You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!

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Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!
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My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂

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Mixing it all up

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Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too

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This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!

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My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!

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another day again…YUMMY!!!

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This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛

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Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!

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This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂
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One Lovely Blog Award!!

10 Comments

Recently I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Ka@My Uni Kitchen

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Ka has a terffic blog, he has amazing Recipes, How to Guides and Cooking Tips, so please go over to his
blog and check out all those good things he has to offer 🙂

There are few rules to accepting the award you must tell everyone 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 blogs
for the award.

So here we go 🙂

1. I worked on a cruise ship for 6 1/2 years

2. My first career was in Theater Costuming before going into Culinary

4. I love Hockey

5. I worked for our home town Hockey Team by sewing names and numbers on their jerseys

6.  During the baseball season, I am on call for the Cincinnati Reds and the away teams
      that come into town and play the Reds, to sew their uniforms (sewing names & numbers),
      for any last minute call ups.

7.  The most I was ever paid for sewing 1 single uniform for an away team was $100.00
and 
that was for 1 hour of work, that included the call, me driving to the ball park
(i live very close) 
getting in there sewing the name and number and then 
      back in my car.  🙂  

Bonus – here’s the picture 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed the few things that most of you did not know about me 🙂

 

Here are the blogs that I think are fantastic and I give the “One Lovely Blog Award” too

Suzanne@apuginthekitchen

Gretchen@Feeding My 3 Sons

Ginger@Ginger&Bread

Loretta@Safari of the Mind

Angie@The Novice Gardner

Julie@Hostess At Heart

Michelle@Giraffes Can Bake

Suzi@Beach Blanket Bacon

Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook

Coco@Crafty Little Coco

Lili@Lili’s Cakes

Max@Dante’s Kitchen

Linda@La Petite Paniere

Ms. Frau@Frugal Hausfrau

Petra@Food Eat Love

Vidya and Chitra I added you as well
I know Ka added you to his blog
but I wanted to let you know I love
your blogs too, so you can consider mine
with his 🙂

Vidya@Traditionally Modern Food

Chitra@Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Thank you everyone for checking out my blog!!!

 

 

 

Irish Beer Cheese Soup!!

12 Comments

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015!!!

So in honor of today I have my Beer Cheese Soup recipe for you today 🙂

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I made this soup a couple of years ago when I did a St. Patrick’s Day Cooking Class, I also served Guinness Mac & Cheese, Guinness Black Lager Irish Stew and Guinness Stout Cake Pops 🙂

We all had a great time and everyone loved the food and of course the beer 😉

So before we get to the recipe for the soup, here is what a few of the people over here at the office look like today dressed in their St. Patty’s Day garb 🙂

First let’s start with the man that was named
after this day… Sir Patrick!!

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Here is Connie with her Irish scarf

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Janet and Jennifer have their green on 🙂

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And Kathie and Heather have their head bobs on 🙂

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Kathy in her green

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There are the “Meat” guys in green too 🙂

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Ann has a head bob too

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Margie being silly 🙂

 

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Here is the advertising girls pretty as ever

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And I think Tina wins the prize
as she is all decked out!!!
Her tie lights up too and her head
bob thing does too just can’t tell

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And this is one of ladies that Demo’s
for us in one of our stores, she Dressed
up for the day too 🙂

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So what ever you do today enjoy it and have fun and make some soup!! 🙂

Irish Beer Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup onions, grated or finely minced
½ cup celery, grated or finely minced
½ cup flour
1 stick butter
1 bottle Harp Beer
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
16 oz. Sharp cheddar, shredded (Tillamook is what I used)
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded (Cabot Vintage Choice)
2 cups cream
Cooked bacon for garnish
Green onions (tops only), thinly sliced

In a stock pot over medium heat add butter, onions and celery sauté until softened.  Add flour, whisk and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking often.  Whisk in beer slowly and same with the chicken broth, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.  Then add dry mustard and Worcestershire then add cream while whisking and then cheese a good handful at time until all added keep whisking until smooth and cheese has melted.  Cook for about 10 minutes more. Taste, season with salt and pepper etc., if too thick add more broth, beer or cream, too thin add more cheese.  But nothing extra was needed; garnish each bowl with bacon and green onions.

