Friday, March 28, 2014

Nutella Bread Pudding

I'm obsessed with Nutella.  When people say they don't like Nutella, I always look at them like they have 3 heads.  I mean, how is that really possible?  Nutella is the best thing since sliced bread!  (And even better ON sliced bread!)

My friend Victoria featured Nutella Bread Pudding on her blog a while back.  I was traveling for work in Florida, and we were invited to a colleague's house for dinner.  Knowing that I like to bake, she requested that I make dessert.  Since I was going to be making it at her house, I wanted something that would be quick and easy, and when I asked Victoria for suggestions and she mentioned this, I knew it would go over really well!

While the bread that I bought was super fresh (and it needs to be stale), I cubed it, and toasted it prior to putting it together with the custard.  (On a note, if you don't fully submerge all of the bread into the custard, it won't get soaked through....It will just toast in the oven.  So when the recipe says submerge, it means it!)

This is the first bread pudding that I've ever made, and it definitely won't be the last!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Back to Blogging

It's been a long time since my last blog post.  An embarrassingly long time.  And I'm sorry about that.

I always enjoyed blogging.  Whether it be about food, or the progress on our house, or my lack of ambition for eating healthy and exercising, I enjoyed writing about it.  And as I look at my blogger account, I see that my last post is from October.  And the post before that is from July.  And I have 6 unfinished entries all in draft mode between those dates.  Shameful.  Absolutely shameful.

So instead of trying to finish up those posts and submit them to the reading world as if nothing happened in between, I decided to write up a post, and eventually get back to those other posts.

So what has happened in the last six-ish months?

On the house front:

  • Scott and I went through the MASS Save program and had our house insulated.  We've seen an improvement in the cost of heating, and once we get around to replacing our original 1970's Single Pane Windows, the improvement will be even better.
  • We invested in a Snow Blower last year, and it's proved it's weight in gold so far.  I'm so glad we got it. 
  • We finally got new garage door openers.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to be able to park in the garage.  Especially when it's snowing!  The fact that I haven't had to clean my car off once this winter season is absolutely awesome!
  • My brother in law relocated out to the east coast, and it forced us to finally get some things done around the house....
    • In light of his return, and the fact that he would be staying at our house, we figured that having a guest bedroom would be helpful.  And having a bed in that room would be even better.  So we moved our set into that room, and treated ourselves to a new bed.  A king-sized bed.  It's fabulous.  I love everything about it.  Although, I do need to purchase a step stool to adequately climb into it.  
    • We finally have light fixtures.  It took long enough, right?!?  We finally have beautiful light fixtures in the hallway, and all bedrooms.  We also purchased fixtures for the bathrooms, but until we actually re-do the twice done work in the bathrooms that still needs to be redone, we won't be installing the new fixtures.  
  • I finally picked out, purchased, and hung curtains in the living room and dining room.  Well, I picked them out and purchased them.  I just supervised the actually hanging.  It's safe to say that I love the curtains.  :-)
  • We partially cleaned out the "office."  By partially cleaned out, I mean I can see the desk, and the piles of boxes are a little bit more organized.  This is on our list of things to do, and will hopefully get done within the next month.
On the cooking and baking front:

  • Scott and I started writing a menu on Sundays.  And on the weeks that we write the menu, we always have good dinners.  I try to mix things up, and make things that are easy, but somewhat healthy and quick to make.  We need to make sure that we continue this practice.
    • I've made different dishes, like my go-to meals like tacos/burritos, meatloaf, chicken, and shepherds pie.  And then I've tried new things like Beef and Broccoli and Fettuccine Alfredo
  • I recently had some work people over for a "team dinner" and successfully made Baked Macaroni.  I had about 20 lbs of macaroni in the pantry (I have an obsession with buying Barilla when it's on sale, and refuse to buy anything else), and thought that would be the perfect dish.  I was extremely happy with the results.
  • Scott and I hosted Christmas Even this year, and we had about 17 people here.  We featured an all fish dinner, and it went over really well.  I also made delicious Christmas Cookies, and made the traditional Coffee Cake, which has become tradition for Christmas morning.  I love a good family tradition with family recipes.
On the work front:

  • Work has been crazy.  Crazy with a Capitol C.  I've been working on a project for the last year and a half and it just went live on Monday March 3.  It has been very gratifying to see the results of all my hard work play out, and while it's required lots of extra hours, it'll be worth it in the long run.
  • I hate talking about work outside of work, so that's all I'll say about that.
On the Personal Front:

  • A friend and I have recently become involved (is that the right word?) in reading smutty romance novels.  It's been a very entertaining experience.  I suppose it all started with Fifty Shades of Grey, and just went on from there.  We read the books, compare notes, analyze them, and then find new books and repeat the process.  We try to meet up every couple of weeks for dinner and a movie (or something of the sort) and compare notes.  (We obviously compare notes on the spot while reading via text message, but then also try to meet up in person to compare notes as well).  We met up last night, and since it was the first time in a few weeks that we met, we had a lot to talk about.  And we talked about it all while Scott was in the other room.  At one point, he came out to the dining room where we were eating pizza and comparing notes, and very casually said, "It sounds like you're having a conversation about real people in here, and not characters from smutty novels."  That just about sums it up.  
  • I finally took the plunge and bought a MacBook.  I've been looking at trying to buy a MacBook for a long time, and I am so excited that I finally took the plunge.  I decided to buy it for myself with some of the money I earned from my last Performance Bonus at work.  I've heard horror stories about the Apple Store in Providence Place Mall, but was pleasantly surprised with my ability to get helped in a quick amount of time.  Perhaps it was because it was a beautiful day and everyone was outside?  In any case, I'm excited to learn more about the operating system, and the ins and outs of the Mac world.
  • Back around Thanksgiving, Scott's niece and nephews came out from California and stayed out here for the week.  It was a great week, and we got to do lots of fun things with them, including cutting down a fresh Christmas tree.  We got a very short, very fat tree that took up an entire corner of our living room.  
  • Oh yea.  And in September, I turned 30.

I think that's a pretty good synopsis of my life for the last six-ish months.  I'm excited, and hopeful, that I will be a good little blogger and keep up what I started.  Hopefully you'll join me!

Our beautiful new bed, and the new light fixture, too!

Our super fat tree, which my mom nicknamed, "Wide-bottom"

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake!

Scott dutifully snowplowing out the driveway

The new dining room curtains!!

My organized pantry, with an array of different types of Macaroni.

The finished product of the delicious Baked Macaroni