food&drink

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Makers Mark Bourban Sauce

This past Valentine’s Day was spent at home and I must say… I made a pretty epic dinner. I surprised even myself! I really think the end of this meal was by far the best part. Needless to say, a sweet ending!

This recipe is one I really wish I could take credit for, but I can’t so I won’t. I worked at Stonewood Grill & Tavern out of high school. This is where I first tasted this amazingly delicious dessert. Who could possibly resist a dense, gooey, chocolate deliciousness dessert topped with a caramel-y type sauce? Not anyone I want to hang out with (just kidding… sort of).

Bread Pudding with Butter Bread Pudding Custard

So what makes a perfect bread pudding? I started with day old French bread. You want to use near stale bread so the bread will absorb all of the custard. If you don’t have at least semi-stale bread, you can toast it in the oven to dry it out. This ensures that the bread pudding is neither too dry or soggy… just the perfect amount of gooey.

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I modified the recipe a bit from the original and switched up the whiskey with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Now, with no further ado, I give to you, this decadent dessert recipe.

Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe

Happy Baking

 


 

LOVE TO BRUNCH: 5 REASONS TO BRUNCH AT HOME

Oh, Brunch… you tasty beauty! Truly, nothing brings to mind relaxation on a weekend morning more than the thought of a leisurely brunch with your spouse or friends! I am such a foodie and love trying out the best new brunch spot. Also, let’s not forget the ease of going to brunch – being waited on, delicious food made for you, no dishes to wash, the 45 minute wait, the loud restaurant, the often limited options. Wait, Huh?!?! And if I’m being honest, my wallet isn’t always happy with me post-brunch. So then, with the pros and cons of eating out at brunch, I present to you my 5 reasons to host brunch at home!

Brunch 1You can wear comfy clothes and stretchy pants!

Need I say more? Sometimes you just don’t  feel like having to get gussied up. No worries here! Invite your friends or family over for a pajama brunch. Who wouldn’t enjoy drinking mimosas and coffee while in comfy clothes?

Brunch 2It’s Social & Collaborative

There is something so special about being in the kitchen together. People tend to naturally gravitate to the kitchen. Cooking with my friends and family are some of my favorite times to catch up. The collaboration of recipes and techniques is so comforting.  In addition, gathering around someone’s table is very personal. It’s just a great environment you probably won’t get from going out to eat.

Brunch 3The variety of food

How often do you go to brunch and have to make that difficult choice of what menu item to order when you really want to order 4 to mix and match? I feel that way all the time… I just can’t make up my mind. That’s a non-issue when you make brunch at home! Go ahead and make all those items that really don’t go together but that you have craved all week! Even better… assign each person coming to brunch to an item to make. That way you aren’t making a dozen dishes!

Brunch 4It’s less expensive

I’m not saying I’m cheap, but let’s get serious… $40 for a brunch buffet per person (before mimosas)!?!?!? It’s just not something I want to spend my money on every weekend. Making brunch at home saves mucho bucks! You can make brunch for 6 or so people with for $40. Even better… when you and friends get together to combine monetary efforts for this at-home brunch, you can feel good knowing you now have to choose between a new shirt or a meal!

Brunch 5you can make this!!!Build Your Own Waffle BarBuild your own waffle bar!

Set up a line of spreads, toppings, and flavored syrups. Set up the waffle maker(s) and let everyone pour their own batter and choose what to put on it! Super fun and interactive!

happy brunching!

 


 

HOW TO: CREATE THE PERFECT PICNIC

IF THERE IS ANYTHING I’VE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF, IT IS THAT I REALLY DON’T DO MUCH OF ANYTHING SIMPLY. WHAT SHOULD BE AN UNCOMPLICATED PICNIC QUICKLY TRANSFORMS IN MY MIND TO AN OUTDOOR DINNER PARTY. ONCE I GET INTO MY BRAIN THAT IT IS AS SUCH, I TEND TO GO ALL OUT COORDINATING EVERY ASPECT OF WHAT WILL APPEAR TO BE AN EFORTLESS AND “SIMPLE” PICNIC. HONESTLY, JUST BECAUSE IT IS OUTDOORS… DOES NOT MEAN IT MUST BE ANYTHING LESS THAN FABULOUS! SO, WITH ALL THAT SAID, PLEASE FEAST YOUR EYES UPON MY GUIDE FOR A LOVELY PICNIC AND ALL THE “ESSENTIALS”.

Essentials for A Lovely Picnic

LINKS FOR REFERENCE

TRADITIONAL PICNIC BASKET | COLLAPSIBLE PICNIC BASKET | BEST FOR MEN PICNIC BACK PACK “BASKET” | ACRYLIC DRINKING GLASSES – CRATE & BARREL | ACRYLIC PLATES – CRATE & BARREL | GOLD FLATWARE – TARGET |CORKSCREW – CRATE & BARREL | TEAK CUTTING BOARD – CRATE & BARREL


a sweet treat: walnut & oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Before I start, I really do feel that I should apologize. You may find it difficult to just eat one, two, three. Oatmeal and walnuts may sound healthy but these little tasty sweet nuggets are amazing… and shhhh, not healthy. Go ahead and make them anyway. You will love them and so will your family and co-workers!!!!

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Ingredients

3 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1. (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. light brown sugar, finely packed

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. water

2 eggs

18 oz. (3 c.) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour before measuring, then re-sift with soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, vanilla, and water. Beat with an electric mixer about 2 minutes, until creamy. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy.

Gradually add the sifted ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until very well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until just lightly browned. They are best taken out when barely tanned and where you still think they are gooey. Let cool and enjoy!


 

recipe box: roasted butternut squash soup

January 9, 2014

On a cold and foggy winter day, what could be better than hot butternut squash soup?! Umm…roasted butternut squash soup that is!!!

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After combing through multiple recipes, I concocted my version of this amazingly cozy soup. And it is SO EASY y’all! With a few little dashes of spice… this bowl of beauty is made!

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (about 3 lb )

coconut oil

1 can lite coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)

1 can full fat coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)

1 cup water

1 cup chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp  paprika

1/4 tsp curry powder

chili powder (to taste depending on how spicy you like it)

Optional Garnish

dash of paprika

toasted pumpkin seeds

dollop of crème fraiche or heavy cream

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel the squash. Remove the seeds and string, then cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and toss together coconut oil, salt, pepper, and squash. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

When finished, remove squash and toss into a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add coconut milk, water, and chicken stock; salt generously and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft enough to mash when pressed lightly with the back of a spoon.

Using a blender, immersion blender, or food processor, puree the soup until it is very smooth. It may be thick: thin to your desired consistency with water or chicken stock. Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, curry powder, and nutmeg. Reheat if necessary. (This soup is at its best when truly hot.)

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with crème fraiche or cream, paprika, and pumpkin seeds.

Serve & Enjoy!

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