Cooking With The Troops Providing comfort, nutrition, and hope to U.S. and Allied troops, their families, and caregivers Tue, 30 Jul 2013 22:59:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Transitions and Changes-Notes From the New CEO Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:18:41 +0000 concretebob A famous man once said, “There is no constant but change.” I have no idea who said it, but I’m sure he’s famous, or at least should be.

There have been several changes in the make-up and overall purpose to Cooking with the Troops in the last 10 months. Some we fought and lost. C Blake Powers stepped down as Chairman and CEO to pursue other passions, including embedding with various military units and reporting on good food and good spirits all over the world.  As a result, yours truly has taken over the reins doing double duty as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

We are fortunate to know so many talented, ambitious and dedicated supporters of our military and one of those very special people accepted our offer to become the President of Cooking with the Troops, Inc. That young man is SPC Chad Longell, currently serving the USA. Chad brings an inside baseball dimension to our group and an energy and dedication to mission that leaves me speechless.

Our illustrious Secretary and Director of Communications, Susan Katz Keating continues to astound everyone with her dedication to the NoVA region and especially Ft Belvoir. She is expanding the scope of our involvement in the community and homeless veterans especially. She has developed relationships with several vendors and provides a steady stream of foodstuffs to veterans where ever they be found.

I am pursuing events which feed Marines directly and whoever else might show up. The previous post written by SKK details our little soiree’ in Front Royal VA where we hooked up with Warrior Hike and provided BBQ to several Marines and other service members during a rest stop on their way to the end of the Appalachin Trail. My plan is to be in Millinocket ME on 14 September and feed those folks again with an old fashioned Southern meal.

Before that happens, CWTT is going to lend logistical and tactical support to VFW Post 6364 and help put a Family Day together for Hotel Battery 3/14 Marines on 18 August here in our backyard. (So to speak). The new Post Commander is a fairly young retired Marine Master Sergeant who is more than ready to prove the USMC motto applies for ever: Semper Fidelis Always Faithful.

Good stuff coming. Thank you Harrison Martin for all your help.


Bob Miller

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With Warrior Hike on VFW Post 1860 in Front Royal VA Mon, 22 Jul 2013 19:33:44 +0000 concretebob

Cooking With the Troops Meets Warrior Hike: Pictures and a Plan!

 As promised, here are pics from Cooking With the Troops’ weekend barbecue for Warrior Hike. This group is in the process of “walking off the war” along the Appalachian Trail. On Friday, the hikers stopped off in Front Royal Virginia, and were met with good food and great company, courtesy of CWT and our master BBQ-er, Concrete Bob.
Harrison Martin,who helped organize the event in conjunction with VFW Post 1860, was on hand with her camera. She has very kindly allowed me to use some of her pics. As you can see, the mood was decidedly upbeat. Which is exactly what happens every time Bob lights up a grill. We’re so happy about this Warrior Hike outfit, btw, that we already are scheming on ways to meet this group with even more good food at trail’s end!

Bob has a ladle, and he’s not afraid to use it.

More pics, after the jump…

We love volunteers!
Thank you, VFW Post 1860.
Can’t talk… we’re eating…
If you look closely, you will see Harrison, Bob, and Boston Maggie amid the hikers and VFW folks.
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We Came; We Cooked; We Fed (About 150 Soldiers & Family Members) Wed, 12 Sep 2012 19:20:09 +0000 concretebob

Ft Belvoir in Northern Virginia is home to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) specializing in the treatment of TBI and PTS. They have some of the most incredible individuals working there. The level of committment to our Warriors is unparalleled. We knew we had to make Ft Belvoir the nexis of our Homefront Support program for our wounded, their families and the dedicated men and women who care for them.

SKK had laid the groundwork for this event early in July. It was her determination and tenacity that got us in the door. (I think they just got tired of answering her phone calls and figured it was the easiest way to get rid of this irritating woman.)

When we met with the Outreach Coordinator for the 1st BN Warrior Transition Brigade in August we were pleasantly surprised with the response. She was onboard and on our side the moment we sat down in her office and started telling her about the 9-11 Cookouts and other events we had done at the old Walter Reed Medical Center on Georgia Ave. Once I gave her a jar of my world class BBQ Sauce, she was ready to start cooking right then. It’s amazing what a mixture of brown sugar and spices can do for one’s perspective and attitude. When I laid out the menu of BBQ chicken, smoked beef, fried squash and assorted sides, I swear the lady swooned. (She’s an Okie and she hunts, fishes, and won a prize for the largest fish caught in a ProAm/PBA BassMasters tournament.) To say she is a country-girl would be an understatement of epic proportions.

Our team arrived onsite at 0900 and immediately had more help than I ever could have wanted. The Red Cross sent 3 wonderful Ladies with bottled water to assist with the setup and serving line. These Ladies went way above and beyond the call. There was a detail tasked to set up the tables on the patio for those who preferred to dine al’fresco. The young Warriors pictured below elected to do just that, and Virginia Artesian Bottling had provided us with water.


We took over the kitchen at 1000 and began cooking the squash and setting up the steam trays. I prefer to cook and serve the squash hot. It just tastes better when its freshly cooked. I slice the onions and squash the night before and pack in ziplock bags on ice. My technique for cooking is simple. Large (16″) deep frying pan; lots of butter; fresh sweet onions saute’d in melted butter; add the sliced squash and stir/blend until hot and tender. Salt and pepper spareingly while cooking so the person eating it has the opportunity to adjust the level. (We are careful with salt during our events.)

I have to say, as proud as I am of my BBQ sauce, it was the fried squash that received the most praise/feedback. Soldiers were coming back for 2nd’s and 3rd’s on the squash. The most frequently heard comment was “Dude, that squash is MONEY!!!” I got more “thank yous” for the squash than I got for the entire meal.

I had prepared about 30 pounds of London Broil with a dry rub and smoked with wild cherry wood. My ace sidekick and best friend, (my wife), sliced the meat after it was smoked and cooled and put it in half-size steam table trays. That was the best idea, (except for having the good sense to marry me), that I could have gotten. She was also instrumental in choosing the cuts of meat.

I cooked the chicken last. We served Perdue boneless skinless thighs and bone-in thighs. These are cooked on the grill in BBQ sauce in the steam trays. I transfer them to a clean tray and cover and put them in the oven to keep them above room temperature. I try to get the chicken onsite while its still warm.

Olive Garden came through with spaghetti, pasta dishes and two huge salads. Pinera Bread gave us more bread than we needed but trust me, nothing goes uneaten on a military base. The one thing that is a constant in the military, no matter the branch, is that Warriors will eat. Buffalo Wild Wings gave us 150 wings.

We had 300 cupcakes from the Cupcake Lady. She said this was the first time she’d done anything like this, and then she said, ”but it won’t be the last.” Red Velvet cupcakes with butter cream icing; Oreo cupcakes; German Chocolate Cake cupcakes; Reese’s Peanut Butter cupcakes; cupcakes with red. white and blue sprinkles. I was OD’ing on sugar just looking at the trays.

God Bless America.

Once we had the tables set-up and the food in the trays, we opened the serving line and they started coming; and coming and coming. Fishmugger and I are cooking squash and keeping the trays full; the Red Cross Ladies are filling plates and handing out utensils. We had our volunteers (Freepers all) serving the salads and cupcakes. up in McClean, VA had sent us some copies of The Military Advantage to make sure our Warriors were as educated as possible about the benefits and rewards available to them both while in uniform and after leaving the military.

After it was over, we cleaned up, loaded the equipment, and had a sit-down with Queen, the Outreach Coordinator. Her first question to me was , “When can we do this again?”

My answer was “Super Bowl party.”

GO PACK!!!!!

Lock and load.

Lots of people to thank and they know who they are and I hope they were hugged and thanked sufficiently before they left.

The Red Cross Ladies

The Gang of Reprobates:

Katherine (be still my heart), Lisa, Olga, Courtney, Chad, Fishmugger, SKK, Queen and Pinch.


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Godspeed Miss Phyllis Mon, 20 Aug 2012 19:28:24 +0000 wolf1 Back when Patti Patton-Bader encouraged us to start Cooking with the Troops, and before we were formally of that name, I wrote a letter to someone not really expecting a reply.  When one contacts celebrities, the reply rate is quite dismal, particularly with the younger set.

To my surprise, not long after, a large envelope/package arrived.  In it, I found my SASE returned with a note telling me to use it for something else; a stack of autographed photos; and an admonition to look after the troops, her boys (and girls). At that moment, Phyllis Diller became not only our first supporter, but also Miss Phyllis.  An autographed photo of her with Bob Hope in Vietnam has gone to every major event done by Cooking with the Troops.

Today, she has gone to that big USO show upstairs.  I’d like to think that she, Bob, and Martha are at the Green putting on a show and having a well deserved libation, with Phyllis laughing that laugh and joking with all there about posing for Playboy and them not running the shots (true!) and aren’t they glad.

Thank you Miss Phyllis, for all you have done for the troops, for the laughs you gave us all, and the encouragement you have given so many of them, and to us.  You paved the way on so many fronts, and we thank you for it.  And, yes ma’am, we wil indeed keep looking after your boys and girls — and that photo will be at our events for as long as it lasts.

