Saturday, August 25

Anything Can Be an Elegant Centerpiece

Good Morning, Friends. I'm so glad you stopped by!  Today, I was compelled to share with you a new project, as well as, a look back at some old favorites, to prove that, in fact, Anything can be made into a Beautiful, Elegant Centerpiece! And still be done on a Shoestring budget (under $5, or less, actually).

Monday, August 13

Anxiously Awaiting Fall

Is anybody else really ready for and missing the Fall weather? Or just anxious for it to get here? I sure am!! You know,  having soups and stew on the stove top, fresh baked items coming out of the oven.  That part of the fall is so wonderful and really something you can’t really do in the hot days of August in California.  You have to keep your house open at night to get it cooled down and then close it 
up in the morning before the sun heats it back up.  
It’s hardly the time to turn on your oven or have 
something simmering on the stove top.

Well, the couple last nights have cooled off early here and quite nicely, so I took full advantage of it to get my oven on!  I wanted a wonderfully warm something from the oven that screamed of comfort food on cold days to me! A-Haa! My version of Bread Pudding!

I've kind of changed the old bread pudding recipe to suit my tastes, and it has been a major hit with my Family and Friends. I prefer a real custardy(sp?) Bread Pudding, that’s not watery and not too crusty. Do you know what I mean? I don’t like using stale old bread.  I actually go and buy my favorite honey-french rolls to make it!  Any way, I’m sharing my recipe with you, which is something I don’t usually do, but it is just so good!

Disclaimer, I don’t give recipes the way most people do, because  the steps in how you make something is almost as/ if not more important than the ingredients.  So, I explain the recipe.  If you like the sounds of it you can write it down any old way you like. Okay, so here it goes:

I soak ½ cup golden raisins, ½ cup dark raisins, and occasionally I like to add ½ dried cranberries, in warm tap water and then put them in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes and let them stay there until I need them.  I cut my rolls into slices and then into 1 inch squares, about 8-9 cups of them.  I put them in a large bowl and add my cinnamon about 1/2 tsp-1 Tblsp, depending on your taste. I use a level tsp of nutmeg and probably ½ tsp of cloves, but you don’t have to. Whatever flavors you like. You could do 1 tsp of each of the above mentioned ingredients.  Or omit any you don't like. At this point I drain my prepared dried fruit and add to my bread mixture.  I use my hands to toss them around, but you could use a wooden spoon, if you like.  I melt ½ cup of butter just to a melt in the microwave and pour that, as evenly as I can, over the bread mixture. Then I turn this out into a buttered Lasagna pan, you know the one. Just a second, I’ll check the inches, okay mine is 9”x 14”.  
Then, in the same bowl, the one with all the goodness left in it, I break and lightly whisk 8 Large AA eggs, sometimes I even use jumbo! I add 2¾ -3 cups warmed whole milk (you can use cream or half and half, if you prefer), I add ¾ cup reg.  white sugar and a Tblsp of real vanilla. I vigorously whisk all these ingredients together and then pour evenly over the bread mixture.  Use a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to push the bread mixture down into the egg, you want all of your bread cubes to suck up that eggy goodness!!  **Now, the most Important part to the recipe, walk away from it for at least 30 minutes!! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake until you insert your knife in the center and you no longer see liquid, but check frequently so you don not overcook it.  It will rise quite a bit and then fall, that's normal. But you should cover it with a kitchen towel and let it cool on the stove top and avoid drafts, when just out of the oven

I have made this start to finish in about an hour and a half , that’s including the soaking and cooking time. I hope you'll give it a try on a cool night, you definitely don't need to be a cook to make this one, If you don’t have honey French rolls where you live, they are very similar to Hawaiian Bread.  As Julia would say, “Bon app├ętit!”  

One final note,  I think this is best when it's still a bit warm. You can clear wrap any leftovers and pop them in the micro for about 30 seconds for it to taste like it just came out of the oven. Thanks for popping over for a visit!!   I am Blessed to be sharing with: