You Gotha Try This Banana Pudding, Pt. 3 of a Family Food Saga

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Banana Pudding. There’s a hundred recipes out there, each one claiming to be the best. How do you determine which is the best? Easy, it’s the one you grew up on. See, it is not about the taste when it comes to banana pudding (unless you find yourself face to face with a bowl made by someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing), banana pudding is about memories.

I come from a big family. BIG. Not only do we breed like bunnies but once you become friends with someone in the family, you become family. There’s no getting out either. Kind of like the mafia but with less violence.

With a big family and the merging with other families comes many variations of banana pudding. To me each one is good. One does stand out above the rest but for the sake of family peace I will not name names. Over the years I have learned these recipes and have combined the best of each one to make…‘You Gotha Taste This Banana Pudding’. I’m sure the name won’t catch on but I think once you try this banana pudding recipe you just might be hooked.

You Gotha Taste this Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

Bananas

Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla instant pudding, 2 small boxes

2 ½ cups milk

1 small tub of cool whip, thawed

½ small can of condensed milk about 7 ounces.

2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl mix the 2 boxes of pudding with 2 ½ cups milk. I use a hand mixer. Once mixed add condensed milk (you can use the whole can but your banana pudding will be way to sweet) along with the vanilla extract. Beat until it has a smooth pudding consistency and has started to thicken up slightly. Gently fold on the cool whip. I put my pudding mixture in fridge until I’m ready to assemble.

Just the pudding and milk

Just the pudding and milk

With cool whip added

With cool whip added

While you’re pudding mixture is chilling out in the fridge, take a handful of vanilla wafers, place them into a Ziploc bag, and seal it.

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Find a weapon, I use a hammer with a dishrag or small hand towel laid over the bag (this prevents the hammer from tearing open the bag). Now beat the wafers. Beat them until they are vanilla crumbs. This will be the topping.

Beating the wafers. Ignore my chipped nail polish

Beat the wafers. Chipped nail polish is optional.

wafers to crumbs

wafers to crumbs

Slice your bananas. The amount depends pretty much on what you have on hand. I usually have a lot since my dad is always coming by with a bag of bananas he found on sale. I swear that man has not met a banana he didn’t like.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

Once the bananas are sliced it’s time to get assembling. A pretty bowl or casserole dish is what you need.

Line the bottom of your bowl/dish with vanilla wafers. Spoon half of your pudding mixture over wafers. Add a layer of bananas. Repeat.

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Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Now the top is up to you. Some people line the top with whole wafers while others sprinkle the top with wafers crumbs. There are even those who lay down another layer of wafers, cover with a layer of just plain cool whip then sprinkle wafer crumbs. No wrong choice here. Cover with foil and allow to sit in the fridge a few hours.

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An important note: if you are making this dish for a get together you must make a small bowl of banana pudding and put in fridge. Why? Because if it’s like my family gatherings you’re not going to get any of it unless you do this.

Cover with foil and let chill in fridge for a few hours.

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

banana pudding 3

banana pudding 2

banana pudding 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to crack your marbles not lose them

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One pin from Pinterest I have been wanting to try is the cracked marbles. Turns out it’s very simple and FUN! I wanted one to go in my miniature garden to use as a gazing globe.

How to lose crack your marbles.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place marbles in a pan, one with high sides. Those marbles tend to roll around.

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Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place in a bowl of ice water.

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Here is the fun part: you can hear the water sizzle and the marbles pop. I also did the same to a few glass ‘rocks’ used for decorating. They cracked but not as much as I wanted, maybe they need higher heat or a longer bake time.

I hope to find some solid light colored marbles to try. I think they would make pretty pendants.

Cracked

Cracked

Not much cracking going on

Not much cracking going on

Garden gazing globe

Garden gazing globe

 

 

 

Cookies plus Chocolate equals Happiness

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In a world filled with stress and tragedy bombarding us everyday we need something to help us cope, something to fill us with happiness even. Is there such a thing that can do this? Is it possible something can bring us joy amidst the stresses in life?
Hell yes there is something. Chocolate. Chocolate by itself, chocolate with marshmallows, with peanut butter, with ice cream, in milk, in cookies, chocolate covering other items, like nuts or raisins or even bugs. For the record I have never ate a chocolate covered bug but If there is ever a chocolate shortage and that’s what’s available. Look out bugs.

