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He liked it enough to put a ring on it.

16 years ago to be exact is when he put a ring on it.

I’ve made some dumb choices in my life. Like the time I did Sun-In when I was 12. And then did it again the following week. Or the time I took a job at a 1 hour photo developing place in the mall when I wasn’t even 16 and my boss was a very ‘handsy’ 4’11” Korean man. Then there was the recent purchase of a peplum top that was all the trend this spring, but really didn’t do anything for me.

However, one choice I made in this life that has been the best one yet is marrying my McSweetie- James- those many years ago.

He proposed to me at a bed and breakfast in Vancouver, BC with a Snow White music box containing the ring. That moment made me feel like a princess with her prince charming, seriously. We’d been dating exactly a year and he was already familiar with my nutty humor, sharp wit and fabulous charm. Okay, so I get a little grumpy if I’m hungry! Doesn’t everybody? We’ve figured out how to navigate the bumps, and in the end, we pretty much come out smooth sailing.

Our engagement was  a year long. I had already picked out the dress and reception site even before he proposed. I’m not kidding. I knew we were getting married. Eventually. And the dress was on sale (you’re not surprised, are you?) and the reception area was perfect and if it had booked up that following summer, my heart would have broken.

Everything else still had yet to be arranged. It was a long wedding season of future in-laws, showers, and budgeting. We even bought our first house. Holy shit were we ambitious.

I’m sure there were plenty of folks thinking we were too young (I was 24 he was 26 when he proposed), even though I think that’s a pretty average age to marry, or that the house we bought was a little fixer upper- which it was, but we gained enough equity to move into our second one that was double the price, after only 4 years. Yeah. How do you like them apples?

Anyhoo, here we are 16 years later. Sometimes I’m annoyed as hell and sometimes I’m brought to tears by my adoration for this man.

The other night I was sharing a story at dinner time with the kids about a meal I had cooked many years ago. It tripped me out that I could say, “in our early years of marriage.”  We are that old! I told the kids about the infamous Bamboo Helper I made one night when it was just the two of us. I was experimenting with ingredients, trying to be thrifty, and of course, trying something that I hoped would be delicious.

It wasn’t. But if you want to try Bamboo Helper- feel free to follow this recipe. Oh, why is it called Bamboo Helper? Because it has bamboo shoots and it’s made with hamburger like Hamburger Helper. Gee silly. Why else?

1 pound ground beef (because Thai food is hardly ever, if like never, made with ground beef. this is what gives the dish its extra special twist- or makes it gross, according to McSweetie.)

1 can coconut milk

1 can bamboo shoots

1 cup jasmine rice cooked

2 teaspoons curry powder

button mushrooms- sliced

salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar to taste

brown the meat, drain any fat. Throw in the mushrooms and soften, throw in the bamboo shots, curry powder and pour in the coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes. Like maybe 10.

Season to taste or throw out. Either one. Serve over rice. Or order pizza- which is what we did.

Dearest McSweetie- I love that you loved me even after the Bamboo Helper. I love that we make Zoolander faces when one of us says ‘Blue Steel’ and I love that you wore team jerseys and logo sweatshirts when we first dated. Okay, I hated them, but still, you were pretty cute.

I promise not to make Bamboo Helper ever again.

Forever yours truly. Rebecca xoxo

Look how cute we are. Yes- I photoshopped the wrinkles out of this one! I didn’t realize how much we look like a toothpaste ad.