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Sundays with Joy/Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

Okay, this time I’ve held out on you for two months. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. I remembered a Sundays with Joy that I had made and photographed but hadn’t posted about yet. I have two actually, but I HAD to come back with this one.

In the past, I’ve been one to avoid foods because I think I don’t like them. For the most part, I just haven’t tried them yet and I think that is the case for most of us. But I get super frustrated when I fall in love with something new that someone else even refuses to try, so lately, whenever a chance arises to make or try something new, I go for it. I don’t want to be that frustratingly stubborn person anymore, missing out on so much potential goodness. So it was with this new attitude that I attacked this recipe.

It all begins with this lovely stale crispy bread.

It all begins with this lovely stale crispy bread.

Let me put it this way…WHAT THE HECK WAS I DOING THE 36 YEARS I COULD’VE BEEN EATING BREAD PUDDING BUT WASNT? Seriously.

It was pure heavenly warmth, every dang bite. I vowed to my 10 year old, a quick and also surprised new bread pudding lover, that I would make up for lost time in regards to variations on bread pudding. I’ve even pondered savory ones. This is a whole new world opened up for me and I have Joy, of course, to thank for it. If you’d like this recipe, please get Joy’s Book.

Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

Not a particular GeekyLink today since so many things are happening.  First off, Gallifrey One is coming in less than three weeks and I am a happy girl since Arthur Darvill was announced!  I don’t know if he is into married chubby Mexican chicks that will be bringing their daughter with them but, fingers crossed!  Frakker Lacquer finally released their Doctor Who inspired collection and my favorites are Type 40 (matte), Stone Cold, and Shining World.  Plus she’s got a Sherlock inspired collection coming soon and so many plans for this year that you need to check her out.  Oh, and speaking of Doctor Who, I LOVED the 50th anniversary and I LOVED the Christmas special (OK, a bit less but I haven’t been a fan of those since Donna) and I cannot wait for the future of this series no matter how different it will be.

Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

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Sundays with Joy/Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Whoa, I’ve been gone a month!   It won’t be that long before the next recipe either.  It has been photographed and completely eaten already but before I post it, I need to catch up a bit on my Sundays with Joy posts as well.  The thing is, I’d been keeping up with the baking aspects of Sundays with Joy, I just hadn’t blogged about it. Yet…

I remember this particular Sunday fondly.  We had some friends over.  I say “we” but three more kids, one for each of mine, is not really for me.  Except when you take into account that I don’t get many requests for attention on those days.  Requests for food yes (oh man, 6 kids/1 cantaloupe/5 minutes!) but attention no.  It is actually great for the days that I have a Sundays with Joy to make.  I get time in my kitchen to focus on a recipe (kids are EVERYWHERE else!), lots of little people to eat it, and happy worn out kids by the end of the day.  What’s not to love?

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

I added chocolate ganache to the bottom of the pie and a layer of bananas before I filled it but used bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet and ultimately that was just too dark for some of the kids’ tastes.  I didn’t like that I smeared my chocolate after drizzling it over the whipped cream and I think my pie would have looked loads prettier if I hadn’t but no biggie.  I loved the coconut in it and both flavors went great together.  This was simply a lovely recipe that I was glad to not have many leftovers of because I, like my grandma before me, am a sucker for a banana cream pie.  If you’d like the recipe please buy Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLinks for this week reveal a bit about my childhood.  My mother used to work in a Hallmark store when I was very young and so ended up buying us and herself lots and lots and lots of ornaments over the course of her lifetime.  I buy some every year but not anything as close to what my mom used to buy.  Still, I will ALWAYS buy a few Hallmark ornaments especially as over the years they break out the cool stuff (yeah, I want Wicket so what?).  They’ve even revealed some cool stuff for 2014!

