Thankful

This afternoon, I was scanning through Facebook while waiting in the car line. My feed is still filled with all things Fergueson. As someone who spent a good deal of time studying criminal justice and as the sister of a former police officer, my mind was screaming. Of course, that came to a halt when I picked Bria up. She had a thankful bag for Jack filled with various dry goods shared by his class. (Jack missed school today.) Of course she suggested that they share the bag since her thankful fruit cup was long gone. They laughed in the back seat as she found gummies in the shape of letters, “T” and “D.” They then made up their own “T.D.” song. Awesome sauce. Screaming it out at the top of their lungs. Here’s hoping everyone who heard them as we pulled off with the windows down assumed they were excited about Thanksgiving football. Unfortunately two little ones screaming those letters out of the back of the minivan sounded more to me like a young drunk on his first trip out to a strip club. I’m a good mom though so I didn’t point it out. It put a quick stop to me thinking I could save the world of our social ills anyway.

At home, I’ve started our Thanksgiving meal. I swear I think our kids like the night before as much as the day of Thanksgiving. It means movies and pizza while crazy mom makes a giant mess and sane Dad walks behind cleaning up the mess. This year, on the last island Thanksgiving, I’m feeling nostalgic. Arleigh has been helping me make Gran’s broccoli cheese rice casserole. She wanted to practice for her home ec class. (I do not need to hear from my mother or Susan Higdon about what I missed out on by taking media instead of home ec. I’m aware…) Anyway, it made me run to get the old brown apron out that is much shorter on me than it was on Gran. I’m also in bare feet running from here to there, talking to myself asking Arleigh if she understands what I’m doing and why just like she used to do for me. Saying things like, “The green broccoli and the red pimento just looks like Christmas.” That casserole, as horrible for you as it is, is my holiday comfort food. 

Since I have this handy phone, I thought I would share the recipe with you. It has changed a bit from the Cheez whiz and cream of everything soup that Gran used. That happens when 6 years of your life has been spent on islands and things aren’t always readily available. This is what works for us. 

I start with 3 cups of this stuff…

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Put it in 3 cups of boiling water and you somehow magically get 6 cups of cooked rice, exactly what you need in 5 minutes.

While the rice is settling, I dice and onion and a green pepper and saute it in butter. Arleigh was a little horrified by the amount…a stick but it mixes in with the rest of the casserole so it’s okay?

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As it gets tender and sweet in the pan, I pop a large bag of chopped broccoli in the microwave. About six minutes knocks the frost off.

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So, when the rice is cooked and onions and peppers are soft, I dump it all into my biggest stainless steel bowl. It doesn’t have to be a stainless steel bowl but it will taste better because that’s how Gran did it. Her favorite stainless steel bowl is now a sink in my mother’s house. (Sigh.) I’ll let you know how I feel about that another day. It is cute holding babies for first pictures but it’s hard to believe that no one will ever take corn off a cob in it again. Anyway, everyone in the pool with a few of my other favorite friends. 

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That would be a large jar of pimentos, drained; a small block of velveeta cheese hunked, and about 1/3 cup of cream. I also add some season salt and garlic powder to taste. I told you it’s not good for you. 

Mix it up. It’s heavy and you’ll get a workout. Then dump it into a 3-qt casserole that’s been sprayed with Pam. The final touch…I dump a sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers on top. 

Tomorrow I’ll bake this at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the top looks brown and bubbly. Because it will be in the fridge, it takes longer. If I wanted it tonight, it would be about 30 minutes. If you dare to make it on a weeknight, add some cubed chicken and it’s a delicious and very unhealthy meal. So good on a cold night with a green salad though. 

Today I’m thankful for my little ohana. I thankful for my kiddos that cook with me and help me clean up. I’m thankful I was blessed to have a grandmother who was patient enough to teach me to cook. I’m super thankful for this inanimate object…

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It’s Gran’s recipe box. My Dee-Di made it. I’m from the south. Don’t judge my grandfather by what we called him. He was so super talented and the recipes that fill it make me happy. There are some in Gran’s handwriting, some in my Mom’s and some in mine when I had just learned to print. I hope one day my children will be just as thankful for it.

So I’m curious, what dish has to be on your Thanksgiving table? 

