Posted in Dinner, Easy Meals, Food, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Turkey Meatloaf with Meme’s Meatloaf Sauce

Growing up, I didn’t care much for meatloaf, but it was a staple dish at our house.  We were the quintessential downeast Mainer, meat and potatoes kind of family.

Now, my house consists of me, my husband and my 28-year-old brother.  Most nights the decision as to what to have for dinner falls on my shoulders.  It’s my cross to bear.  My husband will happily eat most anything.  My brother is far more picky.  I’ve made turkey meatloaf a few times,  and he was having no part of it.  But he had a suggestion.  “Why don’t you make it like Meme does?”

I had no idea how my grandmother made her meatloaf.  I mean, how many ways is there to make it really?  I asked J.J how Meme made it.  He wasn’t sure either.  The only thing he knew for certain was that it came with some type of tomato based sauce.

So the other night, I called my Meme.  I told her I was going to make her meatloaf, and needed go over the recipe with her.  When I told her that I was going to make it with ground turkey instead of ground beef, you could sense the hesitation.  She was trying to be so nice. She said “Uh, well Darci, I just don’t know how that will turn out”. And  ” You can’t put tomato sauce with turkey!” I assured her that it would be fine.  I also had to give J.J. a pep talk. I told him that it would be fine.  He agreed to try it, and voila, he ate it all.  I win.

So here’s what I did:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey, 1 egg, 1/2 a large chopped green pepper, 1/2 an onion finely chopped, and 5 or 6 ritz crackers.  Put mixture in a loaf pan and put it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

When it’s done, lift the meatloaf out of the pan and put the pan on a burner and turn it on low.  Add a can of Tomato soup, half a cup of chicken stock, and a couple of tablespoons of wondra to thicken.  Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer.  If the consistency seems too watery, add more wondra until it thickens.  Once it’s the right consistency, I pour it into a gravy boat so everyone can serve themselves at the table.

So that’s that. But now, I’m curious… What was a staple dish at your house growing up?  Have you revamped it or changed it now that you’re the one cooking it?

Posted in blogging, Food, Uncategorized, writing

Surviving Succulents – Part Two

I had no idea there was going to be a “Part Two” when I wrote the original.  But here we are.

Guys!  What I wrote about in the original post almost happened (If you’ve just started reading my blog, you can find the original here).  I almost gave up.  My blog hit a bump in the road and I wavered.  I have been counting the days since my last post, but couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  And here’s why.

Do you ever have an idea or vision of how you want something to play out.  Or how you want something to look?  We’ve all seen those “10 epic pinterest fails” lists of people who try to create or recreate something amazing that they’ve seen and have come up so very embarrassingly short.

When something doesn’t quite seem to be turning out the way I had envisioned, I immediately start a quiet downward spiral.  Most of the time, when this happens nobody can see this slippery slope of doubt and over-thinking.  It sneaks up on you. Even I find myself being surprised by its onset.  I try to fight through it.  Find a way around it.  Fix it.  But more times than not, it gets the better of me.  I can’t get past my shortcoming.

Let me give you an example:  Kruno’s parents had been looking forward to a traditional American Thanksgiving.  And I had the added pressure (all internal) of transporting the meal to Boston the next day to celebrate with JJ, my dad, and aunt Nanette.  I had imagined a Norman Rockwell-esq presentation at both my house and the hospital.  However realistic or unrealistic it was.  I had a vision.  I prepped two separate turkeys, one for each day.  I timed out everything perfectly and at the second basting session, when I removed the roaster lid, all I saw was bone.  I had cooked both turkeys upside down.  Kruno’s mom was beside me to watch as I prepared the most important meal of year.  She saw the horror on my face and the tears in my eyes.  The Norman Rockwell scene in my mind disintegrated just as the bottom half of the turkey’s had.  Lots of expletives started flowing out of my mouth. Along with sentences like “I ruined it, I ruined Thanksgiving.” and “How did I mess this up so badly?”

The turkey was delicious.  I didn’t ruin Thanksgiving.  It just wasn’t presentation worthy. But, that small detail, the vision of this beautiful whole turkey being presented on my grandmothers antique turkey platter, and not being able to have that image come to fruition, was enough to send me down that spiraling slippery slope.

So, back to my blogging bump in the road.

Two weeks ago I had an idea.  I wanted my blog to have it’s very own page for recipes.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, my mother and aunt inherited her intuition and I like to think that I did too.  I reached out to my family for their copies of her recipes and was ready to start editing in a couple of days. I logged on.  I fiddled with the settings in WordPress, sought assistance through the handy “chat now” feature and researched everything I could find on relevent topics.  For days and days I tried to figure it out.  I knew how I wanted my site to look, and how I wanted it to read.  But everything I read and all the helpful chat people told me what I wanted wasn’t possible.  I couldn’t get passed it.  I’ve had several posts I’ve wanted to publish, but because of this hiccup, I couldn’t.  I even turned off my Facebook setting, so my friends couldn’t see what I was doing.  I didn’t want them to see if I made a mistake or if something looked weird.

Well, I figured it out today.  I fought my way up that damn slippery slope. I rose to the top and compromised on my vision.  My site is still under construction, but the template it set.  Content will be added soon.  And I’m happy.  Not just with the website, but that I didn’t give up.  I’ve given up on far too many things.  Too many ideas and projects.  But not today.

