Friday, March 26, 2010

Bavarian Crème Jello Salad – aka Orange Jello with Peaches and Cream Dessert

Um. I’m hopeful that no one will ask me what makes this recipe “Bavarian” because I have no clue why it’s named as such. What I do know, though, is that this is a delightful refreshing jello dessert.

Coming up with uber-soft recipes for my littlest gal’s healing mouth and throat has not been all that difficult, especially when it comes to cool treats. I found this recipe on the internet, and it caught my attention right away. It’s both cool and creamy, and very pretty to behold, too.

This is super easy to make, and requires basic pantry ingredients. As written, it feeds an army filling a 9 x 13 cake pan; next time I’ll make ½ a recipe. Here it is in its entirety. Let’s give it a go, shall we?

2 6 oz boxes of orange jello
1 can slice peaches, drained
1 cup whipping cream

In a large pot, prepare the jello as directed on the box. Pour into a 9 x 13 dish and set aside to cool for about ½ hour. After it has lost most of its heat, put it in the fridge to chill and set up just a bit, let’s call it semi-set, for about an hour.

Take out of the fridge, stir it up a bit, and set aside. Puree the drained peaches in a blender. Whip the whipped cream until it forms soft peaks. FYI: I whipped it stiff and had a darn good time blending it. Learn from the error of my ways! Anyway ... fold both the pureed peaches and the whipped cream into the semi-set jello. I started off with a spoon and switched to a whisk to blend it together. Put it back in the fridge to firm up, which takes at least a couple of hours or overnight.Serve with whipped cream. I shaved some chocolate on top ‘cuz I wanted to! Don’t you want to snag that stray choc curl there?Check out the gorgeous color and texture! This is very cool and refreshing. It would be great during those hot summer months when your palate just begs for something cold and tangy. It would be great, too, to bring to a potluck. The orange, peach, and cream flavors are just lovely together, in both taste and appearance, and I think this would work well with other jello flavors, too.Here have a bite. YUM! Of course, this is gluten-free which makes it a double bonus in my household!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Arepas = South of the Border Pure Bliss Sammie

Well, it’s certainly been a long while, huh? Thanks for the well wishes for my little lass. She’s hanging in there. Lots on the dental horizon for her including two appointments this week. Did you know there are cookbooks out there for folks who can’t chew? There’s lots to choose from, including cookbooks for kids with braces! While most of the contents are common sense stuff, there are some really good ideas, too. My girl has not turned up her nose at the pureed meals I’ve made, so that has made the eating part of her recovery smoother.

Ain't she sweet? This was taken about 2 weeks ago. Despite the health woes these past few months, we’ve actually been eating quite well. Here’s something that I particularly enjoy for lunch. *Arepas* If you were to stop by my house, this is something that I could whip up for us to much on while we socialize.

I first learned about Arepas about a year ago while watching the cooking show called Throwdown With Bobby Flay. About the size of an English Muffin, Arepas are a popular treat in South America. I find them to be simply wonderful. Aren’t most simple foods pure pleasure? An added plus here is that they are also gluten free. I’ve made them a handful of times now, and each time my teeth sink into their crusty shells, my eyes roll backward in pure bliss.

Traditional arepas do not contain season salt; however, I really like the little extra “umph” that a simply shake of Lawry’s provides. For an even better description that what I’m putting forth, there are lots of YouTube videos that have great Arepa tutorials. YouTube isn’t just for the kiddos, ya know!

• 1 1/2 cups arepa flour, see note
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Dash of Seasoned Salt (could use onion or garlic salt)
• 1 1/2 cups very hot water
• 1 teaspoon canola oil, plus extra for cooking arepas


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the arepa flour and salt. Pour in water and mix with a your hands until the dough comes together. Smooth out any lumps you find. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and knead for about 5 minutes moistening your hands if necessary, until the dough is very smooth and not sticky.Form into disks about the size of English muffins, approx. 3-inches around and 1/2-inch thick.Add the oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook arepas on each side just until a they turn golden and a crust forms.Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until the arepas make a hollow sound when tapped. Slice in half and stuff like a sandwich. Or you can cut a slit part-way through, and fill like a pita pocket.Arepas can be stuffed with your favorite filling. They are delicious for breakfast stuffed with eggs or even plain with a little butter. Drizzle on some honey for a sweet treat. When lunchtime rolls around, fill them something substantial for a mid-day fuel stop.

