Saturday, August 4, 2012

Southern Bread Pudding

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Since February, I have had pain in my lower back and down my left leg.  The intensity of pain varies.  For awhile my left leg was numb and I could only drag it.  Now there is a combination of pain and numbness...the level of pain still varies.  I have had many tests, weeks of physical therapy, weekly pool therapy, and visits to a plethera of doctors; no one can seem to find the root of my physical problem.  During this time I had to give up my teaching position because I could not physically continue to perform it.  I thought that I would be better in time to get back to teaching like normal for the next school year.  That did not happen.  As a human, I wonder why.  As a Christian, I must rest in the knowledge that God knows best even though in the natural I cannot understand.

Today I am sharing a recipe for bread pudding that I got from Mrs. Linnie Etheridge; I called her Mrs. Linnie.  She was our next-door neighbor from the time I was six in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  I adored her.  I spent time with her shelling peas, cracking pecans, talking for hours, and watching her bake.  My family moved from California to Mississippi when I was in first grade, so Mrs. Linnie had a Southern style of cooking that was different from my mother's style.  One of the desserts that Mrs. Linnie made was Southern Bread Pudding...yum!!  It is more custardy than many bread puddings and does not need a sauce.  I was soooo excited when she gave me her recipe and I've been making it ever since.  The recipe card is yellowed with age and I now wish I had not only written that it was from Mrs. Linnie but also the date that she gave it to me.  Here is a recipe for Southern Bread Pudding.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Southern Bread Pudding



Ingredients:
4 or 5 slices of bread
Butter or margarine for buttering toast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Cinnamon to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup of raisins
2 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 1 1/2 or 2 qt. casserole dish.

Generously butter casserole dish.  I used Smart Balance.
Toast 4 or 5 slices of bread.  If the size of the bread is small, toast 5 pieces.



Butter the toast.  Stack the toast with buttered sides up in the buttered casserole dish.


Sprinkle 1/3 cup of light brown sugar
and cinnamon to taste on the buttered sides of the toast. 


Cut the toast in fourths.




Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 cups of raisins.


Separately scald 2 1/2 cups of milk. Scald means to heat milk just until bubbles form as it begins to boil.  Do not let it boil!


In a mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs.


Mix in 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, and a dash of salt.

Slowly mix together the egg mix and scalded milk.


Pour the milk/egg mixture slowly over the toast.


Place the casserole dish in a larger baking dish with a few inches of water in it.


Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes.  To test for doneness: If a butter knife stuck into the custard comes out clean, the bread pudding is ready to be removed from the oven.  Check after 60 minutes.




Remove casserole dish and allow to cool on a baking rack.



Serve warm or cool in the refrigerator before serving.




Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator in a covered casserole dish.
***********************************************************************************
Here is the recipe by itself  for you.


Southern Bread Pudding

Ingredients:
4 or 5 slices of bread
Butter or margarine for buttering toast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Cinnamon to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup of raisins
2 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 1 1/2 or 2 qt. casserole dish.
Toast 4 or 5 slices of bread. If the size of the bread is small, toast 5 pieces.
Butter the toast. Stack the toast with buttered sides up in the buttered casserole dish.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of light brown sugar and cinnamon to taste on the buttered sides of the toast.
Cut the toast in fourths.
Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 cups of raisins.
Separately scald 2 1/2 cups of milk. Scald means to heat milk just until bubbles form as it begins to boil. Do not let it boil!
In a mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs.
Mix in 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, and a dash of salt.
Slowly mix together the egg mix and scalded milk.
Pour the milk/egg mixture slowly over the toast.
Place the casserole dish in a larger baking dish with a few inches of water in it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes. To test for doneness: If a butter knife stuck into the custard comes out clean, the bread pudding is ready to be removed from the oven. Check after 60 minutes.
Remove casserole dish and allow to cool on a baking rack.
Serve warm or cool in the refrigerator before serving. Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator in a covered casserole dish.



Chocolate Chip Cookies at Home

"... their children will be a blessing." Psalm 37:26b

Summer continues...Timothy and Nathaniel both visited in July. Timothy was here almost a week and Nathaniel was here a week and a half.  Their visits overlapped on one full day.  I really enjoyed their visits.  Now they are off in different directions--Nathaniel to a new base in Georgia and Timothy to college in Puerto Rico.   Earlier this summer I posted my recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies and pictures of the batch I sent to Nathaniel for his birthday.  While he was here I made him chocolate chip cookies.  Here is a picture of him enjoying them.

