Almond Jello for My Valentine
This year, Valentine’s Day was quite fun as Bebe E and I enjoyed a number of arts and crafts together. We decorated the house with little paper hearts. Then she made mommy a Valentine’s Day card. Yes, I helped by tying two pieces of red card stock together with ribbon, making little cut-outs and buying some supplies at Michael’s half-off (yay!). I also helped to stamp the balloon images so that the ink would show up, but the rest was all her. Such a sweet heart, my little Bebe E.
Next, she made pretty Valentine doily and heart gifts (featured at the top of the post). Finally, she made little lady luv bugs to give as gifts.
The message on the ladybug says, “Be My Luv Bug” but most of the ones created read, “My Bug”. So adorable. What I thought was interesting is that she had the choice of three different colored hearts to stick onto the wings of the ladybug but for each ladybug (there were 6 in our pack), she consistently chose matching colored hearts. So the one above is the green-hearted ladybug. The others were pink or purple. Never once did she mix-up the colors. I think she might have inherited Mommy’s A.R. gene… Which isn’t a bad trait! I was also impressed that the majority of the eyes she attached to the ladybugs were pretty well-centered. OK, enough of my motherly observations!
We had a blast. I think what she enjoyed the most was decorating cupcakes. She loves decorating cupcakes with sprinkles. Ever heard of the books, “If You Give a Cat a Cupcake” or “Pinkalicious”? Those are two of our favorite children’s cupcake books.
A high light of Valentine’s Day was teaching Bebe E to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Even better was when she followed that with a little, “I wuv you.”
Now I’d like to share a very famous Valentine’s Day quote that I hear or have heard annually for years… and years….
“Every day is Valentine’s Day.”
– My little brother.
If every day is Valentine’s Day, once you’ve found your true love, why is February 14th any more special than January 3rd, or May 15th, or July 27th, or October 8th? I’m sure the 20 or so men that I saw at 5:00 PM on February 14th roaming Albertson’s carrying bouquets of flowers were wondering the same thing. What was I doing there? Buying almond extract, of course!
Perhaps Valentine’s Day is a simple reminder to give thanks for a special someone and to let them know that they are appreciated and loved.
Valentine’s Day, in a way, is like Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day. Yes, little brother, there’s commercialism and a possible conspiracy among the likes of Hallmark, Target and Albertson’s (to name a mere fraction of the retailers looking to make an extra buck on a special occasion) but it is nonetheless a nice holiday, just like Halloween.
I don’t have to worry about poking fun at my brother on my blog since he never reads my posts… he just scrolls down to the recipe. He already knows I talk too much and subsequently my blog is just another platform for my blabbing which he is happy to bypass. Hahaha! So, knowing that he doesn’t read my blog I will share with you that for many years now I enjoy giving my sister-in-law a little token of love, whether it be in the form of m & m’s or cupcakes that Bebe E decorated, just because my brother refuses to buy into the commercialism of Valentine’s Day.
A plate of cupcakes that Bebe E decorated for each member of my brother’s family. As she decorated each one, she said, “this one for ___” and continued to name each person in my brother’s family.
During our Valentine’s Day dinner, Nene (or Nechan) which is what Bebe E now calls her big sis, Big Onechan, brought up another name for Vday. She said, “It’s either Valentine’s Day or it’s Single Awareness Day”. I’ve never heard of that one before. Our teenager makes us laugh. Bebe Dada was quick to point out that the acronym for the latter was SAD. Well, I’ve certainly had my share of SAD’s during my singledom on February 14th’s past, but I vaguely remember there were SAD’s where my sad girlfriends and I got together with other sad friends and went to a bar or a club to celebrate or drown our SADness. At the end of the day, it wasn’t so bad, and in fact, fun.
