Adding flavor to your rice

I am not afraid to eat carbohydrates. Frankly, I crave them.

True story.

I love to cook with rice, whether as a side dish or incorporated into the main course. I serve it alongside many dishes.

One thing though, I do not prefer plain white rice. I like it and I will eat it, but I like me some flavor.

Flavor people. It’s all about the f-l-a-v-o-r.

Brown rice, wild rice, white rice, brown jasmine rice, saffron rice. Mmm! I like it all.

Ha! I just sounded like Bubba from Forrest Gump talking about the shrimp business.

Lately I have been on a brown rice kick and not only does it have a different taste but it seems to boost with flavor.

How to flavor-boost your rice

Let’s say we are use a minute rice or fast cooking rice. I suggest using brown rice, not only is it a healthier option it is yummier too!

When boiling your water add 1 cube of chicken bouillon per 1`cup of water and salt and pepper.

Then cook rice as instructed.

You can also replace the water with Swanson Chicken broth – but I prefer the cubes.

This way alone is my favorite and if you like rice anyway then you will especially love this.

Optional ingredients to add to your brown rice

  • chopped green onion
  • dash or two of soy sauce
  • Pico de gallo mixture – unbelievably delicious. I actually turn this into a meal at times.
  • eat with edamame
  • grill up or saute some grilled vegetables

There ya go! An easy, simple and delicous way to add some flavor to an otherwise boring dish. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and experiment. That is what is fun about cooking.

Photo Source Credit: Maya Picture

Tortilla Roll-ups {Appetizer}

Here is a favorite and easy appetizer recipe of mine. Clearly, food is on my mind here lately. This recipe has been passed between friends and down the line so many times and it  is always a hit. Honestly, I could eat an entire batch by myself.

No lie!

The recipe I was given called for only 10 tortillas but it makes much more than that and I use anywhere from 15-20. It is a spread and is lovely by itself or on crackers, wheat thins or my favorite Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuits…yum! I just had to throw that in there.

There is one ingredient in here that I think is key to these roll-ups, otherwise they will just taste like any other roll-up or possibly a blob of sour cream and cream cheese…Accent Flavor Enhancer. I have never used this before trying in it this recipe and I was impressed how much it added flavor to the mixture.

Tortilla Roll-Up Ingredients

  • 10-20 tortillas
  • 1 Package of Cream Cheese
  • 1 8oz Sour Cream
  • 1 bunch of green onions (cut off & chop green parts finely)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped very finely)
  • 1 small can of chopped black olives
  • Thinly sliced ham (thinner the better)
  • 1 teaspoon of Accent Seasoning *this is key, it makes the flavor Oh! so delicious! Don’t be afraid to use more.

Tortilla Roll-Up Instructions

  1. Place tortillas and ham aside
  2. Mix all ingredients together in serving bowl
  3. On parchment paper or a plate place about a teaspoon of mixture on tortilla
  4. Lay ham on top
  5. Roll in form of an enchilada
  6. Leave whole and put in casserole dish or other rectangle container
  7. Repeat until finished
  8. Once you have rolled all the tortillas then place the whole roll-ups in the refrigerator
  9. They can be left overnight, but atleast for an hour
  10. Then cut in horizontal, bite size pieces.

Thank me later.


Most of my recipes do not have precise instructions or desired amount of ingredients, but I’ll do my best.

This is so easy to make and also very delicious.

I generally serve the soup and then the next night we make chicken tacos out of it.

I originally obtained this recipe years ago and have adapted it and changed it to fit our liking.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breast (thawed is best, but you can put in frozen)
  • 1 14oz box of chicken broth. I use low sodium because I do add sea salt and in my head hope it makes up the difference without being too much.
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (if you like spice or flavor, get the ones with garlic,, onion, peppers, etc…)
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup of Salsa of your choice (depending on your spice preference; I love Herdez Salsa Casera, found by the green chiles and jalapenos with other salsas, but generally grouped separately)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 2 Garlic Cloves halved or chopped
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup Instructions:

  1. Turn crock-pot on high and complete first to steps while gathering ingredients.
  2. Pour olive oil in bottom of crock-pot
  3. Add chopped or halved garlic
  4. Once ingredients are gathered and you have completed prepping add chicken broth
  5. Place chicken breasts inside
  6. Then add cans of tomatoes and Rotel (DO NOT DRAIN ANY)
  7. Pour in salsa and cumin
  8. Add Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste or you can wait until end.
  9. Top with chopped cilantro ( I put enough in there to cover surface of liquid)

Cooking options

  1. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, if unattended an additional broth just in case.
  2. If present, I cook on high for two hours then turn to low for remaining cook time.

I prefer the chicken to be falling apart, basically shredding itself.herdez salsa casera

Pull chicken apart or dice then add back into soup.

Serve with sour cream, tortilla strips, Monterrey Jack cheese, avocado, black olives and green onions if desired.

This is a very easy and delicious chicken tortilla soup recipe.

* You can also add big chunks of bell pepper and onion towards the end just because I like it. I have added corn, black beans, zucchini and other vegetables as well.

* For vegetarian options – use vegetable broth and omit chicken and chicken broth and amp up the veggies.

* When I have vegetables in soup, I can get even my pickiest eater to eat them.

I believe I have mentioned a time or two dozen the challenge of parenting a teen and parenting a toddler. While each age group is obviously very different, nonetheless they are equally challenging.

I wonder if other parents, besides only myself, wonder if their children have split personalities…all of them?

Could it even be possible?

With me, I have no doubt.

I digress.

Some studies report that a child will misbehave when they are with the parent they spend the most time with, because they are comfortable “letting it all out” or showing their strong feelings”.

toddler personalities

Of course this makes sense but is it just an excuse?

