Sometimes you get weird stuff in the Christmas swap

In case you were unclear, this post is a throwback to Christmastime–or winter-holiday time for anyone celebrating something else….YUP I’m inclusive.

So I feel like I need to give a little background to this post. My dad’s girlfriend (oh hey T) introduced this amazing game into our Christmas celebrations a few years ago. The gist of it is that everyone stands in a circle and most people are holding a present (all if you want to make sure everyone ends up with a prize…..I’m still resentful of 2012 when me and Meg ended up empty handed. T reads a story about the Right family…and you pass presents around whenever the words “right” and “left” are announced. It gets INTENSE…especially in my family because we love a good holiday punch. Long story short I ended up with a boxed Italian christmas cake “Panettone” that was regifted into the game by my godfather.

This box o' mystery. Do people really buy this for themselves? It's not all that bad to be honest...

This box o’ mystery. Do people really buy this for themselves? It’s not all that bad to be honest…

You’ve all probably seen them before in the grocery store. Like me you’re probably wondering what the F you do with this box of strange. Turns out Giada from the Food Network has the answer! You make a bread pudding!

Simple to make. Easy ingredients.

Simple to make. Easy ingredients.

It’s actually super simple to make—and BONUS: it tastes amazing. I made it for the New Years Eve party I went to. A bit of truth for you, this is some full fat sh*t. You gotta just roll with it on this one…lower fat alternatives just don’t hold up as well.

Panettone Bread Pudding:
-1  box panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
-8 large eggs
-1 1/2 cups whipping cream
-2 1/2 cups whole milk
-1 1/4 cups sugar
-vanilla

Butter/Pam a dish and arrange the bread cubes in it. In a large bowl whisk all the other ingredients together and then pour over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes a bit to make sure they’re covered. Let stand for about 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 mins until the pudding puffs up and the center is set.

Bread pudding is always the right choice

Bread pudding is always the right choice

I topped it with some homemade whipped cream. It went over pretty well.

In other newsssss….I just got back from a trip to San Fran to visit L! A group of us went, and we had a total blast celebrating birthdays and L’s new San Fran life.

The fog gets crazy in San Fran. It literally covered the bridge the day we arrived

The fog gets crazy in San Fran. It literally covered the bridge the day we arrived

We seriously had so much fun. Here’s a quick recap of the shenanigans we got into:

-self guided wine tasting tour where we got daytime buzzed drinking wine all day and playing bocci ball
-amazing dinner with L’s bro and sis in law and their 4 beautiful and way too lovable babies
-brunches
-sight seeing of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Ghirardelli  factory, the Full House houses, and so much more
-night tour of Alcatraz
-soaking up the sunshine…I was beginning to forget what it felt like
-meeting up with CB!!!
-fun bars, new friends, cocktails and Cards Against Humanity

The Ladies outside of the Cliff House after brunch

The Ladies outside of the Cliff House after brunch

 

K&CB together again!! #viadelmoro4life

K&CB together again!! #viadelmoro4life

 

Gettin' our drank on with amazing cucumber type cocktails with Death Star ice balls.

Gettin’ our drank on with amazing cucumber type cocktails with Death Star ice balls.

Check out this sweeet 20 piece knife set that C and D got me for my bday :) woot woot

Check out this sweeet 20 piece knife set that C and D got me for my bday 🙂 woot woot

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And I’m Back! with new treats and everything

So it’s been about a month since my last post. Sorry about that folks…that was lame of me. I had a bit of a hectic month in February. But fear not…I’m back. And I have sooooo much to tell you!

First off….the winter has been so blah. Not so much blah as in boring (which is also true) but more like BLAH why-is-it-still-winter-I-forget-what-warmth-feels-like. I was EXTRA feeling it in early February….so my best gal and I decided to take a super spontaneous weekend trip to Cancun Mexico. Long story short…it was AMAZING and totally worth it. As it happens, we timed it PERFECTLY so we were lounging in the sun doing some restful day-drinking while back home they were getting blasted by the biggest snowstorm we’ve had in like 50 years. So win-win.

Paradise

Paradise

Livin' the Life

Livin’ the Life

But I won’t rub my awesome vaca in your face. Moving on.

February also contains some other landmark occasions: Valentine’s Day and MY BIRTHDAY (which, as it happens, is the day before Valentine’s lol).

I won’t bore you with tails of my Birthday…it was a bit of a mess this year. But my Valentine’s Day was pretty rad. To start I got a beautiful bouquet of tulips from the BF with a adorable teddy bear and box o’chocolates (that came with a picture guide so you don’t accidently bite into that nasty raspberry that is ALWAYS there waiting for you to mistake it for a caramel).

Valentine's Day Surprise for Me :)

Valentine’s Day Surprise for Me 🙂

So I wanted a fairly low-key Valentine’s Day, so the BF and I decided to just make dinner and hang out. So we decided to make a steak dinner. BOOM. Cause that’s what winners do. (ALSO this presented the PERFECT opportunity for me to finally buy a cast iron skillet…thanks Amazon!).

Cast Iron Beast...LOVE IT

Cast Iron Beast…LOVE IT

So the steak was actually SUPER SUPER Easy…You start by heating the skillet in the over set to 500 degrees. While that guy is heating up, you can coat your steak with a little oil and season it up with salt and pepper (or any other spices you’re in the mood for). When the pan is ready (probs like 10 mins later) then immediately move it to your stove top set on high. Place the steak in the pan and let sear for about 30 seconds. Then flip that guy over (tongs work best for this, but I’m certain you can improvise…I certainly did) and sear for another 30 seconds on the other side.

To finish it up, pop the WHOLE PAN back into the oven for 3 mins….flip it over…3 mins. Then BOOM you’re done! You’ve successfully cooked yourself a nice steak (cooked medium).  Stupid easy right?

Look at this guy...

Look at this guy…

So nice and pink!

So nice and pink!

You can adjust the time in the oven to suit how you like your steak…less time for more rare…more time for less pink. The cast iron allows you to get that yummy searing outside and allow it to cook inside as well. NOM NOM.

Steak, Corn, Mashed Potatoes, and Champagne. Feast of Champions.

Steak, Corn, Mashed Potatoes, and Champagne. Feast of Champions.

I whipped us up some mashed potatoes and opened up a can of corn to go with the steak. We popped some bubbly and had a tasty feast.

 

Mmmm…Banana Bread

Weather is a tricky thing….in particular, what it does to temperature. My kitchen is a variety of different temperatures, which is less convenient for my poor bananas. Those poor jerks just can’t seem to adjust and seem to ripen at warp speed these days. I found myself with 4 overly ripe bananas so clearly there was only one option–make banana bread.

Now I have shared banana muffins with you all before…and those were great…but I decided to try something different. So naturally I asked google for advice.

I found a super simple, relatively healthy recipe (check it out here).

Yummy Banana Bread Drizzled with Chocolate

Yummy Banana Bread Drizzled with Chocolate

Here’s how the magic happened:

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup
  • 2 eggs (I used eggs whites)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 bananas, very ripe, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (really use however much you want…this measurement is arbitrary)
  • walnuts to sprinkle on top (optional)

Beat the eggs and sugar together for little bit (a few mins to make them fluffier). Add other liquid ingredients and the bananas. Add the dry ingredients. Pop that biz into your pan (line it with parchment paper or just spray it with Pam like me). Bake at 350 for 45-60 mins. <–this seemed long to me but totally was needed.

Now, remember that time I had some ladies over for a party around New Years? Well I ended up with leftover chocolate fondue (which I stuck in a ziplock in my freezer) so inspiration hit. In all fairness, this was not an original idea…Dunkin’ Donuts has a new banana chocolate chip muffin that looked good so I totally copied them. I thawed out some fondue and drizzled it on top of the banana bread. I thought it added a little something.

All in all, I pleased with the recipe and am working on finding a temperature that won’t kill all my bananas (I wrapped the top of the bunch with saran wrap because Pinterest told me too…we’ll see how that works).

The Case of the Cursed Zucchini Lasagna

There are some things that are simply not meant to be. One of those things was the Zucchini Lasagna I recently made. I found a recipe for the lasagna on Pinterest and was super excited to try it out…its essentially a regular lasagna except instead of noodles you uses sliced zucchini. Yummy right?!

So rather than use store bought sauce, I whipped up some spaghetti sauce in my crockpot the night before I planned on making the lasagna. It totally worked out great. So far operation lasagna was on track.

The problems came the next day. I was planning on assembling the lasagna after work on Thursday, after which I would eat it for dinner and pack it for lunches to stick in my freezer and eat later in the week. Here comes obstacle number one. I get stuck at work until 8:15 pm. Gross. I didn’t get home until around 9 pm…and I was full to bursting with feelings of frustration about the kink work put into my carefully thought out baking plan. I decided to bake the lasagna anyways. Mistake number 1. I was much to frustrated and rushed to attempt this..even though its a pretty straight forward recipe. I rushed through it (I may have also been drinking a bottle of wine too…hey I was at work until 8:15..I deserved it) and did a real bad job. I did an awful job slicing the zucchini, and I skipped pre-cooking it so the zucchini ended up crunchy.

Overall it was wasn’t a total failure…it was just not the way I wanted it to end up. I still brought it for lunch the next day and enjoyed the pasta sauce I had made in Crocket.

See I know what you’re thinking…things didn’t go perfectly, but ‘cursed’? Let’s flash forward to Saturday. I had dished out some of this lasagna for myself and a friend for lunch. We ate it, but on my friend’s attempt at seconds…CRASH BANG. 3/4 of a Zucchini Lasagna are splattered on my kitchen floor. SIGH. The universe clearly did NOT want me to have this lasagna. And when you look at the situation on the whole you can see that it really was cursed.

Maybe next time it will go more smoothly.