Before I headed to Texas, I worked on a few things for Tennessee’s baby shower. Decoration for the baby’s room were also going to be decorations for the shower. I whipped up a few canvas for Archer’s room as well a little night light. Deer were the theme for this little celebration. A couple baby wipe keepers help round out a few of things for her gifts.
The weather was hitting us hard before the shower but eventually cleared up. What a day!
Marie made a sweet little baby blanket. Quilting the lovely
blocks to the theme and embroidery. Isn’t it beautiful folks?!
We planned a sweet spread for the celebration. Cheesecakes
and cupcakes were provided by their family, but Marie had the cutest little
cookies made too.
We had a cheese boards chalked full of various cheese,
meats, fruit, olives and preserves. We had a couple wheels of cheeses on our
new cheese slicers. What fun! Several different types of breads that included
olive oil dipping with fresh herbs from Marie’s garden. A couple of pastas with
meatballs and grilled chicken to be topped with homemade marinara sauce and
alfredo. We had little caprese skewers as well as sliced heritage tomatoes to
add a little fresh touch. Fresh fruit and dip to satisfy the cravings of the
mom-to-be. And of course, we had a little sangria punch (non-alcoholic)! I made
sure there was a little sparking while for those not expecting. Rounding it all off with some sweet tea (and
Tennessee had a great time and loved everything. Now she is just waiting for her little blessing to arrive. Marie, Ashley and I enjoyed planning this special day. Thank you again to Ashley for braving the kitchen with me this time.
We were home late on Sunday from Massachusetts and I was back on the road by Tuesday heading to Texas. It’s shower time y’all!
I arrived Wednesday at the little house and unpacked before heading up to my sister’s. My car was loaded with wedding decorations including the bouquet. Talk about a nervous drive trying to make sure nothing got screwed up. But I was glad I was able to bring it out and now we can focus on the shower.
We hit the ground running when I arrived. Reviewing through the menu and getting our lists together of what we still needed to buy. Decorations have been accumulated and it was time to start getting them up. Marie’s house is looking amazing and all the work being done for the wedding is really paying off. I can’t wait to show you all the work when it is done.
Thursday is a day of decorating, getting our nails done (mine look horrid after all the crafting), grocery shopping and of course the liquor store. I have things to do! Ashley comes in to try on her dress so that I can get an idea of what needs to be adjusted. Oh my, her dress is beautiful and all lace! And it needs to be taken in quite a bit. Holy cow!!!
Friday I am deep into my cooking mode so all worries about alternations will have to wait. I make my Sangria using a Llano red wine and a berry brandy. Llano is one of my favorite Texas wine companies. They also have an amazing port I highly recommend. So here was the menu for the shower. I had to make up the chocolate bread pudding for the dessert tamales and prep the rest of the menu. Luckily the beans, rice and tortillas came from Rosa’s and would be picked up before the shower along with a few other things. We had a few last-minute decorations to make and were so glad Beth and Carla came over to help. Chairs are delivered from Borrowed Treasures. I love the assortment they brought and can’t wait to see what they do for the wedding. Our brother Chip and his wife Noemi arrive with our niece Anita. Woo hoo!
Saturday as Marie is rushing around running last minute errands (our brother too) I have Anita working those arm muscles helping me with the two sauces for the tamales. The cookies as gifts were so adorable from Back Home Bakery. Long story short, it was great! Everything went well for the shower. We had over 50 people show up and Ashley was happy. We took care of the food and venue so that Havalah and the rest of the bridal party could concentrate on the bride. Noemi and Beth worked hard helping me with the food and clean up. My brother cooked the meats and jalapenos and Clarinda was the photographer. Michelle made the red sauce, yummy! I am so grateful and thankful for everyone’s help!
Sunday was a day spent finishing the headdress for the flower girls, taking in the wedding dress and chatting with my sister. Ashley will be a beautiful bride and I know that when I go back before the wedding, more alterations may be needed. The wedding is just a month away…
My husband and I are huge fans of bread pudding. During one of our dinners at Kres is Orlando, the chef had sent out bread pudding for us to try after the incredible dinner he had prepared. What a surprise and enjoyment to taste this amazing creation. It was made with Brioche!
Brioche is amazing bread. So light and a little sweetness that you just can’t resist, or at least it is hard for me. When I was shopping at The Fresh Market in Kissimmee I picked up a package of their cinnamon swirl brioche tray. It is like a cinnamon roll without the icing and extra sugar. Such a nice balance of the brioche with the cinnamon. Tasted so good warmed up with a little butter on it. The next day I had a piece toasted with fresh fruit.
Tonight, after the brioche had been in the refrigerator for a couple of days I decided to fix my husband a little surprise of bread pudding from the cinnamon swirl brioche. Now there are a million recipes for bread pudding out there. But this recipe is mine. So, you’re getting my little secrets I don’t normally share.
