Recipe: Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit
Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding and Fruit

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that Mother’s Day Treat French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk?

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread from the toast and use in it.  One effort, two different recipes, one for brunch, one for dessert.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it!

I’m assuming you have already made some Mother’s Day Treat (Freezable) French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Mother’s Day Treat Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should already have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the egg mixture.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.

So there you have an easy dessert for Mother’s day (or Mother’s Day prep-day) too!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Are you making something special for Valentine’s Day?

How about this Dark Chocolate cookies with black beans?

This is a post by my guest blogger, Michela Vega from www.Strivingbean.com.  She’s a Blogger, mom, and web professional, who will help you incorporate beans into your child’s diet.  I’m very impressed by what she does, so I begged her to share some of her creation with you all — Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans, perfect timing for Valentine’s Day.

I’m planning to make it tomorrow, and bring to our ski trip on Sunday.  Very curious how a chocolate cookies with black beans turn out.  They looks and sounds yummy.

I wonder if this may be good as filling in the Aebleskivers…  Another thing to try!

So, here’s her post… Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Black Beans Recipe by Striving Bean

I had a need (yes a real need) for chocolate the other day, so I made a batch of Dark Chocolate Cookies.  This recipe is a perfect for a chocolate fix – just in time for Valentines Day!  They don’t have the typical amount of fat and sugar in many cookie recipes.  The secret ingredient?  One 15oz. can of black beans. Make your little sweeties (or your big sweetie) a batch.  And if you don’t have a sweetie – make yourself a batch.  It’s his/her loss!

Here are the cookie highlights:

  • A light texture – this is likely due to the gluten free white rice flour.
  • Not overly sweet.  However feel free to adjust the sugar content to your liking.
  • This cookie recipe appears to be gluten free.  I’m not a gluten free baker, so please be sure to check the ingredients for your needs.
  • Easily made vegan.

Dark Chocolate Cookies
Recipe by Striving Bean

Makes 3 dozen (36) cookies
Store these in the refrigerator since they contain beans.

Ingredients
One  15 oz. can of low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk (I used soy milk, but you can also try 1% milk)
1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups white rice flour  (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free White Rice flour)
3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt

1/2 cup (0.5 cup) of sugar (optional – some additional Tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup (0.25 cup) brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 Tablespoons Smart Balance Buttery Spread, melted (I used Smart Balance, but you could try butter or Earth Balance)
1/2 cup (0.5 cup) unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup bittersweet (or dark chocolate) chocolate chips [plus optional additional 1/3 cup (0.33 cup) for topping – I highly recommend]

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Mix beans in food processor with soy milk, until fairly smooth.

pureed beans and soy milk Pureed Beans and Soy Milk 

3.  Remove bean mixture from food processor, and place in bowl. Add 1 cup canned pumpkin and mix well (can do this in food processor if needed).

4. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients: rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.  (It’s important to mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, so the baking soda & baking powder can be evenly distributed.  This helps the cookies rise)

5. Cream sugars and melted Smart Balance. Add applesauce and vanilla extract.  Gently mix together.

6.  Add black bean puree and cocoa powder to sugar mixture. Gently mix together.

7.  Fold in dry ingredients into the chocolate/sugar/black bean mixture.  Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips. It is easier if you add small portions of dry ingredients and dark chocolate chips a bit at a time.  Mix until just incorporated.

8.  Drop a large spoonful per cookie on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press 2 additional dark chocolate chips on top of each cookie. (optional, but recommended)

9. Sprinkle additional sugar on top (optional)

10. Bake at 375 F for about 9 to 11 minutes.  Cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to cooking rack with a spatula.  Cool completely on rack.

