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Five on Friday Week 3

Welcome to the third post of Five on Friday. Every Friday I post a list the top five things that made me happy during the week. It could be anything from a new kitchen tool, new product, new food, recipe success, or maybe just a life event. No matter what it is, I share it with you here every Friday.

1 and 2 this week are combined. -I am so happy that this year I have an amazingly sweet class. I got to spend yesterday getting to know them. I am super excited to help them learn and grow this year. I am also very grateful that school started on a Thursday this week, so I can spend two days focusing on setting up the room, getting to know everyone, and teaching procedures before we actually start new lessons next week.

3-This week I ran to Publix for a few little things. I knew it was going to rain, but I thought I could be in and out quickly, however I was wrong. Just as I was checking out the clouds burst with rain. I was very grateful for the  gentleman who works there. He watched my groceries, gave me an umbrella so I didn’t get soaked getting to my car, and loaded the groceries into my car for me. I know I have said it before, but this kind of customer service is wonderful and I love Publix!

Also, if you someone does go above and beyond to help you at Publix, please call and let the managers know. The reward the helpful person with food! Everyone loves to be appreciated and it only take a minute to call.

4-I am happy that I get both Saturday and Sunday off this week. Last week we had open house on Saturday and I am very tired!!! I can’t wait to sleep this weekend and go for a long run before breakfast.

5-School is back in session and I am so happy that I made some easy Curry Chicken Salad for lunch. It can be made in advance, it’s low-fat, is made with yogurt for extra protein and probiotics, it has a bit of sweetness from the grapes and a crunch from the almonds, and tastes amazing on crackers or a bed of lettuce. You can click on the link and it will take you right to the recipe so you can try it next week for yourself.

 

I would love to hear your top five too. Please leave me a comment with your top 5 below. Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter too. Let’s spread a little joy and be happy for the little things in life. Happy Friday! 😀

Click and use my code for special offers! Get $10 for signing up now!Want to earn money back on groceries you buy every week? Check out these sites out now!

 

 


Back to School Means Back to Crock-potting

It’s the time of year again when schedules become hectic. When you’re running a million miles an hour, coming home exhausted and starving. Yup, school is officially back in season! Here in Southwest Florida, the kids actual start today, although teachers have been back since the end of July.

There is nothing worse than coming home so tired you can barely think and having to create a difficult meal. Yes, you want something tasty. You want something healthy. You don’t want to go out and waste money. So what do you do? I say bring on the crock-pot meals!

Words cannot describe the love I have for my crock-pot!  I love that I can throw an inexpensive pound or 2 of meat and some seasonings into the crock-pot in the morning, turn it on for the day, and come home to a house bursting with the delicious smells of dinner. It makes life so much easier.

So I thought today I would share with you one of my tried and true, absolutely delicious crock-pot recipes. And bonus, once the meat is cooked you can make at least 3 different meals with it.

Shredded Beef Barbacoa

Everything starts off with the basic and totally drool worthy Crock-pot Beef Barbacoa. You can throw everything into the crock-pot and just leave it alone. When you get home from your busy day simply scoop the meat out onto a plate and pour the juices into a pan over high heat to reduce. This only takes a few minutes and you can shred the meat and prep the rest of the meal while the juices reduce.

Salsa Verda

 

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Now the toughest part about dinner is deciding what to do with all this savory meat. I highly recommend that your first meal with this be Beef Barbacoa Tacos. They are easy! They are satisfying! They are a finger-licking, salsa dripping, perfect weekday meal. The recipe will feed 4 with no problems and can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.

If your feeling energetic or you have made this tasty meat on the weekend, you might want to consider freezing it for future quick weekday meals too.  I have several cups of this yummy meat frozen in 2 cup container ready to go.

 

Baked Beef Taquitos

If you’re not feeding a crowd, you will have Crock-pot Beef Barbacoa left over for a few other meals. I like to make Baked Beef Taquitos and Beef Enchiladas with homemade Enchilada Sauce. The Enchiladas can also be made in advance and frozen. I actually made 2 pans of these while I was making them. One to eat right away and the other I froze for future use.

Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

If you still have just a little left over, because Mr. Teacher and I frequently do, I like to make super easy leftover quesadillas. Get a few tortillas and what every kind of cheese you have, we always try to have cheddar and peppercorn, but I have even used mozzarella or Swiss or blue cheese if I needed to. Trust me, almost anything goes!  Put the cheese on top of the tortillas, add the meat and any of the following items or a combination of items: onions-cooked or raw, leftover or frozen corn, tomatoes, salsa, avocados, olives, peppers-raw, roasted, pickled, mushrooms, zucchini, cooked fruit-peaches, apricots, mango, or pineapple or any other little bits of things that are in your refrigerator. I make quesadillas for lunch nearly every Sunday and I don’t think we have ever had the some one twice! They are a great way to stretch a tiny bit of anything.

Pico de Gallo

 

Don’t forget to top your mouth watering Mexican meals with homemade Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and Salsa Verde !

I hope these recipes will help you keep calm and your belly full during these first few weeks back.

 

 

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Five on Friday Week 2

Welcome to the second post of Five on Friday. Every Friday I will list the top five things that made me happy this week. It could be anything from a new kitchen tool, new product, new food, recipe success, or maybe just a life event. No matter what it is, I will share it with you here every Friday.

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  1. I got to go back to work this week. Yes, restful summer is over, but I work really amazing people and we have a lot of fun even if our jobs are very stressful at times. I truly love being a teacher and after sitting through some trainings this week I am pumped to meet my new set of 4th graders Saturday morning at open house. Now I just need to put the finishing touches on my room so we can “Flutter Through Fourth Grade!”
  2. I am in love with these date caramel things I found at BJs. My mom says she used to get them for me when I was a very little girl, but I don’t remember them. I tried them because they are only 3 ingredients: natural coconut, dates, and almonds and they were on sale. Who would’ve known I would LOVE them! They are super yummy and healthy! They taste like sweet, chewy candy with a little almond crunch. I truly think these will come in handy this year because I can reach for them and not the chocolate all the time. Also, while writing this I found out that Amazon sells these. So now even if you don’t live by a BJs, you can order them online to try./li>
  3. I am very grateful that Mr. Teachers is home from his long journey. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and he brought me home some very nice treats.
  4. I am so happy that I finally getting more views to this blog. I am really looking forward to it growing! If you haven’t signed up for the newsletters yet, please do so today. I also just got my business cards and I can’t wait to pass them all out to the people I work with. It is making my hard work on the website this summer wasn’t for nothing!
  5. I finally, after a little trial and error, perfected my super easy and delicious No Bake Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars. If you like chocolate covered berries these are the bars for you! I used Very Berry Cherrios and freeze dried strawberries to get a really nice berry flavored bar and then I topped them off with a drizzle of dark chocolate. I ate nearly an entire pan in one day. I figure it was mostly cereal, dark chocolate, and fruit so it was okay.  Please check out the recipe here so you can see for yourself!

    No Bake Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars

    I would love to hear your top five too. Please leave me a comment with your top 5 below. Don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter too. Let’s spread a little joy and be happy for the little things in life. Happy Friday! 😀

    Click and use my code for special offers! Get $10 for signing up now!Want to earn money back on groceries you buy every week? Check out these sites out now!

     

 


Money Saving Tips, Sites and Apps

Image result for free images of dollar signs

I love to eat good quality, fresh food, and to go shopping, but I also like to save money. So, I have become addicted to some sites and  apps that help me earn money back on everything I purchase. I have made shopping for everyday things almost like a game where I try to get things as inexpensively as possible and I would like to share with you how I do it every week.

Every Sunday I get a big cup of coffee, my phone and my laptop. I go and sit on the lanai (porch if you’re not from Florida). I relax, listen to the birds, and begin my money saving journey. I re-exam the Publix site though my app to see what is on sale and BOGO for the week. I say re-examine because I love to see what is on sale when the sales change every Thursday.  I specifically look for things that might have coupons to save even more money. If you don’t have Publix then see if your local store has an app that will show you the weekly sales. I also clip my digital coupons through the Publix app. That way when I go to check out at the store I simply just enter my phone number and the coupons come off the total.

On Sundays, I also coupon hunt at Coupons.com. You can get a free log-in and sign up for updates every week for the latest coupons. You simply scroll through the site, digitally clip the coupons you want, and simply print them. I print any coupon that I might possibly need in the next few weeks. I keep them in my purse ready to go. I do not know how much money I have saved by couponing, but the cashiers ask me all the time what I do to save money.

Do not forget to try go to a products specific website if you do not see their coupons on Coupons.com. Many products like Lifeway Kefir and Cabot cheese have coupons just on their sites.

After I am done checking out the sales and printing coupons. I look at the following apps and plan out what else I will be purchasing.

