Thai Stir Fry Beef Salad

Once all of the vegetables and the meat are chopped, putting together this salad is fast and fun.

I love Thai food, at least my Polish American version of it. A real Thai person, cooking real Thai food, would probably be horrified, but my family tells me that what they taste from my kitchen shares flavors with what we taste when we eat at our favorite restaurant (one of those hole-in-the-wall, really ugly on the outside but amazing food, always, on the table), so if they’re happy, I’m happy.

As with any stir-fry dish, most of the time you spend making this involves chopping the ingredients. The actual cooking is fast and furious, and if you have everything ready beforehand within easy reach, you’ll feel like a professional Polish-American chef deftly creating mock Thai food.

Thai Stir Fry Steak Salad — recipe makes four decent-sized dinner salads


2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice, and tossed turmeric in the water with the salt and oil; if you don’t have turmeric, don’t worry, but consider buying some — it’s not very expensive — to have on hand to add to chicken, fish, and rice dishes)

Here are the vegetables and the meat, ready to jump into the pan. Once I dump the ingredients into the pan, I quickly wipe the plate that held them clean, rinse it, and let it dry before turning back to the stir fry.

6 Tablespoons oil (I used light olive, but coconut would be delicious), divided

1 Tablespoon Mae Ploy Red Curry paste (if you’re in the Walla Walla area, the Asian Oriental store carries this and other terrific products for Asian cooking)

1 head red or green lettuce — cut into ribbons (NOT ice berg — if you don’t get your lettuce from Deer Pond Gardens or your Farmer’s Market, look for the leafy green stuff, preferably organic, spray-free, and chemical-free — remember how “they” used to say, “You are what you eat”? Isn’t it funny how we don’t hear that much anymore?)

4 ounces Kale, cut into ribbons

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

2 x 2 piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (if you’ve never used ginger before, give it a try — the fresh stuff imparts a distinctive taste; if you don’t have it, don’t not make the dish)

1 head garlic, peeled and minced

8 ounces red meat, cut into small, 1/2 inch pieces (you can use more meat if you want; mine was organic, grass fed, and I wanted to make a little stretch a long way)

3/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon (you can get this at Costco)

1/2 of a 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 cup green onions

Cilantro, one bunch, chopped

Another view of the vegetables before cooking.

For the dressing:

6 ounces mild olive oil

3 ounces lemon juice

3 Tablespoons sugar

small handful of cilantro, chopped

reduced beef/tomato juice mixture from cooking the meat

Divide the ribboned lettuce onto four plates.

While the rice is cooking, chop and prepare all of your vegetables, and arrange them in bowls or on small plates so that you can toss them into the wok or frying pan as you go.

Heat three tablespoons of the oil, over high heat, in a saute pan or wok. When hot, add the curry paste and stir quickly for 20 seconds. Toss in the sliced onions and coat with the curry paste. Stir quickly for 2 minutes.

Add the Kale and stir fry 2-3 minutes, quickly, until wilted. Add the green onions and stir 30 seconds more.

Spoon the hot stir fry mixture over the greens on the plates. Divide the rice and arrange it on top of the vegetables.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot. Toss in the garlic and ginger, stir 20 seconds, then add meat and toss quickly for 30 seconds. Add the water and the one tablespoon bouillon and stir until the bouillon is dissolved. Add the tomatoes. Toss until the meat is cooked.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out the meat and tomatoes and toss them over the vegetables and rice on the salad plates. Return the pan to the heat, turn the heat down to medium high, and let the liquid reduce by cooking for 1 minute more.

To make the dressing, combine the oil, sugar, lemon juice, cilantro, and reduced beef/tomato juice. With a wire whisk or immersion blender, combine until the oil is thoroughly blended and the mixture is emulsified.

Divide over the salads. Garnish with cilantro.

Cooking for yourself is one of the easiest ways to start saving money, and cooking does not have to be time consuming or complicated. My book, Live Happily on Less, walks you, through a series of friendly essays, into the journey of living well, on what you have now.

This article is linked to Graced SimplicityThriving ThursdayHearts for HomeHope in Every SeasonI Choose JoyJenni Mullinix, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, five little chefsAll Things with a Purpose, Living well spending less, Coco and CocoaMom on Demand, Joyful Homemaking, Sweet Bella Roos, Food Renegade,



Recipe: Dinner Salad

The sauteed rice in this salad adds a buttery, chewy crunch that delights the taste buds.

