Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grandmother's Recipe File: Zebra Pies

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a printable zebra pie recipe.

It seems that everyone who cooks has recipes from a grandmother. Of my two grandmothers, Mimi and Mema, one is a cook and one is not.

We grew up going to Mimi's house for Sunday dinner each and every week. It makes my mouth water to think about it! We always had something delicious and southern: roast, fried chicken, pork chops, green beans, peas, butter beans, greens, creamed corn, cornbread dressing, veg-all casserole, pear salad (pear halves with mayo and grated cheese in the hole -- I never liked it!), congealed salad, frozen fruit salad, homemade biscuits, cornbread... the list goes on. Oh -- and chicken pie! The kind with whole eggs inside and lattice on top! I LOVE chicken pie. And creamed corn! And macaroni and cheese! Okay, I'll just admit it; I love it all.

I still use my Mimi's recipe when I make macaroni and cheese. Well, she never really had recipes so much, but I learned how to make it by dumping just the right amount of each ingredient in the bowl. Mimi taught me how to make biscuits the same way, and my mom taught me how to make cornbread dressing and chicken pie the way she learned it -- pour/dump and see/taste!

Then there's Mema. I think Mema cooks two things: cottage cheese pancakes and zebra pies. But, when we spent the night at her house, food wasn't what was important! We were too busy playing! You name it, we did it at Mema's. She took us (and friends) all over -- to the movies, skating, or bowling. She had one of those station wagons where we could sit in the back facing backwards. On the way to our destination we always played the Guess What Time We're Going To Be There game -- to the minute! The winner just won, and that was enough for us. We also knew every single word to a patriotic piano medley she used to play. It was really long, but we sang it over and over -- and loved it! I sure wish I could find a copy of it because she can't find it now! At her house we played games and rode bikes all over the neighborhood. Mema was also the hostess of the New Year's Eve party every year. (It wasn't really a party. Think two 10 year old cousins and maybe a friend sitting in bean bag chairs in front of the tv, staying up past midnight drinking sparkling cider. We did it many years though!) As for food, we did have a blast every morning making balloon, bicycle, dog, and letter pancakes! And dots. One of my favorite things was to dribble the batter in the pan to make pancake dots!

I don't know where Mema got the zebra pies idea, but the dessert must be quite old. Several Amazon reviews of the Famous Chocolate Wafers used in the zebra pie recipe mention grandmothers making similar desserts with them even long ago. Pretty neat!

I made Mema's zebra pies the other night. They are easy and delicious, so I thought I'd share them! They are also a perfect treat for kids!

First, whip some heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken.

Add sugar to taste. For a quart of whipped cream, I used about 2/3 cup.

Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over beat because it won't spread well.

For zebra pies, the whipping cream goes in between chocolate cookies called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. These are available at good grocery stores -- the kind that we don't have within a 50 mile radius. I had to ask for all sorts of favors to get these. Of course I didn't plan ahead, and when I got my mind set on making them, there was no other choice!

Put a layer of the cookies down in a dish that you can cover.

Put about 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on each cookie. I used a Pampered Chef small scoop, and it worked nicely. I dipped it in a cup of water every so often so the whipped cream would come out easily.

Gently press another cookie over each dollop of whipped cream until the whipped cream spreads out evenly between the cookies but doesn't squish out the sides.

Repeat dolloping. 

Repeat cookie pressing. (Oops. Forgot to take a picture! At this point Blair had covered the kitchen floor with hand towels, cooking utensils, toys, and cook books.)

Repeat dolloping a third time, and spread the whipped cream out with a spoon to make a pretty top.

Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 6-8 hours). They're ready when they cookies are nice and soft, and the whipped cream doesn't squish out when you bite them.

A quart of whipped cream and four boxes of cookies made about 50 pies.

This dessert is so easy but is sure to be a family favorite for you too! Click here for a printable version!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet Ones

Blair's cousin Turner was in town this week, and I'm so glad he and Blair got to spend some time together. When he got there, Blair was hilarious! She ran all over the house grabbing this and that to show him. She was big time showing out! She kept opening her mouth really wide like she was so excited to see him and couldn't believe he was there (like he was a long lost best friend!).

I think Blair has played with children two other times in her 19 months (I know, this is terrible, but it's just not worth it. She can play with whomever she wants when she can handle a cold!), so I was very proud of how sweet she was.

 Both listening to "Wheels on the Bus."

Blair put her ball in Turner's outfit -- one of her favorite hiding places!

We couldn't get over how sweet they were to each other. Look at these two sweet babies doing this all on their own -- no parent prompting required.

