Mama’s Ambrosia

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Last night was a bittersweet time for me.  There I was, just bopping through life like I always do.  And then this happened:

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Wait.  What?  No, no, no, no!  She’s still this little girl!

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There’s no way she’s old enough to attend a middle school homecoming dance!

And yet…

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she is.

How did this happen?

I checked her out a little early from school and she did her makeup and then I spent the next two hours with a curling iron in my hand.  Forty-seven curls later and we had homecoming hair.

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Thick, springy curls that lasted just long enough for everyone to see them at the dance.  She had a blast!  She danced and laughed and hung out with her friends.  And then she and I went to a very late dinner at a local Italian restaurant with her friend Laura and her mom Beckie.  Elizabeth and Laura have been friends since they were in diapers.  They both looked so grown up last night!  They had so much fun!

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But I had to bite my lip several times during the night (yes, I was a chaperone!) to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks.

She’s my baby.

I can recall several times as I was growing up when I would catch my mom on the verge of tears.  Whenever I asked her what was wrong, she just smiled and said, “One day, you’ll understand.”

I do.  I’m so proud of the lovely young woman that Elizabeth is becoming, but it’s so hard to start letting go.  She’s ready to fly (or she thinks she is), but I just want to pull her close and never let go.  I know I won’t have to really let go for a few more years, but every step she takes along her journey means I have to let go just a little more.

Okay.  Enough of that.  I’m sitting here at the keyboard about to cry all over again!

In honor of my mom – and all the other mothers out there – I’m posting this recipe for my mama’s ambrosia.  Ambrosia is what we call fruit salad – but not just any fruit salad.  This one is glopped with lots of whipped cream!  Mama made this a lot when we were growing up, but I especially remember that she made it to take to my grandmother’s house at Thanksgiving.  There were never any leftovers!

Mama’s Ambrosia

  • 2 15-ounce cans of fruit cocktail, drained
  • 15-ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 10-ounce jar of maraschino cherries, drained
  • 3 medium bananas, sliced
  • strawberries, sliced (as many as you like)
  • 2 cups of finely-chopped pecans
  • 16-ounce tub of Cool Whip

Combine all the fruits and nuts in a large bowl.  Top with Cool Whip and stir.  Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Well Duh #1:  Okay, this isn’t exactly my mama’s ambrosia.  She always added mini marshmallows and shredded coconut.  You can do that, too!  I just didn’t have either on hand.

Well Duh #2:  I used the fruit cocktail and mandarin oranges with no sugar added because I knew the Cool Whip would be plenty sweet.

Well Duh #3:  I added a lot of strawberries because my family loves them.  You can add as many as you like.

Well Duh #4:  This is a very versatile recipe.  You can add whatever fruits you like, fresh or canned.  You can also substitute walnuts for pecans.

My family loves this!  It’s sweet enough that you can actually serve it as a dessert.  You have to use the word “salad” very loosely for this!

I’m still not quite over last night’s activities.  I mean, I still remember the day I took this picture:

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and years from now, I’ll remember the day we took this one:

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Cherish every moment.

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