Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

Three days after buying 2/3 of the rhubarb from my local grocery store, I headed back solely to see if it had been restocked yet.  The previously empty spot was totally full.  Eureka!  I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice and alert anyone else to the rhubarb.  I looked around to make sure no one was watching, then sidled over toward the rhubarb, looking as uninterested as possible.  I casually started filling my cart with handfuls of rhubarb stalks until I had successfully transferred every single one.  I slowly left the produce section and then practically ran to the checkout line.  All the rhubarb!  Mine, all mine! (insert maniacal cackle here).

When I got home, I washed and sliced the rhubarb, which turned out to be six pounds worth.  I put approximately three cups in each of six freezer bags.

It's not nearly enough of a rhubarb stockpile, but I'm happy knowing it's there.  That's six rhubarb recipes that I wouldn't have been able to make otherwise.

The first thing I made was a rhubarb bread pudding.  I used this recipe as inspiration, but as usual, my version bears so little resemblance to the original that I hesitate to even mention it. I'm not sure what the etiquette is about crediting a recipe that has been radically changed, but better to err on the side of courtesy.  Here's my version:

Rhubarb Bread Pudding

                               8" long french bread loaf             5 eggs
                               1 1/4 c. milk                              3 c. sliced rhubarb
                               1/4 c. cold butter                       1 1/2 c. sugar

Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes (yield is approximately 4 cups).  Put bread cubes on a sheet pan and lightly toast, turning occasionally to toast all sides.  Meanwhile, scald milk.  Remove from heat and add butter; stir until melted.   Butter a 2 quart baking dish and place the toasted bread cubes in it.  Pour the milk/butter over the bread.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a bowl, lightly beat eggs.  Stir in rhubarb and sugar.  Add to the soaked bread cubes and stir gently to combine. Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes or until set.  Serve warm, either plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Delicious!  More rhubarb recipes to come!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Update on Project 41

As you know, I've been working on Discover 42 for about six weeks now.  I'd planned to leave Project 41 behind as of my 42nd birthday, but that didn't quite happen.  When the Baskin-Robbins March Flavor-of-the-Month rolled around, I tried to ignore it.  The flavor was Bananas Foster.  I don't like bananas and I especially don't like banana ice cream.  I don't like rum-flavored stuff either.  After a year of eating the Flavor-of-the-Month no matter what it was, I was thrilled that I wasn't obligated to eat this one, which I knew I wouldn't like.

But then I started wondering... what if it's actually really good?  I thought I'd hate Jamoca Heath, but I actually loved it.  Same with Movie Theater Popcorn.  I spent far too much time thinking about that crazy Bananas Foster before finally breaking down and asking Steve to join me for an ice cream date.  We read the description: "a Bananas Foster flavored ice cream complete with brown sugar rum flavored ribbon and praline pecans."  

Rather than have another Gingerbread Junction experience, I decided to just ask for a tasting spoon rather than committing to a whole scoop.  That was a good decision.  Neither of us liked it (I hated it; Steve just didn't like it).  We each chose flavors we hadn't had before (mine was Bobsled Brownie and Steve's was something about peanut butter) and they were both delicious.

Meanwhile, I had finished my layout about Project 41 and posted it on the Baskin-Robbins Facebook page on a whim.  Within a week, I found a large box on my doorstep with all these goodies inside.

A tote bag, travel mug, ice cream scoop, t-shirt, pencil, pin, gift card, and what appeared to be a tasting spoon but is actually a flash drive.  Awesome!

When April rolled around, I once again was tempted to go try the Flavor-of-the-Month.  Trevor and I went ice skating together last Wednesday (his first time ever, my first time in 20 years), so afterward I suggested we continue the ice theme by stopping for ice cream.  Obviously, he thought that was a great idea.  

April's Flavor-of-the-Month is The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a "red and blue vanilla flavored ice cream with a dark chocolate flavored web and popping candies that combine to make it a superhero of a flavor!"

This is how it looked:

Trevor opted to get a seasonal flavor that I hadn't heard of before: Easter Egg Hunt: "Get a hop on finding all the hidden candy eggs in our field of green white chocolate flavored ice cream with a sweet creme swirl!"

Both ice creams were tasty and we had a lot of fun together, as always. 

So, while Project 41 may officially be over, the jury is still out on whether or not I'll continue making monthly visits to Baskin-Robbins to try the Flavor-of-the-Month...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Deck the Halls...

Another Christmas layout!  Remember the December Photo-a-Day challenge that we turned into a one-day Photo Scavenger Hunt?  I used some of my favorite photos from that to make this layout.

Obviously, with 14 photos on a 1-page layout, I needed to keep the page really simple.  I like how it turned out and am happy that some of my favorite holiday decorations are now in the scrapbook.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Obsessed with Rhubarb

I have minor obsession with rhubarb.  It's one of my favorite foods.  Unfortunately, rhubarb doesn't grow in our hot California climate, but for years that wasn't a problem.  My grandparents lived in the Seattle area and grew huge quantities of rhubarb, which they would freeze and share with us.  Growing up, we always had rhubarb in the freezer, so I could make rhubarb sauce or rhubarb pies (or just snack on the frozen pieces) whenever I wanted.  I no longer have a source of rhubarb, so I'm obsessive about checking for it at stores (it's never there) and ordering it from menus (the occasional strawberry-rhubarb pie).

Last week, Trevor and I were picking up groceries when I spotted a flash of red across the produce department.  Could it be... rhubarb?!  No way!  I'd never seen rhubarb at that store.  I made a bit of a scene, raving like a hysterical lunatic about the glory of rhubarb to Trevor.  This was a big mistake, as several people heard and followed me over to the rhubarb, thus preventing me from selfishly taking the entire pile.  I took 2/3 of the pile, then reluctantly stepped away to allow the others to have what remained.  If only I'd kept my mouth shut, it could have all been mine!

When I got home, I cut my precious rhubarb into slices.

I added them to a pan with a little bit of water and a sprinkling of sugar, then cooked it gently over medium heat until the rhubarb broke down.

I added a bit more sugar and the rhubarb sauce was perfect.  There are a lot of ways to enjoy rhubarb sauce.  One is just plain in a bowl, like the way you'd eat applesauce.  Yum.  It's amazing over vanilla ice cream.  It's also delicious with a dollop of whipped cream, which is how we enjoyed it, still hot from the pan.

It is SO good.  I wonder if I can special-order a freezer's worth of fresh rhubarb...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ninja Costume

I was looking back at old Halloween layouts recently.  They're some of my favorites.  The costume Trevor has chosen each year says so much about who he is and what has been going on in his life.  This last Halloween, he wanted to be a ninja.  This was no surprise, as he is a HUGE fan of Lego's Ninjago books, TV show and building sets.  I've discussed my poor sewing skills many times, so I was dreading having to make something as complicated as a ninja costume. Fortunately, Grandma came to the rescue and searched the stores for something that Trevor loved.  I was very relieved.

Here's the layout I made about his ninja costume:

I used this sketch by Tammi Bennett for My Scraps and More.

I love that the sketch has a spot for journaling!  So many don't.  I flipped the sketch and added a second photo and a fourth paper strip.  As you can see, Trevor is holding his pumpkin ninja in one of the photos, so I echoed that with my homemade embellishment.  I started with a glittery chipboard letter O, turned it on its side, then backed it with cardstock and added googly eyes and a stem.  I love that his eyes are looking toward Trevor in the scan.