Strawberry Cobbler

Can we agree that fruit isn’t dessert? It just isn’t. However, when mixed with some sugar and topped with a cake like topping, then it is dessert. Strawberries are IN right now and are affordable. I whipped this up one day when I saw some berries on sale. The toughest part of this recipe is chopping those berries. It is super easy and forgiving. Cobblers aren’t meant to be pretty because the red berries shine through anyway.

StrawberryCobbler

I made this cobbler in a two-quart dish and two small ramekins. Sometimes (read: almost all the time), I make a little ramekin side dessert for tasting purposes, especially if the dessert is going somewhere. I’d hate to serve a foul tasting dessert to a friend or family member. Not an issue with this recipe.

Strawberry Cobbler, serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped strawberries (big hunks is fine)
  • 1/3 cup sugar or a bit more/less depending on sweetness of your berries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

topping

  • 1 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • vanilla ice cream for serving

directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking dish (2 quart round) with nonstick spray. Add the strawberries and sprinkle with the sugar and cornstarch. Toss gently, just until the berries are coated.

To make the topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using a fork or your fingers, add the butter and incorporate it into the flour until small pieces and crumbs remain. Beat together the egg, milk, vinegar and vanilla extract. Add it into the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Add spoonfuls of the dough all over the strawberries.

Bake the cobbler for 35 to 45 minutes, until it’s golden and cooked through.

Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream. If you can’t serve immediately, keep in the fridge. Before serving, warm it up in a 200 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes.

 

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Two perfect little side dishes for tasting – one for me and one for the Mr.

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I ended up not giving this dessert away but sharing it. You don’t want to forget the ice cream. It melts in with the berries and makes just the perfect summer dessert. This isn’t too sweet or heavy for a warm summer day. Enjoy!

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Fort Abraham Lincoln 15k Run, 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017 was National Trails Day and to celebrate, Fort Abraham Lincoln (south of Mandan) held their annual 15k Trail Race and 5k Walk/Run. My Mom and I participated in this event in 2016 and this year she again did the 5k walk and I did the 15k run.

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My day started out early, with a wake-up call at about 5:30 am which seemed even earlier as I had been out late the night before with my husband. The weather was super nice and some patio happy hour drinks turned into several hours. Whoops. But, I’m not exactly a serious/elite/going to win this event runner so it’s OK. Sure, I might have performed better if I behaved myself, but I would have missed out on a fun night with him. I traveled the 40 minutes to my Mom’s house and we left Washburn at about 6:30, getting to Fort Lincoln at 7:30. This gave us plenty of time to register for the 8:15 15k start and 8:25 5k start. The commissary/gift shop has a great little coffee store as well if you need a morning caffeine fix before your run.

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I haven’t been to a lot of races and I am definitely not a seasoned runner. However, I can tell you I really LOVE this event as it is always small (I like) and family friendly. The staff is awesome here. They really put on a great event. You don’t get much for swag but entry is only $10!! I’ll gladly pay $10 for the views on this run.

I also got to meet an Instagram friend, Parker, aka, PJScott22, who was also doing the 15k! Great job, Parker and thanks for saying hello! At the finish I also saw running friend Dustin and introduced myself to Theresa. One other person I chatted with was Andrea and we realized we knew each other from a trail run in Washburn the year prior. The running community is small and friendly! Everyone did great on this warm morning.

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Here I am with a couple gals right behind me. I actually totally biffed it this run. I saw a rock, told myself to step over it and just biffed it. I caught myself on my hands and it was in a sandy area so I only got dirty, not hurt. Andrea and her friend were kind enough to check on me though and offered to walk with me if I needed.

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The event starts with the first mile pretty much uphill about 200′ or so. Then you get on a loop and repeat that one time to reach 15k. There are water stations throughout and a photographer was there who took a few of these photos and then posted them to Facebook so that is really nice to have these memories. The run was warm. There was a breeze that day but in some of the treed and sheltered areas, it was quite stiffling. North Dakota really kind of went from 40 degrees to 80-90 degrees so I haven’t had much time to get accustomed to warmer running. I generally run at about 4:30 a.m. before work when it is nice and cool. And I haven’t had a billion beers the night before! This is coming into the finish past the gift shop at the park – you can see it is quite dry in North Dakota and I was a sweaty and dirty mess afterwards.

