Mexican Rice – Recipe

After years of cooking this up, I think I got it just right. This rice is quick and doesn’t require chopping onions or garlic. If you want fresh ingredients, go right ahead, just put in a little less of the garlic and onion powder. If adding tomato, corn, or peas to this rice, you do not have to change the recipe, just add them after you add the spices. If you are going to use chicken stock instead of the bouillon,  add a little more of the spices.

Serves 8 as a hearty side dish


2.5 scant cups of white rice (don’t fill all the way to the top)

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

8 oz. of Red Gold tomato sauce

5 cups of water

2 large cubes of Knorr bouillon

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of dried diced onion (If using onion powder, use a very scant 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 scant teaspoon of garlic powder.

1/8 scant teaspoon of black pepper

1/8 teaspoon dashes of paprika


  1. Pour in the vegetable oil and saute uncooked rice until you begin to smell the nuttiness of the rice. Make sure your heat is on medium. You do not want the rice to burn. This is an important step because this does add taste to your rice and allows the rice to keep its texture better. This takes about 7 to 9 minutes. You will notice the rice turn from white to a cream color. Some grains of rice may turn brown, that’s okay
  2. After sauteing, turn down your heat to low and then pour in your tomato sauce. The tomato sauce will sizzle for a little while. Constantly stir for about 2 minutes allowing all the grains of rice to be cooked in the tomato sauce.
  3. Pour in your water one cup at a time and mixing in a little in between. Make sure you use the same measuring cup for the water that you used for measuring out your rice. Also make sure the water isn’t scant, but filled to the actual cup line.
  4. Break up your bouillon into smaller pieces and mix in.
  5. Add all the spices and mix.
  6. Bring your heat up to medium and heat rice to a low boil, cover and then lower the heat to low. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Do not ever cook rice without a lid. Don’t constantly peek. The time may be different based on how hot your stove gets on these settings.
  7. After 20 minutes peek under the lid and when you see little vent holes around your rice, and the rice looks set, your rice is done. Uncover your rice and let it rest for a couple of minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Troubleshooting: If your rice is mushy, your rice measurings were too scant, just add a little more rice next time. If your rice is too hard, just add a little more water (about 2 Tablespoons at a time) and mix it in and cover again. Bring heat to low and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Adjust spices according to your taste.

Some people add a couple of dashes of cumin to their rice, I don’t like it too much.

Mexican rice is flavorful and sometimes is just eaten on its own. If you have left over ground beef or chicken  you can mix it in. I love to eat my rice with leafy greens and a little bit of ranch on top. And just like beans, Mexican rice tastes better the next day.



Magpie Murders – Book Review

Summary: The last book Susan Reynold is set to publish changes her life forever in this classic British whodunnit mystery novel. Magpie Murders is a mystery book within another mystery. This book covers the mystery of what happened to the missing pages of a detective novel written by Alan Conway – Ms. Reynold’s most famous client.  And within this is the actual manuscript of Mr. Conway’s latest novel which is left incomplete. The endings of both the manuscript and the book are stupendous! I kept guessing until  the end!

I got this as an audio book and both readers did a magnificent job in portraying the characters, but when I saw this book available at my local library and we had an 11 hour road trip coming up, I decided to get the book and finish it by reading it myself. Anthony Horrowitz is a tremendous author. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that he also is a writer for ITV’s Midsommer Mysteries and Foyle’s War. I love both those series! And like these series, the manuscript part of the book doesn’t have any obscenities. The actual book part does though. The author of the manuscript – Alan Conway – is gay and there is a brief interview with his live in boyfriend that does get a little informative, but not much. Besides that brief interview, there is no other sexual content.

If you like classic mysteries, you will truly enjoy this book. The two stories are very well developed and they both left me guessing until the very end. For a moment I thought that I would never know what happened at the end of the manuscript because it leaves the reader hanging for about 200 pages, but thankfully the end was revealed. I read through that last part voraciously – my patience had waned!

The book is almost 500 pages because of the two stories in it. Because of its length and some adult themes I would only let my older teens read it.

You can buy the book here



A Comforting Force

Twitter, short quips of what people are thinking. If you are not careful who you follow, it can be a cesspool of some of the vilest utterances imaginable. If anything is happening or if I want to somewhat know what is going on, I look at my twitter feed and rest assured, there are dozens of people already talking about any event I am interested in.

Rolling Stone yesterday sent out a twitter about “Professional Cuddling” and how grown adults have to resort to hiring out a professional cuddler to cope with their difficult lives. If you would like to check out the tweet click here.

