Bready or Not: (Pumpkin) Bread Pudding

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, pumpkin, quick bread | 0 comments

When I visited home for the week of the 4th of July, I wanted to make something special for my 90-year-old grandma. Like me, her favorite dessert in the world is bread pudding. Therefore, I set out to make her the best possible bread pudding.

Bread Pudding

Complication: her diet is pretty restrictive these days. She can’t eat most fruits. Nor does she need super-sweet toppings that will mess with her blood sugar.

I found a recipe at Will Cook For Smiles that fulfilled a lot of my needs. It produced a small batch. It included pumpkin puree, but in a small amount that I figured could be omitted without destroying the recipe. I could switch in almond milk for my own taste-testing comfort.

Bread Pudding

I also loved that the base recipe used King’s Hawaiian Rolls, which are pretty much the only type of store-bought bread I will still eat. It’s awesome. However, because I was going to be in my hometown, that presented another option. Central California has a large Portuguese community, and there’s an amazing Portuguese bakery less than a mile from my parents’ house. Their sweet bread is one of the most divine things on the planet.

I took my trusty kitchen scale to California so I could measure exactly 12 ounces of sweet bread, the equivalent of a pack of Hawaiian rolls. That ended up being about 2/3 of a loaf.

Bread Pudding

I prepared the bread pudding, tucked it in the fridge, then baked it after lunch. It cooked in exactly 45 minutes. We let it cool awhile before we dug in. I thought it was just about perfect with a drizzle of maple syrup over the top. It was surprisingly light and spongy–not heavy at all like some bread puddings.

Bread Pudding

However, the most important thing was my grandma’s reaction. She declared this to be the best bread pudding she had ever had, and she’s tried quite a few bread puddings in her day. Grandma was thrilled to have this as a dessert and breakfast for a few days, and said it was even better cold straight from the fridge.

I declare this recipe a win.

Bread Pudding


Bready or Not: (Pumpkin) Bread Pudding


  • 1 1/2 cups milk (almond milk works!)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12 ounces of sweet bread, such as a pack of King's Hawaiian Rolls or partial loaf of Portuguese sweet bread


  1. The day before, set the bread out to go stale, if desired. I prefer chewier bread and leave it as fresh.
  2. Preheat the oven at 350-degrees (if you're baking this promptly). Grease an 8x8 casserole dish. Cut the 12 ounces of bread into chunks. Melt the butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin puree (if using) and vanilla. Whisk until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Spread the bread evenly within the dish. Pour the milk mixture over it. Press the bread in lightly to make sure nothing is dry. (If you're making this ahead of time, cover with foil and set in fridge for several hours.)
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Serve hot, at room temperature, or straight from the fridge! Top with maple or agave syrup, nuts, whipped cream, caramel sauce, or fruit or nut butter. Anything is good. Plus, leftovers can be chopped into serving-size squares and frozen.
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Bread Pudding

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The Arizona Taco Festival

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Blog, holy taco church | 0 comments

Being a writer means a lot of rejection and waiting, but it also carries certain perks. That said, I never expected free gourmet tacos and margaritas to be part of the deal, but by golly, I’ll take it.

I was ambassador to the Arizona Taco Festival last weekend. I have a full write-up of the amazing experience over at the Holy Taco Church.

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Sunday Quote needs to work on her Christmas shopping

Posted by on Oct 19, 2014 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” ~Joyce Carol Oates

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Earthquake Day

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Blog, clockwork dagger, nostalgia, online publication, podcast | 0 comments

I will always think of October 17th as earthquake day.

1989. I was nine, at home in Hanford. I was watching the 5 o’clock news on KSEE 24 out of Fresno with my mom and brother. We felt the earth move. We all looked at the hanging lamps; their sway confirmed that an earthquake had indeed occurred. When the news resumed after commercials, Bob Long and the other broadcaster mentioned they had felt something, too. The breaking news quickly shifted to San Francisco.

Today the news is all on Ebola and war and lots of other scary things. A new year, a new fear.

Moving on to more pleasant things…

Coffee Time Romance

J. Kathleen Cheney did a great interview with Jeremy Brett on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Archive at Texas A&M. This is of particular interest to me because I now have two earlier editorial drafts of The Clockwork Dagger at the Texas A&M archive. You can actually go into the Cushing Library and view my materials. As a library geek, this pleases me to no end.

My story “Hatchlings” can be read at Daily Science Fiction. It’s about the cruelty of children and the benefits of pet monsters. This one was inspired by Pokemon.

I also have two old favorites newly published as podcasts:
“Red Dust and Dancing Horses” at Escape Pod
“Reading Time” at Cast of Wonders, a podcast for teens

Also, I have a guest blog and excerpt from The Clockwork Dagger up at Coffee Time Romance.

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