Nicole’s Famous Cherry Cobbler

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I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I do like to indulge once in a while to a homemade cobbler. What I love about this recipe is that it isn’t too sweet, easy to make if you don’t bake or are aspiring to bake and its all compact in one dish ready to serve family style. You can also easily make this a base for your choice of seasonal fresh fruit like blackberries, my personal favorite peach & many more. Toppings are endless, I will make a lovely salted caramel sauce to top over the peach cobbler this summer, variations of nuts chocolate, crumble etc. I also like to make this in ramekins or in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven. We’ve even made this at a camp fire. You can totally bake this dessert tens of ways.

I’ve been experimenting & creating variations of cherry cobbler for six years now (since my husband and I married in 2010) and it all come down to this perfected recipe that I have yet to write down until now. Yes its been preserved in my head but I have a feeling with two kids now to take care of 24/7 I WILL forget.

I made this for the first time for a friends holiday party and got great feed back. I hope you do as well. I just love this particular recipe because there are two SECRET INGREDIENTS that will set this apart from your normal cherry cobbler. You will find it marries well with the rich flavor cherry brings to baking. It’s the roasted walnuts and semi sweet chocolate.

My family asked me to make this for our Easter dinner party but since its spring and fresh cherries are not in season ( they cost an arm and a leg), we will use a variation of two preserved cherries. First cherries in light syrup & cherry pie filling.

I would recommend these cherries in light syrup.2017-04-14_08-05-12_155You can find these at Trader Joe’s or your local euro market has a similar variant. I get two jars for the recipe. If you are making this with fresh cherries substitute the 2 jars of cherries with 1 pound of pitted cherries and use 1 can of cherry pie filling. Why two different kinds? Just to create a balance of flavor, the semi-sweet tart cherry from one and sweetness from the pie filling. I love dark cherries they have such a meatiness to them when in season we go through so may pounds of them with my family.

(For a fresh cherry cobbler, use one pound of fresh cherries instead of the 2 jars of preserved cherries. I pit the cherries and just incorporate them with the juice preserved cherries. Refrigerate for an hour and then add to the batter.)

Lets begin creating Nicole’s Famous Cherry Cobbler.

Ingredients

2 jars of preserved cherries in light syrup (Trader Joe’s) or (1 lb fresh pitted cherries)

1 can of cherry pie filling

1 stick butter

Half of a lemon

Splash of bourbon or rum (optional)

3 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons

2 1/2 cups milk

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup roasted chopped pecans & or walnuts

Prep. Preheat oven to 350. In a 9″x 11″ glass baking dish place the butter (which ever you have on hand, I like sweet cream for baking) and allow to melt as the oven is preheating. While oven is preheating chop your walnuts or pecans (if not roasted I recommend to place them in oven in a baking sheet for a couple minutes, roasted makes a huge difference!

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For the filling. Drain your jar of cherries to get the juice out and empty into a bowl. Next take half a lemon and squeeze the juice over the cherries. Then add 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract over the cherries and mix together. To add an extra depth of flavor add a splash of rum or bourbon to the cherries. (Don’t forget to take the melted butter and dish out from the oven by this time!) Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the mixture so that it can thicken the filling a little bit. Set aside the canned cherry pie filling for one of the last steps.

For the batter. Get a separate bowl and sift 3 cups of flour, add 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp allspice and stir together. In a seperate bowl take your 2 eggs,  2 cups milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and whisk together.  Then slowly pour and incorporate the wet mixture with the flour mixture. When all combined the consistency should be that of pancake batter but a tad more liquidy. Not super runny and not too doughy.  Pro tip: add a tablespoon of milk at a time until mixture is just right (about a 1/2 cup) Too thin? Add a tablespoon of flourat a time. 

The batter should look like this:

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Your roasted chopped nuts should be out of the oven also or ready to be used including the 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips.

Time to put it all together!

Pour the batter directly into the glass baking dish over the melted butter that is spread evenly on the dish.  Next take a spoon and start scooping  the preserved cherries at random right on top of the batter leaving some space between each scoop for the cherry filling. Next I take the cherry pie filling and scoop out as much cherry and not the jelly filling as much as you can and also scoop onto the batter.

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There is no formula or method just as you see needed. Lastly but most importantly my secret ingredients…chocolate and walnuts. Sprinkle them right over the top. It should cover the top about 70%.

