Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Banana Cream Pudding

My friend's son turned one last month and I wanted to bring a tasty little treat to the party.  I decided I would whip up little cups of banana cream, only because I could crush cookies on top, to look like sand.  Since they were having a seafood boil for the party, 'sand' felt like a good fit.  Turned out that I had a luncheon the same day, so I pulled out a few to take to lunch, and just served them up the old fashioned way, wafer cookie on top! 

I do not like pudding, so this was a strange pick for me...but everyone who tried the dessert said it was delish (and quite cute, if I do say so myself) so I figured it was worthy of a share.

In a medium saucepan combine:
small box of vanilla cook & serve pudding
1 & 3/4 cup milk (stir until powder is dissolved)
then add:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste)
Side note: I added the sour cream to kill a bit of the sweet,
since there will be the addition of ripe bananas and whipped cream.

Transfer to a dish and cover with plastic wrap (work
to get the plastic wrap touching the pudding and secure it tightly, 
pop in the refrigerator to cool completely (I made the night before, and
let it chill overnight) before continuing on.   The tight plastic wrap will help
you avoid the 'cafeteria pudding skin' we all remember from childhood
(and the reason, I assume, that I am not a fan of pudding!).

Next gather up:
1 & 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream (very cold)
3 T. Confectioner's Sugar
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract (again, I use paste...obsessed!)
Place in a stainless or glass bowl and whip with an electric hand
mixer, or in a stand mixer, until medium-stiff peaks form. 

Chilled pudding, whipped cream, ripe bananas and
vanilla wafer cookies, all ready to do their thing. 

Chop up 2-3 medium size, ripe bananas and fold into
the chilled pudding.

Fold in a little over half of the whipped cream into the
pudding/banana mixture. Reserve the remaining 
whipped cream for topping. 

In individual cups (I used 5 oz cups) or in a large trifle bowl,
if you wish, start layering the dessert. 
This is how I put it together:
scoop of pudding/whipped cream banana 'mousse'
top with vanilla wafers (I chopped each cookie in half,
and put 3 cookie halves in each cup), then topped with
a few ripe banana slices and topped with one more scoop
of the pudding mixture. 

After all the cups are built, dollop each one with a
spoonful of whipped cream. 

Use a food processor or a rolling pin (make sure to
leave a small air hole in the plastic bag you are rolling over,
to prevent a cookie crumb explostion) to make the 'sand'

Cookie 'sand'.

All ready to gobble up...just need some umbrellas to
fancy pants (or tacky them up...if you will) them up a bit.

The perfect addition to a backyard seafood boil party!

Like I said, I pulled a few aside for a luncheon that
same day...just served them up old school with
the wafer on top. 

I doubled this recipe, which yielded 35 desserts, served in 5 oz plastic
cups that I purchased that the party supply store.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Working to keep my head above water

Well, I am officially trying to pop myself back on the blogging wagon.  It has just been a crazy month, and I am sad that I have a few things that need to get posted, but I just don't have the time or energy to sit and write.  This is so not me, it is just where I am in my hectic little life right now that is overflowing with exhaustion, pregnancy and great frustration in our home search...while working extra hard to keep life flowing easy for an energetic toddler. 

Zac resigned from his position in Oklahoma and within a day a 'pit crew' swooped in and started arranging everything for our transition out to Denver.  Our home in Oklahoma sold in a flash, we moved into corporate housing in Denver, flew back to Oklahoma to close and supervise the pack up of our home and watch every precious thing we own get loaded on a trunk and head off to a warehouse in Denver (many thanks to the driver who felt it necessary to tell me, 'well, I will get it to Denver in one piece...but no guarantees what will happen in the warehouse...'.  Did he not recognize my delicate and fragile state?). 

During all this commotion we have been in search of a home in Denver.  Ideally we would like to be west of the city, heading towards the mountains, but thus far we haven't found a keeper.  It's a tricky market right now.  We'll have a home showing set up, and the listing realtor will call and cancel because the home is under contract, usually just hours before our showing.  This has happened more times than I care to recall, but we are just trusting that our home is out there and we need to be patient.  The 'being patient' part is rather hard right now, as I am feeling the time pinch.  First, we head home to Minnesota at the end of this week, which is usually my favorite part of summer, but feels like the biggest stress right now, as we can't find a home, if we are not here.  Just over a month after we return from MN we get the boot from corporate housing, so it's starting to feel like we might end up in a rental house for a bit (I am staying positive that this will not be the case, but the reality is we don't want to jump the gun and get a house that we aren't absolutely thrilled about).  The hardest part for me in that is that a baby boy joins the family the first of October and I dreamed of being fully nested in a home by that time.  C'est la vie, things could be a lot worse.

We are beyond thrilled to finally be LIVING IN DENVER, and are excited for all things crazy to settle down, so we can plan day trips and weekend trips to explore all the things that excite us most.  For now, we are trying to take full advantage of the precious little bit of down time we have, and the location of our corporate housing (the river end of the 16th street mall in downtown Denver, if you know the area) and all the things the city has to offer.  We took Logan to her first outdoor concert (I will post pictures soon), we go on many walks along the river and 16th street mall, swim like fish in our condo pool and got a season pass to the zoo.  Oh, and there is a skate park right outside our building and I think Logan will get a skateboard (and helmet, of course) when we get back.  There are skate parks everywhere in the metro and 'burbs it seems, so Zac is excited to get her out on a board (I will probably not watch for the first year, just guessing).

So, I ask for many good thoughts and energy sent our direction that we find a home very soon...there will for sure be an extra bedroom for guests, so plan a visit.