Not Your Mama’s Sriracha Chili Meatloaf … and Feminism

Sriracha Chili Meatloaf and Buttery Lemon Asparagus

One of the most powerful things we can do as women is  to unleash our mad cooking skills.

Yes, I’m a feminist. Being a feminist does NOT mean that I can’t work cooking magic; it means I can. It just means it’s my choice to share my talents with the world–or at least the 4 people I love most. It means if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. But I want to, so I do.

I have found that meatloaf goes a long way towards smoothing things over after an argument. Did you know about the magical powers of meatloaf? If you didn’t know, it’s perhaps the fault of the cafeteria-style meatloaf experiences you’ve had in the past. This is NOT that!

I also must admit that since the price of beef has skyrocketed to almost $7 a pound (a pound, people!) I have been mixing beef and ground pork (I don’t like ground turkey.). But this time, I used pure beef. Because luxury.

I experimented with the glaze and it was amazing.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf:

5 pounds ground beef

1 jalapeno, chopped

1 can green chilies

1 package Knorr’s Beef Broth

2 tsp. dried onions

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

Seasoning to taste.

Glaze:

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sriracha chili sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 375.

In a blender, add the vegetables, milk, bread crumbs, broth, egg and spices. Liquefy.

In a big bowl, put the hamburger in. Pour the blender mixture on top. Mix thoroughly.

Place into a large baking pan. Smooth out so it doesn’t look weird.

In another small bowl, mix the glaze. Pour on top of the meat loaf.

Bake for about an hour or until the middle is clear.

A Letter to My Father

Tina Bausinger

My favorite pic of Dad. My favorite pic of Dad.

Dear Dad,

How are you? I haven’t spoken to you in a while. Well, not where you could hear it anyway. There was a time when I spoke out loud while I walked around your tiny house, in the rooms you painted and decorated, because I felt your presence so strong and tangible I could feel it. I apologized for not selling your house right away like you asked. I couldn’t, you see. I didn’t have time enough to say goodbye. I needed more time.

I went to your grave and talked to you also. That felt empty and not nearly as satisfying. I knew in my heart that you weren’t there anymore. That an empty shell was the only thing that remained. A shiny brass marker with a permanent vase, placed neatly upon a too-green square of grass–that was even less you. But even…

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Tyler Morning Telegraph – A Texan in Shanghai: On self-reliance, humanity and budding democracy

My article about democracy in China.

 

Tyler Morning Telegraph – A Texan in Shanghai: On self-reliance, humanity and budding democracy.

The Top 10 TV Dads EVER!!

Tina Bausinger

When I was growing up in the 1980s, summer smelled like coconuts, sweet tea and chlorine. I watched a TON of TV, especially on summer break. About 95% of my TV viewing occurred mostly in my swimsuit because I migrated back and forth between the public pool and tv. I would stay at the pool with my best friends from noon to 6:00 p.m. when the pool closed. I even reasoned that it was a waste of time to shower because everybody knows the chemicals in the pool water completely sanitize both the water and everybody in it. Also, I would like to point out that sunscreen was not even invented, and I’m here to tell you that even if it WAS invented nobody would have used it back then because everyone wanted to be TAN. Nothing signifies the beginning of summer quite like a second degree sunburn. Who would…

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An Open Letter to Judy Blume

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Dear Judy,

So many times as a kid I wanted to write you. To me, you were like the “cool” aunt–somebody who understood me much better than I imagined my mother did. I’m not sure why I never did it, so I’m taking a moment to do that now.

Thank you for your books. Thank you for your frank point of view–you seemed to really get me. Perhaps you also had a bit of a hard time during your teens–but then most teens feel they have a hard time.

Thankfully, I never had to hide your books from my parents. They were pretty okay with me reading whatever I wanted. I began with Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I loved that Margaret was much like me–worrying about getting my first period and the time it was taking for my boobs to grow in, hoping and praying my best friend wasn’t first! The horror! Isn’t that funny–what was I so excited about? Turns out, like a lot of things, it was a lot better in theory than in real life. I also learned a bit about Jewish culture (and New Jersey!) from Margaret. Growing up in small town Arkansas, I didn’t know any Jewish kids, and you showed me a glimpse into a girl who was very much like me. You helped open my mind to other viewpoints and lifestyles from my white bread, rural, Southern Baptist life. Nobody would have expected a children’s author to tread into such deep theological territory, but you did.Thank you for that.

Deeny was another favorite. Deeny explained to me a bit about scoliosis, which I was to develop a few years later, although very minor in comparison. My daughter as well has been diagnosed with it, and Deeny’s experience resonated in my mind. Because of your book, I knew a little about this beforehand.

When I became a mom myself, the first of your books I read to them was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. My son especially enjoyed Fudge’s personality (seeing that he was of similar nature, it’s no surprise), and so did my daughters. All my kids LOVED Otherwise Known Sheila The Great (which is still on our bookshelf, and my youngest is 16) the most, I think, and more than once I heard the favorite phrase “Sunny Sheila Tubman!” sang around the house.

