Tag Archives: mushrooms

Dianne’s brown rice and a love story

If you’ve been reading my blog a while, you might know Big Daddy and I have known each one another since childhood. The story, as my mama tells it, goes like this…we were living in our house in Airview Terrace in Alex. and a couple with a little boy about my age moved in. My mama, being the hospitable gal she is, went over (with a casserole of some sort or to invite them over for dinner I’m sure) to introduce us. I was about a year old. She said she can vividly remember seeing Big Daddy with his hands and feet poked into the gate that closed off their driveway and me going over to him. He was about 9 months old. Yeah that’s right, Big Daddy likes the older gals I guess. 🤣 There’s about 4 months a year where I’m older than him. I’m a cougar I guess. So time goes on and Mrs. Dianne and my mama become great friends. They work at Central Hospital together and they hang out on the weekends when my daddy and Mr. Scott were hunting. They took us to Piccadilly in the Alex. Mall on Friday evenings. And Piccadilly still remains to this day, one of our favorites. Our kids all love it. It’s a family thing! Big daddy and I started Martin Park Elementary together. He had Mrs. Cooper and I had Mrs. Wells. I can remember laying down at nap time one day and the teachers had the doors to the connecting rooms open. I could see big daddy laying on his stomach on his nap mat. He would pop his bottom up and down and finally Mrs. Cooper goes over and smacks him on the bottom. Ah…the 80’s. When we were in 1st grade, Mr. Scott was transferred or took a job at the Broussard coop. Or in that area. That’s what he did. He was working at the Bayou Rapides coop at the time. So they were to move away. Oh I remember the day they moved. I was so sad. Big daddy was my best friend. We were best friends. We did everything together. In his baby book, his mama wrote “Clay prefers to play alone unless he can play with Aimée”.

At 6, it seemed like the end of the world for him to move away. My mama took me to the Circus World in the mall and let me pick out a toy for him. I remember getting him one of those balloons with the rubber band attached that you could pop back and forth. Looking back I bet that made a fun 1 1/2 hour trip to Broussard. lol! The day they moved away, my mama cooked lunch. I so remember there being peas at that lunch because Mrs. Dianne fussed at Mr. Scott about scraping his peas onto his fork with his finger. She fussed and said he should use his knife. He did not take kindly to that. 😂 if you know Mr. Scott you can imagine. They loaded into the moving truck and drove away. I thought that was the end. I remember it took me a long time to accept the new girl who moved into his house after. I’ve always been a little territorial I do believe. It’s the Taurus in me. I know that now. But it was not the end. Only God knew. So we would visit them in Broussard then Youngsville when they moved a little ways over. I remember us going visit and big daddy and I donning cowboy hats and us all going eat at the Piccadilly. Surprise! Life went on…Dianne had another baby and so did my mama. I remember Mrs. Dianne coming and rocking newborn baby Kyle (big daddy’s baby brother) in mama’s rocking chair. And life went on some more. The last time I had seen Big Daddy, they came by to visit on their way back from somewhere. I am guessing travel soccer, which is what BD was heavily into at the time. He even had his soccer numbers etched into the side of his head. My best friend Nicole (who is still one of my best friends) was over and we all went for a walk around the block. Nicole and I walked the block a lot back then. Ah…the 80’s. Nicole did not even know until recently that that guy was clay. She remembered the walk with the cute boy around the block but not that it was him. We were about 12. So time marches on and Big daddy and family move to Shreveport so Mr. Scott can manage the Keithville coop. Big daddy was in middle school. Sometime after this Mrs. Dianne was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our mama’s kept in touch as old friends always do. A few years later when we were graduating high school, I got a package in the mail. It was a picture of Clay and I when we were little. In front of a tree at his house, sticking our tongues out at the camera. And a beautiful bracelet. I giggled at the memory. Then a year later, I had just gotten engaged to the guy I dated at the end of high school and my mama and Mrs. Dianne has one of their catch up phone conversations. She asked to talk to me. I remember it like it was yesterday. She congratulated me on my engagement but said she could still get clay and I together if that is what she decided to do. I laughed. Like ok lady. See..her dream was always for me and clay to get married. I’d be her daughter she never had. Or they’d laughingly discuss that from time to time…like what if…so a few months go by and I’m about to move to Baton Rouge to go to LSU. Mrs. Dianne is not doing very well and Big Daddy calls my mama to say…if you want to see her now is the time. So we did. And when I saw Big Daddy, I had this overwhelming urge to protect him and take care of him. It was like no time had passed. Same old him, same old me. So….I’ll cut all the in between but I went back to Baton Rouge after the funeral to go back to my life, but I did give him my number at my apartment. I broke off my engagement (gasp, scandal but trust me it was for the best). That same night after I did that, my roommate told me clay had called while I was out. I called him back and that was that. We were together. I ended up at Northwestern the next semester. And the rest my friends is history. We were married March 3, 2001 at St. Francis Cabrini Church surrounded by 250 family and friends. We had a huge party of a reception at Olinger Hall where we danced the night away. We spent our wedding night in a room at the Paragon and then drove to NOLA the next day for a 4 day honeymoon. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary.

