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Mt. Diablo has been on our to-do list for quite some time now but it has taken a back seat to other easier hikes. Mostly because I think it’s a smidge too far (not true at all), in the land of the hot (uh, fact), a pretty steep climb (also a fact) and then there was that whole fire thing. Yeeaaah. The hiking cards were not in favor of Mt. Diablo.

Then a Weekend Sherpa email popped into my inbox and got me thinking it would be the perfect Labor Day weekend activity, especially with our trip to Chile coming up. We’ve really only done 3-4 mile steep hikes and we’re planning a long hike through Torres del Paine in a couple of weeks. This weekend was pretty much our only chance to fit a practice run in. Whoops.

Manfriend, Friend and I piled into a car and cruised on over to the East Bay on a surprisingly sunny Sunday morning. It was pretty hot to start so we knew we were in for a doozy of a hike. Four hours and approximately 3 liters of water later I began questioning my choices. We survived just fine, but everyone descended wearing their cranky pants. What can I say, four hours exposed to heat that we’re not used to on top of the climbs can make you angry. Do yourself a favor and try this in the winter, spring or fall.

Who:
I’d say avoid this if you aren’t used to/have never walked, run or hiked for an extended period of time. Also, those with questionable knees…the downhill may make your knees scream and I’d say there’s about a mile stretch of downhill with minimal relief.

What:
A moderate to difficult 6.5 mile hike. Significant uphill climbs and steep downhills. Limited shade.

When:
Anytime but summer. Unless you really like the heat.

Where:
This starts at the Mitchell Canyon Staging area in the town of Clayton. Note that there is a $6 fee at the entrance so have exact change and a pen handy.

How:
Pick up a few maps from the Visitor Center since the trails, although clearly marked, can get a bit confusing. The trailhead is near the entrance to the parking lot, to the right of the Visitor Center. You’ll see a sign. Follow Mitchell Canyon Road to Oak Road (hang a left where the split rail fence ends).

Continue on Oak Road through a steep and grassy (or in our case, brown) meadow and until you reach a post pointing you to the Eagle Peak Trail (to Mitchell Rock & Twin Peaks) on your right.

Follow the Eagle Peak Trail, maybe pause for a breather at Twin Peaks and enjoy the silence (we may have stopped for many breathers) before continuing on to Eagle Peak.

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There are tons of great views at Eagle Peak. Perch on a rock and soak it all up!

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Once you’re ready, continue along the Eagle Peak Trail to Murchio Gap. Just note that this is a pretty hairy stretch with a narrow trail surrounded by prickly bushes and branches. Holy clausterphobia!

Once you reach Murchio Gap, you’ll hang a left onto the Back Creek Trail. This is where your descent begins. The first part of it is somewhat shaded, but still a bit hot and if you thought the bush/branch ridden trail to Murchio Gap was rough, you may hate this section of the trail as well. It’s a bit clearer, but you can’t see much around you.

The descent is fast and a bit steep, so proceed with caution. It flattens out eventually, but not soon enough :(

At the intersection of Bruce Lee Road, start following signs back to the staging area. You’ll eventually come back along a LONG stretch of brown meadow(maybe it’ll be green again one day!) that makes you wonder why you did this hike in the first place.

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Don’t worry, it will end soon enough. You’ll see that glorious parking lot. I promise. In 2 miles.

Hydrate, pat yourself on the back and drive yourself into the town of Clayton to celebrate. We celebrated with ice cold beers at the Clayton Club Saloon

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I had a big banh mi craving and wanted to treat Manfriend to a beefy dinner after he was a trooper for a mega long, hot hike this weekend. I figured why not throw some beef into banh mi! This was (surprise!) my first go at skirt steak and I must say it was super easy and fast. Love it. 

I thought my banh mi creation would be great on my favorite Acme dinner rolls so that’s why I made these into 4 mini sandwiches. If you have larger rolls, you could cut the skirt steak in half and split it among two rolls.

I kinda winged the pickled radishes & carrots, so if you have a recipe you like, please use that instead.

Lemongrass Beef Banh Mi
1/2 lb skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
1/4 tsp fish sauce
pinch sugar
4 dinner rolls (I used Acme)
8 slices cucumber
shredded radish & carrot
onion, thinly sliced
sugar
rice wine vinegar
cilantro 

Combine garlic lemongrass, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp fish sauce in a resealable container. Place skirt steak in marinade and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

As meat marinates, mix rice wine vinegar and sugar (about a 2.1 ratio) in a small container. Stir in radish, carrot and onion and let pickle for at least 2 hours. 

