I Have A Medical Problem And The Only Cure Is More Pudding. I'm Not Kidding. I'm Kind Of Not.

So....how was your holiday season? Okay, so, a couple of weeks ago, right around Christmas, I started to notice a sharp pain in my belly. It was this weird ache that would come and go as it pleased. Actually, it usually enjoyed paying a visit right after I had a few sips of scotch or ate a samosa. And then it would overstay its welcome. And then I would cry and wake up in the middle of the night and whine to my boyfriend who probably wanted to impale me for also waking him up in the middle of the night (just kidding about him impaling me, for I am awesome and feed him desserts and these desserts would die with me, and anyway I already felt like I was being impaled).

Eventually, I found out that I had an ulcer. A motherflipping ulcer. Me. I have a hole in my stomach lining. How in the hell...

Yes, I've been stressed and sad and depressed and whiny. But an ULCER?! Geez. So, now, this is what the rest of my month will look like:

1. No bubbles (So basically I had a really lame New Year's Eve)

2. No booze (See #1)

3. No spicy food (BUT I'M BROWN!)

4. No citrus and nothing even remotely acidic

5. Pretty much all sweets (as long as they don't involve citrus) are permitted. Some are encouraged.

6. I would like to direct you to #5. Please re-read.

7. No fried foods. I can't have any fun, can I? Oh wait...

8. Oh yeah. Medicine. Right. Whatever. Did you re-read #5 yet?

Alright, so, when I first found out about this thing, I called my mom, who advised me on my diet. She basically told me that things like ice cream, pudding and potatoes would be helpful during this difficult time. I kind of tuned out when she said potatoes, because if I can't have french fries, I can't have potatoes. I mean, I like all kinds of potatoes, I just don't like the idea of not being able to do whatever I want to them. Maybe that was an unnecessary sentence. Well.

So anyway, back to puddings. I don't do well with the powdered "just add milk stuff" because, well, would you expect me to be? And anyway, since I'm no longer busy eating cayenne pepper by the truckload and drinking gallons of lemonade, I've got a lot of time on my hands. Enough time, in fact, to make butterscotch pudding.

Confession: I did add a little of this to the first batch. Damn it was good. And damn did I pay for it later.

Butterscotch Pudding (Makes 4 servings, unless you live with me, because then it makes 2 if you are really lucky and really full from dinner)

4 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of dark brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

2 1/2 cups of milk (I used 1% milk)

2 large eggs or 1 jumbo egg

2 teaspoons of scotch or whiskey (use another teaspoon if you like your pudding boozy, use none if you have an ulcer that sucks at life)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Melt your butter in a medium-sized saucepan. When melted, add in sugar and salt and stir until moistened. Remove pan from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of your milk with your cornstarch, and mix until no clumps of cornstarch remain. Mix in egg(s) and set aside.

Add the rest of your milk to the butter/sugar/salt mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in your cornstarch mixture, and place the pan over medium heat.

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Whisk until the mixture comes to a rolling boil (careful, as some may splatter), then reduce the heat to a simmer.

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Continue to whisk constantly, until the mixture thickens to a smooth, pudding-like texture. Remove from heat, then pour into a large bowl or individual serving bowls, and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 4 hours.

If you'd like, you could add some chocolate curls for fancy-pants-ness, using a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar, like I did:

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To be honest, the chocolate didn't really add any flavor, and actually masked the pudding's flavor, so unless you're a chocoholic, keep it simple.

And what happens when you keep it simple? You basically forget about all of your problems and disappear into what you hope is a gigantic vat of homemade butterscotch pudding. This was amazing. It was, well, buttery of course, but also smooth, fragrant and very, very soothing. My tummy was extremely happy. My boyfriend's tummy was apparently even happier, since it devoured so much that I had to make another bowl of the stuff almost immediately. Aaaand I'll be making more tonight. In the interest of my health, of course. ;)

Oh, so I'd like to end with a little story that I hope will make you smile and give you faith in humanity. As many of you know, I am normally a grump and a cynic. As those of you who read my previous post know, I've been participating in the "26 acts of kindness" movement initiated by the lovely and amazing Ann Curry. It's been enlightening, it's been challenging, and it's been difficult, to be completely honest. But, I'm getting there, and I'd encourage you all to please try and get in on it. So anyway, about a week ago, my boyfriend and I drove up to the Ridge Hill Mall in Westchester, NY. It was snowy and windy and I was kind of miserable because of the weather and my ailment. I'd been looking for a warm pair of gloves, since my mittens suck and always have, and before I could protest boyfriend purchased a beautiful, snuggly, perfect woolen pair for me from Orvis. We exited the store...and I promptly lost the gloves. As in, immediately. I traced and re-traced my steps to no avail. I felt awful. Boyfriend was somehow incredibly understanding, and even took me back to Orvis to ask if they'd turned up (of course they hadn't) and then purchase another pair for me (obviously I refused to accept them because I was both stubborn and very, very angry at myself). He's a keeper, right? So, as he makes his way over to the pair he'd like to re-purchase, the store manager walks over and GIVES THEM TO US FOR FREE. My jaw dropped. I seriously could have cried. I actually might have cried, but it was so cold that I couldn't really feel my face, so who knows. Anyway, I know a free pair of gloves that I received might not mean a lot to anyone else, but knowing there are still honest, kind, understanding people in the world warmed my heart, and made me want to pay the kindness forward even more. I hope it does the same for you. Either way...if you're in Ridge Hill any time soon, please give that guy my regards.