Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Memories

I can't quite move on to Christmas yet without sharing some Thanksgiving memories and one more pumpkin recipe.  It's hard to believe that the holiday season is here . . . I got my Christmas boxes out of storage, addressed my Christmas cards, and graded my students' essays.  Now I'm counting down to going to our first Christmas party on Saturday and giving my finals next week.  

It's hard to recap the amazing trip we had to the east coast so I'm going to keep the post (mostly) to the actual Thanksgiving.  It was a beautiful New England day - sunny and cool.  My cousin is a wonderful hostess, not stressed at all, and everything from the beautiful table with the floral arrangements (that she did herself) to the two tasty turkeys and more side dishes than you can imagine was perfect.  But the real highlight is how warm and welcoming her home is and what a great time the family all had hanging out and being together.

There were Shirley Temples for the kids . . . 

Pictures with the turkey (not calling names - the literal Thanksgiving bird)

Venison appetizers

A deep fried turkey

The table - how cute are those turkeys?

Delicious desserts that we ate even though we were all so full

Phone calls home to California

And, football games . . . this was the next day but it's my favorite action shot

My contribution to the meal was pumpkin bread pudding - thanks for the recipe, Des!

The pumpkin bread pudding was super easy and delicious.  I admit I was a little skeptical of the recipe because other bread puddings I've made call for something crazy like 8-10 eggs, loads of heavy cream, etc. but this was honestly perfect.  I could have finished the pan for breakfast the next day!  It's a great dish to make for a holiday gathering - just because Thanksgiving is over, it's not too late!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce (makes a 9x13 pan)

1 pound loaf of stale challah bread
Two eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8- 1/4 tsp. cloves
2 cups half and half
1 can of pumpkin puree
Salted caramel sauce (see note below)

Cube the stale challah bread (should be appx. 10 cups) and set out to dry more.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, seasonings, half and half and pumpkin.  Mix well.

Stir the bread into the seasoning and let it soak for at least 10 minutes.  I put it in a buttered 9x13 pan at this point and refrigerated it for a few hours before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees until it's firm all the way through, about 30-45 minutes (maybe more if you refrigerated it like me).  

Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit.  Spread with a thin layer of salted caramel sauce and serve more on the side.

For the salted caramel sauce:  My cousin had a jar in her cupboard and I opted not to make any more work for ourselves.  Here's a link for making your own.  Des says the secret is to not stir it while it's coming to a boil.


  1. Looks like fun! You dress is cute :)

  2. A month late and a dollar short--I scrolled through all of these delightful photos and got a surprise at the end--
    So glad it worked out, I LOVE it!