Snack Pack Pudding: Apple Pie A La Mode

This is a bit of a random review, but I am writing it for 2 reasons:

  1. This pudding was one of my go-to foods during my post-wisdom teeth extraction recovery period.
  2. My dad bought it, and I saw the flavor and was extremely dubious. My first impression was quite wrong.

Disclaimers: I am not being paid to write this review, and food tastes REAL good when you’re having trouble getting anything down at all.

Snack Pack Pudding: Apple Pie A La Mode

Snack Pack makes puddings and jellies that you may have seen while grocery shopping. These are usually NOT in the refrigerated section, because some kind of magic keeps them okay without refrigeration. (It says so on the package.) (Not the part about magic.)

My dad brought home some jelly and pudding while I was incapacitated and unable to eat solid food last week. I saw banana creme pie and apple pie a la mode and raised my eyebrows as much as I could muster at him. These were some weird-sounding flavors for pudding. I am usually really suspicious of foods that are ambitious and try really hard to taste like non-traditional flavors. (Those yogurts that taste like desserts? Why can’t it taste like yogurt?)

He had me bring it along with me to school while I was on campus working. I had one for a light lunch since I was still just a bit queasy and…

… it was so good. Wow. The layers in the pudding actually do represent different flavors:

  • The top, cream-colored layer was meant to be the “[à] la mode” part, aka the ice cream-flavored part. It tasted like standard vanilla pudding and not like anything too crazy. I like vanilla pudding, so I was pleased.
  • The bottom, caramel-colored layer was meant to be the apple pie part, and it was tasty without being, again, too ambitious. It has a hint of cinnamon but isn’t overly apple-y or pie-y.

Did it actually taste like apple pie served with ice cream? No, of course not. And personally, I really didn’t want it to. There are certain expectations at play when you are tasting apple pie and the texture is pudding-y, and when you are eating pudding and it doesn’t taste like chocolate, vanilla, or other traditional pudding flavors.

I will definitely be eating this again. I have one more cup in my fridge (although remember, you don’t need to keep it in your fridge) and I am saving it for a rainy day.

Well, would you look at that. It’s raining outside.

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Baby’s First Surgery

I underwent my very first surgery today! Wisdom tooth extraction, all 4 out at once.

I didn’t eat or drink anything after midnight, so I woke up this morning for my 8:15 appointment veeeery thirsty and pretty hungry already. We went grocery shopping Sunday evening, as I posted here then, so I was ready to eat if I had the appetite.

We got to the center and I signed my consent form stating that I behaved before the operation and would behave afterwards, too. Then they sent my daddy away and led me to another room. I got my general anesthesia intravenously through my left arm and they placed a small mask over my nose for oxygen.

… and that’s all I remember until I woke up about an hour later. I was in a different room, which was slightly disorienting, and they had taped a cotton pad over my IV wound. My dad escorted me out of this different room, out the back door, into some back parking lot. (We were previously parked in front of the front door.)

“How did I end up in a different room?”
“They carried you.”
“…. whaaaaaat.” Not sure why this was so unbelievable to me, but it was, at the time. I’m still slightly disoriented by the location change.

I don’t really remember walking to the car, but I remember my dad stopping at Rite Aid to pick up my painkiller, antibiotic, and a heating pad. I was going to offer to go with him, but soon enough, we were at my house. My dad helped me get to the recliner in our living room and I took my painkiller and then my antibiotic, dribbling water all over my front because the local anesthesia at my mouth hadn’t yet worn off.

Considering I went drug-free for 12 years – no painkillers, no cold meds, no nothing – I don’t know how much of my prescription painkiller I’ll be taking. I have never had a prescription, so they had to enter me in the system for the first time. But I will take my antibiotics diligently, I don’t want an infection.

It’s been over 12 hours since I arrived home. I felt really hungry and ate some Jello, but I got nauseous immediately afterwards. (No vomiting though, yay!) I tried some soup for dinner, but again, nausea immediately afterwards.

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Puffay cheekies

Moderate swelling and minimal pain. No vomiting so far. I hope my recovery is nice and smooth and I can eat my beloved food again very soon. 🙂

Grocery Haul

10 points if you can tell me the occasion for which I went grocery shopping today:

  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Vegetable soup
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sports drink

Starstruck

Last night, I had the unique opportunity to attend Astronomy Night on the National Mall.

