You know how you meet someone, even if it’s through social media, and you just make that connection? That’s exactly how I felt when I met my friend Laura Lyn Lopez. It was around Dia de los Muertos(Day of the Dead) about 2 years ago. Our mutual friend Lynn Socko introduced us one day on facebook when she saw how we shared the same passion for our Mexican culture. We soon became friends and shared many stories of family, our culture and of course food! Besides our love of everything Mexican, Laura and I had another thing in common. Laura was originally from Houston and I lived in Houston with my parents before getting married. We, at one time or another probably visited the same places, just at different times. Funny how that happens. So when the opportunity to visit my family in Texas came about this past holiday, I knew that Laura and I would have to meet in person. Although the time I spent with Laura and Ramon(Laura’s husband) at The Lopez Ranch was short, I really feel like we made a great connection. And most of all, I made some lasting friendships. This was our day at The Lopez Ranch.
On the road from Round Rock to Laura’s home, The Lopez Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. Little did I know she only lived about 90 minutes from where my family lives.
Here we are meeting in person for the first time. I could hear Laura Lyn screaming on the other side of the door as I was approaching the front door! I knew it was going to be a great day!
As you entered Ramon and Laura’s front door, you could not help but stop and feel that you were surrounded by good spirits. Beautiful tile portrait of La Virgen de Guadalupe.
And then there was that famous kitchen I could not wait to see!!
When Laura first shared pictures of her kitchen with me, I was quickly transported to a happy place! Images of the Mexican loteria through out. I have the best memories of family gatherings at my abuelita’s home in Monterrey, playing loteria until late into the night. All the cousins and tia’s would gather around this huge and extra long dining table that could easily accommodate 20 people or more.
Ramon and Laura explained to us how it took them a whole month to piece all those images on the ceiling of their kitchen. The images had to be enlarged and cut to exact size. There are even images from the original loteria game from the 1940’s.
Here we are getting ready to enjoy a wonderful Mexican lunch that Laura prepared for us.
First, some Hearty Mexican Soup-Caldo de Pollo. Laura was sweet and prepared my recipe. Only thing she added was chayotes, one of my favorites. If you click onto the picture you can see the full recipe on the Hispanic Kitchen site.
Hearty Mexican Soup-Caldo de Pollo
Delicious food shared with new friends. There is nothing better.
And then there was the pork! Oh my goodness! Some of the most delicious pork I have tasted in a long time. I asked Laura if she could share the recipe with me. The two pictures below show the spice mix she used. Laura said she used beef broth instead of water and she roasted the pork in a Mexican pot for 6 hours. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of that spice mix.
To read more about Laura and Ramon’s wonderful kitchen, click onto the picture below and read the article Cooks and Cocinas:Laura and Ramon Lopez. See how they re-created Old Mexico in their farmhouse kitchen.
After we enjoyed a tasty Mexican lunch, Laura and Ramon showed us their outdoor kitchen. Just wait!!
Can you see what’s behind us? Ramon built that outdoor brick oven all by himself. Talk about labor of love.
Although you cannot see the neighbors next door, the neighbors will text, message or call to ask Laura if El Horno will be fired up on any given day, lol! They bring their pizza fixings and enjoy brick oven pizza in minutes! I would love to taste that pizza.
El Horno~ Click onto the picture below to read another great article from Cooks and Cocinas: Outdoor Kitchen Goes Primitive
Here we are with my sister in law Janet Lynn Mendez. Thanks to her for taking the time to drive us to The lopez Ranch and for many of the wonderful pictures I share with you today.
Laura and Ramon’s rescue pet, Khloe. The sweetest little dog. She warmed up to my sister in law Janet instantly. Hope Maya and Winston didn’t get jealous Janet, lol! What a sweet girl that Khloe.\
Here we are back inside the kitchen. After hearing how Laura and Ramon finally were able to finish that ceiling filled with images of the Mexican loteria, we picked out a favorite image. Ramon picked El Borracho, hahaha…love it! I picked La Rosa because it reminds me of my Mom’s garden.
As we were almost about to leave, Ramon asked about Mexican Rice. We all jumped up and the rice was on!! Three cooks in the kitchen and it was done in no time. We can’t help it, we get excited when it comes to cooking the foods we love.
A few more shots as we walked outside. The bright yellow flower is a Copper Canyon Daisy. It sure turned out to be the most beautiful winter day in New Braunfels that day.
Aaaahh, Houston, Texas. I can honestly say that the big city life does not appeal to me anymore, but I will always have a special place in my heart for Houston.
This blog post was inspired by the passion that we feel for our Mexican culture. And when I met Laura and Ramon and heard how they spoke of their of their home and love for the culture, I thought it worthy of sharing. If there was only one thing I could take away from all that my parents taught me, besides to be a good person was to be proud of where we come from. Never, never be ashamed to show your pride. Thanks Mom and Dad.
This was the Lopez altar at La Villita” in San Antonio – It was a 3 day celebration. Beautiful!
Until next time Laura and Ramon Lopez. Thank you for your hospitality and for opening up your home to us. The Lopez Ranch~Immersed In Mexican Tradition.