Make this now and thank me later…

Two or three weeks ago I made this amazing baked rice and peas recipe. We then made it again adding onion to the mix and it was really good! So then I started thinking about how I could take that some method and make different meals out of it. Two days ago I made it with mushroom soup and about 1 1/3 cans of water instead of the broth and it turned out really well, except that the rice was a little under cooked. Then yesterday morning I decided to try a new take on it, and then I fell in love! So I am going to attempt to explain how to make it…

If you like cheesy spicy rice you will like this:


  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 1/3 cans hot water
  • 1/2 cup hot salsa
  • 1 cup rice
  • white onion (no exact measurement, more or less to your liking)
  • Black olives (no exact measurement, more or less to your liking)
  • Black Pepper (no exact measurement, more or less to your liking)

Make it:

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Slice and dice your onion and black olives.

Combine the ingredients in an oven-safe baking dish. I find it easier to mix the water, soup, and salsa in first and then add the rest of the ingredients.

This is how much black pepper I like to add.

Put a layer of foil between the dish and the lid of the dish to help lock in the moisture.

Bake it for 55 minutes. Don’t peek at it while it is cooking at all! After it is done baking remove it from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes to finish cooking (still don’t peek).

Then remove the lid and foil and mix it up with a fork. (the onions and black olives like to float to the top)

Then you can come back here and thank me! 🙂


My rice was slightly under cooked again. I think next time I will boost the cook time a little. It is not so under cooked that you can’t eat it. Just a slight hardness to the rice…


Focusing on what I can control…

As you may know if you read my past post I have been dealing with a lot of depression and stuff for a while now. It has been messing up a lot of stuff in my life and has been making it very hard for me to be okay with some stuff and to enjoy other stuff. However, the past week has been overall pretty good. Not to say I haven’t been dealing with the same problems, but I have been able to try to focus myself on the positive most of the time. This has been helped by the fact that I know I will be starting therapy this Friday. I’m pretty excited about it because I think being able to talk everything out with someone who doesn’t have a bias in the situation will be incredibly helpful.

This past week or so I have also been evaluating the things in my life that cause stress and unhappiness, and there have been a few things that I have identified that I am going to be changing.

First of all there is the people I let in my life. I mostly have control over who I decide to interact with, at least outside of work I do. So there are many people in my life that more often than not are not pleasant to interact with. So these people will be phased out of my life. I say phased out because I am not good at conflict and I couldn’t imagine telling someone I don’t want to associate with them anymore. Not that I haven’t indirectly done that before, but I would rather do a phased out approach.

Second is my weight. I have really high blood pressure and am also sick of being fat. I  have been doing really well at losing weight on the days that I work. I am not really on a diet I am just making smarter choices and being more aware of what I am eating. However, on the days I am off I have not been doing so well. We have a very busy/stressful life right now and so we often take the easy way out and pick poor food choices, but that stops now!

The final thing that I am going to be changing is the amount of time I am spending with my son. I do not spend near enough time with him. Not just because of work, but also because of school and all of my adult responsibilities. Plus when I do have time to spend with him I am usually stressing over school or am depressed about stuff or something else that takes me emotionally away from the situation. So I am looking at the things I can control in that situation and changing them. I am hoping that therapy will help me live more in the moment and not be stressing all the time, but I don’t really know what to expect from it. The one thing that I know I can control is school. I think that after this semester I will be taking an unknown amount of time off from school. Maybe forever, but maybe just till I can get my mental and emotional stuff worked out. All I know is that right now I am missing too much of Jonah growing up and I don’t want to look back and not remember all the amazing stuff that happens.

So that is what is going on with me right now.

Also today is probably one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time. I didn’t get all the homework I was supposed to do done and I didn’t mow the lawn, sorry neighbors, but I got to spend a lot of one on one time with Jonah and it was amazing. We didn’t do anything special, but sometimes all it takes is laying on the couch and letting him climb and roll around on you to make your day. He is such an incredible kid and I am so happy to have him in my life.

Handwriting Game

1. What is your name and your blogger name?
2. What is your blog URL?
3. Write “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog”
4. Write Your Favourite Quote
5. What is your favourite song?
6. What is your favourite music right now?
7. Is there anything else you would like to add about your handwriting?
8. Choose Thee Bloggers to follow suit.

Napster, Nike+, Music Tuesday: Cave In – Trepanning

I currently have 6 months of free Napster and 25 of their credits to buy music. I got it because my Best Buy rewards zone thing got upgraded to their premium silver rewards zone thing when I bought Julie and I our iMacs. I don’t think I would ever pay a monthly fee for Napster, but I am enjoying it while I have it. The interesting/crappy thing I have notice about Napster is that it doesn’t seem to distinguish between a full length album and an EP when you are buying music. You can buy an individual track for 1 credit ($1) or the entire album for 9-10 credits. So it doesn’t matter if it is a 14 track album or a 2 track EP they would have you pay 9-10 credits… But if the album is under 10 tracks you can just buy the songs individually and significantly less in the case of the 2 track EP. I checked on iTunes and it seems Apple does distinguish between full albums and EPs. Napster needs to get their shit together on that because that could cost people a lot of money if they don’t realize they can just buy the tracks individually.

