Monday, January 1, 2024

Banana Pudding

 


There's 294824 different banana pudding recipes on the internet, so I took 2 and made a Megan version because I was worried that one would be too sweet for Teh German (and it also contained Cool Whip, which I don't eat) and the other wouldn't be sweet enough for me.  Soooo I fixed it!

Fret not, I was supervised.

Ingredients

Pudding, step 1:

2 cups cold milk
1 (5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Pudding, step 2:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons confectioners/powdered sugar

Assembly:

1(+) box vanilla wafers
10+ bananas


Directions

  1. Mix sweetened condensed milk and milk together.  Adding pudding packet and continue mixing for 2-3 minutes.  Mash 1 banana and mix into pudding.  Cover and refrigerate for 3+ hours.
  2. When ready to assemble pudding, after pudding has set: beat heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar (and vanilla extract, if using) together until stiff peaks form.
  3. Mix pudding and whipped cream together until there are no streaks left.
  4. Slice bananas (I did one banana at a time because I wasn't sure how much I needed).
  5. In a container of your choice (I used a 9x13 dish), place a layer of vanilla wafer on the bottom of the dish.  Then add a layer of banana on top of the wafers.  Add a layer of pudding mix.  Repeat this step until dish/container is full/ingredients are used/you are satisfied.  You could also make this in individual portioned containers.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours.
  7. Serve!

Megan Tips

  • Mixing a mashed banana into the pudding mix was a delight.
  • I used ripe but barely bananas to avoid them turning brown.  I don't like green bananas, so not green, but definitely no spots.  Also, my recipes called for 14 bananas and I bought that many and didn't end up using them all.
  • I don't use Cool Whip.  I'd much rather make my own whipped topping and it's super simple if you have a mixer (it's quite tedious by hand, but doable with enough dedication (yes, I have hand mixed whipped cream before because there weren't mixers in 1792).
  • I was worried the whipped topping wouldn't be sweet enough for me so I added powdered sugar.  I would consider skipping this next time to see what a difference it makes.
  • I sliced my bananas as I layered them in the dish because I didn't want them to turn brown.  There are ways to help slow oxidation (which causes the bananas to turn brown), but I was too lazy for all that.  I just made sure to quickly add the pudding on top of the layer.  My slices were not too thin (I didn't want them to just fall apart) and not to thick (I wanted to be able to recognize a chunk of banana in my bite).
  • I like A LOT of bananas and A LOT of vanilla wafers.  Obviously, you can use how ever much you want.
  • Crush up some vanilla wafers (less than you would expect) and write on your pudding!  Just place some wafers in a ziplock bag, crush the wafters so there are minimal chunks, then cut the tip of the bag off and use like an icing piping bag.  This was the most fun part!
  • I made the pudding mix the day prior to serving and let the mixture set overnight because I didn't want runny banana pudding.
  • I assembled my banana pudding at 9am on the day of serving it, knowing I was going to be serving it after 7pm. I wanted to give it time for the flavors to mingle and the wafers to soften.  I'm sure that you could prob serve it immediately, but would recommend at least a few hours of flavor melding.
  • Make sure to let your dogs help with clean up, since they've probably been fastidiously supervising, by letting them do the dishes.  Pax and Meri were both super dedicated to cleaning the pudding and whipped topping bowls.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Review (Part 2)

And for part 2... (IDK why the formatting got wonky, but I'm too lazy to fix it, sorry not sorry.)

JULY

Beginning with the July 4th holiday, there was crossfit and scootin'.

I am not one to pass up a themed outfit opportunity.

Teaching Teh German about the delightful blackberries that are sometimes allowed to grow on the path I take for my long runs.


I had 2 primary goals for 2023: 
-No more than 15 races (after the 32 races of 2022, ya girl was tiiiiiiiired)
-No injuries (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL x infinty)

One of the big races that had already been planned since 2022, was Ragnar Northwest Passage.  This meant a trip to Washington (state).  It also meant:

Getting to hang out with a DC motorcycle friend who moved to Seattle earlier in the year.

THE MOST DELICIOUS PEACHES from the market.

Touristing with my faves.

And being silly.

Seattle Fog Latte from Biscuit Bitch (x2)

Honeypot selfies!

A "REALLY HIGH" UV index.

Stunning views.

Naps on a gym floor.

Unicorn onesie life.

Bestie runs.

Watching the sunrise while crossing Deception Pass.

Running legs with faves and almost dying because of direct sunlight, road running, and that high uv index.

Bringing the team in with a people tunnel.

