Peak Performers

No new recipes this week, and no new cakes (took the week off!!). So, what to post….

 

One thing I’ve wanted to do for a WHILE is post about the blog’s “peak performers” as we call them at work. The posts that have been getting the most attention. And then share one recipe that is my current favorite.

It still baffles me that my posts have gotten SO MUCH attention!! Now, I’m not complaining at all.  Matter-of-fact, I’m humbled that a tiny blog from Texas can get so many views. Next stop, my own tv show on Food Network and a cookbook!!

Ha! Totally joking. That’s quite the long shot. But hey, it’s worked for some people before.  My eyes will forever be on the spotlight.  Suppose I’ll have to get better about coming up with new recipes and cakes …and taking time to post more often…before that will ever happen.

Alas, for now I’ll share some of the recipes that have been the talk of the town internet.

**Disclaimer: Pretty please with a cheery on top. Please share links to your favorite recipes from this site.  There have been a ton of fakers lately claiming these recipes are theirs.  Which isn’t cool, yo. Thanks!**

  1. Banana Pudding Cake
    Alright, so this is definitely the star of the site. I’ll be posting an updated post with pictures and step by step instructions. The thing that I like the most about this cake is that it’s a showstopper without spending a ton of time on decorating. Also love it since it was a cake created specifically for my grandpa and dad for their birthdays!IMG_0968
  2. Granny’s Peanut Butter Fudge
    One of my favorite recipes. Period. My grandma Trula (aka Granny) used to make this for the family all the time.  Every holiday, party, and sometimes on a random day whenever we wanted something sweet. She was an amazing woman and I miss her dearly. But am happy to have a replica of her recipe so we can still make her PB fudge on holidays. IMG_0529
  3. Granny’s Peach Cobbler
    Another Granny Trula classic!! This isn’t your typical cobbler.  This is more like a cake cobbler since the breading portion isn’t just a thin layer on top.  But I love it that way. I usually like the cobbler portion better than the fruit portion anyways. Yes, I’m the girl who takes a little more than her serving of “crust” and leaves behind a lot of fruit. No shame in my game!
  4. Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Yum!! Chewy cookies are better than crispy ones any day.  There’s also a lighter version!
  5. Banana Pudding
    A favorite from my mom’s side of our family.  We have this at every holiday. (Apparently we like desserts on holidays…) This isn’t your typical southern banana pudding. It’s better!! Why? because we use shortbread cookies instead of ‘nilla wafers most of the time, there’s cream cheese in it, and all of the banana flavor comes from the bananas in it. The pudding itself is vanilla flavored.  I do NOT like “banana pudding” that is banana flavored pudding with some sliced bananas thrown in.  That’s not banana pudding. Southerners do it right!

So there you have it, the top recipes on the blog.  Aka~ the Popular Group as they would’ve been known in high school terminology.  And while I love these recipes (they are family favorites after all), I also love the misfits.  My favorite recipe right now?

Well I have two:

  1. Pumpkin spice muffins – of course! Fall is almost here!!
    I love pumpkin bread at Starbucks (well, really, I love everything from Starbucks…I’m a gold member there.) but holy calorie-laden sweet bread, people!! So I prefer this recipe.  A little more healthful, a lot more homemade, and it makes my house smell amazing.
    Nutrition info for these:  168 Calories, 7.5g fat (1.3g Sat fat), 24g carbs, 13g sugar, 1.3g fiber, and 3g protein
    Nutrition per slice of Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin: 420 Calories, 13g fat (4.5g sat fat), 71g carbs, 47g sugar, 2g fiber, 6g proteinApple Butter Pancakes
  2. Apple butter pancakes – another fall fave
    Pancakes = delicious, apple butter = AWESOME. So put them together and you have greatness. Plain and simple.

Hope you enjoy some of the top performing posts!

Which one is your favorite??

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Banana Pudding, Revisited

You may remember a previous post.  It’s one of the most popular on the site!

That post is super old, so it was time for a remake.  Time for prettier pictures. Time to tell some funny stories about the last time my family made the banana pudding.