Note: Arepa flour is a precooked corn flour and should not be confused with masa harina or corn meal. Arepa flour is sold as masarepa, harina precocida, or masa al instante. It can be found in Latin American groceries. I’m lucky to have several Hispanic groceries at my disposal. If you want this, but can’t find it at your grocers, you can easily order it on Amazon. I used the brand with the word PAN in bold on the front.Doesn’t this looks scrumptious! Gluten free eating is second nature to me now. With recipes like this, I don’t miss sliced bread. I filled mine with carnitas, shredded cabbage, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and a crèma sauce. I made yummy noises. Lots and lots of yummy noises. What filling would you like?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Surgery Update

Thanks for all the warm wishes for my little leprechaun. Her surgery did not go as well as expected as there was a complication. The removal of the adnoids and tonsils went just fine, but somehow -- and I’m not repeating this very eloquently – the bone above her front teeth fractured/chipped and her front, permanent, top two teeth fell out. Luckily, the surgeon captured them. To make a long story short, a trauma dental guy was brought in and he “reseated” her teeth. They are being held on with a wire; she kind of looks like she has braces. Hopefully, the bone will heal around the teeth. We will be pursuing all treatment options as we realize this may not be a long term fix.

Let me just say that I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me when the surgeon entered the waiting room and asked us to step inside a consultation room. Both my husband and I are very good in crisis mode, and were able to stay focused during the discussion. Our surgeon asked a pediatric dentist on call to join us. I was not impressed. He projected the opinion of NOT trying to save the teeth. Obviously, the man has never loved a child. Who would expect a child to just deal with it. Also, he’s never met me. Ever hear of how a mama grisly bear behaves when her cub is threatened? Well, mama grisly bears cower before me. I don’t scream and yell or stomp my feet, but I am gifted with being able to project my insistence in such a way that there is no further discusson.

I made it crystal clear that my 10 year old daughter was going to wake up with her teeth in her mouth. I don’t care if you, sir, don’t think it will work. I understand it might not be a long term fix. I. Get. It. This is my daughter. My decision. I know my daughter. We will try to save the teeth. I asked my surgeon to assemble a team who is capable of getting it done. He did. He found a great trauma dental specialist on staff in the emergency room who came right over and got it done. His response was more to my liking in that you at least have to try to save the teeth. Ironically, he had lost his own front teeth in high school, and so he totally understoond our decision to try.

So, my littlest gal had to be under anesthesia way longer than planned. Her poor little mouth is all bruised and swollen. But ... her attitude is terrific. I swear she is actually an angel. A real, true, live angel sent down to make the world a better place. Everyone she meets is completely captivated by how amazing she is. Lordy, I sure do love that little gal.

When she woke up in recovery, I shared with her what was going on. She took the news with grace beyond her years. When I told her that we decided to try to save her teeth, her response was “good choice, mom”. Then she motioned for her dad to lean in close, and in her raspy, whisper like voice she asked him for a dog. A Boston Terrier to be specific. Gotta love how she worked the system!

Our next steps include having her heal from surgery, and then figure out a short and long term dental plan for her. She has to be on a soft diet until the bone heals. You’ll be amazed at the wonders of jello that I’ve come up with.

Send all your positive, encouraging, healing thoughts her way. We shall persevere onward! And smile big, bold, teethy smiles!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Surgery Day!

Heading off to the hospital with youngest daughter for her surgery. Join us as we say bid adieu to those pesky tonsils and adnoids. Surgery on St. Patrick's Day has to be lucky, right?