COOK OF THE WEEK/Learning a new normal
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:00 AM
Carrie Stokes Wallace and her husband, Ben, share a passion for cooking. Comfort foods and country foods like deer meat, turnip greens, fried chicken and potatoes are their favorites. Ben enjoys grilling while Carrie enjoys cooking side items. They rarely miss a morning cooking breakfast together.
"I've been cooking my whole life, and I have learned a lot of things from my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers and aunts," said Wallace.
"The only thing I haven't perfected is homemade biscuits. I absolutely fail every time I try to make them. I can't make them taste good," she added.
Finding out they were expecting their first child last August, Carrie and Ben were excited to begin a new chapter in their lives.
Wallace, a beautician at Envy Salon located in Family Fitness, had no complications throughout her pregnancy until her 33rd week. She began having severe back pains and was admitted to the hospital.
With his actual delivery date not until April 8, Current Martin Wallace was welcomed into this world by his loving mother and father on Feb. 21, 2014.
Carrie and Ben were unaware of any health complications Current would be born prior to his birth. Immediately following his birth, it was clear that he had several health problems including an autoimmune disorder, pulmonary hypertension, bi-pleural effusions and renal failure.
Current was not long for this world.
After an extended stay at Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson, Carrie said Current left this earthly world to make his eternal home in Heaven on May 8.
"Ben and I leaned on each other throughout Current's hospital stay. There were ups and downs. Some days were harder than others, but I am an eternal optimist. I knew God's plan was greater than anything I could imagine. If God wanted us to take Current home, then we would, but it was not to be. Current was only here for a little while, and we are honored that God chose us to be his parents.
"I believe God used Current as a vessel to lead people to Him. We've heard from so many people how Current changed their lives." said Wallace.
"Of course, my flesh would rather him be here with me, but when given the choice of whether to hold Current in my lap or have him be sitting in the lap of Jesus, I'll choose Jesus," added Wallace.
When it became evident that Current's time on earth was drawing to an end, Carrie and Ben, as well as their parents were finally able to hold Current free from tubes and wires. It was the first time Carrie was able to see her baby's entire face.
"It was the most beautiful face I've ever seen. He was perfect to me. It was the happiest moment of my life, but also the saddest moment, too." said Wallace.
Everyday is a new day for Carrie and Ben. They take one day at a time and learn a new normal by soaking up the beauty of life.
"No matter how bad you think you have it, someone always has it worse. I have learned to praise God no matter what," said Wallace.
"Ben and I don't take the little things so seriously anymore. We are just thankful to have each day with one another," Wallace added.
Talking for hours over cups of coffee, taking long rides in their jeep or hanging out together on the golf course are ways Carrie and Ben enjoy spending time together.
Carrie also enjoys singing with the local band "Pinnishook".
"Music is my therapy. I've always been musically inclined. When I start feeling down, I get out my guitar and start singing," added Wallace.
Carrie is quick to add how grateful she and Ben are for the outpouring of support from the people of Philadelphia and Ben's hometown of Union. Carrie says she can never say thank you enough for such loving support for the communities prayers, fundraisers, visits to the hospital, flowers and food.
In addition to the support from so many in the community, Carrie has found great comfort through the ladies with the Philadelphia Home Arts Club.
"The Home Arts ladies have been so encouraging. The Home Arts Club does so much for the United Way and Relay for Life by holding fundraisers throughout the year. It has given me something to focus on," said Wallace.
"We're excited about our annual progressive dinner coming up on June 28 at the Fairgrounds [Neshoba County Fairgrounds]. This year's theme is the Kentucky Derby. All of the women are wearing their best Kentucky Derby hats and the men will be wearing bow ties. I can't wait to see everyone's hats and eat the delicious food!" added Wallace.
The Home Arts Club will enjoy appetizers at one cabin, then move to another cabin for the main course, and will finish up at a third cabin for dessert.
While life for Carrie and Ben will never be the same since the birth of their son, they both view having been chosen to be Current's parents as an honor and a blessing.
"God chooses the strongest people to work through. I guess He thought Ben and I were pretty strong. God knew that even in the midst of the worst trial of our lives, we would not lose sight of Him," added Wallace.
And, most assuredly, they have not.
Wallace has shared some of her favorite recipes.
Loaded Potato Casserole
1/2 bag of brown potatoes
Small bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 stick butter
1 packet of ranch mix
Jar of real Hormel bacon bits
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to bake at 450 degrees. Cut potatoes into chunks, leaving skins. Boil until completely softened. Drain water from potatoes. Combine all ingredients with potatoes and stir. Do not mash. Save a small amount of shredded cheese. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish. Put rest of cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees until cheese is melted. Let stand until cool enough to dig in.
Halfway Homemade Mac and Cheese
Bag of egg noodles
Small jar Cheese Whiz
2 small bags shredded cheese
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil egg noodles on high until fully cooked. Drain water from noodles. In a mixing bowl, combine noodles, butter, one bag of shredded cheese, jar of cheese whiz, milk and salt and pepper as desired. Pour into a greased casserole dish and top with other bag of shredded cheese. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted.
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2-cup elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounce can tomato sauce
Cup tomatoes, diced
15 ounce kernel corn (drained)
1/2 cup onion chopped
Boil noodles until done. Drain water. In a large skillet, sauté' ground beef until browned. Drain grease. Add chopped onions. Add salt and garlic to taste. Add everything else to skillet and heat thoroughly for 6-7 minutes.
Easy Game Day Sliders
Pound ground beef
1/2-box Velveeta cheese
Pack of honey Hawaiian rolls
Cook ground beef in skillet. Drain grease. Put into a crockpot. Take Velveeta and cut into chunks and put into crockpot with ground beef. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve inside of Hawaiian rolls.
Country Fried Deer Steaks With Gravy
1 (2 pound) deer backstrap, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable oil for frying
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the deer slices into a shallow bowl and pour in the milk and hot sauce. Cover and marinate for 1 hour. Heat the vegetable oil a skillet until a drop of water sizzles in pan. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Dip the venison slices into the flour, then into the egg and milk, then back into the flour. Shake off excess flour. Fry in the hot oil until lightly browned on each side, about 3 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels before serving.
After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up. When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy. Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden brown color. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick.