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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chinese Chicken Salad (from Aunt Janet Ausmus)

I got this recipe several years ago from my Aunt Janet Ausmus.  I always remember her making really tasty food when we were there, but this recipe really stood out for me and I have been making it ever since.  It has the same effect on the people I have shared it with..It has just the right blend of sweet, sour and salty and is especially tasty in the summertime with a side of fresh melons or berries or both!  To top it off it hardly takes any time to make and I usually have all the ingredients around to whip it up.  I made it tonight for dinner with my husband and myself and when my son found out I was making it he said he was grabbing the leftovers for his lunch at work tomorrow!  Grant it, it will be wilty by then, but no one in our family seems to mind!  Here's the picture and recipe below:


In a large frying pan, add 4 smaller or 2-3 large boneless chicken breasts (you can use bone in, it's just a little more work/time to cook and clean and dice the meat later). Sprinkle lightly with a little salt and pepper and powdered ginger.  Add a small amount of water so they don't scorch and simmer until meat is completely cooked through.  Don't overcook so it's dry though.  Remove from pan.  Rinse out pan, dry and spray the bottom with Pam and heat to medium.  Add 1/4 cup sesame seeds and about 4 oz of sliced almonds.  Toast until lightly browned, stirring constantly..WATCH these carefully.. they burn easily.  Set aside to cool. 

In a large bowl, thinly slice a head of iceberg lettuce (regular lettuce), dice up chicken in small cubes and add to the bowl.  Add almonds, sesame seeds, 4 green onions, cleaned and finely chopped, and 1 cup of chow mein noodles.  (This is a good use for you little bits of leftover noodles when you get Chow mein takeout).. 

In a small saucepan make the dressing:
4 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Accent
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook until dissolved.  cool.  Put in a blender with 1/2 salad oil (vegetable oil) and blend until smooth.  If you don't have a blender you can just use a whisk or fork and whip it together also.

Pour over ingredients in the large bowl, toss and serve. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wild Rice Soup with Ham

It's a cooking day new resolve is on it's second week.  Worked so well last week that I am making a few things ahead again for this coming week as I still have two items in the freezer from last weeks cook-a-thon.  Started with some Byerly's Wild Rice is the link..the only thing I do differently is omit the sherry, but it's a personal taste preference and that's the only reason can substitute chicken for the ham, but I actually prefer the ham in it.  Here is a link to the recipe I use.

I am trying to resist eating most of it before I freeze, but it's my granddaughter, Sam's, favorite soup, so that's all that's holding me back so I have some for her when she comes over next time!

No Knead Dutch Oven Bread

I had been looking for a second stoneware bowl by Pampered Chef for quite a while because I like making a rustic bread recipe I found, and recently my friend, Michelle Foard, found me one.  She didn't know there were 2 sizes and it ended up being the bigger was a great price and basically brand new, so I as thrilled as I had the stoneware lid that fit it and is needed to bake the bread in the oven with it.  Anyway, long story short, I am experimenting making the bread by doubling the recipe today to see if I can make one large loaf with it..wish me luck!  You don't have to use these bowls, in fact they don't even make them anymore, but you should use something the same size/shape or you will end up with a flat loaf of bread and not rounded to make slices of bread..the smaller size Pampered Chef bowl/roaster is perfect for one recipe below.

Here is the large bowl she got me and a picture with the baking dish/lid I already had.  The small bowl also has a matching roaster/lid piece.  If you can find one in decent shape they are really nice to have for a variety of uses..wish they'd start making them again!

Here is what the bread looks like when done (picture previously taken when using the small set..

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Apples

I usually don't do a ton of cooking on Saturday, but today I wanted a "real" meal instead of running to one of our 4 choices for takeout close to my home, but also didn't want to spend a ton of time making something..I came up with one of my favorite quick, easy, yummy meals..pork chops with stuffing and apples. Every time I make it for someone they really like it and ask for the recipe, so decided to post it on here for future reference!  Here's all you have to do..

