Monday, September 21, 2009

Old Treats

I used to really enjoy cooking. Well, I thought I did anyway. Maybe it was really that I always enjoyed eating though.

I dunno but of late -not just recently, that is, but for quite sometime now -I've found I don't get all that excited these days about cooking. I'm not sure why because I still like to eat just as much -maybe even more -than ever, so that can't be the cause.

Maybe it's that no one ever gives any suggestions for a meal or that the fare the two little ones would prefer does nothing to truly excite me. I mean really, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese? Much as I do love mac and cheese, it can get to be a little much when some would want it on the menu day after day after day!

Back in the days when I worked in State College (at the World's Largest Private Weather Forecasting place) I often made cakes or cookies of various types and brought them in to work to share with the crew. They all seemed to enjoy my efforts. I guess they did anyway since I never had leftovers to take home with me, if that's any testimony to whether what I had to offer was good or not.

Back then too, my son was still at home and though he is generally pretty easy to please with respect to food, one nice thing about feeding him was he almost always complimented whatever I had fixed for supper or for a special treat. I guess I kind of miss that little bit of ego-stroking every now and again these days.

I don't do very much in the baking lines anymore. Every now and again, I do bake a batch of homemade bread but sweets and stuff -not near as often nowadays do I venture into making cakes, cookies or other treats like that.

I usually do try to bake a special cake on the occasions of someone in the family adding another year to their life -most of the time -but even that is no guarantee to get me to dabbling with that stuff. Most of the time, if I bake or make a special treat, it is because I was asked to fix something for some event at our church -a pot-luck dinner or as was the case this past week, I was asked to make a cake for the funeral dinner we served at our church.

While trying to decide what to make, I wasn't getting all that hepped up over any of the many recipes I have -and trust me, I have a pretty large assortment of cookbooks along with two notebooks I made up of my favorite recipes. All that, in addition to having several sites bookmarked on the computer to search for other intriguing recipes too and I was coming up blank for a while on the type of cake to make.

Then it dawned on me as I was leafing through one of my notebook cookbooks and I came across a recipe I had made back in August on the occasion of my son's 36th birthday and my grandson's 12th -"Banana Split Cake!" Hmmm. Should I make that or not? Technically, it isn't really a cake but rather is just more of a dessert -not baked at all, as a matter of fact. I decided that it might be just the ticket though, went and got the ingredients I needed (that I didn't already have on hand) and put it together.
Here's what banana split cake looks like before you cut into it.

I wish I could describe how it tastes -other than to say I think it's delicious and so does most everyone in my family too. What's really neat about this dessert is that it is really quite easy to make too. And to prove that, I'm going to give you the recipe for it (if you're not already acquainted with this item) and you can try it out and see for yourself!

First off, I have to say that I don't know where this recipe originated but I got it from the mother of the guy I was engaged to marry back in the early 80s so, thank John's mother, Mrs. Boyle, if you see her for sharing it with me in the first place. (Considering I broke off the engagement with her son in the fall of 1984 and haven't had any contact with him or his family -at all -since then, I don't know if she is even still around for anyone to thank but well, you get my drift, don't you. Say a "Thank you" to her silently maybe. And the instructions in this recipe are just as she gave them to me too.)

Banana Split Cake -from John's Mom
Here's the ingredients you will need:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cup of butter (or margarine)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups crushed, well-drained pineapple
4 or more large, sliced bananas
1 large container of cool whip.

Now -to make the "cake" here's what you do:

Melt 1 stick of butter and mix well with graham crackers. Press crust into 9x13 inch pan and chill.

Beat 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 eggs and 1 cup of butter together for no less than 15 minutes! It will get very creamy -VERY!

Pour this mixture over the chilled crust.

Then, with the pineapple -make sure it is well-drained by squeezing the juice out off it -over and over and over until you think it can't possible have any juice left. Spread the very-well-drained pineapple over the pudding-type filling.

Then, slice and spread bananas over top of those two layers.

Top all of that with the container of cool whip -spreading it over like icing. Finish it all off by garnishing the "cake" with maraschino cherries (wipe the extra juice off the cherries with a paper towel before putting them on the topping) and you can then drizzle some chocolate syrup over the top of the dessert too, if desired!

And presto-magic, you've got yourself one really great treat!

Yesterday, I don't know why but I was in the mood for something along the "treat" line to eat. I didn't really want anything baked per se though and I thought of another recipe I have in my notebook that John's Mother, Mrs. Boyle, had also given to me. This one does involve a tiny bit of baking to it, but for the most part, it is a cool dessert -needs refrigeration -is not difficult to put together and yes, like the Banana Split Cake, it is also really delicious too!

The neat thing about this one is that you can vary it, depending on what kind of instant pudding you may have on hand so you can make basically a different flavored dessert every time you make this if you'd like.

The name of this one is "Coconut Cream Dessert" and I used instant pudding in the new flavor of "Chocolate-caramel-pecan" for my filling on this.

Here's what my version of this dessert looked like last night after having had the first piece cut from it.
Here too is the really easy recipe for this creation.

Coconut Cream Dessert from John's Mother

Here's the ingredients you will need:

2 cups flour
1 cup butter (or margarine)
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounce cream cheese
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
2 - 3 oz packages instant pudding -flavor of your choice
milk -as required to make the pudding
container of cool whip
coconut and/or chopped nuts

Here's how you make the Coconut Cream Dessert:

For the crust - mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup of butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar as you would a pie crust. Press this into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool crust.

Mix together - 8 ounces package cream cheese with 1 cup of cool whip and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Spread this over cooled crust.

Mix together the instant pudding mixes according to package directions. (Should require 4 cups of milk for 2 packages of pudding mix.) Pour this over the layer of cream cheese you have on top of the crust then.

Spread over top of the pudding the full container of cool whip and top with a little coconut and/or finely chopped nuts.


Just to "show" you (without pictures though) how well received this dessert was in our house, tonight that pan is completely cleaned out! Everyone -including the kids -loved it!

Give either one of these -or better yet, both of 'em a try and let me know how well your family likes them too then!

Oh, by the way -in case you're wondering what inspired me to share these two recipes with you, it was because while reading blogs from my reader earlier today, it seemed other bloggers were talking about cooking and such and I saw what looked like a really good recipe for an apple-cranberry cake at my friend, Paula's place and that got me to thinking about these two recipes and how good they are -and especially, how easy they are to fix too.

Check out Paula's post with her recipe today (and if you look back through her blog, you'll find a few other really yummy looking concoctions she's made and shared here too.

And, if you'd like to read more about cooking, get a recipe almost every day, check out this site I found not too long ago -maybe about 2-3 months back now -and follow his cooking expeditions and experiments. The blog, titled "Macheesmo" gives some really interesting recipes, instructions on how to do/make lots of things and pictures too so you can see what something is supposed to look like too at various stages as well as the finished product. It's a neat blog, fun as well as funny too on many occasions!

Check 'em both out! See for yourself, then report back to me.


Berni said...

Sounds wonderful now if you could just come up with a sugar and flour free version I would copy and paste it to try later. LOL

terri said...

I'm all for any treat that doesn't require baking! Thanks for sharing your recipes! (The banana split cake - requires eggs - and no baking? Is that right. Just want to be sure before I might try it.)