Meet Maria, Our Across the Street Neighbor

I started this article weeks ago, but finally a few days ago took my camera to get some pictures of Maria and Lourdes.

About a week after we moved in to the house in Alantida Joe and I were sitting out on the front porch catching a few late afternoon rays. Maria our neighbor across the street was taking a walk down our street. She smiled and I walked out to the road to meet her.  She does not speak one word of English but has been wonderful in telling me about herself, her family and this neighborhood.  She has lived in the house across the street for 35 years and in this area for 45 years.  Her husband was a contractor and built many of the homes right on our block including theirs. Sadly he passed just a few years back and Maria is sharing her home with Reina (Queen) her little doggie.

A few days later I was outside with my new rake and I was attempting to clean up the pine needles from the yard.  She walked over and we started to chat. Then she asked if I like palta – that is what they call avocados here. I told her yes but they had none at the market this week and the ones in the supermarket we so small, very overripe and expensive that I did not buy them.  She said she had a tree and invited me over to her yard.  Well she has a beautiful avocado tree with some huge fruits and it looks to be the Haas variety which is my most favorite of all the varieties.  Then she showed me this little orange tree, again filled with huge fruits and so many on the ground just rotting.  She picked and gave me about 20 oranges – they are Navel, yummy. Also a few lemons they look to be the Persian variety and two beautiful avocados. She showed me other fruit trees that I did not recognize the name or the tree as well as a huge gardenia bush in her front yard and a small patch of rosemary.  She also had a big bush of Lemon Balm and several tomato plants just falling over with big green tomatoes.

As we stood in her front yard she told me that the tree in my front yard was a laurel or bay and so we came over together and picked a few branches she took some to her house and I took a big branch into my kitchen for my next batch of soup or stew.

Here is a picture of Lourdes and Maria who have been very kind to us.  Maria is as sweet and gentle a person as I have ever met.  If I stop by to visit she always has a cup of tea, a cookie or cake to share and loves to talk about her life and family.  I wish I understood more Spanish the conversations would be so much nicer if I could completely follow along.  What a blessing to have such beautiful neighbors.

While food shopping at Disco on Monday I met Jose who said he was 84 years old.  He was holding an electric blanket and looked pretty dapper in his little cap.  He told me he was a maestro…a maestro of what I never found out. We stood in the one isle for about 20 minutes chatting. He told me about his family many of which live in the US and speak English. Next I went to buy a throw for the bed and there was a women in a wheelchair and her companion a spry gentleman.  I recognized her as the women who lives a few houses away around the corner from our home.  We also chatted for a few minutes.

So far, everyone we have met has been warm and kind. Full of questions and willing to share information on the town, the neighborhood and themselves. From the taxi driver wanting to know how to say our address in English to the young man Frederico at the appliance store, and of course the guys at RedTec from yesterday’s post…everyone has been so very kind and takes the time to ask about us.

Un mensaje especial para María: Has sido un vecino maravilloso para nosotros desde que nos mudamos a Atlántida. Su cálida sonrisa, su amable corazón y su amistad son muy apreciados. Ojalá mi español fuera mejor. Ojalá pudiera hablarte más y entender más de lo que tú y Lourdes me dicen. Eres una mujer encantadora, Dios te bendiga por tu amabilidad.

 

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Sunday Market or Feria

Early Sunday morning Joe and I headed out for our daily walk. Joe had several places in mind for us to at least walk by if not visit.  One was the planetarium another the zoo and the third was……..  But instead we got totally side-tracked as we discovered a Sunday Market about five blocks from our apartment.

montevideo-2-4-23The vendors block off the several streets and set up their tents, some even come with what looks like a food truck that opens to show cold cases for cheese, meat and fish.montevideo-2-4-24The first thing that caught my eye was the flowers, but I only picked up one plant and that was thyme.  And it joined my other herb basil on the washing machine in our laundry room.montevideo-2-4-25We figured a tray of 30 large eggs would cost $3.00 and they even had one man selling household products, cleaning, TP, paper towels.  montevideo-2-4-26There were several vendors set up selling cheese, pork, chicken, beef and even fish.montevideo-2-4-27 montevideo-2-4-28The fruits and vegetables looked fresh but we had just gone shopping on Friday and our refrigerator was filled with everything we needed for the week. I have not had the time to check prices but I am sure this Sunday Market is cheaper than Tienda Inglesa.montevideo-2-4-29Grapes run $1.42 per kilo, that is cheap cheap cheap.  They are grown here so maybe that is why they are so inexpensive. Next Sunday these will be on my shopping list.montevideo-2-4-30Everything is marked so you know what you’re spending.montevideo-2-4-31I just could not resist the strawberries, they are one of my favorites.  They were small with a hint of tartness. Just perfect to eat with sugar and cream, and that is just what I did.montevideo-2-4-32$1.60 a kilo for peaches. That works out to about 72 cents a pound.montevideo-2-4-33 montevideo-2-4-34 montevideo-2-4-35 montevideo-2-4-36This stand was selling all different dried herbs and even had nutmeg nuts in this bowl above.  Need to spend some time finding out what these are but I did buy some of the adobo which I knew had red pepper flakes and seeds in it.  I have used it on several things and it does pack a punch.montevideo-2-4-37 montevideo-2-4-38This will be our Sunday morning ritual.  Buying fresh fruits and veggies five blocks from the house.  Now all we need is one of those Old Lady Carts, yes, I am prepared to drag it around. ha ha

Avocados – How to Freeze and The “Best-Ever” Smoothie

Avocado 2I recently read an article about freezing avocados that Joe found and sent to me. We love avocado smoothies but never seem to have enough fresh avocados. So freezing them was of particular interest to me.  It is so easy:  Pick ripe ready to use avocados, cut them in half, remove the pit and the skin. Place the flesh in a plastic bag and pop in the freezer..Voila!!! You have ready to use avocados anytime you want them.

Here are the latest ready to go into the freezer. These are large, local variety with almost yellow flesh that you can buy from several local vendors who come to my house. These are pretty big and were 3 for a dollar.

IMG_3009 Now for the best smoothie you will ever have.

IMG_3012Yes, I said avocado smoothie, I know it was hard for me to wrap my brain around making a smoothie from what I consider the vegetable you use for making guacamole or sliced on a chicken sandwich. You will never want a mora, or frutilla or banana smoothie again after tasting this rich and wonderful drink.

Avocado Smoothie

  • one large ripe avocado
  • 8 oz. milk
  • one large glass of ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 8 oz. glass of water

Place avocado, sugar, ice and milk into a blender.  Blend on high until avocado and ice are smooth and creamy.  Add the glass of water and blend again on high for a few minutes.

Pour into large glasses and taste the best thing you have ever had in your life.  Really, I mean it, this is the best smoothie I have ever had. Once you have had this avocado smoothie you will never want any other smoothie again.

IMG_3013 My preference is the haas avocado and you can find them, most of the time, in the big supermarkets here like SuperMaxi or Mi Comisariato. They have a very dark green bumpy skin, are smaller than the local ones and have a much smaller pit. It has a little different flavor and the color is much greener flesh than the local avocados…but when in Rome do as the Romans do, so we use what we can get.

AVOCADO-hass-300x250avocadoinfoHonestly, I don’t drink avocado smoothies for any of the above reasons, I drink them because they taste so darn good!