I took a ride to Pentagon Row last night to visit the famed Red Door Spa (somehow, I detoured into the actual Pentagon parking lot with lots of handsome men in uniform swarming - but that's another story). I had never been to Red Door before, but was encouraged to be a model for their advanced training class.
I have to say, I had more fun than going to happy hour! The girls were absolutely a riot and after spending a few hours with them, I had a new cut and color! I have to give shout outs to Yulissa, Maddie, and Tuere who totally blew me away with the services I received :)
i'm traveling south for the holiday... and in the south, everything tastes better with butter, sugar, and pecans.
naturally, i got this recipe from the southern living magazine. i strongly encourage you to try this and share your comments. it is an absolute favorite in our house!
CARAMEL-PECAN-PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING
4 large eggs
2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12-oz.) French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare Bread Puddings: Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon bread mixture into 11 (6-oz.) lightly greased ramekins. (Ramekins will be completely full, and mixture will mound slightly.) Place on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.
3. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes, shielding with foil after 30 minutes.
4. During last 15 minutes of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce: Heat pecans in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
5. Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans.
6. Remove bread puddings from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.
TRY THIS TWIST (this is how we always make the recipe!)
One-Dish Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Pudding: Prepare recipe as directed in Step 1. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake, covered, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes. Proceed with recipe as directed in Steps 4 through 6.
Stephanie Bywater, Holladay, Utah, Southern Living OCTOBER 2009
my neighborhood thanksgiving pot luck is tonight and i'm supposed to bring a dessert. at first, i offered pumpkin pie - which i was most likely going to pick up from costco. however, i decided to add a little bit of flare to the standard dessert table and decided to hand-make cannolis! i am one quarter FOB italiano. yes, i refer to one's rear end as a "goulie" (my family's endearing form of coulo). but then, i started reading cannoli recipes and realized i did not have the time, tools, or desire to make them from scratch.
what to do? back to the costco drawing board.
i picked up a cannoli kit (makes 24) from the cannoli factory at the fairfax costco for $7.99. what a steal! on costco's website, they are $29.99! i have had pretty good luck serving semi-homemade items in the past, so i'll be sure to report back and let you know how it goes tonight.
exhibit a: someone using a rope to keep the exhaust attached to the car! best part of all -- spotted in the parking lot of Neiman Marcus @ Tysons Galleria.
two nights in a row i have enjoyed company by candlelight.
thursday night, i drove up to gettysburg and had a filet mignon dinner by candlelight at the dobbin house (very neat history, very outdated web site) with my uncle, gram, and my toddler. this 5 star fine dining establishment could barely handle our party of four. we were sequestered to a room of four small tables with a wood burning fire and a single candle on our table. as dim and dark as the old inn was - we were telling stories and laughing - much to the dismay of the other guests who were pretty pretentious in this establishment.
i think the kicker was when my 77 year old grandmother's cell phone rang three times, loudly, in our den.
we packed up early friday morning and headed to my parents' house in richmond. we had a gorgeous day which ended in a power outage. thus, finding ourselves, yet again, sitting around a table by candlelight. this time, in a much more tolerable setting - eating, laughing, drinking, and playing pinochle.
tomorrow, i'm meeting one of my favorite preggos from my sorority for breakfast, gossip, and shopping.
nothing beats a three day weekend! xo
ps, i tried sweet frog today and it totally puts pinkberry to shame
i have the best friends ever! all the birthday love eases the pain of being one year closer to 30 :) xoxo
if you haven't noticed already, i have the most awesome neighbors - ever. we cut each others grass, watch each others kids, and powerwash each others decks.
someone is always hosting a bbq, wine & cheese, adult beverage night, ice cream social, etc. now that the days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder, we aren't hanging out as much. all the housewives have talked, and we'd like to plan a get together.
here is what we have thought of so far:
a. progressive dinner: each neighbor host a part of the dinner (cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, appetizer, salad, main course, dessert/cordials).
pros: no reason not to be yummy. get to try others' cooking.
cons: six kitchens that need to be cleaned up. time consuming. whoever hosts the main course would have extra expenses (unless they are serving spaghetti!).
b. cul-de-sac bar crawl: each house would serve their favorite drink (we even talked about making shirts if you finish the drink at each house along the way and last until the end of the night)
pros: re-living my college days.
cons: some like beer, some like liquor, i love wine = just asking for a horrible hangover!
c. chili cook-off: doesn't get more straight forward than that.
cons: not everyone eats meat. heartburn.
do you have any traditions or gatherings in your neighborhoods?
on saturday, we had big plans to hit up chuck e cheese for a birthday party... however, a 7 year old playing with matches in his basement totally put the kabosh on that plan. the 2 alarm fire on my street meant that everyone in my cul-de-sac was trapped until the fire trucks left. and since the fire burned for more than 3 hours... that meant we weren't going anywhere for a while. (at one point, i did contemplate taking my suv over the curb and through the rugged terrain of the HOA's nicely trimmed and maintained common ground to get out).
watching the fire burn was like staring at the sun, i couldn't take my eyes off it. once i realized how much black smoke and burning insulation i was inhaling, i headed back home... but of course, my neighborhood can turn any situation into a get-together (and this time - drama-free!). we bundled up and dished gossip and hot tea on a neighbor's back deck with three others (all single, stable, employed young men - anyone interested?!). we congregated to stir the pot of neighborhood drama thanks to that 7 year old pyro.
we were asked by Brand About Town to host a nintendo wii party to demo the new wii motion game. i'd have to say, i actually enjoyed the new games (almost as much as i enjoyed the coldstone ice cream!).
quick highlights of the party:
a. ninja neighbor spilled his flask (byob) while trying to handle his wiimote and virtually skip rocks
b. 8 year old talking mad trash
c. challenging my 3 year old to a balancing contest (which i promptly lost)
d. a grown man jumping through my living room after unlocking new rocks to throw across his fake lake. i believe his final words were "i never lose". (until he also challenged the 3 year old to a balancing act).
i had a twenty minute fight with my three year old son over him wanting to drive my car. i thought i had at least another 13 years before i had to fight that battle.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.