Tag Archives: taste memories

ReBlog: Taste Memories: Orange Jello Salad

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I thought this would be a fun post to revisit–summer is the time for getting together and this salad makes a great dish to take along!
Please welcome my mom as she share her memories about one of her favorite special occasion foods: Orange Jell-O Salad!

Orange Jell-O Salad and the Little Church on the Prairie

My mom with her parents on the left and her grandparents on the right

My mom with her parents on the left and her grandparents on the right

I was four years old when my parents moved us out of the only home I had ever known. We moved 1800 miles away from everything and everyone I knew. My dad had gone to a Bible institute and prepared to be a pastor and that was where the church who called him was located.

We had lived in my grandparents’ home in a suburb of Philadelphia. Their front door faced on a street with many homes and neighbors; their back door looked out on a Jewish cemetery and every Sunday Hebrew families dressed in their best dutifully came to visit the graves of their deceased. My life was full of people who knew me, and whom I knew. If I picked a neighbor’s flowers, my grandmother, who cared for me during the day, knew it before my little red trike rolled back into the yard.

Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles...

Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles…

Pleasant Heights, Colorado was a small farming community 40 miles from the nearest town. The daily dust storms kept my mother busy. In our yard we had tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Under the house we had a storm cellar in case of tornadoes. But there were some gorgeous sunsets and rainbows.

Rainbow on SE Colorado praire

Rainbow on SE Colorado praire

The only buildings as far as I could see were the parsonage where we lived, the little church on one side of us, and the one-room schoolhouse on the other. Oh, and the two outhouses on the school grounds. They were three-seaters; one for the boys and one for the girls. I remember my mom lamenting that all she could see was miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.
Pleasant Heights Baptist Church’s congregation couldn’t have exceeded 30 people. Maybe thirty-one after my brother was born. But those farm people took good care of us. One lady had us over to eat one Easter Sunday. I suppose there was ham. But the pièce de résistance was the Rice Salad. There was just something…dare I say it…addictive… about that combination of orange Jell-O, cooked rice, grated carrots and pineapple in a Miracle Whip dressing.
My daughter who can’t eat anything makes it for me regularly on holidays or just for when the family gets together. ‘Cause she’s good like that. Here is the recipe:

Rice Salad
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely grated carrots
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 small box of orange Jell-O
2 cups of hot water
When the above gelatin mixture begins to set, fold in ½ cup of Miracle Whip. Leave in refrigerator until firm.

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Taste Memories: Oh How I Love Thee Apple Dumplings!

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Finished Apple Dumplings!

Finished Apple Dumplings!

Remember the strawberry shortcake from the spring/summer? Well my mom would always make apple dumplings in the fall. I think she usually served hot dogs with them, but I could care less about the hot dogs. The tender apple incased in a warm buttery crust topped with a cinnamon sugar syrup and either ice cream or plain milk–that was what those wonderful meals were all about.

This was one of the first things that I had to recreate when I went gluten-free/dairy-free about a year ago. Fall is just not fall without at least one serving of apple dumplings. I remember trying to make them the first time after I was married. My mom made a more then slightly labor intensive project look so EASY! The gluten-free version is much easier to handle then the regular version. Now that I’ve got your mouth watering let’s get onto the recipe!

Apple Dumplings

adapted from this post and from Better Homes and Gardens (1950’s edition)

Dumplings

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
4 T coconut crystals (use brown sugar to omit coconut)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t salt
10 T coconut oil or earth balance
12 T milk (can use almond or rice)
2 t baking powder
1 t xanthan gum

Filling

4 apples cored and peeled
4 t earth balance divided
cinnamon sugar

Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg (a little less if you have a strong nutmeg such as Penzey’s sells!)
1 T earth balance

