Sunday, April 27, 2014

Two Posts in One: Julie and Ivy's Jello Eggs, Planet Bars and Ice Cream Eagles!

So I know I've been pretty absent around here, and once again, I'm really sorry about that. Life has just been kind of crazy the last few weeks and I haven't had as much time as I'd like to to devote to the blog, even if I have been puttering around in the kitchen! I had a lot of plans that kind of needed to get scrapped - something for Passover, a fun sounding Kirsten themed recipe... - but I did manage to get it together enough to do something for Easter and Earth Day, and I finally found the motivation to sit down and write about what we did.

Long story short, this post is going to be a two in one! Featuring Jello Eggs for Easter...

A childhood favorite addition to our Easter menu.

And two recipes from Julie's Cooking Studio: Planet Bars and Ice Cream Eagles!

So without further ado, it's get started!

Easter is not usually one of my favorite holidays. I think that's mostly because I'm not a huge fan of many of the traditional Easter foods, and since holidays are at least 60% about food (... or family), that's always ranked Easter sort of low on the list.

But one of the things I definitely remember loving as a kid were Jello Eggs! My mom has these cool Jello molds that snap together to make an egg shape, and I was excited to break them out this year to revisit the old tradition.

Jell-O was first trademarked in 1897, but remained kind of a niche product until the advent of refrigeration. Originally, a lot of the flavors marketed were savory and intended to be a component of salads, which probably sounds kind of horrifying to most modern audiences. Eventually, the product started to become more specifically a dessert. Jell-O was actually starting to lag in popularity during the 70's, but they're a dessert lots of people associate with the time period, probably because Bill Cosby became the company's spoke person during a revamp of their marketing in 1974. Right now, you can enjoy Julie's Jell-O Smiles if you go to an AG Place for tea (they're Jell-O jigglers in an orange rind) and Julie's Cooking Studio includes a recipe for making Jell-O jigglers.

The eggs are very easy to make if you've got the molds - you follow the cooking instructions for Jell-O jigglers on the side of any box of any flavor of jello, and pour the liquid into your mold. Each mold I have can make six eggs, and one packet of Jell-O makes about three eggs.

I think I have a better appreciation for why this tradition has been somewhat discontinued: it's sort of a pain to make them even though the recipe's easy, especially if you're making more than one color egg! The worst part by far was trying to get them out of the molds. I sprayed them down with cooking spray and we soaked them in warm water to help loosen them up, but it still took a lot of effort to wrestle them out of the molds, and a few didn't exactly survive the process in one piece.

Overall though, it was a fun tradition to revisit, and I'm glad I thought to do it!

Next up was Earth Day! Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, although the first official celebration took place on March 21, 1970. A month later, they held a separate Earth Day, and over the years it's become a secular holiday celebrated by dozens of countries across the globe. Founded as a day to celebrate the Earth and find ways to better protect it, people have used April 22 as a day to boost recycling programs, conserve energy and generally raise awareness about environmentalism and the overall health of our planet.

Julie's Cooking Studio features party ideas for Earth Day celebrations, and includes recipes for two treats I thought sounded too fun to pass up: ice cream eagles and planet bars, so named because they include an ingredient from several different places on Earth.

They're a very easy cookie to make, although mashing all of the ingredients together took a bit of muscle. I don't know if my dough was being particularly uncooperative or what, but getting the sugar, oats, flour, butter and egg together took a bit of time.

The other ingredients suggested by the recipe are dried pineapple, brazil nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut. The important thing is that you wind up with a cup total of the ingredients, so you could add as much coconut or chocolate chips as you want while toning down the nuts, or swapping them out entirely for a different ingredient. It's a nice, flexible recipe that way.

This gets mashed down into a pan and left to cook in the oven at 350 for about twenty minutes. They puff up a bit in the oven, but are a pretty flat, gooey cookie even when well cooked.

The ice cream eagles are super easy to make, and are incredibly cute. Just take a scoop of vanilla ice cream, coat it in coconut, add a cashew and chocolate chips (or black gel icing, which is what the recipe actually calls for) for its beak and eyes, and you've got an adorable little ice cream dessert to go with your planet bars, which for the record, are delicious. I brought them in to work, and several of my coworkers came back for thirds!

Both of these recipes were super easy to make and definitely something you can throw together for any Earth Day celebrations you might be planning in the future. I always have a hard time eating things that look like critters though - they're so cute, I feel bad gobbling them up - but this was a cute spin on a treat I've always enjoyed eating, so it was a lot of fun.

And that's a wrap! Thanks for your patience guys, and I'm sorry again for being gone for so long. Never fear, we've still got a lot of fun stuff planned in coming weeks - I just need to get my act together and actually do them!

Hope you guys have been having a good spring!


  1. Welcome Back! We missed you! It's understandable how life can get in the way of our best laid plans. I enjoyed your post and loved your pictures. Hope you get back in the kitchen again soon.

    1. Thanks for being patient with me! Hopefully this month will be a little less chaotic!