Today it is chocolate chip cookies that are calling my name. “Gotha. Gotha” they are whispering to me.
I found a pin that took me to a post with several chocolate recipes. This one claimed to be THE Best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Was it the best? Close, what would have made them the best was if someone else had baked them for me. Ha-ha. Seriously, out of all the chocolate cookie recipes I have tried over the years this one is my new #1.
Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used 1 cup, I’m a rebel that way)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. I used a hand mixer and it works better if you use a fork to work your butter a few minutes before using the hand mixer. Add the brown sugar along with the sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Next add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until well combined. The cookie dough will be thick, if you’re using a hand mixer it will be struggling at this point. Add the chocolate chips and mix for several seconds until evenly disbursed, at this time I just used a fork to mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with aluminum foil to chill for at least 1 hour.
After the dough chills is done chilling out in the fridge let it sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. I used a silicone mat, I love it!
Roll into balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough per balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container. They should keep up to one week. If they last that long, they are pretty darn good.
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Strawberry Cobbler

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The husband and I went down the road to the strawberry farm this past weekend. We brought home a huge container of strawberries. HUGE! Once home I chopped most to freeze for smoothies. Used some for Strawberry Chia Jam. Recipe for jam will come at a later date. The last thing I made was a fresh Strawberry Cobbler (recipe a friend shared with me). My husband called it a pie but it’s a cobbler. He is still saying it was a pie. Poor misguided soul.
Oh my it was yummy no matter what you call it.

Cobblers. It seems everybody has their favorite recipe. To me the key to a good cobbler is the cake like top. If it’s not good it doesn’t matter how wonderful your filling is. This is a new recipe for me. It is not my favorite but it is a good cobbler. Darn good cobbler. One day I will share my two go to cobblers. They are simple, fool proof and so amazingly tasty.

Fresh Strawberry Cobbler

Fresh strawberries. Enough to fill you pan/pie dish over half full.
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup granulated sugar (I only had half a cup so I did half granulated sugar and half coconut sugar)
½ cup melted butter
1 egg

Chop your strawberries. Put in the pan the amount of strawberries you think is plenty. Now put in some more. These guys will cook down a lot. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of your sugar over the fruit.
Mix your Bisquick, rest of sugar, egg and butter together. You will have a thick batter type concoction. Spoon this over your strawberries.
Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Fresh picked strawberries

Fresh picked strawberries


Sugar mixture

Sugar mixture


batter topping

batter topping


I had a piece with a little bit of whipped cream. The husband had his with vanilla ice cream along with a huge helping of whipped cream. It was good. If I make this again I will either add more melted butter or some water to the batter topping. I think a thinner batter would have mingled more with the strawberries instead of just floating on top.
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Baked Fajitas

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Saw this on Pinterest the week I made my DIY taco seasoning. Thankfully I wrote down the recipe because like a few other pins I have tried Pinterest flagged them as spam and now the sites are gone.
I only have a photo of the dish before it went into the oven. It smelled so good when I pulled it from the oven I couldn’t keep the husband away from it before I could snap a picture.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven


It was tasty and so much easier and less time consuming than the regular way I make fajitas. Only thing I will do different next time is marinade the chicken like I do when I have made fajitas in the past. Recipe for marinade is below baked fajita recipe.

Baked Fajitas

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can green chilies
1-2 onions, sliced
1-2 bell peppers, sliced
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ tbsp. taco seasoning
½ tsp. lime juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix chicken, onions and peppers in a baking dish
In a small bowl combine oil, lime and taco seasoning.
Drizzle over meat and vegetables.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Warm some tortillas, gather up your toppings (sour cream, guacamole, cheese, etc.) and enjoy!

