I can’t believe Christmas is only two weeks away. But I’m not done with the cards, shopping, baking, and cleaning. Time to panic.
Just kidding. Even though I’m absolutely Type A in many parts of my life, I’ve finally managed to give that up when it comes to the holidays. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that the most important part of the holidays is being with people I love, because life is short. And no matter how many years I have with the people I love, it will never be enough.
So I celebrate the holidays and the little moments, such as dinner conversations about knock knock jokes, watching the boys test the trebuchet and skateboard that they made with Michael, that proud feeling that comes when the boys help without being asked, listening to them read stories aloud to each other, lunch dates with Michael, and family breakfast on the weekends. Being in the moment has become much more important than planning moments.
Last Christmas we said goodbye to my grandmother. There have been others lost to my family this year, and there have been other trials that we have endured. And I’ve been happy for every day with my family and friends, because each day has become more precious.
Whatever is special in your life, celebrate it every single day. Don’t wait for Christmas or some other perceived special occasion to enjoy the people in your life. Do the things that you enjoy with the people you love. Make their favorite foods and spend time with them. Smile, laugh, remember the good times, and make new memories. And hug them, just because.
This eggnog cranberry bread pudding is a hit with my family. Challah is great for bread pudding, but you can also use other breads, even leftover rolls. The rum is optional if you prefer to leave it out. To save time the morning you plan to serve the bread pudding, you can make some parts ahead, such as tearing the bread, mixing the eggs with the liquids, and whisking together the nutmeg and brown sugar.
Eggnog Cranberry Bread Pudding
- small bowl
- 9x13 baking dish, buttered
- large mixing bowl
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 12 ounces day-old challah (torn or cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 6 large eggs (beaten)
- 3½ cups eggnog
- 2 ounces rum (or bourbon, optional)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C. Soak the cranberries in a small bowl of hot water until plump, about 10 minutes, then drain.
- Distribute the challah pieces around the buttered baking dish, and then top with the soaked cranberries. In the large bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, eggnog, rum, and kosher salt. Pour over the challah, thoroughly covering all the bread. Press any dry pieces of bread down into the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for one hour.
- Stir together the nutmeg and brown sugar, and sprinkle over the challah mixture. Sprinkle the walnuts on top, then bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack, and serve warm.