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Now place in the oven and bake 35-40 min until a toothpick runs clean when checked.

Let cool for just a few minutes and serve with some delicious whipped cream or my favorite vanilla ice cream. You will go back for seconds! The topping will just make it just right.

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Make this a day in advance, just place in the oven at 325 degrees until hot and bubbly & VOILA!

Hope you enjoy!

Let’s be friends. I’d love to see your creations. Add me & tag me through your social media @everythingunderthesun.blog 

4 ingredient banana muffins

 

These are my favorite go to oatmeal banana muffins. The base for these banana muffins is just 4 ingredients! No oil no flour makes them a healthier version, only 160 calories each! Its basically a bowl of oatmeal in a muffin form very enjoyable with coffee or tea for breakfast. They come out super moist and satisfying. Just a few simple pantry items for a quick healthy morning breakfast (my toddler even eats) or for a healthier sweets fix. You can customize these to the ingredients at hand. Try them with pumpkin for fall, mix different nut and dried fruit combinations, try even fresh blueberries or at a dollop of almond butter, cocoa spread or peanut butter on top before baking for a more decadent approach.

I love baking and have some other recipes to share that are less forgiving like (Nicole famous cherry cobbler) but have a new passion to find healthier remedies for my baking adventures.

Ingrediants:
1. 2-3 very ripe bananas
2. 2 cups old fashioned oats
3. 2 eggs
4. 3/4 cup almond milk (your choice of milk)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup honey (coconut sugar I’ve tried also)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp all spice
2 tsp cinnamon
Add ins from my pantry: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tsp chia seeds, 2 Tbls sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup raisins (for topping). Tip: spray coconut oil lightly in muffin cups or the pan it will be a cleaner peel.

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375. Place oats onto baking sheet and spread out, toast in oven for 4-6 min until lightly brown (I really recommend this extra step to get the most flavor from the oats).Mash banana until no lumps appear, add beaten eggs, milk, vanilla and mix together. Remove toasted oats, place 1.5 cups into food processor and pulse until finely ground save the half cup. Add oat flour and dry ingredients and combine together including the reserved whole oats (except 2 Tbls). Lower oven temp to 325. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 min for oats to soak in wet ingredients. Add the add ins to the mixture leaving some for the topping.️Scoop with ice cream scoop into cup cake cups, a little over half full, sprinkle rest of topping on top. Bake for 20 min or until toothpicks clean & Ta–da! Let cool, place in a pretty glass stand and watch them disappear!

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mom’s quick pickled red onions

What I love about these quick pickled red onions is that its fail proof and goes with everything! I love to add them to my (taco tuesday tacos… recipe coming soon!) to give them that needed acidity, flavor & crunch. These also pair so well with my favorite, saladsburgers, grilled hot dogs, sandwiches, pulled pork, appetizer spreads, flat breads etc.

My mom Irina is a fantastic cook with a lot of french & eastern European flair. In all that she cooks and bakes there is soul and a lot of love in her culinary creations. I aspire to be like her especially in the kitchen to make healthy, fast & flavorful meals for all to enjoy together around the dinner table.

Here is how you create Moms quick pickled onions:

Ingredients:

1 cup Pomegranate Vinaigrette or Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 Large Red Onion

1 teaspoon honey

dash of salt

dash of fine ground pepper

Instructions:

Cut the ends off the red onion, then cut in half. Slice thinly both halves. Add to the glass bowl. Combine the vinaigrette, honey, salt & pepper. Give it a good toss and press down the onion into the mixture. Seal & cover well and refrigerate for 1 hour to 2 hours before use. For best results let sit  in the refrigerator over night, I like to put it in a ziplock big for a better result. Its the food that gets better a day or two later. I even use the pomegranate mixture as a base for my next homemade dressing. You can reserve one of your hipster mason jars for them.  Serve with you next meal and share this recipe around your dinner table.