Nathaniel enjoying freshly made chocolate chip cookies at home
Of course, I have to post a picture of Nathaniel in his Navy uniform.  He is now Petty Officer Walker, a Hebrew linguist.  It's so funny to have to look up to my son!

Looking up to my son~my favorite sailor!
Just in case you missed the post with the chocolate chip cookie recipe...here is a link to it:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gromma's Peanut Butter Cookies

"... their children will be a blessing."  Psalm 37:26b

My sons, Timothy and Nathaniel, are both visiting!  Yes, that sentence merits an exclamation point because my children are a blessing to me.  It is now a rare privilege to spend time with them in person, so my mommy heart is extremely happy.  One of my favorite ways to bond with my sons when they were young was baking, so it is a special part of their visits.  Timothey arrived July 16th and Nathaniel arrived July 20th.  Since my sons are such a blessing to me, I enjoy bleesing them in return.  My Gromma's recipe for peanut butter cookies has been a favorite in my family since I was a little girl and they are one of Timothy's favorite  homemade cookies, so I will share this recipe with you. 

Timothy enjoying a warm Peanut Butter Cookie


Gromma's Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes at least 5 dozen cookies

Yummy cookies ready to eat

Ingredients

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
Dash of salt

Directions
Cream together shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.



Add eggs and mix thoroughly.


Add peanut butter.


Add flour (I add 2/3 cup of flour at a time and thoroughly mix before adding more flour), baking soda, and salt.  Mix.  The batter will be thick.



Make teaspoon-sized balls of cookie dough.


Make criss-crosses made with a salad fork dipped in all-purpose flour on an ungreased cookie sheet or Pampered Chef. (I highly recommend using Pampered Chef because your cookies will not burn nor stick.  No, I do not sell Pampered Chef...I just love to bake with it!!!!)



Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet 2 minutes after removing from the oven.  Place on paper towels on the counter to cool before storing them in a cookie jar.



Serve warm with a glass of milk.  They taste like love!!!  No adjustment to the recipe is needed for high altitude.  They are the type of cookie that stays soft.  Yummy
!!

Timothy enjoying a peanut butter cookie warm from the oven!




Gromma's Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes at least 5 dozen cookies~

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together:
1 c. shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add:
2 eggs

Add:
1 c. peanut butter

Add:
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
Dash of salt

Make balls of dough and with criss-crosses made with a fork dipped in flour.

Bake at 375 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove cookies from cookie sheet 2 minutes later. Allow to cool on paper towels on the counter before storing in a cookie jar.






Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mango Smoothies

"Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—" Genesis 18:5a


As early in time as the book of Genesis in the Bible was written people were offered refreshment.  It is common courtesy to offer refreshment to guests even today.  Last fall I was looking for a healthy refreshment to offer my hubby and guests.  I mention that it was fall because I wanted to create a refreshment that would match my fall decorations...or at least coordinate well with fall colors.  So I looked in my refrigerator and pantry and found ingredients to create Mango Smoothies...very refreshing and they coordinated fabulously with the colors of fall.  Now that summer is here a Mango Smoothie sounds mighty refreshing for a hot summer afternoon regardless of the color palette...come to think of it, they look like sunshine, so they coordinate well with summer season decor! 

This is how I made them.



Mango Smoothies
(Note: This recipe makes 2 large smoothies or 4 small smoothies.)

In a blender, blend:

1 cup of Orange Juice (I used Mandarin Orange Juice drained from the canned fruit.)

1/2 cup yogurt (I used Light Apricot/Mango-flavored yogurt.)

1 ripe banana (Be sure to remove strings.)

Little by little blend in:

12 oz. of frozen, diced mango (Adjust amount for personal taste.  Frozen mango is best for the consistency of a smoothie.)

6 or so ice cubes (Use more if you want a frostier smoothie texture.  Add a few at a time until the desired consistency is reached.)

Pour immediately into glasses and be refreshed!  Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a couple of days and still provide a refreshing drink.