Coconut Banana Cream Pie1

Sundays with Joy/Peach Cobbler Muffins

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Nectarine CobblerMuffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.comSo even though we were supposed to make Peach Cobbler Muffins and I titled my post as such, I totally used nectarines.  I was actually planning on mixing peaches and nectarines and only bought nectarines because I knew I had peaches at home but then I got home and found that I actually only had nectarines.  Whatever…

Nectarine Cobbler Muffins via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Even Joy’s title for these is a little deceiving.  She actually forgets to mention that these are brown butter Peach Cobbler Muffins.  Are you drooling yet?  Yes, they are just as good as they sound.  I seriously had to set aside the three in my pictures or there were not going to be any left to take pictures.  They were so good I sent some to my dad for his birthday along with some Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  As always, if you’d like a copy of the recipe please buy the Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.

My GeekyLink for this week is Ten Geeked Up KitchenAid Mixers from geekmom.com.  My favorite of course, is the Tardis design.  I found this article awhile back but figured it would fit in well today with all the Twelfth Doctor news (which I must say I am mostly pleased with).  It was always going to be an adjustment but I now I can start to see my way through it.  (Yes, I am still talking about Doctor Who)

NectarineCobbler Muffins

A Berry Special 2 Recipe Post (Vanilla Berries and Raspberry Cake Filling)

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Berry Special Cake via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

I promised you the recipe for Vanilla Berries from my Hunger Games Party post so I made them again when we went camping.  The only problem is that I still didn’t get decent enough pictures of them to merit it’s own post.  The same thing goes for the raspberry filling that I made for my cousin’s (well, two cousins and my brother in law’s) birthday party.  I mean I couldn’t go.  It was my oldest’s 8th dance recital and at her studio she gets a big award for that one.  We didn’t want to miss it.  My aunt had already commissioned me though, to make my cousin’s cake and since she went a little different with the favors (a fruit filling!) I didn’t care how busy I was with the girls’ recital, I was GOING to make this cake.  (Yes, I realize that it is still a “plain” chocolate cake with buttercream but its like pulling teeth to get my family to go outside of the box with the flavors they use in their cakes so I was way gung ho.)

Berry Special Vanilla Berries

I made sure that the one night that I didn’t have to be at the recital with my girls, I was going to be making this cake.  I baked the cake that day, did hair, dropped them off, came home to make the filling and frosting, put the cake together, and with the crumb coat on made it back to pick up my girls in plenty of time.  (It’s a long recital.)  The next day was more of the same but this time the cake had to be finished, dropped off, and all kids dressed and ready to go by early afternoon and I still didn’t know how I was going to decorate it.  Did I mention that it was super hot that week?  Yeah, so after each step in the decorating process I had to put the cake back in the fridge to chill.  It didn’t help matters that I was SUPER paranoid that the filling was going to spill out at any moment.  It’s not because I didn’t have any faith in my recipe or my cake its just that sort of thing tends to happen when you absolutely have NO TIME for that sort of thing to happen.  Thankfully, even with the horrid heat in the car, with the air conditioning that wouldn’t cool completely because we were stuck in traffic but still stayed squarely on the cake during the drive (my poor babies) my cake stayed intact and it was delivered to my sister’s to be delivered to the party, on time.

The verdict was a big thumbs up.  And although no one took pictures of a slice (I have a blog to run here people,  you could help me out),  I was assured the filling stayed put as it should and didn’t spill out. It’s just one of those deep seated fears whenever I am trying a new filling.

Berry Special Raspberry Filling via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

My GeekyLinks for this week are PLENTY so we’ll start now. Frakker Lacquer is now processing orders so I went and bought three bottles yesterday. I’m gonna have to buy more because how can I live my life without Little Green Man and Protocol Droid?  For any panels you may have wanted to see at Comic Con a really great resource is GeekNation.  However, its also worth checking out the Nerd Machine for some panels because I preferred the Orphan Black panel (skip ahead 10 minutes) from Nerd HQ rather than the official Comic Con one. (Yeah, I said it.) I know Clint and Darrell from Golden Spiral Media (my beloved Fringe podcast guys) were there and have a ton of coverage debuting this week and I am looking forward to it.  So far my favorite trailers coming out of the con are Catching Fire, Gravity, and Veronica Mars.  Have fun checking some of this stuff out!

