Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma


with 39 comments

Yesterday my biggest boy, Andrew turned 12.

Are you kidding me?

In my head Andrew is still like this…

But now he’s like this…

I take comfort in the fact that he still likes Legos.

And chocolate cupcakes.

And like any other twelve year old kid, Andrew has 3 favorite food groups: cheeseburgers, pizza, and tacos.

Oh yeah. Tacos.

My kid is a taco purist- he’s a meat, lettuce, cheese kinda guy. Truth be told he’d probably be happiest with a humongo stack of Taco Bell soft tacos, mystery meat and all. And if we’re being totally honest here, who doesn’t like a bag full of Taco Bell junky food happy every now and again?

But when we make tacos at home I sneak in extra vegetables. And well-seasoned black beans. Shredded spicy chicken. And rice.

When Andrew was smaller he objected to my little taco tweaks here and there. He notices when I add cilantro. Or season the chicken with just a smidge of extra cumin. When he was little bitty he liked things HOT – I’m talkin’ lotsa jalapenos, seeds and all. Somewhere along the way his taste buds have mellowed.

And so has he.

My itsy bitsy boy, the one that never let me set him down for the first 6 months of his life, the boy that was a little high maintenance there for awhile, my cutie pie that loves to have the last word on everything, has turned into something of a cool kind of fella. Perhaps it’s just the calm before the teenage storm.

I like to think that maybe in our 12 years together we’ve just settled into a chill sort of groove. Not that tempers don’t flare from time to time because I have a short fuse and Andrew is… well he’s twelve. But we seem to have reached a sort of mutual understanding about each other and the world around us. Sometime in there my kid decided to relax a little bit. And he got sort of grown up.

Andrew still notices when I spruce up one of his three food groups, but he doesn’t object anymore when I layer his tacos with rice.

Spanish Rice (modified from Main St. Cuisine)


1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 a medium onion, diced

1/2 a green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of basmati rice

1/2 cup your favorite salsa

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 cups of chicken broth

To Make

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over medium high heat until they’ve begun to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in the rice and toast it for about two minutes. Stir in the salsa and turmeric, and then pour in the chicken broth. Stir well, bring to a boil, and then drop the heat down and put a lid on the skillet. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed, and fluff with a fork before serving.

No worries– Andrew will get a great big chocolate birthday cake this weekend when we have our birthday party with family (with a cake post to follow soon after!). His menu choice for birthday dinner?



Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

39 Responses

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  1. Happy birthday to Andrew!
    You obviously made his wish for tacos come true a thousand times over considering how tasty they look 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    Choc Chip Uru

    May 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  2. Doesn’t it seem like they were born yesterday??? Call me crazy, but I think the tween years are pretty great. Have fun this weekend!

    • Thanks, Deanna! It was just like yesterday. And as far as tween goes- a little crazy but mostly so far so good 🙂 I get more trouble outta my little stinker who’s 9!

  3. My son is lego crazy at 8 – I wonder if he will still like them at 12.


    May 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    • They’re sort of pricey, but really a great toy. I love that he still digs legos. And Star Wars. But it REALLY hurts when you step on a lego. I’m sure you know all about that!

      • It is a cool toy. However, it’s a pain to clean up and yes, I have stepped on one before.


        May 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

  4. Happy Birthday Andrew..


    May 4, 2012 at 5:07 am

  5. Hard to believe that 12 years have gone by! He is a very cool kid! I am wondering what this almost teenager wants for his birthday bash….but chocolate cake does sound pretty amazing.

    Peggy Campbell

    May 4, 2012 at 6:45 am

    • I got the cake under control 🙂 Star Wars legos. New swim trunks. I dunno– you’re better at the birthday thing than I am, Momma. See you Sunday!

  6. Happy Birthday, Andrew! Sooooo…are there any leftover cupcakes?


    May 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

  7. I’m going to give a long “awwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!” That’s so sweet!! haha, that baby picture of Andrew is super cute. I know what you mean though. My parents still treat me as a baby even though I’m done university and already working! Oooh and i looove Tacos too! I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t! Although, I’d have to confess that I’ve never made one until 2 days ago! lol. I can’t wait for the chocolate cake!! I’m huge on that too!