Checkout51- I like this app.  You simply scroll through and see what products they are offering money back on for the week. Products are offered at specific stores and with limited quantities, so you need to be careful that you are submitting a receipt for a product purchased at the correct store and the correct amount.  When you get home from shopping, you take a picture of your receipt and scan in the products you purchased that match the ones on the app.

They change out the 

Sign up now and earn money back at Publix, CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, BJs, Sam’s Club, and many more!products every Thursday morning at 12 AM. This app is good. I have been using it for about 6 months and I have earned $47 back. They will mail you a check when you have reached $20 or more.

IBOTTA

Sign up now with my link and earn $10. Earn cash back on purchases at Publix,, Target, Costco, Groupon,Amazon and more!

This is my very most favorite shopping app. I have earned $244 back since I really started using this religiously. I like to try to get the bonuses . You can even work with your team and save even more. I am not going to get into all of that right now though. You will see it when you get the app.

This app is easier than Checkout51  , allows you to shop at more stores, and you can even save money while shopping online at stores like Amazon and Groupon. They even have rebates for purchasing anything or any brand. It’s nice because you get money back regardless of what you bought at the store. You simply scroll though and find the rebates for the week. Then select the rebates you might use.  When you get home from shopping you take a picture of your receipt and scan in the products that you purchased that match the ones on the app. If you find a rebate at one store it will automatically show up for all of the stores it is available at for the week. So let’s say I selected a rebate for $1.00 off apples at Publix, but I ended up buying them at BJs. No big deal! I still get the money back after I submit my receipt. Rebates change out every Thursday 12AM, but I keep my receipts from the previous week just in case something I bought shows up on the list. You can’t do that with Checkout51. Sometimes I don’t realize I am going to buy something or I didn’t realize it was on sale and I don’t select the rebate until I get home from the store. This is no big deal. You still get your money back. When you reach $20 you can get a check mailed to you or just have the money deposited into your account via Paypal. I just had another $37 deposited last week. It adds up really fast!

Shop Kick: This app gives you points just for walking into the store and pays you with gift cards. You also get points for just scanning items while you are shopping. This is the app that feels like you’re playing a game. I like to earn as many points as I can by scanning all of the items available while I am doing my regular shopping. Sometimes you have to answer a couple of questions about the products you have scanned, but it goes really quick. They will also give you additional points if you have purchased the items you scanned and you submit your receipt. I have earned $90 back in Target gift cards using this app. Who doesn’t like a free Target gift card just for walking into a couple of stores? There are many other gift cards available, I just like Target.

Ebates: This is an app and a website. If you like to shop online for clothes, electronics, pet supplies, etc. this is the app/site for you. Simply make an account and go to the Ebates site to get to your online shopping destination. I just earned 8% back on everything I ordered for my kitties. I have a $58 coming back to me this month. This site/app pays you quarterly. They will mail you a check or deposit money in your PayPal.

Get cash back for shopping on Ebates! Sign up with my invite link for a $10 bonus when you shop at over 2,000 stores like eBay, Macy’s & Walmart.

When you’re ready to hit the stores turn on your Shop Kick app and have your coupons ready to save big. Then shop for the things you need while scanning for points. When you get home, take a picture of the receipts for the Checkout51 app and scan in the products as you put them away. Do the same thing with the Ibotta app. A few minutes later magical notifications will pop up saying that you have earned money back. It’s a great feeling! It’s even better when you get stuff for nearly free because you had a coupon, it was BOGO, and it was on Ibotta or Checkout51. I just love it!!!

You’ll really like this app You walk into stores like Target to earn free gift cards. Try it:

All of the apps can use the very same receipt and they work with the coupons you have printed. That is how I save money! You do not need a special receipt or to do anything extra except a little planning and scanning. It really is easy! Please don’t be overwhelmed! This sounds like a lot, but by spending a little while to plan before you shop and 5 minutes after you shop you can earn money back on tons of products you use everyday! After you get a routine down it takes minutes to save big. I have put the links into the pictures in this post to get to the sites to sign up. If you have any questions, I will help you anyway I can. I strongly urge you to get the apps and start earning money back on the things you already buy!

 

 

 

 


Five on Friday

Welcome to the first post of Five on Friday. Every Friday I will list the top five things that made me happy this week. It could be anything from a new kitchen tool, new product, new food, recipe success, or maybe just a life event. No matter what it is, I will share it with you here every Friday.

