Lulabelle Cooks without a Net: Cherry Cola Cobbler……

I finally presented Chad with his valentines day gift at dinner tonight. Because we think it’s dumb that anyone dictate when we celebrate love (and I just couldn’t get it together this year in time for the 14th).

So when I asked if he wanted me to make chocolate chips cookies or cherry cobbler, and he chose the latter, I knew I’d blog the results.

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company. Every fall they put out a cherry pie with Vernor’s ginger ale baked into the filling. This gives the pie a wonderful zing and enhances the flavor profile of a normal cherry pie.

So I decided to try my own version. And of course because it’s me, I decided to add another ingredient.

Cherry cola. Why? Because.

As always, my cobbler’s start with sugar cookie dough you can make yourself (Why though?) or buy in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  As for the filling I did the following:

Empty two frozen packages of cherries into metal bowl. (EDIT: I went a bit overboard with the amount and had leftover cherry mixture that I put into a Ziplock bag and froze for another time) 

Pour cherry cola over cherries until covered.  Stir quickly to combine.

Watch cola absorb and freeze into the cherries, making them more frozen. #Science

Stick mixture into the fridge as you tear the kitchen and living room to shreds looking for that jar of ground ginger you swear you have.

Let cherry mixture sit in the fridge for another 3 days until ground ginger is purchased.

On day 3, stir in ground ginger to taste. Now I will warn you, be careful. I used 2 teaspoons of ginger and that was probably too much. Ginger is a tricky spice and there is a very fine line between “Oh, that’s delicious” to “Oh, that is DEFINITELY an industrial strength cleaning product!”

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To assemble: cut dough into two pieces in a 3/4th to 1/4 ratio. Take the 3/4th section and spread it into the bottom of a rounded non stick pan. Pour in cherry mixture with a measuring cup, being careful to not pour in too much of the liquid (to avoid overflowing the pan and causing a mess in the oven.)

Take the smaller section of dough and plop it in dollops around the top of the cherry mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Bon Appetit, Ya’ll!! 

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. 

 

Lulabelle Cooks Without A Net (YouTuber Edition): Honey Mustard Chicken……

(Today’s entry is based off of a recipe I found online by YouTuber Colleen Ballinger–AKA Miranda Sings. You can find the original recipe here)

Last night I tried a recipe I found on Colleen Ballinger’s YouTube channel for Honey Mustard chicken. The original recipe called for the chicken to be marinated in the honey mustard sauce, but since it’s us and we didn’t have much time last night, I decided to make the sauce be more of a dipping condiment.

Here are the ingredients you are gonna need:

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The mason jar on the far left is filled with hot pepper flakes. HPF don’t appear in the original recipe, but we enjoy heat so I threw some in.

Start with one cup mustard and honey. Mix together and add in a shake of salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of curry. Mix well and add in garlic and HPF if you want. Adjust all ingredients to your liking.

After making this sauce I wondered if it would go well with crackers as I’ve dipped crackers in hot mustard before and it was delicious.

This mustard sauce was no different! It goes well with chicken and crackers and I bet it would also go well with pretzels as a lite snack.

Bon-Appetite’ Y’all!

**blogger’s note: I recently started a Change.org petition on an issue that is near to my heart. Please consider signing and passing it along. You can find it here.
Thanks! 🙂

LAFF: Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: DIY Popeye’s Restaurant Red Beans and Rice (Please Note This One Has Never Actually Been Made or Tried By Me)……

I have been blogging for a LONG time and lately I’ve begun to get bored. This is probably partly sleep deprivation due to integrating a 3 month old furry Cheeto with legs into our family. Or maybe because…nope, pretty sure that’s it. 😛

So today I had another topic planned, but it was just not coming along as I had wanted, so I’m doing something completely different. I am combining two series on my blog today: Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday and Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net. Now just as the title states, this recipe hasn’t actually been tried by me yet, but it came to me earlier this afternoon while I was eating a lunch of leftovers.

So the other night we decided to get take out from Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. It just opened up in our town and we hadn’t been there before (I suppose we still haven’t actually eaten there since we did the drive through and took it home 😉 ).

Anyway…..One of the things that we bought was red beans and rice; a Louisiana cajun staple. This caught our eye because it’s on the menu of another cajun restaurant in town that we also adore.

When we took our food home and prepared to eat, I opened up the red beans and rice and realized it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. For one thing, it was sausage-less.