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A small crowd had started gathering as people set up their telescopes and calibrated them for an evening of stargazing.

There were astronomists and astrophysicists all around with impressive telescopes pointed at the sky. I just missed viewing the sun through a special filter, but I was able to view the moon several times last night. I could see all the craters of the lit parts of the moon and it was beautiful, and this was at dusk. Its brilliance only grew as the sky darkened.

I wish I was able to photograph what I could see through the telescope’s lens, but I wasn’t able to maneuver my camera properly.

It was incredibly humbling to walk past the Washington Monument, which is undergoing some large-scale renovations to repair the damage done by the 2011 Earthquake.

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My photo of the Washington Monument, looking different from every other time that I’ve seen it.

As it grew darker, we started to see a few stars emerge. I was able to see Venus and Mercury peeking at us through the still-red sky as the sun was setting. Another star would start twinkling at us and then my friend alerted me to the fact that people were focusing their telescopes on Saturn.

Saturn, the 6th planet from the sun and the second largest planet behind Jupiter. It has been my favorite planet for over a decade now; I used to doodle its astronomical symbol in the margins of my classwork. (Astronomical symbol for Saturn) According to some of my friends, it’s strange to have a favorite planet. Um, my name is Starr, it would be strange if I didn’t have a favorite planet. Or favorite nebula. Or favorite constellation. But I digress.

I love Saturn because of its extraordinary rings and its moons: Saturn has over 60 moons, losing the moon game narrowly to Jupiter. (Although its difficult to accurately count all of either planet’s moons.) I have been fascinated by Saturn since I was first able to name all the planets of the solar system (including Pluto, way back then…).

I stood in the growing line to see Saturn and found myself getting anxious. Would it be just a shining speck like Venus appeared? Would I even be able to see it with my lifelong struggle to look into scopes correctly?

I wasn’t at all disappointed. I looked into the eyepiece, and even though Saturn was moving rapidly out of the field of vision, I could see it. I could see Saturn’s rings, and I could see the shadow that the rings cast against the planet. I could see the Cassini division (the large gap between the rings), and I could see moons. Titan, shining brightly to the left and a few smaller moons behind it.

My view of the heavens from Earth
This is what I could see… but my view was even more spectacular.

It was more spectacular that I really could have hoped and I stepped away from the telescope in complete awe. I felt my eyes welling up with tears, and I struggled for a while to understand why I was getting embarrassingly emotional about being able to see Saturn. One of my friends started teasing me: “Is STARR getting STARSTRUCK by the STARS?”

But I was. I was so awestruck by the beauty of Saturn. Was this how Galileo felt when he first saw the rings of Saturn? What was greater, I wonder: the feeling of seeing a planet for the first time and discovering that this celestial body had rings? Or admiring said planet through other people’s eyes for years before being able to look directly at it for the first time?

Even after a minute, I was still stunned speechless. I laid down on the grass, staring up at the gleaming dot that I now knew to be Saturn. The word “mortal” kept entering my mind, as in “How can a mere mortal such as myself behold such beauty in my eyes?” I was still tearing up as I gazed at Saturn, knowing that I was able to see its rings. I eventually got back in line twice for two more looks, and its magnificence wasn’t lost on me a single time.

As I walked away from the event, my thoughts shifted from the magnificence of the heavens to the marvel of mankind. We, as humans, were able to construct a tool that allowed us to look at the multitude of sparkling somethings in the sky and see. I was able to see Saturn, 887 million miles away from Earth, because of the amazing telescopes that were forged by humans, some of which weren’t even automated. Trying to track Saturn as it blazed through space was fascinating in and of itself, but there were telescopes that were programmed to track Saturn as it sped across the sky.

Not only was mankind capable of creating instruments as wondrous as the telescope, but the people at this event were so kind. They traveled from far and wide, many of them citing jetlag from long flights or cramps from hauling their telescopes in their vans. The larger telescopes each cost over $10,000, not including the modifications and maintenance and any repairs. And these scientists allowed the general public to look at the heavens for free. They answered my friends’ questions about why stars twinkle and how did they even get so much cheese on the moon anyway?

I sat on the subway leaving DC thinking about the magnificence of the heavens and the marvel that is mankind.

Be humble, for you are made of earth.
Be noble, for you are made of stars.

                            – Serbian proverb