My last name may be Holmes and my heart might be in Texas, but my roots are 100% Puerto Rican! We had a gathering of all the Diaz cousins at my sister's beautiful home. My niece Alicia flew in from San Francisco, my son Jared flew in from Philadelphia, my daughter Amanda flew in from New York City, and my mom and brother drove up from central Texas.
It's been a long time since all the cousins have been together.
Despicable Me 2! It was hilarious!
Oaky, it was really more of a weekend. On Saturday morning, we all gathered to begin a day of shopping, cooking, salsa dancing, and general merriment. No, the black and white theme was not planned. :)
While my mom and sister cooked (I left the cooking to the experts and had dishwashing duties), the cousins (and Uncle Miguel) played games.
Savannah did Alicia and Amanda's nails. It might be hard to tell, but they are done in Cheetah patterns, Savannah's specialty.
Just me and my kids. Poor dad is still working hard in Oman.
Here is what made up our Puerto Rican feast. It was more of a traditional Christmas dinner. This is Arroz con Gandules, or rice with pigeon peas. Delicious, trust me!
Here are Tostones, or fried plantains. These are green plantains, not ripe ones, so they are not sweet.
Normally we would have Pernil, or roast pork. For the sake of time, we compromised with pork chops.
Pasteles! These are a concoction of grated green plantains and other root vegetables. There is a pork meat filling. The vegetables and meat filling are wrapped in a banana tree leaf and then a waterproof foil pouch. The whole thing is boiled for about 45 minutes, and then voila! I have vivid memories of the whole family making dozens of these at one time, a process taking all day. Now my mother orders them frozen from a lady she knows. I would buy frozen ones from a Puerto Rican restaurant in Chicago. A little hard to come by in Oman!
Here is my sister, Diana, making mojitos.
Here are the kids, enjoying some Blue Bell ice cream. Not very Puerto Rican, but very Texan!
After eating, came gift time. I brought all the guys head scarves from Oman. I bought these at the Souk in Muscat, and a nice Omani customer showed us how to wrap them around. We also used a refresher video from youtube to help us remember. Don't look too closely! It is definitely a learned skill! I was happy to find Longhorn colors for Jared and Uncle Wilmer.
The girls got blingy head things. And black kohl eyeliner, again from the Souk.
My beautiful mother and all her grandchildren.
The next day, there was just a little more cooking. Things we didn't have time or stomach room for on Saturday.
Growing up, we called these pastelillos. But most everyone else calls them empanadas. It's a fried pie with a delicious beef filling.