My Garmin stats read 9.59 miles | 1 hour 31 minutes 45 seconds (9:34 pace) | 949′ elevation gain (last year it read like 784′ gain so something was off – 784′ seems more realistic). My first mile was the slowest and my third the fastest. I think overall I am happy with the results. The main goal is to finish healthy and happy so achievement, unlocked. I was hoping to be under 1hr 30min and I think if I had behaved the night before, it might have happened. I have very little experience running trails due to running early in the morning and not having access to much elevation where I live. That said, I LOVE a trail run, being with nature and focusing on each step. The path is pretty much all off road – some areas a bit rocky, some sandy, some quite narrow and some just grassy. It is hilly and adventurous for this flat lander. I walked a few times (no shame) and stopped a couple times for water and a photo.

I finished my run very sweaty and salty and with one woodtick crawling on me. My Mom was waiting for me at the finish where she killed her 5k walk. She always impresses me! We were happy to use the comfort station at the park so we could shower and head into Bismarck to shop the day away. Thanks so much to Fort Abraham Lincoln for another fine event.

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Bend, OR

Our final few nights were spent in Bend, OR, where our hosts reside. Bend is quite different in landscape from our prior stops. It is more of a desert type feel – very dry. Summer days get warm but evenings really cool off. It is on the east side of the Cascade Mountains along the Deschutes River and is a gateway for outdoor sports like mountain biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, running – basically anything you’d like. I’d call it a big town, probably about 90,000 people? The day we arrived the town was hosting the Pole, Pedal, Paddle where you ski, cycle, run and kayak/canoe. Epic, huh? Even thought it was the end of May, many people hit Mount Bachelor in the morning to ski and came down to Bend to enjoy the sun during the day.

Bend

We went and got situated at our friends beautiful home and reunited with their two, sweet dogs. Their house is open, airy and inviting with a back patio made for afternoon drinks! Just lovely.

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Here are the guys enjoying a brew, probably waiting on us women.

One of our first meals was at Worthy Brewing where the veggie burger came highly recommended and it was great. Our friends told it that it is so good they know someone who orders it with bacon and cheese added. Ha, love that. You can see we were treated to a lovely sunset this evening. This is a HUGE brewery complete with a “hopservatory” where you can use telescopes to see the stars. It’s just insane here. I think this was one of my favorite stops. You can see on the patio that pretty much everywhere in Oregon is dog friendly. There are water dishes outside of most shops and all the dogs we met were friendly. In fact, in HR, every Uber we used they had their dog along with them. I loved it!

As far as some outdoor activity there are again a lot of paths. We also took the dogs to the nicest and biggest dog park I have ever been to – 16 acres! The dogs just loved it there. Us women also went to Joy Cycle, a super fun, high intensity spin class.

While the men were out golfing, we went to Spork, a restaurant that went from food truck to bricks and mortar. It was so delicious! One of my fave meals, though I really couldn’t pick as all the food was great. What you see here was my meal of chilaquiles – corn chips in enchilada sauce with cabbage, radishes, pickled jalapeno, cotija cheese and crema. We also got an appetizer of peanuts – served spicy and with cane sugar. We capped that off with dessert at Atlas Hard Cider and a cider tasting. It’s so neat to visit the place where you have drank beer or cider from to see it IN PERSON. The weather was so nice we were able to cruise around Bend in my friends Jeep with the top off.

The HIGHLIGHT of the activities in Bend would probably have to be the Cycle Pub Tour. Six of us got to pedal a bike around Bend visiting breweries while our tour guide steered, braked and instructed us. The weather was perfect, the guide was hilarious and the breweries were delicious. We went to the iconic Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel and I think one or two more but it quickly became fuzzy. Whoopsie. We had the bike for two hours but it seemed like 20 minutes we had so much fun. We stopped along the Deschutes River to drink a bit and it was just so gorgeous – one of those, like is this really my life moments?! We couldn’t have had a better group. Our one friend, Rachel, recently had a baby so it was fun to have her let loose as we all did. If you like beer, Bend is the place to be. There are many breweries and it is easy to walk from place to place. Every little bar or restaurant has craft beer and you’ll have trouble finding a Bud Light.

A few more food items: the photo at the top of the post is from Craft Kitchen & Brewery – talk about insane views. I had falafel there and it was delicious. On the left was lunch at The McKay Cottage – great outdoor seating and a super fresh menu. The final meal was our friend cooking for us. She made us grilled veggies, kabobs and garlic toast. Our final night we had dinner, a few drinks and sat in their hot tub.

