Tasty Tuesday: Spanish Rice

Ok, no more stalling.  I told you last week and the week before that I’d give you a great recipe for Spanish Rice, so here ya go.

I’m kinda excited to share this recipe.  Its not very often that you’re given a fantastic recipe that has been passed down through the years, and yet, hasn’t been messed with.  This dish is found at EVERY Christmas gathering I’ve spent with my husband’s family, and its the reason I went on a quest to find the best Spanish rice for a meal I was making a while back.  Funny thing, though, none of the dishes came out right until I finally asked about this recipe.  I made this the first time, and I knew there was something special about it.  I shouldn’t be surprised- there was something special about the man it originated from.

When I got this recipe (via my sister in law who got it from our late grampa in law), she had just forwarded the email he’d sent to her.  In it, he said that the recipe was over 100 years old, and during hard times, they had used water instead of chicken broth.  Since I LOVE recipes with a little bit of history (Aren’t you proud, dad?  I’m fond of SOME sort of history!), I’m going to post the recipe as it was given to me.

Of course, since I’m also a bit on the wild side, I’ll let you know of the few changes I made. 🙂

Now, like I’ve said before, I get it- making things from scratch is time consuming and not always cost effective.  On the plus side, though, its usually healthier (at least, when someone besides ME is making it. 🙂 ), and you can pat yourself on the back in knowing that you put more love into your family’s meal than normal…

Did I mention that its usually healthier?

Besides all that, this recipe is oh-so-yummy, so I know you’ll love it as much as Boystown does.  Trust me.

Grampa’s Dry Rice Soup (Sopa Seca de Arroz) (Spanish Rice)

1 cup UNCOOKED rice

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp minced onion (I use 1 small onion, minced)

3 tbsp tomato sauce

2 1/4 cups BOILING water (you can use chicken broth)

salt and pepper to taste

***I also add 1/2 a jalapeno, seeded and minced***

Brown garlic in oil, remove from pan, and throw away.  DO NOT USE MINCED GARLIC!  Trust me.  I know some of us are fond of our garlic, but if you add minced garlic, it will burn and taste nasty.

Add the rice and fry it until its golden brown

Not my picture, but this is what ‘golden brown’ looks like.  Just thought you should know.





Add onion, tomato sauce, jalapeno (if you choose), boiling water (or broth), season and  cover tight.

Cook slowly on LOW for 30 minutes.


Ok, now, take your rice and eat it.  Whether or not you wait for your family is up to you.  Whether or not you eat it alone or with the beans and Chili Verde I gave you the recipes for is also up to you.  Heck, taking the dish and eating it in the confines of the closet is also up to you- weird, and could send out warning signs that you should seek help- but highly justifiable to anyone who tastes this.  Trust me.

Enjoy, and you’re welcome. 🙂

Let’s get crafty! Moody Monsters

This summer I’ve been doing my best to keep the Natural Disasters from, well, causing destruction.  At the beginning of this so called “vacation”, I sat down and devised a plan to do something -whether that’s a trip or a craft or just some sort of home-made fun- every single day.  There have been many moments in the past couple of weeks when I’ve caught my breath and thought to myself that I must be crazy, but, well, that KINDA goes without saying.  The fact is, though, I’ve kept these boys SO busy that they haven’t had a moment to even utter the words “I’m bored”.

Well, Camo has, but he’s a “pre-teen”.  A trip in a rocket orbiting the Earth would undoubtably be considered “boring” if it didn’t contain a PS3, a cell phone, and the internet, therefore, I will ignore him and continue to think I’m awesome for how much effort I’ve put into keeping them entertained.

Oddly, some of the more entertaining moments have come from the crafts I’ve had the Disasters do.  Its a lot like my regular day -I tell them what to do, give guidance and show them the path they should take, and then they do what they want.  Only, in the end, we have a little piece of art showing what happens when you do -or don’t- listen to mama.

And, because I like to capture life’s moments on camera, I take pictures of it all.


Moody Monsters

I’m not really sure where I first saw the idea for this, but I’m almost positive that their glossy photos of perfect creations (done by editors getting paid to do it) wouldn’t resemble our masterpieces, so that’s ok.  I couldn’t wait to try this with the Disasters, though, because I’m a big fan of projects in which I already have all the stuff I need.

Bug and Camo had a pretty good time gettin’ crafty- although, Camo asked why I had to document it all.  I made it clear that it was PURELY for future use- like when they have serious girlfriends and I want to show that there’s more to my boys than meets the eye.











One guess as to which one was Bug’s. 🙂


I decided that it looked like too much fun to be had without ME getting crafty, so I made my own.  I named him Mr. Awesome- because he is.

Bug was mighty impressed with Mr. Awesome’s colored physique, though, and wanted to make a new one, complete with colored torso, so the next day, he began a new Moody Monster.

Red, of course.  Well, it was a tad on the purple side, but don’t let him know that.

And after waiting a day for it to dry, he added the fun bits to make his creation come to life and- voila!- his new creation was complete.

I think this new guy needs dental work, but I must admit, it was a considerable improvement upon his last one.

And, of course, once his new guy was done, Bug declared that his monster and my monster were best buds, so he took them both and set them off on an adventure… but not before having me take a picture.







Want to make your own?  They’re super easy and will keep the kids entertained for at least a LITTLE bit.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls)




Googly eyes

Chenille stems


You can even use beads for the monster’s hair or pennies (like Bug did) for the white part of the monster’s eyes.  The best part is, though, you can’t REALLY screw it up, so your “little monsters” (or Disasters) will have fun that doesn’t require extreme rules.

And I LOVE to see others’ creations, so if you try this, let me know- I’d LOVE to see how yours turned out!

Have fun!


