Mixed Berry Cobbler

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Fruit cobbler made with tart mixed berries and a lattice crust. It is the best possible combination of pie and cobbler you’re gonna find.

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I know I probably should have shared this with you before Labor Day, what with holiday cookouts and all, but part of me just wanted to hang onto summer for a few minutes longer.

This hasn’t been an all-around outstanding summer. This past month (which was admittedly pretty crappy) aside, it was just…a summer. We worked a lot. We don’t have any outdoor space so the Mr. didn’t get to grill very much. I spent most of my weekends in the kitchen and forgot to do things like sit outside in the sunshine or go berry picking. So while everyone else is ready to hurry right along to the land of pumpkin spice everything, a part of me is ok with hanging on to summer sun for just a minute longer with Mixed Berry Cobbler.

This recipe is adapted from a family favorite Blackberry Cobbler recipe from an old Southern Living cookbook (Southern Living 1999 Annual Recipes, to be exact). Since blackberries are admittedly a bit expensive even under the best of circumstances (unless your grandfather happens to accidentally grow to many and gives your family several dozen pounds…not that we have ever had that happen or anything…), I went ahead and made a few changes to the recipe, including swapping out the blackberries for mixed berries. Feel free to use any berries you like in this recipe – if you happen to have several dozen pounds of blackberries (or raspberries, or strawberries or…you get the idea) hanging around, go ahead and use those! Otherwise, a mix of fresh or frozen berries will do just fine.

Oh, what’s that? Now that you see this recipe, you want to hang onto summer a bit longer, too? Then may I suggest topping your luscious Berry Cobbler with some homemade peach ice cream? I mean…duh.

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Mixed Berry Cobbler
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅔ cup half-and-half
For the filling:
  • 8 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen berries, thaw completely)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
Instructions
Make pastry:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add the half-and-half, stirring with a fork until the mixture is just barely combined.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead 6-8 times, until dough forms a ball. Roll ⅓ of the pastry into ¼-inch thickness and cut into strips 1½-inches wide (reserve the rest of the dough). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Make the filling:
  1. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract. Let stand until sugar dissolves. Spoon half of the mixture into a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Break the baked pastry strips into pieces and lay on top of the fruit mixture; top with the remaining berries. Dot with the butter.
  3. Roll the remaining pastry dough into ¼-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Weave into a lattice over the filling. If desired, brush the pastry with additional half-and-half and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
Notes
Half-and-half is a mixture of half cream, half whole milk. If you do not have access to half-and-half, feel free to use milk instead.

Life Updates: The Sequel

final collage

Spoiler alert: We are cancer free!

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As regular readers will know, the first of the month is normally reserved for my “Friends First” series. This month we are going to take a little break from the series – partly because I didn’t have anyone lined up when the sh** hit the fan earlier this month, and partly so that I can give you a follow-up from my previous life updates post.

After that post went live, our family received the biggest outpouring of love via social media. A day or two later, we put out the call on social media for anyone who wanted to paint their toenails blue (or wear blue) and send us a picture to include in a collage, with the idea being that we were collectively kicking colon cancer in the butt. I am so happy to say that the response was completely overwhelming – we ended up with over 75 photos from friends all over the country – nay, all over the world! A huge chunk of these people have never even met my mom, but know and love her via the internet. You can see the finished collage above – isn’t the internet a cool place?

Momma’s surgery went smoothly and, while recovery has been going slower than she would like (although she would like to have been back to her normal lightening speed a week ago), she has been doing great.

And the best news? She had her follow-up appointment with the surgeon this past Friday and was officially declared cancer free – they were able to remove all of it and there are no traces in her lymph nodes!

To say we are relieved would be an understatement. She will be under close watch the rest of her life, but regular colonoscopies will allow the doctors to catch anything new early and take care of it on the spot. It has been a long month, but we are so blessed that this did not last any longer – so many people are not nearly as lucky. We aren’t exaggerating when we say that colonoscopies save lives, friends.

Thank you all again for your prayers, love, and support this past few weeks. The love our family has been shown has truly meant the world to us. We send it all right back to you.

xoxo,

-S

For helpful information on colon cancer, screening and how family history plays a role, visit www.ccalliance.org

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

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Silky smooth pasta sauce made from roasted bell peppers, plenty of sautéed shallots and garlic, and just a touch of half-and-half for creaminess.

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Hello, there! I have a special treat for you all today…a recipe from me!

I know, I know. It’s amazing. I nearly fell over from shock, too.

All kidding aside, I am so grateful to Stef and Julia for guest posting for me last week while I spent much-needed time with my family. If you missed their posts, make sure to check out the outstanding Creamy Chicken Enchilada Pasta Salad from Stef and the to-die-for Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado from Julia. Aren’t my friends the most talented people you’ve ever met? One of the best parts of having friends who happen to be food bloggers is knowing you will be well fed wherever you go.