This was an epic vacation for us. We can’t thank our friends enough. They shared their home, their food, their fun, where they work and their state with us. I cannot wait to plan our next vacation with them. They are a couple we just get along with easily and can do our own thing apart or stuff together. It’s rare and I am sad they moved to Oregon but enjoyed our trip. Thanks for following along!

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Hood River, OR

After a night in Portland, we were off to Hood River for two nights. I honestly had not even heard of Hood River, but our friends had been there several times and assured us it was not to be missed. It is about 20 minutes from Multnomah Falls. Hood River is in the Columbia Gorge along the river and across from Washington state. Hood River is small, about 7,500 people and is quite touristy. I would say it is like Medora as far as a tourist town but much more modern and focused on dining, breweries and wineries. The area is known for its high winds and is popular with kite surfers. We are well accustomed to wind in ND but we didn’t really experience any high wind while there – it was sunny, breezy and warm. Just perfect.

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The town has several airBNB or VRBO options to pick from and we got a cute little condo within walking distance to downtown. We would usually walk downtown and then Uber home.

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Our unit was on the right hand side. We parked the vehicle in the garage for our stay which was nice. Our first order of business was visiting Marchesi Vineyards. The valley and actually, the state, produces a lot of fruit and there are many wineries to visit and taste. This one was quite charming on a beautiful day. We didn’t visit many vineyards outside of town since we all like to drink and be safe. I was so happy to visit this one though.

I mean, like a postcard, right? The views were stunning! There were two cats roaming the grounds and the most friendly server and patrons. Since it was the middle of the day, it was not busy. Great stop!

Dinner was at pFriem Family Brewers. It was so neat as you can see. You eat where the beer is made. And yes, I did eat those flowers.

Again, a lot of places to walk and run. In the top photo you can see someone enjoying the wind. It feels like all we really did was eat and drink but it was kind of the theme of the trip. Oregon is known for its beer, after all!

A few more stops included Full Sail Brewing for more hummus and check out my taster served in a sail. Creative. We also visited 64 Taphouse where you can get a draft beer canned to go! One word of advice from my husband, when visiting a city, always try to check out the local Elks, Legion or AmVets. These places always have cheap beer and friendly bartenders and patrons. Our bartender at the HR Elks suggested the 64 Taphouse and Hood River Distillers tasting room to us. Both excellent choices.

The two photos on the left are from dining at 6th Street Bistro in Hood River and the two on the right are just some spots I found kind of cute throughout downtown. I love the surfboard seating. I have to say throughout our time in Oregon, everyone and I mean every single person was so friendly and kind to us. Whether it was an employee at a restaurant or a person in the street, it really made for a pleasant trip.

A few more quick pics before I wrap this up. The top photo is just a home I saw on a morning run. I thought it really captured my feelings of HR. Quaint, well kept and beautiful. The photo on the left was part of a run one day. My buddy told me about these never ending steps and yep, I counted over 400 – great insert to a workout! The middle is just one of many dispensary signs we saw throughout Oregon. Makes me laugh. Finally, on our way out of town we stopped at Basik Cafe so I could try my first ever acai bowl. It was everything I hoped for and more. This made for a super refreshing breakfast after a long day prior of beer tasting! I hope I have many more in my future.

We headed back to Portland for a one year old’s birthday party. This was great as we got to see many family members on both sides of our friends families. We also got to visit the Nike employee store in Beaverton thanks to a hook up. What a stunning campus Nike has there, complete with an employee only running trail. After that, we were off to Bend, OR where our hosts live!

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Portland, OR

We recently vacationed for about a week in Oregon. We went to visit our dear friends who up and moved from Elbowoods Dr in Hazen back to their home state. How rude!! They asked us to come visit and we were more than happy to oblige. I get pretty wordy on my recaps so I’ll try to stick to the basics and why we traveled – beer, food, adventures and our friends. We landed in Portland mid-afternoon.

Portland

This was my first visit to Portland, also known as Bridgetown. The Willamette River runs through this large city. Portland is known for being environmentally forward, is very walkable, has a LOT of bicyclists, public transportation, parks and a lot of fresh foods/sustainability. My husband says it has a lot of hippies.

Our first order of business was brews to celebrate our arrival and being reunited. Our friends took us to Fire on the Mountain – a Portland fave for chicken wings.

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Above photo from TripAdvisor. They have a LARGE selection of sauces and tap beers. The food was super fast and tasty. The location was downtown, close to our hotel where we’d stay our first night – the AC Marriott.

