Lemon Fluff

lemon-fluffIt’s officially the middle of summer and I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods, but here in Arizona it is HOT!  It’s the kind of hot that makes you only want to eat light foods that won’t weigh you down and lucky for you I have the perfect dessert for just such a day: Lemon Fluff.

Lemon Fluff has been a favorite of mine since I was little.  I remember my mom making it until I was around 5 or 6 and then not having it for years. It turns out around that time my mom helped make a dinner for our church and her part was to make 15 pans of Lemon Fluff.  After that my mother didn’t want to make it again.  When I was coming home from college one year my mother asked what I’d like for her to make while I was home and this dessert immediately came to mind.  It has now become a staple for me every time that I go home (I took this picture when I was at home this summer.  Don’t you just love my mom’s china?) and it’s one of my favorite things to have in the heat of the summer.

AnneOpinion

Lemon Fluff is just what is sounds like, light, airy and so good I could sit down and eat an entire 9×13 pan in one sitting with no problem at all.

It has a graham cracker crust on the bottom that is the perfect compliment to the mousse like lemon mixture on the top.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when making this dessert.  First is to get the evaporated milk into the refrigerator ahead of time so that it has time to chill.  The second thing is to make sure that you don’t let the jello set.  This is what I’ve messed up on the most.  It still tastes good but ideally you don’t want chunks of jello in the whipped lemon mixture

This is perfect for serving at a small intimate affair and it’s great for a crowd.  Just don’t be surprised when people ask for seconds, thirds ,and fourths, because it’s that good.

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Lemon Fluff
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Lemon Fluff
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place evaporated milk in the refrigerator to chill (I like to do this the night before). Crush graham crackers into crumbs. Mix crumbs, butter and 1/3 C sugar together and press evenly into a 9x13 pan and put into the refrigerator to chill. Dissolve jello, 3/4 C sugar, and lemon juice in boiling water. Chill jello until almost set (be careful not to let it set all the way!). Whip chilled milk with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the jello mixture and whip together. Pour over the crust and let chill a minimum of 2 hours.
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries

grahamcracker-pancakes In case you’ve missed a general pattern around here, I love anything with graham crackers. S’more Cookies, Peanut Butter Smuggies, and Kitchen Sink Pies are just a few examples. When I found this recipe on bitememore.com for Graham Cracker Pancakes with Cheesecake and Glazed Blueberries, I said “Sign me up!” These are a must try. Unfortunately I ended up with some mixed feeling about them.

AnneOpinion

grahamcracker-pancakes2Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.

The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.

I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries.  I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.

So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Ingredients
Graham Cracker Pancakes
Cheesecake Topping
Raspberries
Servings:
Instructions
  1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries. To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined. To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
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Southern Banana Pudding

southern-banana-puddingAngels.  They come into our lives at critical times. Times when we may be feeling emotionally or physically overwhelmed and they remind us that we are not alone.  That there are those in this world, and above this world, that available to support us, if we will only let them.  Two such angels came to me after the birth of my second son.

My first son had arrived late and I had needed to be inducted to have him.  I had been born 11 days late, (not that that means anything) but in my mind these two things meant that I would not be having babies early. Imagine my surprise when Baby #2 decided to demand his arrival 2 weeks early!  I was not ready for this and neither was my husband.  My mother was not in town (she quickly moved her flight to come in 4 days later).  She was my planned babysitter for while I was in the hospital and she was to be my help when I arrived home.  Oh, the best laid plans…

My husband took the next two days off from work, while I was in the hospital, but his schedule wouldn’t permit more than that.  So, I awoke that first morning home in full dread of the day ahead.  I had just given birth to a 10 lb 4 oz baby 3 days before and now I was on my own until 6:00 at night with said baby and a crazy active 23 month old.  It was all I could do to survive the day.  I’ll spare you my whining’s of the day’s happenings and just end with the wonderful angels that came to my house with a hot dinner for my family.  What a blessing!  It’s such a small thing, but it meant so much!  I was loved and others knew and empathized with what I was going through.  I was not alone!

The dessert that they brought was Southern Banana Pudding.  It was so good!  I savored every bite and managed to make it last for 3 days. I loved the soft cookies with the creamy pudding and the touch of sour that each of the lemon coated bananas had.  As far as I was concerned, it was heaven in a bowl.  I got the recipe and now every time I have Southern Banana Pudding I think of those angels and the light that they brought me.

