Friday, September 26, 2014

Foodie Friday #2: Fried Rice and Egg Rolls

One thing I absolutely love is cooking. I love being able to spend some time in my kitchen (even though it is SUPER tiny) and create dishes for my family to enjoy. My dad seems to really enjoy my fried rice lately. I knew he liked the egg rolls, but he actually asked for the fried rice twice in one week. To me, that screams WINNER!!!

This is a super easy dinner to make and really yummy.
What you will need is:

For the Egg Rolls:

  • 3/4 to 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bag Broccoli Slaw (12 oz)
  • Egg Roll Wrappers  (I prefer Nasoya)
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Fried Rice:
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (I used white, but brown would work also)
  • 2 cups liquid-- sometimes I will use chicken broth, other time water
  • 1 chicken breast-- diced
  • 2 eggs + a dash of milk
  • soy sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce (I bought mine at Aldi)
  • pepper to taste
The first thing  I do is start cooking the rice since it will take the most time.

Then I  cook the broccoli slaw. I wilt it down a little bit not to much because I want it to have a bit of a bite before I put the egg rolls in the deep fryer. (These can be baked, but  I LOVE crispy egg rolls.) Once the broccoli slaw is finished,  I scoop it into a bowl to wait for whatever protein I chose to use to cook. Most of the time I do chicken egg rolls, but the last time was ground beef-- My family LOVED them.
Next step was cooking the ground beef through. I wasn't too concerned if some of the meat wasn't completely cooked because I knew they would cook some more in the deep fryer. When the beef was ready I added it to the broccoli slaw and combined it. 

Fry the egg rolls in batches of three for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with a little salt. This recipe will make 9 nice sized egg rolls and you'll have some leftover mix for another meal.

 (Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the egg rolls after I fried them.)

While waiting for the rice to finish cooking, go ahead and brown the diced chicken breast adding a little bit of sweet and sour sauce and a tiny pinch of salt and pepper. (Don't use too much salt because the soy sauce in the rice is salty.) When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, set it aside to add to the fried rice a little later.

Once the rice is ready, I can go ahead and start  scrambling my egg in the frying pan.(I use the same pan that I used for the meat and slaw to save on clean up and add a little extra flavor to the rice.) I start my scrambled egg in a bowl mixed with a little bit of milk. I stir it with a fork to make sure the yolk is completely broken and incorporated with the white so the egg looks like a creamy yellow mix. I put the frying pan on medium high heat and continually stir it with a wooden spoon to get the eggs nice and fluffy. When the egg is fluffy, add the rice and soy sauce and mix everything together. Shortly before plating everything, add the chicken to the rice and combine.

This dish is super easy and really delicious. From start to finish it probably takes about 45 minutes to cook, and that may be an over estimation. The longest cooking item is the rice, but if you use rice from a previous meal that will cut your cooking time down even more. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend.

There is some news that when you hear it, it hits you like a ton of bricks, a piano  and a wrecking ball all rolled into one huge terrible thing, and you don't want to believe it. You don't want to know that what you've heard is actually the truth. There is news so terrible that when you hear it, all you want to do is curl up into a ball and ignore that anything like that could have possible happened.  On 8 September 2014, just 12 days ago really, I received news I never expected. A very dear friend of mine, a girl I met my senior year of university, expectantly passed away. Erica was gone.

I met Erica the first week of her freshman year at Freed-Hardeman University, my senior year. She lived catty corner from me in Bradfield Hall. My roommate Amber and I were in room 105, Erica in 104. Erica and I bonded fairly quickly when we learned just how much the other loved musical theater. Erica already knew she wanted to major in Music and I was stubbornly sticking to History. Erica told me all about Lycans and showed me the board she used to post on about Lycans and Vampires way before they became "cool" again. She became so much more than just a friend, she became a little sister. It seemed completely natural for us to find a duet to sing for my final recital at FHU. We chose to sing For Good from the new musical Wicked. (At the time we choose to sing it, Wicked had only been out for a little less than 2 years.) Erica would sing Glinda's part and I was singing Elphaba's. We had found out early in the year how well our voices would blend with a silly song from Disney's Out of the Box called Until We Meet Again,  and knew we could sing For Good together.

On the day of our recital, Erica and I were the last ones to perform, which can be extremely nerve wracking, but we were excited. After I sang my solo, which I can't remember what it was at this time, Erica joined me and we sang. We sang like we were really Glinda and Elphaba, pink bubble and green skin. We sang that song like Witches who would always cherish the memories created with one another. We sang that song like sisters who knew we wouldn't see each other again. After we finished singing and our voice teacher dismissed everyone, we immediately turned around and started crying. All of the emotions we were desperately trying to hold in while we were singing, unleashed and all we could do was cry.

When I heard that Erica was gone, that Erica had died, all I could do was cry. I was sitting at my computer at work on a break, checking my Facebook news feed, and I saw the message from Erica's mom. My heart stopped for a moment. My breath caught in my lungs and I couldn't breathe. The only thought going through my head was "No! No! No!" I didn't want to believe it, but I knew it was true.

My heart is heavy and some days are even harder than others, but Erica wouldn't want me to be sad. She is in Heaven singing praises to our Father with the angels. I know that one day I will see Erica again and our voices will blend as we sing praises to the King.

"It well may be, that we will never meet again, in this lifetime. 
So let me say before we part
So much of me is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have rewritten mine,
by being my friend. . ."
--from Wicked the Musical

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Should You Exist?"

*originally posted 11/12/2012 on a blog I have since merged into this one.*

I recently had someone ask me, "Do you think your parents shouldn't have married and had you?" I looked at this person and quickly exclaimed, "You can't ask me that! That's like asking me if I think I should be allowed to exist!!" See, this friend only saw the romantic ideas about interracial dating and relationships. She was looking at how cool it is to date outside your race and how it would be different from what her family expected. She was not looking at it from the perspective of a potential child in that situation. She wasn't looking at it from MY eyes.

