easy, throw-together, can’t-fail fruit cobbler

Sometimes my grandparents like to shop at Costco.

Which is great! I love Costco! The only problem: there are only three of us in the house. None of us are teenage boys with roaring appetites. And my Grandma likes to buy fruit at Costco.

Which means we sometimes often have a whole bunch of fruit ripening all at once.

So I devised this fruit cobbler recipe out of necessity. I really hate throwing away/wasting food, but a girl can only stir so many strawberries into her morning oatmeal. So one day I chopped up a bunch of strawberries that were on the verge of going bad, added some squishy blueberries and a sad, mealy apple, and topped the whole thing with some stale, also-bought-at-Costco oatmeal cookies that I crushed up with a rolling pin.

I slid the whole thing into the oven and crossed my fingers that when I pulled it out half an hour later, the concoction would have magically transformed into deliciousness.

Well, guess what? IT DID.

costco fruit cobbler

This disappeared from the pan in record time and is a new favorite dessert of my cousin Bianca. {Don’t tell her how easy it is to make… she thinks I’m a superhero every time I bring her some!}

Since then, I’ve made this recipe with a variety of different fruit and topping combinations, and it comes out delectable every single time. So I wanted to share it with you! If you’re looking for an easy, can’t-fail way to use up some past-its-prime fruit — or if you’re just looking for an easy, delicious dessert to make for your family or bring to a party — this is a wonderful recipe!

And {shhhh}… it’s actually healthy! There is no extra sugar added into this dish, unless you use crumbled cookies as the topping — most of the sweetness comes from the baked fruit!

cant fail fruit cobbler

ingredients:
– fruit: strawberries, apples, pears, grapes… whatever is in your fridge! blueberries and raspberries work well, too!
– if you are using less-juicy fruit such as apples or pears, add a little fruit juice {apple, cranberry, orange, whatever you have on hand!}
– topping: stale cookies {I’ve used oatmeal raisin, sugar, even animal crackers} OR granola OR mix up rolled oats with cold butter
– spices to taste {I like cinnamon!}

directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out a glass pie pan or a shallow glass dish and set aside.

2. Slice up the fruit until relatively small, even chunks. Mix together. If you are using drier fruit, add about 1/4 cup of fruit juice.

3. Pour the fruit mixture into the glass pan.

fruit in pan

4. Make your topping. If you’re using stale cookies, place them inside a plastic Ziplock baggie and crush them with a rolling pin until they are crumbled. To make a homemade topping, use your fingers to crumble a few small pieces of cold butter through about 1 cup of rolled oats. Add spices to taste, and a bit of brown sugar if you would like. I’m also a fan of sprinkling the cobbler with granola, like I did here:

fruit cobbler with granola topping

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on top. It will make your kitchen smell delicious!

fruit cobbler

I like to eat this fruit cobbler on its own, or serve it warm topped with iced cream, or stir it into yogurt! Hope you enjoy!

healthy greek-inspired chicken burgers {with feta!}

My mom has been a brave, bold kitchen dynamo lately! She’s been trying out new recipes and then sharing her successes with me. Thanks, Mama! Then I get to share my faves with you guys!

A couple weeks ago, I shared a recipe for easy, colorful roasted veggies. Today, I’m sharing another recent winner: healthy, easy, greek-inspired chicken burgers.

These come together quickly, and I actually LIKE having leftovers because these burgers heat up great the next day. I also like them crumbled over a fresh tossed salad. The feta cheese and spices really kick these burgers up a notch!

greek chicken burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken breast {uncooked}
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For toppings:

  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • chopped lettuce
  • sliced cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • hamburger buns or rolls, if desired

1. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken with the feta, garlic powder, and oregano. Mom recommends just using your hands to mix!
greek burgers uncooked

2. Divide mixture into four balls and press them into patties.

3. Heat a pan on the stove {or your grill/broiler.} Grill the patties until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.

greek burgers grilling

4. Serve topped with red bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, onion — whatever your favorite toppings are! I like eating mine without a bun, topped with avocado, onion, and red bell pepper. Yum!

greek burgers openfaced

if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:

easy, colorful roasted veggies + potatoes

As we soak up these final end-of-summer days before the autumn sets in, I have found myself wanting to spend as much time as possible outside. Taking long walks, sipping tea out on the back porch, watching the sunset, breathing in the fresh air. I particularly love those late afternoons/early evenings, when dusk sets in and the light has a magical hazy quality that seems especially magical in this transitional period between seasons.

