Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Miami

This dish warms my heart. My very good friend, Maria Jose, (mother of my little sisters-in-law) prepared this vegan version of her stir fry in a separate pan as she was fixing another panful with shredded turkey for the others. This one has falafel. I didn't worry too much about being a good guest in the home of people I love, figuring I would have a car and I could run out to the grocery store if need be. I just didn't want to be a bother. But realizing that Maria Jose had given my dietary choices some thought on top of all the other things she had to plan for, I was reminded of what I already knew to be true of her character. She is lovely, generous and gracious throughout, and I am so privileged to have her in my life. The falafel stir-fry was wonderful.

Before Maria Jose and John got home from work on the day of our arrival, the girls ordered some very good chinese food for us, including an enormous veggie dish -- the kind that's very lightly cooked without a heavy sauce. There was also a wonderful clear vegetable broth soup with quartered baby bok choy and large mushrooms bobbing in it. I ate some of these leftovers whenever hunger struck while I was a guest -- there was a ton of food and I did not tire of it!

Among other food I ate was this veggie burger from Johnny Rocket's:

All of us walked around the mall one day and did a little shopping, working up an appetite. This burger was very agreeable. I wasn't crazy about the white bread bun and iceberg lettuce, but I was crazy about the burger, pickles, onions, tomato and mustard. Yum.

And now for the entertainment portion of this second Miami installment. Remember New Year's Eve? Well, fortunately for us, we were able to crash a wonderful party of friends of the family.  Here's our hostess, Vanessa:

Vanessa told us of her memory of my late father-in-law, Maximo, right after the earthquake of 1971 in Managua, Nicaragua, where they all lived at the time. As a little girl, Vanessa remembers looking at Maximo's bandaged head as he sat in her living room. So many amazing stories . . .

The party was very culturally rich. Instead of simply toasting the new year, Vanessa had each of us write  on a piece of paper what we want to remove from our lives, and on another piece of paper what we want to nurture and grow. Then we ceremoniously burned the negatives and planted the positives in her yard.

As midnight began to approach, Vanessa instructed us to "raise the vibrations" by beating on drums and shaking maracas. Here you can see Maria Jose and her husband, John, doing their part. It was all very joyful and tribal.  And then we danced . . .

Liana teaching Hans to dance

Maria Jose and John

Liana with Sabrina or Ariella - Wynne is in the background

Liana and Sabrina

Hans, Wynne and my husband, Andres, lovin' on Vanessa's pup
Vanessa's party was so much fun, and we are so fortunate to have been included. Stay tuned for a future post about the morning after!

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