Salads are remarkably quick and simple to make, and if you think of them as a canvas, on which you add all sorts of elements — in this case, rice, chicken, and sesame seeds — you wind up with a piece of art that you eat.

And when you think, “salad,” think beyond just lettuce, to greens of all sorts. I incorporated kale in this recipe, and its aggressive, slightly peppery taste adds depth and interest. It also adds nutrition: one of the “superfoods” that also happens to be fashionable, kale is full of vitamins and fiber, and according to, it provides comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.

When the produce you eat is grown in healthy soil, without artificial chemicals or sprays, you might find it easier to eat, because it tastes better. If you haven’t already, cultivate an attitude of celebrating all of the food you eat, as opposed to getting the vegetable out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of the meal.

Dinner Salad: Makes three dinner salads or four smaller side salads


1 head Buttercrunch, Red Sail, or other decent, organic leaf lettuce (from Deer Pond Gardens if you’re in the Dayton, WA area)

4 ounces Kale

2-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, if that’s what you’ve got; or leftover cooked chicken. I used the smaller number of thighs because we eat less meat to stretch the grocery budget, but feel free to add more if you like a lot of meat)

1 cup leftover rice (mine was brown)

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped green onion

3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Easy, EASY Salad Dressing

In a small, covered saucepan, cook the chicken over medium heat until it’s done.

Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the rice in it until hot. I fried mine until it was slightly crispy.

Slice the lettuce and kale into ribbons and arrange on plates. Sprinkle the onions atop. Once the chicken is done and the rice is hot, chop up the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over the onions. Top with rice and sesame seeds.

For a variation on the dressing, replace half of the lemon juice in the Easy, EASY Salad Dressing recipe with the chicken broth. If you have fresh sage leafs on hand, chop up six and add to the dressing; if you’re using the immersion blender, it will frappe the leaves for you; if you’re whisking the dressing together by hand, mince the leaves before you whisk them in.

Bon Appetit.

This is a good time to mention that cooking for yourself, if it’s not something you already to, is a good thing to learn, not only because you eat better, but because you save money. For more on saving money, check out the book, Live Happily on Less — there’s an image of it on the right menu bar, and clicking on the image will take you to its Amazon page where you can peek inside the book.

Child of Eden by Steve Henderson. Original oil on panel available at Steve Henderson Fine Art. Licensed open edition print at iCanvasART.

Recipe: Easy, EASY Salad Dressing

The flavors of this dressing blend with just about anything you want to put into a salad.

This extremely simple salad dressing consists of three ingredients, and is so simple that you’ll find yourself saying, “Bless that Deer Pond Gardens” place! This simple salad dressing is really, really, easy. What makes it even easier is the use of stick, or immersion blender, but if you just have a fork and good wrist, you can whisk briskly and emulsify the oil with the lemon juice. You know, it takes me more time to talk about this recipe than it will for you to make it. Dress it gently over fresh salad greens — if you’re in the Dayton, WA, area, pick up those greens from Deer Pond Gardens at the Saturday Farmer’s Market or at Deer Pond Gardens (see our About section).

Using an immersion blender — I’ve tilted the container so you can see better; generally, I keep the container flat. Make sure to unplug the blender the moment you’re not using it. The blades are sharp.

Easy EASY Salad Dressing — makes 2/3 cup Ingredients:

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons Sugar (use less, or more, depending upon how much sour kick you want in your salad dressing)

In a mixable container, pour in lemon juice and olive oil, add sugar. Blend with immersion blender until creamy and emulsified, or whisk together with a fork until blended. That’s it. See you at the Farmer’s Market.

Three Horses, original oil painting on canvas panel by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Three Horses, original oil painting on canvas panel by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

This article is linked to Five Little Chefs, a Life in Balance, All Things with a Purpose, A Handful of Everything, Coco and Cocoa, Celebrate EverydaySweet Bella Roos, Think Tank Thursday, The Mom Club, Buns in My Oven, Whimsy Wednesdays, Inspire Me Wednesdays, Mostly Homemade Mom, Flusters Creative Muster Link Party, Sew Much Ado, A Little Bird Told Me, Kitchen Meets Girl, Life with the Crust Cut Off, Creative Geekery Thrifty Treasury Naptime is My Time, Hungry HypoCleverly Simple, Kitchen fun with my three sonsFrugal FamilyWhipperberrySomewhat Simple, Lets get real, Mostly FoodLove Bakes Good CakesFood Renegade, Inspire Me Monday, Mopping the Floornatural living mondayCrafty Home Blog Hop

Recipe: Hot Steak Sandwich with Organic Lettuce Sexily Draped Atop

Fast, delicious, reasonably nutritious, and fun, these sandwiches are an innovative way to use lettuce fresh, organic lettuce.

