Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vanilla Pudding with Raspberry Sauce

Scott and I had our neighbors over for dinner about 2 weeks ago after they returned from their European adventures. It was one of those nights when I got home much later than anticipated, and hence needed to make a dessert that was not only easy, but fast. I didn't have time to look through recipes before coming home, so I opened my fridge, pulled wide the doors of my pantry, and searched for inspiring ingredients. Might I note that Scott and I keep a VERY empty refrigerator. Always have. And for some reason I am still surprised when I swing wide that heavy white door expecting to see the works of Whole Foods within its drawers, only to find....

whole milk
orange juice
wilted parsley
1 bottle of pomegranate soda that has been there since November
cheese, with some strange yellow crust developing on the edges
1/2 stick of butter
Coffee Mate


I managed to find basic baking ingredients in my pantry: vanilla, sugar, salt, corn starch.

And what do you get when you combine milk, vanilla, corn starch, and egg? Pudding.

Yes... pudding would be perfect! We were having a spicy and flavorful red kidney bean curry, so pudding would be the ideal dessert pairing. It's light. It's creamy. It's subtle. The flavors of the pudding would not battle the flavors of the curry. Yes. Pudding.

My 2nd most trusted recipe collection (the 1st would be my mother's recipe book, duh) is Smitten Kitchen. I have made over a dozen of this woman's recipes and NONE, and I mean NONE, of them have disappointed. I crossed my fingers in hopes that she had made pudding before, typed the words "vanilla pudding" into the search, and what is the first recipe listed but "vanilla bean pudding". Score.

Now, I did not go to the store and buy vanilla beans, because remember, I was pressed for time. Thankfully, Smitten Kitchen is very thorough and includes things in her recipes like "if you don't have vanilla beans, or you don't have access to a grocer that sells them, just substitute with regular vanilla extract". Thank you, Smitten Kitchen, you answered my only question.

Though vanilla pudding sounded wonderful, I thought that adding a raspberry sauce over top would seal the deal.

What you need
For pudding:
2 2/3 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg

For raspberry sauce:
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup of sugar

What to do
For pudding:
Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a saucepan
While the milk is heating, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heat-proof bowl
Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 of milk to the dry ingredients, making sure that lumps do not form
Whisk in the egg
Once the milk is boiling, slowly add it to the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly
Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly
Once it comes to a simmer, cook for one more minute, stirring constantly
Stir in the vanilla extract
Divide mixture among individual serving cups, or pour it into a large bowl
Chill for at least 1 hour

For raspberry sauce:
Using the same saucepan as the pudding, pour the raspberries and sugar into the pan and heat over medium heat

Using a spoon, stir and mash the berry/sugar mixture until it forms a thick, juicy syrup (about 10 minutes)
Remove from the heat and pour into a tightly woven mesh strainer placed over a bowl
Using a spoon, squish the syrup through the strainer. This will remove the raspberry seeds and pulp, leaving you with a nice, rich syrup

Once the pudding has chilled, drizzle the raspberry syrup over top and serve!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So, this is my first official style post! Bare with me.... I have never done a style post before, nor have I mastered the art of posing solo.

So my daddy likes to wear denim shirts with jeans. And, if you had asked my opinion on this wardrobe choice a year ago, I would have crinkled my nose and made some snarky comment about how denim on denim is never a good combo. In fact, I think I saw my dad walk into the living room wearing that very outfit back in November and I laughed at him; how early 90s of you, Dad, to wear a denim shirt with jeans.

Daddy, I owe you an apology. Because, you see, denim on denim is making its way back into the fashion scene, as well as my closet, and I sported it for the first time today.

denim blouse: Gap/denim shorts: Old Navy/wedge shoes: gift from mom/gold leaf necklace: gift from dad/gold earrings: my grandmother's

Thank you, Scott, for being my photographer today. You may have yourself a new career ;-)

Blessings and Happy Sunday to all of you.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

petals and buds

With Spring just around the corner (first day of Spring is March 20th!), I have been hugely inspired by the floral section of our local grocery stores. The colors and fragrances.... I wish I had a larger snout to take in all of the glorious aromas!

One of my many hobbies is arranging flowers. Here are a few recent creations to (hopefully) inspire you to clip and snip some flowers into your own creative arrangements :-)

Stop and smell the roses.


We like to eat.

When looking through my photos to determine what my next post would be about, I observed that all of our social events in February/beginning of March revolved around food. No surprise there. To follow is mere sampling of the many food adventures we have been a part of.

Momma and Uncle C's Birthday:

As many of you know, some of you don't, my Momma is an ASTOUNDING cook. The woman can do things with flour, sugar, and eggs that even Martha Stewart envies.... there, there, now, Martha, your time will come.... Don't even get me started on what she creates with pasta, chicken, and cream. Oh, gracious me.

And, yes, even on her own birthday, my mother takes great pleasure in cooking a meal for 15. Bless you, sweet lady, bless you.

Uncle C's gluten-free birthday pie: Mocha Silk Pie (c/o Pioneer Woman)

There was nothing healthy-tasting about this pie. If only all gluten-free eats were this good.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad with Almonds

Poor, Phoebe. She wanted some pie, too.

Melissa and Payton's New Apartment

We enjoyed a nice meal of Chicken.... oh dear, I'm blanking on the official name, but it was good!!

Making dessert :-)

We played Spades

... and watched DOUG!!

Cooking Club!

R helped prepare the asparagus

While A prepped the fish...

And, presto! Sol Almondine with Roasted Asparagus!

R and I made the dessert, which was an upside-down pineapple cake made with fresh pineapple and homemade caramel sauce, baked in a cast-iron skillet. Are we good, or are we good?!

Bon App├ętit!


Rodeo Houston|Houston Rodeo

The end of February through the end of March marks the time of the year for the Houston Rodeo, one of the biggest rodeos in the nation! Scott and I were lucky enough, or perhaps crazy enough, to attend the rodeo three times this season! All for free! Thank you work promotions and friends with connections :-)

Here are some photos of our excursions:

Rodeo Houston I


Good laughs

Good food


Sweet friends :-)

And NO rodeo trip is complete without a visit to the porta-potty...

Rodeo Houston II

Waiting for the train to come...

Isn't he handsome!

Please notice that the cowboy is off of the bull. You will notice his boots in the bottom left corner of this photo.

Scott's co-worker, who got us into the rodeo that night--Thanks!

Trace Adkins concert to follow!

Rodeo Houston III

So apparently, the third visit to the rodeo was either
a) only memorable for the food OR
b) so much fun that I neglected to take more than 2 photos....

I'll go with "b"!

That's all til next year!