Tag Archives: traditions

Grandma’s Recipe

There’s something satisfying about being bonded through food to someone you love. Several years ago I happened upon a recipe for banana pudding in one of my cookbooks. It delighted me to see adjustments written next to it that said, “Grandma’s way.”

20160528_140939I started making the pudding. First it was a Fourth of July tradition, then the kids started asking for it more often. Pretty much every time I made it I thought about how happy it would make my sweet grandma to know her great-grandchildren loved one of her specialties.
Time passed. Our family is growing. Soon after our daughter, Sarah, married, I found out banana pudding is one of her husband’s favorites, and my making of the treat increased in20160517_153924 frequency. That’s why our youngest son’s girlfriend, Ariel, discovered it. It delighted me when I offered to bring it to her graduation party, and her eyes lit with pleasure.

Again, it’s that connection thing. My grandma loved people through food. The family even teased her that she had some kind of a disease that required her to keep people feed. She was a good-old-fashioned-homemade-simple-country-kind-of cook. Nothing was fancy. Everything was GOOD. And there was always PLENTY of it.

Now those who are part of us get a little of Grandma’s lovin’ through my cookin’. (Hear the southern click in? I am from Oklahoma originally.)

As a mom of three boys, I soon discovered there is something to the old adage that food is a way into a man’s heart. My husband loved it as I learned favorite recipes from his side of the family, too. Traditions have grown from that–like homemade cinnamon rolls to start a holiday morning (or just because it snows).

For the gluten-free set, I’ve found my mom’s apple crisp to be a hit. For birthdays it’s a toss-up whether the one celebrated wants the “famous” Moldenhauer chocolate cake, a recipe from Jerry’s mom, Fencine, or my famous banana cake, a recipe from my mom. (Then again, David still votes for banana pudding no matter what!) When I make Grandma’s chocolate gravy for breakfast, I make homemade biscuits from a recipe from my brother, Curtis.

Then there are my own discoveries. Like the “holly” (Challah) bread which I learned to make, in part, because it pleased my Jewish neighbor, Bernice. It was a childhood favorite for her back in New York. My daughter, Sarah still loves to braid the dough, something she’s delighted in since childhood.IMAG0704

My grandma was well-known for her pies. Sarah and I spent hours covered in flour when she was little. I showed her how to feel the dough to know how much flour was needed, and how to “work” it as little as possible to keep it flaky. She now claims to make better apple pies than I do. (Her brothers agree; her father doesn’t. Smart man.)

Isn’t it all about relationship? I love making food that triggers a memory of someone I love. Grandma, Fencine, and Bernice are now all with their Lord, but I love watching the new people in my circle of love as they connect to a circle of those who have passed on and left their recipes of love for me to share.

Now . . . for those of you on Facebook who requested the recipe, I share this family treasure. (For more on the step-by step process, visit this post, which doesn’t have ingredients, but does show pictures and further explain the process.)

Grandma Eunice’s Banana Pudding

In large serving bowl:

Layer vanilla wafers and bananas

Cream together in medium sauce pan:

1 C sugar, 2 eggs, 3 heaping T flour

Add the following and place on medium heat:

3 C whole milk

Stir pretty much constantly!

When pudding thickens and begins to boil, keep stirring and add:

1 t real vanilla, 2 T real butter

When butter is completely melted pour over wafers and bananas. Crumble some wafers on top and line round wafers around the sides if you want just ’cause it’s pretty.

(If you’re making this for Ariel, Sarah, or David, go for more cookies and less bananas. If you’re making it for Stephen, go lighter on the cookies and heavier on the bananas. Then again your special people might like it however you do!)

Confession: Grandma used margarine and imitation vanilla, but even the best recipes can use a little tweak. ;o)

Grandma’s Pudding and the Red, White, and Blue

banana pudding 5I  pause only a brief moment to pull up the memory.

In my mind’s eye I see a hand built bar extending in front of the stove. On it is a black rotary phone, glasses, sweet tea, and pop bottles awaiting the evening meal, and there, covered in plastic wrap in a clear glass bowl is my grandma’s banana pudding.

A few years ago I happened upon notes in one of my cookbooks. I was thrilled. Grandma had been with her God for years, and I thought her famous banana pudding left with her. But there, in my own handwriting, were adaptations to the pudding recipe with the note, “Grandma’s way” next to them.

A new 4th of July tradition was born that day, and I held my own bowl of banana pudding high when I arrived at my brother’s house whispering, “Grandma’s recipe.”

