Friday, October 5, 2012

Grits Casserole

I took this dish to an early morning Notre Dame tailgate (aka, Kegs 'n Eggs), where it was surprisingly well-received.  Most people shuddered in disgust at the mere mention of this southern comfort food, but they did say they were willing to try it.  Ddespite being a major part of America's bread basket and major corn grower, grits are not part of the Indiana palate.  In fact, I had to have my mother send me grits to make this because I couldn't find them in the stores there (well, not anything other than instant ones).  This recipe is pretty easy to modify, and I will include some of those modifications at the end.  Hope y'all like it as much as we do!

Grits Casserole
1 cup of grits (cook one cup grits to 4 cups of water)
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup, each, green pepper and onion, sauteed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

After grits have cooked, mix all remaining ingredients into the pot of hot grits; stir well to combine. Pour into a greased 2qt. casserole (or 9x13, or 11x14) dish. Bake, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and set in the middle.

Notes: Turkey sausage or spicy sausage can be used in place of regular breakfast sausage.  Also, I like to use a mix of red and green peppers for more color.  I always use more cheese, but that's a personal preference.  This can be made the day/night before, just be sure you allow extra time for it to heat all the way through.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So I tried to write this blog post last year and I never did figure out just how to say what I wanted to say.  When I wake in the morning, it will be the 6th year I have been without my dad.  I think of him everyday, even if just for a minute.   Actually, I have tried many times.  I never feel like I can do him or the topic justice.  Certainly there are things he has missed (i.e. meeting his three grandchildren, seeing the first black man (re?) elected president, all the cool technology).  There are also things I am glad he hasn't seen: the Braves' epic meltdown at the end of last season; that college sports are still more important than college education; and the way people who are different than us are still treated as second-class citizens.

Just about this time six years ago, I told my dying father that his line would be carried on--I was pregnant with his first grandchild.  He and my step-mother were the only two people (besides myself and hubby) that knew we were expecting.  Now, it was early enough in my pregnancy that I didn't know if I would make it through the first trimester or not.  Despite my own fear of loss and miscarriage (which clearly, thank heavens, didn't happen) I wanted my dad to know that I was pregnant.  I couldn't be with him the last few days or even hours of his life.  Honestly, I don't think I would have handled it very well. I like to think that I gave him one last gift of joy before he was gone from the earth.
I think about him everyday, most especially when I look at that first grandchild, Nathan.  He likes black jelly beans best of all, like my dad.  He is curious about everything, and wants to know how everything works, like my dad.  I see him everywhere I look: food; baseball; politics; college sports; Charleston, S.C.; human and civil rights; films (most recently Moneyball); family. His spirit is here with me, in my heart, everyday.  Sometimes it lives in Nathan, and now at times in Keira.  But mostly, he is in my heart--telling me to speak up and speak out; to try new things; to be brave.  And in my heart is where he shall stay.