Apple Walnut Breakfast Bread Pudding

On New Years morning I plan on staying in my pajamas, sipping coffee and eating something delicious, without lifting a finger. No cooking or dishes on New Years morning. Instead I will relax, give thanks and welcome in the New Year with a scrumptious make ahead bread pudding. 

Apple and Walnut Breakfast Bread Pudding

2 tablespoons butter for greasing pan

1 loaf french bread
2 apples - peeled, cored and cubed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
6 eggs - lightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Melt butter and brush the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover the bottom with cubes of french bread. Sprinkle top with apple cubes and walnuts. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, milk, half and half and vanilla, whisk to blend. Pour the mixture over the casserole and press down so all of the bread is covered. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, bring casserole pan back to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover pan with foil and bake covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and allow the top to brown for a few minutes. 

Serve with a side of maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream. Yummy.


Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts

I love giving homemade gifts and mason jars are my favorite way to package them. Raw nuts make a lovely, healthy gift on their own but if you want to spice things up try these candied nuts. These sugar & spice nuts make a wonderful hostess gift and they are an excellent addition to any cheese platter. 

Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts

2/3 cups dark brown sugar

1 1/3 cups organic sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pound walnuts
1 pound almonds
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, paprika and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps, set aside. In a large bowl beat egg whites and water until frothy. Add the nuts to egg mixture and stir until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the egg coated nuts with sugar mixture, stirring as you sprinkle to make sure they are evenly coated. Spread nuts in a single layer on parchment paper covered cookie sheets. You will need two cookie sheets for this amount. Bake 30-35 minutes, stirring several times. Remove from the oven and separate the nuts as they cool. When they are completely cool, break up any nuts that stick together and put in a mason jar.


Apple Walnut Crepes

Crepes are so easy to make and very versatile. They can be used for sweet or savory meals and light bites. Always make extra crepes, they save well in the refrigerator and will last for days. Believe me, you will be happy you made extra crepes. I use leftovers to fill with fresh fruit, fresh berry jam, lemon & powdered sugar or Nutella. We also love filling leftover crepes with spinach and cheese for a light lunch. 

Simple Crepes

1 cup flour - spooned and leveled
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted

In a blender combine all ingredients and puree until mixture is smooth. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and lightly coat pan with butter or non-stick spray (if necessary).  I used a ceramic skillet, so no butter was needed.

Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl around the bottom to coat evenly. Cook until the bottom of the crepe is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Loosen edge of crepe with a rubber spatula, then carefully using your fingertips quickly flip. Cook for 1 minute more.  Slide crepe out of skillet and repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 15 small crepes.

Apple Walnut Filling

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 granny smith apples - peeled, cored and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and salt, cook stirring until apples are softened. Apple Walnut filling serves 2 people. 

Mouth watering crepes...perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert!

Bon appetit.

Winter Holiday in New York

Last weekend I went to New York City with my family. Such a treat during the holidays because they go all out and make the city a winter wonderland. The first night we walked over to Rockefeller Center and arrived just in time to see the 3D holiday light show that is projected on the side of the Saks Fifth Avenue building

The show plays every 15 minutes and runs every night throughout the holiday season. This year’s show is about the Snowflake and the Yeti. The technology of the light show maps the building details to create a vivid 3D projection, which can appear to change the store’s outdoor features. It was a fun and enchanting moment.

My favorite place in NYC is Central Park. What a magical place nestled in the middle of this huge and diverse city. We have nothing like this in Los Angeles.

Macy's is the world largest store, or at least that's what their sign says, however, I believe it. There were a million people (approximately) inside. Macy's has 9 floors and every one of them is packed full of energetic shoppers. I didn't see any signs of a recession in Manhattan. 

If Macy's is the world largest store, then I'm guessing these are the worlds largest Christmas lights? We walked by this display somewhere near Rockefeller Center.

There was so much more I wanted to see while in New York, but it's impossible to do it all in just a few days.  To be continued NYC...

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Holiday Season!