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Recipe CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING WITH PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM Servings: 8 to 10 Prep time: 1½ hours Bake time: 1¾ hours 1 ¾ 8 2 2 1 12 1 ½
12” loaf French bread or brioche, cut into 12 slices cup butter, melted ounces semisweet chocolate cups whipping cream cups milk cup sugar egg yolks teaspoon vanilla pinch of salt gallon peppermint ice cream candy cane, crushed (for garnish) chocolate syrup (for drizzling)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and brush with butter. Toast both sides in the oven until golden brown. Place slices side by side, overlapping, in a greased 9x12 baking dish. Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a small bowl. Place bowl in another bowl half full of hot water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. In a saucepan, bring the whipping cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. While cream mixture is heating, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, whisking continuously until combined. Strain the mixture into another bowl, and skim off any foam. Slowly pour this mixture into the melted chocolate, mixing well. Add vanilla and salt. Pour chocolate mixture evenly over bread and gently cover with plastic wrap. Place a smaller pan on top to weigh down the bread and keep it submerged. Allow to sit for 1 hour, making sure the bread has soaked up the chocolate. Remove top pan and plastic wrap. Cover bottom pan with foil. Poke a few holes in the foil for steam to escape. Place pan in a larger pan filled halfway with water. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1¾ hours, until chocolate liquid is absorbed and the top looks glossy. Serve warm with peppermint ice cream and garnished with candy cane pieces and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Recipe by Laura Swayne. Photography by Kathi Inglesby.
For more information about By Design Publishing, please visit: www.ByDesignPublishing.com or www.YourHomeAndLifestyle.com The information provided in this publication of Your Home and Lifestyle or on any Web site maintained by By Design Publishing or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees, or employees (collectively “Publisher”) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods used in home repair and renovation, and Publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any Web site or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any methods described. Neither Publisher nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees, or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive, or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/or products described in this publication or any other publication or Web sites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacturer(s) of any products described or recommended or used in connection with any methods described or recommended. Your Home and Lifestyle DECEMBER 2010
Savoring the Holiday Season Seven Suggestions for Making the Most of This Busy yet Joyous Time of Year
o Photography provided by (clockwise) ©iStockphoto.com/Andy Robinson, ©iStockphoto.com/Cherie Seferos, ©iStockphoto.com/OGphoto, ©iStockphoto.com/Mark Swallow.
On January second, will you remember the precious holiday moments that you spent with close family and friends? Or will all your memories be thoughts of frantic shopping, hectic schedules, pressured entertaining, and distracted gift giving? Around the holidays, we often get so involved in what we think we should be doing, we forget what is really important in our lives. What are your favorite memories of past holidays? What do you remember most about your childhood? Was it the ten-course, thirty-guest gourmet dinner that Aunt Sophia made? Probably not, because Aunt Sophia lived in a small apartment and served at the kitchen table and could never have afforded to feed thirty people! But I’ll bet you can still taste her yummy pierogis or her delicious fudge. And, remember all the fun you had with Uncle Joseph when he visited and spent hours playing kids’ card games with you? Or how you enjoyed spending the evening with Mom and Dad and your brother decorating the tree while listening to holiday music? Can you ever get back to that simpler, happier time? Maybe these suggestions for savoring the holiday season will help. Recall Grandma’s homemade latkes, Aunt Maria’s sweet turrón, or Cousin Noreen’s delicious pecan pie. Ask family members for their recipes or research similar ones online. Print all the recipes you find and assemble them into a cookbook, making enough copies to give to everyone in the family as a gift. No frantic shopping; no fighting for parking spaces at the mall. Everything can be done in your own home and on your own computer at a nominal cost. Companies like blurb.com will print the cookbook for you at a moderate expense. Some even provide downloadable software, making the whole process quite effortless. Host a holiday decorating party or tree lighting— whether for just your immediate family or a small group of guests. If it’s just you and the kids, and maybe Grandma and Grandpa, serve some cookies and chocolates with coffee and cocoa. Make it a simple, relaxing evening with seasonal music. Talk about how you and your parents celebrated the holidays when you were the age your children are now. You can also make your tree lighting a slightly more elaborate affair by inviting a small group of friends to help you decorate. Serve something celebratory like sparkling wine or cider and a couple of delicious desserts and warm beverages. Keep it simple and non-stressed and your guests will appreciate a nice quiet evening away from the crowded stores and pushy shoppers. Go back through your holiday photos and choose pictures of loved ones from throughout the years. Put together a CD, DVD, or printed album to give to
family. While researching the photos, you’ll enjoy laughing at the changes in hairdos and clothing styles, and you’ll have the opportunity to reminisce about those who are no longer able to attend the holiday gatherings. This very personal gift will be appreciated by the recipients over and over again. PERHAPS rather than looking to the past, you want to establish your own distinct traditions and create memories that are exclusive to your individual family and friends. There are no rules; no restrictions. Anything you and yours enjoy can become a holiday tradition. Spend an evening at home with your spouse and children or grandchildren playing Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, or, if the kids are younger, Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. No TV that night! End the evening with hot chocolate and the kids’ favorite cookies. Ask questions, tell stories, and laugh together. Make a kids’ tree. With the help of your children or grandchildren, decorate a unique tree with all the ornaments they made for you in school or scouts or day care. Add the ornaments you bought especially for them—from car ornaments or Barbies to rocking horses or spaceships. Bring out any handmade afghans, quilts, or tablecloths that family members might have made and given you in the past as a gift. Place them around the house as wall hangings, table covers, throws. The items will add a warm, nostalgic touch to your holiday decor. Imagine how proud and pleased these family members will be to see that you actually appreciate and display the efforts of their hard work and talents. Instead of buying ten sweaters and three ties and six necklace-and-earring sets, why not give to each family member’s favorite charity? Or make a donation to one of your favorite charities in honor of those on your gift list and present each person with a sincere note telling them what you did? Yes, you will have to make time for any or all of these steps, and that means eliminating some of the frenzied activities that have taken over your holidays in the past. It means simplifying your life, finding the old traditions that you loved and want to continue, or creating new ones that will give you and your family many new memories to cherish for years to come. Written by Carolyn M. Runyon.