Let me say the bacon really put this soup over the top, serve with my Harp Beer Bread recipe and you are good to go…Enjoy!!! Cheers!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Here are my Guinness Stout Cake Pops…yummmy!!!

Irish cake pops

“CHEF” El Jefe!!

11 Comments

“the Chief” or “the Boss”

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When I first heard about this movie and saw the trailer I thought this looks like a really cute funny movie.

Here is the wiki if you want to read about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chef_(film)

As I sat in the movie theater as the credits rolled, my mind was reeling, I was like what did I just see!!

The trailer

 

Feeling of inspiration  was so overwhelming, I just wanted to leave the theater and go and COOK!!!

There was so much about this movie that I could relate too, the passion in cooking  and sharing it with other people!!

Whether you are a Chef or Foodie you will love and understand this Movie, you will walk away with the same feeling of joy and inspiration that I did…if you are not…you will walk away and say oh that was a cute and funny movie.

There were so many scenes that I just loved…I think the big one (well all food scenes really) was the making “Grilled Cheese” scene, really the part when he starts to eat it 😛

The crunch…the CRUNCH!! was out of control, the sound of that Crunchy bread and the gooey cheese hanging from the bread, it was like I was there eating it myself.  I could smell it, I could feel the crunch and I could taste it!!!

Here is that scene

 

The food scenes have been described as ‘Food Porn”  and have all been “designed” just like the set is designed, the food cooking scenes were designed by Chef Roy Choi, he worked as an technical adviser.  Chef Roy Choi is a Genius in my mind!!

He also sent actor Jon Favreau who directed, co-produced, written and starred in, to French culinary school and then had him train in several of Choi’s kitchens.
Here is a behind the scenes clip with Chef Choi and Jon Favreau

 

I just loved every minute of this film and have already gone back and to see it again with my best foodie friend Danny, he got the movie just like I did 🙂

I have made my takes on some of the food that was made in the movie here are couple, of course the “Grilled Cheese” and the “Pasta” scene.

For the “The Cuban” sandwich, I search the Cincinnati area for the best, some good some not so good, but I found a place “Paula’s Cafe” downtown.  I heard that the owner Paula was from Miami and the sandwich was pretty authentic, so I finally got down there and had it…it was the best i had yet.  Pork could have been a little more and spread out on the bun, but everything else was perfect!!!   If you are in the area I recommend the Cafe, it is only open M-F 10:30 am to 2:30 pm and its crowded!!!  Its small so getting it to go is popular if there are no seats, I went at 1:15 pm and it was starting to clear out, by 1:30 pm only a few people.  But the “To Go” line was really non-stop, soup of the day (cream of chicken with wild rice) and the Tuna Salad seemed to be the most popular for the “To Go” customers.  Also the friendliest  waitresses around town!!!!!  I will be going back for sure!!

Enjoy my pictures and it the Movie “Chef” is playing still near you go see it!!

Grilled Cheese

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Pasta 🙂

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The Cuban from Paula’s Cafe

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So if have a passion for food, then please go see this movie, you will not be disappointed, I can’t wait till I can get it on DVD 🙂

Cinnamon Quick Bread…Two Ways!!!

15 Comments

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Cinnamon Strawberry and Cinnamon Strawberry & Blueberry!!