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So let’s chit-chat about this recipe, shall we? I recently found myself flipping through Giada De Laurentiis’s Everyday Pasta, which is a pretty handy book for any carb-lover to have around the house, when I came across a recipe for Spaghetti with Red and Yellow Peppers. I hardly looked at the recipe before dashing to the store for ingredients to make my own version, which features roasted bell peppers (any color or mixture of colors will do), plenty of shallots, garlic, and a (large) splash of white wine, all pureed down to silky perfection. A bit of half-and-half adds just enough creaminess and richness to the sauce without making it heavy, but feel free to use creamy if you prefer an even richer sauce.

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Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado

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Luscious tomatoes stacked high with avocado, corn and creamy herb yogurt dressing.

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Hello, my lovelies! For those following along, Momma’s surgery went well on Wednesday and we brought her home yesterday. While we all rest and regroup, Julia from The Roasted Root is sharing some incredibly sweet words (excuse me while I go get a tissue) and a luscious stacked tomato salad recipe. Here she is!

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Hello, my dear friends! I’m stepping in for Stephie while she’s spending time with her family. As you know, Julie “Momma” Swope had a procedure to remove colon cancer on Wednesday, and Stephie has been spending time with her this week (if this is all news to you, go read Stephie’s Life Updates post and then come right back!).

I brought some stacked food, which I will tell you about momentarily, but first what I really want to talk about is Julie Swope. Julie is a superhero as far as I’m concerned. She’s quick-witted, hard-working, supportive, smart, funny, thoughtful, and strong! I feel a kinship toward both Momma Swope and Stephie, and am thrilled that I am finally meeting them at the end of September.

Momma Swope has been a big part of my life over the last three years, particularly within the last year. While I haven’t gone into detail on my own blog, this past year has been challenging for me. Julie has been an incredible resource for advice and laughs – the woman has insight and humor, which is what I crave abundantly. She’s very giving and willing to lend a helping hand.

They just don’t make people like Julie and Stephie these days, so having these women in my life makes me feel like I really lucked out. They certainly fill my love tank. Their positive outlook on life is contagious and their ability to always move forward in spite of any hardship they face is inspiring.

I mean, what kind of woman finds out she has colon cancer and instead of feeling downtrodden and throwing herself a pity party, she shrugs with a “I don’t have time for cancer,” and decides to fight? That would be Julie.

To Julie: I wish you a speedy recovery and can’t wait to finally give you a legit hug next month. My thoughts are with you and I love the crap out of you (get it? Crap?)!

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Creamy Chicken Enchilada Pasta Salad

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Chicken enchiladas and pasta salad fell in love and had a baby. Trust me, you’re gonna want this pasta salad love child.

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Hey, y’all! While I’m at home taking care of my momma, my dear friend Stef from Sarcastic Cooking graciously offered to share a delicious recipe with you guys. I want to face-plant into this Creamy Chicken Enchilada Pasta Salad – it would be perfect redefined comfort food this week! So without further ado…here she is!

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Tuesday was one of those “nothing seems to be going right” kind of days. Andy has not been sleeping through the night. I am going to say it is teething. Am I 100% sure of that? No. But teething is much better than sleep regression or thinking he will never ever sleep through the night again. Yes, that is a bit dramatic, but that is me.

Andy didn’t nap. He didn’t want to be held. He didn’t want to sit. He didn’t want to bounce. He didn’t want to eat. It was like everything I was trying was not suitable to ease his little mind. I honestly think he had no idea what he wanted.

Now, you guys know me. You know I am a bit of a Sad Sally. A Debbie Downer. A Negative Nancy, if you will.  It is so hard for me to get out of a funk. These little battles with my child may seem like nothing to a Sunshine Susan who has beams of light and rainbows shooting out her ass. But I felt defeated.  I really had to just shut down. I had to go to sleep as soon as Mike got home that night and just reboot and restart the next day…. 

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Whole Wheat Rhubarb Muffins with Buckwheat

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Whole wheat, naturally-sweetened muffins are the perfect vehicle for tart rhubarb and earthy buckwheat flour.

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Before I get to muffins, I have something much more important to say.

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to my latest post about my mom’s cancer. To say that my whole family as been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love this weekend – much of it from people we have never even met – would be an understatement. I have always said that the community is the best thing I have gotten out of blogging, and that has never been more true than this weekend. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers – believe me when I say that we will be carrying them with us to the hospital on Wednesday for her surgery. We are so blessed.

Alright. Some food. I hadn’t planned on a post from me this week (though you will be hearing from a couple of friends who were so generous as to offer to guest post for me even with such short notice), but wanted to share this rhubarb recipe with you before it is completely impossible to find any in the stores. Normally I would be sharing rhubarb earlier in the season, but almost no stores by me carry it! I wasn’t able to find any until a recent jaunt to a new grocery store. Believe me, it’s my new favorite place in the world.

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