Your Home and Lifestyle DECEMBER 2010
The Spirit of Giving Spread Some Holiday Cheer with the Perfect Host or Hostess Gift
Planning a party is no easy feat, especially during the holiday season. Express your gratitude for the hosts with a token of appreciation that acknowledges their hard work. This seemingly simple gesture will leave the party giver with a little something to savor after everyone has gone. There is no need to extend anything elaborate when a token of appreciation will do. Yet, you can go beyond the call of duty by putting some thought into selecting something the party giver will truly enjoy. Best Interest If the person has a favorite pastime, take that as your cue. For someone who is an avid reader, you might buy the latest book in the preferred genre, or you can play it safe instead with a gift card to a bookstore. Wrap either one in newspaper for a hint of what’s inside. If you know someone who likes to do a little lighter reading, a magazine subscription is an affordable solution that will last all year long. Some publications even offer a free gift subscription as an addition to your original order. Just make sure you know what topics the recipient prefers to peruse.
Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/gerenme.
Blast from the Past Look no further than the past for a gift that could be handed down to future generations. The staples of long ago may be steeped in history, but they have a place in modern-day dwellings too. Bake (or buy) a lovely loaf of bread and place it in an old-fashioned bread basket for a practical gift that can be enjoyed for years to come. Or present a pretty little picnic basket that will come in handy for outdoor gatherings. Another option would be aprons, which are enjoying quite a comeback, as they are a great fit for anyone who likes to cook. Divide and Conquer Whether your host is neat by nature or simply striving to reach a higher level of tidiness someday, gifts that help to get a house in order are thoughtful presents for those who adore organization. Give them a head start with decorative file folders, magazine holders, mail sorters, and more. Another way to pare down is with some help from high-tech gadgets that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Chip in for a digital picture frame, which is a great gift for those who like to track their travels or family milestones through photos. The frame becomes a virtual scrapbook for everyone to enjoy. Healthy Choice Food is a popular hostess gift at any time of year. Just remember to take the person’s lifestyle into consideration before
you decide what to bring. For those who are watching their weight, a bottomless basket of sweets may not be the best way to go. Switch things up with healthier choices, such as dark chocolate, a selection of olive oils, or a plate of vegetables from a local garden. A big bowl of fresh fruit will be a welcome departure from the never-ending supply of desserts that surround us during this celebratory season. Small Packages Quality trumps quantity every time. For example, gourmet goodies become a delicacy when given in smaller doses. Embellish simple canning jars with custom labels from your computer. Fill them with homemade jam or festive-colored trail mix to show you cared enough to come up with the concept and put it all together, too. For a last-minute gift, buy a gourmet bottle of maple syrup and adorn it with some colorful ribbon. You might also consider assembling a delicious little kit that contains like items such as a teapot filled with tea and scones with honey or a supersized coffee mug that holds a pound of java and a silver spoon. Helpful Hints Find out whether the host or hostess has a collection of any kind. Whether they have a penchant for vintage tea towels, owl statues, or something in between, you can add to the assortment with a themed ornament or other token that fits the bill. When in doubt, take a chance on practical pieces whenever possible. For example, a cute clock, attractive tray, or table lamp will get plenty of use every day. Even a decorative nightlight is a fun and functional choice that others might not consider buying for themselves. Last But Not Least Always keep generic gifts on hand for last-minute gatherings. You can’t go wrong with colorful coasters, seasonal napkins, and wine-related gifts. Whatever you decide to share this season, a hostess gift is a great way to spread a little holiday cheer during this fast-paced and often hectic time of year. When you take time out to show your appreciation for the invitation, you take the spirit of giving one step further. Written by Jeanine Matlow. Y H L Your Home and Lifestyle DECEMBER 2010
Holiday Travel without the Hassle
No matter how old the children are, how patient the parents are, or how ecstatic everyone is to be on vacation, traveling with family during the holidays can be stressful. Most people have a short window of time each holiday season to devote to travel, and making the trek to a vacation destination can be half the battle. Some families pack up presents and venture off to spend a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house across the country; others opt to stay closer to home with a road trip; and some pick a new or tropical destination each year to explore with their immediate families. Although there is no way to guarantee a stress-free vacation by land, sea, or air, consider following a few pointers to make the ride a little less bumpy. IF YOU FLY Don’t pack too much. We often work right up until the moment vacation commences, which leaves little time to prepare for the trip. To save time and space, postpone a shopping trip for odds and ends until reaching your destination and simply pack essential toiletries, entertainment for the flight, and at least one versatile outfit for varied weather. Avoid packing too many items of clothing by paring your wardrobe down to items that work well with one basic solid; choose black or brown—not both. Split up the luggage. We’ve all heard the horror stories about long layovers, missed flights, and eventually lost luggage. To lessen the possibility of a traumatic trip, pack a bit of your belongings in each suitcase. Although this takes a little more planning, it is well worth the slight hassle in the long run. This practice is easier accomplished in pairs, so pack half of each parent’s clothing in each suitcase, do the same for the kids, and then redistribute once you arrive at the final destination.
