Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (2024)

December 21, 2017December 20, 2017 / Virginia Allain / 2 Comments

This easy recipe makes wonderful candy. We especially like to make it near the holidays. Keep some on hand for visitors or snacking. Package up some for gifts too.

Instructions for Gail & Clyde Martin’s Candied Nut Clusters

Things You’ll Need:

  • medium size cooking pan
  • chocolate or vanilla flavored almond bark
  • aluminum foil
  • small to medium sized nuts

Clean and sort the nuts. My husband used different strainers with different size grids, large and medium. The large grid let everything go through except for the largest pieces. Those worked great in the sugared nut recipe.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (2)

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (3)
After that, he had lots of smaller sizes of nutmeats. Really just bits and pieces. So he shook them up in a strainer with a smaller size grid. The smaller grid lets the tiny pieces of shell and other debris fall through. Clyde dumps them into a white baking pan and searches for more shells that slipped through. Some tiny pieces of the shell stick to the nutmeat and can be removed with tweezers. Shaking in the strainers seem to bring out the oil in the nutmeats, making them shiny and tastier.

With the medium size nut meats, we make candied nut clusters. For this process, you need the following: medium size cooking pan, chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark; aluminum foil, and lots of small to medium size nuts.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (4)Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (5)
Break or cut the almond bark into chunks easier melting in the pan. Place it on a very low heat.

When melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the nutmeats. Keep stirring as you add them until all are coated.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (6)

Drop the mixture by teaspoon onto the foil. Let the clusters cool until the almond bark hardens.

November 9, 2017November 9, 2017 / Virginia Allain / Leave a comment

I was afraid the carrot cookie recipe was lost. I’d found one recipe labeled Helen King’s carrot cookies, but I wanted Mom’s recipe. She started making these after we were all grown up. She had a batch of the tasty cookies ready when I visited one time from Baltimore. They became my new favorite cookie.

It turns out that I had a copy of the recipe all along. I found it as I cleaned out my over-full, seldom used recipe box. As I tossed dubious-sounding jello recipes and any baked goods that called for Bisquick, I found the carrot cookie recipe written in Mom’s handwriting.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (7)

Gail Lee Martin’s Carrot Cookies

  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup shortening or oleo
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the ingredients, then drop by teaspoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (She doesn’t mention greasing the baking sheet, but I’d recommend it)

Icing for the Carrot Cookies

  • powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrots
  • orange juice

Mix these together to use as a glaze. Wait for the cookies to cool first.

What is lurking in your recipe box? Take a look tosee if some heirloom recipes are there. Treat your taste buds to a trip down memory lane.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (8)

Graphic from Pixabay

July 9, 2017August 26, 2017 / Virginia Allain / Leave a comment

Back in 2011, I asked Mom (Gail Lee Martin) to send me some recipes that I could put online for her. Here’s one she sent me:

“It is time to take the plain Rice Krispie bar recipe to the next level.Even though Rice Krispie bars are delicious, these chocolate-covered Rice Krispie bars are one step above delicious.

Rice Krispie bars are easy to make but these are easier than ever. With the use of themicrowave, this is a quick bar recipe.”

Chocolate Topped Rice Krispie Bars

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo syrup

1 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

9″ x 13″ pan

Pour the Rice Krispies into the 9″ x 13″ dish. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and the Karo syrup. Bring it to a boil, stirring frequently.

Take the pan off the heat and add the peanut butter to the mixture. Stir until smooth. Pour mixture over Rice Krispies and mix. Spread the mixture to fill the 9″ x 13″ pan evenly.

Put both the chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips into a microwave safe bowl together. Place itin the microwave, and heat on high for one minute. Stir the mixture and continue heating at 30-second intervals until all chips are melted. Pour over the bars to cover evenly.
Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (9)Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (10)

I looked around online and didn’t find the exact recipe, so not sure where Mom discovered it. Most of the recipes used a double-boiler to melt the chocolate chips. I like the quick, microwave method she put in the recipe.

I don’t remember Mom making Rice Krispie bars for us when we were kids. We used to get our peanut butter in a small metal bucket that weighed 5 pounds. The oil would rise to the top, so you had to stir the peanut butter up before using it.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (11)

Shedd’s peanut butter tin bucket from the 1950s

May 19, 2017 / Virginia Allain / Leave a comment

Gail Lee Martin originally shared this recipe on the eHow website in 2008. It’s a thrifty addition to a meal.

Breaded Tomatoes

This old-fashioned side dish is easy to fix when you need to fill everyone up cheaply. It’s one way to get more vegetables into your meals. Here’s how to make it.

Things You’ll Need:

  • jar of stewed tomatoes
  • bread
  • sugar or salt (your preference)
  1. Stewed tomatoes were just peeled tomatoes that are cut into chunks and cooked well before canning. You can buy canned tomato chunks at the store, but they probably need some extra cooking to soften them up. Put them in the microwave in a covered bowl and heat until soft.
  2. When serving just a jar or two of the plain stewed tomatoes, I usually heat them in a pot over a low fire. Add chunks of day-old bread (several slices). This is a good way to get rid of the heels of bread if no one will eat them.
  3. Salt to your taste. My husband likes his stewed tomatoes with a sprinkle of sugar. I never thought it needed anything but a slice of fresh bread and butter to go with it.

    Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (12)

    Vintage Cook

    by rainsplitter

May 16, 2017 / Virginia Allain / Leave a comment

Here’s another recipe that Gail Lee Martin submitted to the Grandmother’s Legacy: A Collection of Butler County Recipes from the 1920’s and 30’s. The cookbook is out-of-print and is hard to find now.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (13)

Lamb’s quarters, a wild plant that is used in salads. Photo from Pixabay.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (14)Wilted Lettuce or Greens

Dandelion leaves, few flowers

Wild lamb’s quarter

Goose grass



8 slices bacon, reserve the drippings





Optional additions: green onions, radishes, hard-boiled eggs

Gather the wild plants in early spring while still tender. Wash well, tear into bite size pieces and drain. (Add chopped green onions and radishes if wanted). Fry the bacon slices crisp, cool, and crumble. Mix together one-half cup of bacon grease and one-half cup of vinegar (or equal parts). Cover and reheat.

Fry the bacon slices crisp, cool, and crumble. Set the bacon aside to use later on the salad. Mix together one-half cup of bacon grease and one-half cup of vinegar (or equal parts). Cover and reheat those.

Add salt, pepper, and sugar. Add enough sugar so the mixture is slightly thickened. When hot, pour this over the greens, onions, and radishes. Cap the skillet on the top to wilt the greens. Stir the wilted greens, then serve. Garnish with bacon crumbles and slices of hard-boiled eggs if desired. Lettuce, by itself, can be served this way also.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (15)

Greens from Virginia Allain’s garden

May 5, 2017August 26, 2017 / Virginia Allain / 1 Comment

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (16)

Cut bread into the size you usually put in dressing.

Baked beef tongue uses meat that many people have never tried. It’s easy to fix and quite tasty. Here’s how to fix it. My recipe disguises the meat, so it has more appeal.


Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 cups bread crumbs or chopped up bread
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped onions
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • sage (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • broth from boiling the tongue

Wash the tongue. Cover with water and boil slowly until tender. Save the broth it was cooked in.

Remove the skin from the tongue after boiling it.

Slice the tongue or cut it into chunks.

Make the stuffing by combining bread, onions, and seasonings. Add the melted butter and broth to moisten the stuffing. Place the meat and stuffing in a roasting pan. Covering the pieces of beeftongue with the stuffing keeps the meat from drying out in the oven.

Bake the tongue and stuffing in the oven at 350 degrees until the stuffing is brown on top and done.

Tips & Warnings

  • It’s OK to substitute a box stuffing mix for the homemade stuffing.
  • Make sure the meat is covered well by the stuffing so it doesn’t dry out in the oven.
  • Cold, sliced tongue makes tasty sandwiches.
  • Beef tongue is cooked in Mexican recipes too and called lengua.

Originally published on the eHow website.

April 17, 2017April 17, 2017 / Virginia Allain / 4 Comments

Gail Lee Martin taught her daughters to cook in the farmhouse kitchen as they were growing up. They made the recipe below for no-bake cookies and passed the techniques for making this easy, chocolaty taste treat on to their own children. You’ll find that it is more similar to fudge than to traditional oven-baked cookies.

Gail’s grandaughter, C.R. K. took up cooking at the young age of three. Now a doctoral student in college, she’s an accomplished baker and a maker of all sorts of gourmet recipes. How does Black Walnut Fudge or White Chocolate Chunk Cookies sound to you?For now, we’ll share the no-bake cookie recipe and save the others for later.

She’s innovative in her presentations of her kitchen creations too. At Easter, she converted the no-bake cookies into the shape of bird’s nests and placed three colorful jelly beans in the center of each.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (18)

No bake cookies for Easter
You make these fudge-like cookies on the stove top.

Her Mom First Made No-Bake Cookiesback in the 1960s

Here are her memories of the origins of no-bake cookies in our family. “The Scribners brought no-bake cookies to one of the West Branch programs/community dinners. I got the recipe from Marlene, who was in my class, and I made the first ones in the family. Would have been early 1960’s.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (19)


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Get out all the ingredients before starting. Lay out the waxed paper to cool the cookies on.

Mix the following in a medium sauce pan:

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1 stick oleo

Bring to a fast boil and boil one minute. Stir frequently.

Remove from fire and add:

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups quick oatmeal

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir well and drop by teaspoon onto wax paper. Let set until cool.

Because the mixture is brought to boiling on a stove, children making this should be closely supervised.

To make the Easter version of these, let the cookies set slightly, then shape into nest shapes. Fill the center with small jelly beans. (see the photo above)

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (20)

This is the more traditional no-bake cookie

April 5, 2017April 2, 2017 / Virginia Allain / 6 Comments

Mom submitted this “recipe” to a book of Butler County recipes of the 1920s and 30s. The title of the book is Grandmother’s Legacy. She emphasized that this was a just for fun recipe and not actually for consumption.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (21)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Gail Lee Martin said, “This is an oil camp kid’s memories of making this wine. There was never a shortage of dandelions.”