They shared so well and played and played together. Blair was a tad stingy with her Cozy Coupe, but she got the taking turn thing down without any fitting at all.


 We got her to push instead.

She's serious this time!

So Turner pushed.

They ate and ate -- apple jacks, craisins, and pretzels! Blair liked to give hers to Turner. The only thing is that she gave him food like she gives food to Gus -- by throwing it on the floor. We'll have to work on that!

Giving Turner craisins by dropping them in the floor of the car.

Turner finally got an Apple Jack out of her hand!

 And he got a hand in the face too! Oops.

Trying to feed Gus through the window.
She likes to sit on the windowsill.

Blair is a tad more rambunctious than sweet Turner, but they are also very much alike. They are both tiny! And they both crawled on one knee when they were younger. The two also throw their hands up on a regular basis to indicate that they don't know or to ask where something is. And they like to clean.

 First you have to mess up -- by pouring craisins on the floor.

Cleaning with her blanket.

How sweet! Turner came to help.


Blair also cleaned the dog bowl out with a roller.

Turner found one of Blair's play spots!

These two had a great afternoon together. Blair was looking all over for Turner when she got up from her nap!
We hope you see you all again soon!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting sandy... or not.

Blair likes her new (to us -- it's borrowed) sandbox -- as long as she's not in the box. I got her in it one time right when we got it.

She quickly climbed out, and hasn't been in it since.

She prefers to play from the outside or perched on the edge.

She's not a complete girly girl, but she sure likes to be clean!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Blair likes to hide things. It hasn't gotten bad yet, but the other day I was looking for her bows. Then I remembered that the day or two before I had seen Blair plucking them out of her diaper bag and stuffing them one by one...

 ...under her rug.

Blair and Mrs. Wishy Washy

We recently found out that Blair is much more like her daddy than we thought. Brad is a very clean person. Since he was little, although he has always loved to work in the barn and get dirty, he has liked to be clean. Of course, I like to be clean too (doesn't everyone?!), but Brad's a little bit more obsessive about it!

Last week at Blair's early intervention hearing appointment, Blair did her first little art project with sunflower seeds! And we have some growing in the kitchen window!

Then her teacher did a lesson with a book called Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Mrs. Wishy-Washy has a cow, a duck, and a pig who all love the "lovely mud," so they all jump in and get really dirty. She gives them a bath, and they go right back outside and get in the mud again.

Blair's teacher, Mrs. Linda, told Blair that Mrs. Wishy-Washy looked like a farmer's wife. Hmmmmm. What's she tryin' to say?! 

Blair's lessons are all about language. First we made mud -- emphasizing dirt, water, pour, stir around and around, and so on -- and the language emphasis continues throughout. Mrs. Linda got out the three main characters, and we started reading the book. 

When the cow jumped in the mud, she took the little plastic Little People cow. He ran and jumped in the mud we had made, and she swirled him around real good. She showed him to Blair and told her he was dirty! And she set him aside. At this point, Blair was looking like she was about to frown. I told Mrs. Linda that it looked like she was about to get upset, but I thought I had made it up, and we continued.

 Blair's placemat. Mrs. Wishy Washy says, "Oh no!"

So just about when it was time for the pig to get in the mud and get dirty, we had tears. Big tears. And a big frown. And a red face. Blair was SO upset! She was nearly inconsolable. She did not want those animals to be dirty! She hardly ever cries, but she cried and cried. And she wanted to get up. "Up mmm, up mmm," she kept saying. But Mrs. Linda kept going.

Finally it was time for the animals to get in the bath. Blair saw that clean cow, and she was all of a sudden just fine -- and pointing! She was pointing as hard as she could to tell us to get those other animals in that bath! The girl likes to be clean! Maybe that's why she plays in her sandbox while sitting in the grass!

Afterwards, we got some edible "mud" (chocolate pudding) and animal crackers dirty and licked them clean. She liked that. Then Blair used the pudding to make Mrs. Wishy-Washy's animals on her laminated placemat dirty and then made them clean. She liked that too. She alternated finger painting and licking her finger!

It was a very cute lesson on clean and dirty, and it taught me a little something about Miss Blair!

This week we did the pudding activity at home.

 The cow jumps in the mud and gets dirty!

Lick him clean!

She was really dipping into the mud. And look at her mouth!

She was sure to clean her fingers too!

Time to get the animals on the placemat muddy.

Make the duck dirty. Oooo, he's muddy!

Two hands.

More cleaning.

Wash, wash, wash the duck. Wash the duck today...

Trying to say "wash" -- with an "f."

All clean!

Then I had to wash, wash, wash our clothes -- we had chocolate pudding everywhere!