Foodie Friday- Bread Pudding with Spiced Rum Sauce

My Mom’s birthday was this past weekend so I wanted to make special dessert for her other than cake and ice cream. That’s when I remembered that she had been asking for the past year for me to make her my bread pudding that I made a few years back. This is hands down the BEST bread pudding I have ever had. After making it, I’ve actually been disappointment when ordering it out at restaurants because it never lives up to my homemade favorite. This recipe comes from a 2001 issue of Bon Appetit.

New Bread Pudding

 

Ingredients

For Bread Pudding:

  • 8 large eggs (I would use 6 or 7 because it can get a bit too custardy at 8)
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1-pound loaf challah cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp of Cinnamon
  • 1 cup golden raisins (I am not a raisin fan so a substitute of bananas or  pecans work well here!)

For Spiced Rum Sauce:

  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum or dark rum
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. Add milk, sugar, cream, cinnamon and vanilla; whisk to blend well. Stir in bread and raisins. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pudding uncovered until puffed and golden, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly (pudding will fall).

While cooling, prepare the spiced rum sauce.

Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cream, rum, and cinnamon and bring to simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Happy Cooking!
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The Wife vs. The Ex- The Showdown I’d Been Waiting For

Do I love fall weddings because of the idea of beautifully colored leaves serving as the back drop of a crisp outdoor ceremony surround by the scent of autumn? Heavens, yes! Did a small part of me smile when I realized that our perfect fall wedding fell 5 weeks before my husband’s 10 year high school reunion and I would finally shake the hand of his ex-girlfriend not as his Fiancée but as his proud, fresh from the honeymoon wife? ABSOLUTELY!

We all know when it comes to the ex-girlfriend (yes, there’s always that one), it doesn’t matter how secure you are in your relationship, how long ago they broke up, how fat she may end up being, or how many teeth she may be missing. When you are given the chance to meet her face to face, you must come fully prepared.  Even after it’s obvious that you’ve clearly won (flashback to the largest party you’ve just thrown for yourselves, that big shiny rock you have on your left hand, and that amazing massage a woman named Wayan gave you while overlooking the ocean) you still feel like you need to prove that you’re all that and he’s your bag of chips….and no, she can’t have any.

So in preparation for my guy’s big night (which I quickly adopted as the second biggest performance of my life, right after walking down the aisle) I spent hours at the mall and trying new makeup techniques in the mirror. Finally, I had everything planned.  That’s when my dear husband decided to clue me in on one small detail…the reunion was at a BOWLING ALLEY! You know, like cosmic strobe lighting, neon shoe wearing, bowling!

I know what you’re thinking… “I LOVE bowling”. Yea I do to. But not as the setting of the showdown of my life! How the heck was I supposed to look cute doing that? I guess my new BCBGMaxaria dress was going to have to be surrendered back to the hanger.

I settled for a cute pair of dark washed jeans, shimmery gold top, and a trendy cropped blazer. My gold 5 inch platform stilettos completed my “casual and sophisticated but just look at my shoes and you know I’m fierce” look. Of course the shoes were just so I could make an entrance—I wouldn’t bowl in them. And we were off to the reunion.

Upon entering, it was obvious who the other plus one wives were, mainly because they too were wearing inappropriate shoes for a bowling alley. As we all smiled awkwardly because of not knowing anyone there, I started thinking about the infamous ex and actually wondered what if I end up liking her?  I knew I had no reason not to. We probably would end up having a lot in common, I mean my husband did date both of us right?

We made our rounds to his old friends, had a few drinks, bowled a few games, but not once did I hear HER name. By the end of what led to be a really fun night, we were saying our goodbyes to people we wouldn’t see for another decade when I realized, I didn’t come face to face with my arch nemesis. “I guess she didn’t show” my husband nonchalantly said. Damn right she didn’t show, I smirked to myself. Have you seen your arm accessory?!

Now to prepare for the 20 year….

