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ERIN SULLEY: You had me at Jell-O

Jell-O and yogurt – who knew it could taste so good? This is my new favourite dessert. – Paul Pickett photo
Jell-O and yogurt – who knew it could taste so good? This is my new favourite dessert. – Paul Pickett photo - Contributed

If the girls at work rave about it, you know it has to be fit to eat.

A few weeks ago, Brenda, my colleague, came into the office with a Jell-O and yogurt concoction called fluff. It was something she made for her adorable grandson, Zachery. Turns out this dessert is great for young and old alike.

 

 

The only difference from the regular recipe for Jell-O is the addition of one cup of Greek yogurt.
The only difference from the regular recipe for Jell-O is the addition of one cup of Greek yogurt.
“You had me at Jell-O.” – Unknown
Aww. Nostalgia. Jell-O at Grandma’s house brings back so many great memories. She usually had a bowl or two in the fridge. My mom says Jell-O was a standard growing up. There was Jell-O with cream or ice cream. Jell-O set with a tin of fruit cocktail.
The queen of Jell-O salad was my great-grandmother. Oh my goodness, what she didn’t put in her Jell-O? Nanny Maher was known for her quirky food combinations.
She was a young wife and mother during The Great Depression. No one had much, and what you did have you certainly didn’t waste. Nothing was thrown out. This habit followed her throughout her life.

 

Mix the yogurt in until all the clumps are gone and set in the fridge overnight.
Mix the yogurt in until all the clumps are gone and set in the fridge overnight.
If you opened her fridge, it was filled with Nanny’s bowls of leftovers: a dozen peas, corn kernels, shredded carrot, celery, half an apple, grapes, bananas or orange – anything went.
Nanny lived with our grandparents. When visiting as a kid, you’d open the fridge and voila, there it was — Nanny Maher’s Jell-O salad straight ahead. It was hard to miss. I can’t lie, I could never stomach it. She would typically use lime or lemon Jell-O with a touch of vinegar for savory and strawberry or raspberry with fruit for a sweet flavour. Nanny would take all the bits and bobs from her containers and mixed them into the Jell-O. Everything went. It was either made in a bowl or a mould for fancier occasions.
May her beautiful and hilarious soul rest in peace. Nanny was the best. She broke the mould after her birth — she was unique.  

 

 

Portioning it out into individual servings makes it easy for a grab and go treat.
Portioning it out into individual servings makes it easy for a grab and go treat.
“No more Jell-O jokes please. They’re off-pudding.” – Unknown
Jell-O tastes good but it can taste great depending on the ingredient combos. There’s lots of great Jell-O recipes online like Strawberry Fluff Jell-O Salad made with Jell-O, vanilla pudding, Cool-Whip, mini marshmallows and fresh strawberries. There’s fun holiday-themed recipes like a Lime Jell-O Marshmallow Holiday Mould. This calls for lime Jell-O, maraschino cherries, cream cheese, walnuts, crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows and coconut. When unmoulded and plated it looks just like a Christmas wreath. Let’s not forget Jell-O Fruit Cocktail. A light tasting summer treat. You’ll require Jell-O, a can of fruit cocktail, whipped cream and maraschino cherries for garnish. The ideas and combinations are endless.
Jell-O has been around for over 120 years and people are still inventing new recipes.

My generation used it for Jell-O shots. That’s a story for another time.
Brenda’s recipe for Fluff Jell-O is a new one for me. It’s simple, has a rich flavour and tastes absolutely delicious. Not everyone loves the texture of Jell-O – this is different. It’s creamy and smooth.
How to make Brenda’s fluff recipe? Follow the regular instructions for Jell-O. The difference, you’re going to add one cup of boiling water, one cup of cold water and one cup of Greek yogurt. If you’re making it for a number of people, double the recipe.
It’s extremely versatile. I made two separate batches: one strawberry and one raspberry. I portioned them out for different uses. You’ll see from the pictures. I put some in small individual lunch containers for work and individual serving bowls topped with fruit for garnish for an after supper treat at home.

 

Berries on top for a garish gives it a fancy look for dinner guests.
Berries on top for a garish gives it a fancy look for dinner guests.
Jell-O looks great when plated on a clear or glass dish. Especially if you’re mixing in other ingredients. It’s colourful and adds a great look at the dinner table.
Marion, another colleague and lifetime Weight Watchers member, informed me that one individual portion counts as one point. One point doesn’t mean you can have five portions, though. It takes willpower. Lots of willpower. You know, that thing that evades me when it comes to food. (Insert sad face.)
Unless you use sugar-free ingredients. Then there’s zero points. (Insert happy face.)
By adding ingredients and serving your Jell-O on a clear dish, you’re essentially giving it an upgrade. Garnish gives it a touch of elegance. Try it out, I bet your tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised and thank you.

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.comTwitter: @ErinSulley Instagram: @erinsulley


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