Today was not my day. The post I had planned didn’t work out. The repair Terry did on my van yesterday didn’t solve the real problem and left the kids and me stranded on the side of the road in an area where I didn’t get cell phone service, still about two miles from my friend’s house. Later, for a miserable thirty minutes, I misplaced the keys for the truck I borrowed from Terry. The kids whined and tattled on each other. My pictures for the blog would not load… Oy.
The title of one of my favorite books is Of Mice and Men, and it alludes to a line from a poem by Robert Burns that is paraphrased as “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” This line popped into my head a few times today. Things don’t always go as we plan, even if we plan well. Normally this “going off the plan” frustrates me and stresses me quite a bit. (I may have a slight problem with wanting control.) As I sit here tonight, however, I do not find myself angry and irritable. I look back on my day, and I am able to see so many blessings. I am blessed to have the resources and time to try again on a new post. I am blessed to have a jack-of-all-trades boyfriend who is both willing and able to do mechanical repairs. After taking only about ten steps down the highway towards my friend’s house with three kids in tow, a kind woman stopped to ask if we needed a ride and drove the kids and me to my friend’s house. (I didn’t think people even dared stop to help someone anymore. Thank goodness some do!) Today was Terry’s day off, so he was available to come and see about the van and offered me the use of one of his vehicles in the meantime without hesitation. The kids and I both had a wonderful afternoon and evening visit with our friends. The keys were found. Bedtime arrived. And the pictures were fixed. Today wasn’t such a terrible day after all.
Unlike the doomed and disillusioned characters in the book, I have many things for which to be grateful and hopeful. It seems like gratitude, rather than anger or complaining, does wonders. And sometimes the thing you had planned doesn’t turn out nearly as well or have as much meaning as the thing you didn’t plan. I realize that many people suffer and struggle with things far more serious than I experienced today, but it is amazing to see how much of a difference a better attitude and gratitude can make. God has a plan for us and things eventually turn out the way they are supposed to turn out.
And in the meantime, you get my mom’s fruit salad recipe today instead of something else. I have been enjoying this fruit salad for decades. My mom used to make it, and I have carried on that tradition. It is creamy and light. Kids usually like the marshmallows. You can vary it for your needs. If you don’t like the particular fruits, you can substitute for one you like better. You can add in some fresh fruits too. If you don’t like to use Cool Whip you can make fresh whipped cream. If you do like Cool Whip, there are sugar free, fat free, and extra creamy versions. I always use vanilla pudding, but you could use coconut cream or banana if you like those flavors better. You can tailor this recipe to your tastes.
If you ever get invited to a potluck or an event, and either you don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen or you don’t have much time, but you don’t want to sign up to bring the chips or the silverware, this is a great recipe to have on hand. I just made this about a month ago for a Boy Scout banquet, and sure enough, someone asked me for the recipe afterwards. You may want to go ahead and print a few extras right away. 🙂 This would be great as a side item for your Easter dinner too.
Mom’s 10-Minute Fruit Salad
- 1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks or tidbits and juice
- 1 small pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding or sugar free instant pudding (do not follow directions on box)
- 1 can mandarin oranges, drained and discarded (size based on your preference)
- 1 15 oz. can fruit cocktail, drained and discarded
- 1-2 cups mini marshmallows (I normally use regular white marshmallows, but this time I saw the fruity pastel colored ones and thought they would be extra festive for Easter and spring. Get the colorful ones if you must, but I do not recommend them. They added an extra flavor to the salad that I did not like.)
- 1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip or 1 cup of fresh cream whipped with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
- Optional: Other fresh fruits such as halved grapes, banana slices, or diced apples
- If you are going to use fresh whipped cream, chill a metal bowl and beaters in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the salad. (The chilled bowl helps the cream whip better and faster.)
- Drain the juice from the pineapple into a large bowl.
- Add the packet of dry pudding mix to the pineapple juice. Stir until the pudding is thick. Set aside.
- Drain the oranges and fruit cocktail well and discard the juice.
- Whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar until medium-stiff peaks form OR open the Cool Whip. Add the cream to the pudding and blend well.
- Add the drained pineapple chunks, oranges and fruit cocktail to the pudding and cream. If you prefer smaller pieces of fruit, you can cut them in half.
- Add 1-2 cups of marshmallows to the salad mixture and blend it thoroughly.
- You can serve this right away, but it gets better if you make it ahead of time and let it chill for a few hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container until ready to use. Leftovers keep for 2-3 days.
Source: My mom