I was super pumped that our Van 1 for NWP was phenomenal.  The other van can really make or break a Ragnar road, so this was a huge relief.  Also, sunset over Deception Pass? This was a bucket list item I didn't know I had until I was standing on that bridge taking photos and thinking, "Holy fuck, this is MY LIFE."


AUGUST

In August, I was unbearably excited to have our SC family come to visit.  We scoot-scooted around the National Mall, toured The Capitol, the Holocaust museum, and Arlington National Cemetery.



At some point, I got bit by the "I want to go to the beach" bug, which is strange since I don't love the beach.  But it had been a few years since I'd been and I guess it was time.  Teh German's company has a condo in Ocean City and we'd never been, so we opted for this choice.  Unfortunately, the condo wasn't available during the date that I was available (race schedule woes), so we ended up at a super cute AirBnB that worked out very nicely.

We made sure to catch the sunrise a few days, but we also got up EXTRA early on one of those days to drive down to Assateague Island to see about the beach horses.  It was really cool.



The sunrise at Assateague Island was underwhelming, but the horses more than made up for it.  We also brought along Wheelbört and my scooter, which were essential in touring the part of the island we couldn't access via car since we weren't camping there.

While Teh German was working half days to save on PTO, I went out to the beach to just be.

Our last morning there, I discovered beach yoga.
It is probably the last time I do beach yoga.
SO.MUCH.SAND.
And the wind was terrible.  Poor lady beside me.


SEPTEMBER

September included more outside time!

Trail runs with Teh Ultra Vet!

MD Renn Faire on the hottest day of year.

And Papa G came to visit!  

I'm always here for some silly hats.
(Yes, I was very surprised that I got both Papa G and Teh German to put on silly hats and take a photo with me.)

Ran a local half that had a terrible medal while Papa G was here.

Attended an Orioles game with Teh German's company.. and it was a big deal since someone was retiring... and after the game was a performance by Brett Young, which brought my country-lovin' heart some joy.

Unfortunately, my last local half was cancelled because of tropical storm weather. Boo.


OCTOBER

October was the mad dash to do ALL THE THINGS! before surgery. Enjoy all the things that I wouldn't be able to do for a while.

Runs when it's not 249394° outside

Self-date motorcycle rides.

For a milkshake.

And an adult beverage.

2nd to last race before surgery: Ragnar Bourbon Chase.

This year, we opted to be Van 2 to get the "good views".

Reunited!



My final "one mile to go" sign for 2023!

Cheesy team photos should always be a requirement.

And nostrils!

We brought the magic this year.
The big van was really a game changer.

I came back home to recover for half a second before the next adventure.

We had some landscaping done in the front flower beds and I was living my almost best life with these roses.  Unfortunately, my phone and I were having some disagreements.  More on that.

The final adventure before surgery was the Detroit International Half (+ the 5k and the 1 miler the day before).  Fortunately The Chief Smartass is from Michigan, so he was able to taxi Teh Bestie and I around efficiently.  My brain was absolutely fried by this point (surgery prep + all the events), so I was glad that Teh Bestie had planned adventures and I just got to put my brain on cruise control.

We stopped by the Ford Factory.

The Heidelberg Project
(which was very, very weird)

But this made me think of my Gram.

We did some Detroit touristing as well.

Must fist bump.

We splashed through the puddles in the rain for the 1 miler and the 5k for 2 medals.

Then we headed up to Frankenmuth for some German time.

The cool thing about the international races is that you go INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY.
Yall, I could have ran away to go live in Canada, but I didn't.
You're welcome.

The Ambassador Bridge was a delight.
I love me some bridge runs.

Swoon.

Straddling the line!

I recognized someone from the internet!
It was joy.

A good Ted Lasso bonding moment!

And with that 17.2 miles complete, my 2023 race season came to a close.

All tha blang.

Let us not forget the required porta potty selfie!

Also, t's and p's to Jenn, who takes really great race photos..
with me in the background acting like I'm dying.
LOOOOOOL

When I got back to MD, it was a sprint to the finish line (surgery).

Last family dog walk!

And FINALLY.
It was October 18th.
Surgery day.
For many years, I've dealt with low back pain.  Like, a decade. I mitigated through chiropractic care, stretching, cortisone injections, PT, massage.. and I was finally done this year.  So I had my L5-S1 vertebrae fused, which isn't great, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.  SO MUCH WORTH IT.  

At 10 weeks post op (today), the pain that I lived with every day is gone.  I no longer have to medicate to get through the day.  My pain is no longer the driving factor of how I plan my life.  I had continued to do activities (running, crossfit) through the pain.  In Aug/Sept, I really scaled back in crossfit to be able to keep doing things, knowing that my running schedule was ramping up.

