It’s kind of a bummer to be
back to regular dishes after all of the excitement and sweetness of Christmas,
but alas, we must eat food other than desserts. Luckily, while I’ve been busy posting
indulgent Christmas recipes, I have been off making some pretty fantastic main
dishes behind the scenes.
I made this tortellini bake
the day after I made my homemade pasta sauce.
When I made the pasta sauce, we ended up finishing off all of the
spaghetti, but had a cup of sauce remaining.
Sure, I could have boiled up more spaghetti, but what’s the fun in that?
Since I had been wanting to
make another version of my Tortellini Bake in Rose Sauce, I decided that this
would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
This is a cheesier version of the original bake, with a little spinach
thrown in to make it feel a little healthier.
Tomorrow is already
Christmas Eve, can you believe it? It is
so easy to get caught up with everything else at Christmastime. Finding the perfect gift, picking out the
perfect Christmas card, planning menus, and baking, baking, baking.
Things often don’t go as
planned. This year, I forgot to buy
gifts for two people until the very last second, my sewing machine broke and I
wasn’t able to finish several handmade gifts, time got away from me and I only
made half of the holiday goodies I had planned to make.
But do you know what I did
do? I played with my children and read
them stories. They learned about Jesus
and the Nativity. We lit Advent candles
and we learned new prayers.
though things didn’t go as planned this holiday season, I still feel
fulfilled. Because, looking back, things
did go as planned. My children learned
about the true gift of Christmas and there is really no greater gift.
It’s just a few days before Christmas,
but I have the perfect cup of coffee for gift opening, or Christmas morning, or
every morning for the past 2 weeks (but maybe that’s just me). Here’s a picture of little Muffin telling us
lattes aren’t for breakfast (you can’t tell but he’s offering us some of his
I’ve long wanted to make a Candy
Cane Latte, but disliked using peppermint extract since it so easily overpowers
everything else. Cue my favorite Hershey
Kisses! These kisses are already the
perfect blend of peppermint, so they just enhance the latte, while the
chocolate from the candy adds a thick creaminess to the drink. Perfection!
So go! Run to the store and get horde of Candy Cane
Kisses before they’re gone, and make up some delicious lattes for everyone on
*If you’re feeling lazy (like I do most days) and don’t want
to chop the kisses, just make sure to stir very well, scrapping the bottom with
*You can replace the instant coffee with a shot of two of
*You could also omit the instant coffee and decrease the milk
to about 6 oz, filling the remainder of the cup with strongly brewed coffee.
*If you don’t have any chocolate protein powder, replace it
with Ovaltine or hot cocoa mix.
*Use any whisk you'd like, but I've found that this one works best.
I tell you a secret? I’ve never eaten the cranberry sauce when
it’s been served at Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. But, I recently hosted my first Thanksgiving,
and knew that cranberry sauce had to make an appearance. So, I set out to find something with a little
bit of pizzazz. Something I would like
to eat. And this was certainly it!
I just loved the depth of
flavor that the wine added to the sauce, as well as the warm spices. This will definitely be a must for future
Thanksgivings and Christmases! And I’ll
even eat some!
1 (12 oz) package fresh
cranberries, rinsed and drained
Combine the wine, water,
and brown sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved,
then bring the mixture to a boil.
Add in the cinnamon,
nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add in the cranberries and return the mixture
to a boil. Simmer the sauce, stirring
occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until the cranberries burst and the sauce
begins to thicken.
Remove the cranberry sauce
from heat and cool to room temperature.
Move the sauce to the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve chilled.
Where has the time gone?
Christmas is upon us and I have a bunch of Christmasy recipes that I
have yet to share! So Merry Christmas,
everyone, I’m posting every day this week (fingers crossed).
First up is a fun cupcake! This one first caught my eye on Pinterest
(shocking, I know). But with all of the
other Christmas treats currently residing in my house, I was certain that I did
not need 24 cupcakes pestering me to be eaten.
Cue my husband who came home last Friday with a “So are we busy Sunday?”
He was invited to a potluck and it
provided the perfect excuse to make us some yummy, minty cupcakes! These were perfect and I already had all the
ingredients on hand. Now I would be
lying if I told you he went to the potluck with 24 cupcakes. I had to be able to tell you how great they
are didn’t, I?
The best bite of the whole cupcakes comes
when you get to the center and get that extra little minty surprise inside that
perfectly mimicked the creamy peppermint frosting. Hmmm…maybe Santa needs cupcakes instead of
cookies this year….
*For a great photo tutorial on how to swirl two colors of
frosting together, click here.
It’s time again for the big Secret Recipe
Club Reveal (check out the SRC website to learn all about it!)
This month, it was my pleasure to cook
from Joanna’s blog, Cairns Manor. Joanna
shares so many great recipes; it was difficult to choose just one! I loved the variety of recipes I found on her
blog, and I know others will as well.
From her blog, I chose to make a stunning
tomato sauce. It reminded me of a sauce I had tried previously, but I loved the idea of the flavor infused olive oil in
this recipe. And let me tell you – it
was wonderful! This sauce makes me never
want to buy jarred sauce again!
*The original recipe calls for fresh basil. While that would
be nice, I opted to use dried herbs in my sauce since it is December and my
garden is all shriveled up.
*Play around with any of your favorite fresh or dried herbs
in this recipe. It lends itself well to
As I was growing up, I saw my mom make
dozen of different Christmas cookies.
