This month's Recipe ReDux challenge was actually very difficult for me. No, not in the cooking but in the picking. When you reach my age, there are so many food memories, some long forgotten, and then factor the in-laws foodie times and all of our travels (remember we are DINKS) and I suddenly found myself skipping all over my life. Happy to have had the chance to eat in many different places around the world with many different people, I am not sure that is what the gals at Recipe ReDux had in mind with this challenge.
Then I thought I might be reading it wrong and it wasn't about memorable foods but about a memory from a meal. I have got to slow down and read things carefully. Is everyone in the same speed zone as I am? I hope not.
I went back to the web site's description of this challenge and carefully read the words again and that's were I found the word thankful.
"A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful
In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favorite food memories and the healthier “redo” of the recipe."
Once I "got it" I knew exactly what food memory I was most thankful for....
Everyone knows the favorite foods of their family members and close friends, especially when you have shared many of them together.
While my MIL has been characterized as one of many all time fast food cooks in a large family, Sundays were the only day my FIL insisted they all sit down to dinner. It was like that, in all my friends homes during the baby boomer era. With the advent of TV dinners and city sponsored childhood sport venues, regular daily dinners were grab when you can but holidays?, they were a different animal. While my Mom was an excellent baker and she always made three pies at each holiday meal, over the river and through the woods at my in-laws, Mrs.Paul's frozen pies were the special of the day. The Nudge loved the pumpkin, my BIL was a coconut fanatic and my MIL loved lemon meringue pie and as she aged, the children made sure there was always one just for her at each family celebration.Near the end of her life, visits to the hospice were more frequent and while she had her bad days and good days, we knew she would probably would not be at our Thanksgiving meal. On what would be our last weekend visit, I brought a slice of lemon meringue pie from her favorite bakery, not sure if she would even have the strength to eat anything. To our surprise, and a full 5 minutes of suspense, she managed to hold her fork with this huge piece of pie precariously balanced, up and into her mouth with the largest smile we had seen in a long time.
While it would turn out to be the last piece of pie she would ever eat, we were sure she knew that and she made sure she was going to saver every bite. For all the dinners and all the memories I had given her over a 40 year span, I know for sure at that one time, with that one simple piece of pie, it was one of her best food and family memories and the one I was most thankful for.
Four days later she passed away.
Once again I thank the gals over at the Recipe Dedux for showing me how important food can really be.
In memory of my Mother-in-Law, I have chosen to lighten up her favorite (and my) version of lemon meringue pie.
What I hoped to create would be a creamy, lemony, low carb, low sugar and easy-to-assemble individual free-form lemon meringue pudding parfait.
Wow, that is a mouthful in more than one way.
Research on the Intraweb produced a few recipes that while light in the fat area they were still full of sugar and more prep than I wanted until I found this totally sugar-free 2 ingredient lemon meringue pudding. It was a good start.
Don't judge me, I know I can make this whole dessert from scratch using whole foods but I did not want to. Every one's time is sparse and spread in many directions and I feel that if I can give them an easy and tasteful dessert with minimal prep and cost, I am OK with that.
I am a fan of Jello products and their sugar-free puddings and pie fillings are a fast and easy way to end the meal with something sweet. Diabetics need all the help they can get, I would love to see the ADA symbol on as many boxes as there are gluten-free, low fat and low carb, but I don't.
Not a fan of most fake sugar substitutes and their off flavors, I decided to use the sugar-free lemon gelatin and a full fat vanilla pudding and make my decision after taste testing. I also added 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice to the mix and a 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese that I pureed and added to soften the sweet and tart.
Now, one more word of advice. Low fat graham crackers compared to a box with low fat on the cover, had the same nutrition labels. Yup, just buy the Keebler crumbs and you will be fine.
Also, the crumbs will be the bottom of my individual parfaits and the added honey will give them sticky power without using butter or heat.
"This recipe has been flying around the weight watchers message boards. The whole recipe is 4 Weight Watchers points as written (all sugar-free mixes with no dairy or crumbs). NOTE: Use the small boxes of jello and pudding that serves 4, AND you must use the cook and serve pudding (no instant here). You can make this with mixes thayt are full sugar instead of sugar free and as a pie filling or a light lemon mouse (with whipped dairy product)."
Lightened Lemon Meringue Pudding Parfaits
Makes 3 cups
* 1 (3oz depending on brand) box cook and serve vanilla pudding (NO instant)
* 1 (2-3oz depending on brand) box sugar-free lemon gelatin
* 1/2 cup large curd cottage cheese (your favorite), pureed
* 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 1/3 cups coconut water
* 1/2 cup heavy cream,whipped to soft peaks
1. Mix cook and serve vanilla pudding with water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
2. Take off heat and add lemon jello. Mix well.
3. Pour into a quart-sized measuring bowl and let chill for 2 hours.
4. Add the pureed cottage cheese, stir and set in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Day of serving, add 1/4 cup whipped cream for two servings. Fold in gently.
To assemble: Mix the honey and the crumbs until combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon into each glass followed by 1/4 cup pudding, another tablespoon of crumbs, 1/4 cup pudding and a final sprinkle of crumbs.
While the recipe makes enough for 4 full servings, I did made two parfaits and set them in the fridge till today when there would be enough light to take a decent picture. When I woke up this morning to remove them, there was only one!!
There was a gremlin in the fridge!!
Seems The Nudge had a snack before bed and somehow forgot to tell me.