Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sweet Deliciousness!

It's summer in Atlanta already. We just skipped right over spring and went straight to those hot, muggy days. Ick.

While long hot days generally don't have me craving a piping hot bowl of apple crisp topped with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream or a warm piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream (although, really, is there ever a bad time for that?), they do get me flipping through my cookbooks for light, fruity, refreshing answers to my ever-present sweet tooth.

After consulting my new favorite cookbook, Fresh Food Fast (by Cooking Light of course), I have fallen in love with the light, creamy and deliciously fruity Strawberry-Banana Pudding.

How bad can that be?

The crunchy yet soggy vanilla wafer crust layered with creamy, smooth vanilla pudding gently folded into the cloud-like whipped topping makes my mouth water.

The soft, ripe bananas cubed and mixed into the pudding ever so gently, hide behind the wafers just waiting to be discovered in my mouth. Finally, topped with luciously sweet strawberries that are seeping sugar from their pours, this dessert has earned a place in my personal Dessert Hall of Fame.

(She says as she licks her lips.)

Strawberry-Banana Pudding
(from Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast cookbook)

1 (3.4 oz.) package of instant vanilla pudding
1 Cup of fat-free milk
1 (8 oz.) container of fat-free whipped topping
3 ripe bananas, diced
1 1/2 Cups vanilla wafers
2 Cups of fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Combine pudding mix and milk in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Fold in bananas.

2. Layer 3/4 Cup of cookies in bottom of an 8x8 glass dish.

3. Spread half of pudding mixture over cookies.

4. Repeat with remaining cookies and pudding mixture.

5. Top with sliced strawberries. Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday Morning Coffee

The words just make me smile. After a long work week, the sweetest reward on a Saturday morning (aside from not getting screamed at my my alarm clock at 5:45 a.m.) is pouring that freshly brewed, steaming cup of rich, dark coffee into my favorite mug. You have one too; it's the mug that fits just perfectly in your hand and sends feelings of warmth and coziness from your fingers to your toes as the joe wafts smells of Sumatra or Costa Rica or Arabica to your olfactory system.

Then, there are the creamers. Oh, the creamers. At any given time, I have been known to have up to six bottles of various flavors in my fridge (mind you, I live only with a four-legged furry friend, Max). My obsession started innocently with Irish Cream and Vanilla. Then, I discovered the Peppermint Mocha and Pumpkin Spice...and now it's just overwhelming with the Sweet Italian Cream, Chocolate Chip Creme Brulee and Belgian Chocolate Toffee. I mean really. Who comes up with all these flavors? I'd like to bake them a pound cake.

Once the flavor decision has been made, I delicately open the cap and pour the silky cream into the dark perfection and watch as it swirls inside, turning the darkness into a milky, creamy bath of goodness. If I'm feeling a little crazy, I may sprinkle some spicy cinnamon in for a bit of an extra kick.

With such utter perfection in hand, I sink into my couch and cuddle into my favorite cranberry chenille blanket and flip on my DVR episodes of Barefoot Contessa....ahhh....

Alas, today, my Saturday Morning Coffee eludes me. Instead, I am sitting in my local Starbucks, blogging (which I adore by the way!) and catching up on my life while awaiting the "opportunity" to pay an unexpected lot of for new tires and a tune up.

Oh, Belgian Chocolate Toffee, where art thou?