I recently found this recipe on Chef Maria Kitchen and decided to try it because it was so similar to the one I already loved and I wanted to see if the differences improved it.  I actually like it better and this is now my go to recipe for Southern Banana Pudding.

AnneOpinion

I like to run my banana slices through lemon juice immediately after I slice them.  This makes sure that the slices don’t brown and I like the little bit of acidy that it adds to the dish.  To do this just quickly dip the slices in a small bowl of lemon juice and then place them in another or bowl to store until you need them.

This recipe is just like the one that I got from those angels 13 years ago, expect for one ingredient.  The cream cheese was a new addition for me to this recipe.  I liked how it help tone down the taste of the sweetened condensed milk and brought a real balance to the flavors.

When you make this pudding make sure and give it a least four hours to sit in the refrigerator before serving it.  This will give the cookies time to soften.

This is a perfect dessert for a summer BBQ or a potluck dinner.  It’s light and refreshing and friends, big and small, love bananas and vanilla wafers!

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Southern Banana Pudding
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Southern Banana Pudding
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place lemon juice in a small bowl. Slice bananas and quickly run them through the lemon juice. Set aside. Line the bottom of a large glass bowl or a 9x13 pan with 1 bag of cookies and half of the bananas on top. In a medium mixing bowl combine the milk and pudding and mix according to the directions on the box. In another bowl combine the cream cheese and condensed milk with an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and fold with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Pour half of the mixture over the cookies and bananas and repeat each of the layers (reserving cookies for the top if you want to decorate the top of the pudding.) Cover and refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Chef Maria Kitchen

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Easter Eggs Benedict

eggs-benedictI have always loved Easter.  I was dying eggs until I left for college and my parents even have a picture of me participating in the family Easter egg hunt when I was 15.  My favorite part was always getting a new Easter dress every year.  There was something always very special about that dress and each year I searched for the perfect one. I think I could tell you what each one looked like until I turned 18 (I remember dumb things like that) and then real life set in and I quit getting them every year.  That is probably the one thing that comes around every year that makes me wish I had a daughter.  My boys could care less about getting Easter ties and in fact they seem to think it’s a chore to have to get their pictures taken in their Easter outfits. Sigh, the differences between boys and girls. 🙂

My thoughts on Easter now have more to do with making sure we keep up on traditions and preparing good food than getting a new dress.  One thing that I have found is that I always have a lot more hard boiled eggs than I know what to do with.  There are only so many deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches that we want to eat.  I got this recipe at a recipe exchange group years ago and after some tweaking of my own, it has become a staple of after Easter menu.

AnneOpinion

I love this recipe because it uses two of the both of the things that I have left over after Easter, hard boiled eggs and ham.

I love it when you make something really easy, but you can make it sound super fancy. Like this: You start by making a béchamel sauce (that’s the fancy French way of saying white sauce.)  After adding some cheese, lemon juice and mustard to help make it taste more like a hollandaise sauce, you add in chopped egg whites.

Next you build your Eggs Benedict by starting with a toasted English muffin, add a piece of ham or Canadian bacon, pour on the sauce and add egg yolk crumbles and smoked paprika.

It’s as simple as that.  No messing with poaching eggs, you get to use the words béchamel, faux hollandaise, and eggs benedict when describing it to someone and it is a delicious way to use up all of those eggs!

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I didn’t feel like I could talk about my thoughts on Easter with out mentioning Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all that I am and for all that I can become because of Him. I hope you enjoy this video!  Happy Easter!!!

Easter Eggs Benedict
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Servings
8 servings
Servings
8 servings
Easter Eggs Benedict
Print Recipe
Servings
8 servings
Servings
8 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks. Chop egg white into small pieces and set aside. Place egg yolks in a bowl and break up into a crumble mixture using the back of a fork; set aside. On a medium heat melt the butter, add flour and whisk together for 30 seconds. Add milk and whisk until thick. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add egg whites to sauce. Cut English muffin in half and toast. Brown Canadian Bacon on a frying pan. To assemble place an English muffin half on a plate. Top with a slice of Canadian Bacon, egg white sauce, sprinkle with egg yolks and smoked paprika. Enjoy!
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