Amanda Raulerson’s mother influenced her career decision
by Margaret Anderson
Amanda Raulerson can’t say she didn’t know her husband, Derek, well when they married. They’ve known each other since they were 3, and they attended school together at Kitty Stone and Jacksonville High.

Amanda remembers the first time she saw Derek. She and her father happened to be in a local restaurant at the same time Derek and his father were there.

“I saw him drinking a cup of coffee with his dad,” said Amanda. “And I remember thinking what’s he doing with that coffee?”

Amanda also has memories of their mothers working together on school projects while she and Derek were in grammar school. They would play together while their mothers worked on the Halloween carnival for the school.

They will be married 15 years on May 2.

Amanda’s parents are the late Brenda Almaroad Anderson and Winston Anderson Jr., of Jacksonville. Winston currently lives in Leeds. Her mother had a huge influence on the career Amanda chose.

Amanda has worked for the Department of Human Resources for the past 17 years. She is a child welfare supervisor in the area of quality assurance and training. Her mother worked for DHR for 29 years in child support.

“She led me into this field,” said Amanda. “I was in college at Auburn and trying to decide on my career I thought about different majors, and she suggested that I do something in the social science area. It was definitely under her guidance that I chose this. It’s been a really good fit for me. I like to help people anyway, and this is a good way to do it and at the same time help support my family.”

Derek works at the Church of Christ in promotions with House to House, Heart to House, a national publication for the church.

Amanda graduated from Jacksonville High in 1990 and Auburn University in 1994. She saw Bo Jackson play when she was in sixth grade. In fourth grade, she attended a social studies fair at Auburn and fell in love with the campus. Her father’s side of the family attended Auburn, and that also contributed to her decision to go there.

Amanda and Derek have two children. Brooke is 11, and Connor is 8.

Amanda is on the board of the Jacksonville Youth Football Association and serves as the cheerleader and dance sponsor. She’s a member of the Church of Christ and teaches cradle roll.

These things – church, family activities, and work – are her main focuses.

She also likes to read, cook and go to the movies.

“Movies are a big deal to me,” she said. “I like to read James Patterson right now. I like mysteries and suspense.”

Amanda’s mother taught her to cook at a young age.

“She showed me how to cook little dishes here and there, and while she was at work, I’d cook before she got home,” said Amanda. “I think I’m a lot better now than I was then though. I watch the Food Network, and that helps a lot. I also use different websites to help with meal planning.”

Jalapeno Bites, Garlic Cheese Grits Souffle, Crock Pot Barbecue Pork Roast and Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad are some of the dishes the Raulersons like.


Jalapeno Bites

20 fresh jalapeños
2 bricks of cream cheese, room temperature
4 green onions
1 t. garlic powder
1 lb. bacon, sliced into thirds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Half each jalapeño and remove all seeds and membranes. (You may wish to wear gloves.) You may decide to half each piece again depending on how big your jalapeños are. Finely chop green onions with the tops. Combine green onions, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture into each jalapeño piece. Precook back for only 1 or 2 minutes in the microwave to start the cooking process but do NOT completely cook it.

Wrap each jalapeño with a piece of partially cooked bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Line them up on a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes. If the bacon still does not look done, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish it off but watch them the whole time so the bacon is not overcooked.

Garlic Cheese Grits Souffle

1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grits (not instant)
4 cups whole milk
1 t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper (more to taste)
1 T. garlic powder
4 ozs. butter
4 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart soufflé dish well and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of cheese around the sides and bottom of dish. Cook grits in the milk with salt until done. Watch this and cook on a low enough heat to be sure it does not burn or stick. Add the pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, butter, cheese, and egg yolks to the grits. Stir well and let it cool.

When the mixture is cool, whip the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the grits mixture. Pour into prepared soufflé dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. As an added cheesy option, sprinkle about ¼ cup cheese on top during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Crock Pot Barbecue Pork Roast

4 lb. pork roast
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Vidalia onions sliced and divided
1 cups water (optional)
2 bottles of Favorite BBQ sauce (16 oz. each) (I use Stubb’s Original)

Place one slice onion on bottom of crock pot. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast. Place roast on top of onions and then top with second set of sliced onions. Cover with one entire bottle of BBQ sauce. Add the optional cup of water to fill up your crock pot if it looks like it is needed. I usually leave it out. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

When done, remove roast, trim fat, and shred with forks. Top with the cooked onions. Discard water and sauce from pot. Add back onions. Roast and the second bottle of sauce. Cook for 30 more minutes to allow the new sauce to warm (optional.)

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

2 stalks of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1 packet of buttermilk Ranch dressing mix
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 purple onion
½ cup parmesan cheese

Prepare ranch dressing according to package directions and refrigerate while you make the rest of the recipe. Wash broccoli and remove stalks. Cut up into small bite-sized pieces (about the size of a grape or a little bigger.) Wash and prepare cauliflower and cut it into the same sized pieces. Chop purple onion. Combine dressing, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and parmesan cheese. Refrigerate for one hour so the flavors can blend. Toss just before serving.

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