My mom made this pudding for our family’s Thanksgiving.  (While I made these sweet potatoes.) As per usual, hilarious moments happened the entire time.  Now allow me to preface this by saying that my family reads my blog, so we joked about the blog often that day.  To keep things short and sweet, funny moments will be bulleted:

  • When I first started this blog, my mom laughed as I took pictures of my food. Now, a couple of years later, she said “Ew, don’t take the picture with that background….Hang on.”  Then got out a towel for a better background.
  • While mashing the sweet potatoes, I heard a scream.  Turned around to see that the handle was stuck on the sink sprayer and water was going everywhere.  We both laughed for a while with that one.
  • The banana pudding may have been a few cookies short.  They were used by us to clean out the “leftover” pudding in the bowl.
  • **When I told my aunt Chrissy about this post, she said “will it be the real recipe this time?”  Which means, “you DID include the cream cheese, didn’t you??”  I laughed.  Yes, this is the “real” recipe. :)**

Banana Pudding

Makes …a lot. Maybe 10-12 servings?

Ingredients

  • 2 (1-ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix (I use sugar-free)
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1 14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I use fat free)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, very soft
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1-2 packages Chessmen cookies (or shortbread cookies)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix, milk, and condensed milk for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add cream cheese if desired and whisk to combine. Be sure the cream cheese is very soft so it will not be lumpy once it’s mixed in.
  3. Fold whipped topping into pudding mixture until well combined.
  4. Line bottom of separate container with cookies/wafers. You could also layer the side of the bowl.  If doing this, you can use some pudding as a “glue” so they stand up straight.
  5. Carefully layer half of the pudding mix and 1 1/2 sliced bananas on top.
  6. Repeat layering cookies, bananas, pudding. Top with final layer of cookies.

So there you have it! An updated post on one of my family’s favorite recipes…cream cheese included and everything. 😉

Banana Pudding Cake

The only thing constant in life is change.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Growing up, changing schools, going off to college….the sad, sad end of the Friends tv series (yes, years later and I’m still mourning that loss).  This weekend, it was time to visit my hometown and say goodbye to my childhood home.  My parents are moving on to build their dream home. It was also my dad’s and grandpa’s birthdays.  So many reasons to celebrate!!

The cake for their party combined two family favorites.  Banana pudding and cake.  Awesome combo!!!

But first, a funny story.  There tend to be many of these when my family gets together.

This time, I was writing my last post while my mom cleaned out their pantry.  Every few minutes hearing “Would you use…?” as she pawned off donated pantry items to my sister and I.  Hey, I’m all for free food that will mean I don’t have to grocery shop for a while.  That is, until this convo happened:

Mom:  “Want some baking powder?”
Me:  “Sure! When does it expire?”  <– Half family joke, half necessary question
Mom:  “Ummm…<searching>…1991. Omg!!”

Yep. That baking powder went in the trash pile.

Overall, it was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed my last few nights spent visiting that house.  I know it’s time to move on to bigger an better things, but that will always be our home. Did I mention change isn’t easy??

For the celebratory portion of our weekend, I worked to make a cake for both of the birthday boys.  Quick break to say Hi grandpa and happy birthday!!!  (He gets post updates on his iPad.  Seriously, my grandparents are awesome) And happy birthday to my wonderful dad!!

So my dad likes vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream…boring…and my grandpa just likes cake. I decided to go with a banana pudding cake.  Here’s the recipe:

Banana Pudding Cake

Makes ~20+ servings (we cut small pieces, so we got more than 20)

***Note:  Look through each part of the cake to find all ingredients.  They’re listed separately to make it easier to prepare the cake.  To address comments made: Yes there are TWO boxes pudding in here (1 vanilla flavored, 1 banana flavored) and I use Cool Whip for the frosting.***

Cake

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • One 1.34oz box instant, sugar-free banana pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk

Filling: Whisk together the following ingredients and refrigerate until assembling cake (~10minutes).