I always have strawberries in the freezer for my kale smoothies 🙂 I will buy various fresh fruit, clean it, cut it up and freeze it, then I always that it on hand 🙂

So I was trying to think of a quick bread to make and well the strawberries came to mind, when I was testing my double batch (so I could give to family and friends) I was a little heavy handed with the cinnamon…but I have to admit it was pretty good and I got great reviews 🙂

I recently got some Coconut sugar and I had been wanting to use it, so I try it again but this time with blueberries, coconut sugar, coconut oil and whole grain pastry flour, this one is a little healthier for you 🙂

Here are both recipes, make both or just one of them…they both are Great!! 🙂

1st – Cinnamon Strawberry

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2 bowls, one wet, one dry

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whisk each individually, add strawberries to wet

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mix together

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then mix in the dry

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put into loaf pans and bake

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Cinnamon Strawberry Quick Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters (if frozen, let thaw)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray two 9×5 inch loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, whisk until fully combined.

In a med bowl whisk together eggs and oil; fold in strawberries, then pour into flour mixture and fold together just until combined.
Scoop into loaf pans and bake.

For mini pans bake 30 – 35 minutes for larger loaf pans 45 – 50 minutes, always check at first time by inserting a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean it is done.

2nd more healthy for sure – Cinnamon Strawberry Blueberry

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whisk dry in one bowl, add blueberries, toss around to coat

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mix wet with strawberries

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then add to dry

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put into loaf pans and bake

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Loaf is much darker because of the coconut sugar

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Cinnamon Strawberry Blueberry Quick Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters (if frozen, let thaw)
1 cup blueberries
3 1/4 cups whole grain pastry flour
2 cups coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup coconut oil in liquid state
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray two 9×5 inch loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, whisk until fully combined, toss in blueberries and mix around to coat.

In a med bowl whisk together eggs and canola oil; then whisk in coconut oil, if you need to heat a little to melt then do so, just let cool down first before adding it to egg mixture, fold in strawberries, then pour into flour mixture and fold together just until combined.
Scoop into loaf pans and bake.

For mini pans bake 30 – 35 minutes for larger loaf pans 45 – 50 minutes, always check at first time by inserting a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean it is done.

Enjoy both these recipes I hope you make them both!!! 🙂

 

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Christmas 2013!!!

9 Comments

Merry Christmas everyone!!! 🙂

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I hope today fines all of you full of Love and Joy!!! Its has been a busy season for me thus far, hoping to slow down in January 🙂

Well I did some baking, I think most of my friends, family and co-workers got a little of something that I made.

Last night Christmas Eve we went to my cousins and there were I think 54 of us that is a lot of people and a lot of Presents!!!

Today I will be with my family, my Mommy and Daddy…yes I did just call them my “Mommy and Daddy” 🙂
My two nephews and my nephews little girl!!

Enjoy your day and make it count to someone you love!!

Here are some pictures of some of the things I did make along with pictures of my Christmas Decorations!!

My indoor Decor

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Next year the garland will go away and I will be adding
blue/teal and purple ribbon 🙂

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My Sous Chef 🙂

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That picture of Santa is my bestie Danny 🙂

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I love my new pink lights

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I made most of the ornaments on my tree 🙂

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My New tree topper

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Outside Decor

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I did these pots new this year 🙂

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that’s funny you can see my hammer off to the side 😛

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Made this myself

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Okay now for the Sweets 🙂

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I never had luck making these Spritz Cookies
with the cookie press 😦
But then my Mom pulled out this bag that I had got
from my Grandma’s house after she passed, I had totally
forgot about this

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This awesome Super Shooter cookie gun
Its Electric!!! 
I made all of this cookies from start to finish
in less than 2 hours… Yay!!!

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This was made in the 70’s

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This is Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge

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White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

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Peppermint Toffee Crunch

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Brown Bread 🙂

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And Gingerbread Bars with raisins

 

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Finally, I had seen these in a picture, never ate one, the person would never tell me what it was or what was in it 😦
Now I knew it was Chocolate and to me it looked like Corn Flakes.
Well I ask my New Friend Melanie from France and she came through and they are “Rose des Sables”  pretty much Chocolate and Corn Flakes 🙂

I used Special K cereal I wanted more of crunch 🙂

Thank you Melanie!!! Cheers my friend!!

