Wednesday, December 31, 2014

climbing mountains

Usually at this time of the year, I try to clean up old files and sort through our photographs.  It's actually quite fun to go down memory lane to see what we've experienced, accomplished and enjoyed in the past 365 days.  I've seen so much growth in both of our children, and in ourselves, "the adults".

I remember taking the above picture last winter.  We spent a few days up north over the New Year holiday, and this was a particularly beautiful winter day with lots of sunshine, crisp cool air and fresh snow. We filled our days with skiing, tobogganing, trekking on snow trails and laughter.  So much laughter.

In the evenings, we headed back to the cottage cabin for some hot chocolate and warm comfort food. The kids were still full of energy and it seemed that our full days of activities didn't tire them at all (unlike their old mum!).  I remember asking them if they were tired from climbing "the mountain" (some of the hills felt as tall as a mountain).  They shook their heads and said "the higher the hill, the better the ride!"

As we approach 2015, this photo reminds me of that New Year's Day.  The moment when I realized our kids understood that hard work pays off.  Although I don't usually make resolutions, I begin this new year reminding ourselves that in order to enjoy the ride, you must climb the mountain first.

Wishing everyone all the best for 2015.

Happy New Year !!!

Make Ahead Banana Almond Bread Pudding 
with Chocolate Hazelnut Drizzle.
Recipe adapted & combined from
Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding and Baked French Toast

This bread pudding is a cross between baked french toast and traditional bread pudding.  It's worth the effort to make ahead of's a wonderfully sweet morning treat and works well for a laid back New Year's Day morning, since can be easily placed in the oven while none of the creatures in the house are stirring.

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream (or ½ cup of milk of you don't have cream)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 6 cups cubed French bread (or about 15- one inch slices)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • Almond slices (to top with)
  • Brown sugar (to top)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut spread (like Nutella) drizzle on top.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla and spices until smooth. Stir in bread, bananas (you can also stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips to make this extra sweet).
  • Pour into 9x13 greased glass baking dish and cover with tin foil.
  • Let the bread soak in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Top with almonds and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil.
  • Bake another 25 minutes without foil, or until the knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • If desired, slightly warm the chocolate hazelenut spread in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Drizzle.
Serve with syrup.  Enjoy.

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