My parents drove all the way from Colorado to bask in some of Texas' mid-winter warmth only to trade in their snow boats for rain boots and their ski coats for thick wool sweaters.
Thankfully, my parents know how to make the best of both good and bad weather, so we had a delightful week of food, laughter, and shopping despite the cold wind and rain. My mom has been known to spoil me, so of course, I took her to the place I most enjoy spoiling--Whole Foods.
As we walked through the flagship store, she generously filled our basket with salted pistachios, Greek yogurt, bottles of wine Pink Lady apples, rinds of brie, rosemary ciabatta, and a case of Lara bars. I left Whole Foods with three large bags of food, and my mom wanted me to go back in for more.
All of these foodie gifts were a joy to receive, and they look beautiful in my refrigerator and pantry shelves. But what I treasure far more than nuts or organic produce was the precious time I was able to spend with my parents--the very beginning of my existence.
We sat together in our apartment, we sipped on glasses of Perrier and white wine, we poached shrimp, we baked pies, and we laughed. We laughed a lot. My parents brought their dog, and he enjoyed running around and only slightly dirtying my recently mopped floors. My parents treat him like a child, which I guess makes sense...they've been raising girls for over 40 years now! My younger sister only just turned 19.
Bread pudding is an unassuming dish.
I don't many people who would call it the prettiest dessert on the block. But one bite of this sweet and comforting casserole will have you sold. You'll want to curl up with a blanket, call your dog up on your lap, and laugh with your parents about all those years that have somehow flown by.
I added bananas and cinnamon to this simple recipe, and we served it with freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of butterscotch chips. I tore apart a loaf of leftover honey wheat bread, and its sweet and hearty presence was felt in every bite. Feel free to use any variety of bread, but remember...the better your bread is, the better your bread pudding will taste.
My parents returned safely to Colorado yesterday morning, and I already miss being able to reach out and touch the hands that once held me in their arms. Even though we live hundreds of miles away, I'm grateful that we can remain close through the sharing of words, the sharing of foods, and the sharing of memories.
I hope that you enjoy this bread pudding as much as I did. Ryan and I couldn't stop eating it...
8 slices day-old bread, slightly stale
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sliced bananas
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, F. Grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan with butter.
2. Break your bread into one inch pieces. Toss pieces with melted butter and pour into your prepared baking pan. Place sliced bananas on top of your bread pieces, and use your hands to distribute throughout your bread.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Carefully pour over your bread mixture, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered.
4. Bake in your preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of icecream!
Anecdotes and Apple Cores