Blackberry Cobbler

If I haven’t yet convinced you to get yourself a cast iron skillet, this Blackberry Cobbler recipe just might do it.

This family favorite tastes even more delicious in a cast iron skillet.  But what doesn’t taste more delicious than something cooked in a pan coated in bacon grease?  Nothing is the correct answer.

Skillet Blackberry Cobbler from Decor and the Dog

The photography isn’t our finest. We made this for Nate’s dad’s birthday.  We made him sit and smell the deliciousness while we snapped photos. Happy birthday!!!

Start by mixing up the dough portion of this recipe.  In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoon baking powder and a teaspoon of salt.  Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. I used my hands.  Therefor there is no photo.  Stir in 1/4 cup boiling water just until moist.

In a separate bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water.  Mix in 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 4 cups of blackberries.  Transfer to your cast iron skillet and bring to a boil.  (We use our skillet on the side burner of our grill.)  Stir frequently.  You will get this.  Mmm, blackberries.

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Drop dough into the skillet by spoonfuls.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for ~25 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

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Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.  Take a generous portion.  It’s fruit. It’s good for you. And then go for a run.  Because that’s healthy too.

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Click the recipe below to download!

Blackberry Cobbler from Decor and the Dog

Are you a cobbler fan?  Are you a cast iron skillet fan?

O’Henry Bars (AKA Not Healthy Granola Bars)

I can hear the groans.  ANOTHER recipe post.

Eh, you’ll thank me.

Also all I’ve been doing lately is baking and working out.  Makes sense.  But just wait.  There is a lot of DIY goodness planned for next week.  If I stop baking and working out.  I just love kettlebells. And sugar.

Yesterday I almost forgot that I needed to whip up something for the very first craft night with Newlywoodwards.  (More on that next week.)  I also wanted it to double as a blog post. Two birds.  One stone.  I dug through my recipe box and came up with an oldie but a goody.

O' Henry Bars (Not Healthy Granola Bars)

O’ Henry bars a family favorite.  Yesterday was my first time making them.  I Googled the name to see if there are other recipes like this out there.  Only a few. It probably has another name.  Keep in mind, they are nothing like the candy bar with the same name. Go figure.  They look like a Midwest thing.

I like that they have oats in them.  This way you have a nice comeback when your husband says “I thought you were eating healthy this week?”  You can say, “I am.  There are oats and peanut butter in here.”  Basically I consider them a non-healthy granola bar. (Kim didn’t agree.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 6 cups oats
    • I used Old-fashioned Oats but Quick Oats are fine as well.
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c. white corn syrup
  • 1/2 package chocolate chips
  • 1/2 package butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 c. peanut butter.

Mix oatmeal, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and white corn syrup together.  Spread into a cake pan.

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Bake 15 minutes at 375.  Cool.

Melt chips. (I did this in the microwave.  The stovetop is just fine too.) Add peanut butter.  Spread onto cooled layer.

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Eat ‘em up. And then go do a kettlebell work out!

O' Henry Bars (Not Healthy Granola Bars)

These bars are pretty hard to make look pretty.  But trust me.  Deliciousness.

(There is a fine line between done and not done with these bars.  Mine were a tish uncooked and they fell apart a little.  If you cook them too much, they will be hard.  I prefer the fall apart route and to eat it with a spoon!)

Have you heard of O’Henry Bars?  Who is pumped for DIY posts next week?  Big week-end plans?

Meal Planning Tips

Yo.  How was your week-end?  Lovely, I hope.

This week-end was all about strategy for us.  You know, dreaming about doing instead of actually doing.

Guess what that gets you?  An organization post.  Woo hoo.

I have recently shared with you my tips for a tidy kitchen.  From that post, I had some requests for meal planning tips.

Meal Planning Tips from Decor and the Dog

I started meal planning about 3 or 4 months ago so I am obviously not an expert yet.  I just pretend to be on my blog…

I have a found a few tools and tips that make meal planning easier.

1. Meal Planning Magnets

Meal Planning- Magnets for Meal Planning

The hardest part of meal planning for me is figuring out what to eat. The second hardest part is not getting into a rut and eating the same 4-5 meals for an entire month.

I made these meal planning magnets to aid me in my “What the heck should we eat?” woes.

They are super simple to make. I purchased some wood disks from Hobby Lobby. I spray painted them with chalkboard paint. I attached a magnet to the back.  (I used a weak magnet.  I wanted the magnets to be strong enough to stick to the fridge but not strong enough to stick to one another.) I then went through my recipe box/Pinterest boards and I wrote down meals that we commonly eat.  The Pinterest recipes got marked with a “P” so I know where to find the recipe…recipe box or Pinterest board.  I used a chalkboard marker instead of regular ol’ chalk.  You can still erase the marker but the writing should stay on better.  I have blank magnets left to add new favorites.

I store the magnets in this little ol’ glass container that I keep in the cupboard.  I can reach in and grab out 4-5 meals for the week.  No thinking require.  If I don’t like something I can just throw it back in and grab another.

Meal Planning Magnet Storage

I then hang the magnets on the side of the fridge to help us easily remember our options for the week.

Meal Planning- Menu Planning Magnets

We pick 4-5 meals for the week.  We don’t assign the meals to certain days of the week. This still allows us some flexibility when life happens.  The breakfast magnet rarely leaves the fridge.

As you can see, I don’t plan my meals around what is on sale.  That would require too much thought.  I just pull from the jar. I do, however, look through my coupon stash and visit Target to see if I have any coupons for the items I will be purchasing.  I feel that people sometimes spend more/buy things they won’t use just because they have a coupon.  

2. A grocery list.

Meal Planning- Printable Grocery List

A grocery list is also a must for meal planning.I recently switched to a grocery list template from Microsoft.  Google it.  They have a ton.  I typed in some of our more commonly used items.  There is plenty of space to add others.  This list is organized by sections of the store so it makes shopping easy.  I also have a space on the side to write down the meals for that week. 

We keep a stash of lists hanging in the pantry.  When we run out of something, we mark it down right away so we don’t forget.

Meal Planning- Printable Grocery List in Pantry

3. A Favorite Foods Board on Pinterest

If you are anything like me, you pin a bunch of food that you will probably never make.  I have boards for each type of food but I also have a Favorite Recipes board that I pin the Pinterest successes too.  This board makes it easy when I pull out that “Pinterest Pick” magnet.  Sometimes I get brave and try something new.  Sometimes I stick to a recently tried success.

As you can see, the tools are simple.  Now I’ll share my overall tips and advantages that I have found from planning meals.

Advantages of Meal Planning:

1. Saves time.

Set aside at least 20-30 minutes each week to plan out your meals and make your grocery list.

I used to think that this was a lot of time.  I have since realized that it takes less time than standing in front on the fridge each night trying to make a meal out of yogurt, mandarin oranges, and pepperoni.

2. Saves money.

We make one trip to the grocery store each week.  This trip provides us with food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for all meals for the week (minus 1 night of eating out).  We are less tempted to buy junk and/or items that we won’t eat.  We spend about $40-$60 per week for the two of us.

3. Less waste

We have found that we waste a lot less with meal planning.  We only buy what is on our list and we use it up within one week.

4. Leftovers

We now plan for at least 2 meals to have left overs.  No more frozen dinners for lunches. Woo hoo!

Now I’m bored.  So you are on your own.  (Reason #1983 why blogging could never be my day job).

Do you meal plan?  Any additional tips?  Got a favorite foods board on Pinterest?  Leave the link!

Linking up to : Living Well Spending Less

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Nate and I have a new addiction.  Homemade pretzels. 

I had no clue you could make pretzels at home.  The things you learn in the ripe old age of 30. 

I also learned how to use the broil feature on our oven for the first time last week.  I blame 8 years of college for making me miss out on learning these amazing life features.

Our recent reader survey also said that recipes were your least favorite posts.  I give my readers what they want post what I want.

Homemade Pretzels by Decor and the Dog

These pretzels are so good that you are going to be begging for recipes from me.  Seriously.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown. (Side note: I fell asleep to Alton Brown for about 2 years straight.  Nate had a slight addiction to ol’ Alton.  Man knows his pretzels.)

Yields: 8 pretzels.  (We use half of the dough for the two of us.)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • Butter (melted) for brushing (~1-2 tablespoons)
  • Optional: Kosher salt for cheese dipping pretzels or cinnamon/sugar for sweet pretzels.

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Mmm, foam.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place into greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap. 

Sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.  We turn on our fireplace and shut the office door.  Instant sauna.  I suggest napping during this step.  Mmm, napping.

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (I bold this step because I always forget it.)

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.

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To make the traditional pretzel shape: Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.

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To make the pretzel bites: Slice the rope into ~1 inch pieces.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds.

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Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Drain the best you can.  Place on a baking sheet.

To make pretzels for cheese dipping:  Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Brush with remaining melted butter before serving. Serve warm.

Cheese sauce recipe:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (Shred your own for better taste/consistency!)
  • Kosher salt
  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps of flour remain.  Stirring constantly, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the shredded cheese until all of the cheese has melted. 

To make pretzels for cinnamon/sugar:  Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Dip into melted butter and then into cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Serve warm.

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Enjoy!  We found that the pretzels weren’t very good later in the day so enjoy them quickly!

Homemade Pretzels by Decor and the Dog

Are you a pretzel fan?  Did you know you could make them at home or did you think they were only a mall specialty?  Did you know you could bake brownies without a box mix?  Yeah, learned that one recently too.  Life’s miracles.

Pie Baking and Ike’s Thanksgiving

I never thought as a kid that Thanksgiving would be towards the top of my holiday favorite list.  As an adult, it’s totally made the top two.

I like that it’s a low key holiday filled with family and food. Nothing else. I love Christmas as much as the rest of them but I appreciate Thanksgiving’s low key celebrating.  No need to shop for gifts. No need to decorate. 

We have established some pretty fun Thanksgiving day traditions.  We head to Nate’s sister’s house on Wednesday night.  We eat chili.  We sleep on air mattresses and wake up super tired on Thursday.  Thursday is full of baking, cooking, and ad reading.  It’s a pretty fabulous day.  Friday is for late Black Friday shopping.  We’re not crazy.  Friday afternoon through Sunday are spent with my family.

Nate’s mom is usually in charge of making the pies.  I didn’t think I liked pie until I started eating Nate’s mom’s pies.  They are that good.  She usually makes pumpkin, apple, blueberry, and rhubarb.  Sometimes a cherry is thrown in there.  Nate’s mom didn’t have time to prepare the pies ahead of time this year so I had her teach me.  She didn’t know what she was getting into.

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We donned fancy aprons and got to work.  I think the aprons were an important step.

I didn’t realize that pie crust only consisted of a few ingredients.  I did, however, realize that it would be easy to screw up and I was super nervous about ruining the Thanksgiving pies.  Ruining the pies would be worse than the Grinch stealing Christmas.  I’m not joking.  Nate’s mom kept a close eye on me.

This is the recipe we used for the single crust pies.   It will change your life. If you make it right…

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water (Cold is super important.  Warm/hot will melt your shortening.)

In medium mixing bowl stir together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening till pieces are the size of small peas.  Don’t over do this step.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork.  Push to side of bowl. Repeat until all is moistened.  Form dough into a ball.  Roll dough on lightly floured surface.  Nate’s mom had me do this between two pieces of waxed paper. 

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Roll the dough until it is slightly larger than the pie pan you are using.  Place in pan. Make pretty (this is the part I fail at.) Fill with your filling of choice.  Bake and show off your pretty pie.  Again, you must wear an apron during all steps of pie baking.

