Fav Pics

I got a new idea for a new feature while cleaning out my photo collections. I haven’t looked back at them for a while, and there were so many that I loved. So I decided to share these favorites as a weekly feature. I would love to have it short and sweet, but I want to add a recipe in the first photo I picked. Haha. 

FAV PICS: I took this picture to promote one of our favorite desserts at the restaurant, Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding.  I forgot about this pic and how good it looks. Wasn’t easy to get a good picture from the restaurant. Always on the run.

I thought I’d share this recipe. I was making bread pudding for the restaurant with all the extra bread we had. My customers keep coming back for it and always getting it to-go when they are too stuffed from dinner.

Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding

Serves eight large pieces or twelve regular size pieces

  • 1-gallon zip lock bag of stale bread, cubed**
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • Custard
  • 3 c whole milk 
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T butter plus extra 1-2 T butter for pan

Caramelized Apples

  • 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick*
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar–you can add more or less to taste

Grease the baking dish with 1–2 T of melted butter. Note about the pan: My pan ceramic is 8 x 11″ and 3″ deep. Use a 9 x13 pan if you don’t have this size pan.  

In a large bowl, add bread and raisins and set them aside.

Making the custard

Add custard ingredients to a pot, heat over medium heat until you see tiny bubbles forming on the edges, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil. The milk should be steaming. Pour milk mixture over the bread and the raisin and mix until the milk has soaked all the bread. Don’t over mix; the bread cubes should keep their shape somewhat. Set aside.

Caramelizing the apples

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying/saute pan on medium heat. Add sugar to the melted butter, slightly stir it to help it melt evenly. It should start turning brown at the edges. Stirring occasionally, all of the sugar should turn evenly brown. 

It should be light brown all over. It’s probably better to lighter than darker brown because the darker it gets, the more bitter it will taste.


Add the sliced apples and stir into the caramelized sugar.

This moment is when you will probably freak out because you think you ruin your beautifully caramelized sugar. Nope, you didn’t. The sugar will seize (becomes hard clumps) because of the juice from the apples, but keep stirring the sugar and apples together. The apples will start producing a lot of fluid, and the clumps of sugar will melt into the liquid. 


Reduce the apple juice/sugar mixture to half, and the apples should tender by then.

Pour the apple/sugar mixture into the bread custard mix. Mix the apple and bread well, so everything is evenly distributed.

Now turn on your oven to 350º. Once my oven is ready, the mixture is cool enough to add the eggs to the bread custard mix. Mix well, trying not to break up the cubes. Pour mixture into butter dish/pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown and puffed up a bit. You can you a cake tester to see if it comes out clean or press down on the top with your finger, and if it springs back, it’s ready. 

Vanilla Sauce

Mix all the ingredients well. 

Serve it warm with a drizzle of vanilla sauce.

This recipe keeps well in the freezer. I slice it up into the serving size, double wrap in plastic wrap, then in foil. Should keep for a month. Take out and defrost in the refrigerator. Heat the slice for a minute in the microwave or toaster to get the texture of the bread soft. 


NOTES

*I use fuji because it holds up to the caramelization but uses whatever apples you like.

** I get my bread from the restaurant, usually hard rolls. I cube the bread, put it in the gallon-sized zip-lock bags, and throw them in the freezer. So I have the bread ready to make when I need it. It’s usually 5-6 hard rolls to fill a gallon freezer bag. Stale bread works the best for this recipe. If the bread is too fresh, it becomes mushy when you add the wet ingredients. Still useable/eatable but doesn’t look as good. I have added some slices of whole wheat bread to the mixture; it adds a nice sweetness. 

Who? How?

Who?!

Who is my perfect reader? Hmm, I’ve been struggling with that question for a few days since I saw it in my lesson. As I mentioned in my Hello post, I originally started to write for my family and friends to show them what was going in my world. Now that I want to bring in more people, this is an important question to figure out. 

My perfect reader would be someone who enjoys the things I like to share. Probably a maker or someone who fancies things handmade. Or someone who likes my many views of the trail. A gardener would appreciate my Cora’s Garden feature for the blooms and fruits of her garden. Maybe a cook/baker who would like to read about my recipe testing for my family and friends. Oh! And there are my random postings of caregiving for my parents.

From the trail: when we were foraging for bamboo shoots.

It would probably serve me better if I focused my attention on one or two subject matters, but I’m a bit unfocused in my life at the moment. I feel my blog reflects myself, and narrowing it down to one or two areas just would be me. But goals will help the focus and hopefully the consistency

How?

Goal 1: Launch my Etsy shop and use my blog to help promote my shop.  

