vitamin A jello salad

vitamin A jello salad
Molly McIntire was always my least favorite American Girl. I found her escapades trite, her personality off-putting, and her glasses absolutely disgusting. This was probably because at the time – the early 90s – large bug-eyed glasses were in style and man were they ever ugly [and now they’re trendy again… good thing none of my loggers have the fashion sense of hip city-dwellers, or else I might have to punch their lenses in].

I much preferred Felicity, because she had gorgeous red hair and liked horses, or Samantha, because she had that one bitchin’ sailor outfit. Like the unfortunate Kirsten doll maligned by ugly grayish hair, the Molly doll was consumed by her dumb face-hogging glasses.

I clearly never looked too hard into the Molly situation, because after spending a recent weekend afternoon staring dreamily at her illustrated face, I have to admit that I was quite wrong. She’s pretty darn cute, and those glasses are adorable. Plus, she grew up in the ’40s.

Daydreaming what life would be like could I travel in time takes up roughly 20% of my brain’s creative space. Last Saturday, for instance, those dreams took me back to the mid-1800s, to life on the Oregon Trail. If only I could see the plains as they were and the first nation tribes before they were boxed off into reservations, could experience a truly difficult life, could caulk the wagon and float. As enticing as death by cholera sounds, however, my illness-prone self would do better in a more modern era with miracle drugs as an option. And the 1940s is the decade that I would most like to visit.

Attractive fitted dresses. Men with pleated pants and hats intended for use outside of baseball games. Cocktail hour featuring cocktails, rather than Bud Light. Quality kitchenware made anywhere but China. Floral wallpaper and checkerboard floor tiles. Food rationing leading to inventive cakes made with mayonnaise. Spam. Unmatched patriotism and community spirit.

molly's cookbook vitamin A jello salad
I found this jello salad¬† – which looks like an over-sized hamburger, don’t you think? – in my copy of Molly’s Cook Book, part of the American Girls Pastimes series, released in 1994. The recipe repulsed me, as I’m sure it does you, but it was ridiculous enough that I thought it would make a lovely splash here on the internet. Plus, it taught me that cottage cheese isn’t actually half bad. Which was a surprise.

Vitamin A Jello Salad {recipe from Molly’s Cook Book}

++Ingredients:++

3-oz package of lemon gelatin
1 c. boiling hot water
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or 1/2 a lemon
1 c. “apricot nectar” (I used Ceres apricot juice)
1 c. cottage cheese
1 large carrot
15-oz can of apricots
Lettuce leaves, for decoration

++Directions:++

In a medium mixing bowl, combine gelatin and hot water, and stir until dissolved. Add lemon juice and apricot juice and mix well.

Rinse a gelatin mold or aluminum bowl in cold water. Pour 1 cup of the gelatin mixture into the mold. Either let set 20-30 minutes in the fridge first, or spoon cottage cheese in directly. Pour another 1/2 c. of the gelatin into the mold. Place in the fridge to set while preparing the rest of the salad.

Grate the carrot – it should measure ~ 1 cup. Drain the can of apricots, the cut apricots into small cubes. Add carrots and apricots to remaining gelatin, and stir well. Let the gelatin mold cooling in the fridge continue to set until it is stiff enough to withstand the weight of the remaining ingredients. When ready, spoon the carrot-apricot-gelatin mixture on top. Cover the mold with plastic wrap and let set at least four hours or overnight.

Cover the serving platter with decorative lettuce leaves (I used lettuce and cabbage). Take the gelatin mold out of the fridge, and let sink in warm water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When it appears to have loosened up, turn it over onto the serving plate to unmold it.

vitamin A jello salad

In other news, my boyfriend shared this article with me last night. And the photo below is the most perfect man / cat combination that I’ve ever seen. So beautiful. I adore the Amazon description for Alexandra Crockett’s book, which goes a little something like “Metal isn’t all dark and disturbing, violent and misanthropic. Metal Cats is proof that while the music may be brutal, the people in the scene are softies for their pets just like you and me.”

Stuff like this is definitely enough to make me glad that I live when I do. You wouldn’t be seeing any of these Metal Cats on the shelves in 1940s-era war-torn households.

metal cats

Advertisements

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

The word bacon used to strike fear into my heart. Not positive terror like the words pork chop, nor definite disinterest like¬†hot dog, nor middling boredom like potato chips. Just good old fashioned fear. The announcement that BLTs were for dinner made me feel nauseous. Forget about a delicious fatty weekend breakfast – or breakfeast, more like it. My mum tried to trick me into thinking turkey bacon was the more awesome counterpart to the bacon I found gross and unpalatable (because less sodium and fewer calories equals better taste…?), forgetting that Thanksgiving turkey was #1 on my Foods Most Unwanted list.

