Jenny (Rose) Thorne with her two daughters, Maya, 5, Kayla, 3, and husband, Dustin now live in Omaha, Neb. after living overseas for many years.
Jenny (Rose) Thorne with her two daughters, Maya, 5, Kayla, 3, and husband, Dustin now live in Omaha, Neb. after living overseas for many years.
Monday, April 23, 2012

Since graduating from Carroll High School in 1993, Jenny (Rose) Thorne, has lived in the U.S. only for a combined period of a little over five years. The rest of the time she has lived on military bases in Germany, South Korea and Japan before returning to the U.S. in August 2010 with her two daughters, Maya, 5, and Kayla, 3. Her husband, Dustin Thorne, joined her in January 2011.

The Thorne family lives in Omaha, Neb. Jenny is a stay-at-home mom and recently started teaching Water Boot Camp at the Millard YMCA. She is a daughter of Paul and Janet Rose of Carroll.

Dustin is a master sergeant at Offutt Air Force Base and is no stranger to living abroad and moving often. He grew up living on various military bases including Carswell Air Base in Texas, Vokel Air Base in the Netherlands, Upper Hayford Air Base in England, and Minot Air Base in North Dakota. Dustin’s parents Clyde and Diane Thorne reside in Minot, N.D.

While Jenny was in college at the University of Northern Iowa earning her degree in family services and youth agency administration, she spent two summers in Japan. She worked as a camp counselor at Camp Adventure in Misawa and Okinawa. After college graduation, she moved to Germany to work as a civilian for the Air Force as a youth director. Jenny and Dustin met when he was stationed at Sembach Air Base in Germany. The couple were married in Florida in 2006.

Jenny and Dustin lived in Japan from 2007 to 2010 in Fussa, right outside Tokyo. Living and raising a family in a Japan took a bit of adjusting for Jenny. She said it was difficult to get used to driving on the left side of the road and being among large crowds everywhere they went. She was also surprised at the honesty of Japanese people. However, Jenny misses the kid friendly atmosphere, traveling and the train system of Japan.

Jenny and her family lived at Yokota Air Force Base among other American families.

Jenny explains, “People on base become your second family since they are with you for special occasions and holidays.”

During their four-year stay in Fussa, Japan, Jenny returned to the States only once, but both Jenny and Dustin’s family visited during their time in Japan.

Grocery shopping in Japan was very different. Since the packaging is in Japanese, you might not get what you think, said Jenny. Luckily Jenny was able to shop at an American grocery store on base. However, it was limited. Oftentimes she couldn’t make some of her favorite dishes because the grocery store didn’t carry the ingredients she needed.

In Japanese grocery stores, there is much more fresh food, including lots of fresh seafood, and very little prepackaged food. Jenny learned to make a few Japanese dishes including her favorites like chicken curry, yakitori (skewered chicken), gyoza (dumpling), and soba (thin buckwheat noodles). Jenny’s girls, Maya and Kayla, like to help out in the kitchen. Maya, 5, especially loves to help Jenny, and both girls like to bake.

Besides cooking, Jenny has also been working on her baking and cake-decorating skills. In 2006, she took Wilton classes in Warner Robins, Ga. As a new stay-at-home mom, she wanted to find something for her to do. She already liked to bake and thought it would be fun to learn. She has put her baking skills to good use making cakes for her daughters’ birthdays and other family members.

Chicken Curry

Jenny and Dustin had a favorite dish at Coco’s, a restaurant in Japan. Jenny tweaked a recipe to their liking and this has become one of Dustin’s favorite meals. Jenny makes it at least once a month.

4 servings sushi rice, cooked and kept warm
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup fine breadcrumbs, such as Panko
1 cup crushed corn flakes
2 eggs, beaten
1 block S&B Golden medium/hot curry sauce mix (found in the rice section)
12 oz sliced fresh mushrooms (variety, if possible)
1/4-1/2 cup cubed carrots
2 cups shredded Monterey or pepper jack cheese
2½  cups water
2 pieces of bacon, chopped or 1T bacon grease
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
garlic powder and cayenne pepper

In large pan cook bacon (or add the bacon grease to the pan) until just crispy. Add mushrooms and carrots and saute about 5 minutes. Add water and entire brick of curry sauce mix to mushrooms and carrots. Let simmer on high to thicken, stirring occasionally while preparing chicken. Pound chicken breasts out to about ½ inch thickness. In a pie plate, combine breadcrumbs with cornflakes, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Dredge chicken in egg then in breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Cook chicken in large skillet with peanut or vegetable oil. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through. To arrange dish, place serving of rice on plate, top with sliced chicken breast, then about ½ cup shredded cheese, then top with sauce.

Spinach Cake Muffins

This recipe comes from a website that offers nutritious recipes for infants, toddlers, and kids. Jenny’s two daughters love these muffins. They are picky eaters, and this is one way Jenny can get them to eat their veggies.

½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and puree. Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and combine. Pour the spinach puree into a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Scoop batter into a greased mini muffin tin filling each cup 2/3 of the way. Bake for 12 minutes.
Makes 24 muffins

Banana Griddle Pancakes

Jenny jazzed up a recipe from her mother-in-law, Diane Thorne, of Minot, N.D. Banana pancakes are a family favorite.

1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk
1 banana, mushed

Sift together and add to banana mixture:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1Tablespoon sugar

Add 2 tablespoons melted shortening to the batter. Cook on an ungreased griddle.

Beer Bread and Buffalo Dip

Dustin loves this snack during football season. Jenny likes making it because it’s simple and quick.

Beer Bread:
3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup granulated sugar
12 oz beer
2 Tablespoons melted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients except melted butter, stirring just until blended. Pour into greased bread loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Spread melted butter over the top of the bread during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Buffalo Dip:
1½ cups cooked and shredded chicken or 1 (12 oz) can chunk chicken, drained
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup Ranch dressing
½ cup Buffalo wing sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot, not to be confused with its pepper sauce. Start with less if you want and add more to your desired level of spice)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat chicken and Buffalo sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Make sure to break up the chicken so there are no big chunks. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in shredded cheese.

Beef Enchiladas

This is another one of Dustin’s dinnertime favorites. Jenny often makes it for family and friends.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 can (14½  oz) stewed tomatoes

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup butter
½  cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14½  oz) beef broth
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 to 2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 (6 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

In a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, saute garlic in butter for 1 minute or until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings; heat through. To assemble, pour about 1½  cups sauce into an ungreased 13-in x 9-in baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 1-2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up tightly; place seam side down over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Then bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Darn Good Cake

Jenny found this cake recipe at — the world’s largest cake-decorating community. Jenny’s friends and family request frequently request this cake for birthday parties.

vegetable oil or spray for pan
flour for dusting pan
1 package of Devils food or dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1 package of Devils Food or chocolate fudge instant pudding mix (3.9 oz)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup water (I use milk, others have even used Hershey’s syrup)
½ cup vegetable oil (others substitute softened or melted butter)
4 large eggs (if making as a sheet cake or stacking cakes I’d reduce to 3 eggs)
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Spray and flour pans. Place cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water (or milk), oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds — 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Increase mixer to medium and beat 1½-2 minutes (only beat it until it is combined). The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the chips (I coat them with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake) making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter. Pour the batter into the pans and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly touched and it starts to pull away from the pan — about 28-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.