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It’s time for a reboot: 5 tips for losing weight

Aren’t these shorts cute? I fell in love with them for the summer. But…. they don’t fit, yet. I have great plans for these shorts and plan to have a lot of fun in them this summer. In order to squeeze into them it means that its time to do a reboot. Since I started doing these 5 things a little over two months ago, I’ve lost 15 pounds (not including 30 pounds from my pregnancy weight totaling 45 pounds so far) and they just keep coming off! Start doing these 5 things to feel good, get more energized and loose weight! Here is what I did…

  1. Download this app: “Lose it! ”  Its free! I have done this before and it really worked for me in 2013 and again in 2017. I love the fact that I can track caloric intake, exercise, log my fitness goals, weight and get the encouragement and reminders along the way. It can get daunting at times listing all your food intake at first but it becomes just another thing you do on your smart phone and a good habit. When you are conscious of the food you eat you become self aware and mindful. It really works! I lost 22 pounds the last time I used it for my pre-pregnancy body goals. And now I have downloaded it again for my new goals to lose those extra pounds. Tip: I believe everything in moderation is a good start, have that cupcake but maybe not the whole cake. Or that chocolate bar is staring at you at 9pm, have a piece.  You can still have your treats and goodies but now you will be more mindful. I just love that I don’t feel deprived of foods that I crave while making this lifestyle change.
  2.  Toss all the processed, starches & sweets. Yup, this wasn’t easy. I’m a snacker and prefer them to a meal sometimes. What happens then is you are full with empty carbs and sugars to then only crave more food faster. Stick to 3 well portioned meals and add healthy snacks in between. Tip: Try healthy snacking like a hand full of raw almonds, carrots & hummus or an apple with almond butter for that snack you crave between meals that’s nutritious. Save the dessert for special occasions or reward yourself with a treat time to time.

  3. GO Green. I’m all for helping the environment but more importantly help yourself to lots and lots of SALAD & veggies. At any given meal I make at home or when going out I make sure to have salad and greens in every meal.The greener the leaner you will be! Favorites  when grocery shopping: baby spinach, arugula, kale, baby greens are to name a few. There are countless ways to enjoy your salad. Dress them up with more colorful veggies or yesterdays roasted veggies, tasty dressings and flavorful toppings like (my moms quick pickled onions). Try to avoid creamy dressings, croutons and nutrient empty ingredients on top. Drizzle with light olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, etc. You want to try to eat the rainbow as they say. Tip: Not a salad person? Start by adding salad to the bottom of your plate with the protein on top. Its a warm salad that you will fill you up and get you accustomed to the greens. Or start your weightless journey with a juice cleanse. There are plenty of cleanses and detoxes out there from the master cleanse (try to be by the bathroom for that one)  to just a 3 day cleanse. fad or not they do feel good afterwards and gives you a time to  restart. I will try this one after I am done nursing.
  4. Start Moving. After being pregnant two times in two years (it felt like forever) with the second pregnancy even harder on my body, I had fallen into a non-exercise routine. I use to run and go to the gym and take all sorts of combat & yoga classes but now with a toddler in one arm and a newborn in the other I was basically forced by nature to start being more active. It all started by making our day more versatile and enjoyable for us by walking to our nearest park. Its just over a mile and I do this almost everyday. Not only has this small habit of walking made me stronger postpartum it has help tone and contribute to my reboot and weight loss. Tip: Be your own hero and start walking everyday! Park further from the store, get a couple friends to walk with you, have a family walk time after dinner. We  do a nighttime “Percy walk” my daughter loves when we take my mom’s dog on a walk around the neighborhood.
  5. Portion Control. Last but not least! Don’t go back for seconds! Well unless its salad. Have a piece of lasagna but not a quarter of the lasagna. The rule I kind of came up with is I should be able to see the bottom on the plate or the “negative space” and when plating to have these three main components: protein, vegetables &  more protein & vegetables.This is the not so secret formula:  app + good food+ move = bod goals.None of these ideas are new or thought through by myself alone. Somethings are just inherently true. Eating better and exercise will lead to weight loss and a sustained healthy body. Its implementing these ideas is the difficult part and that is why I want to encourage everyone and especially moms who want to make a change but don’t know how or where to start. It’s hard to commit to a diet and so I’m happy this is not a diet. And I understood quickly with a second baby its only going to get harder before it gets easier with everything bit especially to start exercising.  From my own experience having active days with my girls has only helped my recovery and given me that energy I desperately need with all the sleep deprivation.

The best way to lose weight is when you are not trying to lose weight! Start implementing these 5 healthy habits today and reboot your life to a healthier slimmer you. A few weeks in it will become second nature and you will start craving healthier food, results will start to show, your skin will likely improve as mine has started to glow from my healthier lifestyle. Your body will thank you!

Here are the cute shorts from the H&M website.