What If? & Another Game Day Recipe-NOT Wings

My winning recipe as photographed in Taste of Home Magazine

My winning recipe as photographed in Taste of Home Magazine

What if I had called him that day? What if he had accepted the invitation to visit his aunt, and cousins who were in Wilmington? What if he never elected to his extend his stay in the military? The questions come fast and furious following my son’s death in a car accident. What if it could have been prevented? There will always be more questions than answers and that is what makes the loss and the grief journey so prolonged.

Every griever has their own unique set of questions. Of course the answer I search for is that he would be alive. He’d be home and hanging out like usual. He was supposed to be done with the navy in March 2011. Trust me I tried to convince him to not extend his stay, but he, like always, came up with a good defense. “It’s like this mom. My brothers are going to be deployed one more time and I need to be with them. If anything ever happens to them and I am not there I could never forgive myself.” He makes me so proud to be his mom. And for the friends and brothers who knew him you could not have a more loyal and committed player on your team.

DSCN2396 IMG_0156 Keys and the boys at shirgazay

This Sunday is the Super Bowl. It’s the biggest game day ever for all kinds of chicken wing recipes and Buffalo this or that. But “what if” you arrive at the grocery store to find chicken wings selling for $4.69/pound (highway robbery) versus boneless/skinless chicken thighs and breasts for $1.99/pound? I’ll tell ya in our house we ain’t havin’ no wings—no questions asked.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Rolls

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves pound to a 1/4-inch thickness

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons blue cheese (or any good melting cheese you like)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup red pepper sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)

2 cups crushed cornflakes

Heat oven 400F. Lightly grease a foil lined baking sheet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place 1-tablespoon blue cheese on the center of each chicken breast. Fold in sides and roll chicken around blue cheese. Secure with wooden picks. Mix mayonnaise and red pepper sauce. Brush each chicken roll with mayonnaise mixture and roll in cornflakes to coat. Place chicken rolls on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 

Note: 
Remove wooden picks before serving

Good Grief, Good Deeds & Super Bowl Beer Bread

Super Bowl Beer Bread with horseradish cheddar

Super Bowl Beer Bread with horseradish cheddar

Us grievers live on a roller coaster of emotions. It is a scary ride. One second we are up and the next second we are down. We feel out of control. It is just the way it is. It is normal. If you are new to grief then most likely you are spending more time sad than happy. Trust me that is going to change. Eventually there will be more smiles than tears. It’s a promise. I am happy to be the voice of hope. This ride is going to get better.

Let the grief happen. Take however long it takes. Use your instincts to get through it or  counseling or a bereavement group. Whatever it takes. Always keep in my mind that your loved ones want you to go on, live your life and be OK. Honor them by doing just that. It’s hard work. Remember you are stronger than you think. You CAN do this.

Suddenly, without warning, change happens. At least that is the way it was for me. I did not recognize it at first. I am the same person, but I am different. It is a transformation. I am smiling more. I am laughing and not feeling guilty about it. I am engaging in activities and having fun. When the heck did that happen? My William is happy about this. I just know it.

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A smiling toast to you William

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It’s OK to have a princess party

Somehow, our brains and hearts learn to adapt. It must be some kind of evolutionary survival thing. The pain is still there. I expect and accept it will always be, but it is as if it is tucked away in a safety deposit box. Like a precious piece of jewelry only to be worn on special occasions.

Talk about special occasions today is the day I announce the winner of my, “This is for Meghan” good deed give away. Thanks to everyone who did an act of kindness in her honor. Your support has meant a great deal to her dad. Congratulations to Louis Matino for winning the Cuisinart Griddler.

Another special occasion coming up is the Super Bowl, so I am sharing a great game day recipe. Instead of serving the usual crackers and crostini at this year’s party try making this easy quick bread. Made with whole wheat flour (healthy) and beer (any brew will do), its perfect slices make a great platform for cheese spreads and sandwiches. Did I mention it has beer in it?…….a football party staple. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Quick Whole Wheat Beer Bread

1 ½ cups  100% whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Asian five spice

1 (12 oz) bottle of beer

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven 375F.  Spray 8×4 or 9×5-inch loaf pan with no-stick baking spray. In large bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spice. Add beer, all at once, and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened; do not over mix. Spoon batter evenly into loaf pan. Drizzle or brush melted butter evenly over the top.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown on top and instant read thermometer measures about 205F. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Note: this recipe is adapted from Heckers