Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mama Dot's Banana Pudding

I received a call recently from a friend, Wendell Brock, who was doing an article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Food Section on summer desserts.  He was featuring classic summer recipes with fruit and asked me if I had any good recipes, like a banana pudding.  I immediately chirped up and said, "I have the best one you will ever eat.  My Mama Dot's!"  I sent it over to him and he loved it.  He tested the recipe with his mom for Mother's Day and commented how delicious it was.  Well a few days later I am on Facebook and see this beautiful banana pudding in a mason jar and it was her recipe!  He decided to use it and I was so proud!

While Wendell did it the "fancy" way, I like mine kinda deconstructed...I cut up my bananas fresh each time and pour warmed pudding over it and eat my vanilla wafers (the mini variety) crunchy - one at a time with each bite.  However you eat it, you will love this recipe!  My family has for many generations!

The original article appeared in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in the Food section on page F3.  


Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes
Total Time:  55 minutes

Mama Dot’s Banana Pudding with Meringue
Serves 8.  Serves 4 if made in a half-pint mason jar.


½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box Nilla brand vanilla wafers
3 ripe bananas


3 egg whites
6 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375°. 

To make pudding, in a double boiler combine sugar, flour and salt.  Whisk in egg yolks until well combined.  Add the milk and carefully whisk to combine.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium-low heat until thick (about 10-13 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Whisk in vanilla extract. 

In an oven-safe bowl, spread a thin layer of pudding on the bottom.  Top with a layer of vanilla wafers and continue lining the sides of the bowl with wafers.  Top wafers with a layer of banana slices. Pour in 1/3 of the pudding.  Repeat layering bananas and pudding, ending in pudding. 

To make meringue, whip the egg whites, sugar, salt, vanilla and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.  Spoon the meringue over the warm pudding.  Bake on 375° for exactly 12 minutes to brown meringue. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm.  Allow to cool completely before refrigerating.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recipe: Pineapple Cheese Ball

One of our favorite family recipes is Pineapple Cheese Ball.  I remember as a kid mom making it for gatherings with friends and family, for church events and every once in a while, just for us to eat!  It is one that can be enjoyed all year long. 

Pineapple Cheese Ball:

1 - 8 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained well
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 TBSP sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cups pecan, finely chopped

Mix together one cup of chopped pecans with the rest of the ingredients and let chill for at least one hour.  Shape into a ball and roll in the remaining chopped pecans.  Place on a platter for serving.  Serve with favorite variety of crackers. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as my family has through the years!

Grateful and served with love...


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finding direction and passion...

This is who I am.  This is my biography.  This is my life.

one Southern foodie is a boutique culinary and event planning company, independently owned and operated by M. Elise Garner.  We offer services as a culinary assistant to chefs and cookbook authors including shopping and food preparation for cooking classes, demonstrations and photo shoots; personal chef and caterer, specializing in smaller, intimate gatherings; and wedding and event planning.  Meeting clients’ needs and exceeding their expectations are our goals. 

My Story...

I was born and raised in the South. Raised in the church and in the kitchen.  I was cooking from the time I could crawl up on the chair and have a scar from resting my chin on a hot iron skillet because I wanted to see what Momma was cooking.  I’ve always loved to get in the kitchen and cook, but in the last few years it has really become a passion. 

I come from a long line of Southern cooks - grandmothers, aunts and mother have taught me well and have influenced how I cook.  Mom used to do weddings, so catering was a part of that.  My sister and I would always be on hand to help.  And my Dad is a minister, so preparing last minute meals for Sunday guests was just  part of life in our home.  Not a day went by during summer visits to my grandparents that we weren’t in the garden - shuckin’ corn, shellin’ peas, and snappin’ beans.  Canning vegetables, making sweet pickles and hand-churning ice cream was just a part of our day.

The past two years have proven inspirational and valuable to my culinary life.  As a volunteer assistant, and later as the cooking school lead for a local cooking school, I participated in over 200 classes and special events.  I have had the honor of assisting some of the finest chefs and cookbook authors in the South.  These experiences have affirmed the direction of my life and my work.

one Southern foodie is a way of sharing my traditions and recipes in hopes that my food will nourish your body and nurture your soul.

Grateful and served with love...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Opportunities...

I am excited to share that this past week I was contacted to help out with a photo shoot for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

It was for an upcoming cover shoot and while I cannot tell you WHO will be on the cover, I can tell you that I baked up three delicious cupcake recipes.  These recipes are family recipes that have been passed down over generations.  These are the kinds of recipes I love and ones that I love to share.

As soon as the magazine is released, I will let you know, so that you can look out for the cupcakes.

I am grateful for the opportunity - beyond measure.

Grateful and served with love...


Friday, March 15, 2013

Social Media...

Today I have spent time updating information on Facebook and Twitter, so please visit me at to see some of the things I have done. My new twitter handle is @1southernfoodie.

You will see pictures of events I have been a part of, either as the caterer for private events, an assistant to chefs and cookbook authors, or as a stationery designer - another passion.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

My email is

Grateful and served with love...


Monday, March 11, 2013

Change...the only constant

This is probably one of the most personal blogs I have ever written.  Read with an open mind and an open heart. 

The only constant in life is change.  Sometimes change is for the good.  Most of the time it takes a while to adjust.  Sometimes it is because of our decisions;  sometimes it is because of the decisions of others. 

This past fall and this winter have been filled with nothing but change.  One of the most important things I learned during this time of change was that I was cooking at my best.  I had found my calling.  I had found what I loved most.  Being in the culinary world was my niche. 

Liz and I had made the decision to join forces and created {g a r n e r g i r l s} during this time.  But something in the creation of this company and in the planning of where we wanted it to go became more and more about what I didn't want to do.  And I made a very difficult decision recently to not be a part of
{g a r n e r g i r l s}.

The absolute MOST important thing I learned was that there was nothing greater than my happiness and doing what was best for me and my life.  And now, my mission in life is to do what I love;  to do what makes me happy;  to provide for myself;  to have a heart, mind and soul that is full of love - first for myself.

You can call it selfish, if that's how you see it.  How I see it is if I can't take care of me, I can't take care of anyone else.  So now I take care of me. 

I will forever love my sister and I wish her and this new venture the greatest success.  I am excited for the time I can share the details. 

Change...the only constant.  A constant that has taught me so much about myself than ever before in my life.

Gratefully yours and served with love,


Thursday, February 7, 2013


Inspiration.  Where does it come from?  Does it come from reading something someone has written or from hearing a friends voice?  Maybe from sitting around the house doing nothing except collecting your thoughts?  Does it come from reflection on what has been and what you want? Do you draw your inspiration from a bible verse?  How does it come to you?

One thing in the past few weeks and months, inspiration for me comes from so many places.  Sometimes it is from being on Pinterest looking at all the things that people do.  Sometimes it is from hearing or reading a bible verse.  Sometimes it is from reading someones post on Facebook or Twitter.  But wherever it comes from, the one thing I know is that inspiration is what leads me to produce.

I have to be inspired to produce.  I have to be inspired to be creative.  I have to be inspired to be me.  It is what gives me hope.  It is what supports my faith.

Today my inspiration came from someone that I just recently met through Twitter.  And today I am grateful to him.  Grateful as always that God saw fit for our paths to cross, if only through words on a social media site.

Where does inspiration come from?  Anywhere!  That's where.  Look for something to inspire you.  When you have little hope, look for that inspiration to bring it back.  It may be right in front of you.  It may be through a friend.  Or it could come from the least expected place - a perfect stranger.

Grateful and served with love...