Life as a picky eater has been¬†a long and difficult road. While my journey isn’t quite over, my 20s has been all about coming to terms with the endless list of foods that I heretofore wrote off without a second thought. Chicken. Cookies. Cake. Butter on pancakes. Butter on toast. Hamburgers. Steak. Wild rice. Potatoes. Milk. Several kinds of cheese. Broccoli and cauliflower. And of course, the aforementioned bacon.

The day that I fell in love with bacon was the best day in the world.

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

It was Spring Semester 2008, my Junior year in college. Near the end of every scholastic year, the club that I was most involved with on campus held a blowout¬†all-day celebration, beginning with a pancake breakfast, continuing on with timbersports (read: wannabe lumberjacks throwing axes, pushing about¬†logs, spitting tobacco), and ending with a formal banquet. The pancake breakfast has long been cooked and served by the department faculty, in a delightful twist of duty. Backtracking to 2008, I had just taken over as Forestry Club president, having been elected upon an Obama spin-off campaign slogan¬†of “Yes Tree Can!” My comparatively-painless presidential duties included overseeing the pancake breakfast. However, I had a Remote Sensing lecture that overlapped with a good portion of the breakfast.

And here is where I tell you that up until that day, I had never cut class. Not once. Sure, I had been absent for each and every class since the dawn of time for a variety of reasons, but each and every one was premeditated, and often based on some sort of illness. It had never even occurred to me to skip class. The closest I got was skipping a pep rally in high school (before my school outlawed pep rallies), and even then, I felt my blood pressure increase alarmingly and damn, but I felt guilty.

So here I am, 2008, crossing the threshold into my lecture, resigned that I will miss out on my first elected duty, when some mental switch flips. My eyebrows raise in alarm as my feet halt, then backtrack, and finally turn around and exit the classroom. I make my way to the pancake breakfast, feeling ridiculously giddy and also a mite peckish. The world suddenly seems more colorful, more alive. My senses are heightened, and all of a sudden, I smell something. Something savory, and fatty, and unmistakably caloric. I smell bacon. I come face to face with it. It sits there, sparkling with grease. I sidle up next to it, and take one piece. I nibble it. I grab a second piece, and chomp it down. I take a third, and a fourth, and devour them.

I must have eaten 20 pieces of bacon that morning. They tasted like freedom.

_____________

BaconBadge14-v2

_____________

Enter Bacon Week 2014. My pal Mary has been doing this Clogged Artery Week for a few years now, and I’ve enjoyed playing along, given that I came to my senses in 2008 and realized what’s up. In case you missed my lengthy preamble, it’s bacon, you guys. In 2012, I contributed Potato Bacon Breakfast Churros served in the world’s cutest bowl made of bacon. And last year, sticking with a theme of cuteness+calory overload, it was Deep Fried Waffles with Maple Bacon Buttercream served in ‘bacon muffinettes.’

This year I went with something a little easier to throw together, though equal in tastiness. A few weeks back I had sketched out several dessert ideas that seemed ingenious to my simple mind. One was for these bacon cinnamon roll cookies. About ten minutes after that life-altering moment, literally, I was cruising the internet and saw like nine different recipes for cinnamon roll cookies just like these. So while I may not be unique or on top of trends, at least I have bacon.

Bacon Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Will yield 24-28 cookies

++Ingredients:++

For the dough:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tbsp bacon fat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour

For the filling:
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 strips candied bacon¬†(Yummy Supper’s recipe will yield 8 strips, a perfect baking use: mouth use ratio)
1/2 tsp water

++Directions:++

In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, bacon fat, salt and vanilla¬†until light and fluffy, 2-4¬†minutes. Add in the flour and mix¬†until the dough comes together. On a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, flatten dough. Cover with a second large sheet of parchment or plastic wrap, and roll out into a 9 x 14″ rectangle.¬†Freeze on a baking sheet until well chilled, 20 minutes.

In a food processor, grind the sugar and cinnamon together. Add in candied bacon, and pulse until combined and fine. Add 1/2 tsp water if mixture is too dry.

Remove dough from freezer and allow to warm up for 2-5 minutes. Slather dough with bacon mixture, evenly coating the dough’s surface. Starting with a long edge roll the dough carefully into a log, using the bottom piece of plastic wrap to encourage the log to roll. Smooth out any cracks that develop in the dough as you roll. Once in a log, roll back and forth over the seam several times to seal it. Re-wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and freeze until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper. Use a trustworthy knife to cut the log into just-under-1/2-inch slices. Transfer cookies to baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown on the undersides and edges. Remove from oven, and cool on wire racks.

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

It’s been an exciting few weeks! I got the chance to interact with a¬†veneer (log) buyer, who taught me quite a bit about log valuation and what I can look for to maximize my wood utilization and timber¬†values.

