Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Mexican Fried Rice

Monday Morning Grandma

I had this already then forgot to post this morning. It's still Monday anyway.

When we were first married, my husband taught me how to make Mexican fried rice. When we visited his grandmother in San Jose, she provided some refinements. If you need an exact recipe with measurements, I can’t help you. I’m giving you the ingredients and method which is the way I make it.

Ingredients: long grain white rice (other kinds work, but they aren’t the same), tomato sauce (diced tomatoes can be used in a pinch, but it isn’t as good), fresh diced onions, fresh minced garlic, cooking oil (I use olive oil and it works fine), salt, and water. IF you want to you can add diced bell pepper. You can use dried onions and/or garlic powder when out of fresh.

Put oil in the pan, add the rice, onions, garlic, and if you insist bell pepper. (Do you get the idea I don’t care for bell pepper?) Sauté rice and vegetables on medium-high heat in enough oil to coat. Stir almost constantly until the rice turns opaque and browns a little. Add the tomato sauce and water. To speed up the cooking process, I’ve started heating water in the microwave while sautéing. (In fact, I do that for a lot of things these days.) Turn down heat. It takes about a half an hour from start to finish sort of. You’ll need to play with how low; it’s been different on all of my stoves through the years. Stir occasionally, and add water as needed. If you use too much oil, blot the excess that collects on the top with a paper towel as the rice swells and most of moisture is absorbed. I HIGHLY recommend using a non-stick pan. I have serious scorching problems without.

Bonus recipe: Fried beans are a great compliment to polish off a Mexican dinner, or the beans and rice can be a meal in themselves usually with flour tortillas and you can make burritos, some people prefer corn tortillas, that’s fine. Either cook pinto beans, or you can used canned, (not the ones already re-fried). I cook mine in a 22 quart pressure cooker then divide into meal sized portions and freeze. When the children were home it was 4 or 5 containers, now it’s a dozen or so. Heat bacon grease (now we use olive oil, sigh), add the beans and if you like, jalapenos, or diced green chilies (I use canned mild).

After a few years of trying, I gave up on making flour tortillas when I noticed my mother-in-law bought them! (Mine were never round.) I serve the rice with chicken, pork, fish or beef instead of potatoes or white rice along with a vegetable for variety. I sometimes use canned corn (frozen is better for you, but my husband is used to canned) as the vegetable. He likes to mix the corn and rice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma--Miscarriages and Stillbirths

I have had 3 miscarriages and 1 stillbirth. My advice today is for anyone who knows someone going through that type of experience: It’s hard to know what to say, and each experience is individual, but there are some things other people need to understand. “I’m sorry” is never wrong. Bringing up everyone you have ever known that has gone through that experience isn’t always helpful. If you have experienced it yourself, and feel letting them know and telling them you are willing to talk with them will be the right thing. A few such stories will let them know they aren’t alone. Too many, and it becomes overwhelming.

Most important, don’t ever say, “You can always have another one.” They know that. Let them know it’s okay to cry even if they’re only a few weeks along. Realize that seeing babies might be difficult for them.

I had a wonderful, understanding roommate in the maternity ward when I had my stillbirth, Susie. My roommate knew why I turned my back when the baby was brought to her. She also helped me the times when I did look. I even came to her bedside and admired the tiny girl, but it was on my terms. (That was in the late 60’s and we had roommates, and stayed in the hospital 3 days, and babies were brought every 4 hours.)

If you’re the one going through that experience, steel yourself, and look at and hold babies in your own timeline. Know that you’re not alone, and you have the right to grieve. Don’t dwell for an extended time, but it’s okay to be sad.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma

I’m reviving my blog in a different direction. I’m still working on what I’m going to do with the writing post for Wednesdays, but on Mondays I’m going to post things I’ve learned over the years. It will cover raising children, needlework, advice, recipes, or whatever pops into my head. Some will be short, and others a little longer. I live in the Pacific time zone, so what's morning for me might not be for you.

Today’s entry: If your child spills a bottle of cooking oil, squirt lots of dish soap into the mess and that will break down the oil making it easier to clean up.