Thursday, February 14, 2013

French Toast Bread Pudding and A Valentine's To Remember


I can't remember the last time my heart felt so full. Today I woke at 5:30am, put on my red pants with a lacy white top and ventured downstairs to make this outrageous breakfast for Valentines Day.

That's French Toast Bread Pudding, people. And I actually made it last night. After I got done beating the custard, I poured it all over the fat slices of Brioche I had layered in my baking pan. I covered it with foil and stuck it in the fridge to soak overnight. I did this purposely after the kids went to bed so it would be a surprise in the morning. We don't eat like this for breakfast often.

French Toast Bread Pudding

I baked it, and while the house was filling with the aroma of buttered custard bread, the kids came trickling downstairs to find what Valentines treats awaited them. Daddy didn't disappoint with chocolates and stuffed animals and hot wheels for Jeremiah. I got them things to wear (typical). Valentine shirts/scarfs, etc.

They opened their gifts and ate


Then we all felt a little sick. Not because the food was bad. Oh, no, this stuff is glorious. Probably just because we've been on a cleanse and we're weenies and hyper aware of how food makes us feel.

My three little Valentines

French Toast Bread Pudding

Then we headed to drop Olivia off at pre-school and take Isabella and Jeremiah with us to our ultrasound appointment. Did we find out the gender of baby number four? Yes! But you are going to have to wait until another post for the reveal...

I'm so mean.

Then we dropped the kids off at school and Jeremy and I went to Winona's to have breakfast together. We ate healthy things that wouldn't make us sick.

Olivia got this sweet Valentine from Emmett (remember from yesterday's post?) His mom was quick to explain that he was in no way proposing to Olivia. Isn't it the sweetest? 4 year olds...

French Toast Bread Pudding

French Toast Bread Pudding

French Toast Bread Pudding

Then, my gifts came. Jeremiah, my 6-year old boy, brought me these by his own prompting.

French Toast Bread Pudding

Then, this happened.

French Toast Bread Pudding

French Toast Bread Pudding

Jeremy usually gets me red roses on Valentines Day (if he goes the flower route---always a safe choice, men) but he said this year it didn't feel right. It felt more light, more spring-like, more celebratory and joyful. It's where we are in our lives and I couldn't have picked a more appropriate bouquet. Plus, knowing he actually walked through the flower shop pointing at colors and flowers he'd like included makes it extra-special in my book. He made sure to include my very favorite flowers in the whole wide world, ranunculus. It's the first time I've received a bouquet with them in it because their growing season is so short. They are the spindly little flowers that resemble a cabbage rose, almost. They have character. I can't wait for them to fully bloom.

*an after published note: my friend Kel says this picture looks nothing like me* 

My gift to Jeremy this year was a love letter. He's not a huge material gift guy.

French Toast Bread Pudding

Now? I'm settling in to read one of the best books ever while Olivia naps. Tonight brings a hot date with my husband at our restaurant. We received this picture from our chef showing us what awaits. :)


Gah- You guys, I'm so happy and it's only 1:40pm...

"Expect nothing, and appreciate everything"


French Toast Bread Pudding
adapted from Ina Garten
serves 8

1 challah loaf, sliced 3/4 inch thick
8 extra-large eggs
5 cups half-and-half or milk
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners' sugar and pure maple syrup, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the bread in two layers in a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish, cutting the bread to fit the dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, honey, orange zest, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread and press the bread down. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.

Place the baking dish in a larger roasting pan and add enough very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come an inch up the side of the baking dish. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn't touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

With a small sieve, dust lightly with confectioners' sugar and serve hot in squares with maple syrup on the side.


  1. Bread pudding is my favorite! Yours looks amazing and your day sounds even better. So glad you had a lovely Valentine's. Can't wait to hear what you're having! :)