Us getting together under the circumstances that we did calls to mind the saying…you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans. I’m so glad that God and Mrs. Dianne knew better than me. That we were brought together under my mama calls “divine intervention”. Our relationship, our marriage and our family are all part of God’s great plans for us. His plans are always better. So happy anniversary to my big daddy. I would do all over again. And the best is yet to come!!

So let me get to this brown rice. Y’all…two recipes my mama got from Mrs. Dianne, who was a home ec major and an amazing cook, are her signature brown rice and her beer bread. Yum!!! The brown rice is a staple when we have barbecue at our home or at my mama’s house. We all love it. It’s an excellent side dish that is super easy. Matter of fact, an old friend of mine from Cabrini (where I went after 1st grade until 8th grade) asked me to post this one day. When I say it’s a recipe my mama is known to make….I mean it. And it’s all to Mrs. Dianne’s credit. I love how she lives on…through this story, our marriage, her 6 fantastic grandchildren (Kyle and his wife have 2 precious kids)…and my precious Mother in law…Deb (also an amazing cook) takes the best care of these grandkids. My children are blessed…a grandmother to watch over them in heaven and two (BB and Granny) to see them through on Earth. A great reminder that God and grandmothers are in the details. So I hope you’ll try this delicious side dish. It’s so full of flavor and pairs so well with grilled meats!

Dianne’s Brown Rice

Stuff you Need~

1 10 1/2 ounce can beef consommé

1 10 1/2 ounce can French onion soup

1 6.5 ounce can of sliced mushrooms (pieces and stems), drained; optional

1/2 stick of butter

1 cup of long grain white rice

1/2 soup can water

What to do with the stuff~

Plug in your rice cooker and press the warm button. Add your butter and let it melt. Stir in the soups, rice, water, and mushrooms if you use them. Put the lid on your rice pot. Let it cook. Stir occasionally as it will stick, then put lid back on. If the rice cooker says it is done and goes to warm or done, check it. If it is not ready then press cook again after giving it another stir. It may need a few more minutes. That’s really it y’all! Some barbecued chicken, baked beans, a green salad, garlic bread and this?! Please! It’s the best!! Yum!! Enjoy.

The Hartley ladies at Lyndy’s bridal shower back in the day (Kathy, Lyndy, Dianne and Mammaw)

Thanks for listening to me as I told our love story. I felt it was time. I’m such a blessed woman. God is good all the time, all the time God is good! I hope your day is so blessed!!

Thank you God for this husband and these children.

The professional pictures of us were taken by my precious friend Natalie Parnell, the brilliant mastermind behind Soul Rebels Photography. So grateful to have these pictures.

The Bowlin boys…Mr. Scott, Kyle, and Clay circa 1982 and 2018

Mom’s creamy chicken broccoli and rice casserole

I suppose after the craziness and overwhelming nature of the past few weeks, it is possible I have been in need of some comfort. A bunch of comfort to be honest. I have found it in prayer, hugs from my kids and Big Daddy, and long talks with friends. Sometimes though, there is nothing like a comforting casserole straight from the oven, piping hot covered with ooey gooey melty cheese. Of course Pinterest is full of such concoctions and it can be hard to separate the hype from the truth. Well y’all, this casserole is the real deal. No hype. It is so fantastically creamy and just perfect. I made it yesterday for lunch and my oh my, I was a happy girl. Now, I am all about delicious, but when a casserole combines super foods like broccoli and mushrooms and convenience items like frozen broccoli and rotisserie chicken, that makes it tops in my (cook) book. I would make a few changes the next time I make it, like, more broccoli and less mushrooms and cut the mushrooms up smaller but that’s a matter of personal preference. Another beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is lightened up version that is so tasty and creamy that you will never even miss what might be left out. Delicious!!! Obviously, I loved it and I hope y’all do too! ~AMB

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a bowl of comfort

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T-Roy lays on my feet as I cook. Comforting for both of us I suppose

Mom’s broccoli and chicken casserole

serves 8

stuff you need~

1 (12 ounce) package frozen broccoli (Next find I am doubling this)
2 packages of pre-sliced mushrooms (I will use just one next time and slice them up smaller)
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I used a mixture of half and half and 2 % milk and it was creamy perfection)
About 3 cups of rotisserie chicken breast, chopped up (I just used all the breast meat)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
1/4 cup mayo
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

what to do with the stuff~

Cook your broccoli according to package directions.
In a oven safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in diced onion and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are browned and liquid has cooked out.
Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture. Stir for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and thickens somewhat. Stir in the chopped chicken and broccoli. Remove from heat. Stir in mayo and Greek yogurt and shredded Parmesan. Season to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. I crushed up about 10 Ritz crackers and sprinkled the crumbs all over the casserole for some added crunch. You could also added slivered almonds on top for some added texture.

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full of good stuff and topped with melted cheese…yes please!

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oh the comfort a good casserole and a sweet puppy can bring

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happy sigh

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