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Bread Pudding

I had some days old bread laying around I thought it would be terrible for it to go to waste so…why not make Bread Pudding? 🤔

It’s not my first rodeo with making bread pudding. I used to make it for my children when they were young and they are still quick to remind me on how I ruined the stove once (true story!) over a bread pudding disaster. Once when making it…I forgot about it (hey, mom’s get distracted!) and it leaked into the electrical board circuit of our stove. What was worse thing was that it was days before my oldest son’s high school graduation party – and I was without a stove. Over bread pudding. Ahhhh the memories 😆

Bread Pudding has literally been around for centuries. It was initially named “poor man’s pudding” because it was a popular dessert in the lower classes in English society.

The original idea and concept for the bread pudding evolved out of necessity because it was used as a way to prevent food from being wasted and just thrown out when deemed old. Rather than throwing out stale bread homemakers would soak the bread in a sweet and savory liquid and then bake it in a dish in the oven until it was golden brown and then serve it warm.

If you have some days old bread laying around your kitchen and don’t know what to do with it – make up a batch of bread pudding. It’s so delicious! And it’s incredibly easy to make.

Here’s the recipe I used today to make Bread Pudding from Life, Love and Sugar.

Everything you will need to make Bread Pudding (I omitted the Nutmeg because the hubby isn’t a Nutmeg fan. Also made my own Heavy Cream* since I didn’t have it on hand)
Bread cut into 1 inch chunks. I used old Wonder Bread Sandwich Bread.
After greasing your dish, lay the bread chunks evenly in the bottom of your dish
Whisking together the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and cinnamon
Pour the mixture evenly over the bread pieces. Make sure to coat all of them. Then let this sit for about 20-25 minutes for extra soaking.
Now it’s ready to bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes
This is what you will need to make the yummy vanilla sauce
The vanilla sauce is being made while the bread pudding is in the oven
Ahhhh the Bread Pudding is fresh out of the oven
And the vanilla sauce is slowly added
Ready to eat ☺️

* What if you don’t have heavy cream?

To make 1 cup of heavy cream, melt 1/4 cup of butter and slowly whisk in 3/4 cup milk. This works for most baking or cooking recipes that require heavy cream, but it will not whisk into stiff peaks. You’ll need the real thing for that.

Orange-Lemon Cake

It’s a cold dreary Saturday here in Virginia and I thought…perfect day for baking! While researching Civil War recipes I came across an Orange-Lemon Cake that was one of General Robert E. Lee’s favorite. It’s like a chiffon cake – with all of the egg whites and yumminess included. Here’s the recipe.

Here’s what you will need to get started
Sift the cake flour along with the baking soda + cream of tartar
Sometimes I think the only thing that I ever learned in high school was to separate an egg 🤣 Here I separated the eggs into each bowl (all 9 of them!)
Combine the egg yolks + sugar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until yellow.
Adding the vegetable oil to the egg and sugar mixture
Lemons and oranges. I love the smell of citrus!
Add the flour mixture until it’s well blended. Then add the lemon rind and lemon juice 🍋
Beat the egg whites and salt until frothy and stiff peaks form
Combine the egg white mixture and flour together.
Line your baking pans with parchment paper and grease them really well
Pour into baking pans
While the cake is baking…start preparing your icing 👍
Cream the butter. Add the egg yolks and beat very well. Then add the powdered sugar and grated orange rind alternately with the orange juice.
After the cake has cooled, ice the cake and decorate with orange slices🍊
Oh my. So good! 😋😋😋

Happy Birthday, Michelle Obama 🇺🇸

Today in American history…Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She would go on to become the First Lady of the United States when her husband, Barack Obama, was sworn in as our 44th President on January 20, 2009.

In honor of Mrs Obama’s birthday, we made her cookie named “White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie” she had submitted to Family Circle Magazine for the cookie bake-off against Anne Romney in 2012. It was said that the winner of the cookie contest’s husband would be elected to the Presidency. Mrs Obama’s cookie did win the contest that year and as they say…the rest is history. For the recipe please click here.

Michelle Obama’s award winning White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie

Barack Obama was our first African American President and Michelle Obama the first African American First Lady.

“Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable–their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves,” part of Mrs Obama’s speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention.

Wishing you a wonderful Birthday, Mrs Obama. Thank you for “opening the doors” for many and being such an inspiration to all.

Homemade Pecan Pie

In honor of Dr Martin Luther King’s Birthday yesterday and celebrating his legacy today on Martin Luther King Day we made his favorite dessert in the kitchen tonight – Pecan Pie! We used the recipe here to make this sweet deliciousness and it’s so simple that you can make it in your own kitchen tonight.

Homemade Pecan Pie
Dr King and his family enjoying a meal together. Maybe the dessert was Pecan Pie!

The Best (Ever!) Banana Bread

I’ve made Banana Bread for several years. Used many (and I emphasize MANY!) recipes to make the ultimate Banana Bread. This recipe, by far, is the best. It’s the only recipe that I ever come back to because I know it will never fail me and it always comes out delicious.

The recipe is from Gold Medal Flour and I’ll share it with you right here.

This is what you’ll need for the BEST EVER Banana Bread 🍌

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I prefer to use the real deal aka butter)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas – which is about 3 to 4 medium bananas. The darker the better – as my grandma used to say! As a kid I used to get grossed out by my grandma’s “mushy, black” bananas but now that I’m older? I totally get it 👍

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired (I use walnuts)

Directions

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven.

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.

Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans: 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches (I used one loaf pan of 9x5x3 inches)

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl
Stir in eggs until well blended
Add those “mushy” bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened.
Don’t forget the nuts!
Now pour into the greased pan

For 8-inch loaves, bake about 1 hour. If you are using a 9-inch loaf pan bake about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack.

Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

PS. What if you don’t have buttermilk on hand? No problem! You can easily substitute by mixing 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar and enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Or substitute with 1/2 cup plain yogurt.

Now the fun part. Time to indulge in homemade banana bread – with tons of butter on top! 😋

In the Kitchen Tonight: Barbara Bush’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Barbara Bush’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

We made former First Lady Barbara Bush’s famous chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen tonight. Mrs Bush was known for her friendliness and fun but above all – she was truly dedicated and loyal to her family. It’s not surprising at all that she would have a treasure trove of family recipes and how generous it was of her to share them so that we could enjoy them too!

Barbara Bush’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups instant oatmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package (12 ounces) chocolate chips

Directions

Blend the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs. Sift and add the flour. Add the baking soda and salt. Add and mix in the oatmeal, vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Today in American History…George and Barbara Bush were Married on January 6, 1945

Today in American history…George and Barbara Bush were married on January 6, 1945 in Rye, New York.

They were engaged directly before he was shipped overseas as a Naval pilot during World War II and the only communication they had for some time was through letters.

In a letter dated December 12, 1943, George wrote to his beloved Barbara:

My darling Bar,

This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can’t possibly say all in a letter I should like to.

I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life.  How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day.  How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you —

As the days go by the time of our departure draws nearer.  For a long time I had anxiously looked forward to the day when we would go aboard and set to sea.  It seemed that obtaining that goal would be all I could desire for some time, but, Bar, you have changed all that.  I cannot say that I do not want to go — for that would be a lie.  We have been working for a long time with a single purpose in mind, to be so equipped that we could meet and defeat our enemy.  I do want to go because it is my part, but now leaving presents itself not as an adventure but as a job which I hope will be over before long.  Even now, with a good while between us and the sea, I am thinking of getting back.  This may sound melodramatic, but if it does it is only my inadequacy to say what I mean.  Bar, you have made my life full of everything I could ever dream of — my complete happiness should be a token of my love for you.

Wednesday is definitely the commissioning and I do hope you’ll be there.  I’ll call Mum tomorrow about my plan.  A lot of fellows put down their parents or wives and they aren’t going so you could pass as a Mrs. — Just say you lost the invite and give your name.  They’ll check the list and you’ll be in.  How proud I’ll be if you can come.[1]

I’ll tell you all about the latest flying developments later.  We have so much to do and so little time to do it in.  It is frightening at times.  The seriousness of this thing is beginning to strike home.  I have been made asst. gunnery officer and when Lt. Houle leaves I will be gunnery officer.  I’m afraid I know very little about it but I am excited at having such a job.  I’ll tell you all about this later too.

The wind of late has been blowing like mad and our flying has been cut to a minimum.  My plane, #2 now, is up at Quonset, having a camera installed.[2]  It is Bar #2 but purely in spirit since the Atlantic fleet won’t let us have names on our planes.

Goodnite, my beautiful.  Everytime I say beautiful you about kill me but you’ll have to accept it —

I hope I get Thursday off — there’s still a chance.  All my love darling —

Poppy

Letter and picture courtesy of the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum.

Today in American History…George and Martha Washington were Married on January 6, 1759

Leading up to her marriage to George Washington, Martha Dandridge Custis was a young, wealthy widow residing in New Kent County, Virginia (about 35 miles outside of Williamsburg) with her two small children.

George Washington was a dashing military hero who would make the long visits from his home outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia to visit the charming and accomplished Martha in 1758. Within a few months of their courtship, they decided to plan a future together.

The Courtship of Washington, engraved by John C. McRae, 1860. Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Martha placed an order from London for beautiful purple slippers and a wedding dress that was to be “grave but not extravagant nor to be mourning.”

Martha Custis Washington’s wedding shoes, worn on her marriage to George Washington on January 6, 1759. Silk, linen, leather, metallic lace and sequins, and wood. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

They were married at her home, White House, in New Kent County, Virginia on January 6, 1759.

In the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, Helen Bryan wrote:

The wedding was probably a very robust affair. Most social occasions in the tidewater were. Martha would have known what to expect and would have made meticulous preparations in advance to feed and accommodate a houseful of guests who would be cooped up together in the house for an indeterminate number of days. Plantation weddings went on for a long time, and once guests had made the trip over bad, frozen, or snow-covered roads or up the icy Pamunkey River to White House, they would have had no inclination to go home quickly. Advance preparations must have involved making up endless sleeping pallets; preparing bedding; stocking up with firewood, extra soap, and candles; and an orgy of roasting, smoking, and baking; not to mention provisioning with cordials, brewing of beer, and ordering plenty of wine, Madeira, port, rum, brandy, and whiskey. Colonials were a notoriously hard-drinking lot. And in keeping with the custom of the time, Martha probably decorated White House with pine boughs, holly, mistletoe, and ivy.”

Life of George Washington, The Citizen, lithograph by Claude Regnier, after Junius Brutus Stearns, 1854, depicts the marriage of George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis at White House Plantation in New Kent County. Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

In the Kitchen Tonight…New England Corn Muffins

Calvin and Grace Coolidge had simple tastes when it came to dining and they cherished anything related to their home of New England. One of the delicious items you could always find with one of their meals (including breakfast!) was New England Corn Muffins.

In honor of our former First Lady from New England’s birthday today, we decided to whip up some New England Corn Muffins to celebrate the fabulous Grace Coolidge.