ONCE YOU GET THERE
Check in early. Set a reminder to check in online for your flight twenty-four hours before departure time. Even if you have to wait in a line to present luggage, the checked baggage fees are usually less when scheduled ahead of time and the seats are already assigned.
Plan an activity. Make plans for one main activity per day. Prepare for additional adventure options if time allows, but don’t attempt to pack too much into one day. When you travel to a new place or take a fresh route, the potential for new experiences can be exciting. Focus on one excursion and set aside plenty of time so the rush to get there doesn’t overshadow the experience itself. Before you make a schedule, check for free admission days to museums and other attractions, which may be offered on a weekly basis.
IF YOU DRIVE
Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/Steve Cole.
Designate a navigator. Everyone has an opinion but sometimes it is best to hear just one. Pick one family member who understands maps, stays awake, and pays attention to detail to help the driver navigate the trip and encourage the rest of the family to enjoy the ride. Pick up maps before you get on the road or reach a new town by air. Promotional hotel maps don’t provide too many details, so select a full-size atlas or AAA map. For historical and entertainment information, pick up a pocket-size tourist map that describes the city’s main attractions.
Rent a car. If you plan on putting a substantial number of miles on your everyday vehicle, avoid the wear and tear by picking up a rental car. Inquire ahead of time about mileage charges, which are often free if traveling within a few close states. If the vehicle breaks down for any reason, the company will either come fix it on the spot or provide you with a new one; if only we could be guaranteed such service on a regular basis! Car rentals are now an affordable vacation investment and a simple way to treat you and your family to a comfortable drive. Request the unadvertised weekend or weeklong rental prices for amazing deals. Some rental companies are partnered with airlines, so you can receive frequent flyer credits for the rental and be even closer to booking a free flight.
Pick a new place to eat. When traveling with children, it’s easy to find the nearest chain restaurant and order a standby meal that you know will be a crowd-pleaser; however, discovering new cuisine is one of the treasured gems of traveling. To cut costs, pick one meal each day to enjoy in a restaurant and purchase easy-to-assemble meal ingredients at a nearby market for other meals.
IT’S AN ADVENTURE Remember, traveling is about appreciating the adventure that leads you to the final destination. Sometimes taking a wrong turn or missing a ferry will lead to a grand surprise. Freeways are efficient but bypass the character of local towns; so if you get turned around, just be sure you follow the correct direction on a maintained road, and enjoy the ride. Your family might create an enduring memory by discovering a location that you never intended to find in the first place. Happy trails to you and yours. Written by Maresa Giovannini.
Your Home and Lifestyle DECEMBER 2010
AGED TO PERFECTION: ADDING RUSTIC CHARM TO YOUR MODERN HOME INSIDE & OUT BY LESLIE LINSLEY Those who have a dedicated interest in decorating their abodes will appreciate this book, full of gorgeous photos and tips for adding old-world character to any home. www.barnesandnoble.com
TROPHY VASE Don’t just bring flowers as a host or hostess gift; transport them in style with this ceramic vase, made to look like a trophy. Its sense of whimsy and its handmade craftsmanship is a winning combination. www.branchhome.com
DIGITAL LUGGAGE SCALE The jet-setters on your gift list will appreciate this digital luggage scale, which makes it easy to see whether all those souvenir purchases put them over the weight limit. It’s easy to pack and weighs just seven ounces. www.frieling.com
PURE LINEN NAPKINS For the friend who is always volunteering to play host, consider a simple yet stunning token of appreciation. Made solely of high-quality European long fiber flax and densely woven to the standards of the European Masters of Linen guild, these linen napkins are sure to impress. www.teroforma.com 8
DECEMBER 2010 Your Home and Lifestyle