**********

Chef’s Notes

  • Bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips are very key to this recipe. I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.    Dark chocolate heightens chocolate flavor more than milk chocolate chips.
  • This cookie recipe can easily be made vegan by using vegan dark chocolate chips and Earth Balance Naturally Buttery Spread (I did not test, but it seems like it should work fine)
  • I used a lower sodium canned black bean.  If you choose to use regular canned black beans, you may want to skip the 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt.
  • Since you’ll be storing these cookies in fridge, warm in microwave 7 seconds on high.  If storing in freezer, warm in microwave 15 seconds on high.
  • If you choose to use all-purpose flour (since some readers may not have access to white rice flour), my best guess is the texture will not be as delicate.  But I think it’s still worth to experiment with all-purpose flour.
  • If you are not using canned black beans, 1 and 2/3 cups  (1.66 cups) cooked beans is the same amount as a 15 oz can.
  • I stored extra cookies in the freezer by wrapping individually, then placing in a freezer safe container.

Our family weighs in:

  • Son loved them – he even knew about the beans.
  • Daughter really loved them and asked for one in her lunch.  This surprised me since she knew about the beans.
  • Husband liked them, but thought they could use more sugar.
  • I love the intense chocolate taste.
Plated Cookies 
Thank you for the great post, Striving Bean!
So… will you make them? 

Food Rescue 911: Apple Preserve

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Do you have less than perfect apples at home?  Just like the one on the right, a bit wrinkly and looking sad that they havebeen ignored?

Give them a second chance!  There is an easy way.

My apples were actually looking even sadder than the one on the photo — probably the wrinkles were much more visible.

And here’s how they look now.  Happy, sweet and full of life, and everyone’s friend.  Who’s to know that they were once neglected and were about to be dumped. It was a very quick turn-around.

Apple preserve

Apple preserve

Apple Preserve

Ingredients:

  • Apples,  2
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar, 1/4 – 1/2 c (depending on how sweet the apples are to start with)

Directions:

  1. Core apples and cut into wedges.  Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent from oxidization and toss. Slice them thin and place them in a microwavable container.  Add sugar, toss gently and let it stand for 3-5 min.
  2. Cook on high in microwave for 5 minutes.  Toss gently and cook another 5 min. Repeat until the apples are cooked and translucent. (Should take total of 15 min or so.)  Let it cool.  Mash with wooden spoon if you like more jammy consistency.

Note: You can make this on stove top, yet it’ll take longer and you’ll have to watch and keep stirring it.

They are great on toast, top with yogurt, pancakes, crepes…  They are super easy, so try it, and leave us a comment on  what did you make with it!

Apple preserve with yogurt

Apple preserve with yogurt

Ultimate Leftover Makeover recipe: Second-Life Bread Pudding with Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

Second Life Bread Pudding and Fruit

 

So what do you do with the leftover egg mixture after making that French toast?

Throw it away, you may say.  But what if I say you can easily make a dessert out of it, by adding an extra cup of milk.

You can make a delicious bread pudding out of it!  You can even save some French bread and use that in it.  One effort, two different recipes.  Ultimate cooking optimization!  Gotta love it! (Or is it just me?)

I’m assuming you have already made some Freezable French Toast, and have about a cup of egg mixture left.  You don’t?  No worries!  You can still make this recipe from scratch, following the instructions underlined below. (Or you can choose to make both at once, starting from the French toast recipe, and freeze it all.)  This amount should be enough for a family of 4 for a little dessert after dinner.

Second-life Bread Pudding with fruit

  1. Add 1 cup milk and 1 TBS melted butter into leftover egg mixture from Freezable French Toast. (You should have about 2/3 – 1 cup left).  Alternatively, mix 2 beaten eggs, 2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 TBS melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl if you are starting from scratch.
  2. Add peeled, grated and drained apple and 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit and/or raisins into the egg mixture.
  3. Break white bread into bite-size pieces and place them in a buttered 5 to 6” baking dish or individual ramekins. (Remove the crust if it’s very thick) Pour the egg mixture and let it soak completely.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
  4. Place the baking dish into a larger baking pan, and pour hot water into the outer pan to about half of the height of the pudding.  Bake in a 375-400F oven until set, and top is golden brown.  Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or without.

