Playing in the Park-Two Different Worlds

I wrote this on my Facebook page on December 6, 2014.  My heart was so broken that day I could not contain my feelings of hurt, disappointment, and sadness.  It started a dialogue with many friends and for that I am grateful. With everything else that has been going on the last months and now the massacre in South Carolina that heartache is just as real as ever.

I am again having more difficult conversations with my children that I just don’t have the answers for, but I am willing to dialogue. I can’t live in denial and pretend it’s not there.  My reality stares me in the face every time I look in the mirror.  I leave my children vulnerable if I’m not willing to face these events.

Tonight, while looking at my Facebook feed, I was surprised shocked by how many of my Christian Facebook friends had posted articles on how to deal with the Supreme Court decision about gay marriage, but how many seemed to stay silent in response to the events in South Carolina last week. I am not saying South Carolina didn’t receive any commentary, but it was usually a quick caption, “Pray for South Carolina”.  It was nothing that addressed the hate that led to the killings or anything that talked about how to deal with healing our country of the hate that pervades it.

Last night, I listened to a video of a pastor who was not afraid to try and begin to process these things out loud.  It was a white pastor who stated a friend of his told him, the silence of his Christian friends was deafening about the things going on in this country.  I understood what he was saying, but today that silence grew even louder for me. I believe silence comes many times because people don’t know what to say or do, but sometimes not saying anything feels like you’re accepting things as the way of the world. I’m a talker and think it can always be a first step.

I’m including the post from December because unfortunately, that hurt is still fresh.  I hope someone else can benefit from the raw emotions I felt that day and be brave enough to try to learn about the experiences of someone living in a world different from their own.

On my way home just now, I saw 3 boys in the park playing.My oldest from the backseat says, “Mommy those boys have a rifle”. I replied, “I know. It’s a toy”.  Her response, “That looks dangerous.” I said, “It would be more dangerous for you and your brother.”

She and her brother obviously had no idea what I meant. So, I told them the story of the 12 year old boy shot by police officers while playing with a toy gun. I explained the phone call to the police and tried to answer as many of their confused questions as I could. But in the end I had to be completely honest and tell my 8 year old and my soon to be 6 year old that this country, this world, will always be a lot more dangerous for them than it is for many of their friends because of the color of their skin. I told them there are things I will have to teach them to keep them as safe as possible that many of their friends will never have to learn. I did not cry outwardly, but inside I am sobbing!

There is a serious disconnect that needs to be fixed in this country. No one can understand what it’s like to walk in this skin unless you’ve had to do it. No one can understand the heartache and the fear for your children many African American parents deal with each and every day, but you can try to understand if you are willing to hear things that may make you uncomfortable.

If you are my friend and I am the only African American you know, I am opening the floor for questions. Ask me about my experiences with racism. Ask me how old I was when I had to learn things were different for me. Ask me about the culture shock I experienced when I went away to college. Ask me what is was like to be forced to have a conversation with my children about their skin. I am not an expert on African Americans in this country, but I have a lot of personal experiences that may add a face to the indignities that you’ve been hearing about and I’m willing to share because this is just becoming too much. We have to talk about this stuff for the sake of my children and yours. Ask the difficult questions.

God uses those difficult situations to help us grow.

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Wheat Free Pizza Crust

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Who wants pizza? Apparently everyone at my house, which is why so many pieces were taken before I could snap a picture. My family LOVES pizza, but pizza no longer loved them. My son could no longer have the wheat crust and my youngest could not have the cheese.  That makes it really hard to pick up a phone and order pizza from your favorite place.

This recipe was born out of one of those “I really wish we could have pizza” nights.  What I mean by that is, Mommy went in the kitchen to figure something out because she was a little tired of looking at pitiful whiny faces after asking for dinner suggestions.  “It’s been SO long since we had pizza Mommy.  Don’t you miss it?”, they said.

I had seen lots of cauliflower crust recipes, but I didn’t have any cauliflower and I wasn’t going to the grocery store.  I decided to see if I could figure out something with what we had on hand at home and go figure…it worked!

Making our own pizza is great for our family.  Everyone can make their own pizzas with toppings they can eat.  My little one can have her own personal pizza without cheese and the rest of us get as much of the gooey stuff as we want.  She still feels like she’s eating the same meal as everyone else_sanity saved!  My son still gets a crispy crust with all the fixins’ he wants.  Smiles all around and Mommy scores big.

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4oz) package of active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 c warm water
  • 2 c oat flour
  • 1/2 c rye flour
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 tsp (2Tbsp) xanthan gum

In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water; let stand for 5 minutes.  In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flours and salt.  Pulse several times to combine.  With the processor running slowly, slowly add yeast mixture.  Continue running processor until mixture is combined and forms a ball.

Turn out dough onto wax paper and form into a ball.  The dough will be sticky.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and leave in warm place for 1 hour or until the dough expands some.

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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Between 2 sheets of waxed paper, roll out dough into a thin disc or individual sized discs.  The dough is much firmer than traditional dough so you may need to put a little more muscle into it.

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Transfer to a parchment lined pizza pan or baking sheet.  Bake in oven 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with your favorite toppings.  Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  If baking without cheese bake until the crust browns a little on the edges. Enjoy everyone being happy with dinner!

Quinoa Jambalaya

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I am a New Orleans girl and we LOVE rice.  In fact, after being engaged for a few months, my husband told me he had eaten more rice during our time together than he had in his entire life!  What can I say?  It’s just the right way to do things.

My kids may have been born in Texas, but they have Louisiana blood running through those veins.  They love all the New Orleans standards. Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, White Beans, Etoufee, and Jambalaya are favorites at our house, and they all have rice.  Unfortunately for all of  us, my son had to avoid rice according to his allergist.  Enter my Quinoa Jambalaya to save the day.

Our family LOVES this dish!  It has all the great flavor of a traditional Louisiana Jambalaya with the super healthy grain quinoa.  It actually makes you feel good about indulging. I can hear the Second Line Music now.

Ingredients:

  •  1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts (cooked and chopped)
  • 2 cups chopped ham or smoked sausage
  • 12oz of quinoa
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1, 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 24oz of chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Parsley, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder to taste.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot.  Add chopped onion, peppers, and celery (The Trinity).  Cook for a minute or 2  before adding garlic.  Continue cooking until the onions are translucent.  Add tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to pot.  Add quinoa to pot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add bay leaf, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, dried oregano, basil, and parsley.  Add cooked chicken and ham or sausage, pour in the remaining broth, and stir.  Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 15-25 minutes.  Cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid had evaporated.  Stir again before serving and enjoy!