Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello & Blendtec Giveaway!

You know why I love jello salad? Because you can legitimately serve dessert as a side dish with dinner and nobody bats an eye. Aunt Beatrice signed up to bring a nice green salad for Easter, but shows up with jello salad instead? It’s aaaall good.  Salad is salad people. Don’t question it.
Eric didn’t like jello as a kid (he has since mended his ways). His grandmother always brought a special jello recipe to family events and would get so offended when he didn’t eat it. She was always trying to convince Eric’s mom to force him to eat it, as if it were something actually nutritious instead of straight up sugar and fruit.

My sister-in-law Sandi has made this jello for multiple events over the past year, and every time I end up back in her fridge eating it with a spoon after the party is over. It was her idea to blend it all up. I love how creamy it is. I am all about fruit in jello, and this one certainly has it, but without the inconvenience of chewing. (It’s like the smoothie of jellos. You could even add some spinach to make it healthy. Oh my gosh I’m just kidding.)

Don’t even worry about the sour cream. It makes it creamy and even adds a nice little tang.

This Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello is a good option for Easter. It’s super easy, and make-ahead to boot. It may not be gourmet, but you know what, I don’t think anyone will complain once they taste it. Jello is a classic, embrace it!
Guess what guys!I’m helping host a giveaway this week! My friend Chelsea from Chelsea’s Messy Apron put together this giveaeay for a Designer Series Blendtec and Twister Jar. (The Twister Jar is handy for when you want to do heavy duty stuff, like nut butter.) Check it:

Blendtec Giveaway

Check out the other fabulous bloggers participating in this giveaway:

Jen at Yummy Healthy Easy
Jenn at Deliciously Sprinkled
Roxana at Roxana’s Home Baking
Gloria at Simply Gloria
Mandy at Mandy’s Recipe Box
Sarah at High Heels and Grills
Melanie at Melanie Makes
Kathi at Deliciously Yum
Jennie at The Messy Baker Blog
Krista at Joyful Healthy Eats
Kate at Diethood
Jamie at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Cathy at Lemon Tree Dwelling
Beth at The First Year Blog
Andi at The Weary Chef
Chelsea at Chelsea’s Messy Apron

All you have to do is sign up below and you could win! Woo! If you win you could make this jello in a jiffy. Or a thousand smoothies. Or make your own hummus. A million possibilities! Good luck!

P.S. Happy Easter to everyone! Here’s to remembering the reason for the season. I will be remembering with my family this Sunday that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and Because of Him we can be redeemed. I hope everyone, religious or not, can enjoy this season of joy, family, and rebirth.


Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello

Yield: Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 1 (6-oz) package Strawberry jello
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 24 ounces frozen strawberries, whole or sliced
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups (16-oz) sour cream, light or regular
  • fresh strawberries, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Empty the jello package into a large bowl. Carefully pour the boiling water over the top, then stir until the jello is dissolved.
  2. Add the frozen strawberries and stir until mostly thawed. Pour this mixture into a large blender.
  3. In a small bowl, roughly mash together the banana and lemon juice. Add this to the blender.
  4. Add the 2 cups of sour cream. Blend for about 30 seconds, some lumps are okay.
  5. Prepare a jello mold or a 10-12 cup bundt pan with nonstick spray. (Or just use a pretty bowl, no need to spray).
  6. Pour the jello into the prepared pan, cover tightly, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until completely chilled.
  7. To invert the jello, place a plate over the mold and flip. If the jello doesn't come out, fill a large bowl with hot water and hold the bottom of the mold in the water for no more than 1-3 seconds, then invert again. (This will help melt the outer edge, releasing the jello.)
  8. Serve the jello with fresh strawberries.

Notes

The frozen strawberry amount doesn't have to be exact. If your store sells 10 ounce packages, then buy 2 and call it good.

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2014/04/18/creamy-strawberry-banana-jello-blendtec-giveaway/

Source: slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello Jellooooooo! You know you want this.

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello Add the boiling water and stir it up.

