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South of the Border

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By Gini Rainey

It’s probably not surprising for you to find out that my husband and I started a love affair with Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, about 25 years ago.  We traveled there every summer with our good friends Kathy and Joe Tucker, and it’s safe to say that the same goes for PV as it does for Las Vegas – what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico!  Except that a lot of our adventures were told and re-told over the years.   We have lots of fond memories of good times with good friends while south of the border.

One of the things we enjoyed most when we returned to the states was recreating some of the good food we had on our travels.  Our poolside fiestas were always a blast, and as Kathy and Joe’s son Jeff reflected on at Joe’s funeral, if we weren’t planning a trip to Mexico, or in Mexico, we were reliving our experiences in Mexico and usually with a nice supply of Tequila.

On one such evening (complete with a beautiful, star-filled  sky) I attempted to make flour tortillas – I had even bought a mix!  Unfortunately (or possibly, fortunately) this was also a tequila-fueled experiment,  and as much as I rolled the little balls of dough, they never got to be as thin as the thickest tortillas I’ve eaten.  We even star-gazed while I pounded the dough on our patio and were reduced to hysterical giggles.

It probably would have been a good idea that night to have had “Tex-Mex Cooking,” a lovely cookbook that was edited by Jillian Stewart and published by CLB Publishing in 1994.  Not only does this book have some good Tex-Mex recipes, including one for flour tortillas, but it is also filled with amazing color photographs and a history of Tex-Mex cooking.   I actually am going to tackle the flour tortillas this afternoon and see how it compares to my adventure several years ago, possibly without the tequila.

Tortillas are indispensable in Tex-Mex cooking and provide the base for many dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, and so much more.  So, here’s how it’s done!  Sift 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a bowl.  Cut in 4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Now, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of hot water, mixing until absorbed.  Gently knead and add more flour if the dough is too sticky.  Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.  Divide the dough into 10 even-sized pieces and roll into balls on a floured surface.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes, then roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface to a circle of 7 inches.  Place a lightly oiled skillet over high heat and fry the tortillas, one at a time, on both sides till bubbles form on the surface.  Stack and set aside until you are ready to use.  Oh, and if all else fails, I hear Mission© makes an excellent flour tortilla!

Around East Texas

April 5th-7th: Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair


Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair:

Thursday-Saturday, April 5th-7th

The annual Book Fair, the primary fundraiser, began in 1968. A spring and fall sale event, each consisting of a three day sale, gives 75% of net proceeds funds to health career scholarships at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler.

The Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair will be held at 2004 Broussard St., Tyler. The book fair will be held April 5th-7th, 8am-6pm. Only cash and checks are accepted.

“The community looks forward to our sales and anticipates all the great ‘deals’ and wonderful books they will purchase. We have shoppers from all around the state. We enjoy greeting our seasoned shoppers and meeting new ones as they line up early Thursday morning in anticipation to opening,” said Kelly Michaels, current President of SCMSA.

She continues, “‘Achieving Dreams’ a group of exceptional young adults volunteer every Monday to sort, shelve books, clean, and help with other various jobs. The “Achievers” love working at the Book Fair and show us the meaning of giving back to the community. They are a huge part of Book Fair success.”

Now, shoppers have a nicer shopping experience with more room to roam and more books to choose from. There are books for everyone! There are children’s books, collector’s books, cookbooks, new releases, coffee table books, fiction, non-fiction, hobbies and “How To” books, autobiography and biography, sports, religion, self-help, romance, travel, children’s, gardening, history, and much more.

If you would like to donate books, please drop them off at the book shelves outside in the front of the building. Donations can be made any day, at any time. Donated books are brought in daily. For a donation receipt, please leave your name and address information with your donation or call (903)561-1353 to schedule a drop-off.

For additional information visit or call Book Fair at (903)561-1353.

We also take monetary donations. If you would like to donate to Book Fair, please see the Donations page at This is a wonderful way to honor or remember a friend or loved one and to further health care education.

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March 2018: Book Worm Events!

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March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell  and discuss her book “Our Baby.” The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

April 5th-7th (8am-6pm) – Book Fair – This year’s event focuses on the sale of donated books which will go to endowed scholarships for nursing and healthcare at TJC and UT-T and for community health projects. Thousand of books will be available for purchase. This is held at SCMSA, 2004 Broussard St., Tyler.

August 4th (1-5pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash! Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12.

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Spring Programs at the Library

Spring Programs at the Library

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium. Storytimes will not meet the week of Spring Break, March 12th-16th.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

March 3rd (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

March 10th and 24th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature March 10th, Multiplication Bingo; and March 24th, Cardboard Challenge. This will be held in the Library Treehouse.

Spring Break: March 12th-March 16th (10:30am) – Spring Break Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch a fun feature length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • March 6th: Silent Library Games
  • March 13th: Movie
  • March 20th: Whose Line? Improv Games
  • March 27th: “And Scene!” Reader’s Theater

March 3rd (11:30am-1:30pm) – Tips and Tricks for Dog Owners – Pick up tips and tricks for handling your dog from Certified American Kennel Club Evaluator, Judy Parson. No pets in the Library.

March 7th (12 noon) – Great Decisions is a foreign policy lecture series. Books are available for $22 at the circulation desk. The March topic and speaker is “China and American: The New Geopolitical Equation,” Dr. Robert Sterken.

March 9th (11:30am) – “Raised Bed Gardening on a Hillside” with Wayne Elliot will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series. Free to attend.

March 15th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell and discuss her book “Our Baby.”

March 2nd and 16th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan.

Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.

Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.

Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.

Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.


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