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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Remembering our Veterans on Their Day, Nov. 11

By Sherrie Norris

In just one week as another Veteran’s Day rolls around, we have the opportunity to honor our true American heroes. I have had the privilege of growing up with veterans in my own family, and as a writer of human interest stories, I have been blessed through the years to sit by others and hear their stories. I have seen the far-distant look in the eyes of several who agreed to tell their stories, and I have tried to imagine the agony they felt when their buddies were killed in Vietnam and beyond — in the same fox holes they eventually climbed out of. Or of the pain they, one especially, endured as a prisoner of war during World War 11, and lived with his scars until he took his last breath a short time ago.

Just in the last week, I have learned of the death of one Vietnam veteran who was special to me and many others in the area, but who lived with the demons of war far beyond his honorable discharge. And, just this week, I sat with another, the oldest World War 11 veteran in Watauga County, as he recalled his own experience; even now, at 100, he said there were still things he doesn’t like to remember or talk about. “There’s no way you could forget it,” he said.

So, I implore you to make this coming “holiday” worthwhile. Just because you might have the day off from work or school doesn’t mean you should not honor those for whom this day was set aside. If you don’t know a veteran personally,  ask a friend or family member to introduce you to one. Give them a call or stop by to visit. Take them a treat or a meal to help them through the day. We’ll even  help you with a few easy ideas to make it easier for everyone.

After all, Veteran’s Day just comes along once a year, but our heroes live with it every day.

Thanks to all of our veterans for your service. May you know that your contribution was not in vain. And for those whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice and never came home, please know that we will be forever grateful.

All-American Berry Pizza

1 (18-oz) pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 can prepared cream cheese icing

1 (8-oz.) container whipped topping

2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved

1 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350°. Spray large pizza pan. Press cookie dough evenly into bottom of pan. Bake in center of oven 14 to 16 minutes until lightly browned. Loosen crust from pan with thin knife or spatula; cool. 

In medium bowl, beat icing and whipped topping; spoon evenly onto cooled crust. Arrange strawberries and blueberries over top; Refrigerate and cut into wedges to serve. 

Carolina Chews

2 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt 

2 sticks butter, softened 

¾ cups white sugar 

¾ cups brown sugar 

2 eggs 

1 tsp. vanilla 

12 oz. chocolate or butterscotch chips 

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup coconut 

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a larger bowl, beat butter with sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in dry ingredients. Fold in chips. Pour batter into a prepared dish/pan.

In a small bowl ,mix condensed milk with coconut. Pour coconut topping over batter and smooth evenly. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Candy-Coated Pretzel Rods 

Long pretzel rods

White chocolate, melted

Sprinkles (red, white and blue)

Melt the white chocolate. 

Dip the pretzel rod halfway into the melted chocolate then sprinkle the sprinkles over the wet chocolate. Lay on waxed paper to dry.

Quick Ritz Cookies

Ritz crackers

Peanut Butter

Candy coating of choice ( red/white/blue)

Make a sandwich out of the crackers and peanut butter. Melt candy coating, one color at a time in individual containers. Dip prepared crackers into each one, covering completely, and set aside on waxed paper to dry.

Make plenty for your veteran and your family. They disappear like magic.