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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cream Cheese Brownie Bites

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Deuteronomy 31:8

Father's Day is still painful for me.  My father disowned me in a Christmas card in 1986, the Christmas my oldest son was one.  In a nutshell it said that I was a disappointment as a daughter and he would no longer communicate with me...and he never did.  After receiving that card, I continued to send him birthday cards, Father's Day cards, holiday cards, and even a birth announcement in 1989 when my son Nathaniel was born the day before his birthday (I was sure he would want to meet his grandson).  I wanted to do all I could from my end to keep in contact with him, so I would have no regrets.  Then a card I sent my father was returned, so I knew he had moved. At that point I lost contact with him. At the end of October 2005 my father died of a heart attack.  His wife called one of my siblings (I don't remember which one) and let us know our father died.  She was sure we would want to come to the funeral. Since my father had disowned each of us one at a time in different ways, none (2 sons and 2 daughters) of us had had any contact with him for years.  My sister and I decided to go to the funeral in north Alabama.  I needed closure.  The minister talked about what a wonderful family man my father was...how painful to hear.  He had a wife, step children, and a grandchild there mourning for him.  They were the ones he had communicated with the last 20 years and the ones who received his inheritance.  It was odd; that was MY father.  I looked at him in the casket and asked, "Why?"  I will never know the answer to that question.

Now you may be surprised at what type of a man my father was before he disowned his children.  I was raised in a Christian home.  In fact, I went to church the first week that I was born.  My parents were always active in our church.  We had devotions together in the front room and said prayers every night.  My father was the song leader in our little church in Moss Point, MS for years.  He was a deacon in the church as well as a Royal Ranger leader.  If there was a church service, our whole family attended.  That may not sound like a "big deal", but there were many week-long revivals when I was growing up...we went every night!  When my Gromma Brown (my father's mom) had a stroke, she had to stay in a nursing home.  My father left my mother for one of the nurses there and our family was never the same after that...

Life continues, however.  Though my earthly father cast me aside, I cling tenaciously to the verse at the top.  I know that my Heavenly Father will never leave me nor forsake me.  Even if I am a disappointment to Him, He won't disown me.  So when others enjoy the love of an earthly father, I won't despair; I will enjoy the love of my Heavenly Father and find contentment.

For now I am still having health issues; I can't wait until the day I don't have to say that.  They've gotten even worse since June 5th and I have been in such pain that it was often close to unbearable.  Nonetheless, I wanted to do something special for my hubby yesterday.  I knew going to a restaurant or cooking a full meal was not possible, so I opted to make him a dessert--his choice.  I had such pain in my back and leg I would do a little, sit down awhile, and then continue...I DID finish making him that special dessert...finally!!  And, yes, it was made with lots of love.  Here is the recipe and some step by step pictures:

Cream Cheese Brownies
(Makes 2 dozen cupcake-sized brownies or 4 dozen mini cupcake-sized brownie bites or 1 dozen cupcake-sized brownies and 2 dozen mini cupcake-sized brownie bites)

Brownie Ingredients


4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP of instant coffee dissolved in 2 TBSP of water
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup melted margarine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients


16 oz cream cheese, softened
6 TBSP granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pans with spray Canola Oil. Be sure to grease the bottoms and sides of each cupcake well.

Brownie Batter
Whisk eggs,
cocoa,

salt, baking powder, dissolved coffee, and vanilla until well combined.

 
Stir in sugar and melted margarine.  Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour. 




Cheesecake Filling Batter


With an electric mixer beat egg yolks, softened cream cheese, and sugar until smooth.



Spoon brownie batter in bottom half of cupcake wells. Add a dollop of cheesecake filling on top of the brownie batter. Then top off each with a small dollop of brownie batter.


For the mini cupcake-sized brownie bites bake about 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


For the cupcake-sized brownies bake about 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.



Cool at least 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack before removing brownies.  Allow them to finish cooling on a cooling rack or enjoy them warm.

