Walking for Jell-O…We’re having a party…Photos and recipes below..

Tom’s big decision of the day: Should we get the cauliflower now and carry it, or shall we get it on the way back.  I said now.  He said later.  He won.  He was the “carrier” of the bag. Luckily, it was there when we returned.

Friday night is fast approaching and we’ve invited our Minnesota friends on either side of us for dinner.  Granted, we don’t have a dining table and chairs other than the small two-person set on the veranda, plus three bar stools indoors.  But, we’ll figure it out.  Improvise is the name of the game.

Another small concern, we only have three dinner plates.  Most certainly, we can borrow plates from the neighbors.  The restaurant staff here at Laru Beya loaned us two placemats and two linen napkins for our personal use.  I supposed we could ask for more. 

Entering the small village of Seine Bight

The menu is challenging. We’d suggested a homemade pizza with our GF cheese crust (a staple we frequently prepare). They loved the idea, curious as to how a pizza would taste without a traditional crust.  All of the ingredients are readily available in the local grocers.

As for the side dishes (of which I always make several), I was in a quandary. When shopping in Placencia it makes sense to plan the menu based on what is available in the stores, rather than pre-plan a menu, trying to find the ingredients. 

Yesterday, feeling rushed as we shopped with Estevan patiently waiting outside the grocery store, it wasn’t easy to plan the side dishes.  In my “old life” I’d plan a menu for dinner guests over a number of days, contemplating a well-balanced menu with a wide array of delectable options.  No longer do I have that luxury (among others).

Restaurant along the road as we walked into town.

Flustered as we scurried about the store, we hurriedly decided on the following menu:

  • Carrot and zucchini sticks with homemade salmon, cream cheese dip
  • Our favorite Cauliflower, Bacon, and Almond Salad with homemade sweet (Splenda) and sour dressing (recipe follows at the end of this post)
  • Traditional Cucumber and Onion Salad
  • Homemade Pizza with locally made hot Italian sausage, onion, mushrooms, and sliced green olives with sharp cheddar cheese crust, tons of mozzarella cheese, and hand-grated (no grater on hand) fresh Parmesan cheese we purchased this morning from Mathieu’s Deli.
  • Homemade grilled garlic bread made with raw garlic, more Parmesan cheese atop a fresh-baked loaf of Italian bread made by Gunter early this morning at Mathieu’s Deli. (I will be a “voyeur” this item.  No tasting!  Tom’s on a bit of a splurge right now for another few days, but back to GF, low carb soon).
  • Dessert:  my favorite Strawberry Oreo Dessert (recipe follows at the end of this post. Another item suitable for the “voyeur”).

After the shopping expedition yesterday and unable to find fresh cauliflower after visiting four vegetable stands, I was ready to forfeit the recipe.  Yesterday afternoon as we unpacked the groceries it dawned on me that I had forgotten the required strawberry Jell-O.  With the other ingredients on hand, we had to figure out a way to get to a grocery store without wheels. 

It made no sense to call Estevan back to pick us up to buy a box of Jell-O or, for that matter, to rent a golf cart for $35 for a half-day. Our budgets offered no room for such frivolity. Thinking about the Jell-O into the evening, I suggested to Tom that we walk to the grocery store in the next town in the morning, north of us in Seine Bight. He agreed. 

Cloudy today, the temperature was ideal for walking.  At 9:00 am we were on the road, re-usable grocery bag in hand with a bottle of frozen water in tow just in case.  The walk along the busy highway to Seine Bight was pleasant with an occasional local warmly greeting us with a cheerful, “good morning!”  The narrow shoulder required, we walk in single file, stopping from time to time to take a few photos.

The square water tower in Seine Bight!

Alas, the first store we encounter had fresh cauliflower, one medium head, and one half of a smaller head but no Jell-O. Tom suggested we purchase the cauliflower on the way back rather than haul it for whatever distance may be required to find Jell-O.  Walking out the door empty-handed, I groaned, fearful it would be gone when we returned. It wasn’t.

An abandoned cement building that may have been damaged in a past hurricane.

As we continued our walk through the small town, it dawned on me that we also needed lettuce for the salad.  What’s wrong with me, unable to remember the ingredients for some of our favorite recipes?  Have we been out of touch for so long?  Reassuring Tom that we’d find lettuce, we continued along the road to the vegetable stand several blocks away.  He didn’t complain about the “store hopping.”

Two small but fresh heads of iceberg lettuce were awaiting us at the tiny vegetable stand.  Would we get lucky and find a bigger head of cauliflower here?  Not the case.

The little vegetable stand where we found the two heads of lettuce.

Continuing on, we entered another small grocery store to find a large box of strawberry Jell-O, directions in Spanish. No problem. I’d convert the “litro” to cups and we’d be good to go.

This box of a Jell-O equivalent is Belize $2.45 which results in US $1.23.

Turning around, we headed back to the first store with the cauliflower.  Much to my delight, it was still there.  A bunch of green onions, the two chunks of cauliflower, and US $2 later, we were out the door and on our way back to the deli for our loaf of bread and Parmesan cheese. Our menu is intact!

Maya prophesy reminder from December 2012, on the walk to deli.