On the Discovery Channel and SyFy, they have shows about Ghost Hunters, Haunted Houses, etc.  I think they need to confront a REAL issue that occurs with REAL people and that takes place right here in our own homes: Pol-toy-geists.

I’ll never forget my first experience with a Pol-toy-geist.  Camo was a toddler, we were in my in-laws living room, and we watched in wonder as his little RC car rolled across the floor.

The batteries had died the day before.

Another time, I went into the kitchen at around 2 a.m. and his little kiddie computer (whose screen acted as the face), chose that moment to light up and say,”Hello!”

What IS it about toys taking a ghostly turn when the batteries start to die?

The other day, The Mini-Master’s Leap Frog activity toy took on a life of its own.  The Mini-Master was off destroying something, but -nevertheless- I could hear the toy’s music; not the jovial “Come play with me!” tune, though.  Oh, no.  This was more of a dreary, funeral march kind of song.

Jacob’s toys haven’t been innocent of all things eerie, though.  For the last 2 years, we’ve heard one of Jacob’s toys make its trademark ‘Little Einstein’ music- never an entire song, and only on occasion.  The problem I have with it is #1- I can’t find the dang thing to save my life- their room is THAT bad; and #2- the occasions the pol-toy-geists show themselves are when its the worst- late at night, when the kids are tucked in tight, the lights are out, and all of the sudden, over the baby monitor, I hear Beethoven’s creepiest concerto.

I’m really not quite sure why a seemingly sweet toy can suddenly take on a life of its own.  It just seems wrong.  When a battery is dead, the toy should be too, right?

Anyways, needless to say, when Jacob’s YMCA-Village People-Dancing Elmo died, I took an extra step to ensure its “demise”: I REMOVED the batteries.  Here’s to hoping no singing or dancing ensues until I get new batteries.

Tasty Tuesday- Refried Beans

As I said last week after giving you the AMAZING Chilie Verde recipe, if you want a TRULY fantastic fiesta, you need to finish it off with sides- rice, tortillas, salsa… and refried beans.

Most of you probably just pictured THIS

and do I blame you?  No.  Honestly, canned is good in a pinch.  I remember catering my friend’s son’s 2nd birthday and after spending a LONG time making fresh refried beans, Camo picked up the tray the wrong way and the whole thing dumped out.  Making more was out of the question.  Luckily, my friend is forgiving and she sent her hubby to go buy some beans.

I learned something from that experience- use a cookie sheet under flimsy trays of heavy beans.  I was embarrassed, but, like I said, canned came through when I needed it.

However, if you have the time, the difference is HUGE and you’ll be happy.  Trust me.

Refried Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight w/ water to cover by about 2 in. (if you forget this step, you can do a quick soak by covering the beans with HOT water, letting it come to a rapid boil for 2 minutes, removing it from the heat, and letting it sit for about 1 hour.  When its doen, empty the water, rinse, and follow the recipe as usual.)

1 bay leaf

3/4 c bacon fat or lard

2 c yellow onions, chopped

1 1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

1 1/2 tbsp seeded and minced jalapeno

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp coriander

salt to taste

Combine beans, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 1-2 inches.  Bring to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer UNCOVERED (unless you like to clean your stove up.  Just sayin’), stirring occasionally until  the beans are tender.  Very tender.  Maybe you like your pasta to be al dente, but generally, refried beans don’t have any bite.  Anyways, this could take anywhere from 1 1/2 -2 1/2 hours (maybe even longer if you only did the quick soak).  Add water as necessary to keep the beans covered.  When the beans are nice and soft, mash ’em up with a tator masher.  Remove the pot from the heat.

In a med. skillet, heat the bacon fat/lard over med./ hi heat.  Add the onions and cook about 4-6 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook 1 minute.  Add to the beans and stir to combine.

Cook about 15-20 minutes more over med. heat, adding a little water as necessary to keep the beans from drying out.  Taste it to see if you need to add salt.  If not, you’re done.

These are so tasty you might just decide its a meal by itself.  If you’re having a hard time justifying that, just ask me and I’ll be happy to help you find a way.

Add some cheese, maybe some scallions- yum.  Use for your Mexican fiesta as a side dish, or use it to top a tostada shell (they sell ’em in the Mexican aisle in the market).  Add some thinly chopped lettuce, tomato, and cheese and you’ve got a quick dinner- and I should know- I did this a few nights in a row when we were swamped with things to do around here.

Next week, I’ll give you a great recipe for Spanish rice.  The recipe is from my late grampa-in-law who said it was over 100 years old.  If THAT’S not enough to get you to come back, well, its also a WONDERFUL addition to the Chili Verde meal.

Yeah- that’s what I thought.  I’ll see you next week. 🙂

Tasty Tuesday- Dump Cake

Ok, so I know the name doesn’t sound great, lol, but this stuff is SO good.  I don’t even know if it can be qualified as a ‘cake’, but taste it and you won’t really care.

I figured that -with tomorrow being the 4th of July- almost everyone will be having some sort of bbq fun, and this dessert is the perfect accompaniment to anything.  I wish I could take credit for this, but I actually got it from my MIL, and SHE got it off a box of Betty Crocker or Pillsbury or something.

Wherever it originally came from, though, it doesn’t matter.  Its one of the easiest desserts EVER- you can ever put your little Natural Disasters to work making it while you do other things… like kick back with your feet up, cold beverage in hand.

Dump Cake

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained

1 pkg yellow cake mix

1 cube butter, melted

Heat oven to 350.

Spread filling and pineapple in an ungreased 13×9 pan.  Stir cake mix and butter together in a separate bowl until crumbly.

Sprinkle evenly over fruit mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes (until top is light brown).

Serve with Cool Whip or whipped cream or just by itself.  Its REALLY good.  I mean, really.  You’ll be happy, and so will all the other people at the bbq.