  • One 1.34oz box instant, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup Cool Whip (or whipped cream)

To brush on layers: Mix together the following:

  • 1 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp skim milk

You’ll also need:

  • 2-3 medium ripe bananas
  • 3-4 cups Cool Whip for frosting

Step 1:  Make the cake

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep three 8″ round pans by lining the bottom only with parchment paper. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly beat in eggs and egg whites, one at a time.  Beat in vanilla until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and pudding mix.  Add into wet ingredients in three separate additions, mixing until just combined.  Don’t over mix!
Stir in milk until combined.  Divide batter and pour into pans.  Bake 22-25 minutes or until cake is golden and begins to pull away from sides of pans.
Allow cake to cool 15 minutes in pan.  Loosen and remove from pan.  Allow to cool another 1-2 hours on a wire rack.

Step 2:  Begin layering

Level each cake.  Place first layer on cake plate. Brush with a little milk mixture.


Line banana slices on top of cake.  Spread 1/3-1/2 of the filling mix on top of bananas.


Place next cake layer on top of filling. Repeat with milk mix, filling, and final layer.

Step 3: Frost

This is the fun part.  Frost with Cool Whip and decorate as you wish.  I crushed some mini Nilla wafers and spread on top.  Then used the wafers along the sides.

Whew!  Sounds super complicated, but it was simple to make.  You may also want to put some Nilla wafers in between the layers.  You know, if you’re feeling extra fancy and decadent.

Very important!!:  Store this cake in the fridge!!  Lots of perishable ingredients.  You’ve been warned, so I’m off the hook if you don’t refrigerate and get sick. 😉

Like the fancy plates I chose?? haha 🙂

This may be a new family favorite.  It’s definitely not a “good for you” cake, but this was a very special occasion. Everyone loved it, too!  My nieces especially enjoyed picking off and eating the Nilla wafers.

Want traditional banana pudding?  Click here for my family’s recipe.

4th of July Recipe Round-up

I LOVE July!  Mostly because it’s my birthday month….(happy birthday to my fellow July babies!)

…but also because there are so many fun events!  Including July 4th.

Are you hosting a BBQ?  Having a party?  Going to a party and need to bring something to contribute?

Have no fear!  This post will save the day!  Think of this as your summer recipe hub if you would.
I’ve rounded up a couple of breakfast recipes, sweet recipes and savory recipes that I hope will help make your Independence Day special.

Breakfast:

Apple Butter PancakesPineapple upside down oatmeal

Apple Butter Pancakes 

Pineapple Upside Down Oatmeal~  One of my favorites, by far!!

Savory:

Baked Zucchini ChipsLi'l Bit Savory:  Italian Green Beans

Zucchini Chips~ Toss those potato chips!! These are flavorful and healthier.

Italian Green Beans~  a great side dish that everyone is sure to love!

Sweets:

There are more of these…duhh, you ARE on “Little Bit Sweet”! 🙂

Banana PuddingSimple 'N Sweet Coconut MacaroonsCoconut Cream PieIMG_1078Classic Peach Cobbler

Banana Pudding~ a family favorite for any occasion!

Coconut MacaroonsVery easy to make.

Coconut Cream Pie~  My dad’s favorite.

Lightened up Apple Turnovers~  An American classic, made a little lighter.

Peach Cobbler~ One of my granny’s recipes.

What is your favorite activity on July 4th?

Have a safe holiday!!

Banana Pudding Time

I’m very much a southern girl at times. No, this does not mean I wear cowboy boots daily or a 10-gallon hat…I’ve never owned either. But I DO enjoy quintessential southern food. Enter biscuits and gravy, chicken ‘n dumplings, and the star of this post: banana pudding!

This recipe is one passed down in my family (there really aren’t many of those). Best banana pudding ever.

Banana Pudding

Makes …a lot. Maybe 12-14 servings?

Ingredients

  • 2 (1-ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix (I use sugar-free)
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1 14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I use fat free)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (optional)
  • 3 large bananas
  • Vanilla wafers OR shortbread cookies

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix, milk, and condensed milk for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add cream cheese if desired and whisk to combine.
  3. Fold whipped topping into pudding mixture until well combined.
  4. Line bottom of separate container with cookies/wafers. Carefully layer 1 1/2 sliced bananas and 1/2 pudding mix on top.
  5. Repeat layering cookies, bananas, pudding. Top with final layer of cookies.

If you’re not a huge fan of cream cheese, you can leave it out. To me, it’s just as delicious without the cream cheese. Although, my aunt would not agree. 🙂

What’s your favorite family recipe?