Monday, April 5, 2010


This dish means so much more to me than most of the other recipes I post on here.

It's not particularly complicated, or fancy.

But this dish is beautiful.

For me, this recipe symbolizes home. My mom used to make this "salad" (which is actually much more of a dessert to me) in the spring and summer time. It's a fool proof recipe, which means I can replicate it even if I'm about 2,500 miles away from my mom. We've started a tradition a couple of years back to always make at least one dish that's the same for Easter dinner, no matter how far away we were from one another. This year, I requested ambrosia. Having a physical connection, knowing my mom and dad are eating the same thing I am, enjoying each other's company like I am enjoying the company of my husband and friends, is a very comforting feeling.

I got to spend time with a local family and friends this Easter. Transitioning to living in San Diego has been very hard for me (you can read about my struggles on my other blog). For the first year or so, I really didn't have any community or friends that I felt comfortable with. Then, in an answer to prayer, I was taken under the wing of a lab mate, and included in her fellowship community. At first, I was awkward.

Well, I'm always a little awkward. Awkwardness comes naturally when you are a giant lady with red hair. But then, I became comfortable. And then I became happy. And then, after I had assimilated into a group of lovely, godly women, I became totally and tearfully joyful. There is no better feeling than knowing people have been hand picked and placed in your life. This knowledge keeps my faith strong.

Tony and I were so kindly welcomed into a friend's family household this Easter, I was nearly reduced to tears at the dinner table. I brought ambrosia, and even Tony, a self-proclaimed hater of fruit salad, cleaned his dish. Perhaps he sensed the weepy-ness and decided he better clean his plate to prevent the irrational "WHY DON'T YOU EVER LIKE ANYTHING I MAKE?!?!" waterworks. I felt like I was tapping into some underlying current of family, tradition and love by sharing my mom's dish.

I am so grateful for friends, family and ambrosia.

Enough of the story--enjoy the recipe with your own family and friends!

(in my mother's words)

Serves 6-8


1 can pineapple chunks in juice, drained some liquid reserved
1 can fruit cocktail, drained
~8-10 maraschino cherries, drained and halved (used mostly to add color)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sour cream
1 cup miniature marshmallows (Kraft brand Jet-Puffed Marshmallows are the best)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional; delete if nuts are a problem)
1 can mandarin orange segments, drained

Drain juices from all the canned fruits, one can at a time, then dump each into one large bowl for mixing later. (Don't worry about getting the fruit "dry" -- you just need to get rid of most of the juice. But save a little of the pineapple juice for later if the mix seems too dry -- or drink it for breakfast or as a snack while you cook! )
Add the coconut, sour cream and mini-marshmallows to the bowl of fruit. Take a big spoon and mix gently with a folding motion, but mix well so that the fruits and other ingredients are evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into your serving bowl (the bowl for mixing needs to be much bigger and will be "messy looking" after folding and stirring), and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but it tastes better made in the morning for serving that evening or even made the night before to let the flavors mellow and the marshmallows to "dissolve" a bit in the sour cream. You do NOT need to mix again before serving.

Garnish with cherries, mandarin oranges or anything else edible and pretty!


meghanelisabeth said...

I love ambrosia! My mom has a slightly different version that she learned from her mom and we make it every Thanksgiving. What could be better than fruit and marshmallows, especially after they have melted into the fruit juices, yum!

btw, I enjoy seeing your recipes. I also like to cook (can't stand eating the same things over and over again), but sometimes it is hard to find the time and motivation after a long day in lab.

Hope you are doing well!

Anonymous said...

I can tell by the photo's that this is the recipe for me, it looks yummy and I love everything in it. Thank's for sharing it with a mountain man from bush Alaska.

Teresa - Sassy Suburbanite said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I've been craving Ambrosia, something that I had as a kid at church potluck functions. I can remember the taste, but couldn't find a recipe that seemed to be exactly what I had as a kid. Everyone puts their own family spin on things, I suppose. I'm sure they're all good, but yours is what I've been looking for. I can't wait to make this and have it become a regular dish again.

Annie said...

Perfect Ambrosia recipe! Thanks!


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