Tag: Thanksgiving

Cranberry Jello Salad

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I love old recipes. They are not only a window to the past, but a way to stay connected to the people you love. And for me? It’s the most important way of communicating. It’s my love language. My maternal Grandmother used to make a recipe similar to this one at Thanksgiving each year. She’s still with us, but it’s getting harder and harder to cook each year. I think she’d be happy that this recipe is being preserved, even if I’ve tweaked it a bit! 🙂

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First of all, can we talk about how it’s called a “salad”? That cracks me up! I think they were called such because a lot of gelatins from years past had savory foods stuck in them. But this one? This one is glorious. It’s sweet. But, not overly so. It’s ruby red color shines like a gem, like shiny red balls on the tree, like Rudolph’s nose in the night. It’s covered in a delicious creamy topping, like a snowy cap. I meannnnn. It’s so good. It’s got cranberries, raspberry, pineapple, nuts, cream cheese.

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It’s a breeze to make. There’s more downtime than active time. This pairs well with both a holiday turkey and ham, and you can take my actual word with that! This also makes a fine dessert. And breakfast. Or snack.

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Blessings!

Kristin

Print Recipe
Cranberry Jello Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. In a medium glass bowl, mix the Jello and 1 cup boiling water together. Stir for about 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in the cold cranberry juice, pineapple and cranberry sauce. Add the pecans. Mix well and pour into the pan. (I actually added the pecans next, and only to half the pan, because my boys do not like nuts) Cover with plastic. Refrigerate until firm. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. When the Jello mixture is firm, spread the cream cheese mix on top. Sprinkle a few pecans on top.
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Happy Thanksgiving Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

Well, here it is – my last Thanksgiving themed lunches for this year.

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I made turkey shaped sunbutter and apple butter sandwiches [again]. I added feathers, gobblers, beaks, eyes, and turkey toes. Gobble. I also packed yogurt covered raisins, honey mustard pretzels, corn, raspberries (Bigs), red grapes (Smalls), and Linzer cookies.

School’s out forrrrrr Thanksgiving!!!

Stay rad.

Kristin

Easy Pie Crust

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I have never been one to make pies. I love eating them, but making them scared me. Getting the dough ratio just right, rolling it out, and transferring it to the pie tin seemed very daunting to me. That is…until my Mom shared her foolproof pie crust recipe with me. She’s been using it since 1970, where she got it from a gal who also lived in her dormitory. She’s also submitted it to several church cookbooks over the years; it’s ease and popularity always proven. Because cold fat (butter) and ice water are not part of this recipe, it’s easier to make and use. At least for scaredy cats like me! It yields a nice, flaky crust and comes out perfect every time.

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Okaaaay, so I have a lot to learn about transferring the dough [evenly] and making it pretty!

Easy Pie Crust

Makes enough for one bottom crust

1 1/4 C flour

1/2 C shortening

1/2 C boiling water

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Combine all the ingredients. Stir well, until completely mixed. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll out, as desired. Add your filling and bake in a 350F oven (time depends on filling). You can place tin foil on the crust if it starts getting too brown.

THAT’S IT! How easy is that?

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I hope you enjoy this family recipe! (I used the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe right off the back of the can)

Peace ‘n’ Blessins’!

Kristin

Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole (and another squirrel themed lunch)

It is THAT time of year again! I adore Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Not just for the food, although that’s a huge part of it. I love the tradition, the memories I have of Thanksgivings past, the new memories made with family, the way people become so introspective about thankfulness. I love the traditional food that I make each year, and the new recipes I come up with. I love the crafts. I love every part of it. It makes me happy.

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I always seem to make mini Thanksgiving meals in the weeks prior to the Big Day, in hungry anticipation. Last week, I made a turkey and cranberry meatloaf which I paired with my traditional macaroni and cheese casserole, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole (#casseroleallthethings). This week, I paired a new sweet potato casserole with a honey and dijon mustard glazed ham. And this SPC was SO dang good, that I just had to share the recipe with you. It also happens to be dairy and gluten free, which for my family, is a bonus!

