My husband used to say that he never saw a bunch of women, like his wife and daughters who could celebrate their birthdays quite as long as we did. Yes, even though my party was on the 30th, this past Tuesday, my sister and some friends and I went out for dinner for my birthday! We went to a local Mexican Restaurant; my friend had arranged ahead of time that “Happy Birthday” would be sung.

Yep, I have pictures of me in the beautiful sombrero, and according to the assistant to our CEO, a copy will be posted on a bulletin board at the hospital…and so the fun continues. My daughter was in this week for several days and she helped me with cleaning the house to prepare for this coming weekend, when a friend from Devine and a close friend of hers are coming to my home so we can continue with our celebration.
This past weekend was the Strawberry Festival in Poteet, and next week, April 18th-24th, Fiesta San Antonio begins.
For many years, my oldest granddaughter and I along with friends and family members would make the trip to Poteet and attend the festival. We always feasted on smoked turkey legs and occasionally a strawberry or two (chocolate covered, of course), and maybe a strawberry Margarita! We always had a great time, watched some of the entertainment, (and back then, Gabe Garcia and my grandson sometimes were some of the performers), and of course, bought things to take home. Since it was always near my birthday, this was my granddaughter’s birthday gift to me! Fun, fun and more fun.
As far as I’m concerned, Fiesta San Antonio has been around practically forever! I can remember going to the parade with my Mother when I was growing up or attending with an aunt and a bunch of cousins, usually watching it down on Broadway near the newspaper office, where my uncle worked. Later, we watched many times on Houston Street, and then the four years during high school that I marched in both parades with our drum and bugle corps.
Times have really changed! Years ago, you could stake out a spot on Houston Street, or out on Broadway near the newspaper office, and watch the parade all afternoon. Now, you have to have a ticket to watch it, as they have bleachers set up here, there and yonder. In those by-gone days, the bleachers were down by the Alamo and that was it.
The Fiesta Flambeau was the same way. I have watched in on TV most of the time during the last twenty years, but there was a time when those of us who worked and played together did not miss seeing the Flambeau. We either watched it on Broadway, near the downtown post office, or maybe on Houston Street by Frost’s. You always had a pretty good place to stand and watch. Admittedly, some places were more crowded than others, but if you got there early enough, you could sit on the curb and see everything.
When my children were small, my sister and I, and sometimes a couple of friends, would get together and take them. They were completely unnerved by the sound of the blanks fired by the various drill teams as they did the maneuvers. The kids did not particularly like this part of the parade. My mother, brother, an uncle (who was on his first leave home after leaving for overseas duty during WWII), and I went to the first parade held after the war. It was absolutely beautiful! To see the trains of the gorgeous dresses hanging over the back of the floats with all their shine and glitter was wonderful. It was such a change from the dullness and drabness of the war years.          
“Night in Old San Antonio” has been a staple of Fiesta for many years and is still on-going. This year April 23 to 26 are the dates and according to a website, and they will have over 250 booths of various types. They have food from many countries and cultures. One of the all-time favorites at NIOSA is Anticuchos, a dish that originated in Peru. It is so much a favorite that they sell over 20,000 of these steak-on-a-stick treats. I was able to find the recipe for NIOSA Anticuchos on the internet several years ago and have made it several times. So, here is the recipe for Anticuchos, and it is followed by one for a strawberry dessert.
Night in Old San Antonio Anticuchos
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 cups water
2 to 3 serrano chili peppers
salt and black peppercorns (whole black pepper)
½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
pinch each of oregano and cumin
1 to 2 pounds of beef round or sirloin, cut in half-inch cubes
Place vinegar, water and serranos, salt and pepper, garlic, oregano and cumin  in a blender; process well. Pour over meat cubes and marinate at least overnight (can be left up to three days.) String meat on wooden or metal skewers. (Wooden skewers should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before use.) Grill Anticuchos over a hot charcoal fire, basting frequently with leftover marinade to which bacon drippings can be added for extra flavor. Turn frequently. Cooking time should be no longer than 8 to 10 minutes.
Strawberry Pie
1 baked pie shell, or a vanilla ready-to-use crust
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
6 teaspoons cornstarch
7 teaspoons strawberry gelatin (or 2 teaspoons sugar-free gelatin)
1 pound, cleaned, hulled, fresh strawberries (divided usage)
Whipped topping
Bake pie shell according to directions on package and set aside to cool. Mix together, sugar, water and cornstarch in pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until thick and clear. Add gelatin, stir well until gelatin is thoroughly dissolves and set aside to cool.
Cut strawberries into quarters or slice (save 8 of the nicest strawberries and leave whole for garnish) and place sliced berries into the prepared pie shell. Pour cooled cooked mixture over berries and chill thoroughly. Serve slices with whipped topping; garnish each serving with a whole cleaned berry with the stem on. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Now, here is something that I tried earlier this week and loved. Salads are a staple around my house as a rule, and this past week, I chopped some leaf lettuce, added a couple of diced strawberries and about half of a single serve bag of cashews. For a dressing, I used the left-over dressing from broccoli salad I made earlier in the week. It was delicious, that dressing is really good, and strangely enough, I’ve never used it on anything other than broccoli salad.
Dressing for Broccoli Salad
1 cup mayonnaise (do not use salad dressing)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)
Small pinch of salt
Mix all together and stir well. It’s best to mix this up before you start making the salad, because as it sets and you stir it occasionally, the sugar totally dissolves.