Mix kewpie, fish sauce and a pinch of sugar in a small container and set aside.

Bring meat to room temperature and heat a grill pan on high. Cook beef for about 3 minutes on each side or until beef is medium rare. Toast bread halves on the same grill pan. 

Smear bread with mayo and top with beef, cucumber, pickles and cilantro. Serve immediately.



So I have this Friend who is a newbie in the kitchen. Like, super newbie. I felt like such a proud momma when she texted me to say she found this awesome avocado pasta dish online and made it all by herself…and even used a food processor (kitchen gadgets are not her jam)! It sounded like a meal right up my alley, so I asked her to share.

I went a little rogue (because that’s just what I do) with the sauce since I a) didn’t have any lemons on hand, b) had some leftover spinach/arugula mix and c) didn’t read the recipe thoroughly so I just assumed pine nuts were involved.

I threw in some browned chicken sausage bits because I was craving meat and made the mistake of using shirataki fettuccine as my pasta. Just don’t. I love shirataki noodles, but this was not the place for them. I forgot that avocado is suuuper creamy and that does not pair well with the mushy/chewy noodles. Toss this with a regular or thin spaghetti.

Also worth noting, I seasoned my sauce til it tasted just right and then when I tossed it with the noodles, I thought it needed more salt. Do yourself a favor and salt the sauce a smidge more than you think you need to. Remember, always taste along the way!

Avocado Pasta (inspired by Damn Delicious)
1 avocado, halved
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
15-20 large basil leaves
handful spinach/arugula mix
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c frozen sweet corn, defrosted
2 links chicken andouille sausage, chopped
long pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Place avocado halves, garlic, basil, greens and pine nuts in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Brown sausage in a large pan. Once sausage starts to crisp, reduce heat to low and add corn and tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add pasta and 3-4 heaping tablespoons (you can always add more!) of avocado puree and toss to coat. Serve immediately.



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I’ve been very into tomatoes this week. I’ll find myself snacking on some cute little orange and red grape tomatoes just because. I also get incredibly excited when I’m at the store and see some bright early girl tomatoes or even better, super ugly heirloom tomatoes. I just want them all! Is my body in need of lycopene??

Anyway, I came across a bruschetta salmon recipe a few weeks ago while searching for easy fish recipes for a friend and thought I’d give it a go. It seemed like an easy and refreshing dish to make!

I prefer my meals to be light, but still substantial so that’s why I threw in some beans. There was no need to make a crazy meal with polenta, pasta or some other heavy grain. The beans were neutral enough in flavor that they didn’t take away from the garlicky tomato mix AND they were perfect for balancing out the acidity. Victory!

Note: don’t get scared by the tomato mix I list here. We had a couple heirloom tomatoes from our last CSA box that needed to be used, so I chopped those up in addition to the early girls. Only have one type of tomato? Use that! Have a bunch of different ones? Chop them up and use them all. Variety is the spice of life!

Also, I cooked the salmon to what I think is perfection: medium rare(ish). Our fillets were still pink in the middle, but not cold and raw. PERFECT texture.

Bruschetta Salmon
2 salmon fillets
3 early girl tomatoes, chopped
2 medium heirlooms tomatos, chopped
1/4 c red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 c basil, chopped
salt
freshly ground pepper
garlic powder
greens, optional for serving

Toss tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, basil and beans in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Generously season salmon with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in a skillet and place salmon in pan, skin side down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until you can see about 1/3 of the salmon turn opaque (bottom and sides). This will vary depending on the size of your fillets. Gently flip salmon over.

Cook salmon for another 3-4 minutes on the other side, or until the whole fillet is opaque. Remove from heat and let rest in pan for a minute or two.

Place some greens on a plate and top with salmon. Scoop tomato mixture on top of salmon and serve.



I’ve been slacking in the kitchen lately. I think it might be due to lack of time and inspiration. I blame the fog.

We had some frozen shrimp on hand (currently the only frozen seafood I will purchase) and most of the ingredients for a simple weeknight pasta dish, so I went with something I haven’t made in ages. Shrimp Fra Diavolo. This wasn’t quite what I rememembered, but it was a nice quick and comforting meal for a foggy evening. I dialed back on the spice for Manfriend, but feel free to make this as spicy as you want by adjusting the crushed red pepper content.