At dinner, Bebe Dada asked Nene, “Did anyone give you a Valentine gift today?” She said, “Yes.” Of course I immediately jumped all over that with, “Wait, in the car on the way home from school you told me nothing exciting happened at school today on Valentine’s Day!” But clearly, I hadn’t worded my question correctly but it turns out I jumped the gun, because receiving a Valentine treat from your lab mate who happens to be a girl that sits next to you in Science class who also gave a bunch of other students the same Valentine treat as a gesture of good will and kindness, doesn’t constitute an “exciting event” during a teen’s school day.
It is my suspicion that Bebe Dada was extremely RELIEVED that Big Onechan was not a recipient of any meaningful Valentine gifts from any boys, nor was she the bearer of any special Valentine gifts.
This one was a pretty cupcake that Bebe E decorated.
So if you got the impression that my husband and I stayed home on February 14th and ate dinner with the family, you guessed correctly. That’s how it goes being married with kids on a school night. I made my Mom’s homemade gyoza for dinner, in case you are wondering what I cooked for my family on this special occasion. Bebe Dada mentioned that gyoza sounded good this week and he rarely has an opinion about what he cares to eat during the week, so I ran with it and made gyozafor him and the girls.
I was trying to remember the last time my husband and I actually went out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It must have been prior to my pregnancy with Bebe E. When I was expecting, I was too nauseated to think about food, but the year before that was likely when we last celebrated Valentine’s Day but I have a feeling we stayed home and I made dinner. The restaurants are always SO overcrowded on Valentine’s Day and it’s much easier and nicer staying in and cooking.
My husband and I typically don’t exchange Valentine’s Day gifts anymore. Yet he will still buy an occasional bouquet of roses at Costco or other inexpensive florals from Trader Joes, or I will buy us a box of chocolates or a bag of Hershey’s kisses that I tell him we will share but usually I’ll eat the majority of it myself, or I will make him a homemade card (I used to be an obsessive stamping and card-making fanatic). Now that we’ve been married several years, a simple, “I love you” on Valentine’s Day will suffice. However, this year my thoughtful husband gifted a playlist of love songs that he selected on iTunes for me, which perfectly complimented the much-needed headset for my iPhone which he replaced for me since losing mine over a month ago. ♥
My gift to my valentine this year was almond jello. We occasionally eat almond jello with my husband’s family when we get together and I remembered that he once told me that his mom used to make almond jello for him quite often when he was a child. At our family get togethers, if almond jello would make an appearance I could usually hear his excited voice across the room saying, “Oh wow!! Someone made almond jello!!!” Below I share with you my husband’s family almond jello recipe.
My little almond jello thief was impatient for her share of this special treat. She was also miffed that her little red hearts that I cut out for her were displayed on the placemat of my “photo shoot”. She kept saying, “those mines” while grabbing the hearts and also saying, “I wanna eat almond jel-woah mommy. Zat all mines?” Heh. Love her baby-talk.
Almond jello garnished with sliced lychee, grapes and cherry. My favorite (not pictured) fruit combination was strawberries and blueberries. So yummy!
Hope your February 14th was fabulous.
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (I used Knox)
- ¾ cup water
- 4½ cups low fat milk (I used 2%)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar (I used less than a cup)
- 3 teaspoons almond extract (I used imitation)
- 3 drops of red food coloring, optional
- Fresh fruit for garnish (original recipe calls for chilled fruit cocktail with syrup); I'm not a fan of canned fruit so my fruits of choice were fresh grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. My favorite was the strawberry and blueberry combination. I did, however, have a can of lychees in syrup in my pantry which I sliced and topped the jello with.
- Soak gelatin in water.
- Scald milk, add sugar, stir until dissolved.
- Add gelatin; stir until dissolved.
- Remove from heat and add almond extract and food coloring. Our almond jello is typically pink so I of course added red food coloring. It was a perfect shade of pink, perfect for Valentine's Day, but of course my camera doesn't do the pretty blush justice.
- Refrigerate until the jello sets, about 4 hours or overnight, if you prefer.
- Cut jello in little squares and garnish with your favorite fresh fruit, or pour fruit cocktail (and syrup if desired) on top.