Dear Popeye’s, sausage is my favorite part of red beans and rice. Is that too much to ask??

**Sidenote: I took the time to make a GIF of myself with a sad face and attempted to upload it to a GIF maker, but that didn’t work. So then I decided I’d just upload the video here for you to see since videos I upload here from my computer don’t have sound anyway and are basically GIF’s. BUT when I went to upload the video…..And discovered that WordPress no longer lets you upload videos unless you upgrade your account.

BLERGH! 😛 So just imagine my sad face blinking into your face right here…….
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Sadness aside, I began to realize that I could totally DIY this dish. So I did. In my head. Here’s how you can have Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice at home for super cheap……

Step One: grab a can of refried beans.

Step Two: pour the beans into a bowl

Step 3 (I got tired of spelling the numbers): add a half a can of red beans

Step 4: add salt and pepper

Step 5: add some liquid smoke. I don’t know how much, but I can’t imagine you’d need a lot.

Step 6 (my favorite step): eat it!

Bon Appetit Y’all!

Photo on 2016-08-06 at 00.41

Affiliate link below for Christian Cafe

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Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Pretzel M&M Cookie Bark….

Now, in full disclosure this recipe was originally for just straight cookies, but I had to call it what it turned into, a brittley bark like sweet cookie yumminess. Why didn’t these turn into regular cookies that everyone on the planet can recognize?

You should know by now that it’s simply because I was the one that baked them.

Of course. 😉

This blog entry idea came about after I watched one of my favorite YouTubers bake a batch of cookies. Tanya Burr, a beauty vlogger, also has a baking channel and made these amazing looking cookies that I just had to replicate, with a twist of course.

The twist being Burr actually made the cookie dough from scratch and this mama doesn’t have time to do all that!! (Plus I had enough trouble with just pre-made dough and trying to keep Riley from climbing onto the baking pan to eat it. I was almost successful. So far he’s not gotten sick so apparently kittens can eat a smidge of raw cookie dough without any ill effects 😛 ). I also left out the peanut butter because of an in house allergy and we were out of almond butter. If I make these again–scratch that, WHEN I make these again, I’ll add in some almond butter.

So for my recipe you will need 1 log of sugar cookie pre made dough (I used Pillsbury), a package of regular M&M’s and a package of thin pretzel sticks.

Place the cookie dough on a cookie sheet according to the package directions. Or do it however you want. I tried to follow the package directions, but I didn’t realize cutting cookie dough into even slices would be so difficult. I ended up putting the entire package onto one sheet and when the cookies baked there wasn’t enough room between them, so they basically baked up to form one giant rectangular cookie. Add a cape and your giant cookie can now fight crime. 😀

Ok, let’s back track. Before putting the cookies in the oven, but after spreading them on the sheet, take a couple M&M’s and pretzel bits and push them down onto the top of the cookie. I managed to get 4 tiny pieces of pretzel and 3 M&M’s on each cookie. I’m sure that if you are better at executing directions than I am, you’ll be able to fit more on.

So now your cookies are ready to bake per the instructions on the back. While they are baking, use this time to corral the kitten who has decided that he really wants to take a swan dive off the top of the refrigerator just to see if he can do it.

When the oven timer dings (let me backtrack again–set the oven timer after putting in your cookies), carefully take them out of the oven and hold them in one hand while you frantically clear a space on the counter since the kitten is not strong enough to jump that high yet. Putting them on the table would just lead to an emergency vet visit later that same night. So after unplugging the toaster and shoving it against the back wall, you finally can set down your cookies and take a break while you wait for them to cool.

Don’t wait too long. I got distracted by an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and when I went to take the cookies off the sheet, they had definitely cooled, but had also somehow adhered themselves to the cookie sheet. When I took a spatula to them, I had to push really hard and they didn’t separate into individual cookies. I basically had the equivalent of cookie bark, hence the last minute title change.

The taste? Oh my goodness!! SO good. The sugar cookies and chocolate pieces were sweet, but the pretzel pieces added a savory note that helped the over all cookie not be too sweet.

I will definitely be making these cookies again. In a way I have to….I have another log of cookie dough in the fridge. 😉

Cheers!

PS: Happy belated birthday to my new niece Rosie who I’ll be making these cookies for the moment that she can have sugar

 

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: PMS Symptom Reliever Smoothie……..