 

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Thank you for taking the time to enjoy my blog!!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!!!

Bread Pudding

8 Comments

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Bread Pudding…you either love it or hate it 🙂

I don’t think there is any in between 🙂

I myself like Bread Pudding…if it made well…believe me I had some that I’ve wanted to spit out 😛

But I must say I have had great success making Bread Pudding 🙂

As part of what I do in my job, we host wine dinners, beer dinners, customer appreciation dinners.  One of the dinners that happens each month is a Wine dinner with a local radio station and the morning DJ’s and their winners.  They are Bob and Marianne…Check out photo below…doesn’t he look familiar….think “Entertainment Tonight”

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Yes Bob Goen…well he is just the nicest person ever!! 🙂

Our dinner for them included the following courses, each with a wine pairing

1st. course – Trio of Crostini’s
2nd. course – Mini cheese Ravioli’s with Apples and Walnuts with a Balsamic glaze
3rd. course – Zen Blend Salad with strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese crumbles, candied walnuts with a Balsamic glaze dressing
4th. course – Parmesan Chicken cutlet, with Whole Wheat Pasta served with Sweet Peppers, Kale  tossed in Arrabiata Sauce
5th. course – Lemon Marmalade Bread Pudding – recipe below 🙂

They loved everything 🙂

Side note****
But today is my Birthday 🙂 and when its your birthday you bring treats into the office and well I made the Lemon Marmalade Bread Pudding along with a Wild Blueberry 🙂

 

Ingredients

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Bread

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Cube it up

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place on baking sheet

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bake

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divide marmalade

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add butter to saucepan with marmalade

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stir and melt

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add mixture to cubed bread in a large bowl

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toss to coat bread, set aside

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add half and half to marmalade jar

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Shake

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add jar mixture, rest of the half and half, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla (lemon juice & zest)

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whisk together

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pour custard over bread cubes

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mix together, set aside for 30 minutes

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Spray ramekins

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add bread-custard mixture, place on baking sheet, bake

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after baking

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top each ramekin with the remaining marmalade

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Recipe – Lemon and Wild Blueberry Bread Pudding

12 oz. package of King’s Hawaiian Rolls, bread, sub rolls, buns…it all works 🙂
1 quart Half and Half
1 cup granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. butter

For Lemon – zest and juice of 1 large lemon
                         1 jar Lemon Marmalade 12.35 oz – 14 oz. 

For Wild Blueberry – 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries 12.35 oz. – 14 oz.
                                        1 jar Wild Berry or Blueberry preserves

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, toast on baking sheet in oven at 350 degrees, until golden brown about 10 minutes or so, let cool, once cooled add cubes to large mixing bowl, set aside.

Remove a 1/4 cup of the marmalade and set aside, take the rest of the marmalade and add to a small sauce pan with the butter, on medium heat, warm marmalade and melt butter, stirring to combine.

Once butter has melted, pour mixture over top the toasted bread cubes and toss to coat, set aside.

Take empty marmalade jar and add 1/2 cup of the half and half, shake vigorously to loosen any thing left to the sides of the jar.   In a medium bowl add that mixture, the rest of the half and half, sugar, vanilla, eggs and egg yolks, whisk to fully combine.  

(If making Lemon at this point add zest and juice to the wet mixture whisking to combine)

Pour custard mixture over the coated bread cubes, mixing together, let stand for 30 minutes, pushing bread cubes down into the custard occasionally. 

After 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Distribute the bread-custard mixture into buttered or sprayed ramekins, I used 10 8 oz. ramekins filling them about 2/3 the way full.  

(If making Wild Blueberry, top each ramekin with a little of the blueberries)

Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, remove from oven and and using the set aside marmalade spoon over top each ramekin.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

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Serve and Enjoy!!!

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