Friday, December 31, 2010

Giving My Daughter a Seat in My Kitchen

Do you invite your kids into  the kitchen?

What's your best memory of your Mother's Kitchen?

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ground Turkey Larb

Larb:  a type of meat salad in Laotian and Thai cuisine, most often made with chicken, beef, duck, turkey, pork or even fish, flavored with fish sauce, lime juice and fresh herbs.

Note from Sara:  This week's recipe is the last of the uber-generous substitute cooks and is from my old roommate, Kye.  Now, Kye is the sole reason that I own and cook with oyster sauce, fish sauce, and hoisin.  She taught us a lot about Asian cooking when we all lived together, and her "Hmong Beans" is still my most favorite way of cooking fresh green beans (Serious Yum City, folks).  I was so excited that she sent me this recipe because 1) I already knew that it would taste amazing, 2) I'm mildly obsessed with lemongrass anything, and 3) Not one day after she emailed me this recipe, the foodie book I was reading started waxing poetic about Larb.  I was destined to try it out, don't you agree?  Thank you, Kye!!

Ground Turkey Larb
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 half small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 stick Lemon grass, cut finely
4 Hmong (Fresno/Thai) Chili
5 Crimini mushrooms, chopped finely
1 package of Lean Ground Turkey Breast (Usually 20 oz, can substitute or mix chicken and pork)

3 limes, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. hot chili ground
Finely chopped mint to taste


Heat wok/large skillet to medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add finely chopped onions, garlic, lemon grass, hmong chilis, & mushrooms into the pan to sweat for 5 minutes. Add ground meat to the pan and break up meat to ensure small pieces. Cook for another 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add sauce of 3 limes, 1 lemon, salt, honey, fish sauce, and hot chili ground. Depending on how juicy the limes are, you may need 4, but use only three to begin with. Cook for another 3-5 minutes and you are finished.

Add finely chopped mint at the end after turning off the heat and stir. You can serve hot or at room temperature. Pair with rice, cabbage or lettuce cups.


When chopping lemon grass, cut off the top of the stem and the bottom. Then take the outer layer of the lemon grass off. Make a cut vertically down the middle and finely chop horizontally.

Hmong chilies are generally found in the Mid West and in the Central Valley of California. You can use Thai chilis which are similar and can be found at any Asian market.

Hot Chili Ground- This is dried ground chilis mixed with garlic powder. You should be able to find this at the Asian market, but if you can’t, you can use red hot pepper flakes instead.

Mint- If you don’t like mint, you can substitute with Thai Basil that can be found at the Asian market or leave out completely.

Chopping the lemongrass:

The chopped crimini, onion, garlic, lemongrass, and chili:

Sauce ingredients:

The meat mixture, steaming hot:

 Adding the sauce:

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Salsa Chicken

I was organizing my recipes and came across this one that I had torn from a magazine.  I'm so glad I found it.  Super yummy!  An even bigger bonus is that my entire family ate it.

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2 cups cooked rice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1/2 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese (I used cheddar)
Sour cream, optional (I did not use)
fresh cilantro, chopped, optional (I did not use)

1.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. 
2.  Add chicken, onion, and bell pepper. 
3.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink (10-12 minutes). 
4.  Stir in salsa and bring to a boil.
5.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.
6.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
7.  Serve over rice
8.  optional: garnish with sour cram and cilantro

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trisha Yearwood's Meatloaf - My Way

This year for Christmas I received this cookbook - Trisha Yearwood's Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. It's full of great recipes that not only look fun and yummy - they look like things that my family would actually eat.

It's a crap shoot sometimes - even if I really really like the author of the cookbook - my family will sometimes rebel against trying the recipes or the ingredients will not be available in my area. But this cookbook is great! I didn't have a single doubt that my family would enjoy all of the recipes.