Marinade for chicken:
¼ c orange juice
¼ c lime juice
¼ c olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix it up in a small bowl throw in into a baggie with your uncooked chicken. Put into fridge to hang out for and hour to several hours.

I love onions, every so often I get a craving for some cooked onions. This marinade is awesome to use to fry up a pan of onions. Eat those onion by themselves or toss on top a baked potato. Yummy.

Blast from the Past: Cinnamon Toothpicks

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I remember in my early teen years walking to this convenience store down the road just to get a pack of cinnamon toothpicks. I loved those things. Sometimes my lips and mouth felt like they were on fire but that was part of the fun. I thought I was the coolest thing walking down the road dressed all in black with my toothpick hanging from my lips. Haha.
On a whim I typed in cinnamon toothpicks on Pinterest and imagine my happiness when a how-to pin popped up. I had on hand what I needed to make these. So hell yeah I did! Recipe from Ehow

Cinnamon toothpicks:

Cinnamon oil or flavoring
Small glass jar with a lid
Toothpicks

Pour oil into jar till it’s about 1/8 to ¼ deep.
Stand toothpicks upright so only one end id in oil. Just grab up a bundle, no need to count.
Screw on lid
Let sit overnight or 24 hours
Spread toothpicks on baking sheets to dry. When no longer oily/wet to touch.
Could take up to 7 days.

what you need

I did not have a small jar, well I did but the toothpicks were to tall I would not have been able to screw on the lid. So I had to go with a bigger jar. The jar was way to big. I poured cinnamon oil flavoring into the jar I realized right away that was not going to work as is. I would not be able to stand the toothpicks upright and the flavoring was spread to thin on the bottom. I had to do a little improvising. I tilted the jar to get the oil to one place, gently placed the toothpicks in, screwed on the lid. Then sat the jar tilted into a small cake pan and placed another glass jar up against the toothpick jar so it wouldn’t fall out of the pan.
Lastly I gently backed away trying not to bump anything.

Making it work

Making it work

Drying out

Drying out

Twenty-four hours later the oil was completely absorbed. I laid the toothpicks out on my pizza pan to dry. It did not take long to dry, just a day and a half.

Yes they are just like from my younger years.

Mother’s Day Cake and Skeletons

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Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Strawberry Cloud Cake in a canning jar

Happy Mother’s Day! Just spent time with the family. I must confess I did get a little jealous while they were here. The girls gave all their attention to Skelly. It still was a great mother’s day.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly's lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

Miss K wanted to sit on Skelly’s lap. it was funny and oh so cute. Miss S was content to lay her head on his shoulder.

I did have to bake my own cake. The husband nor the daughter bake so it was up to me to bake the cake. I decided to make a cake I saw on Pinterest. This cake is usually made with blueberry pie filling but I wanted to try strawberry pie filling. It is an easy cake to make. You can use a Bundt pan or a 9×13 pan. I used my Bundt pan. Not one of the pins gave a name to this cake so I named mine Strawberry Cloud.

Strawberry Cloud Cake

1 box of Angel Food cake mix
1 22 oz. can strawberry pie filling (any flavor pie filling will work)

In a large bowl mix by hand the two ingredients. That’s it. No water, no eggs, nothing else.

Pour into your greased pan. Now some pins say ungreased pan. First I’m not sure that is an actual word, second I have bake an angel food cake in a pan that wasn’t greased. Trust me you don’t want to clean out that pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch on top.

I was in a experimental mood so I also baked some of the batter in a small canning jar and a ramekin. I have been wanting to try baking a cake in a canning jar. Plus I wanted to see how well this would bake up in a ramekin incase I ever wanted to make this as one serving dessert for parties.

Cake ingredients

All three baked up nicely. I did worry about the glass shattering but it was a okay. This is a damn good cake. I had me a piece with some whip cream. Yummy. I did not share this with Skelly, he hogged my time with the girls so he wasn’t getting any of my cake.

I hope this day that we honor mothers was a good one for you.

single strawberry cloud

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn't wait.

Yes there is a big piece cut out of the back. I couldn’t wait.