Better Than Aunt Bethany’s Cranberry Lime Jelly Salad

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I’m obsessed with Christmas and Holiday movies.  I love them and I watch them religiously every year.  I have them on DVD but I also watch them on TV when they come on.  There’s just something about them that makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me happy. I can find something to love about any Christmas movie, no matter how bad or cheesy it is.

In no particular order, my top 5 favorite Christmas movies of all time…

Home Alone (The Original)
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since Home Alone first came out on the big screen.  In that time I’ve gotten old, but the antics of one little 8 year old boy have not. Everything about this movie makes me happy.  From the aftershave scene, to the cheese pizza and machine gun fire, to the musical scores. A John Hughes classic!

Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase really makes this movie.  He’s funny, neurotic, and easy to relate to all at once. I mean, haven’t we all had Christmas vacations like this one?  Crazy relatives, terrible food, and more disasters than we care to remember? Things like the holiday lights that refuse to light up, the squirrel in the Christmas tree, and of course Aunt Bethany’s jello salad which is topped with some very special kitty litter. I mean, who can’t relate to that?

A Christmas Story
The story begins with Ralphie’s quest for what every 9 year old boy in the 1940’s wanted for Christmas – A Red Rider BB Gun! This movie takes you on the journey one family’s hilarious Christmas! It’s chock full of memorable scenes like the bunny costume, the Santa slide, tongues sticking to frozen poles, and the Chinese singing waiters.  There are so many memorable lines in this movie that when you say them, everyone automatically knows what you’re talking about.

“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”
“I can’t put my arms down!”
“The Queen Mother of dirty words. The F – dash – dash – dash word!”
“I triple dog dare ya!”

It’s probably the funniest Christmas movie ever made! EVER!  If you’ve never seen it, then I have to wonder what rock you’re living under.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Live version)
Although the original animated version is still a delight to watch during the holidays, Jim Carrey’s version is so much more entertaining.  His rendition of Dr. Suess’ classic character is funny and is quite amazing to watch.  His mannerisms, facial expressions, and body movements in the costume will take you to Whoville and you won’t want to leave. Everything in this movie, from the actors, sets, costumes and make-up, is outstanding.

The Family Stone
The Family Stone is a movie about family, fitting in, struggles, relationships, sadness and joy.  It makes me cry every single time I watch it.  The cast of characters each have their own problems and personalities, and when they gather for Christmas every emotion from happiness to anger to sadness is explored. Characters played by such talent as Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Craig T. Nelson make this movie an all time favorite holiday flick.

Of course there are others – The Holiday, Love Actually, Serendipity, and these are also fantastic.  But the ones above are definitely my top 5.  What are yours?

Growing up, I remember always having jello salad around the holidays.  It was made in a bundt pan mold and sometimes it would have fruit, sometimes it would have veggies (yes, veggies), and I remember one version that was made with cinnamon hearts.  But somewhere along the way, the tradition of having jello salad got lost.  I’m not necessarily saying that it’s a bad thing or a good thing, but I think there are more “current” ways to serve jello that both children and adults will love.

So in honor of Aunt Bethany, I bring you cranberry lime jelly salad in shooter glasses.  These are the perfect size treat for an appetizer, or attach a name card to the glass and use them as an edible place marker.  Either way, they are delicious, easy, and will allow you the extra time to spend visiting with loved ones instead of slaving away in the kitchen.

Cranberry Lime Jelly Salad
makes enough for 12 shooter glasses

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 1 box (85 g) lime jelly powder
  • 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • water

Directions

In a small saucepan combine cranberries, sugar, zest and juice from one orange, and 1/4 cup water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until cranberries begin to soften and pop.  Once cranberries are slightly softened, use a potato masher to mash cranberries slightly and release the inner juices.  Let mixture come to a low boil and it will thicken as it cooks.  Once thickened, remove from heat and push cranberry mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any skins and zest. Let cool.  Once cool, pour cranberry mixture into a disposable plastic pastry or Ziploc bag.

Prepare jelly powder according to package directions.  Refrigerate until jelly is just beginning to set (about 20 – 30 minutes).

Prepare shooter glasses. Cut the end off your pastry or Ziploc bag and squirt a small amount, about 1 tablespoon, of cranberry  mixture into the bottom of each shooter glass.  When jelly is just starting to set, pour about 2 tablespoons into each glass.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes.  Add another cranberry layer and refrigerate for another 5 minutes.  Add another jelly layer and refrigerate until completely set.

To make a small amount of whipped cream and not have to drag out the mixer, simply add 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream to a small mixing bowl.  Use a wire whisk and continuously beat the whipping cream until thickened.  Depending on your whipping arm and speed, this could take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Top each glass with a small amount of whipped cream using a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with the corner cut off.

Serve each cranberry and lime jelly salad shooter glass with a mini spoon tied with matching holiday ribbon.  Mini spoons are available at many online retailers and can be made from bamboo, wood, or plastic.

This recipe would be equally delicious with orange or lemon jelly powder as well.  Just leave off the kitty litter!

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