We didn’t have a ton of shrimp on hand, but 12 seemed to be perfect for us plus a leftover meal. You could always do this with more (maybe smaller) OR toss in some other creatures of the sea…scallops, white fish, whatever your heart desires!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
12 large shrimp, peeled
1 14.5 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 c basil, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 lb thin spaghetti, cooked & drained

Toss shrimp in about 1 tbsp of the wine and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook quickly in a large pan until they start to turn pink. Remove and place in a bowl as you cook the sauce.

In the same pan, add olive oil and saute onion, roma tomatoes and garlic for 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper and white wine, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken up.

Stir in shrimp and half the basil and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve over pasta with remaining basil and parmesan cheese if desired.



It’s IPA Day! You know, another one of those ridiculous (probably made up) holidays that you sort of want to celebrate…like national hot dog day. I mean, I know I do.

What’s on your happy hour (or lunch, no judging) list for today? I want to track down a taste of the latest in Speakeasy’s Limited Series

I got a little teaser email about the Untouchable IPA and now I’m determined to find it. Yes, I know, I could just drag myself to the taproom, but ugh…SO FAR! Have any of you sampled this new brew? Thoughts? 



Am I one of the few people that doesn’t call green beans green beans? I grew up calling them string beans and as I was prepping dinner, I asked Manfriend what he called the green veggies he was snipping. Uhh, green beans? Me: Not string beans? MF: no. Me: Hm. Am I weird? MF: probably.

Call them what you will, either way, they are a crisp and delicious addition to any meal. I took the Asian route and served them sauteed over rice. I think they went well with the soft tofu and salty sauce.

Note: although it seems like there’s a whole lot of garlic happening in this dish, it’s not an overwhelmingly garlic taste.

Green Beans with Black Bean Garlic Sauce
2-3 c green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 block firm tofu, cubed
1/2 lb lean ground turkey
3 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbs mirin
1/4 c water or chicken broth
1/4 tsp chili garlic paste

Stir together black bean sauce, oyster sauce, water or broth and chili garlic paste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown turkey, breaking up large bits with the back of a spoon. Once turkey is no longer pink, add about half the sauce mixture and minced garlic. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Add green beans, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove cover, add tofu and remaining sauce. Stir to coat, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover pan, increase heat a bit, and continue cooking for another minute or so until the sauce starts to thicken up. Serve immediately over rice.



Squash and eggplant. We have it. In excess.

The last time I made panzanella, I used these great orange tomatoes that turned the bread a nice vibrant color. I picked up another pint of those and decided that we needed panzanella this week and I was determined to make it work with all the squash and eggplant.

This recipe is very hands off, so that’s why I consider it easy. The all the basil and garlic will make your kitchen smell like heaven and it’ll be tough to resist the urge to snack on this as you’re cooking.

If you can restrain yourself, let this sit for a few minutes before serving so the bread can soak up the dressing and any juices from the veggies. It’ll be worth it. I promise.

Roasted Veggie Panzanella
1/2 loaf crusty bread, cut into cubes (I used Semifreddi’s Sweet Batard)
2 summer squash, cut into half moons
3-4 small eggplants, cut into half moons
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp red onion, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c kalamata olives, halved
1/2 c basil, chiffonade
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting
2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Add red onion, tomatoes and basil to vinegar mixture, toss to coat and set aside.

Lightly toast your bread, just enough to dry it out (you don’t want croutons!) and place in a large bowl.

Toss squash and eggplant in a generous amount of olive oil and roast until soft and slightly browned. Add to bread bowl and lightly toss.

Add vinegar and tomato mixture to bread bowl and gently toss to coat. Fold in olives and season with salt and pepper to taste.



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This week’s CSA box was full of these super cute Hansel eggplants. As we all know, I have a love/hate relationship with eggplant. I love eating it, but I hate coming up with ways to use it. This is one of my fall back recipes since I know the flavors and textures work well with each other. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the eggplant and tofu soak up all the delicious sauce. Mmmmm. Serve this over white or brown rice.

Soy Braised Eggplant
3 small eggplants, cut into bite sized half circles
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 block firm tofu, cut into cubes
1/2 lb lean ground turkey
1 tsp dried Thai basil
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
pinch sugar
1/4 c water or chicken broth
1 scallion, thinly sliced
salt

Generously sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes (or up to 30, if you’re patient). Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Whisk together mirin, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Set aside.

Brown turkey in a medium pan. Once turkey is almost cooked through, remove from pan and set aside. Add tofu and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until tofu starts to brown a bit. Add eggplant and cook for another 3 minutes. Return turkey to the pan and pour in half the sauce mixture and thai basil. Stir to combine and reduce heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in water and remaining sauce. Cook for 3 minutes or until about half the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in scallions and cook for another minute. Serve immediately.



