The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Hey expats! We've got some family stuff going on this week, so I'm going to give you an oldie but a goodie. This recipe stemmed a lot of comments on and off the blog. It's great any time of the year, but when you're short on time, inclination, or imagination here's a great dinner option: Taco Rice!

Beautifully simple Taco Rice

So this week we are having Takoraisu: Taco Rice. I could make Taco Rice every week, and my family would happily kiss the rice cooker. We love Taco Rice so, so much. And you will, too, if you like tacos and rice. And since we're talking Japanese food, I don't mean octopus (tako in Japanese). 

But tacos and rice, you say? How can it be that easy? It can. It's not even saffron rice. Just plain ol' short-grained rice. But you can do the long grained thing if you're into that. 

Taco Rice is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. The tasty dish hails from Okinawa. Presumably American marines brought it to the islands, combining the beloved American taco with the beloved Okinawan rice. Another reason to love the US troops.

Here's our little Taco Rice story. While living in Japan, our family happened on a restaurant called Yummy. (There are always restaurants named something like Yummy in Japan. It's how Japan works). Yummy served a variety of Okinawan and Hawaiian style food in a sort of fast food type setting. 
Yummy's Bible
I like their style
Eldest daughter scanned the menu hanging on the wall. "I want taco rice." 

"Remember, you don't like octopus," I said. "You said it tastes like erasers." 

"No, look," she replied, pointing to the picture of a bowl with something like tortilla chips, cheese, and salsa spilling over the rim. (In Japan, there are always pictures or plastic replicas of food at restaurants. Very handy).

We bought her taco rice because we are obliging parents and eldest daughter always eats well.

Of course, we tried her taco rice and loved it. And she will forever remind us that we are indebted to her for introducing taco rice to our family. 

Tasty Kitchen also has a post on Takoraisu with beautiful pictures. I took Yummy's idea and made it my way.

Taco Rice

Hot cooked rice
Your favorite taco ingredients minus the tortillas or taco shells
Add your favorite taco ingredients on top of the hot cooked rice

How simple is that? 

More specifically:
I usually make 2 go of rice in my rice cooker, which equals about 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice. Make the amount of rice you normally use for a side dish.

Cooking the meat, onions
and seasoning
1 lb. of ground meat (turkey, beef, &/or pork)
chopped onion
taco seasoning

Cook the chopped onion and meat. Drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning as directed on the package.

Your favorite taco condiments (for example):
Adding the taco meat on top of the rice
shredded cheese
sour cream
sliced olives

chopped tomato
chopped lettuce
tortilla chips

Put whatever you like on top of the rice. It's not rocket science. 
Which is why I love Taco Rice. 
Enjoy! Salud! Kampai!

Monday, July 16, 2012

LITTLE READ HENS: For Book Lovers Who Love to Chat Books

Hey expats! I wanted to let everyone know about another blog I'm writing with some friends called THE LITTLE READ HENS. We have a site on Facebook at Little Read Hens where we'll host Wednesday chats on book topics. We'll take the discussion back to the Little Read Hen House at our website:

On Tuesdays we'll introduce you to new books and their authors. We'll have an announcement at the Facebook site where you can speak to the author and a link back to our website with more information about the book and author.

I hope you join us, especially if you love books! It should be a lot of fun with lively discussions. The first chat on Wednesday, July 18, will be on The List. What fictional characters would make your hottie list? 

Tomorrow, Tuesday July 17, we're hosting Terri L. Austin and her new mystery, DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS. Come meet the author and learn about this hilarious new mystery!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When Family Doesn't Want You to Move Abroad

Today at the ExPat Returneth, we have a helpful guest post by Melanie Slaugh for those of you preparing to move far from home. The hardest part of moving overseas is the separation from family and friends. The internet has made this situation easier, but skyping doesn't placate everyone. I think most expats have dealt with this situation, and I thank Melanie for these great tips.

Tips for Dealing with Family Who Don’t Want You to Move Abroad
Deciding to move abroad is an exhilarating feeling. The decision is not one that’s made lightly, and can open up an array of opportunities that you would have never been exposed to otherwise. However experiencing new countries and cultures isn’t something that everyone is on board with, and you can get a lot of flak from family members who are against you moving abroad. While you probably will never be able to fully convince everyone that what you’re doing is right for you, there are some ways you can deal with family who is against you moving abroad.
  1. Don’t react negatively to their negativity: By getting defensive you will only fuel their fire and start a war that doesn’t need to be fought. Instead remain calm, disagree with respect, and then move on to a safer topic. If they can’t get under your skin then there’s no basis for continuing the argument.
  2. Let them vent to you: Whether they just want to be heard, are scared for you, or are secretly jealous of the fact that you are able to take such a huge life risk, they likely want to at least tell you their feelings. Is it selfish? Yes. It’s your life and you should be free to make the decisions you want. However it will at least quell some of their misgivings if you hear out what they have to say.
  3. Do your research ahead of time so you are prepared to answer any questions they may have: At some point you’re probably going to be bombarded with questions about the country, its safety, what you’ll do for work, how you’re going to survive, if you’ll be in contact regularly, etc. Do you research ahead of time so that you are able to answer all of these questions knowledgeably. Knowing that you’ve done your homework and aren’t just leaving the country without a plan can help put worried family members at bay.
  4. Avoid voicing any concerns you have to them: While you may want to confide in your family members about any concerns you have about moving abroad, this will only give them fuel to continue to support the idea that you shouldn’t go. Instead talk to supportive friends or contact people you know who have already been through the moving abroad process and voice your concerns to them.
  5. Have family members come visit you: Either before you move or once you actually move abroad, invite skeptical family members to come visit the country with you. Being able to show them the country you are living in can help negative family members put a visual to where you’re going, and see how happy moving abroad makes you. 
No matter how supportive some people will be about your decision to move abroad, there will always be naysayers who disagree with your decision. However it is ultimately just that: your decision. Don’t let negativity sway you from reaching for your dreams, and deal with any negativity with tact and poise and armed with knowledge. At some point people will either begin to understand why you’re doing it or begin to trust that you know what’s best for you.
Author Bio
Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet service providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy Birthday to the US from the ExPat Returneth!
We'll be back next week. Enjoy your holiday & stay cool!