Pick 5 cups of dandelions. Keep only the yellow part of the flower and discard the green part. The green part makes the wine bitter. Always wash and drain the petals. Put the petals and a gallon of water, more or less, into an empty glass gallon jar. Stir in 1 pound of sugar.

Put the lid on tightly and bury the jar. Oil camp friends are needed to help dig a big enough hole. Of course, they would be in on the taste testing too.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (22)

Kids at the oil camp in Greenwood County, KS

After two or three weeks, the mixture should be dug up and taste tested. If needed, add more sugar to suit taste.

“This recipe is for historical purposes and reading enjoyment only,” Gail said.

I’m amazed that back in the 1930s that her mother would let her have a pound of sugar for what definitely sounds like an experimental project. When I looked up real recipes for dandelion wine, they call for additional ingredients like lemons, oranges, and wine yeast.

You could go to the Commonsense Homesteading blog to try her recipe for dandelion wine.It appears to be adult tested, at least.

April 2, 2017April 1, 2017 / Virginia Allain / 8 Comments

Gail Lee McGhee wrote this memory for the recipe book,Grandmother’s Legacy: A Collection of Butler County Recipes from the 1920s and 30s.

“In the thirties, we didn’t get to town very often to buy groceries. I don’t remember my parents ever having bought syrup. Mother would make ours from these directions.”

Pancakes with butter and syrup (photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Browned Sugar Syrup

Brown some white sugar over a slow fire, constantly stirring the sugar as it slowly browns. When there is not any white left, pour a cup of water into the sugary mess. The mixture will instantly become a hard crackling texture. Slowly the boiling mixture will dissolve and thicken to a sweet tasting brown syrup.

November 26, 2016November 19, 2019 / Virginia Allain / 3 Comments

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (24)

Gail and Clyde Martin used these cast iron frying pans a lot.

In 1999, Mom started sending recipes to an online site called Kitchen Happenings and More. She proposed that they add a section for heritage recipes and she would supply them with recipes and the stories that went with them.

A Heritage Recipe June 10th, 1999
Margaret, publisher and editor of Kitchen Happenings and More wrote, “Gail Martin shares another of her favorite recipes from yesteryear.”

Mother’s Potato Cakes
by Gail Martin
One of my favorite recipes handed down from my frugal mother, who never let a bit of food go to waste, is potato cakes. She used a cup or more of leftover mashed potatoes, with two farm fresh eggs, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and a dash of salt and pepper. Then mixed all together and dropped by the spoonful on a greased, hot, iron skillet. She would reduce the heat and fry until brown, turn them over and brown the other side. Mother used a dab of plain lard or bacon drippings to fry the small cakes. Of course bacon drippings add to the flavor.

The eggs Mother used were from her own New Hampshire Red hens. This breed of chickens laid large, brown shelled eggs and Mother’s chickens ranged on the open prairies of Greenwood county, Kansas where they ate grasshoppers, bugs and Bluestem grass. If you haven’t experienced the joy of fresh farm country eggs you are in for the treat of your life. In the summer time the yolks will be a brilliant orange globe. No comparison to the store bought eggs that have been in cold storage for who knows for how long.

My daughter Cindy says she always peels an extra potato or two when she is making mashed potatoes so she will have leftovers to make Grandmother’s potato cakes.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (25)

Ruth Vining McGhee with the family chickens in the early 1900s. This is before the Rhode Island reds.

Mom also posted the story and recipe on the Our Echo website with this comment, “When this was published on June 10th I was so pleased as that was Mother’s birthday. I couldn’t have planned it better.”

I thought of this story and brought it here for more readersafter my sister Cindy mentioned potato cakes today. “Using up the leftovers is part of the after Thanksgiving tradition: I fixed fried-potato-patties for breakfast this morning with the leftover mashed potatoes. They weren’t as good as Mom/ Gail used to make but I tried,” she said. Cindy said she adds a dash of garlic powder when she makes them.

Mom’s sister, C.J. remembers, “Ah, how this takes me back! Our Mother’s potato cakes were a sumptuous repast from the gods, and I’ve never been able to duplicate the taste. Not surprising since I only have access to store eggs, but perhaps not having Mother’s hand on the spoon has something to do with it!”

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (26)

My sister, Karen, still makes the potato cakes.

Gail’s recipes – Discovering Mom (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Annamae Dooley

Last Updated:

Views: 6355

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Annamae Dooley

Birthday: 2001-07-26

Address: 9687 Tambra Meadow, Bradleyhaven, TN 53219

Phone: +9316045904039

Job: Future Coordinator

Hobby: Archery, Couponing, Poi, Kite flying, Knitting, Rappelling, Baseball

Introduction: My name is Annamae Dooley, I am a witty, quaint, lovely, clever, rich, sparkling, powerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.