During late autumn and wintertime, I love to cozy up in my kitchen baking or cooking. But right now, I’m in the mood for easy, throw-together meals that are still healthy and nutritious.

Enter these roasted veggies + potatoes.

This recipe comes from my mama and could not be simpler. All you have to do is chop, toss, and bake. I love how customizable it is based on whatever your favorite veggies are, or what’s in season. Plus, it looks beautiful — definitely a dish you could make for company or for a potluck and feel proud about. I think I’m gonna cook up a batch for myself tonight!

roasted veggies

easy, colorful roasted veggies + potatoes

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • 1 small bag of little red potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 red onion
  • any other veggies of your choosing!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Chop all the veggies and potatoes into relatively equal-sized pieces.

chopped veggies

3. Pour them into a large Ziplock bag and add olive oil.

olive oil in bag

4. Zip closed and shake well until all the goodies are lightly coated with olive oil.

coating veggies in oil

5. Spread the veggies and potatoes into an even layer onto a baking tray. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder {and/or other seasonings of your choosing.}

roasted veggies on tray

6. Roast veggies for 40-45 minutes. I recommend turning the veggies over with a spatula halfway through for even cooking.

7. When the potatoes are tender, everything is done! Remove from the oven and serve warm. Top with cheese if desired.

roasted veggies meal

if you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
oven roasted pumpkin seeds
springtime veggie pasta bake
easy sausage, veggie and potato bake

healthy chicken and bell peppers with goat cheese

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday! Hope your week is thrumming along nicely. 🙂

A little while ago, I promised you this recipe that my mom made for dinner one night during our family reunion in Pittsburgh. Not only is it easy, healthy, and delicious, I love this recipe because it is full of flavor and easily customizable. Don’t like goat cheese? Substitute feta or parmesan, or leave out the cheese altogether. Mom served it over orzo pasta; I like it best over quinoa. Whatever suits your fancy! This also makes great leftovers and heats up well. Hope you enjoy!

chicken and peppers

chicken & bell peppers with goat cheese

– 2 large chicken breasts, or a package of chicken tenders
– 1/2 cup flour
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; I like the combination of orange and yellow
– 1 small onion
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1 small can tomato sauce
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– fresh basil, to taste
– goat cheese {or feta or parmesan, if you prefer}
– salt and pepper, to taste
– pasta or quinoa, for serving

1. Slice the bell peppers and onion into chunks and set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Pour the flour into a pie pan or shallow dish so it is an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, roll the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are evenly coated.

3. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pour in the chicken and saute until cooked through. The flour will create a nice golden-brown crispiness. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

4. In the same olive oil, saute the bell peppers and onion for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, and chicken. Cover and simmer on low.

6. Finely chop the basil. Just before serving, add the basil and goat cheese, to your taste.

7. Serve by itself, or over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Cheers! {We enjoyed this for Mother’s Day dinner, pictured below!}

mothers day

goals + recipes for the week of 3/22

Hi, everyone! Hope your weekend is winding up great.

I had a busy day at church serving as Worship Associate with a special guest minister, Jason Shelton, who just so happens to be a minister at Holly’s church in Nashville! I actually saw him leading the choir when I went to a church service with Holly during my last visit. It was such a nice coincidence to have him visiting my church and it made me feel closer to Holly in a small way. I miss her a lot!

