Authentic Mexican Rice

As taught to me in my Mexico kitchen.

We’ve always been great fans of Mexican food.  Maybe it began when we lived in Texas while attending college, although money was tight and restaurants seemed such a luxury.  They still are!

Somehow I learned to make tacos, and on occasion we would buy frozen Mexican dinners just to be able to savor that unbeatable cuisine.  Later, when I became pregnant with our first child, Mexican food was my craving!  Ay, yi yi!  Back then, Mexican restaurants were not as prevalent as they are today! There was nowhere to eat Mexican food in the town of Moberly, Missouri, where we lived at the time.

Then when we were living down in Guadalajara attending language school, mornings and early afternoons were devoted to classes.  I needed someone to help me get lunch on the table fast so we could get back to Spanish classes!

A tall sweet girl with a beautiful long brown ponytail was my lifesaver during those days.  Her name was Felipa and she knew how to make yummy Mexican rice.  Here is what I remember best about her method:

Felipa’s Delicious Mexican Rice:

Pour a couple tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet.  Nowadays I use only light olive oil for all my sautéed foods, but any good oil will do.

Add up to half a chopped onion, and sauté over medium-high heat until translucent.

Half a green pepper, chopped, if you have it, will improve color and flavor.  Sometimes I have a couple of pieces in the freezer that come in handy for this recipe.

Add 1 cup uncooked white rice, stirring until golden brown.  Some cooks prefer long-grain; others like the more rounded.  I’ve used both.

Add 1 ripe medium-large tomato, chopped.  Fresh is best!

Add 2 cups very hot water, stirring in carefully so as not to get a steam burn.   (I heat in microwave so the pan doesn’t sizzle too much.)

You can add a couple of bouillon cubes of any flavor, if desired; hopefully without MSG.  Stir in well.

Salt to taste–usually 1 teaspoon or so–or less if using bouillon cubes.

When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to very low, put lid on tightly and resist the temptation to check frequently.  Too much water may evaporate with frequent peeking.

Set the timer for about 20 minutes and check rice for tenderness.  Rice that has been sautéed takes a little longer because the grains were browned, but that gives it the rich flavor you are expecting.  Add just a little more water, if needed.

This rice is sooo yummy with tacos, refried beans, guacamole and corn tortilla chips.  It’s also good with purchased tamales or taquitos, and really, almost anything.

I have often made it, without the tomato and green pepper, adding in leftover steak, chopped or sliced thinly.  Leftover chicken would be another great add-in.

Let me know if you try this simple recipe.  You will soon be adding in your favorite ingredients.  And even if you don’t normally speak Spanish, it will have you saying “Olé”!

 

The Runaway Horse

My son was in danger…but I didn’t know!

My husband and I were attending a language school in Guadalajara.  We had studied Spanish in college but we were anxious to learn more.  Our son who was with us was 2 years old and full of life.  He had energy to burn!

Classes took up a lot of our day but I would often let him ride his “Tyke Bike” (a small 4-wheeled toddler bike) on the driveway and sidewalk just in front of our duplex.  It was a way for us both to get fresh air, and I got to meet a few neighbors.

One day I was chatting with the neighbor when suddenly I heard the clatter of hooves.  Just then I saw a big horse come steaming and pounding down the sidewalk instead of the street!

My heart leapt in my throat at the thought of my son!

Just a moment before, he had been on that sidewalk. For no reason that I could imagine, he had decided to leave his Tyke Bike there, had walked up the driveway and was now staring up at me.

I could not believe it!  The horse had galloped right over the top of the Tyke Bike!  Here I was, trying to watch over my little boy so he could have a few safe minutes of outdoor fun…and yet he had come so close to being trampled!

I instantly recognized the truth:  his Heavenly Father had been watching over him much better than I ever could.  He had put it in his mind to walk up into the driveway where he would be out of harm’s way.  I was overwhelmed with humility and thankfulness that day!

Have you or someone near you ever had a near-accident?  What was your response?  Do you ever have the sensation that “Someone” is watching out for you?  Indeed, God knows the steps that we take.  We can trust Him to only allow what will ultimately be for our good, even though we may not understand in this life all the why’s.

God really is trustworthy.

I hope and pray that you are inspired to take any steps you’ve considered to a better life, believing that God is looking out for you and those you love.  You can trust Him!      Be blessed!

Outsmarted by a Monkey!

V

I hate to admit it…

but it’s true…I, a college honors graduate, was outsmarted by a monkey!  Here follows the shameful, but true tale:

Once upon a time, in a faraway country in South America, there lived a young couple with a three-year-old son. They lived in “the house that Paul built”…and when he and his family moved back to the USA, they had to leave behind their pet monkey named “Mono.”  The young couple inherited Mono when they moved into the home.