 

Gran's Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
Serves 8
It's a rich side dish perfect for any and every holiday meal.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups prepared white rice
  2. 1 large bag of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  3. 1 stick of butter
  4. 1 onion, diced
  5. 1 green pepper, diced
  6. 1 large jar pimento, chopped
  7. 1 small block velveeta cheese, hunked
  8. 1/3 c heavy cream
  9. 1/4 t salt
  10. 1/4 t garlic powder
  11. 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large skillet, add onion and pepper and cook until soft. Add all ingredients except Ritz crackers to a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Spray a 3-quart casserole dish. Put mixture in, top with crushed crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly.
Okkar Lif http://www.stifffamily.com/
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Monday May Or May Not

Over the weekend I was thinking about a may or may not post. Like I may or may not post a “May Or May Not Monday” post every Monday. Monday may or may not have gotten away from me. So I may or may not be posting on a Tuesday… you see where I’m going with this. Anyway, I think I’ll give it a try.

Ray thinks Haole is dumber than a box of rocks. I think Haole may or may not be brilliant because she may or may not have jumped off the back of the sofa, landed on a remote and changed the channel off of High School Musical. In fact I think she may be brilliant!

Our fridge may or may not be broken the week of Thanksgiving. No. Seriously. It might be, we’re trying to decide if the maintained temperature is stable. I may or may not be hosting 25 people for Thanksgiving. This may or may not be a serious issue. I may or may not be freaking out over here a bit.

We may or may not have broken out sweatshirts because the temp dipped to 75 this morning. You may or may feel sorry for us.

This may or may not be my new favorite meme…

I may or may not pay for that dearly when I’m sitting in a frozen tundra next year. Sigh….

I may or may not have taken my favorite teenager (I can only say that for a few more months) to the premier of Mockingjay. Another bonus of island life is that premiers happen at 8 p.m. on a Thursday instead of midnight. Arleigh may or may not soon realize that she won’t be able to go to the next premier. 

Jack may or may not be singing “The Hanging Tree” from the new Mockingjay movie ALL THE TIME. It may or may not also be stuck in my head. “Are you, are you comin’ to the tree…” If you’ve seen the movie it may or may not now be stuck in your head too. 

I may or may not have threatened repeatedly to wear a shirt that says “I’m Finnicky” to the movie with a bag of sugar cubes. Arleigh may or may not have been completely disturbed. If you don’t understand this statement you may or may not need to read the books. 

Christmas may or may not have come early this year. I may or may not have lost my mind a little. Sweet friends waited in line to surprise our little ohana with a poster signed by Eddie Aikau’s family. I may or may not have lost it a little when I opened it. 

I may or may not have nearly teared up when I was telling Ray about it, thinking about hanging it in our new house. I may or may not be a dork. There may or may not be surf in D.C. (There is not and I am sad.) I may or may not have this to look at and sigh remembering three years spent in paradise. 

I may or may not have just let it out of the bag…our orders will not be sending us back to Tidewater like we expected. Ray will be going to BUMED in D.C. I may or may not have a lot of research to do. 

You may or may not have liked this post. You may or may not want to comment to tell me so you may or may not read more like them…

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When Tire Rotations Are A Blessing

I am currently sitting in a Starbucks waiting for my tires to be rotated. I planned ahead. I have my coffee, my Southern Living and my iPad. I’m ready to tackle Thanksgiving. I know. It’s a hard life.

Sitting here texting a friend, I’ve decided I need to forget Southern Living and Coastal Living. I need my own magazine… Military/Redneck Living. I promise I can whip up a meal that will make you want to go back for seconds and dare I say, thirds. My pie will not look like this.

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My friend who happens to be in charge of pies says no Yankee can make that. Apparently rednecks can’t either.

I won’t be keeping a side dish playbook but I can explain at length how to group text a bunch of military spouses to find out what their Thanksgiving strength is and show you how to put together a meal fit for royalty.

What the heck is this squash casserole that kids will want to eat.

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While I might be tempted to try it, that would not fool my kids. In spite of my best efforts yellow squash is in Bria’s words, “squishy” and the best I can hope for is that they choke it down. I love squash. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but an artful display of goldfish would not a delicious side make in my children’s eyes.

That 1-800 number at the top… Yeah I could’ve used that 18 years ago. It was the first time I made Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hot mess! Just ask my mother. I stayed up all night making a homemade bread cornucopia filled with ham biscuits and struggled with a turkey. I made the worst stuffing that has ever been made. I was up at 4 a.m. and therefore evil. Seriously. I was the devil. Bless my parents and Ray. They choked it all down and then we went to a movie. I think I was in bed by 8 and happy as a clam on Black Friday.

Anyway, that 1-800 number is for amateurs. It’s for your first few Thanksgivings navigating rough waters. The number to call for a seasoned Thanksgiving cook is 1-800 CPT MRGN. You might have heard of the 1-800 MOR WINE number but it always causes headaches.