After a few failed dinner attempts last week, I decided to take it back to basics with a simple marinated and broiled chicken thigh, some roasted broccolini and these potatoes. I’ll admit, these potatoes were a bit of an experiment, but in the end I think they turned out pretty good. The potatoes and onions end up tasting just slightly sweet, which works well with the fragrant herbs de provence and black pepper. I’ll for sure be making these again, but I may try to get the potatoes a little crisper.

Skillet Herb Potatoes
3 yellow potatoes, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp herbs de provence
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tbsp water or chicken broth
coarsely ground pepper
salt to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet (cast iron would be perfect) and add potatoes. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbsp water or broth, stir and cover. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add onion, garlic powder and herbs de provence and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion begins to soften, stirring frequently. If pan gets too sticky, add water or chicken broth. Continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Sometimes I forget to go to the grocery store. This is how dinner goes down when that happens.

There was a chicken breast that had to be used. All we had was a box of angel hair pasta that was 3/4 full (wtf?). The only fresh veggies leftover from our CSA box were 1 summer squash, carrots and a ton of basil.

Woah.

I modified the recipe so you toss the sauce with the pasta because, let’s be honest. It’s just better all mixed up.

Garlicky Pasta with Summer Squash & Chicken
1/2 box spaghetti, cooked & drained
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 summer squash, cut into bite sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 anchovy fillets, minced
1/3 c basil leaves, chiffonade
1 can artichoke quarters, rinsed and drained
1/4 c low sodium chicken broth or water
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Toss chicken in a bag (or bowl) with some balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and a bit of olive oil. Let marinate for 5-10 minutes.

In a large skillet, brown chicken (about 3-5 minutes). Add squash and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding artichokes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and anchovy and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth or water and let cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in parmesan, basil and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until liquid starts to cook off a bit. Toss with pasta and serve.



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Ok. Have I told you that I’ve really been into halloumi recently? The slightly squeaky, salty, grilling cheese is my new dairy favorite. I’m just so fascinated by the fact that you can brown the cheese and it won’t get all goopy in the pan! Amazing!

I found this recipe while searching for happy hour bites and I was a little worried that it wouldn’t go over too well since, you know, salty cheese on sweet watermelon and all. Wrong-o. It’s a delicious combo!

I had to grill the halloumi in the morning and nuke it in the office microwave, so they ended up a little rubbery. This would be best if you served them with the halloumi still slightly warm and crisp from the pan.

Watermelon & Halloumi Bites w/Basil Mint Oil (from Spache the Spatula)
2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and freshly-cracked pepper
8 oz. halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2” steaks
cubed watermelon (The amount will depend on how many cubes you get out of your cheese. I just sliced my watermelon to fit my halloumi cubes.)
toothpicks

In a small resealable jar, combine the basil, mint, olive oil, garlic powder and some salt and pepper. Mash everything around a bit and then place in the fridge (I made mine the night before).

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and sear the halloumi steaks on each side for about 2 minutes, until golden.

Cut the halloumi into cubes (roughly the same size as your watermelon). Place a piece of halloumi on top of a watermelon cube and stab with a toothpick.

Bring herb oil to room temperature.

Arrange watermelon cubes on a platter and drizzle with the herb oil.



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This recipe was circulated among my foodie coworkers and I’ve been meaning to give it a try for several weeks now. I love cauliflower, mint AND peas!

I just so happened to have cauliflower and extra mint, so I figured why not make this a mid-week cooking experiment! I ended up turning the pea spread into more of a puree because I just don’t know how to say enough is enough when it comes to blenders and let me tell you, I would spread this puree on ANYTHING. It’s slightly sweet, just a teeny bit spicy and the best green sauce to hit my table since my Cilantro Lime Avocado Sauce

The cauliflower fritters left me feeling meh. I used regular flour because I saw no need to purchase special flour, especially since I’m a gluten gluten all the time gal. I made them and then wished they were made of corn and black beans. Oh well.

Cauliflower Fritters with Mint & Pea Puree (adapted from The Kitchn)
For the mint & pea puree:
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp greek yogurt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste

For the fritters:
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
2 scallions, chopped
cooking spray or oil for frying

Place peas, mint, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice, walnuts and crushed red pepper in a bowl and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in greek yogurt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown. Remove from oven, cool, chop and place in a large bowl.

