none of the doors in my kitchen close on their own

None of the doors in my kitchen close on their own… except the refrigerator door, which always closes on its own, just seconds before I get there with whatever ‘over-full’ thing I happen to be carrying.  Like Jello. Boiling hot, slippery, liquid Jello, splashing up out of its shallow glass container and cascading to the linoleum below as I bump it into the suddenly sealed-shut fridge door.

It’s moments like these that remind me *why* the kitchen is my favorite room in the house- it has linoleum floors! No matter what I spill, I can always wipe it up and begin again more carefully, this time holding the door open with one foot while balancing on the other and slipping the pan into the bottom shelf where it will stay until all is solid and well.

I just made Jello from scratch for the first time using four packages of unflavored gelatin (obtained at the local grocery store, in the ‘Jello Aisle’) and four cups of white cranberry/peach juice (also found at the store, only in the “Juice Aisle”….)

That’s it. Two ingredients. It is idiotically simple, even though it took me forever to find the directions in the little box (I guess even idiotically simply just isn’t simple enough- woe is me). Come to find out the directions were inscribed on the individual packets of gelatin (duh)… I shall remember that for next time should this grand Jello experiment result in something even remotely Jello-like and we need to repeat the process.

One cup of cold juice gets poured over four packets of powdered gelatin. Three cups of  cold juice are heated over the stove until they are boiling. While the juice is working itself up to a boil, the gelatin is relaxing and swelling in the cold liquid- turning into a fascinating sort of gelatinous glob. Once the juice has boiled, the cold gelatin is stirred in until it is fully dissolved, then poured into a waiting 9×13 pan and sent to sit in the fridge until it is solid and ‘jiggly’. That is, of course, unless you spill it all trying to slip it in before the door violently and arbitrarily slams shut before you… In that case, I would suggest making something less tricky, like Pancakes Barbara.

(Convenient Literary Time Lapse Complete With Comfortable Bluegrass Music and Some Tea)

Here we are at the end of the day. The dishes are almost done, the laundry is almost folded and my child is almost asleep. I hear him in his little room at the end of the hall, murmuring his goodnight song to the stuffed woodland creatures dangling from the mobile over his crib. I’m exhausted and could really go for something cool and fruity.

Has the jello jelled? Yes it has. Hello there, my lovely, how charming you look, all glistening and gelatinous!

Ladies and Gentlemen – we have Jello, and not just any jello, but a perfect Homemade jello with no added sugars, colors, flavors or chemicals – just pure jiggly goodness. And while we are on the subject of jello’s goodness, let me say a few words about the health benefits of gelatin, the reason why jello is so adorably jello-like. Gelatin; it’s good for your aching knees, your brittle hair, your stubby nails, your lack-luster skin, your sluggish digestion and last but not least, your over-worked immune system.  Some studies suggest that the main constituents in gelatin may improve sleep quality and help regulate ones weight. I like those suggestions! It’s exceedingly low in fat and high in protein.  Sounds like much more than just a delicious snack! In accordance with our new year’s resolutions to eat more life-nourishing foods, I’m going to make jello… a lot… and eat it with abandon. The juice aisle is filled with flavors to be tried and I’m thinking chunks of fruit would be brilliant if stirred in before chilling. Oh boy, there is fun to be had here! Enjoy…

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pan-a-what-kin?

Pannekoeken. Pan. Na. Co. Ken. A fabulous dessert of Dutch origin, in my mind it is best described as an ‘easy pancake popover’.

Last night for Alex’s lunch I made a maple almond pear pannekoeken (I know, what a lunch, eh?)


Pannekoeken:

1/4 cup butter

3 large eggs

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup flour

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh fruit (I peeled and sliced two fresh pears for this)


You will need a smooth pan with rounded sides, or a pie plate. I used my big metal frying pan. Place the butter in the pan or pie plate and set it in the oven *when you turn the oven on* to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating and melting the butter *at the same time -I love multi-tasking!!*, swiftly beat the eggs, salt and milk together until well blended. Then, slowly add the flour, whisking until smooth, but not completely, there should be smallish sort of lumps in the batter – very much like pancake batter. By now the oven should be almost up to temperature and the butter melted. Remove the pan from the oven, pour in the batter and then lay the fruit on top, like so:

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Now, when the oven gets all the way up to temperature, stick the whole thing inside and wait. This is the hardest part of the whole dish…

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15 Minutes later, you should have a pastry that looks something like this.

It will puff up a great deal in the oven, rising high beyond the sides of the pan, smothering the fruit – or so it seems – but as soon as it it removed, it begins to deflate. This is a dessert best served *At Once*, adorned with nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup *or* my special Maple Almond Sauce.


Maple Almond Sauce

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup brown sugar

small amount of butter

Heat your butter in a pan, then add the almonds. Cook them a wee bit, letting them brown before adding the sugar and maple syrup. This concoction should simmer for five minutes or so, be sure to stir frequently. This sauce can be poured over the finished Pannekoeken – it’s incredible.


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Slice generously and Enjoy.