Start by mixing the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan on medium low heat. You want it to warm and reduce a little while you are working on the rest of the dumplings, but not boil or boil over.
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Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the earth balance/coconut oil and mix thoroughly. Mix in the milk until the dough holds together. You may need more or less milk depending on environmental conditions.
Once the dough is ready to go, core and peel the apples.
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Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
Place one section of dough on the counter and using your hands smooth it out until its flat. Place the apple in the center, place 1 t earth balance where the core used to be and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bring the sides of the dough up and around the apple until it’s all wrapped up in a little dough blanket. Place in a greased baking pan and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar if desired. Repeat with the remaining apples.
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Pour the syrup over the apple dumplings just before placing them in the oven.
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Cook the apple dumplings in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the side goes in easily and the dumplings are light brown. The dumplings could get light brown BEFORE the inside is tender, so make sure to pierce the side to check and make sure the apple is tender.
Serve warm (the best) or cold (still good!) with your favorite milk, whipped cream, or even ice cream. Serves 4-8. 1 apple dumpling is plenty for a full meal with a protein side, for a dessert you might want to cut them in half.
Note: When I used earth balance/rice milk instead of coconut oil/almond milk things got a little sticky. Pay attention to when you are adding milk to try and avoid this or if you still end up with sticky dough use a little brown rice flour to make things manageable.

Taste Memories: Potato Soup

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DSCN3359Potato soup doesn’t sound all that inspiring. However, this soup reminds me of the story “Stone Soup.” Add some milk, celery, onions and it truly turns into a delectable meal!

This was my one of my mother’s go-to meals when we were growing up. I can remember looking forward to it–we occasionally had it with hot dogs or maybe just some fresh bread. There was something about the creamy goodness that just hit the spot during a particularly cold fall/winter day.

I’ve been craving it for a while, but was nervous about all the substitutions that I would have to make. Sometimes dairy free stuff doesn’t taste the way you remember the dairy equivalent tasting. I finally got up enough gumption to try it though. And you know what? It was better than the original! Creamier and smoother and I didn’t even have to worry about curdling the milk.

Potato Soup

adopted from: Amish Country Cookbook Volume I – Favorite recipes gathered by Das Dutchman Essenhaus

3 cups potatoes (I prefer them peeled, but it’s not completely necessary)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 Not Chicken Chicken Bullion cubes (can sub vegetable bullion if desired)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
1 cup cashew sour cream
1 T potato starch
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and chop the potatoes into smallish chunks. Peel and chop the onion and celery. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, and bullion with the water into a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are done. This could take as little as 15 minutes if the veggies are small enough, but up to 20-25 minutes.

Once the veggies are tender add 1 cup almond milk into the pot (do not drain or anything!). In a small bowl add the potato starch, almond milk, and cashew sour cream and stir until mixed. Once mixed add to the pot and mix with the vegetables. Heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste or wait until you dish up the individual servings. It is hard to eat potatoes without salt so you will probably want at least a little.

Serve in a large bowl (because that’s how much you will want to eat!) with a side of bread, salad, or even hot dogs if you desire!

Notes: Here is a recipe I use for cashew sour cream. I was a little panicked when I first made it because it seemed so liquid, but it does firm up in the fridge. You might want to make it ahead of time to keep your dinner prep simple and give it time to firm up a little.
The soup does have a little bit of that “cooked almond” smell, but I couldn’t taste anything but the yummy creaminess of the soup and the potatoes.

Guest Post: Orange Jell-O Salad Taste Memories

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Please welcome my mom as she share her memories about one of her favorite special occasion foods: Orange Jell-O Salad!

Orange Jell-O Salad and the Little Church on the Prairie

My mom with her parents on the left and her grandparents on the right

My mom with her parents on the left and her grandparents on the right

I was four years old when my parents moved us out of the only home I had ever known. We moved 1800 miles away from everything and everyone I knew. My dad had gone to a Bible institute and prepared to be a pastor and that was where the church who called him was located.

