Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

I. could. eat. this. everyday.

Right after I was done with Culinary School, I went out to Wisconsin to work at a resort for my externship.  A dessert we made for one of the restaurants was Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.  Oh my gosh.  That is where bread pudding became one of my favorite desserts!  So this is my twist on the recipe.  

Anytime I have leftover bread, I love to make bread pudding!  Then top it off with a delicious syrup.  Unbelieveable.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

  • 8 slices french bread, a few days old, 1 inch cubed
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray an 8x8 pan.
  3. Put the cubed pieces of bread in the pan, sprinkle with brown sugar, butter pieces, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix until it is evenly distributed.  
  4. In medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together.
  5. Gradually add the milk, cream and vanilla to egg mixture.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the bread.  Use a fork to push down all the bread pieces so the egg mixture gets soaked up.  
  7. Let sit for 15-20 minutes so the egg mixture is totally soaked up before baking.
  8. Bake uncovered for about 40-45 minutes, or until the top puffs up and springs back when touched. 
  9. Serve warm with syrup and banana slices on top.  Garnish with a strawberry.

  • 2 oz. butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Banana flavored Malibu Rum (or a mixture of Banana liquor and Rum)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepot.  
  2. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk and cook until it melts together.
  3. Add the rum and vanilla.  It will bubble up.  Once it bubbles, cook for about 2 minutes to make sure everything is completely combined.
  4. Cool slightly and pour over warm bread pudding.  
  5. ENJOY!

Baked Bread Pudding right out of the oven!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!  

I have a long running list of desserts that I want to make for this blog.  What desserts would YOU like to see on here?!  What recipes are you wanting to try but never get around to making?!  

Tell me!  I love to hear from you!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Backyardigans Birthday Party

Hi there!  I made these cookies for friends of mine whose son is turning 3.  And he loves the Backyardigans!  It seems like just yesterday I was heading to his 1st birthday party... oh how time flies!  He is the cutest little boy in the world and has amazing parents Clyde and Beckah!  :-)  

I hope you all enjoy these cookies!!  

I have watched the Backyardigans back in my college babysitting days, so it was fun to make cookies of characters that I am somewhat familiar with!  Now, I had to look up the names but here they are individually!






These were the first character cookies I have ever made, and I have to say that I am pleased with how they turned out!  


Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Hi there!

I made these cupcakes for Valentine's Day.  Nothing too crazy... good old vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream!  I find that sometimes I get into making different desserts that I forget the classics.  So when I was in the mood for a vanilla and vanilla cupcake, I decided I would make them with hearts that I piped with leftover royal icing a couple weeks ago.  

It is really simple to do.  Whenever I am decorating cookies, I most likely have leftover icing.  Instead of throwing it out, sometimes I pipe different shapes onto a silpat mat and let them dry for 48 hours.  Then, once they are completely dry, I put them in a small airtight container and keep them for months.  Then, I can use them on upcoming cookies, cupcakes, and cakes.  

Some things that I have made with extra icing are hearts (red and pink), roses, and circles (the middle of flowers or eyes) just to name a few. 

Last year I made heart shaped Turtle Brownies and Red Velvet cake!  Yum!!!  

What desserts or treats are you making or having for Valentine's Day?!  

Since I won't be with my hubby this year for Valentine's Day, I plan on watching some kind of Romantic movie with some chocolates!  :-)  

I hope you all have a very sweet day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hamburger Buns

When it comes to making dinner, I am often stumped.  I mean, I have my basic recipes that I love and know how to make in my sleep.  But sometimes I think my husband is going to get sick of the same meals over and over.  I am not a very adventurous eater.  I like a juicy hamburger and french fries.  I know, it's not exactly the healthiest meal, but I love it!  

I even order that often at restaurants.  When I am looking at a menu, Jeff will sometimes say something to me like "Are you getting the usual?!"  Haha :-) 

So one afternoon I had some ground meat that I was going to make into something for dinner, I decided I wanted hamburgers (and to be honest, we rarely make them at home in the winter time) but did not feel like going out to the store to get buns.  So I searched for a good hamburger recipe and this is what I came up with!  I found this recipe from King Arthur Flour and changed it up a bit.  

I'm sorry there aren't as many pictures as I normally post for a recipe.  For whatever reason, I forgot about grabbing my camera to document making these buns.  :-/  Opps!

Hamburger Buns

  • 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • *1 egg, beaten for eggwash

  1. In mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.  Let this sit for 5 minutes, and mix to make sure all the yeast has dissolved.
  2. Add the milk, oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour.  Mix with a dough hook for 2 minutes on medium high.
  3. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and becomes smooth.  This should take about 6-10 minutes.  *If the dough sticks to the bowl, gradually add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until it does not stick to the sides anymore.  
  4. Leave in the mixing bowl and cover with a clean dish towel.  Put in a warm place (I turn the oven on and place the bowl on the stove) and proof the dough for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut the dough into 8 even pieces (Cut it in half, and then each piece in half, and then in half one more time until you get the 8 pieces).
  6. Tuck the edges of the dough underneath and form into a ball.  
  7. Place the dough balls about 1 1/2 apart on a silpat baking sheet.  
  8. Preheat the oven at this point to 400 degrees.
  9. Brush with eggwash and let rise for 45 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.
  10. Brush with eggwash one more time and bake for 18-20 minutes or until an internal thermometer reads 190 degrees.  *Pull bread out of oven and insert an instant read thermometer into the middle of a bun.
  11. Once cooled, slice buns in half for hamburgers or a sandwich.  Or leave the buns unsliced and place in a ziploc bag and enjoy within 3 days for the freshest buns!  