Trisha Yearwood's Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen


1 pounds lean ground beef
20 saltine crackers, crumbled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gently mix all ingredients. Shape the mixture into two loves and place side by side crosswise in a 9 X 13 X 2 inch pan. Bake loaves for 1 hour, or until they are browned. Transfer to a platter immediately and allow the loaves to cool slightly and firm up before slicing.

My version - I did exactly as the recipe suggested - but as I was mixing (by hand which my kids thought was really gross) I thought that my mixture needed a few more crackers and a bit more ketchup. My kids took turn squirting a bit more in since my hands were covered in ya know - Meat.  Once I got the loaves formed I realized that there wasn't a topping included - since this is my favorite part of meat loaf - I added more ketchup to the top and sprinkled it with brown sugar.

While my kids complained that they didn't like meatloaf - every single bit of the 2 loaves were eaten. I had orginally thought that we would have enough left over for meatloaf sammies the next day - No Chance.


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Organic Coconut Peanut Butter Cocoa Recipe & Review

Oh the weather outside is frightful..................

I feel like warming up the house with baking when a winter storm hits. However this isn't just a storm. This is a blizzard and we are getting 12-18 inches of snow! I didn't just want to warm the house. I wanted to wrap my hands around a hot mug and warm my soul with a treat.

Lucky for me a jar of Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter was delivered to me on Christmas Eve.  Let me tell you, I'm now a HUGE fan of Coconut Peanut Butter Cup Hot CocoaThis is a cup of dreamy-ness.
Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter is made from organic peanuts and organic coconut. Two ingredients: nothing else! No fillers, no binders, no sweeteners, and no preservatives. The peanuts are 100% organic Valencia peanuts grown organically by family farmers in New Mexico and Texas. Grown in the dry climate of the southwestern United States, these peanuts are certified organic and free from aflatoxins. The dried coconut is certified organic coconut meat from the Philippines from coconuts that are grown with no fertilizers or pesticides. This premium dried coconut contains no additives or preservatives, and is not sweetened. Unlike most dried coconut on the market, their dried coconut products are not treated with sulfites to keep them white. Together, these premium organic roasted peanuts and the premium organic dried coconut are ground together to make a delicious and nutritious spread!

Coconut Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa

4 - 5 servings
Preparation Time: 3 minutes

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar/honey, more or less to taste*
Dash of salt
1/3 cup water
4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk in water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Whisk in Coconut Peanut Butter.

Add milk and whisk and heat until hot, but do not boil. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Serve topping with whipped cream.

*If using honey, use less then you would for sugar. Brown sugar may be used.

The wonderful people @ Tropical Traditions want to give away a jar of their Organic Coconut Peanut Butter to one lucky Money Saving Maine-iac reader!   Just hop over to Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Peanut Butter Review & Giveaway to enter.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.....

Oh, whoops, I got carried away there, didn't I?  I went to think about a list of things I want for Christmas, and aside from the new wooden spoons we get in our stockings every year, I really couldn't think of anything!  So, because I'm feeling so downright grateful and fuzzy-warm inside, here are the things I love the most in my kitchen.  These guys are what bring the happy :)

Do you have any favorites that we should know about?

Christmas Smiles,

These are on the walls of my kitchen; they make me happy everytime I see them :)

I've had my KitchenAid mixer for 10 years, and it's still working like a champ!

I use my Pampered Chef cookie scoop for making cookies and cake pops and a million other things!

Ok, so these aren't a gadget, but holy moly, you need them.  They aren't kidding when they say "magic!"

I swear by the Pampered Chef garlic press.  No peeling necessary!  Ever!

My coffee mug from Anthropologie is basically a no-brainer.  Ca-yute City!

Along with my coordinating bowls.... :)

Speaking of mugs, any that encourage eating cake are fabulous, in my book.

My friend gave me W├╝sthof knives a couple of years ago, and I love them to bits.

I know - another cleaning product, the Swiffer Sweeper Vac.  But with tile floors, this thing is what keeps me from going full on psychotic.  (I so do not like tile because of the dang grout grooves.)

