Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Reads

It’s time for November Reads!  Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas?!?

What are you reading this month?  Any recommendations?

Sourcery (Discworld #5) | My Review | ★★★★

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated Version) | My Review | ★★★★★     (Read to my Children)

Cruel Beauty | My Review | ★★★★★

A Little Princess | My Review | ★★★★★ 

Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIHM | My Review | ★★★★★

The Westing Game | My Review | ★★★

The Martian | My Review | ★★★★★

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever | My Review | ★★★★

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Tree Cupcakes #SecretRecipeClub

With an extra Monday in November, Secret Recipe Club is back with a special reveal day.  Since Thanksgiving (in the US at least) was this past week, we can start focusing on Christmas!  So today’s special is all about the Christmas treats!

For today’s reveal, I was assigned Helen’s blog, Casa Costello.  Helen is a mom of 3 girls.  She cooks so many delicious meals and treats!  Plus, she decorates cakes!  This was a match made in heaven!

For the special holiday reveal, I chose a cupcake design/tutorial rather than a recipe, but they’re super cute, so maybe you’ll forgive me?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkey Fruit & Veggie Platter

Need a last minute side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner? Or maybe something for the kids’ table?  Or something that looks like it took a long time, but really took about 5 minutes?

I’ve got you covered.

I made two turkey platters, because I was taking it to a school event and my boys ate the entire first turkey in about 2 minutes flat (so much for taking that to school)

Here’s the all-fruit version.

The beauty of this platter is that you can use whatever you have in your refrigerator.  I used a mix of fruit and veggies, but you can also go all fruit or all veggies for this platter!  And while those rich Thanksgiving side dishes are delicious (I’m looking at you green bean casserole), it’s nice to have a lighter (and adorable) option on the table!

Turkey Fruit & Veggie Platter

1 apple, cut in half (or pear or small squash)
Celery, sliced
Grapes, cut in half
Red bell pepper, cut in rings
Cucumber, peeled & sliced
Apple, cut in chunks
Asparagus spears
Pea pods
Carrots, sliced
2 mini chocolate chips, for eyes

Other options:
Bananas, sliced
Cherry tomatoes
Orange slices
Green onions
Broccoli florets
Cauliflower florets
Kiwi, sliced

Place one apple, cut side down, on the platter.  Cut a carrot slice into a beak and feet.  Use a toothpick to make guide marks to push in mini chocolate chips for eyes.  Prop 2 pea pods for wings and a red pepper slice for the wattle.  Arrange the remaining fruits and vegetables around the turkey to form a large tail feather.

Image Map
Parts of this post originally appeared as a guest post on Practically Functional

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter #HandCraftedEdibles

When Dude was 2 or 3 years old and in the height of his picky eating, Nutella was a lunchtime staple.  Gradually, I was able to expand his palate and then I would conveniently “forget” to buy Nutella as the jar ran out.  And eventually I stopped buying it all together (especially once Dude started going to a school with a “no peanut no tree nut” policy).

Then, out of the blue, Spud started asking me if he could have a Nutella sandwich for lunch.  I told him that we didn’t have any and had him pick something else.  Then he asked the next day.  And the next.  And the next.  Clearly, he wasn’t giving up. 

Finally, after telling him (again) that I didn’t have any Nutella, he asked me to make some instead.  I didn’t have any hazelnuts on hand, but I did have cashews.

And so, Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter was born, just in time for this week’s #HandCraftedEdibles.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!

Everyone needs a Thanksgiving specialty drink, right?

These pumpkintinis are pretty much a boozy pumpkin pie in a glass!  You can’t get much better than that!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Harvest Pasta with Sausage

Today is one of those days when a whole bunch of things fell into place to result in a delicious meal.

First, I made a batch of Cheesy Buttercup Squash a couple days ago.  And it wasn’t very good.  Typically, the squash is smooth and a bit sweet.  This one, for whatever reason, was bland and stringy.  I ate it for dinner, but was not looking forward to the leftovers.  I was trying to think of how I could salvage the recipe, short of adding a ridiculous amount of cheese and I was coming up blank.

Then today, Dude inadvertently helped me out.  He wanted to be chef of the day and he wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs.  Aha!

Bland cheesy squash as the base to my meat sauce?  Perfect!

I set to helping Dude doctor up our boring squash.  A bit of tomato sauce, Italian spices PLUS my favorite fall flavors: sage and sausage!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli in Brown Butter Sauce

I gave you a little teaser of this recipe when I posted my Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia last month.  I meant to post this recipe right away, but then things got busy and it kept getting pushed back. 

But here it is today, just in case you’re looking for a non-traditional or vegetarian dish to bring to the Thanksgiving table!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cheesy Buttercup Squash

I have the perfect Thanksgiving (or anytime!!) side dish for you!

It super simple, super delicious, and everyone will love it!

I’ve used buttercup squash in this recipe because that’s what I grew in my garden, but buttercup squash would work equally well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Game Day Meat & Cheese Platter #HandCraftedEdibles

Let’s talk Meat & Cheese Platters!  That’s this week’s #HandCraftedEdibles theme, after all!

I love meat & cheese trays because they’re so incredibly versatile!

I called today’s tray a game day platter because I whipped this up while we watched the Green Bay Packer Game last week.  But it also works well for board game nights with friends.  Or Thanksgiving snackies, or Christmas parties!  Or even use a disposable or inexpensive tray and bring it as a hostess gift!  There’s end to the meat and cheese tray’s usefulness.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Chocolate Frogs #thebookclubcookbookCC

I’m jumping in with the Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew this month, because Erin, at The Spiffy Cookie chose one of my all-time favorite books:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Added to the fact that it’s my favorite book/series, I very recently purchased the illustrated version of the novel and decided to introduce my boys to the magical world of Harry Potter.

