Beyond Gorgeous

Does it help to know that other people struggle, too?  Just in case you thought I was advising you from the lofty heights of super-human ability, I decided to post this blog, which was not originally for publication.

Note:  Those who don’t know me personally will need to know that my husband Paul and I rented out our house and are living in a 34 ft. travel trailer parked in back of the property our church recently purchased.  We’ll be here while the new building is being built — and our temporary home has given us a challenge or two!

I look with satisfaction at the finished post which will appear on my blog. It’s my favorite low-glycemic recipe and I’ve made it a zillion times. It’s easy and always tastes great.

But then my conscience troubles me.  It calls for a complicated method of whipping evaporated milk.  I always cheated and used Cool Whip. Should I encourage my blog followers to cheat, too?  I look up Cool Whip and see that it contains the dreaded high fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of unpronounceable chemicals. I will use the complicated version.

But I’ve never actually made the complicated version. I dare not run the recipe until I try it. I do not have evaporated milk so I go to Walmart.  I park at the back of the parking lot and get lots of extra steps because it is busy and there is no place else to park.  I hoof it to the store and then spend the next hour hunting for evaporated milk. At last I run it to earth on the baking aisle which I have traversed at least 15 times before.  I gain some more steps shuffling back and forth in line, which is unusually long. Back across the parking lot and home. Then I load the wagon with the evaporated milk and the $69 worth of other groceries I collected while looking for the milk. I haul them back to our trailer and unload.  Then I start the actual recipe.

First I take the milk and the mixing bowl and put it in the freezer — out in Paul’s office, because the trailer freezer does not work.  Then I come back and make the Jello and take it out to Paul’s office, because the refrigerator doesn’t work either.  I go back and prepare to mix up the cream cheese and sugar substitute and cannot find my mixer.  I take everything out of every cabinet and put it back. (bend and stretch and bend and stretch).  I alternate this exercise with sprints out to Paul’s office to check on the Jello, which I must catch when it is the consistency of egg whites.  Find the mixer and mix up the cream cheese with the sugar substitute.  Take it out to Paul’s office.

I talk on the phone until the Jello is hard as a rock, I repeat the above steps and haul everything back into the kitchen.  I run the mixer in the milk for a long time.  It overruns my bowl and down the side of the cabinet, but does it form stiff peaks?  I lift the mixer to see.  Forgot to turn off the mixer first and whipped cream flies all over the trailer.  I cannot tell if the peaks are stiff, so I just mix up the whole thing as is.  I discover I no longer own dessert dishes so I put the mixture in coffee cups.  Paul may ask about his cup  when he makes coffee after while, but I will worry about that later.  I make one last trip out to the refrigerator to stow the finished product.  I come in and survey my wrecked kitchen and dining room.  And living room.  Every surface is covered with dirty bowls, spoons, and whipped cream.   I clean up the mess (bend and stretch and reach and bend).

My Lemon Cloud has truly become a diet dessert. I have burned off a days worth of calories just in preparing the stuff! However, I decide I will give my readers the option of using Cool Whip. I secretly plan to do so in the future.

By the way — it still tasted pretty good — even with chewy clumps of Jello and a slightly frothier texture.  And, of course, for people who have real kitchens with working appliances, even the “complicated version” won’t be that hard.

The lesson for this slump time?  Don’t allow yourselves to be discouraged when life gets complicated.  Keep things in perspective — and smile every chance you get.


It’s Friday — recipe day for the Beyond Gorgeous folks.  Sometimes you just need a treat!  And when there is a potluck or big family get-together, it really helps to have something there you can eat with a clear conscience.  Here is my favorite.  It’s a scrumptious cross between lemon mousse and lemon cheesecake.

Lemon Cloud

  • 3 oz box sugar-free lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese — softened
  • sugar substitute to equal one cup sugar
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, dissolve lemon Jello in boiling water. Place in refrigerator until it starts to thicken. Place the can of evaporated milk in the freezer, along with the large mixing bowl, to chill. When Jello begins to thicken (about the consistency of egg whites) and milk is chilled, proceed with recipe.

In the small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar substitute until well blended. Add the thickened Jell-O and blend until well mixed, scraping down the sides often.

In the chilled large mixing bowl, mix the well chilled evaporated milk and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the Jello/cream cheese mixture and beat at low speed until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Since all the ingredients are white, it is hard to tell if the Jello is well distributed, so blend thoroughly.

Divide the mixture among six dessert dishes and chill for several hours. It may also be poured into a pie crust.

Note: Sugar-free Jello contains aspartame.  Readers who strictly ban the substance from their diets can experiment with lemon juice, natural sugar substitute and unflavored gelatin.  Let me know how you do it, as I haven’t yet managed to get it to work.  I would really like to know how to substitute this.

Also: Non-purists and/or people in a hurry can use Cool Whip instead of whipping the cream.  I can’t find the GI value, but it contains only 2 gm. of sugar per serving and only 2 gm. carbohydrates.  However, the sugar is in the form of the evil high fructose corn syrup, so the longer method will really be better for you.

The recipe is sugar free and if eaten without a crust, it is low glycemic.  It is not, however, low calorie so allow for the extra calories by cutting back somewhere else or adding more steps to your daily goal.

And here is a good pie crust recipe if you want to make Lemon Cloud into a pie.  It has a lower GI number than graham cracker crust, but is a yellow rather than a green.

Special K Pie Crust

3 cups Special K cereal (for 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
natural sugar replacement equal to 2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cereal in a plastic bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to crush the cereal into crumbs, turning and shaking the bag frequently to make a consistent crumb. You will have 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.
Pour crumbs into a medium bowl and stir in cinnamon and sugar substitute. Pour in melted butter and stir with a fork until well blended and evenly distributed. Press the crumb mixture into an 9 in. pie dish. It will not stick as well as a traditional graham cracker crust, so just press gently. It will firm up after baking. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until set. Cool slightly, then fill as desired.

Keep in mind that the crust is medium glycemic, not low, so don’t eat the whole pie.


Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown


Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.  ~Jim Ryun

Why do most people (including me) fail at a healthy eating plan after the first week or so?  Because motivation is waning and habit hasn’t kicked in yet.  I’ve read studies that said it takes three weeks of an uninterrupted pattern to establish a habit.  After three weeks your new eating style and exercise regime will become a habit and increasingly easier to stick with.

So hang on!  Just a couple of weeks and you will get there!

Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown


I remember the hopscotch we played at recess in fourth grade.  The school had seen generations of kids come and go — and hopscotch had been a staple game for those many kids.  The board had been drawn in the dirt, but had been retraced for so many years that the lines were deeply engraved into the ground.  Rain, snow, wind — nothing could obliterate it.

Habits — good and bad — are like that hopscotch pattern.  Each time we “trace around” a bad habit, like getting discouraged and bingeing at slump time, we are making that pattern deeper and deeper. Tomorrow it will be even harder to break that habit — so hang on and do something different today.  It WILL make a difference.  Eat something healthy and go do something you enjoy instead of eating that treat that will make your blood sugar skyrocket and give you a lousy afternoon and evening.

What you do today DOES matter!  Keep on the road to life beyond gorgeous.  You’ll get there!

Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown