Sunday, May 15, 2011

Holy Sweetness!

So, I'm EXHAUSTED after today's family dinner. It was fun and I was surprisingly calm while preparing for the festivities. Even my husband was surprised at my temperament. I'm the 'cook who should NEVER have a cooking show'. Invariably, I spill something or burn myself, or have some other kitchen mishap. Today however, mostly everything worked! I think I've learned the most important cooking lesson: only prepare dishes that you have made before. Sure, I've read this rule over and over again, but never do I follow it. Today, I did. Well, I did experiment one dish, but the rest were old tried-and-true recipes that I didn't need a recipe book for and that I knew tasted good (according to my husband that is). On today's menu:
Vesuvio Potatoes (the experiment dish-a bit undercooked-but I will try it again sometime)
Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Shells (Vernon's favorite)
Broccoli and Peppers
Greens with Tomatoes (Another of Vernon's preferred meals)
Cheesy Garlic Bread
My sisters-in-law brought Baked Chicken and Crisp Green Salad to round out the meal.
To top off the meal was a delicious dessert that I created a few weeks ago that I thought I would share with the family. After a couple requests for the recipe, I am including it here on the blog for you to try. Try it out because it is pretty simple to make and rather tasty.

Coconut Banana-Berry Pudding

2 cups frozen mixed berries

½ cup blueberries

14 oz Light Coconut Milk

1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

2/3 Cup Sugar

6 TBSP Cornstarch

Pinch of salt

2 bananas sliced

Vanilla Wafers

In a blender mix berries and coconut milk until smooth

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add 1/3 of the berry mixture and whisk into a paste while heating on medium heat. Add the remaining berry mixture and heat to a low boil while continuously stirring. Turn off heat and allow to thicken (2-3 minutes). Place pot in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Slice 2 bananas and set aside. Spread an even layer (about 1/3) of berry mixture in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Layer Vanilla Wafers followed by a layer of bananas and blueberries. Continue with another 1/3 of the pudding followed by wafers then bananas and berries. Layer once again with pudding and top with remaining wafers and berries.

Place in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes depending on temperature desired. Add additional sliced banana to the top layer right before serving.

It is vegan (except for the Vanilla Wafers that I used, but you can find vegan wafers at the health-food store) and by using light coconut milk you save fat and calories without compromising flavor. Everyone seemed to like this dessert so I will definitely be adding this to my permanent repertoire. Next blog...coming soon. Until then, happy eating!

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