There’s always room for Jello (Menu planning)

It’s Sunday night, and you know what that means…planning for the upcoming week in Janna Land! I have not tackled the school lesson plans, but it shouldn’t take too long tonight. I have spent a very lazy day, laying around, reading and thinking. I watched a movie in my dark dark room and thought some more. What was the subject of my thoughts? The menu plans for this week. I’ll have to tell you, I’m a bit stumped.

I was reading online about the great coupon sections in the current Sunday paper. I even thought, “maybe I should buy one.”  Then I remembered that HEB won’t double (and certainly won’t triple) coupons. Now, I used to be a serious coupon-er. I clipped every weekend, sorted and filed in my giant notebook, and shopped three different grocery stores. I did well. We had stockpiles, to be sure. Then I realized that for the most part my great deals were on items we didn’t even like before. Unhealthy, processed foods and brands of shampoo that made this sensitive skinned family itchy. So I stopped couponing. I started making our own detergents. I tried to make my own hair soap (failure), toothpaste (yummy) and then there was the homemade bread.:-)

Fast forward to today. I feel a little bit like Old Mother Hubbard without the dog. I am thankful for what we have – to be sure. But my flesh was screaming at me today. Where are the chocolate chips? Where are the bananas? What exactly can I make with 5 cans of Eagle Brand Milk? (answer: not much) I have been thinking about the Depression Era a lot. There is a reason that you can find a recipe for mock apple pie. Have you seen Depression-Era Clara? You’ve got to check her out. I figured if thousands of other homemakers could do this – so can I!

So here’s my plan for the week. I do love a challenge. I am going to role play this week. I mean it.  I am going to wear my apron, wear bright red lipstick and “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”  I am going to use Depression-Era recipes all week – starting with Jello.  Did you know Jello was invented in 1845? In the Great Depression, it was used as a food stretcher. I just made up two boxes of Jello and poured them into my “retro” Tupperware parfait containers. They aren’t exactly old-fashioned flavors, though! Strawberry Daiquiri and Margarita.  They will be tasty at lunches.

The Jello Shelf in the fridge

The Jello Shelf in the fridge

I’m not going to reveal my plan to the guys. I’m hoping to take lots of pictures and maybe even a video or two to document my challenge to myself. Let me know what you think!


B: Fruit and Yogurt, whole wheat toast

L: Bologna Sandwiches, Jello and apple slices for the boys, Salad for Mom

D: Fish and potatoes, green beans


B: Oatmeal

L: Sandwiches for the boys, Jello, Salad for Mom

D: Chicken Pot Pie, Homemade Ice Cream


B: Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit

L: Poor Man’s Meal (from Depression Era Clara)

D: Beef Stew,  Wacky Cake


B: Hot 5-Grain Cereal

L: Sandwiches, carrot sticks (Salad for Mom!)

D: Pasta with peas, mock apple pie


B: Scrambled Eggs, Whole Wheat Toast, homemade apple sauce

L: Potato Soup, Carrot Sticks

D: Ham Steak with Biscuits and Cooked Carrots


B: Pancakes with fruit

L: Salmon Patties, Salad

D: Chicken Soup with homemade noodles, Molasses Cookies


B: Muffins

L: We are eating at church – So, we’ll have to skip this meal for the challenge

D: Roasted Chicken and Potatoes



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn Smith
    Sep 15, 2009 @ 08:52:25

    I know it’s not first on the boy’s must see list, but I think you should get the Kit Kittredge:An American Girl movie as one of your Netflix shows. It is a really sweet, family movie that shows a pretty accurate side of the Depression. You know, we’re all about Kit Kittredge around here so you have inspired me to do a social studies project with Raylen on life in the Depression once we get moved. She’ll love it! I love what you’re doing too. You could have totally done one of those shows on PBS…you know, the 1800’s house or the 1900’s house. You’re always up for a challenge and very adaptable…great qualities, especially for someone called to follow HIS voice!


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