Joan Rivers, the San Diego Padres and a Soaked 5K: A Look at USO Events Around The Globe

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As the summer draws to a close, USO centers around the world were busy hosting events to lift the spirits of troops and their families. Here’s a look at a few of the fantastic moments from USO centers around the world:

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Joan Rivers visits USO Denver. USO photo.

Joan Rivers Makes Surprise Visit to USO Denver
Long-time USO supporter Joan Rivers paid a surprise visit to USO Denver last Wednesday morning and made sure each guest, volunteer and staff member knew how much she appreciated them. Rivers was the 2001 USO of Metropolitan New York’s Woman of the Year.

“Thank you for your service,” Rivers told the group.

Military Kids Hit the Field at the Be a San Diego Padre for a Day Event
The USO partnered with Petco Park and the Padres to give military kids a Major League experience. Several local kids from military families spent the day practicing baseball fundamentals, talking with former Padre Damian Jackson and learning all about what it would be like to be a Major League Baseball player. Check out the video from the event here.

Sixth Annual Clark After Dark in Chicago
The USO of Illinois took to the streets Thursday night for its sixth annual Clark After Dark block party. Thanks to the support of Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward, Boss Bar and other USO partners, partygoers enjoyed live music, military vehicle displays and plenty of food. Despite the rainy weather, Chicagoans came out in full force to support their troops and show appreciation.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

USO/What to Expect Special Delivery Baby Shower in Fort Drum, New York
On Friday, the USO and the What to Expect Foundation, founded by best-selling author Heidi Murkoff, delivered a special baby shower to expecting military spouses and service women stationed in Fort Drum, New York. The moms-to-be enjoyed an afternoon filled with shower games, food, a raffle and a question-and-answer session with Murkoff, who wrote the best-selling book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Second Annual H2GO in Okinawa, Japan
There aren’t many stickier places on the planet than the South Pacific in the summer, where near-100-degree temperatures are coupled with crippling humidity. To help troops and their families stationed in Okinawa beat the heat and stay in shape, volunteers at USO Kadena created H2GO, a 5K foot race with water-themed obstacles along the route.

The H2GO race let participants enjoy slip-n-slides, water cannons and the soaking power of over 20,000 water balloons.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with Kaiserslautern USO. USO photo.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with USO Kaiserslautern. USO photo.

Sixth Annual Sun and Fun Day in Kaiserslautern, Germany
As the dog days of summer come to an end, Kaiserslautern USO and TKS hosted the sixth annual Sun and Fun Day for troops and their families to help them enjoy the last of the warm weather. Despite some rain, over 2,300 visitors came out to enjoy the five-hour event that included food, raffles, live music and search-and-rescue dog demos.

Troops Get Their Game on at Camp Buehring Volleyball Tournament
Service members rallied their way to victory at a volleyball tournament Saturday night in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Troops were able to form teams of six and compete for prizes — all while jamming out to the beats of DJ Break One. The winning teams were even awarded victory T-shirts!

Barbecue Hosted by Fox News Reporter and Orioles Pitcher Raised More than $23,000 for USO

From left Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day and his wife, Fox News' Elizabeth Prann, pose with USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore's Elaine Rogers and John Fallon. Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles

From left Orioles pitcher Darren O’Day and his wife, Fox News’ Elizabeth Prann, pose with USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s Elaine Rogers and John Fallon. Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Darren O’Day and his wife, Fox News reporter Elizabeth Prann, presented a check for $23,463 to the USO during a ceremony on Thursday. The funds were raised during a Barbecue for the Troops event the couple held for the USO at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Aug. 4.

The August event featured a bullpen picnic-area barbeque that included a silent auction featuring many one-of-a-kind items provided and autographed by Orioles players. The Orioles also auctioned off the special Stars and Stripes hats the players wore during the team’s July 4 game against the Texas Rangers.

And to top it off, the Orioles  donated 50 tickets to USO Metro for Thursday night’s game so that local troops and their families could enjoy a night at the ballpark.

–Story by the USO

Barbecue for the Troops: Spicy Summer Bean Salad

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops? We still have Labor Day weekend left! Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes, like this one straight from the front lines! Our troops may not always have a gourmet kitchen, but they have come up with some ingenious ways to cook up a storm!

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Spicy Summer Bean Salad 

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (10 oz.) can corn
1 (10 oz.) can french-cut green beans
1 (10 oz.) can RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies 1 (12 oz) can SPAM Classic, cut into cubes
6 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup bottled Italian salad dressing

Cooking Instruments: Rice Cooker Crock-Pot

Directions:
Preheat Crock-Pot on medium setting. Cook rice in rice cooker. Then combine all ingredients into the Crock-Pot and cook for 1 hour. Stir as needed. Reduce heat on Crock-Pot to low or warm.

Note from the Chef:
Use 2 pouches of microwavable rice if a rice cooker is unavailable.

Barbecue For the Troops: Chicken Salad a la Rogers

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes!

Today we’re featuring a caesar salad recipe found in the 1993 USO Celebrity Cookbook by singer & actor Kenny Rogers!

Chicken Salad a la Rogers

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pouched chicken (white meat)
  • 3 dill pickles (non-kosher), skinned
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced or 1/4 cup sweet onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions:

  1. Pull chicken from the bone, rather than cutting it
  2. Peel pickles with potato peeler and chop
  3. In mixing bowl mix together chicken, celery and scallions
  4. In small bowl whisk together mayo, lemon juice and mustard
  5. Gently stir dressing into mixing bowl
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve on bed of lettuce

Barbecue for the Troops: The Andrews Sisters’ Pumpkin Bread

Have you signed up to host a Barbecue for the Troops for the summer yet? Be sure to use one of our amazing recipes!

Today we have one submitted by Debbie Fink, Author, ‘Edu-tainer,’ USO Tour Vet: Operation Thanksgiving Eagle and The Little C.H.A.M.P.S – Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel.

Truth be told, we don’t know if the Andrews Sisters had a favorite pumpkin bread; hence, we renamed this mouth-watering pumpkin bread recipe in their memory!  If the recipe had been around during their USO heyday, it would’ve been their “go-to” Americana treat!

The Andrews Sisters were American icons, known for their close harmonies and endearing performances.  They clocked in nearly 1,000 USO performances over their illustrious careers, lifting the spirits of our troops [and their families] during the first half of the 20th century.

The Andrews Sisters Pumpkin Bread: 

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.00.38 PM (Makes three small loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups chocolate chips (preferably dark chocolate)
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease three small loaf pans with cooking spray.
  3. Lightly flour the pans.
  4. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl.
  5. Beat them slightly.
  6. Add the sugar.  Mix.
  7. Add the oil and water.  Mix.
  8. Add the pumpkin.  Mix.
  9. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  10. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing in between.
  11. Mix very well, until the batter is smooth.
  12. Finally, add the chocolate chips.  Mix in very well.
  13. Pour the mixture into three greased pans.
  14. Bake for 46-60 minutes.  Test with a toothpick to see if the loaves are done.
  15. Stick the toothpick in and pull it right out.  If it’s dry, the bread is done.

Enjoy!

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