One article I read on Parents.com, nailed my 3 year old to a Tee – when discussing how one child acted with the mother vs. the father.  I can certainly relate with the author of the article; she comes home from a day of shopping and finds that her daughter napped perfectly for her husband, picked up her toys – no problem and didn’t argue over the little things like which cup she drank of. This is a constant with Reed at home, with me, he will NOT go down for a nap, will fight me to the very end, will refuse certain drinks and will even be picky with meals. But, when he is with his dad, I hear things like “he was asleep before we got to his bed” or “he ate all of his dinner” or “he drank water”.

WHAT??? He never drinks water for me.

Again, I digress.

While it is comforting to hear that “acting up may actually be a sign of how safe he feels with you” I wonder if it is just that. Just sweet words to make parents, like me, not feel crazy.

We can discuss the multiple personalities of my dear sweet teenage son on an entirely different post.


Clean Teen Reads

teens reading books

As a mother of a tween and a teen, I often feel frustration finding other bloggers who focus on or are geared towards teens and tweens. I get rather excited when I find a new site or blog. I recently came across blogger, , who also is the mother of two teenage sons, as well as a college age daughter. In addition, she is a self-published author and an accredited home daycare provider for preschoolers.

I read a review on her Lisa’s’ site about a site called Clean Teen Books: Helping You Choose Clean Books for Teens. This site was founded by a single mother, Alison Craig, a teacher who holds a Masters degree in English. Her site was inspired by her time (8 1/2 years to be exact) volunteering at a local Juvenile Justice Services facility, working regularly with juvenile offenders to improve their reading.  While searching for books to interest the teens and young adults, she experienced difficulty in finding not only books that they would enjoy reading, but also determining whether or not they are objectionable material. She developed a policy that she would read or heavily skim the books prior to introducing them to young readers.  Understanding other parents and teens and tweens too, most likely experienced similar frustration, she created Clean Teen Books.

I think it is an excellent concept.

She primarily reviews books from major publishers but will review books from other publishers as well. Her reviews are in a variety of genres, subjects and reading levels. Each with a “rating” indicating bad language, sexual content, violence, etc.. Her website is divided into sections: Teen Section, Parent Section and Subscriber Section. The parent section contains “spoilers” to the story, which are withheld from the teen section so as not to ruin the end of the book for a teen.

I have often struggled with this same issue. Once when one of the boys was 10 or 11, he came home with this book he checked out of the school library. I just assumed it was age appropriate content and was mostly just thrilled he was reading it.period. After glancing at the cover then reading the back, I started skimming through the book, to find awful language, violent behaviors and references. I was appalled – it was disgusting, and in the school library?

After this experience, I have been more careful with their selection of books and they know what is expected and accepted material. I love the site Alison Craig has created and was just thrilled when I found it on Lisa’s site.

Both ladies seem just lovely, I encourage you to visit both of their sites.

Photo credit: Photostock from FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Cold pasta is the best. I made this Southwestern Style Pasta recipe last week and it turned out great. It is so simple, minimal ingredients and I prepared it with two different dressings to alternate with and to accommodate different taste buds.

Southwestern Style Pasta Ingredients

  • multi-colored rotini pasta
  • Black Beans (drained)
  • Mexi-Corn (drained) A small can of corn will work
  • Rotel tomatoes (drained) but leave a small amount of juice for flavoring
  • Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • Sea Salt & Pepper

I cook/boil the pasta in chicken broth until tender and drain under cold water.

Add corn, black beans, rotel tomatoes and diced red onion to pasta.

Toss with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Add Lemon juice to taste.

Voila! Delicious!

In addition I make the Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Recipe.

It calls for 1 packet of seasoning, 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of mayo (I prefer Hellman’s). Mix and chill.

I divide into in half and to spice it up I pour a bit of pickled jalapeno juice into one half and chop up pickled jalapenos, adding them to the ranch dressing.

I then pour it over my own serving of pasta and Voila! Even more delicious!! Yum!

Mourning Dublin Dr. Pepper

My entire family is mourning the loss of Dublin Dr Pepper – Dr Pepper sweetened with cane sugar and sold in the classic bottle, sold in the small town of Dublin, Texas for more than 100 years. The Dr Pepper Bottling Co., in Dublin stopped making its signature beverage last week as part of an agreement reached after Dr Pepper Snapple Group sued the 40-person bottling company over trademark and territory issues.

Good grief!

My brother would often travel to Dublin to pick up cases of the sweet, cane sugar delight – he quickly added my son as a fan of Dublin Dr Pepper, so much that he would no longer drink regular Dr Pepper, you know the one made with corn syrup and that you can find any and everywhere.

Here is the sad part:

For Christmas, my brother gave Jace a six pack of Dublin Dr Pepper, mainly because he was quickly reducing Brian’s supply when he visited. Well, last week, the very day the news broke of the closing of the plant Jace, just hours before word hit the news, he drank his very.last.bottle.

He was devastaed!


He has collected the bottles but would not have drank the last one had he known.

More devastation ensued.

I feared tears were coming.

He was able to hold them back, regardless of the immense pain he was undergoing.

Dear Dr Pepper,

Us Texans wish you would change your mind. We love Dublin Dr Pepper. The town of Dublin is in shock and some news reports say it has suffered a heart attack.

This is not good.

Will you please kiss and make up?


Cane sugar loving Texans.

Dear Dublin, Texas,

We feel your pain. We are on your side.

Hang in there. It will get better.


Dublin Dr Pepper Forever Texans

My blogging friend Allie of Screwed Up Texan is a true Dr. Pepper fan.

Check out all her Dublin Dr. Pepper posts here.