Oh what a year it's been (and a pumpkin bread pudding).

Tom sent me flowers at work!
On Sunday, Tom and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary. And, I have to say, this has been the most hectic year yet. Which is why I am also here, begging your forgiveness for my 9-month hiatus. A lot has happened since my last post--which I'll explain in brief . 
After we sobered up from the Mardi Gras festivities, Tom and I decided to set some roots down in Mobile for at least a few more years--we bought a house. We decided to stay in in the Oakleigh neighborhood, where we were renting. It's a historic neighborhood, less than a mile from downtown and completely charming.  Full of live oaks and historic homes--we had to stay. We moved in on May 1st and ever since we've been painting, planting, updating, refinishing, and cleaning. Lots of cleaning. I'll post before and after photos in an upcoming post. But, here's a glimpse at what our house looked like when we moved in: 
We've made some epic changes, stay tuned.
During the downright hellish process of buying a house (apparently they don't just hand them out like they used to), my mother's health was in a serious decline. I flew up to visit her in the hospital in April, and I wish I had known that would be the last time I would see her. On the fourth of July, she passed away. I won't burden you with too much emotion, (because quite frankly I don't believe a blog is the appropriate forum for personal issues) but needless to say, I haven't felt like posting in the past few months. However, thanks to the support and encouragement ("are you ever going to post on your blog again"!?!?) from my husband and friends, I decided to rejoin the online community. And, what better way to return than with a super-indulgent bread pudding? 
I used a combination of two different recipes, one from Deb at Smitten Kitchen and another one I found on Epicurious. I started by cutting up a baguette on Saturday and leaving it out overnight. The bread was perfectly stale the next day. 
Rum and Bourbon? Yes please.
I followed Smitten Kitchen's lazy method by melting the butter in the oven while mixing the above cast of characters. I also decided to add some golden raisins and pecans to the dish--for texture--and I love pecans. 
I primarily followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I added the caramel sauce from the Epicurious recipe. I think it really set it over the top. And, what anniversary brunch is complete with out a  mimosa or two? Tom cooked some bacon as I was finishing the sauce and we sat down to one of the best brunches we've ever made...if I do say so myself. 
More Prosecco, please. 
Pumpkin Bread pudding: adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
1 stick unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

While preheating oven to 350° melt butter in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted (watch it, it will burn quickly), take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients (except raisins and pecans) and pour over bread cubes. Add raisins and pecans and stir to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated. Bake until Custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. 
While the bread is in the oven, make the following caramel sauce. You won't regret it. 

Caramel Sauce: nabbed from Epicurious
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum

Heat the butter and the brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pot until the butter is melted. Add the cream and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.Stir in rum. Keep warm and serve over bread pudding. Or, better yet, just eat it by the spoonful.