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello

Don’t worry about mashing the bananas too much, you just want to make sure to get the lemon juice all over it.

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello Dump it all in a blender (No this is not a Blendtec! I wish!)

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello

And give it a whirl.

Creamy Strawberry Banana Jello If the jello won’t come out,  hold the mold in a large bowl of hot water for a couple seconds. Should do the trick.

Check out this other jello I posted a while back: Coca Cola Jello Salad with Cherries

Coca-Cola Jello Salad with Cherries

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Guys. I went running this morning and I DID NOT STOP ONCE.

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Okay. So maybe it was a measly mile-and-a-half jaunt around my neighborhood. Baby steps people.

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

If you are one of those running nuts (yes, you are a nut) then shut up that inner monologue you’ve got going on right now. (“That’s a warm-up for me, before the real work begins.” “A mile-and-a-half? I could do that backwards in under 4 minutes.”) Shut it, I say! That’s MY thunder you’re stealing! Give it back!!

(I’m lookin’ at you Nathan. My brother ran a freaking Ironman a few years ago. 140.6 miles. Why do my family members have to be ridiculously awesome? I’m so cool when I’m not around them.)

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Running in the morning, no matter how far I don’t go, does wonders for the rest of my day. I feel energized and productive before I’ve even done anything. And if I do get in a slump, I can just be like, wait a second, I ran this morning, I’m not some lame-o stay at home mom youtubing yet another Happy video tribute while stuffing my face with dip. Ima go do stuff.

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

At least it was healthy dip. Lookie! Lentils! Tomatoes! Basil! This Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip is sooooo good you guys. I told you I’ve been on a lentil kick lately, I wasn’t lying. My friend served the original version of this dip at our book club a while back and I fell in love. It’s from Trader Joe’s: just a package of their steamed lentils, a tub of pre-made bruschetta topping, and a tub of feta. Thaaaaaat’s it.

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

I created my own homemade version. I like the original, but this recipe has balsamic vinegar in it, so yeah, win. I think it’s a lot more flavorful. Their pre-made bruschetta is really good, but you just can’t beat fresh basil sometimes. I tried this 2 ways: once cooking the lentils myself and the next time I used the pre-packaged steamed lentils:

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

It works either way. If you live near Trader Joe’s, save yourself a step. If not, just make your own. No big deal. It will be prettier if you use the steamed lentils because they stay firmer, but it doesn’t make that huge of a difference.  You can serve this with any kind of cracker. Pitas would be good. I’ve even seen people do sliced cucumber, which would make it super low carb.

Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

This is a great make-ahead appetizer, because the longer it sits, the more flavorful it becomes. It would be a fresh and easy choice for Easter this weekend. What are you guys making? If you need a ham recipe, make this Raspberry Chipotle Glazed Ham. (Don’t be scared by my horrendous photos. That recipe’s legit.)

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Fresh Bruschetta and Lentil Dip

Yield: Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 8 oz uncooked lentils, OR a 1 lb package steamed lentils
  • 5 or 6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • (plenty of) pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups crumbled feta
  • crackers or veggies for dipping

Instructions

  1. If you are cooking your own lentils, rinse and drain them in a colander. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil and add the lentils. Boil, covered, until tender but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Dice the tomatoes and add them to a large bowl, keeping as much of the juice as you can. Chop the basil leaves and mince the garlic and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and basil. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the cooled (or pre-packaged) lentils and feta and stir again.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.
  5. Serve with crackers, pitas, on toasted baguettes, or with sliced cucumbers.

Notes

You can leave out the dried basil if you want, just add more fresh. I eat this stuff with a spoon, so you can totally make this a side dish if you want.

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2014/04/16/fresh-bruschetta-lentil-dip/

Source: The Food Charlatan (inspired by Trader Joe’s)

Greek Lentil Tacos with Cucumber Pico de Gallo

Here’s how I chop tomatoes tiny-like.

If you’re feeling extra dippy:

Cheddar Cheese Curry Dip from Tastes Lovely

Hot Pizza Dip (yours truly)

Caramelized Onion Dip from Simply Recipes

Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip from Wonky Wonderful

Avocado Dip from Lovely Little Kitchen

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Do you ever misspell a word so many times that even when you get it right it looks wrong?

