Today was the loveliest of Mondays. A light rain fell most of the day. As I am lucky enough to work at a desk near an open window, I spent the day typing to the sound of rain drops falling softly against the trees.
Who am I kidding? Rainy days and Mondays tend to have enough negatives going for them on their own. Combine them, and it is the ultimate no-win situation. And now that we are past the mid-point of September, three weeks into college football, and have apples showing up at the farmer’s market, I am forced to let summer go.
When the seasons change from winter to spring, most of us probably do a lot of spring cleaning. I tend to do a lot of fall cleaning as well. Finally acknowledging the rapid approach of autumn, I did a little cleaning this past weekend.
My efforts led me to a diary I kept while in college. I imagine I got into the habit of writing a diary for two reasons: 1) I like to write and, 2) I grew up watching my grandfather keep a daily diary. Though for a man, grandpa would probably rather I refer to his writings as a journal.
Every year for Christmas, he and grandma would give me a blank journal. And every year I would think, “Well, I guess I better write something in this.” So I did.
Though I do not keep a diary anymore, I am grateful I came across the thoughts I kept a decade ago. It gave me insight into the things I did not realize I still refuse to let go. It reminded me of how far I have come, and how much farther I hope to go. It made me feel good to know that I could once stay awake past 10 p.m.
I will spare you all the sordid details, but these were a few of my favorite things I once thought were terribly important:
July 11, 2002, 11:14 p.m. A nice thing that happened today was that Sister Nadine gave me three sticks of gum!
July 24, 2002 10:08 p.m. I am writing now because I am eating popcorn and feel I should do something productive at the same time.
November 19, 2002 10:05 p.m. So it’s Michigan week, woo hoo! We are all so excited it is like we have ants in our pants.
Undated entry I had a six-year-old tell me he did not want to get married because he did not want to change stinky diapers. When I told him that he did not necessarily have to change diapers if he got married, he looked at me with giant blue eyes, and in an incredulous whisper said, “Really?”
Funny, I still like gum, popcorn and feeling productive. I had forgotten about Sister Nadine, but I was glad to remember her. The Ohio State-Michigan game week continues to raise my anxiety level. Equally sad, I continue to remain quite fond of corny catch-phrases like “ants in pants.” Heaven help those who have to listen me to speak in such a way.
While I enjoyed a glimpse into my former self, I hope you will enjoy this Caramel Apple Pudding dessert. Though it requires a bit of time to chill between its multiple steps, this dish is really quite easy to pull together.
I made it a day ahead of eating, and I am happy to report the gingersnap crust remained crispy. To keep the apples from browning prematurely, I tossed them in lemon juice before scattering them across the top. It maintains the lightness of a summer dessert, but the crisp caramel apples are the perfect taste to transition to fall. Enjoy!
- 2 cups crushed gingersnaps
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 1, 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3-1/4 cups milk, divided
- 1, 8 ounce carton whipped topping, divided
- 2, 3.4 ounce packages instant butterscotch pudding mix
- ½ cup caramel sauce, divided
- 2 medium apples, chopped
- ⅓ cup roasted peanuts or walnuts, chopped
- Stir together the crushed gingersnaps and butter until blended.
- Press the mixture onto the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or more.
- While the crust chills, beat the cream cheese, sugar and ¼ cup of the milk until smooth.
- Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chilled crust.
- In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3 cups milk and the pudding mixes for 2 minutes.
- Allow to stand for two minutes after whisking or until soft-set.
- Stir ¼ cup of the caramel sauce into the bowl.
- Spoon the pudding mixture over the cream cheese layer.
- Cover and refrigerate an additional 15 minutes, then spread the remaining whipped topping on top of the layers.
- Cover again and refrigerate for 4 hours or until filling is firm.
- Before serving, top with chopped apples, nuts and remaining caramel sauce.