It was first on my to-do list this morning (well right after the 3.77 mile walk with hubby and the two eggs and 1 chicken sausage I ravenously consumed after that.)

The pudding was made the old-fashioned, southern way–layered vanilla waffers and perfectly ripened bananas.

banana pudding 1a

Whole milk, sugar, eggs and flour on the stove, don’t stop stirring.

banana pudding 2

Finally, just when you think your arm is going to fall off, it thickens.

banana pudding 3

Then you add the real butter and real vanilla. (Grandma used margarine, but even the best banana pudding ever sometimes needs tweaks.)

banana pudding 4

Once mixed, it flows over the bananas and wafers, then is decorated with a few crumbles, just like Grandma did.

banana pudding 1

Then it is off to the refrigerator where the cookies become mushy, the bananas softer, and the flavors invade each other to make a new one, slightly altered by their unity.

Today is a celebration day. Not a day to count calories or worry about the waist line. It’s a day to embrace my little family and rejoice that my son asked for Grandma’s pudding, pulling my past into this cycling of life to the future.

Celebration isn’t about money or bells and whistles. It’s the simple things, like Grandma’s pudding and cuddling under a blanket together to watch fireworks. It’s also the deep things. Gratitude for loved ones. A humble embrace of freedoms earned by another’s sacrifice. A moment’s reflection on the value of the human soul, the meaning of liberty. (Thanks, Jerry for the link.)

Now to bake pies and fry chicken. I wanted to grill in the backyard, but the kids wanted a picnic at the fireworks site. Call me old-fashioned but sandwiches and chips just don’t cut it today, so I’m off to the kitchen.

It’s a good thing Jerry and I walked before breakfast.

Happy Fourth!

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Grandma’s Pudding and the Red, White, and Blue!

Weight Loss Journey Day 47

IMAG0291What a blessing to enjoy traditions even though the kids are (mostly) grown up. We had a lovely  family day. Sarah came home for the afternoon, and we made snowflakes for the living room window—our annual winter tradition.

I have so much more energy these days! I got up BEFORE church, made a southern breakfast (which I ate, just in lesser quantities), and mixed up homemade chocolate chip cookies for everyone to enjoy with our traditional hot chocolate.

After my thoughts last week about needing a day of rest/worship/family time, I didn’t even try to exercise. I was about 1300 calories instead of 1200, but that’s not bad considering I had a few cookies! I ate light at supper—my shake and no extras in it. And I found I was content with herb tea (no calories) when the rest of the family had their hot chocolate. I didn’t feel left out or deprived. I just felt . . . intentional . . . as I made choices for less sweets and smaller meals, but still allowed myself a bit of cookie dough and a couple of small cookies during our family time. I love My Fitness Pal app. It keeps me accountable!

Oh! And a huge thing happened at church that encourages me to believe I’m hearing the Lord with these little nudges on my walk. I saw a young woman who teaches at the elementary school near our house—the one I thought the Lord told me to walk around a couple of times and pray for earlier this week. I told her about the experience, and she told me that the school has been taken over by the state for poor performance!

All the teachers will be fired at the end of the year, and only half will be invited back! I had prayed for hope as I walked around that school, not even knowing how hopeless things must feel for those there, having no idea what was going on! I’d also prayed for change, for revival. It’s incredible to think that the Holy Spirit is this personal, that He  shows a momma in Colorado how to pray about things she knew nothing about.                   ~December 9, 2012

Real Time Update:

Here we are two months later. I’ve been on this weight loss journey for 119 days. Last Thursday I shared that I took a week off from being bonded to My Fitness Pal. I wanted to see if I could keep losing weight without logging every calorie. I hoped I’d learned enough about eating well that it was now habit. Here’s what I noticed:

1) I mostly stuck to my new eating habits, but found it easier to snitch a piece of chocolate or something like that when I didn’t have to record it.

2) While I got in some exercise, that feeling of needing to burn calories to buy more at my meals was diminished, which resulted in less drive to get outside.

3) I lost weight at about the same rate I did the week before.

So, what’s the verdict? There’s NO way (in my mind) I could have changed my eating habits early on without the help of a calorie tracker. However, I’m pretty wise now about what I can and can’t do. Still, the accountability helps.

I thought about returning to My Fitness Pal, but my husband suggested I try to apply what I learned this week and fix it instead of going back to the more rigid approach. That said, I’m going to give this idea one more week. But if I don’t lose, I’m back to recording every bite.

I do have a mother-of-the-bride dress to buy!