**Before we begin today’s entry, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind (big fat “duh!” but being that people believe anything they read online, it has to be said). If you are experiencing raging PMS, please consult your doctor before embarking on weird alternative remedies found on your favorite blog. 😉

So last week I wrote a post about what happens when grief and PMS collide. To sum up, things can get pretty dicey. So this weekend I decided to do something about it. And all I needed was a blender, Google, and food we already had in the fridge/freezer.

Different foods do different, magical things for our body. Apparently. Fish oil from fish helps our hearts, eggs and other protein rich foods help our brain function. There are even foods that supposedly ease PMS symptoms.

Say WHAAATT?? :-O

According to my quick google search, foods like yogurt, brazil nuts, dark chocolate and salmon help reduce PMS symptoms. You know what comes next…..Let’s take this to the kitchen!!

So I knew we had dark chocolate, yogurt, almond butter and spinach, so I added those into the blender (quick tip: If you are working with Hershey’s Kisses, make sure to unwrap each kiss completely so that you don’t accidentally add part of the foil or flag to your smoothie….although that would add extra fiber…hmmmm….).

Then I grabbed a frozen banana that I had to chisel out of the tupperware container with my finger, threw that in the blender with milk, cinnamon and a tiny bit of chili powder (for, you know, antioxidants and stuff). While I was up in the freezer getting the banana I saw a partially used bag of frozen broccoli that had probably been there since the Eisenhower administration. With a, “Eh, why not” attitude, I threw a bunch of the frozen green goodness into the concoction.

Then I gave it a whirl.

The smell upon opening the blender was not unlike french toast with a hint of chocolate. I could stomach that. Totally.

I was surprised at the taste; a bit yeasty not unlike bread. With a chocolate element. It was basically a grainier version of Nutella. And now I want Nutella. These PMS cravings are no joke, guys.

Overall, I’m not for sure that this smoothie actually helped to alleviate my symptoms, but I definitely felt like I was being proactive in helping myself feel more human-like. And it involved chocolate, so I really couldn’t go wrong. 😀

Bon-Appetit Y’all! ❤

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**We put a man on the moon, cured polio, made a wristwatch you can watch TV on and THESE menu items DON’T exist. Priorities, people!! 😛

Image appears courtesy of Yahoo search

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Apple Pie Smoothie…..

Well, I’m at it again. But this time, this one is pretty good. I promise.

No, I’m serious. Stay with me.

This one has our usual suspects of yogurt, milk, spinach and one lonely banana (that’s all we had) added for thickness.  To this I added frozen apples that came from our backyard, brown sugar (roughly 1/6th of a cup. Keyword, “roughly”), and eyeballed portions of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Finally, I found where our protein powder was hiding and added that in. No measuring required because I lost the measuring cup that comes with it.

Now I was a bit skeptical of using frozen apple slices because I wasn’t sure they’d blend properly. But I didn’t want to cut them down further for fear of cutting myself. So I dumped them in and hoped for the best.

It turned out to be an awesome decision. Especially since it was pretty humid yesterday and the end result was very refreshing.

So I combined all those ingredients and blended the mixture for a few seconds. The end result was an icy, refreshing thing that was not really a smoothie consistency, but chunkier.

Not unlike an apple-pie gazpacho. Ok, I promise it tastes better than I’m describing.

Seriously.

So I originally made this yesterday and had some leftover today. The mixture had separated as it always has, but instead of pouring it into a cup and drinking it, I put it back on the blender base and blended it together again for about 10 seconds. It combined together like it had been the night before.

This ones a keeper, guys. Seriously.

Bon-appetit’ y’all!

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**My smoothies may not all be winners, but at least they are salmonella free! 😀 Image appears courtesy of google image search

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Tortilla…..

My breakfast game has recently been taken to a whole new level with a sweet concoction I DIY’d one day when I was trying to figure out how to use a whole can of plain pumpkin in one week. #dangthatwasalonga**sentence 😛 

As with all my other food experiments, this one is pretty simple and afforable, and this one, unlike others, has been deemed a success.

Take a plain or multi-grain tortilla and put it on a plate or baking sheet. Open a can of plain pumpkin and scoop out a few dollops on the open tortilla. Spread pumpkin around to fill the entire tortilla.

Sprinkle cinnamon and cloves over the spread pumpkin.

Lastly, shake brown sugar on the top of the pumpkin spice blend. Pop this into the microwave for 40 seconds if using a microwave safe plate. If using an oven, set it to 350 and watch it carefully. Remove when the sugar starts to melt.

Bon Appetit Y’all!

Feline Weight Loss Update & I Tell You What I Have For Breakfast….

We are in, what, week 3 of operation Honey I Shrank the Cat (naturally by healthy food and small portions). Things are going well. We are slowly getting used to smaller portion sizes and set meal times. We haven’t quite figured out that both bowls of food in front of us are not all for us, but we are learning. And we’ve discovered the wonders of canned pumpkin.

When we initially went to the vet several weeks ago, they recommended we give the oldest canned pumpkin to give her more fiber. The hiccup in the plan is that she isn’t fond of wet food, so I was skeptical that she’d want canned pumpkin.

I was very pleasantly surprised. She lapped it up lickety-split. She takes a teaspoon twice a day, so there is quite a lot left over, but I’ve found a solution for that.

The first time I gave her the canned pumpkin, I got to thinking that if it helped cats bowels, perhaps it’d do the same for people. I put a spoonful in my cheerios the next day, and sure enough, I got the results I wanted. 😉

So since then I’ve improved upon my concoction and today I thought I’d share it with you. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Pumpkin Spice Cheerios (dear Cheerios makers, I know you have more than half a dozen flavors of Cheerios and it’s really only a matter of time before you hop on the pumpkin spice train, but when you do, can you do me a solid and credit me and my blog? Thanks! 😛 ) :

Pour some Cheerios into a bowl. Top with a generous dollop of canned pumpkin and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Add milk and enjoy your fiberous breakfast creation!

Cheers!

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Smoothie……

I had high hopes for this one. Seriously. Just read the title. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a smoothie whose main ingredient is freakin’ THIN MINT GIRL SCOUT COOKIES???

It turns out, plenty. Ah, let’s just get this one over with…..

So, I had good intentions. While eating a frozen girl scout thin mint cookie last week,  I had a great idea for a smoothie. So tonight I carved out a little bit of time to ‘speriment. Let me break down what happened next:

This story actually began a few days ago when I completed step 1. Taking out the blender from the refrigerator and dumping out the contents of my last smoothie fail. I then discovered that the blender needed a good soaking in hot soapy water overnight. The next day I washed it out again and left it to dry in the drainer. Which brings us to tonight’s events.

I excitedly took a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints (16 cookies) and crushed them the best I could with a rolling pin. Then I put them into the blender with about a 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen spinach. I threw in some milk (eyeballed it so I have no idea how much there actually was) and a cup of vanilla yogurt. The one ingredient that I intended to use but discovered we were out of was protein powder.

After plugging in the blender, I liquified the mixture, stopped the blender and opened the lid. For some reason it began to separate immediately. But it only seemed like it was the spinach that separated and swam to the top, covered in chocolate-minty goodness. Undeterred, I grabbed a glass and poured myself some smoothie.

I could definitely taste the chocolate and mint, but it wasn’t as sweet as I had expected. And there was definitely an earthy element to it thanks to the spinach. Actually that was what was left in the glass when I finished. About a half of an inch deep of tiny spinach shards. Like a sweet pesto sauce without all the good stuff, like actual pesto.

But I think I managed to fix my recipe so next time it’ll taste way better….

First, take out the blender and pour in some milk. Leave out the spinach, yogurt and protein powder. Take out a sleeve of Thin Mints. Leaving them whole and unblemished, pour the entire sleeve into the milk in the blender. Grab a giant spoon and pull up your favorite episode of anything on Hulu. Sit back and enjoy your giant bowl of Thin Mint cereal.

Happy Eating!

PS: after finishing your giant bowl of cereal, head on over to my cousin’s blog where she talks about crossfit. Yes, this is different than actually doing crossfit, but it sounds way too intense to do right after you just ate your weight in cookies. 😉

PPS: Nearly 24 hours after making the said smoothie, I look into the fridge and this is what greets me.  I observed that the smoothie had separated completely into 3 distinct layers. Chocolate cookie layer is on the top, the middle is your greens–ie mint and spinachy goodness and the bottom layer is your milk and yogurt, in other words; dairy. So really it’s like a regular food pyramid, without all that healthy junk like fruit and grains.