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It’s creamy on the inside, studded with little jewels of dried fruit, and topped with two kinds of marshmallow, which have been toasted just the perfect amount.

**Caveat** This recipe has raisins in it. I know for a fact that many people do not like raisins. I don’t care for them in cookies. They ruin cookies for me. But in this? They added a chewy, lovely texture.

Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe serves 2 adults and 2 kids, with leftovers

3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 T melted coconut oil

splash of coconut milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 C dried cranberries

2/3 C golden raisins

1/2 small jar marshmallow fluff

1/2 bag of mini marshmallows

Boil the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes until they are tender. Using a hand mixer, blend together the next three ingredients, until creamy and smooth. Fold in the dried fruit. Pour into a greased pan (I used a 9×9) and bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes. Melt the marshmallow fluff in the microwave. Pull the casserole out and spread the fluff over the top. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over that and place back in the oven, with the broiler on high. Make sure not to burn the marshmallows, but see that they get nice and brown!

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It is dang good. ENJOY!

Also. I made yet another squirrel themed lunch. This is my last week of fall and Thanksgiving themed lunches, so I am doing repeats allll day.

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I made squirrel shaped sunbutter and grape jelly sandwiches. I cut acorn shapes out of fruit leather for the little tree rats to snack on. I also packed goldfish crackers, dried cranberries, more dried fruit, colby jack cheese (Bigs), a mandarin orange (Bigs), green grapes (Smalls), and a Linzer cookie for each.

Peace ‘n’ Blessins’,

Kristin

Gobble Gobble!

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Today was an *almost* headache free day. Praise! I was able to put together these fun turkey themed lunches for my boys. I made a turkey shaped sunbutter and jam sandwich. I used Food Writers to add eyes, beaks, gobblers, feet, and feathers. Glorious, colorful feathers. I also packed cheddar sandwich crackers, dried cranberries, dates (Bigs), a Pfeffernusse cookie (Smalls), mandarin orange (Bigs), carrots (Smalls), green grapes, and raspberries (Bigs).

I am also the Co-op Parent in my Smalls’ class, so here is my lunch:

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I packed salad with dressing, a Pfeffernusse cookie, dried cranberries, kiwi, mozzarella cheese, and green grapes.

I’m SOOOO excited for Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday!

Gobble!

Kristin

Ice Cream Cone Cornucopias

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Boy, have I got a fun thing for you to try! If you’re looking for a sweet Thanksgiving treat for kids or even for place settings at the kid table (although I don’t know any adults who would turn this down), then you’ve come to the right place.

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I’m here to show you Ice Cream Cone Cornucopias! Filled! With popcorn! And M&M’s!!! I came across this idea on Pinterest when looking for Thanksgiving feast desserts for my Bigs’ VPK class. They looked super easy and I have a friend who has made them and she also said they were easy.

As oft happens in my kitchen adventures…

…(to me) easy they were not. The directions call for soaking the bottoms of sugar cones in warm water for 20 seconds, microwaving the cones for 20 seconds, and bending the bottoms around a pencil (or the like) for 20 seconds. Sounds easy enough, right? I was glad I purchased two packs (of 12 cones) even though I only needed 12. I ended up using every last one (I destroyed ate mucked up about 12). So. My recommendation to you, is to A) buy more than you need just in case and B) soak the cones for longer than 20 seconds (I’d say upwards of 45).

Or, maybe it will all work perfectly for you, as it’s supposed to. 🙂 I tend to muck things up a bit.

I had to let mine dry for a few hours, due to the massive bath they took during the earlier process. Once they were dried, they looked so cute. I wanted to fill them with popcorn, M&M’s, AND pretzels (a la Charlie Brown Thanksgiving), but I only had room for the popcorn and M&M’s. And I think it came out perfectly and the pretzels weren’t even needed. I hope the kids love them.

