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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psssssst…

I wanted to tell you about something. Come closer… because I’m actually whispering.

I have come up with a meal planning idea that just might work. Just might.

Thanks to the many dozens of people I have stalked and creepily asked about their meal planning methodology, I do believe that I’ve found something that will suit our needs PERFECTLY.

Ok, you can move away now, I’m done whispering.

Here it is in black and white (because I can’t figure out how to change the color of the fonts on this silly program).

Each week I will pick 7 meals using ingredients I have or will purchase:

1 Breakfast (because I think breakfast needs a chance to be the ‘most popular’ meal)

1 Casserole/Soup ( two things I would love to make more of)

1 “Ethnic” (Curry, yum…)

1 Salad/Vegetarian ( we like to have a ‘lighter’ meal now and again)

1 Easy/Quick/Simple (for the days we spend away and get home minutes before dinner time)

1 Never Before Tried (can you say ‘cabbage rolls’)

1 Other  (sort of self-explanatory – – and if it isn’t, hang in there, I’ll explain in a bit)

So – once the meals are picked, I can arrange them through the week as needed. The nights I work we can have the casserole or easy dish, a night we have more time I could fix something new and exciting. If I have certain ingredients that need to be used sooner, that meal will come at the beginning of the week. The “Other” meal can be used for leftovers or if we eat out or just decided to have a ‘movie and a snack night’, which happens sometimes. This way, there’s always something different going on at meal time and at least once a week we’ll try something totally new. I’m inordinately excited about it.

Ta-stinking-da.

Alright, I just needed to share that.

Bye now.

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the menu board. in its former life it was a cheap picture frame at Wal*Mart… we made it into something Awesome with a little chalk board paint – boy howdy, I love that stuff!!