Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Vanilla Pudding

Now that I've finally made it through the first trimester of this pregnancy and all its associated nausea (morning sickness really should be called "all-day sickness" for accuracy!), I'm on a quest to make sure I "eat for two" and consume a good number of healthy calories and a balanced diet every day. It's been a bit of a challenge since I'm not one to like eating all that much, and have always found it very difficult to eat enough to gain weight (thank you, genetically high metabolism!). But my efforts seem to be paying off and I was encouraged when my midwife assured me at this week's appointment that I'm doing great in the weight department - I've actually gained 5 pounds in the past 2 months. Yay!

One way I've been supplementing my diet with extra nutrition is by enjoying lots of the yummy goat milk from my family's farm. Nothing beats a glass of cold milk on a hot day! I've also enjoyed lots of milkshakes/smoothies made by my wonderful husband many mornings.

More recently, I've made up a few batches of this simple vanilla pudding recipe. Using just a few basic ingredients and taking almost no time, this recipe is ridiculously easy. And my, it sure is tasty! I've especially enjoyed it chilled, with sliced strawberries on top (as shown above). And the best part? It has about 403 calories in every one-cup serving...relatively healthy calories, too, if you use raw, whole milk and free-range eggs and unbleached flour (all organic), as I did. ;)

Anyway, enough rambling - here's the recipe!

Vanilla Pudding
Makes about 3 1/2 cups of pudding, or enough for 7 smallish servings. 

1/2 c. sugar
Dash of salt
3 Tb. corn starch (I use unbleached, all-purpose flour)
3 egg yolks OR 2 whole eggs (I use the latter, just because it's easier)
3 c. whole milk (2% also works, but isn't as creamy - goat milk is best!)
2 Tb. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn starch (flour), and salt until well-combined and lump-free. Add milk and eggs and whisk together well until fully combined. Heat on medium temperature until mixture bubbles, stirring frequently to prevent sticking/lumps. Allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Serve hot if you choose, or chill in refrigerator for several hours before serving. Leftovers keep well in the fridge in a sealed container for several days - if it lasts that long. ;)

Variation: Add chocolate or carob chips with the butter and vanilla and mix until melted. Cocoa powder would likely also work well. I want to try it with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg sometime, and am guessing that lemon extract in place of vanilla would probably be delicious as well.

My sister Lydia is the one who found this recipe originally, and I don't know her source. Definitely a keeper, though! :)

EDIT: Lydia says she got the recipe from Tammy's Recipes - I should have known that such a yummy, easy recipe had to come from Tammy! ;) Check out her version and review here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Long Live Summer" - photo contest opportunity

Any photographers out there interested in a fun summer contest? I just found out today that Shutterfly is hosting a summer-themed photo contest, running July 9 through August 12. Each week has a theme for the photos, and you can enter once each week. Here are the themes:

•       Week 1(7/9): Americana
•       Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
•       Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
•       Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
•       Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

The prizes look pretty good, too! Everyone who enters gets an instant prize (not sure what it'll be - maybe a coupon for ordering photos?), there are weekly prizes and featured photos, and the grand prize is a trip for 4 to the Bahamas along with a professional photo shoot. :)

Sound like something you're interested in participating in? Check it out here! And here are the official contest rules.

Disclaimer: Shutterfly is giving me a free product in trade for spreading the word about their contest. It does genuinely sound like a fun opportunity for any of you photographers out there, though, and I whole-heartedly recommend Shutterfly's services and site - they do a great job!

My apologies for neglecting this blog, only to come back with a commercial-type post! Hoping to get together a real post soon. :)