair.

Another view of the fair.

Weeee....  I didn't have my nice camera, so this is the best shot I got.

I hope Bella has her seat belt on since Emily has the wheel!

Row, row, row your boat.  Of course Bella took the pink seat while Emily took the blue.

Bella posing.  She can't help it.

Emily is on her way to deliver some Pepsi.

The girls and I are enjoying some popcorn and fries.

Posing with my littlest, Emily.

Bella taking her turn with me.
They only charge $4 for each person that is going to ride the rides.  For $8, it was a good night!  The girls were ready to go back the next day.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


This past Saturday the girls were promised a trip to the playground.  We usually don't go that often because the few playgrounds that are here just aren't that nice.  The equipment is really old and fairly unsafe And since it is made of metal, it is usually hot to the touch since the sun is out most of the time.

Luckily it was getting ready to rain when we headed over so it wasn't too hot.  The girls were just happy because they like going there.  I just get frustrated that the State/Government won't spend money on new equipment.  Or, maybe they got the funds to but someone pocketed them. Who knows.

Here you see Emily, happy as ever, on the swings.  Notice the swing seat next to here.  It is missing the middle slats.

They just recently painted all the equipment.  I guess trying to disguise how old and crappy it is.  I didn't take a picture of it, but there are a total of 12 swings.  I think 5 of them are not in working order.  The metal has broken where the chain from the swing attaches to the top of the set.  Instead of fixing them they have tied the chain around the metal bar.  Not safe!

Here you can see how tall and unsafe the slides are.  And as I mentioned they are metal.  It is like having a frying pan to slide on.

Here is an older picture where you can get a better perspective of how tall the slides are.  Emily is attempting to climb up it.  They are just so steep and slippery that the girls will shoot right off the sides because there is no sides on the actual slide.

While I complain about how it isn't that great, I know the girls love going.  They are finally getting the hang of doing the teeter totter by themselves.

The equipment is long overdue to be replaced, but there is one nice thing about this particular playground.  They have grass!  Year round.   

There is an old man that comes and puts sprinklers out and keeps the grass nice and green.  He is really sweet and likes to talk.  This picture is from a while back.  Jorge was chatting it up with the guy.

That same old man is also responsible for feeding the ducks that live there year round. Each night he rounds them up and put them back in the cages where they sleep.

I should stop complaining and just appreciate that there is a nice green place to go here.  The girls really love it and if you go at the right time of day, the ducks will be your best friend if you bring bread.

Monday, August 01, 2011

what is happening?

The other day Bella and I had a long conversation about her being a child.  She was/is frustrated that she is not big enough to do everything by herself.  It all started with her asking to put lipstick on.

If you know me at all you will know that I am far from a girly girl.  I used to be a hard core tomboy but I have left that end of the spectrum too.  If you have girly girl on one end and tomboy on the other, I would say I would be towards the middle but closer to girly girl now.

Bella left the womb a fashionista.  She thinks she is a princess and that's fine.  She got some make-up from Santa this past Christmas.  It is stored nice and safe in my room.  When she wants to wear some she has to ask me.  I try to monitor it so that she doesn't frequently wear it.  I want her to use it like she uses dress-up clothes.  For the house only.

When she asked for lipstick the other day I told her no.  It was towards evening and soon they would be brushing their teeth and putting jammies on. 

My "no" didn't go over very well.  She got upset and told me that she wanted to be big so she could put make-up on by herself.  That she wanted to be pretty.  I quickly explained that she is pretty without make-up.  And that a person doesn't need any make-up to be pretty. 

I know she is not getting this in her head from me.  Heck, I am good to change into "real" clothes during the day.  And, make-up?  Yeah right.  That is only for special occasions! :) 

The conversation lasted a good 30 minutes and I think she ended up being OK with things. I just couldn't believe that I was having that conversation with my 4 year old.

Today she just added to it.  She had an advertisement for a store and came in and pointed out that she wanted an item similar to this:

WHAT!  Is it ever going to end?  If she is like this now, at 4, what is she going to be like when she is older?  I'm OK with her being girly, but I just don't want her to think being "pretty" is so important.

I have so work cut out for me.