Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dat's Cajun Gumbo Cookin'

My mom is truly Cajun, and my dad is truly French, so I grew up with great cooks, and delicious food.  I tend more to healthier fare now, but I will always have my childhood heritage favorites. 

Where I grew up, most people were Catholic and couldn't eat meat on Friday.  So our schools often served seafood gumbo on Fridays..really!  My mom always had plenty of shrimp in our freezer that she bought from the guys down the street who were professional or hobby shrimpers.  But for some reason, we mostly ate chicken and sausage gumbo.

It's been the worst winter in Texas that I can remember (be gone, Polar Vortex).  Cold weather to a Cajun equals gumbo.  So, today my husband (Cajun by virtue of being married to me forever), is making gumbo for the family.  My sons and families will be daughter would, but is a little far away for lunch.

So, here's the family recipe....minus details because a Cajun girl really just needs an iron skillet, Le Creuset pot and some natural Cajun soul to get the cooking job done (in other words, we don't measure ingredients).

Chicken, chicken parts (whatever you like)
Sausage, several links (we like Opa's Beef, but I'm not sure where that's available)
Roux (I really can make it, but have turned to roux in a jar)

Chopped veges...onion, bell pepper, celery, green onions (add these at the end), garlic (and many use turnips).
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, file

Brown chicken, cook sausage in boiling water..then discard the water.
Make stock by boiling the chicken and some veges together...then discard the veges before adding the ones you chopped for the gumbo.  Take the meat off the bones and set aside.
This part is controversial among my Cajun sisters...some cook the chopped veges in the roux..easy to burn, some add them to the stock.

At any rate you end up with the chicken, sausage, roux and veges in the stock.
Season with salt and pepper, red pepper, and file.
The Seasonings

You need to cook it for awhile, but don't let your chicken get stringy.  Adjust the roux to the thickness you like.

You'll need some large bowls to put a couple of delicious scoops over rice.  What do you serve with gumbo?  Garlic bread and potato salad are traditional...many a true Cajun will put a dollop of potato salad in their gumbo.

Gumbo Bowls
And always remember that it's much better the next day!
Finished Product!

May cher, dis house smells good, yeah!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thoughts on My Career

I’m glad my daughters and granddaughters don’t have to wonder what they can do with their lives..anything is possible for young women now, especially young women who know the Lord, and know that He has a purpose for their lives.

When I was young, I never thought of myself as a career person, but now, I have a career that has spanned almost 25 years that I can’t imagine having not experienced.  Some women in all generations have gone forth, meaning to shatter a glass ceiling, and have done just that. Some women, like me, have to shatter the glass ceiling in their head.  Based on where I started my career, I would never have imagined that being a woman, and being a principal were not mutually exclusive.

I know this sounds really odd to most people reading this in this day and time…even that small ET town where I started has several female principals and has had a female superintendent. But, I can promise you this, I would NEVER have thought about trying to be a principal during my time there.

The day that I started working in my current district, we were at a new employee orientation. One of the first things they did was to introduce all of the administrators in the district.  The person who was sitting next to me had also spent some time in the same ET school district. I told her that I was shocked at the number of female administrators. She responded that ours was an equal opportunity employer!  As Tin Cup says…some moments are defining moments, and that was one of mine.

I began to think that maybe administration was a path I could take. Three years later I was a central office administrator. Although I learned a lot in that position, I began to miss campus life and started seeing myself as principal. I registered for college-for the third round-and started my career as an assistant principal shortly after.

And now, I am in my third year as principal, after four years as an assistant. I am amazed at where God has taken me in my professional life…from a stay-at-home mom (which was the most important career I’ve ever had-I taught my own three children to read), to a teacher in my very late 30s, to the leader of a school with the responsibility of the safety, welfare and education of 450 children, 50 employees, school grounds, building, and a budget.

I know that I don't/can't do this without a lot of help from the staff, faculty, fellow campus leaders, and central office administrators that I work with. But mostly, I have to cling to my savior every day. I take this responsibility very seriously. It has eternal implications for me.