Music plays a huge roll in my life. It makes me feel. Makes me happy, sad, relieves stress, brings a huge smile to my face. It makes me dance (badly) and sing (even worse). It keeps me calm when alone and a little nervous or stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of rush hour.
When I was growing up, MTV still aired music videos all the time. Though I was probably a little too young, my grade school days were filled with TRL introducing me to the latest and greatest from pop to hip hop to rap. I rushed home from school to see what would be number one each day. I’d listen to the radio non-stop, and there were even days when I got up early for school so my baby-sitter and I could stop at Target on the way to pick up the newest Britney Spears or NSYNC CD. CDs, remember those?
I can’t remember the last time my TV was turned to MTV or even the last music video I watched all the way through, nor the last time I saw a concert. The radio station I listened to has been turned into some DJless monstrosity that isn’t even a part of my presets. I now almost exclusively listen to Sirius radio and love it. I love that it introduces me to music regular radio doesn’t. I have a few hundred iTunes songs on my computer, but I don’t even have an iPod or a CD player except the one in my computer. I still love music, though. I love listening to it in the car and typically put away my cell phone to enjoy the music. I watch performances on all the talk shows. The Grammys and AMAs are appointment television.
I still smile every time a Spice Girls’ song comes on the ‘90s channel, and yes, I still know most of the words. The song “Hallelujah” makes me cry within hearing only a few notes. I watch Glee mostly for the performances and Love Actually is my favorite movie of all time due in large part to the fantastic music that propels the story. I even had to stifle tears in the middle of Hallmark last year when the Charlie Brown Christmas music was playing.
Music reaches my soul without even trying. It hits all my emotions and makes me feel more alive. I may enjoy it differently than I used to, but I still enjoy it pretty much every single day.
Vanilla Pudding Candy Corn Oreo Trifle, it will be music to your taste buds with its symphony of flavors. The homemade vanilla pudding is wonderful. Super easy to make, it has true vanilla flavor with vanilla bean specks throughout. It’s also super thick and creamy with a melt in your mouth texture, no straining required. It’s like store bought pudding taken to the nth degree. And while this pudding is totally awesome all on its own, I wanted to do something different with it. So I layered it with crushed Candy Corn Oreos. I like to think of this as my version of dirt pudding. I left the Oreos in somewhat large pieces, though feel free to crush them as much as you like. The pudding and Oreos together are a match made in heaven, each bringing out the best flavors of the other. I love to let the parfait sit in the refrigerator for awhile so the Oreos soften. I bet regular Golden Oreos or even regular Oreos would be great in this as well. This is the perfect treat for Halloween. Kids and adults alike will love it and forget about all the candy from the store or their Trick or Treating.
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 large eggs (I highly recommend pasteurized for this recipe)
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- About 10 Candy Corn Oreos
- In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt until combined. In a medium-large bowl, whisk eggs until slightly lightened in color and there are no lumps. Whisk in cornstarch mixture until smooth and fully combined.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk, remaining sugar, and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, slowly and steadily pour it into the egg mixture, whisking quite vigorously and constantly until all the milk is added.
- Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and place back over medium-high heat. Allow the mixture to cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes until it is thickened. It is fine if it comes to boil, but it may not. You will be able to tell that the mixture has thickened significantly and is ready.
- Immediately pour the mixture into a medium heat proof bowl. Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Place pudding immediately in the refrigerator. After it has been in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cover it with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 more hours.
- Using a rolling pin, food processor, or your fingers crush the Oreos. I used my fingers and left them in large pieces, but feel free to use your method of choice and crush them as finely as you wish.
- Retrieve 4 small serving vessels of your choice, I used wine glasses, and remove the pudding from the refrigerator. Place a dollop of pudding in the bottom of each glass, covering the bottom completely. Sprinkle with Oreos until the pudding is covered. Add another layer of pudding, before topping with Oreos. Place back in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. I highly recommend this step, as I like how it allows the Oreos to soften. The pudding may be stored in the refrigerator overnight, but I would not store the parfaits longer than a few hours, and I would not freeze any part of this recipe.