What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Bread Pudding and a Trip Back in Time


If you know me well at all, you are already aware that I have an affinity for all things old-fashioned--quilts, rolling pins and vintage bowls, recipes, you name it.  If it reminds me of something my grandmothers would have had in their homes, then chances are, I'm in love with it.

Today I have an old-fashioned recipe to share with you.  This is the type of recipe that allows my imagination to wander off to my dream farmhouse.  Step back in time with me to grandma's house where simple muslin curtains trimmed in ball fringe swish in the gentle afternoon breeze, allowing warm rays of sunshine to filter into the corner of every room.  Soft quilts and feather pillows top slightly-sagging-in-the-middle beds.  And colorful braided rag rugs are scattered on the freshly scrubbed pine floors.  From the kitchen flows the scent of cinnamon and raisins, sugar and vanilla as a bread pudding slowly bakes in the oven.  Money is tight, so in her resourcefulness, grandma has gathered up the left-over bread and combined it with a few simple ingredients to magically produce a comforting treat for her children and grandchildren. Not only has she filled her home with a delightful aroma but she has filled up the hearts of her family with love and a sense of belonging.

Home cooking does that.  It fills our bodies with nourishment, but it also fills our emotional tanks with love.  It says to others, "You're special and your needs are worthy of my time and effort."  I believe meal preparation is one of the most important tasks we as mothers can do for our families.  Grandma knew this almost instinctively.  Her role was clearly defined and she went about her daily tasks in earnest, aware that meeting the needs of her family was her first priority.

Though times were simpler, Grandma still worked hard.  She didn't have the myriad distractions we have today, nor did she have all the modern conveniences.  However, those helpful tools she did have, she embraced.  Like her, I'm happy that I can create a warm home atmosphere and still employ some modern appliances to make my tasks easier.  In an earlier post, I told you that my crock pot is my best friend.  While that may be a slight exaggeration, I truly appreciate my little counter top companion.  I can fill it with ingredients then forget about it for hours on end.  With this recipe, you can do just that--fill it with bread, then pour a milk, egg, and sugar mixture over.  Top with raisins and pop on the lid.

Grandma would have approved.


Clean all the bread out of the freezer, including a couple of stray hot dog buns.


Pour the liquid ingredients over.


After it bakes, it puffs up light and fluffy.


Finally, mix up the sauce on the stove.

Bread Pudding 

  • 8 slices bread, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Place bread cubes in greased slow cooker.  Beat together eggs and milk.  Stir in sugar, butter, raisins, and cinnamon.  Pour over bread and stir.  Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.  Reduce heat to low and cook 3-4 hours.  Make sauce just before pudding is done baking.   Begin by melting butter in saucepan.  Stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually add water, sugar, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring constanly for 2 minutes, or until thickened.  Serve sauce over warm bread pudding.


Sorry, Bella.  Don't you know Grandma doesn't abide slackers?


YOC Soup Reunion


Every time one of you leaves a comment on my blog, I get an email telling me about it.  That is a very good thing because occasionally I receive a comment on an older post and I'd never know about it if there wasn't an email notification.  Such is the case with this post (click to go there). I wrote it several years ago about YOC soup.

You see, the deal is this:  if someone Googles "YOC soup", guess what comes up in the search?  Exactly!  It's my blog post. Through this one little post, I have reunited some serious soup lovers with their favorite soup of all time!  All these kind folks have written to tell me that they had looked for years, some as long as forty years, for this very recipe from the Yokota Officer's Club at Yokota Air Force Base, near Tokyo, Japan.  And that makes me super happy.  I know how much my family has enjoyed this soup for the past thirty years.  I can't imagine having lived without it all this time.  So, Bill, J, Cole, and Fred, I'm thrilled I was able to help you out in your search for the best soup ever.

If the rest of you haven't tried it, whatcha waiting for?  Grab some butter and some sweet onions, some milk and chicken broth, a loaf of French bread and some Swiss cheese, and have at it!

It's SO good!



Hearts and Flowers


This classic yoke dress is smocked with a plate called Baby Allison from the book Classic Smocking - The Cheryl Lohman Collection.  Her designs are exquisite.

A yoke dress requires a little bit more involved construction than the bishop style I showed you the last couple times.  Yoke style dresses typically have a Peter Pan collar and set-in sleeves.  The sleeves can be smocked and trimmed with lace, or gathered and bound with a bias band, as I chose to do on this dress.  A tiny little touch of embroidery was added to the collar to mimic the smocking design.  These little dresses are all about the details!


I don't care for dresses that are dripping with lace, but I do like a squidge of it.  I heard a phrase a long time ago that I have remembered, especially when I'm tempted to go overboard with froofiness.  (Do you like my word?  I just made that up.) "There are more ways to kill a dog than to choke it with buttermilk."  I think the child should be the focus.  When the garment becomes the focus, well, something is just not right! 