Jason Shelton is a super talented composer and musician, and there was lots of fantastic music during both services today. The theme of today’s worship was “music, change, the old and the new” and I maaaaay have written my Call to Worship about Taylor Swift. I was a little nervous about it, but the writing came straight from my heart and felt so appropriate to the theme. Happily, I discovered there are other T.Swift fans in the congregation {including a very sweet group of seventy-year-old women who came up to me afterwards} and everyone applauded at the end of my Call to Worship! #mychurchrocks

with allyson pirates

Backing up to Saturday, we celebrated Allyn’s sister Allyson’s birthday last night with a pirate-themed murder-mystery party! My guess about the murderer was completely off, as was most everyone else’s, but Allyson used her excellent sleuthing skills and solved the case. I could tell she really enjoyed her party, which made me happy because she is such an amazing person. I hope the party was a small way to show her how very loved she is! Also, check out the red beard on Allyn {aka Captain Redbeard}… it totally stole the show, haha.

allyn redbeard

Now… time for goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last time:
– copyedit through Chapter 8 of client’s manuscript
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
– participate in The Minimalist Challenge
connect with two friends
finish reading The Autograph Man

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– finish final read-through of client’s manuscript
– finish editing manuscript for a friend {this got pushed to the back-burner with other projects, but I really want to finish it this week!}
– do yoga two times & PT exercises daily
– connect with two friends
– finish reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
green goddess hummus via Cookie + Kate
spring panzanella salad via Two Peas and Their Pod
orange chicken tofu via Detoxinista & The Pajama Chef
easy chickpea salad via Food Friends
bunny bait via The Pajama Chef
– my own potato, sausage & veggie bake

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 3/1

Hi there, friends! Wow, it’s been a whirlwind weekend over here! How about you? It’s been nice to decompress and relax a little this evening after being go-go-go on Friday and Saturday. This morning I had a wonderful, restorative time at church, and chatted with people for quite a while after the service. When I came home, I called a couple friends to catch up while I was lounging in bed. It was lovely!

Then I chopped up bunch of veggies that were on their last legs in the fridge — celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, snap peas — and threw them together in a pot of soup for dinner, which I ate with my grandma in front of the TV as we watched “Nashville”… my grandma is so funny watching that show, she thinks most of the male characters look alike and is perpetually getting their storylines confused. Such a cutie-pie!

Backing up to Saturday… I was out the door at 10:45 to tutor two of my mentees before driving to the public library to teach four back-to-back classes of kiddos. Other than some of my kindergarteners being scared of the thunder outside {we got some rain this weekend, woo hoo!} it was a pretty uneventful day of teaching. The quote of the day came from one of my eight-year-old students, rocking a shiny plastic dollar-sign ring: “Chuck E. Cheese’s is so HARSH, Miss Dallas. It’s so hard to win tickets!” #secondgradeproblems

After teaching, I drove to my sweetheart’s place and we carpooled to Plank to meet up with Dana and Brad for a double-date! We had such a fun time: chatted over great food, played arcade games {skeeball is my fave!} and of course we couldn’t leave without taking photos in the photo booth:

us at plank photo booth

All in all, it’s been a really wonderful weekend. I hope yours has too! And now… moving onto goals!

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last week:
– write 10 pages
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
mail in passport application
connect with two friends
– finish reading The Autograph Man

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– copyedit through Chapter 8 of client’s manuscript
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
– participate in The Minimalist Challenge
– connect with two friends
– finish reading The Autograph Man

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
butternut tabbouleh via Cookie + Kate
baked pb apple oatmeal via Two Peas and Their Pod
grain-free classic chocolate-chip cookies via Detoxinista & It’s Progression
spiced pumpkin cornbread via Daily Garnish & It’s Progression
potato rosemary knots via The Pajama Chef
– my own springtime veggie pasta bake

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 2/22

Hi there, friends! What did you think of the Oscars? I really need to get out to the movies more because out of all the Oscar nominees for Best Film, I had only seen one. I really want to see Boyhood, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Birdman!

We went over to my Aunt Annie and Uncle Arn’s house to watch the Oscars and eat a delicious homemade pasta dinner. I need to get the recipe for my Uncle Arn’s tomato sauce so I can share it with you guys! He is Italian and makes a darn good pasta sauce.