I would love to hear your top five too. Please leave me a comment with your top 5 below. Let’s spread a little joy and be happy for the little things in life. Happy Friday! 😀

1. Hope Hummus– If you haven’t tried it you need to. It’s delicious and nutritious. I ate two containers of it this week. I tried the Jalapeno Cilantro and Spicy Avocado. Yummy! They have several other flavors, I gravitate towards spicy, but they have non-spicy too! Plus it’s organic, non-GMO, sold in recycled containers and the company is all about promoting good things. You can check them out by clicking the link below and then go buy a bunch of hummus. Check out Hope Hummus. They are also doing a give away right now to win free hummus for a year. If you win you have to share! 

2. Primizie Tortilla Chips-These yummy crisp crispbreads are what I dipped in all that hummus. I ate two bags of these crispbreads. I can highly recommend the Chile and Lime and the Ancient Grains, although they have other flavors I can’t wait to check out. These crispbreads are organic and  non-GMO. I particularly liked the nuttiness of the Ancient Grains crispbreads. They are filled  quinoa and amaranth seeds. They are super good! You can check them out by clicking the link below. You will need something to eat with your hummus. Discover Primizie.  Oh and if you try them this week Ibotta is giving you a $1.00 back on every bag. So sign up and head to the grocery store! 

3. Publix– I just can’t get enough. I don’t really like to clothes shop and I will do just about anything to not have to go inside when the weather is sunny, but Publix makes me happy. I like going in the store, tying samples, and talking with the friendly employees.  I look forward to my weekly email every Thursday morning of the newest bogos . I like to look at my app while drinking my coffee and plan out what I can make with the items on sale. Plus you can clip coupons right from the app. If you don’t have the app get it!

4. Email Updates Completed-I finally figured out how to set up my email updates to all of you wonderful readers. This was a lot of work and it was pretty confusing, so I am pretty proud of myself for finally getting it right. Shout out to Mr. Teacher’s wonderful sister for the help! If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, you can below when you comment with your 5 things. I really look forward to sharing with you!!!

5. Mr. Teacher Comes Home Tomorrow-Finally, even though today marks the very last Friday of glorious summer vacation, I am so glad that it’s here because Mr. Teacher will finally be home from his travels tomorrow night.  He has been gone for over 2 weeks. It’s no fun to cook just for yourself and he is my companion, recipe critic and sometimes photographer. Needless to say, I have missed him these last few weeks.

So that’s my top 5. Share yours below and have a wonderful weekend!

 

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

 

Thank you so much Nikkepdia for the nomination!!!!

She has a sweet blog with life style information and cute bunny pictures.

You should check out her blog Nikkepedia .

 

The Rules
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions your nominating blogger asked you.
3. Nominate other blogs and give them questions to answer.
4. Notify your nominees.
5. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

 

Here are the questions Nikkepdia asked me.

  1. What do you like most about blogging?

I like that I can get my recipes written down. For years I have been asked how I make or do something, but I didn’t always know exact measurements or times. This blog has forced me to have to measure and keep track of what I do in the kitchen.  I now also have a forum to share my ideas, thoughts, and memories.

  1. What do you look for when choosing other people’s blogs to read?

I like to read blogs that are easy to read, and that I can relate to. I like everyday people posting about everyday things in new and different ways. I like it when I can feel a connection to the person who wrote the blog.  I want to laugh out loud along with the writer, at stories about things happening in their lives and may have also happened to me. It makes them real.

  1. What has been your biggest accomplishment (in life or in blogging) so far?

I’m new to the blog world, so my biggest accomplishment is figuring out to how HTML code for right now. Man that was confusing! I also am feeling proud of setting up my email subscriber list, joining some group boards, and getting me name out there. As I have said before, the blog is a work in progress. I can’t wait to see where it goes and to take all my readers along for the ride!

  1. Which blog is your favorite to read?

I don’t have a favorite right now. There are many that I prefer to or read when I see them on Pinterest and I have found by joining the groups Blogger Hangout and #Authentic Bloggers on Facebook.

  1. What’s your one essential item you can’t live without?

A hair tie on my wrist. I know I’m 37 years old, and this is a teenage hang up, but I can’t let it go. I have very long hair that I love. I will never cut it short again. I need my hair tie so I can throw my hair up when I am riding in the car with the windows down or outside with my students at recess. Don’t worry, I have nice looking ones, not just tacky rubber bands and I often wear a bracelet over the top of them too.