Optional: Omit apples/raisins/dried fruit if you don’t have any.  Or use melted bitter or semi-sweet chocolate instead.

Batch and Fridge: Whipped Up Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding

Would you like a dessert recipe for weeknight that you can whip up in about 20 minutes while you are eating dinner or doing dishes, largely unattended?

I thought so.  Especially if you can use some pre-cooked left over ingredient from dinner. (Don’t worry, I won’t use anything savory.) Once of very few sweets I actually make and eat is flan.  I love sweet potato version more than regular egg and cream version.  It’s healthier too.

What you need is grilled or steamed sweet potatoes left over from dinner before. Make sure it’s cooked tender. With these and hand blender, the prep will be done in a minutes.  Then all you have to do is steam and wait for it to set.

Whipped Up Sweet Potato Pudding

  1. Place 2 peeled, cooked sweet potatoes (about 2/3 lbs), equal amount of milk and cream, or half and half, and puree until smooth with stick blender. 
  2. Add 3 TBS sugar, 2 beaten eggs, and a dash of cinnamon. Mix well.
  3. Strain the sweet potato mixture through a small sieve into heat-proof cups. (It’s filling, so use smaller cups.  It also takes less for them to set.)
  4. Steam about 10 – 15 minutes (depending on the size of the cup) until set. Or place cups in a oven-proof pan filled with hot water (to about half of the height of the cups)and bake in toaster-oven (faster) or oven until set.

Optional:

  • Use soy milk if you are watching calories.
  • Decorate with whipped cream on top.
  • If you have extra time, caramelized sugar before pouring in the sweet potato cream will make it even better. (Make sure to apply some butter all over the inside )especially at the bottom first for easier clean-up.
  • You can use the same filling for sweet potato pie. You may want to use more egg or less milk, since this pudding is pretty loose.
  • To be honest, I thought the sweet potato cream before heated was quite tasty…  If you want to just use it as dessert, be my guest. : ) 

So next time you grill, make sure to bake some extra sweet potatoes… You can eat some for dinner, and you now have an easy dessert later in the week!

Batch and Freeze: Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

Do you like home-made baked goods, yet feel never have time to bake during the week?

My friend Margaret, who is also a Kitchen Wizard in my opinion, kindly shared her cookie shortcuts.

So here it is…  Thank you, Margaret!

One of the tougher things to do during a busy week is to bake, so I  always have a reserve of this spiced oatmeal cookie dough in my freezer to satisfy a craving relatively healthfully and inexpensively. These are a little lighter than the recipes calling for two sticks of butter and even from frozen dough, they bake up in only 15 minutes.

If nutmeg is not a spice you use regularly, rather than investing in a whole jar of the pods, purchase a few pods from  well-stocked markets’ bulk spice section.  Its subtle woodsy flavor really enhances this spice combination nicely.

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies Adapted from Cooking Light

Yields: 24 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Optional: you can replace ½ c with wheat flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Cooking spray or parchment paper to line cookie sheets

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar and next 6 ingredients (brown sugar through egg) in a large bowl, and beat mixture at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended.
  3. Stir in oats and raisins, and let stand 5 minutes.. Stir in flour mixture.
  4. Drop dough by level tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans, and cool on wire racks.

Note: Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Freezing Instructions (The dough keeps for 4-6 weeks.)

  • Freeze the rest of the raw dough after forming it into balls. Use a small ice cream scoop to make them uniform.
  • To bake, simply put frozen dough balls on a cookie sheet, flatten dough slightly before putting in to a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 12-15 mins.

Whether you’re baking frozen or fresh dough, make sure not to overbake so you’ll end up with chewy cookies.

This dough is very versatile.Try walnuts, peanuts, flax seeds, chocolate chips, coconut, cranberries, dried cherries or any combination as a substitute for the raisins.

Enjoy!