Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My priorities are shifting.

I am writing to inform my lovely readers that post on Saffron & Semper Fi might be a little infrequent. Here is why: I am working on starting my own home-based business out here in Okinawa. There is a market for what I want to do so I am going to pursue it.

Here is the link for the new business venture: Sarah's Sweets & Treats

I have also been thinking about what this blog is to me. As of right now I am a little unsure, but I know that it serves as an outlet for me to post recipes that I enjoy, places I have been, and other food-related and photo adventures. I am starting to really market myself as a photographer and I need an outlet that is only Photo-related.

So, now I have 3 blogs to upkeep!
1. Sarah's Sweets & Treats
2. SABphotography
2. Saffron & Semper Fi

As you can guess...its been a little hectic! I am getting into the habit of updating the one that is the most pressing at the moment. Which is mainly the baking website, because well, it is becoming a business! Please bear with me during this transition time!

I still do have some wonderful recipes and updates to share with my wonderful readers!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's up with me!

I'm starting my own business!

It's on a rather small scale, but its something none-the-less. AND there is a market for it! Thats what matters!

come check it out!

Sarah's Sweets & Treats

p.s. its more for people in Oki, but i hope it will be able to grow and travel with me where ever I go!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A New Type of Sloppy...

....Sloppy Joe that is! Or, in this case, a turkey joe because I made it with ground turkey instead of ground beef.

I was going to make Turkey Joe's for dinner anyway, but then I stumbled upon this recipe in my Food Network magazine and decided to make it.

Wow, what a combo of new and interesting ingredients...meat, spices, fruit...very Indian in nature and flavor and a spicy kick as well. Try this recipe, it gives the standard Sloppy Joe a new "face lift" so to speak!

~Spicy Bombay Turkey Joe's~
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. shelled pistachios*
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lg. onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 c. milk
4 Buns

For the sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a med. saucepan over med. heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and peppers until the garlic browns a little, about 1 min. Add the tomato sauce and 1 c. water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 min.
For the meat: Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a lg. skillet over med. heat. Add the raisins and pistachios* and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raisins swell up and the pistachios toast slightly, about 1 min. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Return the skillet to med. heat and add the remaining 1-2 tbsp. vegetable oil. Add the onion, pepper, and cumin and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 min. Season with salt. Add the turkey, breaking up the big lumps, and cook until opaque, about 5 min.
Add the sauce to the turkey mixture in the skillet. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 min. Add the honey, milk, and raisins-pistachio mixture and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Serve on the toasted buns.

This was, again, a very new and interesting flavor. I really enjoyed the sweet-savory combo and the texture that the meat, fruit, and nuts provided. Hubby was not a fan of the raisins, they made it too sweet for his taste buds, but they can be easily subbed out or picked out.

Try this...its new, its good....


Friday, January 7, 2011

New Ingredient Time!

Its about that time again! Another new ingredient went into this dinner. Can you guess that it is? Here is a picture:

Its a Japanese Sweet Potato. This is not to be confused with the ever popular and brightly colored Purple Potato that is also common in Japan. This sweet potato is purple on the outside, but not so on the inside, it is like a regular potato. It was a little softer than most potatoes that I am used to cooking, but it tastes pretty much like a regular potato, or whatever you happen to season it with.

For this meal I just cubed the potato and baked it with seasonings. I paired it with a glazed-beef recipe that I saw on another blog and thought Hubby and I would like.

~Beef w/ Brown Sugar Glaze~
(adapted from The Wannabe Chef)
1/2 lb. stir-fry beef strips
2 tbsp. sesame oil (or olive oil)
5 tbsp. cornstarch (or flour)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. water
1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a lg. skillet or wok heat the sesame oil over med. high heat. Coat the beef with the cornstarch or flour and set aside. In a small bowl, add the brown sugar, soy sauce, water, vinegar, salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
Add the beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until all off the beef is browned. Slowly pour in the brown sugar-soy sauce liquid. Continue to cook as the water evaporates. It will eventually form a thick glaze, coating the beef. Once the beef is coated remove from heat. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, toss, and serve.

For the potatoes I just winged it: I cubed them up, tossed them in olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, garlic salt, onion powder, rosemary...maybe some other herbs. I then baked them at 375 for about 30 min. Just keep an eye on them so they don't burn. The potatoes are done when they can be cut easily with a fork (aka fork tender). Remove and serve with the beef.