  1. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?

I would love to have my blog become cookbooks and a cooking show.

 

Blogs I nominate:

If you would like to be nominated for this award, please send me an email at Jessi@theteacherstable.com

I will add you to the list and send you the form. I look forward to hearing from you!

Click and use my code for special offers! Get $10 for signing up now!Want to earn money back on groceries you buy every week? Check out these sites out now!

 

 

 

 

Fried Green Tomatoes-Not the Movie

 

In the winter of 2007, I moved to Norfolk,Virginia I was excited to be back in the states after living overseas for several years.  Virginia is a history lovers dream and I am HUGE history buff. I couldn’t wait to visit Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg, and numerous other historic places which were only a short drive from my new place.  But most of all, I was excited to try some new food.

I had never eaten fried green tomatoes before I moved to Norfolk. In Michigan when you have green tomatoes, you put them on the counter until they get ripe. Not in the south though. They serve them up all kinds of ways and I fell in love.

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This is the Zebra Stripped, which might be my favorite heirloom variety.

If you have never had a green tomato, you need to put them on your list of things to try. They have a completely different flavor and texture than red tomatoes.I have discovered there are two kinds of green tomatoes. One is the unripe version of any red tomato and the other is the heirloom green tomatoes that come in several different varieties. Both types are edible and incredibly delicious. They crisp, firm, tart, juicy, citrusy, meaty, and refreshing. Green tomatoes are beautiful in salads. They hold up well when you cook them. In the south they show up in casseroles, in grilled cheeses, on eggs Benedicts and on hamburgers. However my most favorite ways to eat them is fried.

Crispy Breaded Fried Green Tomatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, Chevre, and Basil

Since my love of the green tomato was great and my wallet was small, I went to work growing my own tomatoes. I had a massive garden and I recreated some of my favorite appetizers and meals from places all over the south. My family and friends have fallen in love with these green jewels too.  Now that I have this blog,  I can’t wait to share them with you!

Cornmeal Encrusted Fried Green Tomatoes

Here are two of my most requested fried green tomato recipes- Cornmeal Encrusted Fried Green Tomatoes and Crispy Breaded Fried Green Tomatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, Chevre, and Basil. Oh and if by some chance you have any leftover fried tomatoes, you need to try Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese.

Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese

I hope you fall in love with them too.

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Jamaica

 

 

About 10 years ago, I had the chance to visit Jamaica for 3 days. It was a whirl wind trip. I remember how friendly and fun the people were. I remember the blueness of the water and beauty of the mountains. I remember drinking way to much rum punch. But most of all I remember the food.

Oh the food!!!! I had never had jerk chicken like that before. I had tried it a few times before my trip, but never really liked it. This jerk chicken was different however, and oh so very delicious! I ordered it everywhere  I went. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet, spicy, not exactly hot, juicy chicken.  Right before I left I purchased some jerk seasoning. When I returned home I went on mission to recreate that same flavorful, finger licking,  jerk chicken. I think I have come pretty close.

My recipe is easy! It isn’t overly hot because you can always add heat, but you can’t take it away. You don’t want to serve something to a guest and have them not be able to taste anything. It is full of spices. The marinade hits all of your taste buds. It’s tangy and bright with a hint of sweet. I serve the jerk chicken with extra slices of habenero peppers, roasted bell peppers and onions, and creamy coconut mango rice. For a little extra kick, Mr. Teacher and I like to add some hot sauce too.

Habanero Mango Medium Hot Sauce

I’m currently crushing on this slightly sweet hot sauce. It’s the perfect compliment for jerk chicken.

Click to order your  Mango Habanero Hot Sauce.

You can easily make this on the grill for a barbecue, but honestly I like to pop mine in the oven. It like how the juices from the meat mingle with the peppers and onions. I like how the house fills with smell of spices making your mouth water and your stomach growl. I like how you can pour the pan drippings over the completed dish for extra flavor too. Are you hungry yet? Give my Jerk Chicken with Coconut Mango Rice a try and let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Want to earn money back on the groceries you buy every week? It’s so easy! Check out these two sites now!

Click and use my code for special offers! Get $10 for signing up now!Want to earn money back on groceries you buy every week? Check out these out!


It’s All Greek to Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love Greek food! Unfortunately it seemed like the only time we got to eat it, is when we would go to an occasional Greek Festival. So I decided to do something about it. I created all the delicious food to make at home in our own kitchen any time the cravings arise.