 

 

Posted in blogging, family, Food, Inspirations, Interview, Maine, Recipe, Travel

Macedonians in Maine: An Interview

I met my husband, Krunoslav on Match.com.  He worked 7 days a week and I worked at a busy Irish Pub.  We both had odd schedules that didn’t afford either of us many opportunities to meet a potential girlfriend/boyfriend.  He sent the first message, I noticed his name was not an American one.  He said he was from Macedonia and that he liked soccer.  I made up a story about needing some info about soccer for something I was working on for the pub. And within only a couple of messages our first date was arranged.  It went well.  So well in fact, we met again the next night.  He watched “Glee” with me and I helped him deliver papers at midnight.  And as they say, the rest is history.

The first time I met his parents was when they made the long trip from Macedonia to Denver for our wedding. Their names spelled phonetically are Nikola and Kruno’s mom is Blageetsa. His mother speaks english “little bit” as she says.  She speaks it better than she thinks.  And his dad can say a few words.  It’s amazing what you can tell about someone without speaking.  Just by observing a single moment.  As I walked towards them coming out of the international arrivals gate, I knew that they were lovely people.

Well, the In-Laws have arrived for another visit.  We have been looking forward to it for months.  For the last few days I have been thinking about what to post.  And this morning it came to me.  An interview with my in-laws.  I wasn’t sure how the request was going to translate.  But, they agreed and thanks so my wonderful husband and his translation services, it went very well.

Q: How did you meet?

B: We met at a party at a restaurant.  We were introduced by friends.

Q: Do you remember your first date?

N: Not the specifics, but it lasted awhile.  It was the next day after the party and we had our first kiss.

Q:What is Skopje, Macedonia like?

N: It’s very historical (dates back to 4000 b.c.) . Similar to the Old Port portion of Portland.  Our house is in the Suburbs of the capital, Skopje. It’s a very tight-knit community.  Learn more about Skopje, Macedonia Here.

Q: What are some customs or traditions of Macedonia during the holidays?

B: On Christmas Eve (usually on or around January 7th as they use the orthodox calendar), we make a loaf a bread and put a coin in it.  When we sit down to dinner we each take a piece, and also have a piece for family afar and Jesus.  Whoever gets the piece with the coin, it will be their lucky year.  For us Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about family and emphasis is on the meal with family.  On August 2nd, we celebrate our Independence from Turkey. It’s like your 4th of July.

Q: What is the biggest difference between your country and the US?

B & N: How friendly people are here.  Whenever you go into a shop or store.  People greet you.  They say “hello” and “how are you”.  People don’t do that in Skopje.  The other thing, is that people seem so busy here.  We work either the same or more hours per week back home, but aren’t always in a hurry.  We have time to spend with family and friends.  Back home, families only have 1 car.  Here, everyone has a car to get where they need to go quickly.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Macedonia?

N:  Family.  Not just the family as in people but the sense of family and community.  Kruno added – Our country was recently in a way.  It went though a very hard time and what got people through that, was family.  It’s very important there.

What is the hardest part of international travel?

B: Being bored on the long flight.

N: Blageetsa being bored on the flight.  She kept getting up and moving around.

~ They did add, that being in the last row was nice.  It seemed a little less cramped then the other flight.  I asked if they minded the long wait to disembark the plane.  They both agreed that it wasn’t a big deal.  They are far more patient than I.

What has been your favorite thing you’ve eaten while in the US?

B:  Yummy Chicken (A family recipe of mine, find it here)


 

It’s interesting how a short visit with someone can give you so much perspective.  How different families and different cultures go through life.  I always thought that my family was an affectionate group.  We pale in comparison.  The love my in-laws have to give is immeasurable.  When they said during the interview how important family is, it was an understatement.  They love with their whole hearts, their whole being.  I can’t count how many times I’ve been told “I love you” Or “Kristinia (kruno’s sister) says she loves you”. And it’s not just me.  It’s to all members of my family, and friends.  People they have only met one, maybe two times.  Their second day here, they asked to go see my brother in the hospital.  They talk about him everynight.  They’ll ask how he is doing today, if I’ve talked to him. They’ll tell me how much they love him and that they pray for him. They share memories of their first trip here and the people they met.  How our friends are lovely people, and how nice they were, how much love they have for them because they are our friends. The language barrier is tricky to navigate, but when sharing a feeling they are able to communicate with ease.

I knew it the first time I met them and I know it now.  They are some of the most kind, generous and loving people I have ever met.  And I am so very lucky to have the Petrov family as my in-laws.  I couldn’t have asked for better.

 

 

 

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The Petrov’s First Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Posted in Food, Recipe

Yummy Chicken Recipe

The name of the recipe is as simple as the recipe itself.  It was first made by my grandmother Frances Flood and quickly become a family favorite.  This recipe has traveled the world and is my Mother-In-Laws favorite thing she has eaten in the U.S.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Boneless skinless chicken breast.  Cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups pepperidge farm herb stuffing (in the blue and white bag)
  • 1 package wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Coat sides and bottom of 8×11 baking dish
  • place chicken in bottom of pan.  Try to spread out
  • Pour cheese over chicken
  • Mix soup and milk until there are no lumps and pour of chicken and cheese
  • Melt half the butter, after melted pour over stuffing and stir.
  • Pour stuffing on top and spread evenly
  • Place in oven and cook for 40 minutes

About half way through cooking the chicken, cook noodle as per instructions on the bag. Once cooked, mix in remaining butter.  Place noodles on a plate and top with Yummy Chicken.  All Done!