Sunday, February 26, 2017

Life is Peachy.

I was talking about the visual superiority of Texas sunsets the other day (as you do when you're a Texan), and I was immediately met by the pangs of homesickness. I know everyone experiences a longing for their home state from time to time, but when we say everything is bigger in Texas, we're also talking about feelings. Don't believe me? Google Friday Night Lights or football in West Texas, and you'll see what I mean about the unwavering passion that emanates from most Texans. I was so hard up to experience home again that I begged my husband to drag me to the nearest Chili's so I could get Tex-Mex know, where the meat actually gets seasoned and marinated and the guacamole doesn't look like soylent green paste. Clearly you all know by now my emotions are best described  as "awake" or "asleep" with the occasional hunger-anger thrown in, and this is because instead of experiencing a wide array of exhausting human emotions, I just eat my feelings instead. The world would be a better place if we all ate more cake and didn't get so upset about things in my opinion. And since I was allowing my homesickness to meander, it took me to the next logical step: making a traditional Texas dessert but with my usual flare for health consciousness. My Texas-sized eating habits are constantly at war with my desire to stay thin, so you gotta do what you gotta do to stay looking sharp in a pair of tight jeans. Enter skinny peach cobbler:
It looks deceptively fattening, I know.
This is the lazy cook's approach to skinny cobbler. It literally takes two minutes to throw together, and then you get to reap the benefits of healthy dessert eating. This entire 9x13 pan of peach cobbler amounts to a total of 1900 calories...I'm pretty sure just looking at a normal cobbler will cost you about the same, and then you can divvy up your servings. I found 12 servings to be the perfect size since I knew we couldn't very well eat cobbler without a heaping of vanilla froyo on top of each piece, so before the addition of milky frozen goodness, each chunk of cobbler is only 158 calories. You can't even eat a bowl of cereal for 158 calories, people. This is the real deal, but thankfully, it doesn't taste like 158 calories of thin air. Oh no...peachy, vanilla, creamy...this is everything you want in a cobbler minus the muffin top. While it lacks the intensely crispy crust that results from ample amounts of butter and sugar in a regular cobbler, it's still got a nice, crumbly crust that gives way to luscious peach chunks...and it is most definitely a cure-all for a homesick Texan. The first bite was met with images of bluebonnet fields and clear blue skies. Definitely a "died and gone to Texas" moment.
With only three ingredients!!!
I wasn't kidding when I said it was a lazy cook's cobbler. You only need:
  • 2 16-ounce bags of frozen peaches (still frozen and not thawed)
  • 1 12-ounce can of diet creme soda or diet citrus soda
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix. You could cut calories even further by using a sugar-free cake mix.
Hold on to your butts, here comes a quick crappy photo montage:
"Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches."
 While your oven preheats to 350, grease a 9x13 baking pan. Take both bags of frozen peaches and dump into the pan. Try to spread these out to form even layers without any empty spaces.
Don't sneeze.
I decided to be supremely lazy and dump the cake mix on top of the peaches with a few dusting motions of the open cake mix bag. Later, I decided I should have mixed together the soda and the cake mix first to ensure even baking. So don't be Kate-lazy. Mix the cake mix and the soda together in a bowl and then pour it evenly over the peaches.
See those extra white spots?
Yeah, I didn't have enough soda to cover all the cake mix, so those white spots stayed as is...dry and dusty. Take the extra thirty seconds and mix your ingredients so your cobbler looks pretty. Cover it with foil and bake for 20 minutes in the middle of your oven. Then, remove the foil and bake for 40 more minutes.
See, these white spots won't mock you and your baking abilities if you just mix...
I had some spots of dry cake mix, but Dear God, my house smelled like the inside of what I imagine Texas heaven smells like. It took the personal restraint of knowing (again, as you do when you're a Texan) that cobbler requires a 30-minute window to properly set up to keep me from taking a pint of frozen yogurt, dumping it directly on top of the pan of cobbler, and eating the entire thing in one sitting. Thank those lucky stars at night that are big and bright (Deep in the heart of Texas!) I was able to squash my ravenous hunger with that preexisting knowledge.
Because I mean, really, look at that oozy goodness.
 Take heed to my warning--you do want to let it cool and set for a bit. Cobbler should be a little messy, but it should not burn the inside of your mouth off. And while those peaches went into the oven frozen, one hour at 350 turns them to peachy molten magma.
Still weighing out whether or not the medical bills would be worth it, though.
 Once you've let your cobbler set for a half an hour, slice it up and serve! I told you, extremely lazy and easy. As lazy and easy as it is delicious and low cal. If you prefer, you could also top this with something a little healthier like fat free Cool Whip, vanilla bean Halo Top, or even a few extra slices of peaches. I have a steady supply of Kemp's frozen yogurt on hand for those days when I want to eat like a monster, but a monster with a nice physique. And as a Texan, I don't believe cobbler is really cobbler until it's topped with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Instead it's just crumbly cake with fruit. Not that that's a bad thing, it just doesn't meet the fervent criteria of proper Texan-ing.
Also, presentation is key.
I miss home a little less with each helping. I imagine if I actually ate this while standing in the state of Texas, I might have a small aneurysm experiencing so much happiness and joy all at once. But I'm stoked I tried out this lazy cobbler route because it made me realize there are actually endless possibilities for when I'm not homesick and just want a damn good crumbly cake with fruit. You could dump raspberries together with chocolate cake and Coke Zero, or cherries together with chocolate cake and Cherry Coke Zero. You could use strawberries with strawberry cake and fruity diet soda. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with white cake and diet Sprite...seriously, the possibilities are limited only to the kind of cake mixes that exist in this world, so if you've ever wondered why boxed carrot cake mix exists, throw it together with some walnuts and diet creme soda and get back to me. As for now, I'm gonna enjoy this until my baking pan is licked clean. And then I'm going to gear up for one of my favorite baking months of the year: everything is literally going green for March and Saint Patrick's Day!!! Top o' the baking to ya, and 'til next time, my fellow eaters!
I may even try to make a green cobbler. Who knows.

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