After a year of silence, we got a new record player up and running, for a total cost of 0 dollars. Now I can listen to Steely Dan and Morris Day each and every day, and my days are bright and sunny (though my vocabulary has seemingly suffered).

And it truly is sunny here from time to time, though we continue to be pummeled by snow. We managed to escape down to New Hampshire for a work conference this week, where we spent a few nights IN A CASTLE.

castle winter veneer

light bright + airy pomelo-lime mousse

pomelo lime mousse

Two years ago, I had a dream about this recipe. [Like an awake sort-of dream. Why rely on my subconscious to dream up recipes when my conscious is all hey man how bout this schnazzy somethin’?] Pomelos had appeared in the exotic fruit section of the grocery store, and I was intrigued. I jotted some notes down, but by then I was too late – I had missed my chance to buy any of the mysterious fruit. Last year, I missed my chance again, because I was too busy acclimating to my new life in the woods. But this time around, I sprung into action.

Larger in diameter than grapefruit, but close to if not smaller in edible volume due to a thick spongy membrane, pomelos are juicy and mild tangy, and sweet-not-too-sweet. Shedding them of their thick outer skin is half the fun, though eating them is plenty good too.

pomelo lime mousse

I used to have a violin teacher who also worked in the real estate industry. One of his favorite pastimes during our lessons was debunking realtor slang for me. “Light, bright, and airy” was one of the ole standbys, used to make homes with small plain rooms sound welcoming, large, and nice. Bright and airy could refer to new large windows…. or perhaps old windows that were leaky and drafty.

In this instance, light, bright and airy connotes nothing but the best. This pomelo-lime mousse is creamy yet light, decadent though not cloying, fruity and fragrant but not overly laden with flavor. It is like a grass-is-growing flowers-are-sprouting bees-are-humming birds-are-singing sheer lacy dream in whipped cream+curd form.

Pomelo-Lime Mousse
Serves 8-10. Could be served as is, or as a component in a cake or trifle. Oooh, trifle. <–Look, my conscious just had another awesome idea.

++Ingredients:++

5 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
~3/4 c. pomelo juice (juice of one pomelo)
Zest from 1/2 a pomelo
Juice and zest from one lime
2 c. heavy cream
Additional pomelo and lime zest, to garnish

++Directions:++

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, light, and slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes if using an electric mixer. Set aside. In a double boiler set over high heat, melt butter.¬† Add egg mixture, stirring very frequently over a lengthy time period until the mixture turns custard- or curd-like. It will likely take the better part of 20 minutes. Don’t leave the mixture attended, however, or gloopy over-thickened bits will form on the bottom of the pan. When custardy, remove from heat.

Stir in juices and zests, and let cool to room temp, 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, whip cream past the stiff peaks stage. Gently fold in the pomelo-limey mixture until just incorporated. Mow down immediately because it is delicious! …or chill 1-2 hours in the fridge first.

Store well-covered in the fridge for one day if you must, but the mousse will quickly lose its dream-like qualities if you abandon it for much longer. It will grow lonely and watery. Don’t let that happen.

pomelo-lime mousse

Everything has been nice lately. It’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a dog. Poor maligned dogs, I should say it’s wonderful to no longer be sick as a sicky. Now I’m just back to being me, scampering about in the woods and loving my incredible life.

Things I’m thinking about:
Gardening! the cute lil seeds that are sprouting in my cabin right now. Yesterday, it was Oregon Spring tomatoes and Heshiko bunching onions. What will it be today??
Activity! after 5 weeks of doing nothing, I feel like a soggy potato without any starch, aka a wimp with no muscles. I’m getting back into my pushup/squat/insert other fitness here routine. I’ve taken to doing quick rounds of tabata youtube videos, sometimes even in the pre-dawn moments before work when I can wake myself up early enough. And last weekend, we went downhill skiing. I’d only been once before, when I lived in France in 2007. This time was much much much better, as I knew beforehand not to solely rely on “the snowplow” to get me down a steep hill.
Material goods! i have had the same face for the past five years. And so, after much contemplation, I have decided to get a facelift! JK, I just have a new pair of glasses on the way. JUST a new pair of glasses you say, beautiful glasses, gorgeous trendy in-your-face, heck, in-my-face new glasses I reply. My face is going to be a new face! A face all my own and yet nothing like me! I am pleased as punch.
A car! every since we broke the last one, I’ve missed having a car. Only having my truck is inefficient and fuel stupid. A car is on horizon – I hope.
– The Treats Sheet in the bottom photo! two pounds of mallowy goodness. Today my boss asked if I could eat the whole thing, and after prefacing with “I don’t even really like Rice Krispie treats,” I hypothesized that yes, I could easily eat all of this. Especially if sectioned off and stacked, to create a rarely-seen triple decker treat (TDT).

fernskiingtreatsapizza