One of my (many) favorites is chocolate dipped Nutter Butters! Through the power of Pinterest, I have seen
the dipped Nutter Butter evolve into all manner of holiday character, so this
year I decided to take my little Nutter Butters and make them into cute little
This was also a very fun opportunity for
my son to help in the kitchen! He helped
me by sorting through the M&M’s for the red ones. He also put the M&M’s on the cookies and
the eyes on the reindeer. It is always
fun to have my little mini foodie working by my side
Oh, and if you have some extra chocolate left over, dip some caramels (I bought mine - I just love the ones from Kraft!) and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Or dip the little pretzel remnants that are too small to be antlers--you can make the little ones snicker by calling it Reindeer Poop!
*It is fun to let kids help by sorting through the M&M’s
for the red ones. Kids also love to put
the antlers, noses, and eyes on the reindeer!
*I broke up some holiday shaped pretzels for my antlers. They were all different shapes that I thought
added a bit of whimsy to the reindeer. However,
you can also use pretzels stick or cut mini pretzels for more uniform antlers.
Quick Pizza Dough. Yep, you read that right, no kneading, no
fuss - quick. This is an excellent dough
to begin with if you are just starting to make your own bread. It is super forgiving and the stand mixer
does all the work! Do note that this is
going to be a slightly denser flatbread type of pizza dough, since it is not
allowed to rise.
As for the toppings, I was having one of
those clean out the refrigerator type of meals.
I had made tacos earlier in the week and had just enough left over to
make one taco. Who’s going to eat one
taco? No one, that’s who, so Taco Pizza
it became! And there you have it! A quick and easy pizza, that didn’t come out
of a box!
any of your favorite taco ingredients to this pizza. It is easy to customize!
I am forever trying to come up with a
good side dish when I serve Mexican style food.
What do you serve? Chips? A vegetable?
For some reason, I just struggle with this one.
A while back, I made a rice and bean dish
that we really enjoyed. I was planning
to make it again when I made Chicken Tortilla Soup recently, but I forgot to
start the rice in time, so I ended up making a bean salsa instead. I loved the heat of the chili powder and
cayenne combined with the sweetness of the corn – it was hard to stop eating
this! Even my little 1 year old loved
We interrupt regular programming to bring
you an extra Secret Recipe Club post today!
(New to Amy’s Cooking Adventures or SRC?
Click here and here).
Yesterday afternoon, I received an e-mail
about an orphaned blog from last Monday’s reveal. SRC participants try our hardest to make sure
that everyone gets recognition on reveal days, and when they don’t, volunteers
are called upon. When I heard about this
slip up, I was more than happy to help.
The blog in question was Groundcherry: Sustainable Cooking for One. It is a
blog dedicated to eating local, sustainable foods. Most of the recipes are also gluten free and
are meant to serve one person! Where was
this blog when I was single?
As I looked through the delicious recipes
at Groundcherry, I was drawn to the Baked Sweet Potato with Black Beans. See, there was a single sweet potato sitting
on my counter since Thanksgiving, just asking to be used (and the cookies I was
baking took an unbelievably long time and I didn’t have dinner ready.) So, I made my kids sandwiches, my husband a
frozen pizza, and I had this lovely sweet potato (my husband was totally
jealous!) This is a great recipe for
lunch or dinner, especially if you’re in a hurry, since it is done in under 10
can also bake the potatoes in the oven for a crispier skin (don’t forget to eat
the skin – it’s full of nutrients!)
you’re serving two instead of one, just double everything, using the entire can
of black beans.
Are you ready for this year’s first
Christmas cookie? I have a great one for
These little lovelies are chocolate chip
cookies that taste like thin mints and mint chocolate chip ice cream all in
one. Hello? Delicious.
The key to these cookies is the
combination of mint baking chips and peppermint extract in the dough, plus a
little green food coloring to make them “look” minty. While these cookies would be fantastic at any
time of year, I can specifically see them, in all their festive green glory, at
Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day. So pull
up a glass of milk and enjoy!
I love making stir fry for my family for
several reasons. I like that I can separate
out the pieces of the stir fry that my boys will eat (the chicken) and that it
exposes them to different vegetables (though they usually turn up their
noses). Plus, if they refuse the stir
fry, I know for certain that they’ll eat the rice!
I loved this stir fry right away because
it had cashews (my favorite nut!) I
added in all of my favorite veggies and was able to recreate one of my favorite
*You can serve this with brown or white rice, but I served it
with a modified version of my favorite fried rice (minus the peas and cashews)
to add a little protein for my picky eaters.
*I used some leftover rotisserie chicken in this recipe. If using uncooked chicken, simply add in the
chicken before the cashews and cook it thoroughly.
Ever since Hershey’s came out with their
Candy Cane Kisses, I have been in love.
I absolutely adore the smooth minty flavor with the little crunch of
candy cane. I am looking for fun new
ways to use them. Remember the Chocolate Candy Cane Blossoms and the Peppermint Brownies from last year? Yum!
This year I’ve seen many recipes for
candy cane bark and they all look deliciously mouthwatering. However, I’m not too keen on crushing candy
canes or peppermints. I am forever
getting holes in bags and peppermint dust everywhere; not fun. Solution?
Not just one, but two types of peppermint candy instead of candy
canes! Problem solved!
*While you wouldn’t *have* to use both kinds of peppermint
candy, I highly recommend it – they each add a unique flavor that kicks this
bark up a notch.