I’ve been missing Celine a lot today. Trying to be gentle with myself. The grief ebbs and flows. I was talking with my brother earlier, trying to analyze my feelings — how maybe it’s starting to feel real that she’s truly gone; maybe I’m coming out of my denial of her death; maybe my sadness felt overwhelming because of all the beautiful gowns at the Oscars, my dear Celine who loved fashion so much.

me and celine

Greg just listened, and then he said, “Or maybe you’re just missing your friend.”

Yeah. I think that’s it. I’m just missing my friend. A lot.

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last week:
– send out queries to agents
– compile tutoring worksheets through end of Feb.
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
begin process to renew passport
connect with two friends
finish reading A Few Thousand Words about Love

few thousand words about love

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 10 pages
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
– mail in passport application
– connect with two friends
– finish reading The Autograph Man

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
southwestern kale power salad via Cookie + Kate
white chickpea chili via Two Peas and Their Pod
flourless almond butter chocolate chip cookies via Two Peas and Their Pod
easy chocolate raspberry energy bites via PB Fingers
banana cake with cinnamon glaze via The Pajama Chef
– my own strawberry coconut chocolate-chip cookies

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

super-simple graham cracker caramel pecan cookies

Hello, friends! I’m popping by with a quick, easy-peasy recipe for you today! I saw this recipe on the back of my box of Safeway graham crackers, and it looked intriguing so I decided to try it out.

It turned out delicious and was so simple to make, with only four ingredients! Plus everything comes together in a flash because you only need to bake the cookies for 10 minutes. My Grandpap said, “I don’t know what these cookies are called, but they are so good it’s sinful!” 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

sinful graham cracker pecan cookies

sinful graham-cracker caramel pecan cookies

– 1 sleeve graham crackers {about 9 large rectangular crackers}
– 1/3 cup butter
– 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
– 1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Place graham crackers close together in a single layer on top of the aluminum foil.

graham crackers

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir together until butter and sugar are well-combined. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.

4. Pour brown-sugar mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly across the crackers with a spatula or wooden spoon.

5. Scatter pecan pieces on top of the caramelized sugar.

graham crackers prebake

6. Bake for 10 minutes.

graham crackers after baking

7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting them in half to make square cookies.

graham cracker cookies

And that’s it!

What are some of your favorite quick, simple recipes?

if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:
3-ingredient banana cookies
peanut butter breakfast cookies
ridiculously easy pumpkin spice cookies

valentine’s day recap! + goals + recipes for the week of 2/15

Hello, everyone! Hope you are having a masterpiece day. It feels like springtime here in the Bay Area, sunny and warm. The trees are already bursting into bloom and daffodils are popping up everywhere. I love it!

You know what else I love? Valentine’s Day! I hope you had a great one! Mine was simply delightful. I did some morning baking {perhaps my best batch ever of red velvet crinkle cookies!} and then spent most of the day hanging out with adorable kiddos, teaching classes for Communication Academy. One of my kindergarten students made me a valentine and when her mom came to pick her up after class, she started crying because she didn’t want to leave! Nothing makes a girl feel loved quite like a 6-year-old throwing a temper-tantrum because she has to say goodbye to you. 🙂

After my last class ended at 5:45, I jumped into my car and drove to Oakland for a Valentine’s night date with my sweetheart. The drive was absolutely gorgeous — the sun was setting over the water, and the twinkling lights of the city made a stunning silhouette against the pink and red clouds. It felt like a valentine from Celine. ❤

me and Al Valentines

Allyn and I walked a couple blocks from his apartment to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. Have you guys had Ethiopian food before? Before Saturday, the last time I did was back in grad school. I think the food is delicious, and it’s a fun dining experience, eating “family style” with your hands. Another bonus was that, on a night that can get pretty crazy to eat out at a restaurant, this was a quieter, off-the-beaten path place. It was lovely!