I love these in my kitchen too :)  And I'm making a batch this afternoon, hurrah!

I hope you all have the Merriest of Holidays!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Wishlist: Kitchen Style

This year I asked Santa for a kitchen renovation.  It is something I've been dreaming of for years.  It would be a major undertaking since my renovation dreams include knocking down a wall between my kitchen and dining room and it will cost somewhere in the vicinity of heart-attack-inducing-bills-for-the-hubs.  Since I am pretty certain Santa can't deliver my new kitchen this year, I decided to dream on a slightly smaller scale to ease the pain for hubs this Christmas.

I start my morning off with coffee.  However, because my husband is long gone by the time the rest of us get up I don't need to make a whole pot.  With my traditional coffee pot sometimes making only a cup or two, it doesn't come out right or consistent.  So I'd like this:

With this to stand along side it:

I'm not much of a baker and part of the reason is because I feel there are a lot of difficult aspects.  I'm thinking that this might help make the job easier:

I've always wanted to wake up to freshly made WARM bread:

And last but not least, I wouldn't mind looking cute while cooking up some grub for my crew:

What do you wish for this holiday season?

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

All I Want For Christmas is Hubby's ESP

Wouldn't it be great if our husbands had ESP or maybe just listened when we talk about all the cute stuff that we saw while window shopping? If they could look inside our heads and see that the visions of sugar plums from our childhoods have turned into cute kitchen equipment. Well in my case anyway.

I'll have a Holly Jolly Christmas if Hubby shops at Antropologie:

Images thanks to Anthropologie and total spent (in my dreams) $180.00 since I would need 4 lovely mini colanders and 2 sets of oven mitts.

What's on your Holiday Wish List?

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Can you wrap up a Kitchen Fairy please?

I only have one gift idea on my Christmas Wish List this year.  A Kitchen Fairy.  Yes indeed I would welcome her with open arms.  

1.)  She could organize my Tupperware cupboard for starters.  I want to open the cupboard without plastic containers and their lids falling out on to my feet and floor.  Yes a nice neat Tupperware cupboard would be lovely.

2.)  She could clean the oven on a regular basis too.  You see when I'm in the throws of baking and I open the oven door that's when I think to myself, "I must remember to clean the oven soon".  But you know.  When the oven door closes it's really easy to forget (or hide!) what's inside.

3.)  She can also help with menu planning.  Between Dad working 2nd. shift, hockey and basketball practices & games, and school activities it is hard to put together a weeks worth of dinner ideas that are fast, edible and healthy too.

4.)  The coffee pot.  I'd love it if she could remember to have it locked and loaded so all I have to do in the morning is pull the trigger. 

5.)  Keep the cookie jar filled with homemade goodies!  I like it when the neighbors stop in and I have something homemade to offer along with a cup of coffee.  Rotate the recipes because although  the boys could continually eat chocolate chip, I need variety.  It's the spice of life I hear.

6.)  Speaking of spices.  Can she remember to throw away the spices that have expired too?  I did this myself this year and I was amazed to find spices outdated by 3-5 years.  Yikes! 

7.)  I'd assign her the task of replacing our glasses and cups too.  It seems everything we own is mismatched.  I can just imagine her waving her magic wand and ..............presto!  I would open the cupboard to find whole sets of juice, milk and ice tea glasses lined up.  Coffee mugs to warm our hands around that not only match but are not cracked or chipped.

8.)  This may be asking alot but if she could ride the broom around daily and the mop as needed, I'd one happy lady.

9.)  I  have all good intention and not enough time to organize new recipes on line or in my cookbook binder.  It would be wonderful to have a little fairy help with that.

10.)  And the last task the kitchen fairy could help with is putting the groceries away.  I know.  Her fairy wings are beginning to droop.  I don't mind going and getting the groceries but by the time I get them home I've already handled them 4 times.  If she could just put them in the cupboard I would be so grateful. 

What do you think Santa?  Can you wrap up a Kitchen Fairy please?
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