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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