We had lived in my grandparents’ home in a suburb of Philadelphia. Their front door faced on a street with many homes and neighbors; their back door looked out on a Jewish cemetery and every Sunday Hebrew families dressed in their best dutifully came to visit the graves of their deceased. My life was full of people who knew me, and whom I knew. If I picked a neighbor’s flowers, my grandmother, who cared for me during the day, knew it before my little red trike rolled back into the yard.

Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles...

Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles…

Pleasant Heights, Colorado was a small farming community 40 miles from the nearest town. The daily dust storms kept my mother busy. In our yard we had tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Under the house we had a storm cellar in case of tornadoes. But there were some gorgeous sunsets and rainbows.

Rainbow on SE Colorado praire

Rainbow on SE Colorado praire

The only buildings as far as I could see were the parsonage where we lived, the little church on one side of us, and the one-room schoolhouse on the other. Oh, and the two outhouses on the school grounds. They were three-seaters; one for the boys and one for the girls. I remember my mom lamenting that all she could see was miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.
Pleasant Heights Baptist Church’s congregation couldn’t have exceeded 30 people. Maybe thirty-one after my brother was born. But those farm people took good care of us. One lady had us over to eat one Easter Sunday. I suppose there was ham. But the pièce de résistance was the Rice Salad. There was just something…dare I say it…addictive… about that combination of orange Jell-O, cooked rice, grated carrots and pineapple in a Miracle Whip dressing.
My daughter who can’t eat anything makes it for me regularly on holidays or just for when the family gets together. ‘Cause she’s good like that. Here is the recipe:

Rice Salad
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely grated carrots
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 small box of orange Jell-O
2 cups of hot water
When the above gelatin mixture begins to set, fold in ½ cup of Miracle Whip. Leave in refrigerator until firm.

Taste Memories: Coffee

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Pastéis de Nata

Pastéis de Nata


I have wonderful memories of coffee! One of my first memories was when I would go out to breakfast in Portugal with my family and we would have Galãos with pastries. My choice of pastry was the “Pastéis de nata” (egg tarts).The creaminess of the coffee with the sweet pastries is forever embedded in my memory!

As I grew I developed a coffee habit. I remember freshly brewed coffee with cream and sugar being perfect first thing. Later, I tried to be healthier with half and half and no sugar, but the coffee remained. I enjoyed the times I sat with my mom and sister in the living room first thing in the morning. We didn’t talk, but just sitting there staring into space and drinking coffee together was enough for us.

When I got married it was hard to sit all alone and drink my coffee, but I still liked the taste, so I developed new memories. I got convicted about how addicted I was to caffeine and so I started to wean myself off of it. I never seemed to get further than half-caf until I got so sick during my first trimester couldn’t drink ANY coffee. The perk was I didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms from giving up caffeine.

During the second trimester, I went back to drinking decaf coffee. When baby was born I thought about taking up caffeine, but the thought of a tired baby unable to sleep because of caffeine changed my mind.

When I realized I had bad reactions to dairy it was imperative that I replace the creamer in my coffee. First I tried coconut milk. It tasted okay, but there were grease spots on the top of my coffee since I used full-fat coconut milk. Next, I tried soy creamer. It was okay in looks, but the taste left a little to be desired. Then, I tried coconut creamer, specifically, So Delicious brand. I loved it! It looked and tasted a lot like half and half and I was quite happy until I started experiencing an upset stomach and then I read this PDF via Oh She Glows.

Next, I tried some almond/cashew cream. It had a nutty taste that seemed peculiar. Then I got sick from something else I ate. Coffee just did not appeal to me and since developing many food intolerances raised my awareness of the importance of listening to my body I gave up coffee for a while. After that, I started drinking it with my breakfast instead of on an empty stomach. This time I reached for something that I already had in my refrigerator: almond milk! I use the original type and on my mom’s recommendation I put just a tiny bit of coconut brown sugar in my coffee. Cow’s milk is much sweeter than other kinds of milk replacements. A little bit of sugar mimics the taste of half and half better than anything else. Now I can enjoy my favorite taste memories with a cup of coffee!

Photo courtesy of Jpatokal via wikipedia