Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Starbucks Gingerbread Coffee plus Summer Jello Ideas

Hello, everybody! I'm baaaaaaaack with a post that is less "recipe" and more "life instructional". All of the goodies here today aren't anything difficult but boy-oh-boy can they make your life a little bit sweeter.
First of all, Starbucks gingerbread latte mix. My friend Mindy brought this over. She found the recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it out. (I love when my friends try out recipes and then bring me the results. I didn't even WORK for this!) 

1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
(This is what we're trying to recreate. Can you smell it??)

So, you mix it all together in a large container. Large because it will start to rise a la those old volcano science fair projects!
 You can keep it on the counter, or in the fridge. It will separate, but just stir it back together. Add to a latte to make your very own home made Starbucks gingerbread latte! This weekend I was battle the WORLD'S WORST HEAD COLD. So, I was trying to stay hydrated, sipping hot drinks to soothe my throat and doing my best not to hack on anybody. I even tried a spoonful of this in steamed milk. Ohhhhhh, yummy. 

Passing along this sort of recipe gets you nice Christmas presents. Just sayin', my friends!
Now, usually I'm Sally Hawkins playing Anne Elliott in Persuasion (2007) but for the past month I've been working on a young adult project/ course with Franny Billingsley. I've had to put away my regency things and...
pretend I was high on a mountain top in Japan, surrounded by macaques. (That's me on the left. Looking tired.) You can watch these funny guys on a live web cam here. Seriously, click the link. It's a hoot. When I'm up late writing, I like to click on the live cam an watch the macaques hang out in their natural hot tub. (Who says writers are boring, eh??)

The Kuromon Gate of Mt. Atago, where my story is set. 
Anyway, that deadline was Monday and I felt the need to celebrate everything (I hope) I've learned.  Things like a believable plot, characters with hidden agendas (even from themselves) and world-building beyond a few houses or naming a state. 
 I really wanted to make some Mexican jello, like this tutorial in ourbestbites but didn't have an condensed milk or plain gelatin.
So, I decided to make something more like this. 
 But I really did want to make some kind of jello treat so I decided to try something I saw on Pinterest. Cue the fail music, right? No, I was determined to make something pretty AND tasty.
 Now, I'm sure this post will have something that someone is allergic to, or is swearing off, or can't have right now. So, enjoy some fresh fruit while you read. Here, raspberries! They're not in season, though and taste a bit... bland.
 The blueberries are better. Not as good as the blueberries we get from the blueberry farm but these were close enough that we all started reminiscing about our time at the blueberry farm. WE CAN'T WAIT!!

 Strawberries. Freshly washed, ready to be chopped. The little guys were eating them out of hand, but I convinced them to save a few.
 Ok, the first Pinterest recipe had strawberries, blueberries and whipped topping in a pretty little display. I tried it. This is what I got. On of my kids said it looked like a fruit crab with eye stalks. Hmmm... Now it's looking at me.
 Ana was afraid all the fruit would be used in something that would be, in the en, inedible, so she tossed some in a bowl. The blackberries were just sweet enough that we decided we MUST make an effort this year to pick enough to freeze. We always say we will, but then it's 105F and nobody wants to stand out in the hot son, fighting off the wasps, and pricking their fingers.
 I tried another recipe I saw on Pinterest. Blue jello, red strawberries. Looks okay.
 I let it sit for a while. And then I added red jello.
 Ok, apparently it wasn't set enough. I decided that was another "fail". Nobody even wanted to eat it. Out it went.
 Third time's the charm!! Blue jello in jam jars and THIS TIME I waited an hour or two for them to set. (See? That's why the post is late. I has nothing to do with the fact I forgot I was here in the cafe today. :)
 After it's set (like, really, really set) cover with whipped topping and put strawberries or raspberries on top.

You can even turn them sideways and pretend it's for Bastille Day! 
No? Oh, okay...