The Spirit Of Miss Phyllis

Photo of Phyllis Diller at Cooking with the Troops event

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VOWS/Hiring Our Heroes Mon, 18 Jun 2012 10:05:23 +0000 wolf1 No one can argue that the economy is tough, and that finding a job can be difficult — especially for our young veterans.  To help with the challenge, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has started the Hiring our Heroes program.  In New York, a group of veterans in the business/financial field started a program called Veterans on Wall Street to help vets interested in those fields find jobs.

Next Thursday (21 June), they join forces in New York for the 2012 Veterans on Wall Street Conference (and job fair).  Cooking with the Troops is participating in the event, and if you come down please do stop by our table and say hi.

If you live within striking distance of NYC, are considering or seeking a career in the financial or related field, or just looking for a job, come on down.

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Simply Fun Fundraiser for CwtT! Mon, 11 Jun 2012 14:53:25 +0000 wolf1 Want to get some fun and educational games for your children, grandchildren, other people’s children (or yourself)?  If so, there is a way to do that and to help Cooking with the Troops at the same time.

Under a special promotion, CwtT can get 15 percent on all orders placed through this link.  The details are as follows:

* Please be absolutely certain that you order ONLY from this link so that Cooking with the Troops will get the credit for your purchases.  (Note that orders will be HELD for processing into the eFUNdraiser … they will NOT actually be submitted for shipment until the Final Order Date.)
Participant Ordering Information:
* Please be sure to note the correct quantity of each product you wish to purchase in the appropriate column.
* Delivery of product ordered will be shipped directly via United Parcel Service to the address chosen by the Purchaser.  All Purchasers MUST choose the ‘Direct/Drop Ship Delivery’ option when checking out of the website, and enter their FULL Ship To address, including street address (no PO boxes), city, state, and zip code.

* Delivery cost within the Continental United States is 10%, with a minimum of $8.  Therefore, you will probably wish to order at least $80 in retail product (or, you may wish to consider combining your order with a neighbor’s order), since you will be paying shipping on that amount, as a minimum, anyway. Orders shipped to Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam are charged 20% of the retail amount, with a minimum of $16.  Therefore, if you plan to ship to any of these places, you may wish to order at least $80 in retail product, since you will be paying shipping on that amount, as a minimum, anyway.
* Sales tax will be added to each order, as applicable at the delivery destination.


Payment Options:
* Visa or MasterCard (paid directly on the website)
Remember:  All orders must be submitted by: June 25, 2012 (at 10:PM Central time)
Anticipated Delivery of Products Ordered:
*   ~ 3 weeks after Final Order date: ~ July 16, 2012

   If you have any questions regarding this SimplyFun eFUNdraiser or would like additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact:

Terri J. Lambing, SimplyFun Independent Consultant

by email at:


Thank you for your support and participation!

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28 June Red Robin Fundraiser Thu, 07 Jun 2012 13:26:42 +0000 wolf1 The West Carmel Red Robin (9965 N. Michigan Road, is hosting its second Indianapolis-area fundraiser for Cooking with the Troops ( on Thursday 28 June.  The restaurant is donating ten percent of their proceeds for the day to the charity to help support U.S. and Allied troops, their families, and caregivers.

“It is a pleasure to once again help Cooking with the Troops,” says Shawn Kelly, general manager of the restaurant.  “To help an Indiana-based charity that uses a culinary focus to help troops with everything from jobs to morale is a pleasure.”

The fundraiser will run from 11 am to 10 pm, and the afternoon may see a number of special events.  Already confirmed is Baen Books ( , who has once again donated a limited number of free books including some by bestselling Indianapolis-area author Michael Z. Williamson (  Mr Williamson will be on hand to sign his books personally between 2-4 pm.  These will be given to those coming in and buying a meal in support of Cooking with the Troops.

“We can’t begin to thank Red Robin enough for this,” states C. Blake Powers, CEO of Cooking with the Troops. “Our growing relationship demonstrates not only their committment to our troops, but also how Hoosiers can work together to have a positive impact literally around the world.  Events like this are crucial to not only raising the funds we need to operate, but in spreading the word to Hoosiers about the good things being done by both organizations.”

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41 NBC Macon Spreads The Word Fri, 25 May 2012 13:20:23 +0000 wolf1 Big thanks to the team at 41 NBC in Macon, GA for the interview!


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Cooking with the Troops in Richmond VA Thu, 10 May 2012 11:36:32 +0000 concretebob Fundraiser on Tuesday May 15th at O’Tooles Pub 4800 Forest Hill Ave Richmond VA to help fund the Veterans Resource Village at the Carillon. Festivities begin at 7:00 PM and will continue until we all fall down.

My world-famous, eat from the jar with a spoon BBQ Sauce will be available for purchase in pints and quarts.

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A New Book Sun, 08 Apr 2012 13:38:38 +0000 wolf1

Just a short post to let you know that my new book, “A Different View:  Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007″ is now out and available for purchase.  Ten percent of profits will be going to Cooking with the Troops.  Nuff said.

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