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H’s Swap: Feb 22, Asian Salad and Bread Pudding

Posted by | February 23, 2011 | THE SWAP | 6 Comments

Asian Noodle Salad

Poor Shalinee has been out straight lately at work with way too much weighing on her. She has a huge deadline looming for Friday, plus a million other things going on, so her cooking for the swap this week was out of the question. It was also her birthday Tuesday! And so this week was a swapless swap week— I made dinner for Shalinee’s family and she didn’t cook… which we’ve never actually done before… but was exactly as it should be on a week like this.

About a year ago (before we started blogging about the swap), I made “Asian Noodle Salad” from The Pioneer Woman one week for our swap. It turned out to be an incredibly awesome salad that both Shalinee and I absolutely loved beyond belief! Our husbands and kids loved it too. It was a real keeper of a recipe. Probably one of the best salads I’ve ever made (or eaten, for that matter) ever in my life. No kidding! Since I made it for swap that time I’ve made it two or three other times for my family. So, given everything going on with Shalinee this week, I wanted to make something for the swap that I knew she would love. I also wanted to make something super refreshing to help get us through these gray dark freezing-cold-days-of-winter. And so, for this week’s swap I, for the first time in our almost one year of swapping, made a dinner I’ve made before for swap. Here is the link to Ree Drummond’s fabulous recipe:

It is a labor intensive salad (lots of chopping!), but totally worth it. I pretty much follow the recipe, just with a few tweaks. For example, I use baby salad greens instead of spinach. And I like to add shredded chicken to bulk up on the protein when the kids are going to be eating it. I also like to add diced fresh mango. For the swap, because of Alex’s allergies, I made Shalinee’s dinner completely nut-and-seed-free (which meant eliminating the cashews and the sesame oil). This salad is so incredibly delicious! In the summer we eat it totally cold, but in the winter I like to warm up the noodles so that there is a warm-and-cold thing going on together on the plate. Either way, it is absolutely awesome (and slightly addictive!). Braydon and I eat it all tossed up together, but K, O, and M like to have all the items separate on their plates. So, we put all the containers of ingredients out on the table and let everyone “make their own.” The kids love the “sauce” (the salad dressing), and especially like to pour it all over the noodles and chicken. It is all good and I have to admit that I kind of get a huge kick out of seeing my six year old boys devour the “Asian Noodle Salad” dinner and clean their plates completely.


Asian Salad Dinner Kyle's plate

This week I also made a dessert (which we don’t normally do for swap, but this week was an unusual week all around so I went all out). I made the most homey-comfy-wintertime-treat: bread pudding. There is nothing quite like warm and gooey bread pudding with whipped cream on top to bring some comfort on a cold February night. The recipe I used came from (you can find it here); I’m posted it below. It is really good! I highly recommend that you make it for your family soon (and double it to give one away to your friend who needs it!).

bread pudding

Bread Pudding (copied and pasted from

This bread pudding recipe, from an old Amish cookbook, is absolutely incredible. It was copied, loaned out, scribbled on note cards and passed on by grandmothers, great-aunts, beloved neighbor ladies and those whose home cooking reaches the very soul of the family. This is the bread pudding people get dreamy-eyed over. For a lot of us, it’s nostalgia. A yearning for a simpler time when dessert was made from a few common kitchen ingredients. It’s also the way it brings everyone into the kitchen, warm with the smell of cinnamon and vanilla fresh from the oven. Whatever the reason this bread pudding becomes your number one comfort food; savor every bite. It is truly the soul satisfying treat that most people crave. Nothing beats warm bread pudding on a cold or rainy night.


2 cups whole milk (or 2 cups half & half)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, depending on taste preference)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread, torn into small pieces (french bread works best)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)


1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk (or half & half) just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole.

4. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Pour batter on top of bread.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

If you make the sauce to put on top of your bread pudding, adjust the sugar in the bread pudding recipe, change it to 1/3 cups sugar (the sauce has the other 1/3 cup in it).

Bread Pudding Sauce


1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon flour
dash of salt


Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.

{Serve the bread pudding warm with whipped cream on top!}


  • Nadia says:

    YUM! we are having this for dinner tonight…I think it will be a regular. Heck, anything loaded with cilantro is delicious!!

  • Laurie says:

    This comment doesn’t have anything to do with the post, although the food looks yummy! I’m sure you get sick of hair questions, but I have one. I started twisting my boys’ hair about a month ago with the intention of starting dreadlocks. They have curly hair (when it was short it would be little bead looking things on their hair). The twists in the back and some on the side curl up. Did K and O’s do that when you started their’s? If so, as it got longer did they straighten our, or did you use something special to make them hang straight? (their hair right now is about 2-3 inches when pulled out straight). Thanks! :)

    • Heather says:

      Laurie, I never get sick of hair questions! :)
      Yes, K & O’s locs definitely “curl up”– some of their locs did this when we first started, and some actually still do it now. To get that really straight, straight loc look you need to palm roll and palm roll and palm roll constantly. I just don’t do that because: 1) I don’t want to make the boys sit for that much time for their hair, and 2) I kind of like the totally natural semi-crazy loc look on my boys… it suits their personalities! I do think that as the locs get longer they hang straighter just because they are heavier. I’ve also found that by blow-drying their hair down straight (after washing it), I can get a more polished, straight look (I have done this from time-to-time before special events — like attending the symphony at Christmas, or some things like that). Also, if I use some hair creme/grease/oil and quickly palm roll a bit, I can often get some of the curled up locs to hang a bit straighter. I keep their hair really well oiled, and that seems to help overall. But the truth is that a lot of days, when the roll out of bed in the morning with loc-bed-head, their hair looks kinda crazy (some curling, some not, some pointing one direction, others pointing other directions, etc.!)… and they go to school looking like that plenty. It just is what it is. I have sort of fully embraced the “natural”-ness of the loc hair experience, and so at this point I find it just plain cute.
      Let me know if that answers your questions, ok?
      Good luck with your boys’ locs!!!

  • Ani says:

    Thanks for posting the bread pudding recipe!!!!! My husband LOVES bread pudding (its his favorite dessert) and I’m not really a fan, but figured that he deserved a little TLC so I made this for him last night (along with PW’s shrimp pasta, yummy!). It was a WINNER – I scored so many points :-) and I’m so not a baker.
    Thanks again!

  • Laurie says:

    Thanks so much Heather for answering my question. It definitely helps…I am glad to know that there is hope and I’m not doing something wrong. :) I also think the ‘crazy look’ is kind of cute, escpecially while they are still so young (mine are 4 now). You are right about those things (the locs, not the boys, although it’s true about the boys too!) being a ton of work, but I love the look and think it’s worth it. Thanks so much for all your tips on your blog. I have gone back to old pictures on there to make sure our locs ‘look right’ compared to K and O’s. :) I keep worrying if I put in too many or too little or if I did them too small or too big, etc. It’s really silly how obsessed over them I am right now. I just know that once they start locking up that I can’t change them. You know? I may be checking back in over the summer because we swim a lot too and I’m sure hoping they are locked up enough to stay in.
    Thanks again and have a great weekend!

  • Julie says:

    I have not seen a new swap in awhile and I was just wondering if you are still doing that? I really enjoyed reading and trying all the recipes. Thanks.

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