Pick up the ingredients below..doesn't have to be a special brand, or even flavor of stuffing mix.  I have used herb, pork, and even chicken/turkey..they all taste good in it.. same thing with the apple pie filling, whatever you prefer or can afford.  I have used 4-6 pork chops, but these should be boneless for ease of eating it only.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.  Then brown them well on both sides..I just spray the pan with Pam, but if you like other methods go for it.  after they are browned shut them off.  In the meantime make the stuffing mix according to the package directions.  set aside.  In a baking dish the size you need for how many pork chops you are making, spread the apple pie filling on the bottom, no need to grease the pan.  Then put a layer of your browned pork chops, and scoop mounds (I use my ice cream scoop) of the stuffing on each pork chop.  cover with aluminum foil and put in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until the pork is thoroughly cooked.  it will look like this when you take it out of the oven.  Did I tell you they are good?  LOL

Caramel Rice Krispie Bars

Today I was in the mood for something sweet, but it's pretty hot out today for Minnesota so I decided to make my sister, Diane's, caramel rice krispie bars.  I only made half of her caramel filling because they are so rich already, but the whole filling is super decadent and delicious.  Here is the recipe:

Caramel Rice Krispie Bars:

Step 1:
in a microwave safe bowl combine:
36 kraft caramels unwrapped
a small can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 stick of butter

Place in microwave and heat one minute on high.  stir.  at this point can do one more minute more or less until the caramels are melted and it's smooth when you stir it.  set aside.

Step 2: 
in a large microwave safe bowl combine:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1-1/2 pkg mini marshmellos

microwave same as above, until smooth when stirred. remove and add 9 cups rice krispies stir well together.

Step 3:
Pat 1/2 of the cereal mixture onto a 15 x 10 bar pan that has been lightly buttered.  pour caramel mixture over the top of it.  Pat the rest of the cereal mixture over the caramel layer, cool in fridge until set.

Self Binding Baby Blankets

I made another flannel baby blanket today for my new great nephew Dominic, so thought I'd post a few I have made in the past along with the newest one and the pattern/tutorial in case anyone is interested in trying them some time.  They are so fun and can be adjusted in size very easily if you don't have quite a wide enough flannel to work with.  For instance, if your flannel is only 41 inches wide after you trim off the salavages/stamping, and the pattern says 45 for the backing/binding piece, then reduce the smaller cut inner section by the difference of 4 inches smaller on that one and it will work out just fine.  The link for the tutorial is   The only thing I do differently is I measure in each side to make sure they are totally evenly centered when I sew the 2 flannels together..believe me this is a life saver!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me and I will try to assist you!  ok, here are the pictures..

This last one was made by my 12 yo granddaughter, Sami, so you can see how it's a project you could easily handle too! These are just a few of the ones I have made..didn't have pictures of all of them..

Sunday, July 13, 2014

German Chocolate Cake

My sister, Diane, is coming out this afternoon for a little break from helping her daughter move into her new home in St Paul, so I decided to make a German chocolate cake to have with coffee while we chat.  I haven't made one of these for forever, but had been thinking about it for a few weeks now.  It turned out pretty nice, although I skimped on the bottom layer of the 3 so it didn't ooze out to show in the picture like I would have I said it's been ages since I made this and didn't know how far the frosting would go..believe me there is plenty to lavish it on there..the top is definitely thick with frosting!  I took a few pictures of the steps to show you in case you haven't made one of these before.  It is not the quickest cake to make and definitely has some extra steps not in a regular run of the mill cake, but it's sooo good, especially if you are a chocolate, caramel, coconut, pecan kind of girl like me! 

