Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mom's Bread Pudding, tweaked

Walnut Praline Bread Pudding

This recipe is for a 9 x 9 square pan...double it for a lasagna pan

2 C sugar
5 eggs,  beaten
2 C milk
3 tsp vanilla extract

day old italian or french bread, or dinner rolls, torn up (enough to fill pan you are using)

1½ C dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
2 C walnuts
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 C sugar
1 stick butter
1 egg beaten
3 tsp vanilla extract
½ C brandy or Whiskey (optional, I omit this because I am not a fan of booze in my bread pudding)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 9 x9 baker.Break up bread and toss it in the baker.   Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. Pour over bread and let set 15 minutes.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and walnuts and dollop over the bread mixture.
Bake for 35 mins.

In a sauce pan cook the sauce ingredients until hot. Be careful not to scramble the eggs.  If you mix everything first, and then turn on the heat, and stir as you go, it shouldn't scramble on you.

Pour over bread pudding.

Serve with whipped cream.

Sriracha Ceviche w Grouper

I had ceviche with grouper at a friend's house once.  He made us a seven course meal and it was excellent. I have been a fan of Ceviche ever since. If you are a fan of sashimi, and sushi, you will love this...the fish isn't cooked, but appears to be cooked, because the citrus juice changes it.  Only use quality sushi grade fish when making it.
The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 "Rooster Sauce" Recipes that Pack a Punch
  I got this new cookbook, The Sriracha Cookbook, and everything in it looks amazing.I actually saw the book in a store and had to have it, but of course, when I scanned it on amazon, the price was better, so I waited two days for it to arrive. I am a cookbook collector and everything I seem to want to buy in stores, turns out so much cheaper on amazon.

I changed  it up, just slightly so I could make it with grouper. It was so good, its on my menu for New Years Eve. This recipe alone is worth the price of the book, but don't stop there....there are 50 recipes that ALL look amazing and I will be working my way through this book, as my family loves Sriracha. Go to my store to search inside of this book to see the index of all of the great recipes you can make with this "rooster sauce"

Sriracha Ceviche

1½ pounds seafood (shrimp, scallops, yellowtail, talapia, is where I used grouper)
½ C fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ C fresh squeezed orange juice
2-3 medium tomatoes diced
1 large red onion diced
2 persian cucumbers,diced
1 ear fresh sweet corn, kernels only
4 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno seeded and minced (use some seeds if you like the heat, we do)
½ C fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ C sriracha
1 C tomato juice
salt and pepper to taste (fresh cracked)
1 avocado sliced to garnish

In a large bowl, combine the seafood with lime and orange juices.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator, stirring occasionall until the flesh becomes firm and opaque, about three hours. ( I put it in a canning jar, and shake it gently every half hour.)
Add tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, corn, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, oil, sriracha, and tomato juice. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for another 30-60 mins to allow flavors to marry. Season w salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in chilled bowls or martini glasses, garnished with avocado and cilantro.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Release the Clutter: My Goodwill Addiction

I have a Goodwill addiction. My  husband will tell you. He sometimes asks when I bring home something new...Is that going into the Goodwill Box next month?  lol...My intentions aren't all goodwill, but lets face it, Goodwill provides jobs to many people so supporting that is not a bad thing. My intentions are, its a great place to drop off my emotional baggage.  That is what the clutter is to me.

I am having this conversation in my head right now, because its Christmas and we brought new things into our things have to go.

I live in a house, well, that HAD no closets for 12 years. I have a few now.  I don't want them to turn into clutter, because for 12 years, I did n't have to clean out closets and it was pretty nice.

I make a trip to the Goodwill at least once a month with a drop off.  Ya know, "Get rid if anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful."  My emotional clutter.  You can't take it with you when you go anyway.  There are things I have to have of course, my childrens pictures, books, that I won't part with until my death.oh the books...books...that I do struggle with, but I have learned that giving them to friends, isn't a goodbye forever to that book. If I HAD to get it back, I could, they will have it.  (sure they might get rid of it too, but we all know I am not going to need that book again anyway, so let me have the thought).

I had a friend who loved something I had in my kitchen, and it was something I collected but dreaded dusting...she said, you should let me have that.  I looked at her and said, yeah right!.  Then I looked over at it, and with that, I picked it up and handed it to her.  I was sort of amazed myself, but it became a habit for me. It felt good.  Not that I was giving her joy in getting something, but that I won't have to ever dust it again.  If I acquire as much as a stone, it owns me, because then I have to dust it.

Sometimes I feel guilty seeing the person walk off with my stuff, because they are going to have to dust it, but maybe it brings them more joy that it brought me.  Material things don't bring me much joy.  If they do, its very short lived.

I have a book called Throw Out Fifty Things, that speaks to me. It motivates me to give more.  Its easy to clean a house without stuff in it.  There are no knicknacks to move around, which makes cleaning a tedious act.   I can open it to almost any page and gain something from it. A few moments ago, I read,   "For me, people who live solely on their laurels and accomplishments from the past are a yawn.  I don't wan to hear how wonderful you were in high school, or how you used to bicycle 20 miles a day. I want to know what you are doing with your life today?  Looking backward holds no charm for me. What's done, is done.  Learn from it and move on."  Its true, I mean really, who wants to listen to someone brag about their past and perhaps get their photo album out and show you pictures...there is a half hour, plus, of you life you will never get back.

Now, go throw out fifty things..I know you can do it.  But please,give them to Goodwill and keep  people working.

Homemade Toothpaste (coconut oil is amazing!)

I have been using coconut oil for a lotion for a few years now.  Its great for stir frying too because I swear you can't burn the stuff..but as a health and beauty aid, the uses are limitless.

You can use it alone, to moisturize, add essential oils to it to make it smell nice and some of them have healing qualities too.  I am not going to ramble about essential oils right now, as I strive to keep my posts short and to the point. (no one has time to read ramblings)  If you want to know more about essential oils, here are some great books on the subject.

My toothpaste is basic..

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
a few drops of peppermint oil (you have to experiment to get your liking)
a few drops peroxide
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 drops clove oil
mash it up together and keep it in a small container.

I make my own container so I can just dip my toothbrush right into it and brush away.  Some people want a sweetener in theirs, not me.

I see people posting they made it in a huge canning jar..I am not sure I want to make that much at once as it goes pretty far and I would rather know its freshly made.

After my last dental visit, and the barnacle removal I went through, my gums were in pain for two months.  No kidding.  I don't know if they gave me some sort of infection or what, but nothing would stop the pain, so I tried this toothpaste and the pain is gone.

Here is where I got the idea, you can take it for what its worth, as we all know, what works for some, may not work for others..and some people can get cancer from something and it may not affect someone else, and health articles online are a dime a dozen. I just know it helped me out.

There are a gazillion uses for coconut oil and you can probably come up with a few of your own.  I like to mix it with sugar and use it in the shower to exfoliate.  Its a great hair conditioner too.

My hubby found an article on using it for natural eyelash thickening too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Russian Snowballs (walnut cookies)

I just realized one of our treasured family recipes is not on my blog.  These are amazing. They melt in your mouth.Also a great recipe for when you are out of eggs.

Russian Snowballs
1/2 lb butter
2 c flour
2 c chopped walnuts (you can sub in pecans or almonds, so good)
5 T sugar
2 t vanilla extract (if using almonds, use almond extract)
1 T water
1/2 t salt

10x sugar

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and water. 
Sift Flour and salt (family recipe says so, I say whisk it and forgo the sifter)
Blend with other ingredients, roll into balls or crescents.
Bake at 325° for 20 mins.
Roll in 10 sugar twice (confectioners sugar)

Father Frost