Smocked dresses are expensive to purchase because the handwork is time-intensive.  However, they are very inexpensive to make yourself, if you keep the lace to a minimum.  Imported Swiss laces are a must on these dresses, and that can run into some bucks if you want to trim the collar, sleeves, and hem.  I like to keep the lace near the face, so I just trimmed the collar on this one.  All told, fabric and lace for this dress cost only eight dollars. 

So now I have two maybe-baby-boy and two maybe-baby-girl garments finished.  I think I'll wait now until we find out what Baby Saint is.  We'll find out in a couple weeks!

And by the way, I received lots of guesses and we now have two winners on the name game.  I can't tell you who they are, or what the names are yet, but I'm dreaming up some delicious baked goods for the winners.  Don't worry, I ship near and far!



Sunshine Muffins


I love to bake muffins.  Most of my favorite muffin recipes come from Sue Gregg's cookbook Breakfasts.  Sue Gregg uses only whole grains and other healthy, nutrition-packed ingredients in her recipes.  I've been using them for 15 years and I come back to them again and again.


When I'm in the mood for a serious muffin that is almost like a meal in itself, this is the one I always turn to.  It has a little bit of everything good in it: grated orange peel, fresh squeezed orange juice, grated carrots, chopped nuts, raisins, honey, and whole wheat flour.  When I'm craving one of these, there is no substitute.  They take a little longer than most mix and dump muffin recipes, but they are oh, so worth the extra bit of effort!

I like to grind my own wheat and keep some stored in the freezer for baking on a whim.  If you don't grind flour, just be sure to use a good quality of whole wheat flour like King Arthur's.  Most groceries carry it.  There really is a difference!  King Arthur is hands-down the best commercial flour you can buy.

When you have a few extra minutes to spare, give these a try!!


Sunshine Muffins

1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together and set aside for topping.


grated peel of 1 orange
3/4 cup orange juice (squeeze the fresh orange you grated, plus reconstituted OJ to make the 3/4 cup)
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together in a bowl.


2 cups whole wheat flour sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together in another bowl.


1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Now mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, folding in the carrots, raisins, and nuts.

Fill muffin cups evenly.  Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


Good morning, sunshine!


Rocking Ponies


I promised it would be cute.  Oh, my goodness!  This one just raised the bar way up there.

I cut out the pieces for this romper umpteen years ago.  Really.  I have no idea who this was started for.  I'm thinking it could have been one of my older nephews.  So this one has been in a state of non-completion for about 14 years at the least, all neatly cut out and tucked into the pattern envelope.  I found it when I went digging through all the baby boy patterns I have in the closet.

This one is tiny--much tinier than it looks.  It's a 6 month size according the pattern.  But I've had babies; I know how fast they grow.  If Baby Saint is long and lanky like his daddy, he won't be in this one very long. 


These rocking ponies make me smile, especially their tails.  This type of smocking is called "stacking cables" or "picture smocking."  Cables are just a basic smocking stitch, but when they sit on top of each other, it is called stacking.  By doing this, you can create all sorts of fun shapes.  So people design these "plates", as they are called, which are just design patterns that show you how to do the colors.  It might sound complicated, but I promise you it isn't.  If you ever cross-stitched, then you have basically done the same thing.


When I first learned to smock, I started with picture smocking, having no idea it was considered difficult by some.  If I made a mistake, I just pulled it out and started over till I got it right.   Ignorance is bliss, as they say. 

Making these baby outfits is a serious addiction.  You know how some people are about potato chips?  Well, that is me with baby togs.  While I'm working on one, I'm dreaming about the next.  Now I'm preoccupied with a yoke-style dress with lace-trimmed collar and puff sleeves, in the palest green batiste smocked with peach, yellow, and cream hearts and flowers.


Oh, and I haven't forgotten you recipe lovers.  I have a muffin I want you to try soon.


So Pretty In Pink


My apologies in advance to anyone who came here seeking a recipe to try.  You're going to just have to bear with me through this grandbaby sewing marathon.

It was such a joy to stitch this "maybe baby girl" dress, the next installment in the Grandbaby Togs category.  This little angel sleeve bishop is fashioned from pale pink cotton with white pin-dots, smocked in a blue and white geometric with rosebud accents, and trimmed in the tiniest white tatting.  Crisp and cool, it's perfect for the warmest summer day.  I can just imagine tiny pink toes peeking out from under the hemline of this dress.

Such sweetness!

If you care to guess Baby C's name, my offer in the post below still stands.  Does the thought of a dark, rich pan of brownies stimulate your creative juices?  Leave a comment or send me a message with your baby name guess.

Next up is a most adorable mint green, micro check "maybe boy" romper smocked with rocking horses.  It's way, way over the allowable cute quotient.  Just warning you.