Category Archives: Food

raspberry jello

I’m Baaaaaaack–and the Start of a Jello Adventure

For something like the fortieth time in the 13 years of this blog, I lost my mojo. The last thing I wanted to do was write–or share.

I’m not the only person totally dragged down by this pandemic, but hey, sometimes I just like to feel sorry for myself.

To be honest, it is a strange time even without a pandemic. My once crowded home is gaining space, as one by one my boys are growing up and leaving the nest. By January, all that will be left is a teen and twin tweens. And, while this change is all well and good–so much of my adult life has revolved around being a mom to a gaggle of kids. So, this change is leaving me a bit sentimental.

Add in more than a little work angst over the summer and early fall. Add in the stress that being a professional fundraiser during a global pandemic entails.

I’ve just been preoccupied.

And that is OK. Part of what I have spent time focusing on is making my home into a sanctuary from COVID. Making sure home is a place where we all feel safe, and warm and comfortable.

About 50 times in the past six months, my husband has said, you should blog about this or that, and each time–I just kind of sighed. . . I was not feeling it.

But, on Wednesday, everything changed. During breakfast one of the tweens was rummaging through my cookbooks and found “The New Joy of Jello” (Copyright 1974) and was equal parts amused and disgusted. And the hubs said–“You need to blog this! Like ‘Julie and Julia‘!” and I realized that he was not wrong.

To show his support, he cleaned out the Jello aisle of our local grocery store. I’m sure the teen ringing him up thinks we are throwing a heck of a party!

My culinary minded tween looks forward to helping me recreate each of the recipes in this 99 cent promotional volume. However, there are a handful of recipes that we really do NOT look forward to more than a “no thank you bite” (Leftover turkey and celery in lemon jello anyone?)

Today, we started easy. A simple fruit and Jello concoction. The recipe called for “Birdseye Fast Thaw Frozen Fruit”, but I’m not sure that is an actual product anymore. However, we have all kinds of frozen fruit at our house, and the twins were happy to offer up raspberries–as they think frozen raspberries make their daily breakfast smoothie taste too sour.

I’m all for keeping things matchy, so I paired the frozen fruit with a raspberry Jello.

So, for this concoction simply bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil:

The recipe called for 10 ounces of frozen fruit. The raspberries had been opened and some had been consumed. We had just over 8 ounces–that was plenty.

Add the boiling water to one small box of Jello and stir to combine.

Stir in the fruit and chill until set.

And everyone agrees that any Jello dish is better with some Cool Whip!

This dish was a hit with everyone. As long as you like fruit in your Jello–and who doesn’t–this is a super accessible and easy enough for a young chef.

Honestly, it was fun for me to try a different flavor profile–I am solidly a strawberry Jello with frozen strawberries girl.

And yes, while cooking (boiling) my way through a 1970’s Jello cookbooks may sound silly, it may just be what I (and you) need right now!

Instant Pot “Baked” Potatoes

It is summer time here on the prairie. That means two things. First, it often feels too hot to cook. Second, the kids still seem to want to eat every day!

So, this Tuesday I am sharing with you one of my favorite time savers–potatoes in the Instant Pot.

I love a great baked potato, but I hate heating up the oven for them in the summer time. Thankfully, my Instant Pot doubles as a baked potato baker!

Making baked potatoes in the Instant Pot could not be easier! It is so easy, that my 10 year old made them all by herself the other night!

Simply wash 4 good-sized russet potatoes. Prick them all over with a fork.

Next, set your trivet into your Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water to the inner pot (1 1/2 cups if you use an 8 qt pot like I do!).

Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil and set them on the trivet. Prinkle with some coars salt and fresh ground pepper.

Set for 20 minutes on high pressure, and do a quick release when they are done.

While the Instant Pot is doing its thing, prepare toppings. My family likes lightly steamed broccoli, bacon bits, and shredded cheese–but certain purists in our family like theirs with JUST BUTTER–nothing else.

Sometimes I even cook up some potatoes on the weekend and pop them in the refrigerator for a quick lunch on busy work days.

What do you like on your baked potato?

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Grandma Ida’s Congo Bars

Congo Bars are a great, simple, crowd-pleaser–with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry!

These simple bars are a taste of my childhood. The types of chips varied, according to whatever Grandma Schave had in the pantry, and hers most always also contained walnuts–because we had a walnut tree in our yard. I don’t add nuts because the kids don’t care for them in baked goods.

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My Quarantine Project

I’ve been pretty quiet here lately. Mostly because, like the rest of America–and, quite frankly, the WORLD, I’ve been busy working from home, homeschooling kids (and yes, I know, I know, not REALLY homeschooling, but whatever), and managing our household.

I’ve always cooked for a small crowd. When all of the “kids” lived at home, I was cooking for eight. Now I’m down to cooking for six.

The difference now, is that I cam cooking FULL TIME for six. The kids are not eating lunch at school, and the teens are home for dinner every night. And, while take-out is readily available, it has never really been a natural part of our family dining.

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Instant Pot 101: Get Your Accessories!

An Instant Pot is great. Instant Pot Accessories supercharge your pressure cooker! Read on to find out what the must-haves are for your new Instant Pot!

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with my pot. Every recipe I find, I wonder if I can convert it for my Instant Pot.  “But can I make it in my Instant Pot?” is a constant question. The answer to that question is yes, you can convert most recipes, but you might need some accessories.

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