After a few moments of a stony silence, I started talking again. I was brutally honest. I sat there and I flat out told her the good, the bad and the VERY VERY ugly moments that can happen in a multiracial family.

So I told her that sometimes I did wish my parents were the same race. She looked at me like I had grown a second head. I told her how I was 8 before I heard or met someone else who had a white mom and a black dad. I told her of the loneliness I had because I didn't know anyone like me. I told her how it felt to go to the park and have kids call me "Zebra" and "Oreo" when they saw my family together. I told her about children being taught to hate at young ages who would call me a "white n*****". I told her about friends who were allowed to play with me one day and not the other. I laid it all out there for her to see.

I also told her about the time I was walking home from a friends house when I was probably 10 or 11 years old. Our street had been under construction (I think they were getting ready to pave it) and I saw a "MISSING CHILD" sign on the barricade to my street. My parents had always taught me to look at the missing children posters and see if it's a kid I knew, so I walked up to the sign to read it. The words on that sign have haunted me ever since. I can't look at those posters the same anymore because in the back of my mind, I'm terrified it will be the same racist message I found as a child. On the poster was a little blond headed, blue eyed boy and the caption said, "MISSING: THIS CHILD'S HOPE FOR A FUTURE. BECAUSE OUR WHITE WOMEN KEEP MARRYING BLACK MEN." I remember crying as I tore that poster off the barricade and going home to talk with my mom. That moment has always lingered in my memory.
 Looking back at it now that I'm an adult, I have come to realize that whoever placed that sign on the barricade to my street had to have known my family lived there. It would be way too much of a coincidence that the only sign I saw with that message was on the barricade to my street when there were multiple barricades in the neighborhood. 

I told her of random people looking at me and flat out asking me, "WHAT ARE YOU?!" and knowing "human female" was not the answer they wanted. Of people who ask me to check for bumps on the base of my skull and people trying to figure me out. Teachers who flat out called me a "mulatto" to my face. I have had to deal with people thinking they could say all they want to me because I didn't fit what they wanted me to be.

All my life I have been forced to defend my right to be on this planet. I have been forced to accept how people want to identify me. I have been pigeon-held into forms that tell me that I have to only "pick one" race when there are multiple races inside me. By filling out forms they want me to, I have been forced to try to smother half of me-- to pretend that part of me doesn't exist. To hide who I am, to hide my family from the world. 
I was ecstatic when in 2000 the census forms allowed me to mark more than one option to finally be allowed to define myself as I am an not try to fit someone else's mold. I could finally define myself. Then I learned that how I fill out a form is still subject to how someone else decides to interpret the form. Just because I make both Caucasian and African American, it doesn't mean the form will be read that way. Whoever enters the data has the final say.

I'm still fighting this battle. Now it's with the Human Resources. In a county where multiracial people are EVERYWHERE, I still can't get HR to add a category for us. When I looked at my Human Resources profile, I was disappointed to see that they marked "WHITE" for my race. I am not just a White woman. I am also a BLACK woman. I am a beautiful combination of two races and when I tried to get them to change what they had on my file, my options were: 1-have them mark me down as being BLACK only, 2-- leave it as WHITE or 3-- have HR change my ethnicity to OTHER.

I AM NOT AN OTHER!!!!!  I am a human being. I'm not some ET looking, Star Trek turtle shell wearing humanoid from the Klingon Empire. I am a BIRACIAL woman who should be able to identify myself they way I choose. 

When I asked HR why they were unable to identify me the way I identify myself, they told me that they couldn't make a new category in the system. A new category? Interracial marriage has been legal in all 50 states since 1967 when the Supreme Court brought down the decision in Loving v. Virgina (388 U.S. 1) reversing years of laws against multiracial marriages. So, if interracial marriages have been completely LEGAL since 1967,then why in 2010 was I told that the system couldn't create a new category for those of us who identify as multiple races?! Oddly enough, marriages often produce children. It's not like I'm the first multiracial person to walk the planet. I can't be the only one to question this policy.

I know it looks like I'm angry and hate being multiracial, but I don't. I love being unique and I love both of my families very much. I wouldn't change being multiracial for anything in the world. I can't imagine just having one race in my family, one kind of blood in my veins. I couldn't chose a better family to be a part of and I know that if both my parents were the same race, I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't exist. Sure my parents may have had children with different spouses, but none of those children would have been me. So, would I change anything. NO. Not for all the money, prestige and material possessions in this world. I love who I am. The things I dealt with growing up made me the woman I am today. I wouldn't change them at all. 

Also, I acknowledge that multiracial children growing up today won't face the same things multiracial children did in the 1980's and 1990's. Multiracial children are much more abundant now. I see so many kids on a daily basis who are multiracial it fills my heart. Those kids will grow up with each other and know that they are not alone in the world. They will have amazing support systems and other people they can relate to. They are growing up in a changed world. They will have other issues to deal with that I didn't deal with as a kid, but this one-- being multiracial in a mono-racial world is not something they will suffer through. 

So if you ask me if I would recommend an interracial relationship, I'll be the first one to say YES! Maybe it's selfish. I mean if I said no, I would be telling the world that I shouldn't exist. Dating or marrying someone of a different race than yourself is not something to take lightly. Both partners need to sit down and figure out if it's something they can handle. It won't be all sunshine and roses. Being in an interracial family is hard work. You'll have people who hate you just because your family isn't mono-racial. You can and probably will hear harsh words and see things that you wouldn't want to see. The children may have a rough road ahead, but your family will be stronger.