The best part about the recipes are that they are easy to make and can be prepped in advance. This makes them a wonderful addition to entertaining menus. Oh and bonus! They are low in fat, high in protein and will not cost you a fortune. I use fat-free Fage Greek yogurt. It really is the most thick and creamy, along with whole grain pitas and lean meat. My salad dressing contains very little oil and a ton of fresh veggies. You won’t feel bad if you splurge and eat 3 or 4 pieces of Baklava. I surely don’t!

I was frequently making Gyros, Tzatziki, Greek Salad, and Baklava for friends and family when they came to visit, when I found out last summer that Mr. Teacher’s family was coming to stay with us for a few weeks. I was busy menu planning and getting everything ready. I had never met Mr. Teacher’s sister and her fiance. I was very excited! It was then that I learned that they were vegetarians. I kind of froze. I had all these wonderful meal plans that mostly focused on meat as the main course, but we always eat a lot of vegetables. What else could I add to my now go-to Greek menu?

Falafel! I had never made it before, but I’m sure glad I gave it a shot. It was a hit! I did fry it last summer and you could certainly fry the delicious herbaceous balls of goodness if you like, but I have found that baking works just fine.  It does make them lower in fat. The Baked Falafel is now part of our regular Greek entertaining menu.

Give my recipes to a try! Invite over some family and friends. Run to the store and grab the ingredients, some Greek beer and maybe some Ouzo, and treat everyone to a Greek meal they will not soon forget. OPA!

 

 

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Click and use my code for special offers! Get $10 for signing up now!Want to earn money back on groceries you buy every week? Check out these out!

 

Want to earn money back on the groceries you buy every week? It’s so easy! Check out these two sites now!

 

 

 


Misawa

I have been thinking a lot about my Misawa days lately. One of my friends, Leslie, has unexpectedly passed away and it has brought up many memories that I would like to share.

RIP Leslie!

Regina, Kelly, Me, Tracy, and Leslie. I’m missing a few girls, but I couldn’t find a picture with all of us.

I have always loved to cook, but I really did not know how much my love of cooking and my skills would be tested until I moved to Misawa, Japan. 13 or so  years and another lifetime ago, I was a twenty something military wife who was brought to the land of the rising sun. This was the last place I wanted to go. This was before everyone had a cell phone and could talk face to face online. We had limited internet and base TV. My mom would send me video tapes with Friends and Seinfeld recorded for us to watch as a group. I missed my family and friends, and most of all, I missed the USA and all the wondrous food!

Don’t get me wrong, I did get to do many amazing things while living in Misawa, Japan. To name a few,  I’ve climbed Mount Fuji, slept on tatami mats on a ship on the way to explore the Sapporo Snow Festival, eaten raw everything from seaweed to chicken at the massive fish markets, caught live salmon swimming up stream with my bare hands, learned to love Japanese Food and culture, and I met the most wonderful group of women, whom I am lucky enough to still call friends today even though so much in our lives has changed.  With out them, I would not have made it for 3.5 years. There is just something about being so far away from home for an extended amount of time without access to home that plays with your mind.

Anyways, back to the food. American food was something I missed terribly. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. My new found friends and I would dream about pizza without mayo and corn on top and all of the not so healthy, but tasty fast food we could not get in Japan. So my culinary skills were put to the test and one of my most requested recipes was born.

We had family members send us sauce packets from fast food places. We had a plethora of sauce packets from Arby’s and I decided to try and recreate their signature classic beef sandwich wrapped in foil and wax paper. I can still remember my friend Kelly drawing the Arby’s logo on top. I also made curly fries and jalapeno poppers for a group. It was a fabulous success! While everything was pretty exact to what you could order off of the menu, I did twist around the jalapeno poppers. Mine were not fried, but wrapped in bacon and grilled. I did serve them with the classic raspberry sauce that you could order back then or maybe you can still get it now, but I haven’t eaten there in years.

These Bacon Wrapped, Cream Cheese Filled Jalapeno Poppers with Raspberry Sauce were fabulous and have stood the test of time! Now 12 years later I still get requests for the recipe. These perfectly spicy, smokey, cheesy, and sweet poppers are wonderful as an appetizer for almost any event. They can be made in advance. You can use low-fat cream cheese. There are no carbs for those people who like high protein and no gluten. I have even done them with bacon that isn’t smoked so my sister can eat them. Give them a shot! I hope you enjoy them as much as my friends, family, and I have.

My most requested recipe!

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