Monday, November 12, 2012

And the Truth Shall Set You Free

I was at a small social gathering Saturday evening.  I'm not much of a social creature, socialization limited to church, family, and shopping at Piggly Wiggly.  It was good to visit with folks at an event specifically for visiting outside the realm of church, family, and Piggly Wiggly.

A beautiful little girl ran up to her grandfather to bid him goodnight.  I'd noticed her giving me looks throughout the evening.  I get that a lot.  She gave her pawpaw a hug and, looking at me said, "You look like a monster in girl's clothes."

What came out of my mouth was "Well, thank you, Sweetie.  It's important for real monsters to dress nicely."

What I was thinking was, "I hope your world never changes and that the ugliness that is disease and illness never finds you;  that you continue to feel the whole world was made just for you and your thoughts;  and that your words will be the only ones you ever listen to or need.  I hope, Sweetie, that you learn to temper a child's honesty (she was, after all, just being honest) with compassion so that honesty without compassion is never unleashed on your incredible life force.  Most of all, Granddaughter-that-I-hope-to-have-one-as-cute-as-some-day-in-the-very-distant-future, I pray you learn to see beyond the distorted monster faces that are sure to come into your life, to look into a soul and find embedded beauty and strength:  superficial imperfections hide much."

She skipped off, taking a year's worth of self-esteem with her.

I'd been soaring high on the events of a good year:  Mama's successful heart surgery and recovery, losing weight (60 pounds {WOOOT - I'm a new creature!}), deciding to go to, applying, and being accepted into a local junior college culinary arts program, a sibling's remarkable return from the brink of catastrophic illness, my sons continuing to make their way (successfully) in the world.  This baby's words brought me back to earth, to see myself in her eyes.  It's silly for an adult to be stung by the brutal honesty of a child.  She hit the one thing, though, that I cannot change.  This warped skewed face is my Achilles heel;  a vulnerable spot that defies all attempts of armoring and protecting with makeup or masking and guarding with temperament.

It is, though, just another side of life to be consumed.  This morning, gratitude is given to a little girl for bringing me down to earth, for a grounding in the sure blessings of an Almighty that loves me despite myself, family, friends and work when so many are unemployed.

I'm thankful to be where I am.  How 'bout you?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Not-Really-a-Bread-Pudding Recipe with Caramel/Sour Cream/Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur Sauce

It's all that was left!
Any given weekend there are almost always several gallon ziplock bags full of cake trimmings, i.e., the crowns sliced from cakes so they'll lay nice and flat when put together.  I do a couple of things with them:  layer them into a tub o'trimmings with the week's cake fillings, feed the deer out at Mama's (deer have a notorious sweet tooth also), or save them for bread pudding.  Yep.  Bread pudding made from cake trimmings!  That's what I did with this week's trimmings.  It was a pretty equal amount of chocolate cake and butter cake trimmings.  The amount of each one doesn't matter, though.  What matters is a very flavorful pudding, the likes of which has everyone asking for the recipe.  There really isn't one, you know, but since I've been asked for it, I'll do my best to recreate it.  

Pudding Ingredients:
8 to 10 cups of cake trimmings OR bread OR biscuits (I love bread pudding made with biscuits!)
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter or margarine, melted

Crumble cake trimmings or bread into a large bowl.  Combine all other ingredients well and pour over crumbled cake, stirring everything together until cake or bread is thoroughly saturated.  Bake in large buttered casserole at 350 for as long as it takes for the center to be set, a little over an hour in my oven (but ovens vary so yours might not take as long to bake).

It was full Sunday morning!
Since I was making this for the Family Dinner Leakesville Presbyterian Church has the first Sunday of each month, I didn't particularly want to make a bourbon or a rum hard sauce.  Bread pudding just isn't bread pudding without a hard sauce though.  I had Kahlua (but it's quickly coming upon Kahlua and coffee season in the Deep South and I wanted to save it for decaf evenings on the front porch) and Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur.  MMMmmmm... Godiva...  I also didn't want to open a bag of confectioner's sugar to use and didn't want to go to the Pig to purchase a bag just for the hard sauce.  After all, my hair was already up in the hot rollers.  I got to thinking how nice a caramel flavor would be with the white chocolate.  Brown sugar would work.  I wanted something to make it creamy, too.  Sour cream was in the fridge.  I came up with this really quick recipe to satisfy all those prerequisites for a hard sauce suitable for Family Dinner.

Caramel/Sour Cream/Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur Hard Sauce 
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur or whatever is in the cabinet or not at all if you want a sauce without the 'hard'

Quickly cook brown sugar and butter in a skillet until it's the sugar is melted into the butter and it's all sizzly and buttery.  Take off heat and whisk in sour cream until smooth.  Whisk in vanilla and liqueur and serve with bread pudding.  I like to pour it all on top of the bread pudding.  My neighbor likes it spooned over individual servings.  It doesn't matter how its served - just make sure you serve it with the pudding.

Everybody loved the not-really-a-bread pudding and hard sauce.  This was all that was left to bring home: just enough to take a photo of.

Y'all give it a try sometime.  It's easy and tasty and I hope y'all love it!