Also from buying our iMacs I got my reward zone points up to the point of having $50 in reward zone gift cards. So I decided to buy up the Nike+ sensors for our phones so we could track our walking. I’m pretty excited about it because for me it really helps keep me motivated when I can see my progress over time. Also when I get my weight down I want to start jogging and running so this will help me track that progress over time. You can upload your data to the Nike+ website and it will apparently chart out your walks/runs for you. I’ll do a follow up review later after we have used them some.

For music Tuesday I have chosen a track off of Cave In’s Perfect Pitch Black album called Trepanning. I love this album so much, but I know it is not something everyone will like (even if you love Cave In). Anyway, enjoy! (maybe)


It’s always something…

I really hate not knowing how to really express what I want to. I’ve been dealing with a lot of depression lately (ok maybe a few years), but I really feel guilty about. I feel like I should not be getting depressed all the time. I have an amazing wife and son that I love beyond words can tell. I have a job that is secure, pays very well, has great benefits, and I have a 3 day weekend that is always Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have a home that we are buying. We have 2 cars that are fully paid for. I make enough money that Julie doesn’t have to work a traditional job and can stay home with Jonah.

So it seems like I really don’t have much to complain about and be depressed about, but I do feel depressed a lot.

(I understand many people have it worse than me, but let’s be honest, that has nothing to do with my life and I should not feel like I should settle for less just because others have it worse)

My job is technically great, but I don’t want to be doing it anymore. It is just not really a good fit for me. I drive around a lot and have long drives to sit there and think and worry about stuff. Did I mention I worry a lot and about just about everything? I work 12 hours from 9am to 9pm so for four days I barely see Jonah, and that freaking kills me. He wakes up about 7am now and I have to leave for work at 8:45am and then I don’t see him awake till the next morning when he wakes up. I very often feel like I am not good at my job and somedays I can’t remember basic stuff that I should really remember how to do. Most, if not all, of my coworkers don’t like me. Even though I do not directly work with anyone this does limit my list of people to call when I don’t know what I am doing. Then there’s the fact that half of the work I do I just dislike doing.

I’m going to school online at University of Arkansas at Little Rock for a liberal arts degree. I really wish that there was a way that I could go on campus and study something more focused than a liberal arts degree. I really don’t feel like I am getting a good education because of the way online schooling works. It just doesn’t match up with my learning style. I don’t really know what I want to actually study, but I just want to feel that I am skilled and well trained in what I am doing.

At some point in my life I got the impression that I was really smart and was “supposed” to be doing something great with my life, and I just don’t feel like I am on track to do anything great. As time goes on I find myself feeling less intelligent and further trapped in my current situation. The fact that we are making it day to day with very little wiggle room and all the limitations that current obligations and responsibilities put on my options I find myself not having any choices in anything. We have to live were we do because of the housing market and the limited time we have been in our home. I have to have this job because of the benefits and pay that are unmatched by any other job I am qualified for. I have to go to school online because I have to keep the job I have.

I just generally don’t feel in control of my life and that is very depressing to me. I also feel like I have very little time to focus on doing the things I want to do. I have wanted to learn a lot of things for a long time, but I never am able to find a proper amount of time to dedicate to them to actually get somewhere with them. Some of the things it seems like I would be really good at if I just had the time to dedicate to them. It is just hard for me to deal with the fact that I only have this one life to live and I am having to spend most of that time doing things that make me sad and depressed. I just want to enjoy more of my life than I dislike.

Music Tuesday: Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds

So a while back ago I heard Mumford & Sons on one of my Pandora stations and instantly fell in love. Then like a week later I turned on the radio and they were playing them on the radio. This is a band that really deserves to make it really big. Their music is just so damn good. Another great thing is that they are even amazing live, judging by the grammy performance and the live bonus disc on their album.


They could never prepare you…

Honestly, no one can EVER prepare you for being a parent. People can tell you everything they “know” about being a parent, but it will not really mean anything to you till you live it.

This applies to both the good and the bad. However, I think that you will come closer to understanding the bad without living it than you would the good.

The good is what I want to take a moment and talk about.

Seriously, being a parent is the single greatest thing about being alive. Obviously this is my very biased opinion, but it is the truth as I know it!

If someone tried to explain the joys of being a parent to me years ago I know I could never have fully understood what they were talking about.

Every time I think I have experienced the greatest joy of parenting Jonah comes along and completely destroys it. The awesome thing about it is that you find joy in the oddest things. Things you would never think would be a source of indescribable joy just blow you away.

The other day Jonah and I were in the living room and he was kind of playing by himself. I looked over to make sure he was alright and not getting into anything bad and I see him putting one of his wooden blocks under the ottoman. He then gets up, starts looking around, and then heads to grab the next block he sees. After he put that block under there I noticed there was already a couple other blocks under there. He continued to do this until all the blocks were under the ottoman.

This may not seem like such a big deal to most of you, but it is amazing to me. It is so awesome to see him figure stuff out and to be doing things with real intent.

Today he started to just pile all his blocks on my desk. So I started to line them up neatly. When he saw me doing that he started helping me put them in a neat line. That is just amazing to me to see that he can see what I am doing, understand the pattern of what I am doing, and be able to process the next steps!

Again, probably not a big deal to most of you, but it makes me want to cry (in a good way of course).

Sometimes Julie and I just have to sit back and watch with amazement as he does something new.

Like today when he pulled out all of the same style of car out of his bin of cars. He pulled out all four one by one and placed them all together. Then he put them under his table and crawled under there and just played with them being very nice and quiet.

I just love being a parent SO much.