Navy families have an average of 4-6 kids. That means Thanksgiving is a Lord Of The Flies scenario. You must be prepared for children and single sailors. I got this.

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Roasted garlic cauliflower soup with tureens and bowls aren’t happening. Pimento cheese on celery stalks is a much for feasible appetizer. You can pop it in your mouth and catch a football.

So I’m off to plan our last Hawaiian Thanksgiving. Sigh. It will be child and single sailor friendly. There will lots of pop up tables and pie. Football is a must. It will be perfect for us. I’ve learned in my old age that when it comes to holiday gatherings it’s best to set a bar, but not to high. A low bar means our little navy ohana can soar over it. Wish me luck!

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I’ve Been Reduced To This

My day started this morning with Bria screaming that we forgot real shoes. In Hawaii that basically means tennis shoes. There was an evacuation drill at school. Of course it wasn’t a PE day for the littles so that meant a rushed trip home for socks and sneakers.

Jack wasn’t a fan of school today because he spent the day with me yesterday. Ray thinks I spend every day on the computer or surfing. It’s a little closer to the truth than I care to admit. (Not the surfing part. I don’t get to go that often.) Jack thinks I go to the eye doctor and then shopping to the Disney Store and the Lego Store. He was pretty keen on a celebratory lunch too.

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After yesterday, school didn’t seem like a great idea and Wednesday was starting to feel a whole lot like a Monday to both of us. (sigh)

It was off to my Bootcamp class even though I felt like an elephant is sitting on my chest and there must be tampons shoved up my nose. I just haven’t found them yet. It’s that or I have the cold Arleigh was nursing last week. Okay, it’s just a cold. It was also my trainers birthday and there was a promise of 42 burpees in honor of her special day. I’ll be 42 this year but burpees are not on my wish list thank you very much! I suffered through and kept reminding myself it’s her birthday you have to try.

I’m getting to the point. I returned home a hot mess, literally and figuratively! That is how I came to be reduced to this.

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I promised Bria that we would walk home from school today. After Bootcamp and a walk up and down that hill and those two little pills, I’m pretty sure a slight fever was breaking. It was just in time for me to sit in a carline waiting for Arleigh, Hanan and Kiana. We got there early and the air was on. I warned the little people of the monster lurking under the surface and asked them to keep it down. That’s when it happened…

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at the front of the car line. I wasn’t just asleep. I was passed completely out, mouth slack, drool a solid possibility. I heard the click of the sliding door when Hanan hopped into the van. I nearly jumped out of my skin!

So that’s what I’ve been reduced to. I
sent Ray a text telling him what I thought happened. He sent this text back “Hey! Look it! Auntie’s sleepin’!”

Yep. That’s me sleepin’ Auntie! Guess I have to get to work now.

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The Silent Door

Today was a long, crazy, happy, rushed sort of normal day. The point is, I wasn’t at home. In fact until late in the afternoon I wasn’t home. Imagine that. I didn’t get home until much later than usual with the deliver dinner for a new baby and find water bottles and Jack’s eye appointment and some much needed retail therapy.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I turned on my DVR to watch Supernatural (don’t judge) after the little people were tucked into bed and saw something called “The Secret Door.”

My first thought was Arleigh was watching a Hallmark Channel movie and recorded the end to watch after she got home from babysitting. My first thought was, as usual, WRONG!

Curiosity killed the cat or started the recording… It was, I believe a Japanese murder mystery with subtitles and everything…

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It got better with the commercials.

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You’ll have to take my word for it.

I started to interrogate accuse question the witnesses children. They had the perfect culprit. Straight out of Arleigh’s mouth, “It had to be Tye!”

Well played, brother of mine. Well played. I know I’ve heard that the dead can speak through the living through electronics but I have no idea what you might be saying… Except for your usual “quit taking it all so seriously.” I hear you. Now let me get on with my Supernatural. (I said don’t judge!)

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His Eyes

This guy… the one that is totally obsessIMG_0039ed with all things Infinity and Big Hero 6…the one that tried to lead singing at church the last two Sundays…the one who was VERY upset that I didn’t prepare a home lunch for him this morning because I’m out of bread…and cheese…and fruit… and I’ll stop with the grocery list… he’s due to have his eyes checked tomorrow. Jack is actually due for lots of checks. I think I avoid them out of laziness and deep desperation for him to be a normal kid. Anyway, another eye check tomorrow. He LOVES Dr. Young. I’m sure Jack will be excited to fill him in on Baymax. It still makes this Mama’s heart a little nervous about what we’ll hear. If you think about it, say a little prayer for all of us tomorrow that we stay on the right track. I’m sure a trip to the Disney Store will be in order when we’re finished.

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