The Adventures of Amanda and Two Rice Dishes

Meet Amanda from the Amanda Travels series who talks about her travels and shares favorite recipes.

HI! Amanda here.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Esme. You probably already know that I love traveling to interesting places. My curiosity gets me into trouble sometimes but I always meet interesting people and learn fascinating new things. What you maybe didn’t know is that I enjoy collecting recipes from the places I visit.

I’m an only kid and my parents work a lot. So I do much of the cooking. They are happy to eat whatever I make them. I like to read, and I read a lot. Can you believe, I even read cookbooks? My friend Leah thinks I’m a bit strange.

Leah Anderson is my BFF and we travel together. We met in the United Arab Emirates where we had a great time. We got lost in the desert, were chased by bounty hunters and even encountered a sandstorm, but I got to ride a camel named Ali Baba which was so cool. Leah thinks I’m a bit too impulsive and curious. I like helping people, like the young girl we met in Spain who needed help to get her pony back from nasty horse thieves. Sometimes this gets us into scary situations.

Leah invited me to visit her and her parents in England, that’s where they’re from. Wowza, was that ever exciting. We visited amazing places like Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and the Isle of Wight. I loved being up close to all that history I’ve been reading about since, well – since I could read. We had to find a missing vintage novel which took us to creepy places.

So I invited her to visit me in Alberta. I thought it would be boring but she loved it! Go figure. We went on a cattle drive and bought cowboy boots together. The Calgary Stampede was fun and so was visiting the dinosaur museum in the Badlands. Too bad about that mean cowboy who wanted a rock I found and followed us wherever we went.

Then, we all went on a cruise down the Danube River. I can’t believe I was able to tear mom and dad away from work to go on a holiday with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. We saw so many great places in Germany, Austria, and Hungary and I ate tons of apple strudel. We all had a good time but I had trouble keeping that precious violin safe for the homeless musician. It was hard to know who I could trust.

Leah didn’t come with me to New Mexico because it was a school trip. I went with a new friend from class, Cleo, who was spooked about seeing ghosts. Some weird things happened on that trip and now I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts or not.

I’m excited about going to Holland to meet Leah and her dad. I hope to see lots of tulips and windmills. I love adventure but I promised Leah I would stay out of trouble this time. We’ll see.

Here are a couple of my favorite rice recipes that go over big at my house.

This one is my favorite. It’s super easy and soooo good.


Arabian Gulf Recipe from Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum

4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup rice, rinsed
1/4 cup raisins or chopped dates
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Melt butter in a frying pan and sauté almonds until they begin to brown
Add rice and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients, except parsley, and bring to a boil
Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes
Turn off heat and allow to steam for 30 minutes
Stir, place on serving platter and garnish with parsley
Serves 6

In Spain, I found a great recipe for Paella


3 – 5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove peeled and chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 ½ cups of rice, rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth ½ to 1 cup dry white wine (optional, can just use more water)
¼ teaspoon of saffron (can be substituted with turmeric)
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon marjoram
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ cup chopped yellow peppers
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup green peas
½ pound shrimp
½ pound clams
½ pound king crab, cut into pieces
½ pound diced chicken
½ pound sliced sausage of choice
Juice of a lemon
½ cup of chopped fresh parsley to garnish

In a paella pan or large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté chicken and sausage until golden, add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes
Add rice and sauté for about 4 minutes until rice becomes translucent, stirring frequently.
Add 3 cups of broth and 1/2 cup of wine, saffron, paprika, marjoram, red pepper flakes, and salt.
Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
Check occasionally keeping moist with remaining broth if needed.
Add all seafood, peas, yellow peppers, tomatoes and rest of broth and wine.
Cover and cook another 5 minutes or until seafood is cooked.
Squeeze lemon over entire dish and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve straight from the pan. Serves 6.

You can play with the ingredients. The Spanish invented this dish to use up what you have. If you don’t eat meat, throw in other vegetables instead of the chicken and sausage. You can substitute the seafood if you don´t have or like all it calls for. It is a very versatile dish and it never comes out the same twice.


Join me on my adventures in the deserts of Arabia, castles in England, Badlands of Alberta, Spain’s sunny beaches, historic cities along the Danube and spooky buildings in New Mexico.

Thanks for having me as a guest,  Amanda Jane Ross


Darlene Foster is the creator of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. Darlene, an avid traveler herself, divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She loves trying different recipes and believes it is never too late to pursue your dreams.

Please help me out, I am confused!!  luxury-birthday-greetings-pictures-free-download-best-greetings-wonderful-animated-birthday-greetings-free-birthday-greetings-pictures-free-download, but to whom?  Will it be Amanda or Darlene???

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