There are several problems that came to mind when I read this tweet and I will try to explain what they are:

Suffering is belittled. Jesus said we would have many troubles in this world. (John 16:33) Remember he said this as His people were occupied by the Romans. They were a conquered people and succumbed to all kinds of suffering. After the ascension of Jesus, the Christians faced some of the most physical sufferings imaginable. Having to hire out a cuddler because President Trump is crass and a bully downgrades the true trials and sufferings of other people. Also, as Christians our sufferings are different. We may be suffering because we are hated (John 15:18), grieving over sin (2 Corinthians 7:10), being disciplined by God (Hebrews 12:7-8), or just feeling the pangs of this world but we do all these things with hope.(I Thess. 4:13) We freely cling to God and His truths, not paid strangers.

This brings me to the sadness I felt reading this tweet. Regardless of how dainty I think the reason for their suffering is, these young adults are still feeling it. And it saddens me that they have to pay someone to listen and hug them. They are paying for physical displays of affection. Where are their mothers, their fathers, their friends, their church?

As Christians we should be the masters of comforting those who are suffering, regardless of how petty we believe the cause is. (I can’t even count how many times I held teenage girls as they sobbed because they couldn’t get the prom dress they wanted, they didn’t make the cheerleading squad, their friend is moving to varsity and she’s still in JV, the boy they like likes another girl, their cell phone was taken away, the list is endless!) What better time and place to hug, console, comfort and once they feel “safe” help them see a different Godly perspective? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. This is why we are master comforters because we have been comforted by the only True Comforter.

This made me reflect on how I treat my fellow saint. Paul several times mentions greeting each other with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 2 Corinthians 13:12). In Acts 20:37 we see a beautiful display of affection where they weep, kiss and hug each other as brothers in Christ as they say goodbye to Paul.  Many times God describes his comfort to us as being under his wings, close to His heart, embraced by Him. (Psalm 91:4, Psalm 17:8, Psalm 36:7)

Also, let us love on the children in our church. There is an interesting paradox in our society. We commit constant idolatry when it comes to their wants, but we also hate them. In one hand we spend thousands a year getting them the stuff they don’t need, and on the other hand we are outright hateful when we are inconvenienced at restaurants, airplanes, movie theaters etc. by fussy children. (Matthew 19:13) We throw elaborate gender reveal parties, but are silent at the slaughter of babies in the womb. Saying this, we need to love the children of our church. We should encourage them, ask them questions about their day, hug them, play with them, and love on them . Let the church be a place where they know they are loved, not put up with. Let it not only be the nursery workers that interact with the next generation of American Christians.

My dear Christian, let us be comforters. Let us be nice and lovable. Let us truly mourn with and miss our brothers and rejoice when we see each other. If you do not feel that way about your church, let me encourage you to pick out one member of your church and make them miss you when you are not around and rejoice when they see you. Invite just one person to your home and listen to them. Seek out the elderly in your church and ask them about their day, ask them if anything is hurting them, I promise most have something to say. 😉 Buy some gum and hand them out to the kids. Baking for anyone for any reason is always a good idea. Always! Write a short note to your Pastor and let him know you are praying for him. Be sweet dear Christian.  Be a comforting force, just as our God is!

May John 13:35 ring true of us that “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

Dark Places – Book Review

This book is about a little girl (Libby Day) who survives her family being slaughtered  by her brother. After 25 years she finds herself without money, without friends and still battling the demons of her past. In order to get some much needed money, she teams up with a group of lay true crime enthusiasts called the Kill Club. The people from this group are eerily obsessed with what happened to Libby, her family and specifically to her brother – Ben Day.  Ben was found guilty based on the testimony given by Libby and is now going to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Because Libby is the only other survivor, the Kill Club decides she can find out more about what happened 25 years ago and hopefully get Ben out of prison. Libby is sure that Ben is her family’s killer but soon vacillates back and forth as she investigates.

This book is dark. The author – Gillian Flynn – does a wonderful job developing some of the most worthless characters I have ever read about. I hated most of them, including Libby, but that’s not really a bad thing. The characters in this book were flawed and broken. The depravity of humanity and the emotional and financial struggles of life was very real in this book.

Saying this, the book does contain a lot of profanity. There are sex scenes and they are short, tenderless and thankfully not violent. This book delves into the cesspool of humanity. And the dignity given to them by God, is practically snuffed out by their degradation.

As a Christian, I forget that there are people like this. I try hard to get out into the world and be a light in dark places, but admittedly I am surrounded mostly be people like me. Although, I don’t grimace when people who aren’t saved cuss or act like unbelievers. It’s the “saved” Christians that make me cringe when they unrepentantly act like the world. – Don’t worry, I also cringe at myself. I don’t often read these kinds of books because my mind sometimes feels assaulted, but the whole time I was reading about Libby’s struggles I just wanted her to know the true freedom found in Christ. I wanted that for all of these unfortunate characters. They were very real and very hopeless.

This book is for adults only. All the cussing aside, the book is very well written and the unfolding of the mystery of who killed the Day family is thrilling. When I got to the end of the book and the true crime was revealed, it was perfect! Mrs. Flynn had given the reader a hint and I failed to see it and put it together. It was excellent! I recommend this book to the person who likes dark thrillers.