1 loaf of cinnamon swirl brioche
4 eggs beaten
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon and a little more to dust the top
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried strawberries diced
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut brioche into 1-inch cubes and place in large bowl. In another bowl combine the sugar, beaten eggs, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon making sure it is mixed well. Pour mixture over brioche cubes and let soak for 30 minutes. (Brioche is not toasted or dry, so you don’t need to soak any longer than that. If you do have dried brioche, then soak at least an hr.) Fold in the cranberries and strawberries. Spray casserole or baking dish with Pam or you can use butter. Pour mixture into dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Adding the pudding to brioche
Soaking my bread pudding
Adding the dried strawberries and cranberries
Poured up and ready
Dust of cinnamon
Allow the bread pudding to cool. You can top with whatever whiskey sauce, chocolate sauce, vanilla sauce, fresh fruit or ice cream of your choice.
As I mentioned, I used dried strawberries in this one. You can use whatever dried fruits you would like and nuts as well. Here in Central Florida we are huge on the strawberries and if you haven’t tried dried strawberries, you should. It is like a little fruit leather (fruit roll-up) still in the fruit. There are recipes on Pinterest with directions for drying strawberries. You don’t need extra sugar with them as the drying process brings that out. But once you have one, it is hard to stop eating them.
Swerve to the rescue
Tonight, I had some fresh strawberries I need to use up. I cut them up and add a little sweetener (I use Swerve instead of sugar 90% of the time) to them (about a tablespoon) and let them sit in the refrigerator while I made the bread pudding. Then I added an oz of both vodka and Chambord to the strawberries. Gave them a little mix and put them back in the refrigerator. When I gave the bread pudding to my husband, I topped it off with the drunk strawberries. Now here is a little secret, take the strawberries (4 cups worth), leave them whole but remove stems and place in a Ziploc bag. Add the sugar, ½ cup fresh orange juice, vodka, and an oz of Grand Marnier. Let the strawberries sit for about an hour turning every 1/5 minutes. Serve the strawberries in a nice stemmed glass with a little sprinkle of rock sugar on top and some whipped cream. Taste incredible with a scone or shortbread cookie on the side and a nice cup of coffee.
We had guests over and we went to grillin’. We grilled fajitas and made all the fixin’s… good ole guac, pico, grilled veggies, rice and beans, and don’t forget that homemade salsa. I had promised George and the crew I would make them a pie, to thank them for all the work they had done on the house.
Well I couldn’t make up my mind so… I made two desserts. A friend of mine gave me some extra rhubarb that she had left over from making strawberry rhubarb jam. Oh YUM! That jam was delicious. So I made a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.
Since I was making two desserts, I kinda cheated and used Pillsbury pie crust. I do that sometimes when I’m in a hurry. No one ever notices that it’s not my homemade crust. Or maybe they just don’t say anything. Well I think it taste pretty good to me. For the Cobbler itself all I did was mix rhubarb cut up and strawberries chopped. ( I leave my strawberries pieces big. ) I don’t really have a recipe, so here is what I did for this large casserole dish.
I used about 5 cups of rhubarb chopped in about 1/2 in or so pieces
about 3 cups strawberries chopped
about a cup of sugar (depends on the sweetness of your strawberries my strawberries were really sweet)
3-4 tablespoons of tapioca to thicken (I had some on hand but your can thicken with cornstarch)
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons or so of orange zest
Just mix all the ingredients together and put in a pie or casserole dish. I didn’t put crust on the bottom of this cobbler I just topped with crust. You can even do a dump type crust with this cobbler. Bake 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is nice and brown and cobbler is good and bubbly.
If you need a specific recipe to follow because sometimes I do. I found this one on-line that is real similar to what I made. Strawberry rhubarb pie
My second dessert was a lemon meringue pie. It must have been good. I didn’t get a picture before it was sliced. And all that was left was one slice by the time I had a chance to take a pic.
I couldn’t find my recipe for lemon meringue pie that I usually use. But Lil Biv had made this pie filling before and it was so good. It didn’t make as much as my recipe does but boy is it good. So here is the link to the Lemon Meringue Pie. And it is so yummy! I may have to bake 2 pies and see which I like better. My recipe or this recipe. Now for the meringue I used 6 egg whites and half the sugar and sometimes I use cream of tartar when making my meringue. People think meringue is hard to make. It is not.
Chill your bowl in freezer
only use glass or stainless steel bowl
Make sure the bowl is good and clean
do not get egg yolk in your whites….any fat at all with keep meringue from fluffing up
beat on high-speed… I mean high
slowly add sugar and if you have fine baking sugar use that. (but most of time I just have regular cane sugar on hand and it it’s fine.)
add cream of tartar if you want stiffer peaks than what is forming.
whip until peaks are standing up
Next time I make meringue, I will try to remember to record the process and show y’all. I’m trying to get use to this blogging stuff. And I know I like lots of how to pics. I promise to get better with the pictures.
What are some of y’alls favorite pies to make? Please share, I love new recipes to try!
Y’all have a blessed day today. Stay cool in this summer heat.