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Here is the original post, detailing the process:

http://thecraftpatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-cornucopia-treats.html#.VG6ZjY-OOrA

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Blessings!

Kristin

Goodbye Turkey School Lunches!

Today was the last day of turkey school lunches. Boo hoo. But Christmas is coming and that makes me just as excited as turkeys! And we decorated for Christmas. Yup. We went there. Before Thanksgiving (to be honest, we’ve done that every year since we’ve been together).

Here is what I packed my boys today:

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Turkey-shaped PB&J sandwiches, with feather, gobbler, feet, eye, and beak details, crust hay bales, a few organic PB Trader Joe’s crackers, applesauce, orange segments, and a chocolate candy for dessert.

Blessings!

Kristin

Fluffy Speculoos Cookies with Fruit & Nuts

Have you started your Christmas cookie list yet? I haven’t either. But I made some cookies tonight that might end up on it! My sons’ school is having a Thanksgiving feast for the teachers tomorrow and my contribution is cookies. They don’t want anything I’d have to cook. It works out much better this way.

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I found a recipe on a food blog that I follow and tweaked it a little bit for the ingredients I had (incidentally, I didn’t have brown sugar on hand and had to make some from scratch), and also made some additions. These are so easy to whip together. They only use one bowl! Those are my favorite kinds of desserts. I hope you try them and love them.

Fluffy Speculoos Cookies with Fruit & Nuts

Recipe adapted from: Biscoff Cloud Cookies, Cookies and Cups

http://cookiesandcups.com/biscoff-cloud-cookies/

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup creamy Speculoos Spread (Trader Joe’s answer to Biscoff)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mixed nuts and fruit (I used cranberries, raisins, pistachios, and almonds)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cream together the butter, Speculoos and both sugars for about 2 minutes with a stand or hand held mixer.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add in salt, cornstarch and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  6. Add in flour and mix on low, until combined.
  7. Add in your nuts and dried fruit mixture. Only stir until incorporated.
  8. Use your cookie scoop (or spoons) to drop onto prepared sheet. These cookies won’t spread.
  9. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool on cookie rack.

These are SO easy, so festive, and even more importantly, delicious. You can customize them for any holiday, as well. The Speculoos spread (or Biscoff) is filled with a buttery, almost caramelized flavor, complementing chocolate, dried fruit, or nuts.

Give them a try!

Blessings,

Kristin

Thanksgiving Countdown (a “turkey lunch” and a link to Thanksgivings Past)!

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. To me, it is equal with the joy and excitement of Christmas. I love the food, the fellowship, and the thankfulness of it all. I have been so nostalgic about my Thanksgivings growing up. I wrote a post about it last year and it captured my memories exactly. Also in that post, I shared some of my most favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

http://sprinklesinmylunchbox.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/thanksgiving-food-roundup/

Tomorrow starts the school Thanksgiving countdown for my Bigs (and Smalls). For the next two weeks, these sweet children will learn about the first Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving as a whole, and giving thanks. I love it. I can’t wait to hear what they have learned. To start the countdown, I made a turkey lunch for my big boy.

Not THAT kind of turkey. That would be sort of sad and weird – a turkey-shaped turkey sandwich. Sort of rubbing it in that poor turkey’s face that he’s being eaten.

You know?

No?

Just me?

Oh well.

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I made a PB&J and used my turkey-shaped cutter. I used my Food Writers to add details. I love that every time I make these (here and here and a few other times), they come out differently. Like real turkeys (or snowflakes if you want to get technical), they are all different. I kept the crusts and used them as sort of a hay bale (I might be the only one “getting” that). I packed seasoned corn, an orange, three little Trader Joe’s ginger cookies, and a few dried cranberries.

Have a BLESSED Tuesday!

Kristin

Post Gravy Glow

I’m still glowing from my Thanksgiving experience. What? What’s that? I’m not glowing? It’s just gravy on my face? Oh. That’s okay. I really don’t mind. Slurrrrrp!