Here is the recipe link:,1872,144189-247199,00.html



It's been busy between working and life this last week. Alana, my granddaughter who is 11, is going to be in a casual outdoor wedding soon, so her and I went shopping yesterday to get an outfit.  We had so much fun!  We went to Ridgedale Shopping Center via GPS because I don't think I've ever been there.  (Love my GPS, even though it does ask you to take turns where there aren't any).  Here is the final product of our day.
Isn't she just cute in it?  We were so proud of ourselves for finding everything in ONE store (grandma was especially happy because the night before she got a giant Charlie horse in her calf and it was still sore) and got great bargains besides!  She will look adorable at the wedding with her hair all done so you can see the heart cutout in the back too.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shellie's Birthday at Joe's Retreat

Today we went on a little road trip to bring a picnic birthday lunch for Shellie's birthday at Joe's retreat up by Sturgeon Lake.  They had been spending their time 4-wheeling and celebrating the 4th of July with grandkids Kyle and Sami.  I had made the lemon bars yesterday and cut up some watermelon and fruit dip, so made the fixings for taco salad (one of Shellie's favorites) to put together when we got there..well, the trip is only about 1-1/2 hours if you go straight there..we never go straight there.  First Dave had to stop and get his tobacco (rolls his cigarettes out in his man-cave pole barn), then had to get gas, then I had preordered chicken at the Brass Rail in Grandy to take so we had to stop there, and last of all we had to stop at the wayside rest  just before Sturgeon Lake because Joe's retreat is still very rustic..guess I don't need to say more on that note.  It's a work in progress, but is a beautiful big lot that is nice and quiet and relaxing (all of the family has lots of Christmas gift ideas for him now!).  Anyway, it was one of the nicest days we've had so far, blue skies, nice breeze and 80, so the drive and visiting was a good way to spend the day with Shellie.  Here are some pictures of the day..Shellie is the one with the cake and one candle!

Friday, July 4, 2014

I made a batch of lemon bars this evening.  Tomorrow is my daughter, Shellie's, birthday and since she is up north at my son's "retreat" 4 wheeling and fishing with my two grandkids and him, I am bringing some lunch up for them and these are one of her favorites.  I am going to attempt to make a tutorial along with the recipe as I am hoping to make this into a "paperless" cookbook for whoever may want to use it in the future..I can hear the fireworks outside my office window..maybe I will catch a glimpse of them as I do this!

Here is a link to the recipe:

First I gather all my ingredients.

Mixing the crust portion of the recipe:

Getting the lemon layer ready:

then after cooled dusting it with the powdered sugar and when cooled completely..I refrigerate them..cutting them into squares and
watching them disappear.. 


Thursday, July 3, 2014

I decided this was big board removable cover day..I had given my friend, Leslie, a big board when Dave made mine (two is always better than one, right?) and since her birthday was a few days back AND she saw the picture of my cover and loved it, I decided to make one for her while it was fresh in my mind on how to do it.  The colors are a little off on the picture, and again it's with fabric I had at home in my neverending stash, but it looks cute in life to me.  I know she will be happy with it, and that's what counts. 
I finally got around to making my new removable ironing board cover for the large pop-on ironing board top for quilting Dave made me, today. I wasn't quite sure how to do it, so was putting it I finally just took the leap of faith and I think it turned out great! I just decided it was kind of the shape of a bed so made it like a fitted sheet with elastic corners. I didn't have enough of each material so had to improvise, but used up some more material from my stash that way! If anyone else uses the big boards and needs a cover, I can tell you how I did it..
Had to post this picture of my sister, Yvonne's, newest great grandbaby, Noah.  His parents, Russell and Sami, were at a birthday party we had for my mom's 88th birthday this last Sunday and since it was the first time I had seen them I gave him two flannel "Minnesota" blankets I had made (they are from true Minnesota country..International Falls.  Here is the camping blanket..(the other one had moose on it).  Isn't he cute! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hi. My name is Gaile and a few people have suggested to me that I start a blog to post my "creations", both culinary and creative, so they can have easier access to recipes, patterns and ideas.  I am a Minnesota born and bred wife, daughter, mom of 3 grown kids and grandma to 3, so we will see how this goes!  I hope you will enjoy seeing a portion of what I post on here and perhaps give you some ideas for those days you really want to try something new to feed your family or yourself, or try a new craft in your life!  I know I love checking out several bloggers and have learned a lot from them.  I work full time, so I may fade in and out on here, but will be trying to make regular posts and see if you have anything to contribute for me.  I would enjoy your feedback!