Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As promised, here is one of my favorite Paula Deen recipes. I have made it alot and encourage everyone who loves banana pudding to try it.  Warning: it is RICH! So watch your portion control, but it is oh so yummy!

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

A new twist on an old favorite.  This banana pudding is delicious and pretty too!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Easy


1   12-ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whip
1   14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1   8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 cup milk
1   5-ounce box instant French vanilla pudding
6-8   bananas, sliced
2   bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies


Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.  Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.  Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oh Paula Deen You Disappoint Me!

I am without a doubt a big Paula Deen fan. I have been a fan for a long time...not just one of those "fan-come-latelys". I have the recipe books...the early ones. I have "tivo"d the show for years.  I actually MAKE the recipes.  Yes, I like her.  So when Harrah's Casino in Cherokee announced that it would be adding Paula's Deen's Kitchen Restaurant to their property I was just a little excited!

I learned too late that Paula herself would be there for the opening so I missed it. But true to her spirit, she stopped at the Manna Food Bank in Asheville to help distribute Smithfield Hams.

I knew the stars had aligned a few weeks later when my daughter was scheduled to play basketball against Cherokee High School.  You got it...just a few miles from Paula Deen's restaurant! So I quickly made hotel reservations at Harrah's and headed to the ball game! However, we were quickly disappointed as we learned the restaurant would be closed the next day due to renovations/construction in the restaurant. So we left Cherokee with no Paula Deen cooking!

However, the stars lined up again for me just a week later when my daughter tells me her soccer team is headed to Cherokee! So my oldest daughter and I leave early to give plenty of time to grab lunch at Paula Deen's.  We arrive at the restaurant, take a few arrival pics (yes we were excited) and head in to check out the menu.


And here is the Paula Deen's Kitchen Menu...not exactly a value meal!

After walking through the fabulous Paula Deen Store we are seated.  We look over the menu and choose fried chicken with okra and tomatoes and collards for Lauren, and cornmeal crusted catfish with creamy coleslaw and sweet potato wedges for me.  After nearly one hour of waiting for our food (in an almost empty restaurant) our food arrives.  And it is HORRIBLE! I couldn't believe it. It was cold, the fried chicken was tasteless, the catfish was BLEH! Not quite sure how to explain how disappointed we were. So after almost $50 and one and half hours we left Paula Deen's with sad faces.

I am sure Paula has no idea that the folks at Harrah's Cherokee are totally ruining her rep.  Someone needs to tell her! It's that bad! Oh well...hopefully we will make it to the Lady and Son's in Savannah one day and all will be made whole again! In the meantime, in my next post I will share one of my favorite Paula Deen recipes that you can make at home...and it's guaranteed good!  

The call everyone hopes they don't get

Last Sunday night we got the call no parent wants to get.  Our daughter Lauren was on her way home for Spring Break.  It had snowed that day (yes we live in the NC mountains so it still snows in March).  She had hit a slick place in the snow covered road, began to slide, then flipped the car she was driving.  To make matters worse, this was the second wreck she had had in a two week span. Just two weeks earlier her car had been totaled when someone hit her in her apartment parking lot.  Now she had wrecked our friend's car who had let her drive their car while we waited on the insurance $. She was more upset over damaging their car than the possibility of being hurt.

My daughter and I jumped in a car with friends and headed towards Lauren.  She had wrecked about 40 minutes from home. There is nothing worse than coming up on a wreck site in the dark with police lights flashing and road blocks.  We made our way to her where she was waiting in a police car. The car had hit a rock wall (you know the kind God makes) and flipped on its side.  Somehow she had found a way to push the passenger's door open (meaning up) and crawl out. The police were surprised and wondered how she had gotten out.   

After a trip to the hospital to have her checked out, we headed home.  No broken bones, just sore muscles. Not the start to Spring Break that she wanted. 

She keeps asking why is everything happening to me? I don't really know how to answer that. I do know that sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives to get our attention.  I do believe He has our attention.  Sometimes we cruise along in our lives, being our own pilots, doing things the way we want to do them. Sometimes doing things we know we shouldn't. Sometimes we get in a "bad" rut and it is hard to get back on track. And then something happens to stop us in our tracks leaving us with time to make choices. Choices to get back on His track, to re-examine the direction we are allowing our lives to take. 

We are all a little exhausted right now. Mentally and physically. It's been a tumultuous beginning to 2011. And sometimes our kids don't realize that whenever they are struggling that we are struggling right there with them. As parents we worry, we lose sleep, we spend our energies trying to encourage them and keep them "up". It's just what we do.

As Spring Break comes to an end and she heads back to college, I am spending my time thanking God for his protection of her over the last few weeks and even thanking him for stopping us in our tracks and giving us time to re-examine our tracks.

I need a lazy weekend....but I am not going to get it

Friday, March 4, 2011

I need a lazy weekend.  I don't remember the last one I had.  There just seems to always be something that I NEED to do!  Our little family has had a tramatic and drama filled few weeks....our oldest Lauren, bless her little heart, has had more to deal with than any 20 year old should, including wrecking her car and a CRAZY-THANK-THE-LORD-HE-IS-AN-EX boyfriend.  And then there's Lyndsay...the winding down of her final basketball season complete with senior nights, playoff games (which we should have won...dumb refs!) and some tears as it all rolled to an end.  Yes, I need a lazy weekend.  I don't see it in the near future, but if there is a lazy weekend in your future, try these Lazy Cookies from Joy's Hope blog.  They are SOOO easy...don't ya love it?  (All of the photos and recipe instructions come from Joy's Hope blog.  While you are being lazy...mosey on over there and take a look.  It's a good one!)

You will need a mini muffin pan, Reese's Minatures, and ready to bake peanut butter cookie dough.

If your cookie dough makes 24 you are all set to go. If it makes 12 big cookies like the one I bought you need to break apart each cookie so you get 24 pieces of dough. Just place them in the muffin cups. Bake it for about 5 minutes LESS than the directions say. You need the cookies to be gooey when they come out of the oven.

While they are cooking unwrap 24 Reese's cups. They need to be lined up and ready to go because the next step has to be really quick. When they are unwrapped walk away. Trust me, if you stay in the kitchen they will start disappearing. Go check your email, read my blog, etc.

As soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven push a Reese's in each cookie. Since the cookies are still gooey the Reese's will fit in nicely. Let the cookies cool while still in the muffin tin. The cookies will cook a little bit more while they sit. When they are cooled pop them out and try not to eat them all. Enjoy