Mini Cupcake-Sized Cream Cheese Brownie Bites


Cupcake-Sized Cream Cheese Brownies


**I made 1 dozen cupcake-sized brownies and 2 dozen mini cupcake-sized brownie bites.**

Cream Cheese Brownies
(Makes 2 dozen cupcake-sized brownies or 4 dozen mini cupcake-sized brownie bites or 1 dozen cupcake-sized brownies and 2 dozen mini cupcake-sized brownie bites)
Brownie Ingredients
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP of instant coffee dissolved in 2 TBSP of water
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup melted margarine
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients
16 oz cream cheese, softened
6 TBSP granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pans with spray Canola Oil. Be sure to grease the bottoms and sides of each cupcake well.
Brownie Batter
Whisk eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, dissolved coffee, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in sugar and melted margarine. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour.
Cheesecake Filling Batter
With an electric mixer beat egg yolks, softened cream cheese, and sugar until smooth.
Spoon brownie batter in bottom half of cupcake wells. Add a dollop of cheesecake filling on top of the brownie batter. Then top off each with a small dollop of brownie batter.
For the mini cupcake-sized brownie bites bake about 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the cupcake-sized brownies bake about 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool at least 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack before removing brownies. Allow them to finish cooling on a cooling rack or enjoy them warm.





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brownie Pops

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Romans 12:9-11

Last Friday marked six weeks since I had to give up my teaching position in hopes of getting well...well enough to resume a reasonable quality of life.  I looked at my records yesterday and it was exactly 3 months before that I had my first Dr.'s appointment to try to resolve this health issue.  Though the medical community has found many problems in that time, I was told yesterday that none found so far could completely account for the pain and subsequent numbness and now the return of feeling and pain in my back and left leg.  They want to try yet another procedure that may take away the pain for weeks, months, and at times years...or if they are guessing wrong will have no effect and they will try different tests. But for that procedureI have to wait another 17 days, though. I know so many others have gone through much worse health issues than I am experiencing that I am not complaining; I am simply hoping to get well and go back to a better quality of life.  Both Timothy and Nathaniel are planning visits here soon and it would please me greatly to have enjoyable visits with them that included the ability to walk around some New Mexico venues and cook/bake for them during each visit. 

In the meantime, I want to learn any spiritual and/or lessons I should learn in this situation.  I had the privilege of going to a darling program that the Elementary School Fine Arts Camp from my school produced last Friday night.  The administrator and elementary school principal hosted/organized/planned/chaperoned/coordinated the entire camp for the kiddos and I saw that several of my favorite students were coaching at the camp that week from pictures posted on Facebook.  Though a very small token, I wanted to do something loving for all of them to show that I noticed what a fine job they were doing at that camp during their summertime.  Thus, the idea of brownie pops`a version of the latest cupcake pop fad~was formed.

Here is what I did.  Maybe you would like to try it to show love and appreciation to someone you value, too.

I gathered the ingredients for brownies from a mix, since this was just an experiment. 


Betty Crocker fudge brownies are my favorite brownies from a mix. 

I used directions for the cakelike brownies, since I wanted the consistency of a cupcake pop.



I baked the brownies in a 13" x 9" pan and let them cool completely.



Separately I mixed a basic buttercream frosting using 1 stick of margarine, 4 cups of confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, and enough evaporated milk to make the desired frosting consistency.




Then I broke up the pan of cooled brownies in the frosting until it was the consistency of play dough.




I then covered a baking sheet with parchment paper and placed 2 tsp-sized balls of the brownie/frosting mix on it.


 


I placed them in the freezer 10 minutes.  At the end of the 10 minutes, I gathered lollipop sticks and melted some chocolate in the microwave (60 second intervals on 1/2 power until it is melted).


Then I dipped the ends of the lollipop sticks in melted chocolate and  stuck them in the cold brownie/frosting balls. 

I placed those in the refrigerator and dipped the tops in melted chocolate.  That way they looked like a frosted cupcake to me with the frosting on the top and the cakelike brownie showing at the bottom. 


I put waxed paper over a piece of styrofoam to catch any drips.  I returned the brownie pops to the refrigerator until ready to serve.



To me, the brownie pops were very sweet.  Since this was an experiment, to the other half of the brownie/frosting dough I added 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter for a salty balance to that sweetness. This time I only made the balls in a 1 tsp size. I used a cup that was deeper than wide for melting the chocolate, so I could dip the brownie balls completely. It made them look more like individual chocolates.


I also melted some extra semi-sweet chocolate chips with a couple TBSP of margarine and a bit of evaporated milk as dipping  chocolate as well.


I also let these harden in the refrigerator and then placed them in mini cupcake papers, so they looked like individual chocolates.  I loved these!  They lasted several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I highly recommend these!  They would be easy to use in the color theme of a shower or party.