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Ripping off the band aid – My recent life has been a series of harsh, unpredictable moments of unanticipated physical and psychological struggles. Seven weeks ago I had an unimaginable avocado related stabbing that has spun my world upside down. I can’t quite remember a time that I felt so rutterless. There are a few constants that remain in tact in this dizzying reality – my family, my love of cooking and my desire to remain optimistic no matter how jolted I felt.

What surprises me is that I so under estimated the situation. Maybe I was naïve, optimistic, or in denial but I though a cut requires stitches – end of story. Never did I imagine 2 surgeries, an infection and countless side-effects. I mean, it was an accidental cut while pitting an avocado! Ridiculous down to the explanation of what happened. But no matter what I think, it happened and it was a set back. Fortunately, I am recovering and that in itself is exciting as I attempt to recalibrate my life.

There were certainly moments when I faltered, and in a blink friends helped me fill the void. And through it all, my husband never left my side. He and my mother have been my pillars of strength. Gratitude abounds.

Proverbial lesson: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you coconut milk, make coconut pudding. And that is just what I did in my temporary one-handedness. I made coconut pudding; as I continue to explore my new found love of gelatins and more.

For those that have my cookbook you’ll probably recognize this recipe method. I’ve also listed the directions for syrup that can be prepared to accompany it, but typically my family enjoys eating it plain.

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Creamy Coconut Pudding


1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups whole milk

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 TBS cornstarch


Lightly coat a 1- ½ quart jelly mold with vegetable oil or unflavored cooking spray.

In a medium size pot combine all condensed milk, whole milk, coconut milk and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with ¼ cup of the milk liquids previously mixed together and stir well to remove all of the lumps. When well combined, add the cornstarch mixture to the pot of milk and cook over medium-high heat. Gently simmer the mixture for 15 minutes; continually stirring. When ready, the consistency should be thick like a custard. Pour pudding into the mold. Once cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 2+ hours to set.

To unmold, place mold into a bowl of warm water for 45 seconds. Place a plate on top and flip to invert. Enjoy.

A nice alternate presentation is to use golden raisins or prunes to make a sauce. To prepare add ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a small pan over medium heat to make a simple syrup. Add 1 cup dried fruit and stir for 2-4 minutes to soften fruit. Set aside to cool. When serving pour over plated coconut pudding.

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