So...I was feeling in a bit of a slump last week. I couldn't quite figure it out, but I was feeling grumpy, like I was stuck in such a rut of work, pick up Monkey, go home, make something b-o-r-i-n-g for dinner, clean up, go to bed. I know, I know...so horrible to have a good job, and ample transportation, and boring food to eat every night. I know, it could be so much worse. But, I am human, and sometimes I feel poopy even though my life is amazingly wonderful. I had a whole conversation about just this type of thing with my dear blog friend Leilani over at her blog in her comments. Check her out, I love her witty and insightful blog. Always good when you are all grumpy for no reason.
So, when I start feeling like this, I try to take a moment and examine what is going on, and for me, it didn't take long for me to realize why I was in a slump...food. Yes. Me and the Hubs LOVE to cook and create, and try new recipes, but sometimes, like everyone, we get in such a rut of chicken breast and frozen veggies, that our creativity is stifled and we are left feeling unexcited about our food and the process of making it.
So...determined to "fill our cups back up" I made a decision...we need to make this week have fun to prepare and exciting meals, every night. It was as easy as making a menu ahead of time, and buying the ingredients. So...that is what I did. I consulted the Hubs as to what lovely creations he wanted to make. Then I had a few ideas of my own; and together we decided on a menu we were excited about cooking AND eating.
To kick start the week, I thought I would make something fun this weekend for no particular reason at all. I hadn't created anything super fun in the kitchen in a while, so when the Hubs mentioned banana pudding last week, I thought I can make that, and it will be fun!
So, I did it. And I am no longer scared of meringue, it was easy. And we ate half the pan in one day. (We have a teenager to help...but still)
This recipe doesn't require a lot of ingredients you don't already have on hand, and is very simple.
For the custard portion you will need:
5 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Vanilla wafer cookies
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
Prepare a 9x9 baking dish by layering the bottom with vanilla wafer cookies and then banana slices.
In a large pot combine milk, egg and yolks, sugar and flour. I whisked it all together then used a rubber spatula to continually scrape the sides and bottom as it cooked. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. If you can draw a line in the middle of your pot and it "stays" it is ready.
(To quote Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: See the line?)
At this point, add the vanilla and cook 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, and spoon or pour mixture over your prepared layer of cookies and bananas. ( I like to spoon it on because pouring makes the cookies and banana slices float and move)
Now, place another layer of cookies and banana slices on top of the custard.
Set aside, and begin to prepare your meringue.
For meringue topping you will need:
4 egg whites
1/4 cup of sugar
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, add sugar. (My husband's family apparently nicknamed this stage of egg white beating as "calf slobber"...so when it looks like "calf slobber", add the sugar...thanks Hubs :) )
Continue beating the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.
Now you are ready to spoon your meringue on to the top of your layered pudding.
Pile it on top, careful not to work it too much, keeping the air in it is key, I swirled mine just a bit to make it have pretty places to brown in the oven.
Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. WATCH IT CLOSELY! This stuff can burn quickly, and if you are like me, and get side tracked, try to fight the urge. Once it is delicatley light golden brown on the peaks, remove from oven.
We served ours chilled a few hours later, but I like it warm also.
So, what are you doing this week to get out of your rut... come on, I know we all get in them ;)