Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: June 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Easy Patriotic Desserts (for Kids!) #CookOutWeek

It’s the last day of #CookoutWeek ad today is all about the fun kid-friendly desserts!  In fact, my boys had a hand in making or decorating every one of these desserts!

They often see me decorating cakes and they always want to lend a hand (usually they don’t get to), so whenever I can (especially at holidays) I make an effort to make some super fun desserts that they can make!

June Reads

Author: Maeve Binchy
Rating: ★★★   
Cook the Books Club & Foodies Read

Author: Dodie Smith
Rating: ★★★★★  
Read out loud to my children

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★★★★

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★★★★★

Author: FG Haghenbeck
Rating: ★★★★   
Cook the Books Club & Foodies Read

Title: The Food Lab
Author: J. Kenji López-Alt
Rating: ★★★★★  
Foodies Read

Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: ★★★★

Author: Marie-Pierre Colle & Guadalupe Rivera
Rating: ★★★★★  
Foodies Read

Author: Ann McGovern
Rating: ★★★  
Read out loud to my children

Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: ★★★★★   

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BBQ Home Fries & Dilly Veggie Dip #CookoutWeek

 *Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­Swine Dining.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s Day 4 of #CookoutWeek and today is all about the sides!

Call them fried potatoes, or skillet potatoes, or home fries, but the point is, they’re delicious and the perfect side dish to anything on the grill – chicken, steak, burgers, chops – home fries are always a welcome sight!

I’ve shared a version of these before (called skillet potatoes that time), but this time I’ve tweaked the process and seasoning a bit.

Speaking of seasoning, I receive 3 custom spice blends from Swine Dining to use in this recipe.  For these fries, I used their delicious Wimpy’s BBQ Rub.  It’s called wimpy, because it is not spicy at all!  The kids loved it!

Swine Dining also makes a delicious Jerk seasoning called Jamaican Me Hungry (absolutely delicious on chicken) and Dilly Dust, which I used to make a yummy Dilly Onion Dip (for veggies, chips or fries!).

Swine Dining has a kickstarter campaign beginning on July 12th so they can expand their line, so be sure to check them out on social media below!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Luncheon Salad #CookoutWeek

*Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­­The French Farm.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s #CookoutWeek day 3 and today I’m sharing one of my very favorite recipes!  I’m pretty much salad-obsessed year round (though winter produce can make me quite glum).

My salads are typically quite simple (lettuce (or spinach), feta, kalamata olives, avocado (if I can find nice ones) & croutons).  But every once in a while, I go back to the one that started my obsession.

When I was in High School, but on my summer break, I would often drive the 90 minutes to go visit my grandma for the weekend.  We’d visit and play cards and sometimes bakebread and more often than not, she’d make us delicious salads for lunch.  It became our little tradition.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork #CookoutWeek

*Disclosure: I received product to sample from ­­­­­True Made Foods.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Welcome to Day 2 of #CookoutWeek!

Okay, it’s called cookout week and I totally cooked inside.  But in my defense, I think the crockpot is an excellent way to cook for a crowd without heating up the house!  Plus, it’s so easy to grab the crockpot and head out to a BBQ!

Today I made delicious BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches using two amazing sauces from True Made Foods.

True Made Foods’ goal is to make classic American foods nutritious.  True Made Foods uses vegetables in their products as a natural sweeter, cutting the sugar (and calories) in half.  And the best part is, the sauces taste just as good (or even better!) and the sugar-laden leading competitors!

For even more about True Made Foods, check out their website & connect with them on social media!

I LOVED the flavor that the sauces added to the pork!  The whole family enjoyed the sandwiches and sauces.  I was especially excited when I took a look at the nutrition facts (and then I added another big old glug of BBQ to my sandwich!)  YUM!

Easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

1 (2 ½ - 3 lb) pork loin roast
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary
2 cups chicken broth
Salt & pepper

To finish
1 cup BBQ sauce, such as True Made Foods Original BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce, such as True Made Foods Veracha Hot Sauce

To serve
Cheddar cheese slices

Place the onions and garlic in the bottom of a 4 quart slow cooker.  Season the pork roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Place on top of the onions.  Tuck a sprig of rosemary to the side and pour in the chicken stock.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or until the pork is very tender and shreds easily with a fork.

Remove the pork and onions from the slow cooker and shred.  Stir in the BBQ sauce and hot sauce.