Hubby really liked the beef. He said he could taste the difference with the sesame oil. To him it tasted more "nutty"....what a complement! I liked the sweet and savory aspect the brown sugar gave it. The potatoes were alright, nothing to special, they just tasted like plain old herbed potatoes...

The beef is highly recommended...Hubby asked for it to be served again. Stay tuned for the next installment of another new local ingredient!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I Love My Hubby...

....He gets me AWESOME Christmas presents!

First...I got these two stupendous gifts:

Set of Shun knives

Kitchen Aid mixer

Then a few days later this box comes....I open it up....

This baby is in there! 

I immediately set to reading the manual....I will master this beast! 

Hubby, THANK YOU, thank you, THANK YOU!! I love you so very much! You know how to make a girl happy...I will make you proud! (oh, and cook and bake you awesome food!)


Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolutions 2011

This year I am working hard on some RESOLUTIONS!

Here are some so far:

Create more ART = Paintings, drawings, crafts, etc.
Finish a 365 Photo Series
Invest $$
Make my ART a business
Blog 95% of each and every month
Be more aware of how I spend my TIME
Eat more HEALTHY
Weight train - start a new activity (Swimming?)
Be more involved (take classes, meet new people, volunteer)
Read and study the BIBLE
Cook, cook, cook....and BAKE
Complete 12 months of the Daring Bakers Challenges
Try and not MANIPULATE situations

I am feeling good about these resolutions so far! I will check back to this post every now and then to make sure that I am keeping up with them. Some are harder than others...

It's time to START!!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011 Part 2

Here is the rest of my 2010 recap in PHOTOS!!

  • In California for vacation
  • Cook lots of food in North Carolina
Starting off California with a trip to Napa and some bubbly

The view from Mr. Judkin's house where we spent the night. Looking down on St. Helena in Napa Valley

Mumm Sparkling Wine

What better way to soak up all the alcohol than with some burgers and fries?

Art work at a Museum in San Francisco 

It made cool shadows on the wall

San Fran


  • Visit Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Massive going-away party for Hubby
  • Drive from North Carolina to Minnesota in 24 hours (First time making the trip with Hubby)
Blueberry beer at Top of the Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Peppers at the Farmers Mkt in Raleigh

Awesome sandwich in Raleigh

Last night at the beach

  • Attend my alma-matter's homecoming/rival game. There was record attendance  
  • Godfather's birthday party. I give him some of my photography as a gift
  • Go to Pine Tree Apple Orchard...have apple cider doughnuts for the last time in a while
  • Go to Hubby's alma-matter
  • Get my hair cut and colored! (I went from light brown to dark brown/red)
  • Lots of random activities (we were prepping to leave for Japan. Would be gone for 3 years = we went to lots of brunches, dinners, and what not with family, friends, etc.)
  • Leave Minnesota for Seattle for 3 day lay-over/family visit en route to Japan
  • Leave Seattle for Japan (24 hour flight w/ 2 stops then our final destination)
  • Get Japanese/SOFA status drivers license and learn to drive on the opposite side of the road
  • Buy our first car in Japan
  • Experience our first Typhoon

Apple cider doughnut

Top Pot Doughnut...the original 

Maple long john

Raspberry raised doughnut...my favorite (but old fashioned instead of raised)

Where it all started...

Outside Duke's restaurant in Seattle

Dill Salmon Peroshky

Veggies at Pikes Place Mkt.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier 

Mt. Fuji

  • Move into our on-base apartment
  • Try new Japanese food
  • Attend Hubby Change-of-Command ceremony
  • Attend USMC Birthday Ball x2
  • Make 4 pies in 2 days (For single marine Thanksgiving)
  • Celebrate Thanksgiving with the families of marines Hubby works with
  • Purchase our 2nd car in Japan
  • Go to Zakimi Castle ruins

  • Add another member to the "Bancroft Bunch"
  • Hubby leaves for 2-week training exercise
  • Join a local photography group
  • Go to Naha pottery district
  • Make homemade Christmas gifts (granola)
  • Take first Japanese language course
  • Get my PADI Open Water scuba certification
  • Complete my first blog "12 Days of Cookies" countdown
  • Explore more Japanese sights/foods

Orion Beer - Hubby's new fave

Coco's Japanese Curry House
Gen Sushi Restaurant

HAPPY 2011!! Hope you have a wonderful year!