living our sweet midwest life

From “too much social talking” to podcast host.

Welcome to Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens podcast, a show for people who embrace the warm and cozy spirit of everyday living in the Midwest. Whether you cook, bake, or have food delivery on speed dial, everyone has a comforting recipe or story to share. We bake cookies for our kids’ hockey teams and bring cheesy hash browns to funerals. Lefse and krumkake are in our DNA. Candy bars and apples make a salad. We’ll ditch work for a lake day, drive an hour for an old-fashioned bakery, and don wool mittens at -20°F and shorts once it’s 50°F. 

Hosting a Ranch Cracker Snack Mix and Cookie Exchange with Carissa Trygstad and Val Ellens Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens

Rural South Dakota friends since kindergarten and K-mart co-workers in high school, Carissa Trygstad and Val Ellens have a bond that even Val’s dense molasses cookies can’t break.  They’re joining me today because I heard that Carissa hosts an annual ranch cracker snack mix tossing party, and to top it off, she weaves in a Christmas cookie exchange and an evening of cocktails and appetizers with their friends. Get the recipes and photos on ⁠ It hasn’t always gone as planned though, so along with Carissa’s snack mix recipe from her friend Lorna Nielsen and Val and Carissa’s tips for planning a successful night, these BFFs share some pretty funny stories from over the years. Like how they define the 5-second rule and why scented garbage bags aren’t on the list.  Carissa has done this enough years now to know a few things about what works, what doesn't, and what to do when things go hilariously wrong. Like how a bag of snack mix ended up on the floor so now they use the large, heavy duty Ziplock bags.  Carissa Trygstad: @carissatrygstad Val Ellens: Instagram @valellens Showplace Cabinetry: Instagram @showplacecabinets Form Fitness: Instagram @formfitnessboutique Staci Mergenthal #ourSweetMidwestLife Website:  Instagram: @potatoesandmittens Instagram: @randomsweets Facebook: Random Sweets Email: — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:
  1. Hosting a Ranch Cracker Snack Mix and Cookie Exchange with Carissa Trygstad and Val Ellens
  2. Family Recipes and Stories with Sarah Peterson of Vintage Dish and Tell
  3. Thankful for You, Turkey Leftovers, and Pumpkin Cheesecake, Cookies and Bars
  4. Nordic Waffles: From Fair to Food Hall to Freezers Across the U.S. with Founder Stine Aasland and CEO Jeremy Ely
  5. Family Recipes and Braving Youth Mental Health with Kristin and Anna Rehkamp
  6. Sugar Cookies and Mrs. Chandler’s Chocolate Fudge Cake with Stacie Suedkamp of Fig Tales
  7. Arepas, Allergen-Free Cookies, Holland Michigan, and Gulf Shores Alabama with Boutique Vacation Rental Superhost Alicia Wright
  8. Pumpkin Dessert and Kids in the Kitchen with Danielle Herberg
  9. Gaylen's Gourmet Popcorn is Popping with South Dakota Pride
  10. Steak and Coffee Cake with Millennial Rancher Calli Williams of TW Angus