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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turkey Dinner Hot Dish



I love me some turkey dinner, but sometimes I think the leftovers are even better!  Especially when they’re made into this hot dish.

Turkey Dinner Hot Dish or Leftovers Hot Dish (as it’s referred to in out house) is a well loved after Thanksgiving tradition.  My mom always makes sure she has enough leftovers to make us a hot dish!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Angel Wings Wednesday #21




I’m feeling a melancholy today.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s that this was the week, last year, when I heard Sarah Catherine’s heartbeat for the last time.  The 24 week appointment.  I was still feeling dreadful and I was diagnosed with pneumonia at the appointment, but the baby’s heartbeat was strong and everything was looking good.

Anyway, today has me thinking about how God prepared me for this.  I feel like several things in particular were put in my life specifically to make sure I’d be able to handle this loss.

First was Dude’s pregnancy and birth.  I was very sick with him, and then had to deliver early for both our sakes.  And then I took a teeny tiny 4 pound baby home (no NICU for my tiny fighter), pretty scary for a first time mama.  He was a pretty healthy baby, but when he got sick, he got very sick (things like a croup/flu combination that nearly hospitalized him).

Spud on the other hand, his pregnancy and birth were much better.  While I was still very sick in the beginning, I was able to make it to term before he needed to be induced.  Spud was also a very healthy baby. 

Though, he’s the one who gave me my biggest scare when, just before his first birthday, he swallowed a button battery (a garage door opener had fallen apart, unknown to me – perhaps I’ll share the whole story another time) and had to be airlifted to Mayo.  My baby was on a ventilator and sedated while doctors assessed the extent of the damage to his esophagus (very little as it turned out, we were very lucky).

After that, I had nightmares for months and a sense of foreboding.  I had this unshakable feeling that Spud wasn’t mine to keep.  That the Lord would call my baby back to him.  But Spud recovered quickly and stayed healthy and as the years went by, the worries faded.

Then I found out I was pregnant with Sarah Catherine.  It was a surprise pregnancy (but a welcome one).  I was very anxious about telling people about the pregnancy.  Though I’d never experienced a miscarriage, I worried that there was something wrong, that I wasn’t going to keep this pregnancy.

Even after we heard the heartbeat for the first time, the worry stayed.  I was a nervous wreck for my 20 week ultrasound, certain that I was going to hear bad news.  But with each appointment, everything looked great.  Absolutely no red flags or concerns. 

And still I worried. 

I had trouble imagining life with another baby.  Just like in the aftermath of Spud’s injury, I felt like this baby was not mine to keep.  I never really voiced this feeling, because it made me feel like a terrible person.  I wanted this baby, but feeling like I wasn’t going to keep her…it was confusing, so I kept it to myself.

And then, of course, we know how the story ends.  The 28 week appointment and the news I somehow had been dreading since the beginning.  My baby was gone. She was my first daughter and she had passed away in my womb.  She really wasn’t mine to keep.  She was always meant to be heaven’s angel.

Through all of that, God was there.  He was slowly, slowly preparing me for tragedy.  He started me off with a scary pregnancy and a very tiny (but feisty) baby, then a deep fear while keeping vigil over my 1 year old in the PICU at a hospital in another state, and finally that unshakable feeling that one of my kids was just meant for heaven.  I just knew.

Yes, God prepared my heart.  I was dealt small bits of fear and tragedy through the years, through my boys, to give me the strength to carry on when He took our little Sarah Catherine home to heaven.

I know we’ll never know why.  Not really.

There’s some divine purpose, but it isn’t clear.

As I come up on the 1 year anniversary of Sarah Catherine’s birth and death, I can only hope that it’s made me a better, more compassionate person.  Though I still working on it – the tragedy has made me impatient and easily frustrated.  But I’m working on it.  This all happened for a reason.  This year will be different.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Caramel Apple Pie


My parents’ apple trees were very bountiful this year.  And though we didn’t make it there to help pick apples (those darn Saturday soccer games!), they did send a large bag of apples for us when one of their friends came to town.

We were having friends over, so I decided to whip up a delicious Apple Pie Trio.



I started out with a traditional apple pie.

Then I followed it up with another traditional, only with a crumble topping, instead of a double crust.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Green Bean Casserole from Scratch {Food 'n Flix}






It’s time for this month’s Food ‘n Flix Submission, hosted by Deb from Kahalai Kitchen!  If you aren’t familiar, Food ‘n Flix is a fun little challenge wherein participants watch a chosen movie and then whip up something delicious inspired by the movie.


This month’s movie was Pieces of April.  In the movie (a drama, dark comedy?  I’m not sure), April has invited her estranged family to a homemade Thanksgiving.  April has made some poor choices in the past, and her mother is terminally ill.  As April prepares the Thanksgiving meal, she runs into all sorts of difficulties, but the people in her apartment building pull together to help her achieve her Thanksgiving meal.

Pieces of April

Since it’s all about Thanksgiving, I decided to try my hand at my very favorite Thanksgiving side dish (even though it did not appear in the film): Green Bean Casserole!

So I have a confession to make…I LOVE canned green beans.  I remember one time, I was in college and going home for the weekend.  My mom asked me what I’d like her to make for dinner while I was home.  I knew that no matter what she made, it would be fantastic (especially when compared to dorm food – yuck!).  So all I requested was green beans from a can!  Yep, I love them! 

And I love that original recipe green bean casserole with the canned beans and canned soup and crunchy onions.  All over it.

But for this, I decided to push myself a bit and make the casserole from scratch…well except for the crunchy onions, those are non-negotiable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing


These delicious cookies were my second choice from last Sunday’s Secret Recipe Club reveal.

The cookies are so soft and cakey and browned butter icing perfectly complements the spicy pumpkin cookies.  Basically, these are to die for!

It’s the perfect fall cookie or addition to the Thanksgiving table!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Red Wine Pot Roast with Honey & Thyme: SRC


It’s Secret Recipe Club Day!  If you’re unfamiliar, SRC is the club in which participants are secretly assigned another participating blogger, then cook, and reveal a delicious recipe.  It’s such a fun way to meet other bloggers!

This month, I was assigned Kathy’s blog, A Spoonful of Thyme.

Kathy comes from a long line of home cooks; she had fond memories of her mother and grandmother in the kitchen.  She also values the importance of bringing the whole family together for dinner.

I had a tough time choosing a recipe (there are so many delicious recipes on her blog!)  So I made two.  First was a yummy cookie recipe, watch for that recipe later on this week!

But what I chose for the reveal was an amazing Red Wine Pot Roast.   I was so inspired by Kathy’s passion for family dinners (something I value as well).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Turkey Legs & Acorns


As the years go by, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday.  Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing that magic of Christmas through my children’s eyes and celebrating Our Lord’s death and resurrection at Easter, but there’s just something about Thanksgiving that I love.

I think it’s the family togetherness without all of the extras.  It’s just a chance to focus on being together with Santa & the Easter Bunny vying for attention.

Since Christmas usually gets all the baking attention, I decided to few other fun treats just for Thanksgiving!  Not that these are actually baked.  In fact, they’re fun, easy no bake treats that are little helper friendly!

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