Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: The Episode Where Lulabelle Can’t Even Find Her Measuring Spoons (Peach Cobbler Edition)…..

Today’s blog is dedicated to my sweet friend K, who loved to bake and whose smile and laughter could brighten up the darkest room. Sleep well dear friend. We’ll see you in The Morning….♥♥♥


I have a new YouTube obsession (She said, shocking nobody).

For the past week, I have been watching Nerdy Nummies (Rosanna Pansino) as she makes geeky/entertainment themed cakes, pizzas, cookies, and drinks. She also just came out with the cutest baking line ever. Seriously. We’ll be ordering her oven mitts next week.

I don’t know if it was watching her so much or if I suddenly had a food craving for something peachy, but I decided I wanted to attempt to make peach cobbler. Blog style of course, without a recipe.

So I had some leftover frozen sugar cookie dough from a previous LCWAN post (not homemade. Duh 😉 ) and a few quart sized ziplock bags of frozen peaches from our tree harvest last spring. I had an internal debate as to whether or not I should add sugar to the peaches because they were plain, but in the end, I decided to forego sugar on the peaches and just rely on the sugar from the cookie dough.

Was it risky? Yes. But I figured either way it went it would make a delightful blog. Long story short it paid off and I’m glad I didn’t put in any extra sugar (and we were out of sugar anyway).

With all the ingredients gathered, I began the process of assembly. I thought I’d put the cobbler stuff in my rectangular glass casserole dish.

Upon discovering I didn’t own a rectangular glass casserole dish, I settled on a round, non-stick cake pan given to use by my sister on our wedding day because apparently, she has more faith in my potential to be a world-class baker than I do. And before our wedding, I didn’t have the pan so I’m that much closer, apparently.

Even though I bake so infrequently that when I do turn the oven on, the oven gets confused and literally looks at me like I’ve lost my ever-lovin‘ mind.

Oh hey, did I mention the sugar cookie dough and peaches were both frozen solid? True story.
So I decided to put them on the counter for an hour to unthaw.
I mean thaw out.
Anyone else use this term? 😛

But after one hour they were still very frozen-y. So, I dug deep and remembered a little trick my mom taught me. I ran both frozen packages underneath hot water for a few minutes and opened the package of cookie dough to prepare the pan.

Now my idea was to split the dough into two equal parts and put one half flattened on the bottom and one over the top of the peaches. I managed to put down the bottom “crust” part, with only a few tiny holes I hoped weren’t a big deal.

(Actually, I was going to patch the holes with a tiny bit of the other half of the dough before putting the peaches down, but I forgot until I had already dumped the peaches in. At that point all that was left to do was pray and hope for a miracle).

At that point, I was ready to pour the peaches, into the pie pan, but they weren’t at the same place mentally that I was. They were still a bit too frozen to be moved, so I had to take a fork and stab away at them until I got enough fruit loose to justify putting the entire thing in the oven when it wasn’t just crust.

The took a series of sessions consisting of aggressive fork stabbing followed by microwaving the frozen block for intervals of 15-20 seconds. And then I realized that the bowl I had to microwave them was too small, so I had to bring out ANOTHER bowl, dividing the peaches into two frozen bowls, refrigerating one for later and microwaving the other until it was thawed out enough to dump into the pie pan of raw cookie dough. 

The next step was adding cinnamon to the peaches and mixing it in. This is where disaster almost struck. (Speaking of disaster, as I was making this cobbler of dreams I was watching one of the many made for TV movies that were done for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The cinnamon discovery came around the same time as the boat struck the iceberg.) 

What was the near disaster? I couldn’t find my measuring spoons. They were not in the sink or in the drainer by the sink. (Where most of our dishes live after being washed. Because it’s us. :-P.) Fortunately, we had several coffee scoops that were in our utensil drawer. 

Unfortunately, they did not have any measurements on them. The only words written on them said, “coffee scoop” which is something I didn’t need to read because I knew what it was by looking.  

So I had to just eyeball it and trust my instincts. Turns out my instincts are amazing and I should probably bake more without a recipe with just my instincts to guide me. 

I topped the peaches with globs of dough, figuring that during the baking process they dough would spread and it would all be OK. Like the ending of most sitcoms in the 90’s. 

After the cobbler was assembled, it was time to bake. This is where things got a bit tricky as I put it in for 14 minutes at 350 (as per the instructions on the cookie dough package), but it still wasn’t done. So I put it back in for another 8 minutes, but it was still not done. Back in it went for another 5-7 minutes. For a total of what I believe was close to 35ish minutes. 

Basically what you need to do is start out with 14 minutes and then if it isn’t done, put it back in until it starts to smell amazing in your kitchen, but you don’t smell anything burning. Bonus points if, when you take it out of the oven, the top crust is beginning to get golden brown. 

Wait about 30 minutes for it to completely cool before sampling it, even though you made it for breakfast the next day. 

Bon-Appetit’ Y’all!

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PS: regarding the sugar we didn’t have that I didn’t use: turns out we didn’t need it as the sugar from the cookie dough is plenty sweet on its own. 

 

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Counting My Blessings……

As Thanksgiving in the states will be here in a few days, I wanted to talk about one of my blessings. Here is a picture of it:

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My blessing today is this empty pie plate.

Chad and I had Friendsgiving dinner last night with our closest friends and one of their dads made a sugar cream pie for the meal, even though he couldn’t be there.