I know parents and scholars alike have analyzed your work over and over–I’m far from the first. Thanks to you, my favorite childhood author, I began to write stories of my own, and my love of reading has never lessened.  I’m now an English teacher and author, in part to you and your influence.

For now, I think I’ll go buy your newest book In The Unlikely Event. I can’t wait to read it.

So thank you, Judy, for so many reasons. And here’s a confession for you: sometimes, when I’m alone, I yell “Sunny Sheila Tubman!” … just for fun.

5 Things My Mom Taught Me

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For those of you who know me, you also know this: my relationship with my mom has never been easy. Truthfully, is any mother/daughter relationship really easy? We’re so very different–in almost every way. There has never been a time we’ve  understood one another, but I think we’ve both come to accept that.As a teen, I strove to be her polar opposite. I didn’t think I’d ever want to be a wife, and I sure as heck didn’t want to be a mother. She used to drive me utterly bonkers–she didn’t understand my need for college, to get out of Springdale.  I guess she forgot that when she was 18 the very first thing she did was move to Tulsa, all by herself, just to see if she could. Nobody in our family had ever broken free that way before. In the end, she moved back to be near the family and because she loved Arkansas.

I guess I understand that part of her.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to be more accepting of my mom and who she is, and I think she’s found the same peace with her crazy, unpredictable firstborn. I’ve also learned that even though I may have resisted her advice and may have believed that she had nothing to teach me, she’s been teaching me all along. Maybe I’m the one who has changed and not she. Here are 5 things my mama taught me.

1. The value of hard work. My mother quit high school her freshman year to get a job. It wasn’t because she hated school or learning, she wanted to help her mother feed and clothe her nine siblings. . My mother worked various waitressing jobs and seasonal farm work–picking peaches, berries, etc.–to help my grandma feed those kids. Then, when my sisters and I were growing up, she worked at a chicken plant, standing for 12 hours a day in a freezer. I know she wasn’t thrilled to work there, but she did it.

As a result, I, too am hard working. I don’t know how to be otherwise. Both my parents instilled a diligent work ethic in me that sometimes threatens to cross the line into workaholicism. You know what they say about anything in excess?

2.  Unreasonable stubbornness/perserverance. This trait has both served me well and been my folly. Sometimes I take a bit of time making a decision, but once it’s made I stick to it, TO A FAULT. I will hold on with nothing but my fingernails until whatever I’ve decided has either come to fruition or is torn from under me. Either way, I rarely give in. I rarely give up. This stubborn streak runs in my blood from both my mom and dad.

 Perseverance is different from stubbornness, because perseverance is usually a positive thing. To persevere means to endure even when things get crazy difficult and complicated. It means to hang on and not give up. One way I saw her persevere was with her caretaking of my grandfather. When my grandfather became old and ill, she took care of him. Incidentally, he also was unreasonably stubborn–so much so it took FIVE heart attacks to kill him. Even though his doctors warned him to quit, he chewed tobacco and drank until his dying day–well into his 80s.  I really thought he was never going to die–I thought even death was a bit scared of him. My grandfather was cranky and hard to please–but still my mother checked on him and bought him groceries and took him to the doctor. I didn’t understand why–he was mean to her, often complaining about the brands she chose or how she paid the bills, and he was often hurtful in word and deed. Yet, she never gave up on him.

3. To not waste anything. My mom is the queen of reusing and recycling before it was cool to do so. She rarely throws anything away, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but you could never accuse her of waste.

4. How to make a meal from nothing. When I look back now, I know my family was poor, but Mom saw to it we always had food in our stomachs. I never felt the sting of poverty in my belly. As an adult, I know now that many times we probably had very little and we rarely had an excess of anything, but we were never hungry. Mom never used food stamps, though we probably qualified. We did make use of the free lunch program at school, though. Mom would make the best pinto beans, fried potatoes and homemade biscuits ever. Understand that this was before anybody cared about carbs, ok?

5. My love of writing. My mom often jotted down short stories on notebook paper, and I would sometimes find them. She wrote about her childhood in rural Arkansas, her parents, her family, working in the fields, and meeting my dad and falling in love. I credit much of my love of writing to her.

Anyway, I hate it when people blame their mothers for everything and never give them credit for what good they did. Sure, we will never see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t really matter. My love for her remains. I will never forget the sacrifice, the hard work, the devotion she demonstrated–these are the things that endure.

Thank you, Mom.

When your kid isn’t getting the awards

Wonderful, relevant piece by my writer friend and mom extraordinaire Jennifer.

all things messy...

picture of a small kid winning a trophy, over white

Hello out there!  If you have any friends on Facebook or social media at all (of which I’m more than sure that you do), then I’m positive that you’ve seen their cute little kids with their end of year awards and some very proud parents!  And they should be proud! If you have kids, then you know the blood, sweat and tears (literally sometimes) that it takes to get that kid through each year of school.  Especially when they’re younger, you have to remind them about their homework, fix their lunches – even sit down and DO their homework with them.  As they get older, they SHOULD be able to do more on their own – making their own lunches, remembering to do their homework (alone), and working hard towards those good grades.

I look at the posts my friends make of their kids – from toddler to teen –…

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