Allyn Ethiopian food

Ethiopian food

Then we went back to Allyn’s place to exchange gifts and watch Jerry Maguire {which I had never seen!} Allyn got me a box of chocolates and a beautiful purse from his travels in Kenya. Not only is the purse gorgeous from a fashion sense, it also supports a great cause. The purse was made through an organization called Amani — which means “higher peace” in Swahili — and is a sewing and reconciliation program for marginalized women in Africa. Women gain experience in sewing, bookkeeping, procurement, quality control, management and design; products sold enable women a chance to earn a consistent income. You can learn more at www.amaniafrica.com.

Valentines collage

All in all, it was a perfect Valentine’s Day! ❤

On Sunday morning, Allyn and I headed to church bright and early because I was serving as Worship Associate for the 9:30 service. The topic was Salvation and I spoke about Celine. I was really nervous beforehand, but it felt good to talk about her and I was able to get through it without breaking down into tears. Afterward, so many people in the congregation came up to give me hugs. I’m slowly learning to lean on people in my grief and I feel grateful to be part of such a caring community.

Today has been spent writing, editing, reading, looking through old photos with my grandma {she and my Grandpap are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in June and she’s already starting to prepare!} and baking. Lately I just can’t get enough of baking, so I’m embracing it and trying out new recipes! Right now I’m noshing on these zucchini muffins made with coconut flour, plus I added in some peanut butter, shredded coconut and chocolate chips.

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from last week:
– write 10 new pages {halfway there, wrote 5 new pages}
– compile tutoring worksheets
finish reading The Un-Americans
– schedule doctor’s appointment
– begin process to renew passport
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– send out queries to agents
– compile tutoring worksheets through end of Feb.
– finish editing manuscript for a friend
– begin process to renew passport
– connect with two friends
– finish reading A Few Thousand Words about Love

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
thai pineapple fried rice via Cookie + Kate
5-ingredient spinach parmesan pasta via Two Peas and Their Pod
slow-cooker minestrone soup via Two Peas and Their Pod
vegetable beef barley soup via Swanson Vitamins website
falafel, tzatziki & greek lemon rice via The Pajama Chef
– my own cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?
  • How was your Valentine’s Day?

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

goals + recipes for the week of 2/8

Hi there, friends. It’s been a beautifully rainy weekend around here… always SO grateful for rain in our drought-stricken California! This weekend I spent some lovely hours reading, cozied up in my bed, listening to the rain patter outside. Right now I’m reading Molly Anterpol’s stunning short story collection The Un-Americans and I highly recommend it.

Something I was reminded of this past week was how much better all-around I feel when I fuel my body with real, whole foods. In the wake of Celine’s death, I really didn’t feel like eating much at all. When I did eat, it was a lot of bread and cookies and even one-too-many “screw it I’m sad” Starburst that gave me a canker sore.

Then, earlier this week, my body was practically screaming out for veggies. I didn’t know it was possible to experience an intense craving for spinach, but I felt it! So I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from tutoring and filled my hand-basket with cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, carrots, frozen berries… and, yes, a ginormous tub of organic spinach that it is now my mission to use up. I’ve been making scrambled eggs that are actually more spinach than eggs:

spinach eggs

I’ve also been throwing spinach into morning smoothies, and I’ve been having lots of fresh spinach salads. Plus I just can’t get enough raw veggies… plates of sliced up carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers have been my go-to snacks.

raw veggies

Anyway, this is all to say that I’ve been reminded, yet again, how much what I eat effects my mood, energy, and general sense of well-being. When terrible things happen, when I’m feeling down, when everything looks gloomy, it is even more important to feed my body good things. Bring on the veggies!

weekly goals

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 10 new pages
– compile tutoring worksheets
– finish reading The Un-Americans
– schedule doctor’s appointment
– begin process to renew passport
– connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
creamy zuppa tuscana soup via Two Happy Bellies
all of these Valentine’s Day desserts via Two Peas and Their Pod
get your greens salad via Two Peas and Their Pod
triple bean veggie burgers via Peas & Crayons & It’s Progression
dark chocolate double-coconut macaroons via The Pajama Chef
– my own red velvet crinkle cookies {perfect for Valentine’s Day!}

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over this week?
  • Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans? {Check out my post from last year with some thoughtful, simple gift ideas for the loved ones in your life!}

MPM-Winter
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!