Berry Special Cake with Raspberry Filling via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

Vanilla Berries

Ingredients

2 16oz containers of strawberries, washed and halved

1 6oz container of blueberries, washed

1 6oz container of raspberries, washed

1 6oz container of blackberries, washed

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 vanilla bean (you can use vanilla extract but I don’t recommend it)

Method

In a small saucepan, mix the water and sugar together and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
To use the 1/2 vanilla bean, slice it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Put the seeds and pod into the sugar and water. Once your sugar is dissolved and the mixture is cooled, remove the pod.
To use vanilla extract, make your simple syrup with the sugar and water and wait till the mixture is at room temperature before stirring in the extract. (Using this method you can sometimes smell the alcohol in the vanilla, not appetizing I know but it’ll do in a pinch.)

Mix all of the berries in a large bowl and when your vanilla syrup is cool to room temperature, pour all over your berries.  I tend to not use all of the syrup (I use about 90%) but I always make this amount “just in case”.  Stir carefully, cover and chill until ready to serve.  When berries are on sale and in season, it makes a great dish to bring to a party.

Raspberry Cake Filling

Ingredients

1 6oz container of raspberries, washed

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons water

Method

Make your filling by combining raspberries, sugar, water, cinnamon and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickend and the berries are a bit soft.  They are all going to break apart.  Set aside to cool.  If you would like more raspberry pieces, just do what I did and quarter a few and fold them into the mixture after it is completely cool.

I kept the seeds in my filling but I imagine if you did not want them you could press the mixture through a fine metal sieve.

Use to fill any cake or cupcake (or doughnut?) with raspberry goodness.

Sundays with Joy/Peanut Butter and Jam Milkshake

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PeanutButterJamMilkshake via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I know, I know a week or so late.  But hello?  Does anyone remember that I just got finished with a big themed birthday party?  Plus, I posted twice last week.  When was the last time that happened?  So yeah, even though last week’s Sundays with Joy was a very simple milkshake I really didn’t have the time to get it done.  That being said, this week’s recipe coming up is done.  Been done.  Many times over.  It will be made over and over again.  But you’ll have to wait for that.

This will also be made over and over again.  You look at this and think, “Ugh milkshake, so much mess.  It is two flavors!  It’s gonna take too long.”  Well, you’d be totally wrong.  This took a maximum of 10 minutes and I didn’t use my blender at all.  Joy tells you to but I have an aversion to mine so I just used my wand immersion blender and finished this recipe lickety split.  That is the best part.  It seems like an extra special treat that is super fun and requires special effort.  It IS an extra special treat but doesn’t require much more effort than a plain vanilla or chocolate milkshake (I also use my immersion blender for those).  If you have a peanut butter and jelly connoisseur, which if you have a husband and a few kids you probably have one or two, you’ll have a very happy milkshake drinker.

PeanutButterJamMilkshake3 via NerdyBaker.wordpress

I went with peanut butter and the raspberry jam (as Joy instructs) which I really enjoyed as opposed to strawberry because it seems like strawberry might be overpowered by the peanut butter.  The raspberry, which I am just OK with in a PB&J, was spot on in the milkshake.  Not too overpowering but you got the flavor.  It was almost perfect.  My only issue was the amount of milk in the peanut butter part.  Next time I’ll use just a smidge less.  Yum.  If you’d like to try it please buy Joy’s Cookbook 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.  You won’t regret it.

You know what?  I am in a GeekyLink funk.  All my good shows (The Nerdist, Orphan Black, Doctor Who) have ended their respective seasons and even the crappy shows too (I’ll never tell).  I’m down to Netflix marathons of Doctor Who and Fringe.  Maybe I can do some catching up of Classic Doctor Who!  I guess it’s just as well, with summer almost upon us and all my kids home.  It’s time for family stuff like camping and movies and parks.  I do want to try geocaching with the kids this summer, though.  We’ll see how that goes.