When

  •  before the end of 2021

How

  • Preview few pieces that are ready every two weeks to generate interest before the launch

Goal 2:  I would like to increase my daily average by 30%

When

  •  By the end of 2021

How

  • Use the scheduling feature to write posts ahead of time
  • Try writing some shorter post

Goal 3: Add a weekly feature.

When

  •  By the end of July 2021

What

  • A showcase of my favorite photos as I clean my collections up.

How

  • As I clean up my collections, create a folder of my favorite images
One of my favorites: my boys

Row 80 out of 105

Phew! I’m on row 80 of my Scheepjes CAL.

Row 80: Two sides done, 2 more to go. It’s as wide as my double bed with 25 rows to gow.

Part 5 has been harder than the dreaded part 4 (lacy corners). Could it be the repetitiveness of these rows or is it that I’m not paying attention. Whatever it is, there has been lots of adding rows, counting, cursing, and ripping out, repeat.

I guess I need some encouragement to get me to the end. This is what the blanket look like so far. It’s much bigger than I thought it would be.

Hello!

After many years of blogging, I’ve decided to take a WordPress course to draw a bigger audience and focus more on my writing. They suggested taking stock of what I have accomplished and what I liked to do for the next six months. So here’s what I got so far.

Taking Stock

The Chronicles of Princess Hot Flash started as a way to let my family and friends know what was going on with my life through travel, cooking, and baking, turning into restaurant madness, a multitude of crafting projects, and crazy cat lady moments. My trusty companions in my crazy world were my husband Oat and my cat, Click.

Three plus years ago, that all changed plus even more this past year due to COVID. My two companions have gone but hopefully watching over me, making sure I’m okay.

Things I’ll miss: (left to right, top to bottom) my beautiful Click, testing out desserts on my friends, hiking in National Parks, walking on our snowy path, and my funny Oat.


I have a new crew of four: Cora: my mom, the 91-year-old boss of all things and owner of Cora’s garden; Joe, my dad, the 93-year-old singer plus visual artist; Ollie, my stray that I found behind our restaurant; Orange, my round orange tabby. And my location has changed from New Jersey to Hawaii and back to my childhood home.

My new crew: (left to right, top to bottom) Mom modeling a knitted cowl I made for her, Dad the hipster in his new beanie, Ollie looking handsome, and Orange as tiny shy kitten (not any more, hahah).


The Pandemic took my job, and I became one of the many thousands unemployed. I’m currently a freelance graphic designer working part-time, volunteering at my favorite non-profits, and helping care for my parents. In between all of that, I’m working on too many project looking for something to inspire me to make something beautiful.

My slew of project, looking to inspiration: (left to right, top to bottom) Scheepjes 2020 CAL, (still going); trying out boro quilting on my pillow case; basket made from cord made from a lucet loom; trying my hand at pattern making, mom’s shorts; scrappy animals–pink cat;Hot Wheels the scrap dog; Arne and Carlos Quarantine squares blanket (done); hand quilting my aloha shirt blanket; and watercolor painting with embroidery.


The Next Six Months

Planning for the Next Six Months is the hard part. I’ve been putting this off for three-plus years. I guess this was my reason for signing up for this course. Here’s what I’d like to happen. I want to draw a bigger audience by creating more features like Cora’s Garden, posting about my too many projects and looking for inspiration, launching my Etsy shop and posting about my handmade items, and showcasing the photos I’ve been shooting these many years.

How about this does this sound like a plan?

A project from my queue

I started this a while ago, sometime during the pandemic. It’s this pillowcase I made with vintage Japanese fabric a long time back. It has begun to fray. I took off with the intent to patch the fraying pieces with some new material. Then I happened upon several articles and videos on boro.

Boro in Japanese means ragged or tattered. I grew up with the term boro-boro when you wore clothing that was falling apart. Boro is a style of patchwork using old cloth and sashiko (running stitch). Here’s a link to an article I found on boro. That goes into more detail. I love that some of these boro pieces are generational and turn into something new again. The graphical quality and direction that the stitches add to the patches are what I like about boro.

I decide to use this pillowcase as a sampler of different stitches and applique to find something I like. Maybe come up with my style. I also wanted to test out if I like hand-stitching.

I started off doing the basic running stitch, learning how to get my length consistent and find a size I like. I purchase sashiko thread and needles (sidebar: I’m a sucker great packaging and the packaging on these needle are great)from Amazon. I got the traditional off-white color. I do have a bunch of different embroidery threads that I could use also.

This is where I started. Working it as a sampler to teach me about boro and sashiko.

I stopped and hung it on the wall for a long while as I worked on my many other project sitting in my queue. I think I got tried of stitching and not sure where I was going. Then just this week I picked it up wanting to start stitching again. I think I’m seeing it more than a sampler. I might have to make a new pillowcase.

Here’s where I’m at. I know it isn’t finished. I hope I’ll know when it will be.