The hotel is pretty new and quite shwanky for us. Since it was new, we were able to lock in a decent rate and the selling point was its walkability and proximity to downtown. We enjoyed some lobby appetizers and cocktails, including some complimentary shots out of this large cocktail shaker. We loved it!

That evening we went to a few downtown bars and had fun. The next morning I got up early to run the river. We were only 1.5 blocks from the river and it is lined with miles of biking and running paths. We had absolutely stunning weather the whole time we were there. I enjoyed a long run along the river on both side and it was fun to cross some of the bridges and see the views. I really loved seeing the homes along the river, I can’t imagine the cost.

Being the small town folks we are, we were shocked by the traffic and homelessness. The city itself where we were was very well kept. On my run, I passed many people in the tourist area sleeping in sleeping bags and it is sad to see. Whether down on luck, fighting addiction, mental problems or whatever, it is just sad and something I definitely don’t encounter on a daily basis and it gave me a shot of reality.

BUT….to transition. We got cleaned up and headed out to a cute little coffee shop for a morning jolt and food. I wasn’t feeling breakfast, but we saw a lot of food carts down the street, including an Egyptian one with HUMMUS and FALAFEL. I LOVE hummus and eat it pretty much daily. Our friend had to return to the hotel to do some remote work so us three went back to get some hummus and walk along the river. The sweet lady in that food truck delivered to me the smoothest, best and just slightly spicy hummus of my life for $5. One warm pita and I devoured most of it. Hit. The. Spot.

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After walking around a bit, we got our friend, packed up the car and headed to Multnomah Falls on our way to Hood River.

The drive itself it gorgeous, but we didn’t know this was on the agenda. It is an easy, quick stop on the way and entry is free. It was obviously a bit cooler by the falls and we had to chuckle as many people were quite covered up and we were like – it is so nice outside! This waterfall is 620 feet tall! Absolutely gorgeous and so green the photos don’t do it justice.

We then got back in the car to head to Hood River where we’d be spending the next two nights. Not only is vacationing with friends fun, but they also know the way everywhere and drove us. How lucky!

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Momma Jane’s Cookies

I rarely bake anymore. This little old blog started out with a lot of baked goods. But as time has gone on, I have switched to healthier treats and way less baking. But, I am only human. I still bake and love cookies. I actually posted this recipe a while back but I deleted a ton of photos on accident including those with that old post. So here it is again!

This recipe is from my friend, Katie, who blogs at The Pinke Post and I believe this is a family recipe as her Momma is Momma Jane. I am so lucky to have met a lot of friends through social media and Katie is one of them. A gal who shares my love of food, dogs and height. Tall women stick together.

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I volunteered to make cookies for a bake sale and this recipe makes A LOT – enough for the bake sale, some friends and a few for me too! The only change I make to the original recipe is adding a bit of cinnamon. Crisp edges………….soft interior………..cake flour is the secret ingredient. This would be amazing sandwiched with ice cream in the middle for Memorial weekend treats!

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Momma Jane’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup oil (I used canola oil)
1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups AP flour
2-1/2 to 3 cups cake flour 
6 cups baking chips – I used semi-sweet chocolate, peanut butter and Reese’s pieces here 
 
Cream butter, oil and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Beat until fluffy (like 5 minutes). Add vanilla, salt, cinnamon and soda. Mix well. 
Add the flour and beat until mixed all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix the dough. Add the chips and mix just until incorporated into the dough.
Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 10 minutes is perfect in my oven. 

 

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Here is the before and after. I did some thorough testing and am happy to share the dough is just as delicious as the baked cookie. Since this makes such a huge batch you could freeze the cookies for future baking. Or eat raw, I won’t judge you. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Buffalo Sauce

This isn’t a recipe but just a meal idea. Lately instead of meal planning and making a specific dish each evening, I have just been roasting or grilling a ton of produce and protein and throwing things together depending on what sounds good that night. This dish has been on repeat.

StuffedSweetPotatoBuffaloSuace

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Buffalo Sauce – serves one

  • 1 sweet potato – baked
  • Veggies of choice – broccoli
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Onions, cilantro
  • Cottage cheese or feta cheese
  • Drizzle buffalo sauce

I love to have the hot and sweet potato, creamy cheese and sharp, tangy sauce. Such a great combo. Give it a try!

Obviously you can switch this up with any veggies, meat or no meat, dairy or no dairy. It is just a simple but satisfying meal. The buffalo sauce adds a little kick but not a lot of calories or sugar. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Dinner idea, Grilling, Healthy Living, Main Dish, Veggie | 1 Comment