"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

good friends, good eats

My favorite pharmacists just joined the blogging community! Welcome, BJ and Jen Cougle to the wave of future. Prepare to be stalked.

Also, it's been many moons since I've shared a Delicious Dish - my deepest apologies.

I haven't always liked banana pudding, but I can remember my dear friend Ashley telling me how much she loved it. And as luck would have it, I married a lover of this dessert. So, though I'm not what I would call a connoisseur, I think this recipe is pretty good and SO very easy.

Easy Nanner Puddin'

1 large box vanilla instant pudding (I get the sugar free kind, and it's great in this recipe)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (again, I use the fat free)
1 tub Cool Whip, completely thawed (and again, fat free)
about 1/2 box Nilla Wafers (yes, the reduced fat kind)
about 3 bananas

Prepare pudding as directed. Stir in can of sweetened condensed milk (I don't use the whole can - only about 2/3 to 3/4; it makes it too runny for me) with pudding and put in fridge to continue to set.

Slice bananas. Crush some Nilla Wafers in a ziploc bag (I usually fill a small Ziploc bag to crush and leave the rest of the box whole for decorating or snacking) depending on how many you like. I like lots of Nillas.

Layer the Nillas , pudding mixture, banana slices and Cool Whip in whatever order you like (I prefer the one I just described), beginning and ending with whole Nillas and using the crushed ones in between. Also, I usually end up using more than one tub of Cool Whip, so it might not be a bad idea to have some extra handy. Chill and serve. Makes about 6-8 servings.

Ashley would probably say that this is not REAL banana pudding, but it's all I got.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

memories...like the corners of my mind...

I talked to someone this morning about growing tomatoes in a pot.

I've seen it done - I know it can happen. Dr. Dirt told me which ones worked and which ones didn't. I would love a fresh tomato every night with my dinner. I had some heirloom tomatoes at Haley's house this weekend, and they were wonderful (she of course did not grow them, but they were delish nonetheless). For those of you who that love a mater, these are worth searching for and spending a little money on. But I digress.

This post started out dedicated to tomato growth. I know nothing of the subject. I wasn't going to act as though I did, just share what I learned from Dr. Dirt. Instead, I felt led to tell my loyal following about my Mimi - something about tomatoes makes me think of her.

It is no secret that I have a black thumb. My grandmother, Fisher Hubbard, in her heyday was a renaissance woman - seamstress, master crafter, chef, do-it-herselfer, fisherwoman and gardener extraordinnaire. I can still remember looking out her back windows and seeing the rows of veggies and herbs she grew in her own backyard. That yard always looked so big to me, and a part of me is glad I may never see it again so I can keep my own image of it. She's not able to do a lot of the things she loved doing once, but I hope just a little of her lives on in me. I learned so much from her, and many of my fondest memories involve her.

We never wanted for anything at Mimi's house. There were always good snacks, she had Nickelodeon, and there was always something to do. She once bought us a few yards of stretchy pink lace fabric with little gold threading. I'm sure it didn't cost her much, but Harris and I thought it was beautiful. I can still remember us trying to decide what to make with it and Mimi patiently teaching us how to thread a needle and make our first simple stitches.

She always had tomatoes in the window in her kitchen. They sat among a Bluebird of Paradise above the clean dishes drying in the sink. Most of the time they came from her garden outside and I suppose were placed there to ripen in the sun. To this day, the smell of a fresh tomato reminds me of her. And it was in her garden that I learned what dill smells like. She doesn't live in that house anymore, but I could still describe nearly every inch of it to you.

Mimi's kitchen table is in my apartment right now. Some of the best meals I remember were eaten at that table - not that I prepared, mind you. She never was a complicated cook, never used fancy ingredients like truffle oil or saffron (that I know of), but her fried chicken was the real thing, and she was never afraid to make caramel icing, which she referred to as caramel candy when unaccompanied by cake. Leftovers were always stored in a Cool Whip container, labeled with masking tape bearing the contents and its date.

I can see now the sewing machine that sat in Mimi's bedroom, right in front of a couple of small drawers that always held Doublemint gum. The thought of making something wearable or useable out of a piece of fabric was always fascinating to me, and she made it happen all the time. She would sit on a stool with a cross-pointed seat and make everything from clothes for us and clothes for our dolls to exquisite quilts, which Harris and I will undoubtedly fight over one day. One such quilt was on my bed until I was about 12 years old.

I could go on and on about Mimi, and even the memories I've recounted today don't do her justice. Most everyone has grandmothers who were great cooks and sewed or quilted, but I can assure you none of them were like my Mimi. I'm not able to see her as much now as I'd like, and it wouldn't be the same anyway. I'll still ask my mom, as I always have, to re-tell stories of my grandmother and the crazy things she did, and we'll pass down her recipes, home remedies and creative shortcuts to family and friends alike from years to come.

Mimi will be 89 this August. I'd love to plant a tomato plant in her honor. I know she'll be proud.

Monday, July 7, 2008

america the beautiful

Happy (late) Independence Day!

232 years ago, our country fought for and won freedom from the oppressive Redcoats and founded the US on the privileges of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What more could you want?

Kell, the twins and I spent this weekend in Greenville knee-deep in homemade ice cream, ribs and mosquitoes and were hopelessly devoted to the Wimbledon finals. Watching those Williams sisters is always entertaining, but the real action was Sunday's men's championship match between Federer and Nadal. The longest ever in Wimbledon history, the nearly 5-hour match cemented the next great tennis rivalry. Move over Pete and Andre, yesterday's battle between the Federer Express and Rafa defined "bitter end."

Anxious to not only win a record-breaking 6th Wimbledon in a row but to also ease the sting of his French Open defeat, Roger gave the Spanish Rafael Nadal all he had, and it still wasn't enough. Instead another record was broken by Nadal - the first since Bjorn Borg to win on both the clay courts of the French Open and the grass of Wimbledon. Tiebreaker after tiebreaker drug the match out until 9:15 p.m., when the physically and emotionally exhausted players were gracious and humble in both victory and defeat. Congrats, Rafa...but my heart will always belong to Roger.

Sorry to those who were interested in things other than a Wimbledon recap. That seems like literally all I did this weekend.
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