I hope you find something to give your day a little bit of fun this week and let me know if you've found a great, fool-proof recipe lately!


  1. Man, you guys are messing with my head. I used to be able to count on what day of the week it was by who was hosting and the café. Now I'm all kafuddled. Today I am left with one burning question: What does blue jello taste like? and does it leave your tongue and teeth blue?

  2. Haha! I went from Wednesdays for two years and the occasional weekend temporarily, to weekends full time and the occasional Tuesday temporarily. I'm completely and totally lost. (I admit, that wasn't hard to do. Most days I don't know whether I'm coming or going.)

    As for the jello, I don't know! It says "blue raspberry", whatever that is. We're saving them for tomorrow.

    But ever since my kids read the Percy Jackson series, they're big fans of any food that is blue. :) It's a little game we play, looking for blue food. It's harder than you might think!

  3. I love the jello cups!! Very pretty. I've made something similar on the 4th of July.

    I'm really interested in trying the latte mix! But it sounds so odd to put baking soda in it! I wonder what it does?

    1. You know, I wondered the same thing! I think it adds a bit if salt flavor and keeps it from crystallizing, while also making it fluffy. That's my guess!

  4. I'm so glad the jello jars worked!

    Not that the previous Pinterest tries wouldn't have tasted good, but, well.... As my husband says, looks are everything when it comes to food. I'm not sure I agree with his statement - if it has chocolate in it, looks aren't as important ;)

    Congratulations on meeting your Monday deadline! And I love the macaques!

    1. Lol! I know!! Brown jello with chunks? Mmmmmm.... and I was inordinately pleased with my little jello jars. I should have tried those ages ago. I mean, how cute and easy??

    2. I love the layered Jello jam jars!!!! Bethy has taken it upon herself to carry on our tradition (started by Dave's mom) of layered Jellos for holidays and celebrations. The kids love 'em, but the one who really thinks it's special is her big brother Matt... because every holiday as a little boy, he looked forward to Grandma's layered Jello, so bright and pretty and sparkly in her fanciest glasses! Virginia my friend, these are worthy of that kind of memory. Delightful!!!! Thanks for sharing them!

  5. Kav, I'll be mixed up this entire week because of our Monday holiday, so I had no idea it was Virginia over here, either... but the minute I saw those pics, I thought FRESH PIONEER... emphasis on "fresh", LOL!

  6. I'm in for both treats. Thank you, thank you!!!

    1. Let me know how the syrup works out! I'm scared to try it. Or lazy. I might just be lazy.

  7. oh man I wanna make that mexican jello! that looks so cool! not sure I can devote 16 hrs to it though - nor do I have fridge space LOL..one of these days. would be cool to show up at a quilt thingy with than dish!

    1. Ok, I'm actually going to try this! I have some Tupperware that stacks and I think if I use the tupperare and stack them all on one side of the fridge, it might work!

    2. I'm seriously thinking of trying it too LOL - it looks soooo cool!

  8. I blame the baking soda for the latte mix that grows a la science experiment volcano style. I put it in a pint jar and there was Tons of room so I thought I'd double it and have lots on hand. BIG mistake. I almost had it all over my kitchen counter before I went back and caught it. Moved it to a quart jar just in time! At least Virginia gets to enjoy a bit of my goofs once in awhile.


    1. A delicious goof, for sure! It's all gone now and I need to make more. :( I shared with my friend Stacey when she came by and she loved it!

  9. I love this post, Virginia. So festive. And I LOVE the jello in the jelly jars. Jello is one of those things that really does deserve to be shown off, so what better way than clear glass.

    You always have such vibrant posts. Love all the pix. Thanks. ;)

    1. Vibrant and... not always pretty. I'm still shaking my head over that brown goop with strawberries. but aren't those little pint jars so cute?? Why did I wait so long to try this?? Oh, right... I saw it on Pinterest and I've been burned too many times. :D