Thursday, 31 January 2013

Layering Jello

Ask most anyone about jello.

They will have a recipe or a memory of eating the jiggly dessert.

Because most our our Grandmothers served jello.

Sometimes plopped out of a fancy ring mold.

The one I remember from childhood included grated carrots, thinly sliced celery and chopped walnuts. Jello with a crunch.

Modern jello, if PINTEREST is any indicator, involves layering different colors of jello so that dessert is also a bit of artwork.

Here is how you do it:

Select as many flavors/colors as you like.

Use the quick-set method: Dissolve jello into 2 cups
of boiling water and then mix in 2 cups of ice.

Decide on glassware. This is crucial.

Pour a layer of jello into each serving container (reserve about a quarter of the jello and leave it out on the counter so it doesn't set up).

Put all the serving containers of jello in the refrigerator to set.

In the reserved jello, add a big scoop of Cool Whip (or other non-dairy topping) and blend thoroughly. 

Pour a layer of this mixture into all the serving containers and put back into the refrigerator to set. 

Repeat with the next flavor/color of jello.

Wine glasses make a pretty presentation.
As soon as a layer is set, add the next one.
Alternate between jello layer and jello-Cool Whip combination.

Or use a juice glass (propped in a cupcake tin to get angled layers).
Shown here with a layer of cherry jello and a layer of cherry jello-Cool Whip combo.

Once it is set, you can rotate the glass and start another layer of jello.

Carefully poured green jello. Now back in the refrigerator to set.

Drum roll please.

Here is the final jello 'art':

I think Grandma would have been impressed!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

After the Sun Goes Down

Along the coast in San Diego, there is always a line of parked cars in the evening.

Passengers waiting for the sun to drop below the horizon. 


Taking pictures.

I felt the same way yesterday driving west along Carmel Valley Road....

Needed to pull over quickly.

To catch the colors.

Trees, outlined in the foreground, can be just as mesmerizing as surf pounding on the sand.

Monday, 28 January 2013


In November I planted a winter crop.

Convinced by the expert at Walter Andersen Nursery that these vegetables require a shorter growing time and are hardy enough to withstand weather fluctuations. 

Now broccoli is popping up all over.

Inside long hearty leaves (that can be used for green smoothies).

This one has shot up the stalk.

Ready to steam for dinner tonight.

Hurray for cool crops!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Getting Rid of Termites

Have you been through the fumigation process?

It is a bit of an ordeal with patches of humor and a short vacation mixed in.

The first step is the inspection - lots of poking and prodding all over the house and up in the attic to see if there is any structural damage or signs of subterranean or drywood critters.

To get rid of the drywood termites, tenting needs to be done and then poisonous gas blown in.

Oh boy!

The pest control people hand you Nylofume bags to double-bag all your food and medicines.

Does anyone actually trust that two sheets of plastic will protect items (that you plan to ingest at some point) from the harm of a poisonous gas that is able to creep inside your walls and exterminate bugs?


But we ended up cleaning out the pantry/refrigerator/freezer/medicine chests. Boxing all contents, along with the indoor plants and removing them from the house.

Which comes to the funny part. If you leave your car in the garage during the fumigation, it must be unlocked and the trunk must be open...

"To prove you are not storing bodies in there?"

Yep, said the pest control inspector, it is a state law.

On day one, you hand over your key and hope for the best.

It is necessary to vacate the premises for two nights so herein lies the 'forced' vacation part of the equation.

It has been very cold in San Diego (not Alaska-cold or even Colorado-cold but cold enough to require shoes instead of flip flops).

Just a few miles inland the temperature rises dramatically. Which is why we decided to stay at a hotel in Rancho Bernardo.

Turns out that the folks there also thought it was unseasonably cold (even though it was close to 70 degrees) so I had the pool all to myself.

It was weird and creepy to go back home.

Even though we had written permission to return.

We opened windows in every room of the house.

Turned on fans full blast.

Opened doors.

And tried to convince ourselves that the poisonous gas really did vaporize, as promised.

Monday, 14 January 2013


In September I received a rather extravagant birthday gift.

Six months of roses.

'To cover most major holidays'.

The giver put my birth date right up there with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day.

They show up on my doorstep in a long box, expertly wrapped and soaking in that green foam stuff.

It is anyone's guess what day of the month they will be delivered and what color they will be.

The suspense is almost as much fun as the gift!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Slow Start

Over a week into January.

Errant Christmas tree needles are still popping up.

Am contemplating whether an abalone wreath is a year-round decoration or must be packed and stored till next December. Which is to say that I can't find a box for it.

There is no more chocolate in the house.

And I have looked everywhere.

Soooooooo, time to embrace the new year.

Get on with it. Back to the gym. Eat green.

But like the fable about the tortoise and the hare, I am going slow.

Let everyone else 'gung ho' it.

Because who won that race?

2013 - Year of the Turtle!!!!