When we say the word “lettuce” we mentally add the word “salad” afterwards, but lettuce is more versatile than we think.

This fun, quick sandwich — healthy fast food — is great for lunch or dinner. The lettuce is added at the end, as a festive garnish — lightly sauteed in the pan that we seared the steak in. This gentle wilting imparts flavor and impact, and is a great way to add greens to the diet of even the most stalwart steak and potato fan.

Look for organic lettuce — if you’re in the Dayton, WA area check out Deer Pond Gardens at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, 9-1 at the Depot or contact us via Facebook —

Hot Steak Sandwich, etc.Serves 4 as lunch, or a light dinner


Saute the steak strips in the hot oil until cooked through.

8 thick slices of French bread

1 to 1.5 pounds steak (I used round steak; use more meat if you like a lot of meat; use less meat if you’re cheap and want to save money)

3 Tablespoons oil

1 head lettuce (NOT iceberg. I used organic, Baby Bib lettuce grown at Deer Pond Gardens) Wash the lettuce and remove 30-45 leaves

Ingredients for gravy:

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour (whole wheat is fine; it doesn’t have to be white)

Wilt the lettuce by briefly tossing it in the hot oil that you cooked the steak in.

1 Tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon or equivalent to flavor (I get mine at Costco)

1 1/2 cups water

Make the gravy first by melting the butter and stirring in the flour — the mixture should be thick but not dry. To add more flavor, stir the mixture over medium heat for 3-7 minutes until quite brown; this gives the final gravy a toasty taste. Mix the bouillon with the water and whisk into the flour/butter mixture until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened, cover, and set aside.

Divide the meat evenly over the bread pieces, and spoon the gravy atop.

Slice the beef into 1/4 inch strips. Heat the oil over medium high heat until hot; add the beef strips and stir briskly until they are cooked through. Remove the beef and keep warm.

While the pan is still hot, toss in the lettuce leaves and stir briskly until they are wilted (about a minute).

Place two slices of bread on each plate. (If you wish, you may toast and/or butter the slices.) Divide the meat evenly over the eight total slices; pour gravy atop; and drape the wilted lettuce over the gravy.

Good food doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be composed of decent ingredients. If you are in the Dayton, WA area, join Deer Pond Gardens Saturdays, beginning May 24, at the Farmer’s Market at Dayton Depot courtyard. If you live too far away, seek out a Farmer’s Market in your area a support a market gardener producing fresh, spray-free, chemical-free vegetables and fruits.

Join us on Facebook to keep up with what’s “growing on” at Deer Pond Gardens.

Field of Dreams, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, 36 x 30 on canvas, at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Field of Dreams, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, 36 x 30 on canvas, at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

This article is linked to Five Little Chefs, a Life in Balance, All Things with a Purpose, A Handful of Everything, Coco and CocoaSweet Bella Roos, The Mom ClubBuns in My OvenWhimsy WednesdaysInspire Me WednesdaysMostly Homemade Mom, Flusters Creative Muster Link Party, Sew Much Ado. A Little Bird Told Me, Kitchen Meets Girl, Life with the Crust Cut Off, Thrifty T Treasure, Creative Geekery, Naptime is My TimeHungry Hypo, Cleverly Simple, Kitchen fun with my three sons, Frugal Family, Whipperberry, Somewhat Simple, Lets get real, Mostly Food, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Food RenegadeInspire Me MondayMopping the Floor, natural living monday, Crafty Home Blog Hop,

The Spring Garden Is Growing

A row of lettuce growing in the sun at Deer Pond Gardens

A row of lettuce growing in the sun at Deer Pond Gardens

Spring has arrived in Dayton, WA and Deer Pond Gardens is preparing for its debut at the Farmer’s Market, Saturday, May 24 at the Dayton Depot Courtyard.

That’s the same day as the Memorial Day Parade on Main Street, so before or after the festivities, drop in at 222 East Commercial Street (take a left at the only stoplight on Main Street, drive a block, and look on your left) and pick up fine produce for your week’s meals.

Gardener Jordan Henderson will kick off the season with a selection of tender, succulent lettuce, as well as green onions and rhubarb. All produce is grown without sprays, chemicals, or artificial ingredients.