Mmm... my hamburger and fries (with lots of ketchup!)

I used to work at a bread bakery so I consider myself a bit of a "bread snob"!  Everyday that I worked, I was allowed to bring 1 loaf of bread home with me.   So I really only like bread the first day that it was baked.   But surprisingly, these buns stayed really fresh for 3 days!  (They have never lasted more than 3 days!) 

I don't think I will ever buy store bought buns again.  These ingredients are so simple that I always have them on hand at home!  You can even freeze the unbaked dough balls (after step 6) and defrost them in the fridge and proof as usual.

  They simply do not compare to these!  

What is your favorite thing to have on a bun?!?  Obviously mine is a hamburger (plain with just ketchup)!  


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pink & Red Filigree cookies

We are now a week into February.  Valentine's Day is just a few days away now and I feel like just yesterday it was New Years!  Valentine's Day will be a little sad for me this year, because it will be our first Valentine's Day since we have been married and we won't see each other.  I am getting a new passport with my married name and he is busy with work, so we will have to celebrate a little late this year.  I hope I at least get some flowers!  We will see... haha!  

I made some "Valentinesy" (yea, I know it's not a word) cookies here with pink and red piped filigree designs.  I love making cookies like this, because they can all be different but still all go together.  Plus I think they look very pretty!

Sometimes I tend to go a little overboard with the piping and do too much (anyone else do this?!  c'mon... I know you do!).  There are times when less really is more, but I am happy with the way these came out.  

I know some people either love Valentine's Day or they hate it.  And a lot of the time your opinion of the holiday has to do with if you are in a relationship or not.  I happen to love it.  I know there are plenty of people who say it is just a Hallmark holiday, but who cares!  It's a day that is totally dedicated to love!  What is better than that?!  Everyone is happy and you can forget about your problems for the day and just focus on the good.  

What do you think of Valentine's Day?!  Love it or hate it?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Last Minute Superbowl Snacks

Have you put off figuring out what you are going to make for the Superbowl tomorrow?!  Having a party and feel like you just don't have enough food?!  Or are you just looking for some yummy game day snacks?!

Well I am here to help you!  I have put together a list of yummy and easy snacks to make for the big game tomorrow or your next get together!


Now, run to the grocery store and get ready for tomorrow!!  


Friday, February 03, 2012

Superbowl Spicy Chicken Dip

Last summer I was visiting my fiance at the time and the day before I was set to go back home, he told me that he was in charge of bringing the snacks for his friend's bachelor weekend.  So guess who made the snacks?!  Yep... Me!  I made a variety of cookies and brownies, and got a bunch of bags of chips and pretzels.  Then, he told me that he would like some kind of dip.  Uhhh... ok.  Any suggestions?! He told me he wanted some kind of chicken dip.  Well this is what I came up with!  I figured Superbowl week would be the best time to share it with you!

Spicy Chicken Dip

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1- 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup red hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup cheddar or colby jack cheese, shredded or cut into small pieces
  1. In a large, deep saute pan brown the chicken.  
  2. Shred the chicken into 1 inch pieces.  **I did not use a non stick pan for this recipe.  I shred the chicken right in the pan using a fork and knife.  If you are using a non stick pan, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred, then add back to pan. 
  3. Add the cream cheese and break it up so it starts to melt into the chicken. 
  4. Add the hot sauce and stir until combined.  *Don't stand right over the pan when you add this.  You will burn your nose!  Trust me... 
  5. Add the ranch dressing and cheese, reserving a bit of cheese for on top.  
  6. Once cheese has melted, transfer to a small serving dish that is oven safe. 
  7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and pop under the broiler until the cheese is all melted.
  8. Serve while hot with various dippers, such as tortilla chips, chips, crackers and veggies.  
*** If your hot sauce starts to separate from the rest of the dip, don't worry.  No matter how much you mix everything together, it will do this.  I don't know why but it's ok.  This dip is delicious!  

Are you planning a Superbowl party, going to a bar to watch the game or just watching it at home with the family?!  

And what does everyone think about Madonna singing at Halftime?!  

I don't really like Madonna and I could think of a ton of better people to sing at Halftime.  But, it seems they have been picking older singers the past few years.  I want to see a country singer do Halftime.  Maybe Kenny Chesney?!?!  Now THAT would be amazing!!!  

As for who I want to win, I have to be honest that I don't really care.  But being a Steelers fan, I don't think I could want the Patriots to win, so I am rooting for the Giants!  

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

I used to work at a bakery where we had this kind of soup.  I had never had Stuffed Green Pepper soup before, and I loved it!  I don't know why I rarely make Stuffed Green Peppers because I really like them!  So one cold day I had this craving for the soup.  I don't know the recipe for this yummy soup that we used to make at work, so this is what I came up with and I think it turned out great!  Now my soup came out a little more like a stew than a soup, but if you want a real soup, I will show you how to achieve that in the recipe.  

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 green peppers, chopped into a small dice
1 small onion, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups beef broth (*if you want a "soupier" consistency, add broth or water until you get the desired consistency)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup whole grain brown rice *not instant*

  1. In large pot, add oil and brown the ground beef.
  2. Add the onion and green peppers, and cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, beef broth, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  *Start with about 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  I used a can of tomatoes that had no salt added, so I found I had to add some extra salt to taste.  
  4. Add the rice and bring to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  
  6. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you like this soup as much as I did!  

Keep an eye out for a yummy dip recipe to make this Sunday for the Superbowl!  

Who do YOU want to win the Superbowl?!  

I am torn, but I think I want the Giants to win!  We will see this weekend!!