Add flour to cauliflower and toss well to coat. Fold in eggs, parmesan and scallions.

Heat oil in a large skillet and scoop a heaping tablespoon of the fritter mixture into the skillet. Gently flatten the mixture and repeat, fitting as many fritters in as you can. Cook for a 2-3 minutes on each side before flipping. Serve with a scoop of the pea puree.



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Potato salad…

I have this weird thing about potato salad. I’m not into mayonnaise, but if a picnic potato salad is done properly (lots of oniony goodness) I will eat it like nobody’s business. I also question the mayo-based potato salad sitting out in the warm weather. Even if it’s just for a little bit. There’s just something not right about that.

This potato salad removes the heavy mayo element and replaces it with a bright lemon dill vinaigrette. The original recipe called for preserved lemon rinds, but I couldn’t track any down, so enter the lemon zest. I really enjoyed this garlicky, tangy (and easy to make!) potato salad and I hope you will too!

Lemon Dill Potato Salad (from Set the Table)
For the Vinaigrette:
zest of 1 1/2 lemons
3-4 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the potatoes:
2 lbs fingerling potatoes (or mini yukon golds), washed and cut into bite sized chunks
1 tablespoon salt

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, cover with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine. You can make the vinaigrette the night before so the flavors have some time to mingle.

To cook the potatoes, place them in a pot and fill with cold water so it covers the potatoes by 1 inch.

Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, add the salt, and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender.

Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the potatoes and toss gently to combine.

Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.



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OK. This was the most ambitious undertaking of my happy hour feast. For whatever reason, I really REALLY wanted to get all patriotic for this belated 4th of July BBQ themed happy hour and I found these AWESOME Jello flags online. I was a little nervous, but after reading the recipe over and over, I felt a little better about my project.

These were G-rated flags, but I’ve read that some folks have laced layers with some booze. I didn’t trust myself doing that since I have no idea how to successfully make Jello shots. With my luck, it would have resulted in a gross soupy mess.

I made these in two containers, one glass and one plastic tupperware, since I didn’t have one clear 9x13 pan. The plastic tupperware resulted in the best final product since the Jello practically fell out in one neat block.

American Flag Jello (from Sharon Johnson Photography)
4 (3 oz) packages strawberry Jello
3 (3 oz) packages berry blue Jello
4 packets of KNOX Gelatin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Lots of boiling water

Blue Jello:
3 packages berry blue Jello with 1 package KNOX and 3 cups boiling water. Mix until all is dissolved and then divide liquid among two plastic rectangle containers (I used the Ziploc medium rectangle, but the large will work as well). Set in refrigerator and let sit for 45-50 mins.

About 30 minutes into your blue Jello setting, prepare the strawberry Jello.

Strawberry Jello:
Mix 4 packages of strawberry Jello with 1 package of KNOX and 4 cups boiling water. Mix until all is dissolved. Set aside.

Because you’ll be using both red and white Jello over a long period of time, you’ll need to keep it slightly warm so it does not set. I filled a dutch oven with some warm water on the stove and placed my red and white Jello in measuring cups and pint glasses. I set those in the water and if the water got too cool, I just turned the stove on for a bit to heat things up again.

Remove your blue Jello from the fridge after it has set enough to not leave an imprint when you touch your finger to it. Get a sharp knife and run under hot water. Cut Horizontally across the pan, 1 inch strips. If you run your knife under hot water after each cut it cuts much more smoothly. Now….remove every other strip of jello.

Add 2 tbsp strawberry Jello to each empty strip. Carefully place dishes in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, or until the Jello passes the finger indent test.

As your first layer of red cools, prepare the white layer.

White Jello:
Mix 1/2 cup COLD water with 2 packets KNOX, let sit for 2 mins. In another bowl mix 1 cup BOILING water with your sweetened condensed milk. Then mix 1/2 cup BOILING water to your gelatin mix. Once Gelatin is all dissolved, mix with Milk Mixture. Set aside.

Add 2 tbsp of white Jello to each strip containing just red. (If this doesn’t bring it right up to the same level as the blue jello you can either add more white or place back in fridge and add another layer of red until it evens out.)

Once again, place in fridge until it passes the finger test. Once your jello is all the same level, add a layer of red Jello (I eyeballed it to make sure it looked about the same thickness as the other layers) and let set in fridge. Follow this with another layer of white Jello and let set in fridge. Continue until your Jello runs out!

Once the whole thing has set (I let it sit overnight), run a little warm water on the bottom of your dishes and invert on a cutting board. Slice flags and serve!