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Not only did I learn to bake pies but I taught one of my super cute nieces about the many different kinds of wonderful pies.  Rhubarb was challenging for a not quite two year old.  I’m sure she will soon learn that is the hardest to say but the very best kind of pie around.

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What was Ike up while all of this pie baking was going on?

He was busy reading the ads.

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He had a tennis ball to look after.

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He also spent a lot of time with one of his biggest fans.  He usually runs from small children but he has a special bond with our youngest niece. It’s quite precious.

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Have you made a pie before? How’d it go?  Is Thankgiving one of your favorite holidays or do you find that it’s more of a roadblock to Christmas?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and a Dog

Alternate title:  You Will Thank Me for Sharing This Recipe With You Muffins…and a Dog.

Here’s what you will need to recreate this post:

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 can pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ~3/4 cup vegetable oil (not pictured)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • chocolate chips to taste (1/4-1/2 bag.  Depending on how your pants are fitting.)

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  • A Dog  (Very important ingredient)

Step 1:  Beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth.

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Step 2:  Mix dry ingredients together and mix into pumpkin mixture…under close supervision.

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Be sure to scrape the sides well.  With your favorite spatula. 

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I was really excited when I got this Pampered Chef spatula for Christmas.  I kept telling Nate repeatedly that I could scrape bowls with it.  So that is the ongoing joke whenever I break out the Pampered Chef spatula.  It’s my favorite.  You can scrape bowls with it.

Step 3: Fold in chocolate chips.  The next best thing after pumpkin.

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Step 4: Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Or 2 tablespoon scoopfuls. (Should make 12 muffins.)

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Step 5: Bake at 400 F for 16 minutes.

Step 6: Take funny photos of your dog’s mustache while the muffins are baking.

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Step 7: Cool. (You can definitely eat these warm but we think they are much better cooled.)  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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I’m really glad I discovered pumpkin this year.  My life will never be the same.

I’m really glad Ike’s mustache is ridiculous.  It makes me smile. 

Who’s hungry?  Do you have a pet sous chef?

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I posted one of our favorite soup recipes last fall but our food photography was pretty much atrocious then.  Not that it’s Pioneer Woman good now but we’re making improvements.  Did you know that Nate has a thing for the Pioneer Woman?  I don’t think it’s really a romantic thing.  More of a “I wish my wife was as good with a camera and whisk” kind of thing.  I get it. 

He’s blushing now.  That’s why I love him.

Enough mushy stuff.  Well, mushy love stuff.  How about mushy soup stuff?

Loaded Baked Potato Soup to be exact.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

We love this baked potato soup recipe because it’s an easy dinner idea for the week but still tastes week-end good.  You get that, right? 

Loaded “Baked Potato” Soup

  • Southern Style Hash browns (1 bag)
  • 3 cans chicken broth
  • 3 cups milk
  • 12 pieces of bacon (we go with the easy microwave kind)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion (diced)

Combine broth, milk, and green onion in stock pot.  Once hot, add hash browns.  Cook hash browns until mushy (technical term).  Mash with potato masher (one of my favorite utensils..after the whisk).  Add bacon.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add cheese.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add flour to thicken to desired consistency.  Enjoy!

We always enjoy it with salad Rhodes frozen bread. 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

What’s your favorite soup recipe?  How about favorite comfort food?  Celebrity crushes?  Blog celebrity crushes?

Be sure to check out more recipes here!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cast Iron Skillet Cookie

First order of business.  I strongly urge to purchase a cast iron skillet.  You will thank me.

Second order of business.  You must make this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cast Iron Skillet Cookie.  You will thank me.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Nate and I love cast iron skillet cookies.  A chocolate chip cookie with a hint of bacon-y grease flavor.  Can you get any better than that?

You can.  Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to it.  We don’t mess around here at Décor and the Dog.

