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What does Thanksgiving mean to you? 

To me, Thanksgiving means lots of food, family, and running around.  At the heart of my family are my grandmothers. Yes, I am blessed enough to have several grandmothers in my life, as well as one Great-Grandmother. But that’s just the thing – I only have one “Grandma”; the others have various names. I have one who instilled in me the love of cooking whom I affectionately call “Granny.” Granny introduced me to King’s Hawaiian Bread from a very young age and is important in many ways. I also have a Nanny, NaNa, Graham, GrandNor, and my Aunt (whom I call “YaYa” now!). 

My Aunt, now Yaya, is not Greek, but I think she received her name as many in my family have. It was the first thing her first grandchild called her. And it stuck!  I have lots of friends with “Mimis.” I have even met a few “Honeys” (I’m really partial to this name. Maybe one day in the far future I will be a Honey). Many families I know have a story behind the naming of their Grandmothers. I think in some ways, it is kind of a new tradition.

Do you have any special names for the people in your ohana? 

My Granny, like my Aunt, received her name from my cousin when she was beginning to talk and could only say “Granny” (or it might have been more like “GAN-ee”). Granny has always been at the heart of the kitchen during our family celebrations. It never ceases to amaze me how she can pull off seated dinners for 25 with just one oven and only four burners. It boggles my mind; I can tear up a whole kitchen making just one recipe! This Bacon and Leek Savory Thanksgiving Bread Pudding is not one of my Granny’s recipes, but it was inspired by her. One of Granny’s secrets of the kitchen is to prepare food ahead of time. This bread pudding can be made a day in advance and sit covered in the fridge, waiting to be baked on Thanksgiving Day. And if you have an ohana as big as mine, this will surely help!

I hope this holiday season brings you and your ohana together to celebrate, enjoy and eat! 

Bacon and Leek Savory Thanksgiving Bread Pudding

Makes 8-10 hearty servings

You’ll need:
1 King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread
1 cup chopped leeks
12oz of bacon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: ½ cup fresh parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start with the King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Round bread. 

Tear up the bread into bite sized pieces and spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Toast the bread for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

Next begin to fry the bacon. You will want this bacon to be on the crispier side. Once the bacon is cooked, set it on a plate covered with a paper towel to dry. Do not drain the bacon grease from pan. 

Wash and slice the leeks about a ¼ inch in thickness. Then dice those in half. 

Sauté the leeks in the same pan that you fried the bacon in. Sauté until tender about 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently. 

After the bacon has cooled, chop it into small pieces. 

In a large mixing bowl combine the heavy whipping cream, eggs, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.

Now add the toasted bread into the mix. Toss it well. Then mix in the sautéed leeks and bacon. 

Place the savory bread pudding into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with parmesan cheese if you want. The parmesan will get crispy if you put it on in the beginning. You can add it later or not at all. This step is a personal preference.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Now it’s time to dig into this feast with your ohana!