I am trying my hardest to be so nice, gracious and optimistic and say all the wonderful things that happened this past year, everything I'm grateful for and all I am looking forward to in the next one. But can we be honest for a second?
This past year kind of sucked. It was one of the hardest and most challenging years ever, and I am so excited to say goodbye to it and welcome 2014. I have a good feeling about 2014.
So, I'am going to skip over all the bad parts and say I can't wait to put a few years between me and 2013 so I can look back at it and just remember it as a year I had my second son. That is by far the highlight of the year. And the century.
Another positive thing in this year has been my blog. It has been very challenging to be consistent on it during the last months of my pregnancy and first months after Dino was born, but I am back to it with more passion than ever. And every now and then when I think to myself, who am I kidding here??? something awesome like this contest happens to show me that I am doing what I should be doing. I enjoy it, and I guess sometimes others enjoy what I do as well.
My super cool blog news highlight of 2013 is that I got the news I won the second place in “Blueberries Meet Their Match” Blogger Recipe Contest in the Coconut category. Yaaaaaaay. I submitted my Blueberry Coconut Bread Pudding recipe and wanted to do so much more, I love cooking with blueberries and I really wanted to do something for Rosemary and Blueberry category. But I was out of time, stuff was happening and it wasn't meant to be.
This pudding, however, is really delicious, and I am so proud I won something again.
Actually, it is funny and awesome, but I also won the second prize last year in the same contest with my Blueberry Pop Tarts, which are also really awesome, I love making those.
Annnnnnnnnd, another super duper 2013 highlight, just recently I won Legends of Europe Market Basket Contest with my Prosciutto and Butternut Squash Pasta dish, so I've been feeling really good about all of this. It feels amazing to be recognized in something you are doing from love and often feel pretty insecure about, so thank you so much to everyone that tried and liked my dishes. I am truly grateful.
I leave you with wishes for the Happiest New Year, may it be filled with laughter, health and good eats!
Blueberry Coconut Bread Pudding
1 loaf of french bread, old is better
2 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of blueberries
1 1/2 cup of shredded coconut + 1 cup to make toasted coconut topping
1 tsp of coconut extract (if you don't have it you can use vanilla)
1/4 cup of Mascarpone cheese
for the sauce:
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp of lemon juice
If you are making this for breakfast, night before cut up the bread on 1 to 1 1/2" cubes and put into a big bowl, add shredded coconut to it and toss. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and add milk and the heavy cream and mix well. Add coconut extract and mix again, then pour over the bread and coconut and mix a little bit. Transfer it all into a buttered baking dish, I used my 9X13 casserole dish, cover it with plastic wrap and put into fridge until morning. Easy peasy. This is when you can also prepare your toppings, toasted coconut and blueberry sauce if you wish to use them. If you are not preparing this for breakfast, make sure you allow the pudding to rest at least two hours in the fridge before baking it.
Take 1 cup of shredded coconut and put on a cookie sheet and put into the oven that's been preheated to 325 F. This only takes 10 minutes or so, and you can let it go for 5 minutes then mix it up a little bit so it doesn't start to burn. Mix again after 3 minutes and see if it need a couple more minutes after that or not. Mine was pretty much done after this point, but some people like it roasted more. Let it cool completely and put into a plastic bag or container to use later.
1 cup of Blueberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Put all the ingredients into a small pot and cook for about 15 minutes until it starts to thicken. Usually I blend it at this point with my immersion mixer, but I wanted a little bit more rustic look this time so I just smashed it a bit with the back of my wooden spoon. Do whatever you prefer and then put into a small mason jar or plastic container until you are ready to use it. I like to reheat mine a little before pouring over the bread pudding.
When you are ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350 and remove it from the fridge so it can warm up a little and you can add the last ingredients.
Mix your blueberries into the pudding and top it with little chunks of Mascarpone cheese (bean size chunks). Bake it for 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with toasted coconut or blueberry Sauce. Or both.