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Parfat. Parfaight. Parfaite. Parfaaaaaaaaay. Spellcheck and Google are both reassuring me that parfait is correct but I can’t trust anyone anymore. They’re ALL WRONG.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

I’m pretty sure this is a French word, always a dangerous road when it comes to spelling. Like charlatan, for example. The first time I thought to name my blog The Food Charlatan I googled how to spell ‘charlatan’ first. (Who would have guessed that “a” is the only vowel?) When I’m talking to people In Real Life and they want to know how to find my blog I say, first google charlatan, then google food charlatan. Prooooobably I should get some business cards.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Eric was so sad that I finished off the last of this parfait without him that he left for the store to buy more ingredients for it within minutes of learning that I was a bad sharer. That’s how good it is. I didn’t even mind making it again because it requires like zero effort. (Also, we had leftover toppings. It’s easy to run into the too-much-milk-now-I-need-more-cereal problem with this dessert.)

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Guess what that cheesecake layer is you guys: Cream cheese. Sweetened condensed milk. Vanilla.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

That’s it.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

This is an original Pioneer Woman recipe. Oh Ree, we all bow down to your awesomefullness. I got the DIY idea from Heather over at Heather’s Dish. She posted this for our Gallentine’s Day Party back in February. I loved the idea so much that I used it that very weekend for Charlotte’s 3rd birthday party. I had no plans to post it on the blog, but EVERYONE at the party was raving about it and 2 people texted me that week for the recipe because they were already planning on using it to entertain.

As far as party food goes, this recipe is preeeeeetty tough to beat. 100% make ahead-able? Check. Adaptable to different tastes and audiences? Check. Easy to serve? It’s self-serve. Check. 1000% delicious? Triple check.

The cheesecake layer is basic and can be paired with just about anything. I used cherry pie filling, strawberries, blueberries (with lemon zest!) aaaaaaaand

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

some Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels. Of course. Because I’m obsessed.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Don’t doubt me. It was awesome. #sorrynotsorry

I had fun brainstorming some other flavors you could use. Apple pie filling with caramel and crumble topping. Oreo and chocolate syrup.  Peanut butter and Snickers.  Roasted bananas and butterscotch sauce. Raspberry pistachio. Peppermint ganache. Any kind of cheesecake you could potentially make, you could add the flavors to this. Except it’s waaaay easier and you don’t have to worry about your baked cheesecake getting a fault-line down the middle.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

I think this No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar would be an awesome dessert to serve at an Easter gathering. Light, fresh, and portable, so that you can carry it with you while you are sneaking your kids Easter candy helping them search for eggs.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese or neufchâtel, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla, or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Your choice of toppings: pie filling, fresh fruit, lemon zest, chopped up brownies, chocolate chips, caramel sauce, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until completely smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla (or vanilla bean paste) and combine thoroughly, scraping the sides.
  3. Transfer to a pretty bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled 2-3 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium bowl. Add the graham cracker crumbs (they don't have to be perfectly crushed) and mix it up.
  5. Divide toppings among separate bowls.
  6. Let people serve themselves! Party on.

Notes

These are great served in clear 8-ounce plastic cups. Still pretty but no cleanup!

I like the butter in the graham cracker crumbs, but you can totally leave it out and it will still taste great.

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2014/04/11/no-bake-cheesecake-parfait-bar/

Source: Very lightly changed from The Pioneer Woman‘s original recipe, DIY idea from Heather’s Dish

Wait!! I forgot to talk about the vanilla bean paste!

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar You can totally use regular vanilla in this recipe. It will taste great. But it will taste AMAZING if you use vanilla bean paste. I asked for it for Christmas and got this huge giant bottle. I swear I use it like every other day.

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar

Look at those vanilla specks. I. love. it. Buy it here. <<That’s an affiliate link. Because you love supporting this charlatan right?

No Bake Cheesecake Parfait Bar