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Dining Room Makeover- Discovering my Inspiration

Believe it or not, having a dining room was on my “must have” house hunting check list. I know, I know, this is the least used room in the house (right next to a formal living room….which was also on my must have list…). But for me, all I could think of was hosting formal dinner parties for friends, Thanksgiving celebrations, or even just a space to use for crafting get togethers with the girls! And above all, I feel so grown up by being able to say I have a “DINING ROOM”! Is it silly–yes. Does the thought of this room make me smile inside– absolutely. So, there you have it.

Because this is one of the first rooms you see when you enter into my foyer, I knew that I wanted to tackle this space immediately. Below are a few photos of what it looked like when we first moved in:

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Not terrible. The bones were definitely there:

  • The floors were in great shape and a nice color
  • The chair rail and crown molding were already installed
  • The room got a lot of light due to the bright front window

All this room needed was a little paint and some creativity!

Whenever I start designing a new space, I like to work off of a piece of inspiration. This inspiration can come from a movie I saw, a room I saw on pinterest, or simply a fabulous pillow I found at HomeGoods! What’s great about using a piece of inspiration is that it helps you to streamline your thoughts and focus on what you really want the space to evolve into. You know you want the room to be “pretty”, but what does that really mean?

For my dining room, my inspiration came from makeovers done by fellow bloggers:

Dining Room Inspiration Photo coutesey of houseofhydrangeas.com

aa17afeb518da0cbffa994b26d7c3243Photo courtesy of makeupalley.com

I knew I loved the spaces above, but exactly what was I trying to convey in my space and how would I get there?

The easiest way to use inspiration, especially when in the form of a photo, is simply to copy. If you are new to decorating or just love everything in your inspiration space already, then go ahead– go out and try to recreate the room piece by piece. If you can’t find the exact pieces, follow the same furniture lines or curtain patterns and you’re sure to be successful in your design.

However, if you’re like me and you want to put your own spin on an idea and make it truly your own, then follow my 3 Inspiration to Imitation Guidelines:

  1. Hue
  2. Mood
  3. Elements

Let’s look at them each in a bit more detail.

1. Hue I use the word “hue” instead of “color” on purpose. You don’t always need to copy the exact colors in your inspiration to have the same feel in the room so avoid using specific colors to describe the hugh of the room. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you’ll want to find that same wall color because it’s sooo right (as you’ll see I did below), but it’s not always necessary.

In my inspiration photos, what really spoke to me about the hue was the fact that the room was light and airy. I knew I wanted to focus on flowing fabrics and cool neutral tones.

2. Mood- When evaluating the mood you want to create, ask yourself “how does my inspiration piece make me feel?” Do you feel vibrant? Do you feel welcomed? Do you feel serious? Do you feel playful? Make sure it’s a feeling you want because chance are if you feel that way, your guests will too!

For me, my inspiration piece feels both elegant and casual. It is well put together but not overly thought out. I don’t feel uninvited to the party as I would in something perhaps a bit more formal. But I also don’t feel that I would want to crash in the room with my sweat pants on!

3. Elements- Once you figure out the mood, you need to identify what elements make you feel that way. If you’re using a pillow, maybe it’s the fabric or the shape. If your inspiration is a place, perhaps it’s the vibe of the city. This is where you can start to get specific.

The mood I felt from the photos was casual elegance. Some of the elegant elements I love are the wainscoting in both photos and the fabric chairs in the second, while the casual elements include the light window treatments instead of heavy drapery and the use of a wooden farmhouse table rather than glass. I also love that neither blogger chose to go with a traditional crystal chandelier.

Now you’re ready to identify what you want to keep from your inspiration, what you want to change, and what you want to add to the space.

In my design, I want to keep the wall color, the white molding, and the fabric chairs. However, I want to change the curtains to something with a more floral print and will not be using a china cabinet. To really make it my own I would love to add a bit of shimmer through my accessories.

Here’s a quick look at how I’m doing so far!

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Still have a long way to go (you’ll notice I don’t even have my table yet!) but having a little inspiration goes a long way! Keep in mind the 3 Inspiration to Imitation guidelines and you’ll have the space you’ve always dreamed of!

Here’s to hoping your inspiration finds you!

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