Post-surgery selfie (while the drugs were still good and after my teeth had stopped chattering so hard I was afraid I'd chip a tooth)

Teh German broke me out!
JK, I was released after a very stressful shituation.

I knew going into surgery that the MOST DIFFICULT thing for me was going to be the mental game.  Recovery is hard and long (that's what she said) and the pain was not my problem.  Yes it sucks, but I'm a pro at pain.  I'm TERRIBLE at my mental game.  This acknowledgement has helped me identify the worst days and be able to keep going.

After Bourbon Chase, my most important, favorite Goodrs were MIA.
I contacted the hotel to ask if they happened to be found and they had!  I paid more for these to be shipped back to me than I paid for them originally, but it was totally worth it.

Teh Mom came to stay with me my first day home while Teh German was at work.

One of the most important parts of early-stage recovery is pain management.
So there were MANY alarms to remind me to take my medication. 

While there were many walks around the neighborhood, since walking is the one activity that was allowed (and encouraged) after surgery, walks in public places were also a fun time.
For instance, a trip to the grocery store!

Teh SC Mom came to stay with me for a week and a half so Teh German didn't have to stay home with me.  I made sure to get her to Little Italy in Baltimore.

Part of my recovery was regular massages.
Thankfully, Elayne is MAGIC.
Also, this card made me cackle, because she knows me so well.

For a while, the backspace key on my laptop wasn't working... and Teh German had agreed to replace the keyboard with/for me.. and then I ended up with a LOT of free time.  I had purchased a replacement keyboard in August, so this was a project that had been on the list for a while. One day, after the haze of narcotics had worn off, I decided to undertake this terrifying project, knowing that if I fucked up my laptop beyond repair, Black Friday was coming to save me.

Turns out, you're not supposed to be able to replace the keyboard in this laptop because it's built permanently mounted.. but I broke those plastic tabs like the bull in a china shop that I am... and replaced the keyboard and got it all put back together and it works like magics!  Probably more scary to me than having back surgery!


NOVEMBER

November was for recovery.  100%.  I actually ended up taking short term disability leave so I could just focus on recovery.  In fact, I had anticipated going back to work after 4 weeks and ended up extending out to 8 weeks.  Ts and Ps for our 2023 tax return.

Sometimes, recovery means sleeping on a camping pad on the floor...
and your emotional support nurse making sure that your sleeping pallet stays warm.

Lots of walking.
And leaf crunching.
And leaf peeping.

Anniversary selfie on the couch, since I forgot before we changed into comfy clothes.

Emotional support cuteness, IN JIMJAMZ.

Teh BFF came to visit and assist during recovery.

This girl is... BIONIC!!!

Leaf peeping was the biggest motivation for all my walks.

Teh German came to the gym with me to "do" Chad.
Rather than box step ups, we just walked the loop around the gym.
Originally, I was going to go until the last person finished, but Teh German throttled me at a 5k.

We went to the MD Irish Fest so I could visit some Wuffs.
It was absolutely worth it for these kisses.

At some point in the fall, I tagged the gym in a Goodr social media post to win some free shit..
and I actually won!

Sometimes, during walks, you stop to pick the flowers because it brings you joy.

The first big event after my surgery was a trip to Philadelphia to see Tool!  I bought these tickets after we saw Pucifer in DC, before surgery was planned...  We were accompanied by Teh Ultra Vet and her husband, which was a delight!

No devices are allowed at Maynard's shows, but I sneaked this ONE shot.
There was a famous musician also at the show who shared a photo on their Instagram and Tool reshared it, which made me feel like it's a huge double standard.. but here we are.

Independence Hall selfie!

We were in Philly for 2 days, which happened to be the weekend that the Christmas things were starting to open.  Lucky for us!  We went to the Philly Zoo to check out ZooLights and we also walked around the Christmas village as it was being set up.

Silly hat selfie!


While I was searching for things to do in Philly, I learned that the Philadelphia Marathon was the weekend we were in town.  I was crushed a little because it's a race on my to run list.  We did crash packet pickup where I met Martinus Evans (Slow AF Run Club) and explained that he was my motivation for my cheerleading plans during my recovery no-run period.

Since I couldn't run, Teh German and I went to cheer on runners around mile 9 (my usual struggle spot).  We picked up Munchkins on the way, because we were in the north, so Dunkin' it is.  We set up in our onesies with our signs and table with snacks and waters and the BUBBLE MACHINE!  It was freezing, but the smiles on the faces of the runners as they struggled up that terrible hill were worth it.  If we had arrived about 20 minutes earlier, we would have probably seen Lauren Fleshman (Good for a Girl) run by, since she was the pacer for the 2:15 half.