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

How come condensation just makes some things look so much better?

Hunger Games Party

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I saw an invitation online and I just made my own version of it using some clip art and a Hunger Games font.

It begins with an invitation…
I made my own version of an invitation I saw online using some clip art and a Hunger Games font.

There are birthday parties and there are birthday parties.  I tend to go over board with each but if I have a theme and I want to incorporate food into that theme well, watch out, momma is going to be out of commission for awhile because she is going to be crafting and baking up a storm for a few weeks.  And so it was with my oldest and her Hunger Games themed 10th birthday (and promotion, since her birthday fell so close to the end of her school year and now she’ll be off to middle school).  Also, this party was going to be big because we would be including friends as well as family.

As per usual, it all begins with a Pinterest board.  This allows me to have a place to compile overall party ideas, decoration ideas, game ideas, food ideas.  Then I have to decide between what I want to pull off as opposed to what I can pull off.  Lists help me accomplish all of this, crossing off and adding and crossing off and adding some more till I get a halfway concise idea of what is going to happen for the party.

The most effective yet simplest craft EVER!

The most effective yet simplest craft EVER!

So it began that I decided to make the food for the party so as to have it more in the spirit of the book.  I figured that I would find some crock pot friendly recipes suited to my needs.  I also knew that I would be making TONS of bread so I needed recipes that I could freeze well either before or after baking.  I found two great ones!  One I adapted a few different ways to make “different” loaves (white whole wheat, white, mixed flours and one with wheat bran sprinkled on top).  I’ll post it soon.  I make it often but I wanted to get it down and messing with all these variations helped me with that.  The other I follow just as directed because it is spectacular and may be a new candidate for Justin’s Sandwich Rolls!  I also made these because it came with three variations on the same dough and the dough kept for four days in the refrigerator.  I wanted lots of different ones because bread (including various breads from all the districts) features prominently in the book.  The make ahead dough and breads really made the whole thing I was going for possible.  I served the sliced french bread with goat cheese mixed with basil, goat cheese with sliced apples, and butter for my appetizers.  I also put out the different refrigerator rolls.

HungerGamesPartyFor dinner, we had shredded beef with rolls and Beef Stew over brown rice or homemade mashed potatoes.  We had “Berry Mush” (vanilla berries, recipe soon!) and a green salad as well.  Most of the ideas for the food I got from Fictional Food.  Some I wanted to make like the goat cheese and apple tarts but I didn’t have time and others I wanted to put out like the hot chocolate and bread for dipping (seriously some Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce is PERFECT for that, right?) but it was a very hot day.  I did make some Mellark’s Bakery Cookies but added some spice to them because in my mind the overall ingredients in District 12 would be subpar but a little bit of spice would hide it.  I would have included the recipe in this post but of course I forgot to take pictures of them.  I changed the whole wheat flour to 2 cups and the all purpose to 1 1/2 cups.  Then I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (mostly just because I couldn’t find my nutmeg, otherwise I’d have blended a mix of my own).  I really liked them.  They came out like a lightly spiced version of a spice cookie.

Now, the cake.  My daughter was VERY specific about the cake she wanted.  I never really knew she was a fan of my whipped cream frosted cakes but recently we had one with banana in the filling as opposed to strawberries.  I guess she liked it because, even knowing her theme and realizing that her poor momma would have to try and “tie it in” to everything she picked a whipped cream cake with strawberries and bananas in the filling.  So what I came up with was to try and use banana and strawberry garnish to evoke fire or flames in some sort of way to tie it all together.  I even added a few buttercream “flames” that I used on the cupcakes I made.  Those were inspired by Erica’s Sweet Tooth Hunger Games cupcakes.