Sugar cream pie is one of my favorites and he had made one for my birthday party in October, but because it didn’t turn out right, he didn’t bring it to my party.

So he made another one. It was totally unexpected as I hadn’t requested one.

Friends, this is what it’s all about. Being kind and thinking of others. Even if you can’t be there to get the glory.

Happy Thanksgiving! ♥

PS: I may have eaten the leftover pie for breakfast. #NoRegrets 😉

 

Facebookin’Cookin’: Where Lulabelle Tries a Cooking Hack Found on Facebook……..

I’m pretty sure most of us have been there. Scrolling through your daily Facebook feed, you inevitably see a food hack. Normally these are quick recipes for decadent cakes microwaved in a coffee mug or quick and scrumptious caramel popcorn.

But last week I saw a recipe hack for dried strawberries. I had actually seen this before, but as fate would have it, Chad had bought several pints of fresh strawberries days before. So at 10:30 PM on a random Tuesday night, I looked over the Facebook hack and got started.

The whole process took several hours.

Now, the recipe looked straightforward enough, but because it’s Facebook, I wanted a little backup insurance that I wasn’t about to totally muck this up. So I went with this blogger’s recipe for more guidance: http://frugalitygal.com/2014/02/oven-dried-strawberries.html

So all I needed was strawberries, a flat baking pan and parchment paper. The frugalitygal link did use lemon juice, but since we didn’t have any, I had to leave that out.

So again, I began this process at 10:30 pm on a random Tuesday. Now in both recipes I consulted, one element that I had to deal with was left out….my strawberries were frozen straight from the freezer. So I gave them a bath in warm water for about 30 minutes while I watched the latest episode of “Castle” (Sidenote: Methinks next season will be it’s last. Seriously.).

So 30 minutes into “Castle” I went back to my strawberries to discover that their texture had changed from solid strawberry bumpiness to a soggier, more tender version. So it was now time to cut them in half. Which I was reluctant to do because the last time I used a sharp knife to cut something I cut my finger and almost passed out (Sidenote #2: Before using any sort of sharp object where there is any chance that you could cut yourself, avoid doing it first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or coffee’d, leaving your blood sugar at a dangerous low 😉 ).

I discovered two things when cutting into the strawberries. 1: I was able to do this with a plain butter knife, avoiding bloodshed and, 2: cutting in half strawberries that have been thawing but are still a bit frozen is akin in texture to raw chicken boobs.

Yummy! 😀

So after the strawberry chicken boobs were cut in two, I arranged them on a baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper. Now put them in the oven that is set at 200 degrees. (Sidenote #3: I mentioned on Facebook that I was drying strawberries in the oven and someone jokingly told me not to burn the house down. But since the temperature of the oven was only 200 degrees, that would definitely be the lamest fire ever! Seriously. Just imagine:

Firefighter: “Ma’m, how did the fire start? Were you cooking Meth?” (Honestly this is a  logical conclusion, given the state where we live. #methcapital)

Me: (Traumatized and slightly embarrassed that I managed to start a fire at only 200 degrees. I’m also blubbering uncontrollably) “No! I was drying (sniffs) straaaawww(blows nose as snot starts making a run for it)berries!!”

Undaunted by a possible house fire, but wanting to be safe, I checked them every hour. Honestly it wasn’t all that hot. Like I was able to actually reach into the oven and pick up a strawberry to test it for dryness during hour 3 (Sidenote #4: So it’s probably time to point out that there was a one hour time difference between the Facebook recipe and the one on frugalitygal. I used the time frame on the latter so it took 4 hours). Probably not the best idea but I’m still alive so whatever. 😛

After 4 hours and numerous episodes of “Castle” and “Bones,” I went back into the kitchen and opened the oven. I pulled out the pan of freshly dried berries and set them down. This was the end result of 4 hours of my life.

They tasted pretty good. Not as dried as I had anticipated, but I’d probably do this again. But next time I think I’ll bring down the food dehydrator that we have and do it proper. 😉

Bon Appetit Y’all!

 

 

Nostalgic Christmas Comfort Food: Mennonite Haystacks…..

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful few days with my side of the family. We returned before my parents hosted my dad’s side of the family, but my mom was discussing the menu at one point and announced her plan to do Haystacks. Immediately my mouth filled with saliva and I asked if she could possibly do them on Sunday as Chad and I would still be at their house. She said yes.

Ah, haystacks. One of my favorite meals growing up. In my area of the country, this Mennonite* staple food would be made for large groups of people and holiday gatherings. Eating it this past weekend brought a sense of nostalgia to our family gathering. I was also eager to introduce Chad to them since I’ve talked about them for years, but we hadn’t had a chance to actually eat them.

So, what are haystacks, you ask?? Simply put, it’s a bunch of vegetables and protein, stacked into a pile on the plate; or a haystack. 🙂 With a bed of rice below.

The table is topped with bowls of diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce (with or without meat-your choice), walnuts, cheese sauce, lettuce, crushed saltines, green olives and crushed tortilla chips. Honestly the list of ingredients is up to you. I think it’d be fun to add shredded cheese and kidney beans, like a taco salad. Note that you don’t have to use all the ingredients on the table. The more ingredients, the more options you have. 🙂

So now you know about haystacks. Let me know if you make them and what you used.

Happy Eating!!

*My cousin’s blog explains better than I could about what Mennonites are. And she’s a great blogger. 😉

Haystacks

Here we have my delicious haystack creation! Bon appetite, ya’ll! 🙂