I grew up watching my grandfather keep a journal. It was always beside his recliner, and each entry began with the date, time, and temperature outside. I don’t know what else he actually wrote in those books – perhaps nothing, perhaps everything – but I’ve never met such a devoted journal keeper since.
Every year for Christmas, I would also get a journal from him and my grandmother. Every year I would think, “Well, I guess I better write something in this.” Sometimes I did. Most times I did not.
I came across one of the journals I kept during my “did” phase as I was doing some fall cleaning this weekend. It was sort of fun (and sort of cringe-worthy) to read the thoughts I recorded a decade ago.
It gave me insight into the things I did not realize I still refuse to let go. It showed me of how far I have come and how much farther I need to go. It reminded me that I could once stay awake past 10 p.m.
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.
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 his giant blue eyes, and in an incredulous whisper asked, “Really?”
I had forgotten about Sister Nadine and that little boy, but I was glad to remember them both. I still like gum, popcorn, and feeling productive. I didn’t write about it, but I know I liked dessert then as much as I do now, and speaking of, this caramel apple pudding is a good one.
The dessert requires a bit of time to chill as you build a layer of sweet cream cheese filling, pudding, and whipped topping over its gingersnap crust, but that aside, it is quite easy to pull together. Enjoy!
Caramel Apple Pudding
2 cups crushed gingersnaps
1/3 cup butter, melted
1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3-1/4 cups milk, divided
1, 8-ounce carton whipped topping, divided
2, 3.4-ounce packages instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup caramel sauce, divided
2 medium apples, chopped
1/3 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 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth.
- Fold in one cup of the whipped topping, and then spread this cream cheese mixture over the chilled crust.
- In a large bowl, whisk the remaining three cups milk and the pudding mix together for two minutes. Allow to stand for two minutes after whisking or until soft-set.
- Stir 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce into the pudding mixture, then spoon over the cream cheese layer.
- Cover and refrigerate an additional 15 minutes, and then spread the remaining whipped topping over the top.
- Cover again and refrigerate for four hours until the filling is firm.
- Before serving, top with chopped apples, nuts, and the remaining 1/4 cup caramel sauce.
Consider tossing the chopped apples in a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning prematurely.