HungerGamesCakeOnto the games, well we didn’t exactly have a reaping.  It was more of a raffle with their name entered once for being there and once for every game played.  I hung a small hula hoop that they tried to throw foam “spears” into and later slingshot some water smoosh balls into.  We also did a water balloon toss since it was so hot.  The games I sort of winged it on because I was mainly focused on the food.  I just bought a bunch of stuff I thought I’d be able to use and it worked out pretty well.  The winner of the “reaping” won two prizes that were left over and one of two bow and arrow sets.  The next winner was my daughter who won the other set.  I had also bought six silly string cans and gave three to the runners up of the other games and then picked three more names for the other silly string cans.  The kids liked those parts the best I think, when we let them loose with the silly string and the rest of the water balloons.

HungerGamesPinata

My uncle picks up our pinatas for parties and I might have mentioned that if he found a mockingjay pinata that he’d be “the best uncle ever” so he and my aunt customized this one for us.
Pic courtesy of my dad.

One site suggested a Capitol Makeup table.  I went one step further and set up Capitol Fashions.  I used every useable (and takeable) piece of dressup paraphenalia that we had and also bought a few more masks, funky glassses, some mustaches, hats and new dollar store makeup and let the kids go to town.  Another site had a Sponsor Gift table idea that I liked as a favor table and I just put out simple cheap stuff that might be usable in the games like band-aids, tissue, braid-holders, trail mix, compass rings, and some homemade bookmarks along with the Mellark bakery cookies.  Both tables were near each other and that was helpful since I wanted our guests to take home gifts from both.

HungerGamesTables

Our Sponsor Gift table and Capitol Fashions table. Pics courtesy of my dad.

As for GeekyLinks, I am all linked out.  I’ve spent two weeks in a Hunger Games birthday party haze and I need a rest.  However, if you have any questions about anything I made for the party that I didn’t directly link to, please ask.  Most of it should be on the Pinterest board though.

 

 

Sundays with Joy/Grapefruit Soufflé Pudding

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Grapefruit Souffle Pudding via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

I didn’t get to this Sundays with Joy till Monday.  We went to a wedding on Friday night, hung out with family on Saturday, and generally had a lazy day on Sunday because well, I totally believe in lazy days.  But first thing after I dropped off my son at school Monday morning, I went to work on this.

Grapefruit Souffle Pudding via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

I don’t know why I’m surprised.  Every time I think Joy may have gone over the edge (see Orange Gingerbread Squares) she gives me the most pleasant surprises.  I really wasn’t looking forward to this recipe.  It just didn’t appeal to me and I couldn’t imagine what its texture would be or at all what it would taste like.  I just went and set about making it.  Don’t let the name fool you, overall it was pretty simple.  My favorite part though was making the grapefruit sugar that goes into this batter.  It just smells fantastic and you find yourself mixing in the zest with your nose in the bowl.  Inhale.

Grapefruit Sugar

First of all, Joy says this is fancy and she’s right.  Although, she pictures a lamb dinner and I am moving more towards a dessert for a fancy tea.  Then, she says you can enjoy it warm or cold.  Here again, I think she is smoking something.  I am already unsure about this “soufflé pudding” anyway, why would I want to try it warm?  I do, however, tend to listen to Joy when she tells me to try something even if I don’t wanna.  Of course, she was totally right.  I would actually recommend eating this warm.  It’s by no means bad when cold but it’s just heaven warm.  It is warm, sunny, light, sweet…perfect.  I can’t describe it any better.  It is important to note that it is best the day it is made and that is the only bummer here.  So just make sure you have people to share it with when you make it.

Grapefruit Souffle Pudding2 via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

This week, Ellen over at Indigo Scones is hosting our link up.  Check it out if you are curious as to what the others in our group have tried.  I know a few have mixed in some other flavors.  Don’t forget, if you’d like the recipe please buy the Joy the Baker Cookbook.

My GeekyLink for today is Star Trek: The Middle School Musical.  It is short, funny,  sweet and filled the Star Trek void a bit as I have yet to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

Grapefruit Souffle Pudding1 via NerdyBaker.wordpress.com

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