    May 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

  8. 1) Legos are still amazing. And I’m 26. My kids will be forced to like Legos…you know, when I eventually take a long enough break from this whole medicine thing to find a husband and have a kid. And then let them get old enough to play with Legos. So that is more of a 10 year time frame…

    2) 12 is just the calm before the storm. I do have two younger brothers. I speak from experience.

    domestic diva, MD

    May 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    • I have two younger brothers — they are both pretty chill (especially when I think about what my sisters and I were like as teenagers… YIKES!!) so I’m hoping my kids will be like them? I’m probably not that lucky.
      Legos will always be awesome. It’s a well-known fact.

  9. Awww, look at that sweet happy smile! I think it’s great Legos are still a hit at twelve! One of the few toys I get excited to buy for my nephews! Enjoy these years, soon you’ll be doubling that taco plate (yum). As he grows, so does his appetite!!

    • I’m right smack in the middle of the appetite surge; it’s not too bad yet, but my littlest brother is 16 and when he comes to visit I marvel at how fast he can empty the fridge and every one of the cupboards. I honestly have no idea how my mom keeps food in the house!

  10. The rice sounds tasty, I make a veggie rice that’s similar – rice cooked in chicken stock; chopped red and green peppers, chopped onion, sweetcorn and chopped cherry tomatoes fried with a little cayenne pepper and parika (and sometimes some chicken too), then stir the rice into the veggie pan. Voila! It’s one of those super simple, super quick meals that’s great after work! But, would you believe it – i’ve never had a taco…!


    May 5, 2012 at 4:10 am

    • I’m gonna go ahead and borrow your rice recipe. 🙂 Thanks!!
      And Rachael, I am so sorry you’ve never had a taco!
      My sister spent a pretty big chunk of last year in France and before she went we had a Mexican food feast (apparently she was forewarned about the shortage of good Mexican food in Europe). These tacos are pretty much Mexican-American, but still delicious, no doubt. Find some tortillas and get down to business!

      • It’s funny, I have fajitas all the time, but never tacos – I will have to rectify the situation at once! There’a mexican restaurant near us, but we’ve never tried it – two birds, one stone 😉


        May 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      • Yesssss.

  11. Love your low maintenance son…I wish my child was as easy to please on her birthday!

    Happy Birthday to your super cute son!

    Hope you are having a great weekend…


    May 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

    • Thank you so much! I guess from this post he seems pretty low maintenance 🙂 That’s because I was feeling sappy and left out the part where he asked for a new iPod touch like 7,923 times.

  12. Happy Birthday to your handsome lad there….hoping the chill factor continues, you never know 😉 I know for a fact I’m going to ball when my kids hit that age…my babies….sniff.

    The Patterned Plate

    May 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

  13. Happy Birthday Andrew!!! Cool Star Wars toy!!! I love your tacos, those look amazing!!! And I LOVE Spanish rice…I’m putting this on my list of things to make in my new apartment lol YUM!!!


    May 7, 2012 at 12:55 am

  14. Aaaaawwwww! I remember I was 12 going on 20, but sounds like your little man is chilled out and enjoying being a kid. Good job, mom.


    May 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  15. […] my Andrew turned 12 and asked me for a cake covered in candy. I don’t really know what exactly he had in mind, but […]

  16. My 12 year old still loves legos as well! And truely loves his tacos! They grow up so fast! Enjoy every minute!


    May 8, 2012 at 8:22 am

    • I know… my kids are getting soooooo big!!! Andrew is suddenly taller than my mom and almost my sister. You gotta soak it all up while you can 🙂

  17. A belated happy birthday to Andrew. He looks so cute in his baby picture! BTW I like that term- ‘taco tweaks.’


    May 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    • Thank you! I have a whole series of pictures from every birthday, but I adore that first one with the fistfuls of chocolate cake! And you hafta tweak thae tacos; that way they’re surprised everytime!

  18. I’m so late but Happppyyyyyyy Belated Birthday to your handsome Andrew!! I hope he lives to see many many many more birthdays!!!!

    Awesome looking tacos!

    Simply Tia

    May 16, 2012 at 6:13 am

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