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The University of Mississippi

‘Tis the Season to Be Thankful

Posted on: November 24th, 2015 by enparson

THANKSGIVING-copy-21

This year, we asked our faculty and staff about their holiday traditions, what they’re thankful for and everything in-between. Here’s what they had to say. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Wesley Whatley (Katie’s cousin), Katie McClendon and the Queen of Hearts circa 2005.

Katie McClendon, Associate Dean for Student Services – Jackson

– What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

My favorite holiday tradition is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My cousin is the Creative Director of the parade for Macy’s, and in my residency year I got to walk in the parade. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience to be in the parade. Now I love watching it from the comfort of a living room in a climate-controlled space.

 

 

Erin Garrett, Communications Specialist

– What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

As cliché as it may be, I still love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s always part of our morning as we get ready for the big meal!

– What is your favorite holiday food?

It’s REALLY hard to narrow this down to a favorite, but here’s one I make almost every year because it’s easy and delicious (calories don’t count on Thanksgiving, right?).

Squash Casserole
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup light sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the squash, onion and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan, cheddar and sour cream. Add salt and pepper. Place mixture in the casserole dish and sprinkle the crackers over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

David Gregory, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Tate Davis, David Gregory, Mary Claire Jarrell and Christine in Honduras.

Tate Davis, David Gregory, Mary Claire Jarrell and Christine in Honduras.

– What are you thankful for this year?

I am thankful for students, faculty and staff that have hearts that desire to serve others with no expectation to receive something in return. What a tremendous gift I have received to be surrounded by people that demonstrate care for others in their actions with no expectations of accolades, awards or acknowledgements. I am reminded of words paraphrased by Macedonian nun Mother Teresa, “Give the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the best you’ve got anyway.” My gratefulness this Thanksgiving is the gift of being around others that remind me of these words.

 

Chelsea Bennett, Assistant Dean for Student Services – Oxford

Vaiden Bennett

– What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

We usually get away for a family mini-vacation (and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning up!), but this year my husband has purchased TWO giant turkeys. Looks like Thanksgiving is at our house this year!

– What is your favorite holiday food?

Here’s a weird one, but no Thanksgiving is complete without it. Even if I can’t be somewhere tropical, I try to fake it!

Pineapple Casserole
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish with butter. In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar and 6 Tbsps all-purpose flower. Gradually stir in 2 cups grated sharp cheese. Add 2 (20-ounce) cans of pineapple chunks (drained, with 6 Tbsps of juice reserved). Pour the pineapple mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of Ritz cracker crumbs, 1 stick of melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, and stir until blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Gabrielle Gero, Public Relations Assistant

Gabrielle Gero and Andrew Rose

Gabrielle Gero and Andrew Rose

– Are you going to the Egg Bowl this year?

While I am not going to the Egg Bowl this year, the Egg Bowl holds a very special place in my heart. Last year, before the big win, my fiancé, Andrew, proposed to me at our tent in front of our family and friends. I’m extremely thankful for that day, my fiancé and our amazing families and friends who have been along for our journey.

– What is your favorite holiday food?

My absolute favorite food on Thanksgiving is my Aunt Sue’s stuffing — it’s worth the extra workout afterwards! My family is a mix of Southern and Northern roots, so we have always had dressing and stuffing at our table. My future in-laws once doubted my white bread stuffing recipe … now it is their favorite too!

Aunt Sue’s Stuffing
2 sticks butter
3 large celery stalks with their leaves (cut into very thin slices)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
32 slices bread, cubed
1/2 c. loosely packed parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup water

In 5 to 8qt. Dutch oven or saucepot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook celery and onion until tender, stirring frequently. Remove Dutch oven from heat; add bread cubes and remaining ingredients. Toss gently to mix well.

Butter baking dish. Bake in covered 13 x 9″ baking dish in preheated 325-degree oven 45 minutes or until heated through.

Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park

Lauren Rowlett, Regional Admissions Counselor

– Do you have any exciting travel plans?

My husband and I have a tradition of going to Petit Jean State Park, near Russellville, Arkansas. We usually go over Labor Day weekend, but the last couple of years it literally has been 100 degrees—not optimal hiking weather. So this year, we decided to book a cabin over Thanksgiving weekend to enjoy the cooler temps (and the in-cabin fireplace!). Looks like we’ve traded hot weather for rain!

 

 

Megan Upchurch Miller, Regional Admissions Counselor

Megan Upchurch Miller and her family.

Megan Upchurch Miller and her family.

– What are you thankful for this year?

This year I am thankful for family. I got married in April so my family has doubled! I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my family, new and old, this holiday season!

Randy Allen, Telecommunications Analyst II

– What are you thankful for this year?

I am currently in Abilene, Texas to visit my dad. That is actually one of the things I am thankful for. He is 89 and I am thankful for every time I get to visit with him. He is not very mobile, but he is still pretty sharp.

The other thing I am thankful for is the Lafayette County Fire Department. As some of you know, last month during the height of the drought, there was a fire on the side of the road on Old Taylor Road by my house. It raced up the hill and burned part of my yard and 300′ of fence. There was no damage to my house, thanks to the quick action of a motorist passing and calling in the fire and the response of the fire department, made up of mostly volunteers. Without these people, the outcome would have been quite different.

Jennifer Michael and her daughter, Hannah.

Jennifer Michael and her daughter, Hannah.

Jennifer Michael, Staff Assistant

– What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Spending time with my parents out of town.

– What is your favorite holiday food?

My mother’s cornbread dressing; only she knows the recipe!

– Do you have any exciting travel plans?

Traveling to see my parents Thanksgiving Day and YES I am going to the Egg Bowl! Hotty Toddy… Go Rebels!

– What are you thankful for this year?

I am thankful for my daughter, good health, a great place to work at the University of Mississippi and so many countless blessings.

 

 

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