May 19, 2016

Mandarin Ginger Chicken Salad

ORANGE & GINGER is the theme for May’s Improv Cooking Challenge.  We took this opportunity to practice a little nibble we’ll be serving at my son’s graduation open house at the end of the month. I had some doubts as to whether or not the graduate would like it, but I shouldn’t have worried! There were no leftovers. (in fact, had to fend off requests for more…)

First off I poached a bit of chicken breast. This recipe uses a pound of meat; so this would be a great way to use up some leftovers or would be soooo delicious with purchased rotisserie chicken meat.

oranginger (11)Next my sous chef helped me spray muffin tins & fill with won ton wrappers. He then sprayed the wrappers after they were gently tucked into the cups. We preheated the oven to 350°, and baked for 5-10 minutes to get a nice crispy brown.  all-natural-round-wraps_0(I tried the round ones here, but decided we’ll use square for the party because the corners will make for better “handles” to grab off the tray…) While they baked I mixed up the salad.

oranginger (2)I couldn’t find my favorite slaw mix that has a bit of red cabbage. (I’m looking for that purple hue for the party because my son’s school colors are purple & black.) But, this was a pretty good substitute since this mix had the carrots already in it, so then I didn’t have to worry about that!

Here’s what I put in the salad:

  • 1 lb. chopped chicken meat
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds (I toasted these during the oven pre-heat for won tons)
  • 14 oz. packaged slaw mix
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped 
  • 2 green onions, slicedoranginger (4)oranginger (5)

…and here’s what went into the dressing:

  • 1 T. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 T. reserved mandarin juice
  • 1 t. sesame oil
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise

oranginger (6)

oranginger (7)The dressing should be gently stirred into the salad. Just prior to serving, spoon into the prepared won ton cups.oranginger (8)

Changes I’ll make next week for the open house will be the addition of red cabbage, of course…oranginger (13)

…and we’ll use the square won ton wrappers.oranginger (14)

Check out the links below for more orange & ginger recipes:

May 18, 2016

Sriracha Almonds

Today is my Daddy’s birthday. awwnutz (1)I cooked him a gift.

awwnutz (2)I etched a jar from the HobLob to contain his gift.awwnutz (3)I made him laugh with the way I worded the etching.awwnutz (4)My job here is done!

May 13, 2016

this WAS our December…

(Since there are only 225 days until Christmas 2016, I thought perhaps I should share 2015…)

No matter how we try to simplify our lives, the most wonderful time of the year always ends up so crowded & rushed. I had time for a few makes, a few bakes…

snofam(the snowman family I made for the entry)

bandbrothersThe month began with Alec & Harrison in the winter band concert.Alec(fred)Next was Alec as “Alfred” in the North Pointe production of A Gotham Christmas Carol.

partyThen was Keith’s work Christmas dinner at Citizen Public House

CCCA choir concertChristmasEve2015A quick “visit” at Grandma & Grandpa’s, leaving some cinnamon ornaments that reminded me of her Christmas bakingtoGilbertDrive to Gilbert to spend Christmas Eve at my sis & her new husband’s home (then had to leave early ‘cause one of the fellas came down with the flu…)

DuncChristmas Day was quiet & restful (except for the labor on a puzzle & a 20# lasagna…)homemaderedsaucecheeselayersofgoodness

Here are a couple of the gifts I had time to make:4AuntMa wall-hanging tree for Aunt Margaret who didn’t have space to put up her tree this year…

B&Vmy sis’ new monogram

4Josha monogrammed leather cord tamer for a nephewKeith's(in case you were wondering how a “cord-tamer works…)

snorniessome “Arizona Snowman” ornaments

pecanpiePecan Pie Truffles for my dad & FIL

Kahlúaand a bit of Kahlúa for some Christmas cheer!

May 4, 2016

…then there was that Cali trip…

stretchOur lives kinda get put on “hold” from the end of January through the beginning of April to allow our sons to participate in Indoor Percussion competitions. (I bragged about last year’s season here…) Most Saturdays were spent driving to schools in Mesa or Gilbert to watch them compete; then traveling back home in the wee hours of the morning.1st showTheir show this year was entitled “ELASTICTY” and featured the musicians playing their instruments while stretching elastic ribbons, snapping the bands, bouncing balls & a little trampolining. I made myself a couple shirts with this sentiment:#ohsnap

In March our school had the privilege of competing in WGI’s Western Championship in San Bernardino. The hubs took a couple days “off work” and we drove over for a fun weekend.

castawayWe met some friends for dinner at The Castaway.

viewThe weather was lovelyyumthe view was incrediblesalmonand the food was delicious.myLoveWe enjoyed the atmosphere so very much! (And of course, my battery died so I couldn’t grab any night shots…)

Next morning after the boys’ first competition, we decided to brave traffic and head to Huntington Beach. We were rewarded by tons of traffic & this little blessing:rockBut sun, sand & surf soothed the anxiety.ahhhhhhAnd so did our dinner at Wahoo’s!shrimp burritoWe walked around town until dark, hoping traffic on the freeways would clear (no such luck!)huntington

Next morning we headed back to the competition site for finals.finals

We were also able to watch a few of the world-class groups perform – so awesome!worlds

Then we said goodbye to CSUSB and headed for home…Coussoulis Arena


May 2, 2016

My goodfellas

fellas (4)

When my fellas were youngerdenim familyI could dress them as I pleased…sailor babyIt became more difficult as they got olderelf hatand grew notions of what they wouldrodeo day

andbob builder

would not wear.spirit week


Well, Friday night brought the occasion of the Senior Banquet at church. fellas (1)The theme was “20’s ganster” fellas (5)and these two described to me their desired attire. I shopped a couple Goodwill stores on Thursday-Dollar-Tag-Day and found their wool suits, for $1 each! The real surprise was how well the pin-stripe suit fit my hard-to-fit fella – it was almost as if the jacket was tailored to him.fellas (3)Their hats (& the white tie) we ordered from Amazon. I stitched up the pocket scarves from my stash. (There were plans to make “wingtip” shoes with white contact paper, but the contact paper wasn’t in agreement…) fellas (2)I think we nailed it!