I suppose you could make this in any regular ol’ pan.  But don’t.  Get yourself a cast iron skillet.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cast Iron Skillet Cookie

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Set aside. Cream butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin; mix until they are fully incorporated. Add flour mixture.  Beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (lightly greased) and spread to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake until edges are brown and top is golden, 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake.  It will continue to cook out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in pan.  Cut into wedges.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cast Iron Skillet Cookie

And be sure to Instagram it.  I mean, it didn’t happen if you didn’t Instagram it.

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I’ve had some questions about our cast iron skillet.  We have the Lodge Logic  12" Pre-Seasoned Skillet. We’ve had ours for a couple of years now and it keeps getting better with age!

Are you a cast iron skillet cookie fan?  How about pumpkin?  I can’t quit the pumpkin.  Wait, I’m eating vegetables.  Awesome.

Fall Dessert Pizza

Who’s working on adding on that extra layer for winter?  Yeah, me too. 

Mmm, soup.  Mmm, mashed potatoes.  Mmm, desserts.  The delicious food just doesn’t stop lately.

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite desserts… Fall Dessert Pizza.

Decor and the Dog's Fall Dessert Pizza

A peanut butter cookie “crust” with a chocolate chip/peanut butter chip “sauce” topped with candy corn, marshmallows, M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces.  Can you go wrong?

Start with your ingredients…

Fall Pizza Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter chip
  • Various topping:  M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, marshmallows, peanuts, etc.

Beat butter and peanut butter for ~30 seconds until light brown.  Beat in brown sugar, sugar, egg, and vanilla until mixed well.  Add flour slowly.

Spread onto greased 12-13” pizza pan.  My mom always used circle pans which makes for fun “pizza” slices.  I only have rectangle pans so that’s what I went with.

Bake at 350 for 13-18 minutes, or until golden.

Remove and instantly sprinkle with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Fall Pizza Melting

Let sit 1-2 minutes and then spread chips.  (You may need to stick the pan back in the oven to assist with the melting.)

Top with desired fall toppings.  (You can also make this any time of year with various toppings.)

Fall Pizza Toppings

Pop the pan back in the oven and bake for ~5 minutes or until marshmallows are golden.

Fall Pizza via Decor and the Dog

Try to limit yourself to half the pan.  Or don’t.  It’s only a matter of time before the snow flies and you need that extra layer!

What’s your favorite fall dessert?  Do you have trouble keeping your hands out the candy corn bag?  Are you stocking up for winter?

7Up Biscuits

I’ve been doing this weird thing lately.  It’s called cooking.  Me.  Cooking.  Without Nate’s help.

Yep, pretty sure the Mayans were right.  This is the end.

One of my most delicious endeavors lately has been the 7UP biscuits I made the other evening.

Easy7UpBiscuits

I originally heard about these biscuits from Maury who made them using the recipe found here.  Unfortunately, the original directions weren’t super clear.  I made it work and now I will clarify things for the recipe challenged…like myself.

Easy 7Up Biscuits

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup 7Up
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut sour cream into Bisquick.
  3. Add 7Up.  Stir until combined.
  4. Sprinkle some Biquick on counter and pat out the dough.  It’s pretty sticky but mush it around the best that you can.
  5. Cut out biscuits from the dough.  You could use a biscuit cutter if you’re fancy and own such a thing.  We aren’t fancy so I used a glass that sprayed well with cooking spray. Fancy.
  6. Pour melted butter into a 9 inch square pan.
  7. Place biscuits in pan.  They don’t have to be perfect.  They will taste so good that no one will care what they look like.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
These biscuits are a beautiful mix of buttery and fluffy goodness.  I ate mine plain.  Nate had honey on his.  They would work great for biscuits and gravy or breakfast sandwiches.  They will be making many appearances in our humble abode.

Have you been doing things lately that are making you question if the world is ending?  How would you enjoy these beautiful biscuits? Gravy? Sandwich? Plain?

Side Note:  Get excited for next week.  We have a furniture build reveal.  It’s pretty.  I keep petting it…