I have many memories with my maternal grandmother. During and immediately following my parents’ divorce, my brothers and I spent a lot of time at her house. I think it’s a testament to my grandmother’s love, as well as my parents’ ability to shield us, that most of my early childhood memories are not filled with fighting or divorce proceedings, but rather with the times spent in my grandmother’s living room watching Eureka’s Castle and eating smooth peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches on Wonder bread cut into four triangles.
We were there during an earthquake. I remember being huddled under the kitchen table with my two brothers. Grandma’s arms somehow touching all three of us at once. It was at Grandma’s house that Cory, the youngest of us three, accepted the dare from Sean and me to shave one of his legs. He got in trouble. We did not. My first gaming experiences were at Grandma’s house. There was a play room decorated with all of Papa’s model airplanes. It also contained a toy box and an Atari, later upgraded to a Nintendo. We usually went over to Papa and Grandma’s house on Christmas night to get a stocking filled with small toys, candy, nuts, and a large orange or apple in the toe. That Christmas fruit was always the tastiest of the year. Probably because it came from Grandma’s house. I’ll never forget her apple slices fried in bacon drippins. She was a southern grandma through and through. If you haven’t fried apple slices in bacon drippins, then you must get on that train. It is a food that must be sampled at least once in your lifetime. A recipe from Grandma that will always live on are the apricot fried pies. The recipe was passed down from her mother, and I’m not sure if that’s where it originated. They are fantastic. My grandmother’s three children all have the recipe and make them at least once a year. They surely are something special.
I don’t remember going to the mall with Grandma very often, but I do remember that each mall trip required a stop at Orange Julius and/or Cinnabon. It was usually one or the other, but on a very special day, it was both. Orange Julius is a thing of my youth. A very delicious thing of my youth. Recently, I went to the mall in search of a formal gown to wear to a fancy wedding. While there I got a hankering for an Orange Julius. I turned the corner from the food court towards the mall Dairy Queen (who now owns Orange Julius) and was met with a wall displaying an advertisement for the next confection shop which will inhabit the former Orange Julius stand.
A piece of my youth removed from time and space! Say it ain’t so! I left the mall without an Orange Julius and without a new dress. I drove straight home and concocted my own homemade Orange Julius beverage. It was delicious. I haven’t stopped making them since. It’s been about a month now. I may have a problem.
Full disclosure: this is not the Orange Julius of my youth. It is so much better! About two weeks into my homemade Orange Daisy habit I found a Dairy Queen, ordered an Orange Julius, and although it was tasty, I didn’t love it. I’m sure it’s the same recipe, but my tastes have changed. It was far too sweet and had a powdery taste and consistency that threw off the whole experience. So I went home and made my own, again, for about the 15th day in a row.
If you want the original, powdery, super sweet Orange Julius recipe, this seems to be it. Girl Gone Grits worked at Orange Julius once upon a time. My own version, which I’ve taken to calling an Orange Daisy, is made without any powders, and if I do say so myself, is quite crave worthy. Enjoy.
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- honey or sugar, optional (see note)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, if desired (I've used raspberries, strawberries, peaches, and pineapples)
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until combined and the ice is in small pieces.
If you use freshly-squeezed orange juice (which really does make a huge difference in the overall flavor), you may want to add 1 tablespoon honey or 2 tablespoons sugar since freshly squeezed can be a bit on the tart side.