The Beginning (and Banana Pudding)

My name is Teresa. I was born, raised, educated, and married in Kansas, but for the last two years I’ve lived in Georgia. I’m what they call a home baker and cook. This is me at the Grand Canyon on my first wedding anniversary, eating our wrapped-in-pastry-paper-and-cling-wrap-and-stuffed-in-Tupperware-and-surrounded-by-shredded-paper-and-frozen-and-then-transported-from-Kansas-to-Arizona wedding cake top tier. What you should learn from this is a) we are devoted to cake, b) it is possible to preserve cake well, c) transporting a cake approximately 1200 miles is easier said than done, and d) the “Let’s take our cake to the Grand Canyon” tale has a tragic ending–a story for another day.

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This was in 2015, and we’ve had two stellar years of marriage since then. Oh, and by “we,” I mean me and this guy:

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Yeah, that’s his thumb blurring the top right corner. I think it adds a certain depth and visual interest.

Bryce is a seminary student and soon to be pastor who loves baseball, ice cream, fun socks, and hiking. We live with our dog, Tater.

Yeah, he is that cute. Tater is the best cuddler you’ve ever met and nearly as good of a beggar. He also loves squeaky toys, car rides, and sweet potatoes. Much of my time is spent documenting his life, which chiefly consists of sleeping, sleeping more, and barking at noises outside because THERE ARE ROBBERS AND NINJAS OUT THERE, MOM. DANGER IS EVERYWHERE.

I’ve always loved to cook and bake, but ever since we moved to Georgia I’ve spent a lot more time in the kitchen. Ironic, perhaps, seeing that it’s a dimly lit, narrow galley with limited counter space. Apartment life, am I right?

I figured it might be time to start documenting my kitchen and life escapades (and pug antics), and a blog seemed like a good way to start!

And given my current southerner transplant status, what better way to kick off a culinary adventuring blog than with a quintessential southern dessert, banana pudding?

I opted to spend my extra time baking some fresh vanilla shortbread cookies and using instant pudding. If you don’t like instant pudding, feel free to make your own! And if you don’t like shortbread cookies or don’t want to bake them, substitute lady fingers or the classic Nilla wafers. You can’t go wrong!

Banana Pudding 

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

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1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

Preheat oven to 325. Mix ingredients together until dough forms. Chill in freezer 10-20 minutes. Form balls on greased cookie sheet and smash down with the bottom of a glass.

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Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.

The cookies will be pale on top, so take a look underneath for that golden brown color.

Pudding

1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 box instant banana pudding mix
4 cups milk
2 cups cool whip or whipped cream
3-4 bananas, sliced

In separate bowls, mix up vanilla and banana puddings (2 cups milk and 1 packet of pudding mix). Fold in 3/4 cup of cool whip into each bowl. Let the puddings set up in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a trifle dish or bowl (or individual cups/bowls if you’re feeling fancy), spread a layer of cookies, then bananas, then vanilla and/or banana pudding. Repeat layers until ingredients are used. Use remaining 1/2 cup cool whip to garnish the top of the pudding. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs if desired.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving so that cookies can soften. Serve up and enjoy!

I got this adorable bowl for $2.50 at a thrift store, so obviously I had to make banana pudding to fill it immediately after purchasing it.

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