Over the river and through the woods

Well. Now it’s over. Thanksgiving is over. But I’m still thankful! I’m so thankful for the food that was served, the hands that prepared it, the time that was spent with family, the fresh, cold air. Boy, it sure was chilly out! We loved it! The kids had a wonderful time getting all bundled up and running around my Grandmother’s picturesque backyard. And me?! I loved it too! The cold weather is refreshing. Puts a little color in one’s cheeks!

Me

I jumped on the “selfie” bandwagon, for the sole purpose of my blog. Sue me HA! At least there were no duck lips. You’re welcome.

Thanksgiving really refreshed me. It always makes me feel so good inside to go to where I spent a lot of my childhood, to see my boys run around the same yard my brother and I did, chasing each other, whapping sticks on trees, falling in the mud. It is life, come full-circle. It’s so beautiful to me.

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The boys were SO adorable and had the best time. Listen, as a little aside, I see and am aware of the denim on denim situation on not one but, TWO, children, and I realize it’s not the most fashionable. Perhaps in another lifetime. But they were warm!! Their little exposed cheeks and noses were pink from the crisp air and running around.

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We even threw around a football. We are not a sporty family, but it was so fun playing “catch”. Look how teeny Smalls is holding that “HUGE” football. My little peanut.

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The weather was just perfect. I am so thankful for that. Beautiful sunlight, peeking through the wise, hundred-year-old oak trees made for a perfect backdrop to a gorgeous day.

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Teeny little Smalls (apt name!) loved the freedom to roam and play.

Uncle and Bigs

Bigs and my brother (his favorite Uncle) had so much fun trudging through the woods, wielding sticks, of course! Uncle taught him so many things.

And, at the end of the day, we only had a few casualties in the form of a scrape on Smalls’ nose, lips and hands from falling on the driveway while running, and some muddy shoes and jeans. I’d call that quite a success!

The food was absolutely delicious. Everyone outdid themselves. I adore seeing a potluck-style meal come together. It is so wonderful to me to see the best work of everyone, which is all so varied and lovingly prepared, in one kitchen and then later, on each plate.

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I could only do one round this time. I was so stuffed. And so blessed to be so.

I didn’t get any turkey pictures before (or after, really) it was sliced. But, it was GOOD. And the skin was crispy and salty, just as it should be. We had that glorious turkey, two kinds of stuffing, fruit salad, ham, broccoli and cheese casserole, green bean casserole, my macaroni casserole, whipped potatoes, honey & cinnamon glazed carrots, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, two kinds of cranberry sauce, and rolls. Then the desserts. Our plates runneth(‘ed) over.

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I want it again. Like now. Too bad I finished off my leftovers as a second dinner once the boys were in bed. And pumpkin pie too. And a few bites of the coconut frosting from my rock cake (see below). I regret nothing. Well, maybe one thing – that I didn’t make a Thanks Be To The Sandwich…next time.

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The Coconut Cake I made was so beautiful, but I must be honest. It was dry as a bone. I was not so happy with it. It was dense. I love a dense cake. Many wedding cakes are dense and I love that. But it was dense and hard. Sort of like a rock. I had it properly wrapped and sealed in the fridge and I followed the recipe almost to a “T” (didn’t keep it in the fridge for 3 days, but instead 2 – and thank God for that!!), but there was just no hope. I think I’ll stick with my other recipe for next year. Big bummer! That face-sized slice just didn’t get finished. Thank goodness there were other desserts (Pumpkin Pie, Apple Crumble Pie, Key Lime Pie).

Now, it’s time to bask in the glow of a lovely holiday and then get my boo-tay in the gym gear for Christmas. And, for now, I’ll be thankful that I am not wearing any makeup and letting my face breathe and that I’m also not in the throngs of people fighting and pushing to get the best deals on Black Friday. My boys and I will stay inside and I’ll go crazy with cabin fever snuggle and cuddle on the couch in our jammies.

I’m so thankful. Just…thankful.

I hope you all had a very blessed, thank-filled day,

Kristin