If you know any Spanish, you realize it was not a very original name, for it simply means “monkey”.  But despite his unsophisticated title, Mono was actually quite clever.  He lived just behind the house in a tall tree with a shelf on which he could sit and eat his food.  He had a little leather harness around him with a long chain, allowing him to climb or swing from the tree.

Life could get very boring for a smart little animal like Mono, or “Monito”, as we called him.  But one day the little boy rode his bright shiny new tricycle under the tree where Monito lived.  Seeing his opportunity for a new plaything, Monito quickly dropped down from his perch.  His chain was just long enough to allow him to grasp the handlebars, so he scolded the boy and frightened him away.

The little boy ran into the house and told his mother what had happened.  The young mother became indignant and marched out the back door to assess the situation.  Sure enough, Monito had a firm grip on the handlebars, moving so as to cause the tricycle to roll around from side to side.  This was too much fun to let go, although the woman scolded and waved her arms at him.

Suddenly the woman had what she thought was an ingenious idea.  She grabbed a nearby broom and resolutely marched toward the tricycle, looped the top of the handle into one of the crooks of the handlebars, intending to pull it beyond Monito’s grip.

But that monkey was quicker than the woman knew.  Quick as a wink, he ran up the broom handle and gave her a sharp little bite in her hand!  The woman squealed with surprise and outrage, dropped the broom and ran backwards.  Now she really began to fuss at this precocious little animal who had dared to “steal” her son’s pretty tricycle.

Eventually, Monito thought better of the whole affair and decided he had better climb back up into the safety of his big tree.  The little boy got his tricycle back, a little older and wiser about a certain very playful pet.  From that day, he rode his tricycle on the sidewalk or patio.  And they all lived happily ever after.  The End.

And that, my friends, is how I was outsmarted by a little monkey!  Have you ever felt like someone outwitted you?  Was it done to embarrass you, or was it just in fun?

The Bible teaches us not to let our arch enemy outsmart us or get the advantage over us.  We don’t have to be unaware of his strategies, for God’s word tells us just how he works.  The Lord also promises to give us wisdom if we will just ask Him.

Thank goodness, we don’t have to be outsmarted anymore!

New Year, New Motto

HELLO AND WELCOME!

From a few states, to a few Latin American countries, I’ve lived in many houses, decorated every one, and cooked in many kitchens; some nicer than others!  We’ve raised three children and now have seven grandchildren, with another one arriving soon.  Along the way, I’ve experienced so much and hopefully learned from it all.

Living in so many places, we naturally have things from everywhere, but last year I decided something had to be done.  I began in the dining room, continued in the pantry, went on to the linen closet, and I am still at it!

This year I needed a motto as a clutter-buster; something that would help us with the discipline of having “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful!  Is it just a pipe dream for a collector like me?  Can I really clear out enough under-used stuff to give a designated place for all that is essential?

Well, I believe there’s hope!  Even for emotionally-attached collectors like myself.  Last year I was able to make a huge beginning, and this year I came up with the following motto:

DON’T PUT IT DOWN; PUT IT UP!

I haven’t written it on my little chalkboard just yet, but already this motto is helping me with my daily privilege of home-keeping.

How about you, friend?  Are you sometimes frustrated at the amount of stuff that seems to accumulate all on its own?  Do you need a motto for inspiration?  I’d be happy for you to borrow mine!

If you’re a mom with children still at home, do them and yourself a big favor and begin a clutter-busting campaign.  Make a place for those school books, papers and so on.  As home-keepers, we need the cooperation of the whole family.  Work toward organization of the daily stuff with the promise of a treat or small celebration on the weekend.

Offer small incentives for keeping things where they belong.  Not only will they be helping you keep things tidy, you’ll be helping them form a worthwhile habit.  Start small, if it’s overwhelming, but the important thing is to start!

All I ever wanted was a calm, peaceful home; but it’s hard to be at peace when there is too much stuff everywhere.  I hope you’ll join me as I continue to make our home a haven for us, our friends and most of all, our growing family.  I pray you will be inspired to begin at any level to make your home a haven you truly enjoy.

Be blessed!

Welcome to My Worlds

It’s become my normal to live, think and speak in two worlds.  My husband and I raised our three children in Latin America where we lived and worked for many years.

Naturally we had to learn Spanish, so the first country in which we lived was Mexico, where we attended language school in Guadalajara.  From there we moved to South America and the adventures began.

I’d like to share some of our stories, discoveries, and recipes with you as we journey together in four countries on two continents, crossing frontiers, differing time zones and exploring other cultures, including holidays.

Along the way, I want to inspire you to be your best, try new things and see culture in a fresh way.  I pray you will be blessed as you follow along.  Buen viaje!