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Remembering and Giving Thanks

 

One of the things I am always grateful for on Thanksgiving is all those in service to our country. I expand ‘service’ from just our armed forces to police, firefighters, and all first-responders.

Whether in the field or on base, even if dinner is served by the President of the United States, celebrating Thanksgiving away from home has to be difficult, even lonely.

Last year around this time, I did a post on What Soldiers Eat. While I mentioned what many soldiers get to eat on Thanksgiving Day, the post really focused on what soldiers in the field and on duty in the field eat everyday. They eat MRE, which stands for Meals-Ready-to-Eat.

If you did not see it or read about it last year, I highly recommend you click the link above and have a look-see. It is an eye-opening and very interesting report. It certainly was for me.

And while the food today’s soldiers eat is a far cry from the bug ridden hard cookies that soldiers ate during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars it still is not a sit down meal surrounded by family and loved ones.

For this year I have a round-up of stories of how a few communities are remembering their soldiers at this time of year.

In Morgan Mill, Texas soldiers get a small-town Thanksgiving.

Morgan Mill has served up Thanksgiving for the community in an old school gym for twenty years. Several years ago they began inviting the soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Hood since they cannot be with their own families.

It has been a huge success for everyone. The kids play on the playground with soldiers pushing carousels and climbing on jungle gyms amid shrieks of laughter from the children.

It isn’t just the appreciation and fun, it is a chance to get a home made Thanksgiving dinner:

“Oh, the food was amazing! It feels good to get a home cooked meal,” Specialist Brian Rodriguez said.

[snip…..]

“It gives us an opportunity to reflect on how truly blessed we are,” said superintendent Dean Edwards.

Little blessings for the soldiers.

 

In Aiken, South Carolina it is pretty much the same, Soldiers Are Treated to Thanksgiving Dinner.

Richard Johnson Jr., the community relations officer of near-by Fort Gordonsaid:

….he knows the comfort that a home-cooked meal can give someone who’s away from home, and he wanted these soldiers to know that Post 212 appreciated their service.

Soldiers partaking in the dinner felt that thankfulness.

“I feel so appreciated and loved right now,” said Pfc. J’Waun Walker with a smile.

Post Commander Robert Ryan thought it was a great idea and said he wouldn’t mind seeing this become an annual event.

[snip…..]

The soldiers themselves were overwhelmed by the hot meal of turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, green beans, candied yams and cranberry sauce complete with cake and pumpkin pie prepared and served by Thelma Edwards and others, all friends of the post.

“This is great,” said Pvt. Tamatha Perez. “It’s almost like being at home.” [Emphasis mine.]

For those of us who eat and celebrate Thanksgiving in the comfort of our homes surrounded by family, friends, and the familiar it is good to remember and to thank those who help protect us and all our freedoms.

 

Featured Recipe       Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole
What To Do With All the Left Overs

The age-old problem for those of us who fix turkey for Thanksgiving is what to do with all of the leftovers besides the inevitable turkey sandwich.

This is a super delicious casserole to make with your left over turkey. The fact that it is also quick and easy has nothing to do with it.

This is a Gooseberry recipe from the Homestyle Family Favorites cookbook.

But don’t limit yourself to making this only at Thanksgiving. It makes a wonderful casserole any time and with chicken too.

This is what you will need for 4-6 servings:

2 cups cooked turkey

1 box long grain and wild rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 6 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 cup celery (about 3 large stalks)

1 cup red pepper (about 1 large pepper)

Here is what you do:

Cook the rice according to package directions.

NOTE: I let the rice cool a little bit after cooking. It does not have to be cold, but I have discovered  it is best to let it cool a bit before adding to the other ingredients.

NOTE 2: I am not much for measuring everything for this recipe. I just put in what I got. I do not know if the piece of turkey shown above is 2 cups or not. It is what I have left over.

After washing the veggies slice the celery. Cut the pepper into fourths and remove the seeds and heavy membrane. Then cut each fourth into slices and dice the pepper. Place into a large bowl.

Dice or tear apart the left over turkey into bite size pieces. Since I was using left over breast I sliced it, then just tore the slices into pieces and added to the bowl with the veggies.

I think the irregular pieces of turkey look much prettier than a perfect dice. Plus I don’t have to use a knife and you all know about my 5th grade cutting problems.

Then drain the can of mushrooms and add them to the bowl. Also add the cream of mushroom soup. I mix it here because it makes it easier when you add the rice later on. Besides, it gives me some thing to do while I wait for the rice to finish cooking besides justtwiddling my thumbs and whistling Dixie.

Spray or lightly grease the baking pan.

NOTE: The ideal baking pan size is 11×7 inches. I don’t have that exact size so I use a slightly bigger one and adjust the cooking time slightly downward. You aren’t really cooking anything anyway. Mostly just heating and allowing the veggies to soften some what. And as long time readers here know I like my veggies crisp anyway so 30 minutes of oven time is generally enough for me.

Add the rice to the bowl and mix well.

Then spread the ingredients into the greased baking pan.

Cover and bake in a 350 degree over for 30-40 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven: Look at the red and green in this dish!!!  It looks so festive; a preview of the Christmas holiday to come.

Serve with left over cranberry sauce or a salad.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

2 cups cooked turkey*                     $0.00             

1 box long grain&wild rice                $2.19

1 can cream mushroom soup            $0.49

1 6 ounce can mushrooms                $0.99

1 cup celery                                    $0.24

1 cup red pepper                             $0.79

Total cost = $4.70
Cost per person (4) = $1.18
Cost per person (6) = $0.78

*Since this is leftovers, technically no cost in this recipe. This piece of turkey breast was a little more than half-a-pound. At $0.69 a pound it would add about $0.35 to the total cost of this recipe.

Quote of the Day

Got no check books, got no banks. Still I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night.

Irving Berlin

eeeee

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