On the walk back, we stopped at Mathieu’s Deli purchasing the load fresh baked Italian bread, a chunk of Parmesan cheese for the pizza, and a variety of cheeses made at Caves Branch in the Cayo District. The owner, Ian Anderson, whom we met about a month ago at the wine and cheese party, had invited us for a cheese and wine tour of his cheese factory. We just might take him up on his kind offer.  Perhaps, soon.

It felt as if we’d walked for miles.  Having worn my FitBit pedometer on my belt loop, I’d estimated we’d walked three or four miles when in fact it only revealed a paltry two and a quarter miles.  

Tomorrow night, we’ll be ready for our guests, recipes prepared with our seating, and plate situation somehow resolved.  We’ve found that a part of the joy of our lives as we travel the world lies in the pleasure that we discover in the minutiae.  The big items, we’ll plot and plan. The few items, we’ll wing it!

Jessica Cauliflower Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced in shreds
1 head raw cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 pound lean bacon, cooked and diced

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup almonds, slivers toasted in oven or skillet


1 cup mayo

3 T. red wine vinegar

12 packets Splenda

Prepare all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is well coated. Amazingly, this salad keeps nicely for 3 days if its refrigerator as soon as you serve it.

Jessica’s Strawberry
Oreo Dessert
(not low carb, sugar-free or gluten-free)

1 12 oz package Cool Whip

1 small package frozen strawberries, partially defrosted (1 hour) and drained

1 small sugar-free raspberry Jell-O

1 large package Oreo cookies or a box of Oreo crumbs

Dissolve Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water

Refrigerate until cool but not set

Crush Oreo and press into a 9 x 13” pan

Whip Jell-O until frothy in a food processor, add frozen strawberries, and then fold in the Cool Whip.

Cover with remaining Oreo and refrigerate.

Delicious!  You can easily double this recipe.

Comments and responses Walking for Jell-O…We’re having a party…Photos and recipes below..

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi there, I enjoy reading your blog and would like to comment on something that has been in my thoughts for awhile. It seems as though you go to great lengths to take care of your body and health..eat organic non-processed whole foods, exercise regularly, etc. which I think why I'm all the more confused about why you would put a poison like Splenda into your body, and at such large amounts? According to research (not funded by Splenda) it is clear that it is not good for you in any way. First, it actually is not 0 calories as claimed, but because it falls into a loop hole in the FDA "packaging" rules it can claim to be 0 calories. Secondly, it actually contains a lot of real sugar (use as a bulking agent). Thirdly, the chemical structure is such that it resembles DDT and agent orange (and is similar to NO known organic carbon based compound). Fourth, it contains Chlorine (yep, like what you put in a pool). There are also a lot of side effects. None of which you may have experienced but I would like to direct you to a website I found (and you can google "splenda side effects" yourself) but this website had a video that was very informative done by an MD (who also wrote a book on the subject, he gives the name on his video but I don't remember it now). I'm in no way connected to this person, but thought you may not be aware of the dangers of using splenda, particulalry in the amounts you do. I would also direct you to the reader comments at the bottom of the website page for further information about problems people have had with it. articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/12/03/sucralose-dangers.aspx

    Let me know what you think. Thanks.

  2. Jessica Reply

    Thank you for commenting. I really appreciate your input and concern. I have read volumes of information on Splenda including Dr. Mercola's books and from his web site to which I subscribe.

    There are a couple of factors that lead me to feel safe using sucralose (Splenda). One, I only use the liquid version (only available online) which greatly reduces the processing. Two, I only use it to sweeten my coffee and tea (1/2 liquid Splenda, 1/2 pure stevia) and occasionally as a sweetening agent in a few dishes. Thirdly, I don't drink alcohol, smoke, eat anything in a package, eat desserts, fruit, anything that causes a spike in insulin.

    I am from a family of severe diabetics, many passing away from its ravages, some at a younger age. Although not officially diagnosed as a diabetic, I have a propensity to high blood sugar. Using sucralose does not spike my insulin levels but an apple does.

    What has influenced me the most in continuing to use liquid sucralose, is the Mayo Clinic's assessment of sweeteners. Please see this link for more information:


    Life is full of trade offs. With my restricted diet, the occasional taste of sweetness helps keep me on track in the remainder of my stringent way of eating. I do not like the taste if stevia alone.

    Before we left the US, after 18 months on our way of eating, both Tom and I had the best blood tests of our adult lives. Until resources such as the Mayo Clinic produce evidence that sucralose is dangerous, I will take my chances.

    Please keep in mind, I am not claiming to offer any medical advise as to the safety of any products I use or don't use to anyone. I am simply sharing what has worked for me.

    Thanks again for writing!

    Warmest regards,

  3. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks for your response. I'm glad that you haven't had any bad reactions to Splenda. Life is full of trade-offs and it sounds as though you are making an informed decision. I thought that maybe you weren't aware of some of the dangers, but you've done your research. I enjoy reading your blog and wish you many healthy years of travel!

  4. Jessica Reply

    And thank you for writing and reading our blog! All of our readers have so enhanced our enjoyment of our experience and it means so much hearing from YOU.

    Be well.

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