I insisted that we create signs.
Lookin' magical RUNicorn!
You can do hard things
Blisters are braille for AWESOME.

After we got home from Philly, we started really getting into the holiday swing of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

After a VERY long wait, all the children had tree representation.

One of Teh German's coworkers is a member of the band Laughing Colors and we went to a performance at Cult Classic.  As someone who was only allowed to listen to Jesus and Country until I was about 12 years old, my love of 90s rock is about 30 years late, but I'm leaning in as hard as possible.

2023 was the year of phone woe.  You see, this is because I'm an ungrateful biddy.  I'd had my Galaxy S21 since Nov 2021 and I lurved it so hard. SO HARD.  We went through A LOT together... and one summer day, my SIM card stop being recognized.  I took it to a repair shop to see how much it would cost to fix (because I loved that phone) and it was more than it would cost me to get a new phone.  So it began.  I went through at least 4 different phones before finally buying a Pixel 8 Pro (at Thanksgiving) that I have decided to love.

This photo is from the Pixel 8 Pro.

On the recovery front, I finally got to start PT. (all the praise hands emojis)

Heating pad for my butt!

Emotional support cuteness, with a holiday flare.


DECEMBER

In December, we hit the full holiday swing and all the busyness that entails.

There was the gym onesie bar crawl.

Recovery massages

Library card validation in Arlington after an interview for my job but a different flavor.

A swimming test run (that did not go well).

The German Bundeswehr Christmas Market

A weird streak of warmer temps brought some rose blooms.

Emotional support cuteness.
(The robot vacuum stayed tangled up in the tree skirt for 2 weeks because we didn't want to deal with it.)

Trail walks with Teh Ultra Vet since running was still not allowed.

Lights on 34th Street (in Baltimore)

Family walks to the park.

Smithsonian Zoo ZooLights

ZooLights selfie

Emotional support cuteness, in matching jammies.

Scoot-scootin' to go tree viewing came back into play this year.
This is the White House with the National Tree and the state trees.

The Capitol tree selfie

JFK Center for the Performing Arts with the Washington Memorial peekin' out.

New watches for both of us for Christmas!


Other things, not pictured.

Teh German was extremely concerned after my surgery that I was going to be completed disabled and unable to function.  He was very much relieved and everyone was quite surprised that I was up and walking within hours of being cut open.  I reallllllllllyyy had to pee and the catheter situation wasn't great for me. The nurse removed the catheter and I walked to my cabinet toilet (with a nurse escort). I ended up walking the entire floor 4 times before I left the hospital 36 hours after I arrived.  I had originally planned to stay for 2 nights, but after 1 night of zero sleep and when the doctor said I was going home after hearing how much walking I'd done, I was fine with that.

I actually tutored a kid in pre-calc in the spring.  Crazy to think that I was not a math kid for all my life.

Lots of dog sitting this year.  Had another elder dog situation though. That was least good.

Teh German went on a 10 day motocamping adventure to Canada! I don't have photos of that, but it happened in June.  There were some issues with the 29482th green card extension letter from USCIS, but Teh German was able to come back into the US after educating the border control agent that the letter was legit. 

Teh German also finally received THE BEST GIFT from USCIS, so yay for no more extension letters.

I re-submitted my rescue application with the Irish Wolfhound club after speaking with them at the Irish festival. I went through some puppy fever in Aug/Sept, probably as a side effect of trying to control something before surgery.  It's a low likelihood, but ya know, keeping my heart (and door) open to another Wuffs.  Also, having 2 senior dogs has my heart worried, mkay?



2024 Goals: ME.

-More music concerts (tickets are already bought for: NF, Alanis Morissette)
-Feel more feelings (my therapist broke up with me in the spring and said I was fine, cool)
-Less socials scrolling
-Get back to running and back to the gym (in progress through physical therapy, giving myself NO timeline on this so I don't hurt myself)
-More journaling
-Be more gentle with me.
-Some house projects


I highly doubt this space will be active in 2024.  Unless I finally get motivated to post some of the recipes that I've cooked that I'd like to be able to reference without having 39482 tabs open on my phone.  This space served its purpose for many years and there are times that I definitely miss it.  But I've enjoyed, much more, living without feeling obligated to stop and document things so I can blog/share it later.  I will admit that Teh German has had some SOLID Shit Teh German Said comments, but I haven't logged it because I'm crying from laughing so hard. /shrug

Part of me would love to document some of the adventures, but I'm too lazy and my work life is much different now than back when I was a real blogger. Oh well.  

Goodbye 2023.
Welcome 2024.