Have you ever shared your favorite novel with your children and watched their eyes glitter as they too are entranced with the story?   It is so fun to share with my children.  Plus, the illustrations are absolutely breath-taking (so, um, this might also be my 3rd copy of the book.  I now have paperback, electronic, and illustrated versions!)

Back to the book club!  To participate, bloggers read the selected book and then make something inspired by the book.

In this book, there are small mentions of Christmas roast and such, but the wizard sweets are the main event.

My boys were very intrigued by Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans.  But since I wasn’t interested in trying to make ear wax flavored candies, I bought a box for them to try instead.  They got toothpaste, rotten egg, and canned dog food and vowed never to eat a jelly bean again. Told ya so, kids.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

After a busy week, Dude was excited to get cooking again this week!

This time, he made stir fry (on Friday = Stir-Fry Day!)  We made a quick stop to the grocery store on the way home from school where he picked out all of his vegetables and the meat.  It was such fun walking through the grocery store and discussing meal choices and how to pick fresh vegetables!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beer Cheese Dip

We had some friends over for game night last weekend.  I usually make some sort of queso for game night.  This time, however, I wanted to take things a slightly different direction with beer cheese dip.

There are tons of ways to make beer cheese dip, but I went with the simplest, most beer filled dip I could find.

This one is simple – just beer and two types of cheese: cream cheese for smoothness and extra sharp cheddar for a nice bite to balance out the beer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Refrigerator Dill Pickles #HandCraftedEdibles

Today is another #HandCraftedEdibles first for me!  I’d never made pickles before this, because even though I absolutely adore pickles (case in point, a typical lunch of mine), I’ve never been huge on homemade pickles.

My younger son, Spud, is also a pickle fanatic.  In fact, for his 4th birthday, the only thing he specifically asked for (and received) was a jar of pickles and a pickle fork!  He was ecstatic when he opened those gifts!  He even repeated the jar of pickles request this year for his 5th birthday!

[edited to add:

I forget that most people have never heard of a pickle fork!  It's a long slim fork (sometimes called a condiment fork) that's super useful for getting pickles, pepper and olive out of those skinny jars!  Here's Spud & his pickle fork:


Then, in the fall, he realized that pickles actually began as cucumbers (his other favorite) and he began obsessing over making his own pickles. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Homemade Fudge Stripe Cookies #SecretRecipeClub

It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  In SRC, members are secretly assigned another participating blog, look through all the amazing recipes, choose one to make and then reveal!

Today, I was assigned Tracy’s blog, Pale Yellow.  Tracy is a science teacher/curriculum specialist by day and a baking blogger by night.  She loves to bake and bring to treats to her awesomely appreciate co-workers.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Eggs Florentine Casserole

Despite the rigors of 2nd grade, Dude is back in the kitchen today!

He was paging through my Taste of Home magazine lately and this recipe caught his eye!

He also decided the he wanted freshly baked bread with his meal.  We recommend adding a bit of Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Jam for an extra breakfasty treat!

Here’s Dude:

I got a magazine called Taste of Home. I thought Eggs Florentine would be delicious because the picture looked good. It looks good and when you taste it, it is! I put a side of bread and fruit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Jam #HandCraftedEdibles

This week’s #HandCraftedEdibles is all about the jams and jellies!

This one took a lot of research, because I don’t really eat jams or jellies (I grew up on peanut butter sandwiches, not PB&J).  So, of course, I’d never actually made jam before.

But I’m always up for a challenge!

I decided to take my favorite pie and re-imagine it into jam!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala & Chapati #CooktheBooksClub #FoodnFlix

Today’s recipe duo is for a club duo!  The One Hundred Foot Journey book was the Cook the Books Club selection for October/November and the movie was the selection for Food ‘n Flix!  In these two clubs, you read the book (Cook the Books) or watch the movie (Food ‘n Flix) and then whip up something amazing inspired by the book/film.

I’ll start with the book, since that’s what I started first (you can see my GoodReads review here).  You notice how I said started?  Yeah, as in did not finish.  It was a rare one for me.  I almost never give up on books, but I just couldn’t get through this one.  I made it about 20% through on my kindle and the book was about to go back to the library and there was another book waiting for me that I loved!

In the beginning, the book was fairly interesting.  The story was set up well, hooking the reader in with the tale of Hassan’s grandfather’s beginnings as a chef in India.  Then, as the story moved on I started getting confused about which character was being referred to and there were horrifically graphic descriptions about slaughterhouses and fish markets (if you’re on the verge of becoming vegan – this book will push you over the edge – I very nearly gagged as I was reading and I have no problem with meat!)

Then a tragedy sends the family out of India, to London, where the author proceeds to bore the reader half to death until they give up on the book.

Okay – on to the movie!  So all that, that I just summarized from the book, and entire 5th of the book, takes up about 5 minutes of the opening credits of the movie.  For reals.

It picks up with the family moving from London to France and their attempt to open an Indian restaurant in France.  At this point, I was wondering if I should give the book another chance, because I was actually enjoying the movie.

October Reads

Brisingr | My Review | ★★★★

Wonder | My Review | ★★★★★

The Only Game | My Review | ★★★★

The Witch of Blackbird Pond | My Review | ★★★★★

Runaway Ralph | My Review | ★★★★★     (Read to my Children)

The Day The Crayons Came Home | My Review | ★★★★★     (Read to my Children)

Crossed (Matched #2) | My Review | ★★★



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