Serve on Caramelized Onion Rolls with cheese and pickles with extra BBQ or hot sauce.

Serves 6-8

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win True Made Foods sauces many other great prizes!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Patriotic Pie #CookoutWeek

You guys, I’m so excited!   It’s summer, it’s almost July, and today kicks off Cookout Week!  TONS of bloggers are banding together with sponsors to bring you a week filled with deliciousness!

But more on that in a bit.

First let’s talk pie.  July isn’t July without a patriotic dessert of some sort.

And pie is totally my favorite!

This year, I wanted to take pie to the next level – with red, white, & blue – stars & stripes – the whole nine yards!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Remember a few weeks ago when I wanted to make something with squash blossoms, but I had just planted my garden and there were none to be had? 


Squash Blossoms!

I love summer!

Around the same time, I started reading The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo (for September Cook the Books Club).  And I watched the movie, Frida (for September Food ‘n Flix) and became mildly obsessed with Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.  After reading a fictional book and watching a movie about her life, I was desperate for facts.

So I found a massive but fascinating biography about FridaKahlo AND I bought the book, Frida’s FiestasFrida’s Fiestas is a book of recipes and stories of Frida Kahlo as remembered by her step-daughter Guadalupe Rivera.

After reading a fictional account of Frida’s life, and following it up with an interesting, “just the facts, ma’am” biography, reading a story by someone with a very personal connection to Frida Kahlo was really neat.  It filled in the gaps left by the other two books, and made Frida a real person.

Frida’s Fiestas features color photos focuses on a year in Frida’s household and the parties and holidays she cooked for and celebrated.  Then it’s followed up with full color photos and recipes (supposedly recipes that Frida herself actually prepared).  There are also many photos of the Frida Kahlo museum and some of Frida’s artwork.  It’s really a neat read!

As I was reading the book, I quickly realized that these are truly authentic Mexican recipes, meaning a) my family will never eat this, b) the recipe could feed an army, and/or c) I’m never going to be able to find those ingredients locally.

Then fate smiled upon me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chocolate Banana Waffles

It’s breakfast for dinner again in my house.

When I ask the kids for dinner requests for the week, pancakes or waffles are almost always suggested.

More specifically, Spud requested Chocolate Waffles.  We’ve been on the quest for chocolate waffles for quite some time.  Chocolate waffles are tricky, because most chocolate waffles are dessert waffles, calling for brownie mix and a scoop of ice cream, or 4 ounces of chocolate, tons of sugar.  

Several months ago, I found a recipe for “healthy” chocolate waffles.  They called for whole wheat flour and cocoa powder, and just a bit of sugar.  I was very skeptical (cocoa powder can be pretty strong), but I gave it a try. 

They. Were. Awful!

Absolutely disgusting and completely bitter.  The boys and I muscled through a serving each, but no one went for seconds and the leftovers went in the garbage (it happens.)

So the quest continued.  This time, I only used a little cocoa powder, and let mini chocolate chips take care of the chocolaty piece (I used ¼ cup, but I think next time I’ll knock it down to 2 tablespoons).  I let bananas and just a dash of honey take over for the sweetness.  Then I thought, hey, let’s not go all the way and make add some extra protein into these waffles?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Caramelized Onion Rolls

Let’s talk hamburger buns!

I love love love having homemade buns for burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and the like.  Usually I just make my grandma’s 2 hour buns (or more likely, the whole wheat version), but sometimes I was something a little different, like the slight hint of caramelized onion in the bun!  It can easily elevate a plain old burger!

We’re also going to talk nerdy books today, because I read the behemoth of a book that is The Food Lab, by J Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mexican Street Corn Salad

I love simple side dishes in the summertime!

This corn salad actually used corn that I blanched & froze last fall (that’s why the kernels are quite as plump).  The corn was lightly roasted with some onions, jalapeños, and garlic then mixed with a simple dressing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Salad Sandwich

Today’s recipe is inspired by this month Cook the Books Club pick, hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock.  Claudia chose the novel Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.

In CtBC, participants read the chosen book, then make and share something inspired by the book.  Click the link for all the details to join in the fun!

The novel follows Cathy Scarlet & Tom Feather as they begin their exclusive catering business in Dublin.  The book plods a long a bit (but not in a bad way), kind of like real life.

The only thing is, that while I was interested in the characters and their outcomes, the book really wasn’t all that exciting.  It didn’t grab me or elicit any emotion (other than the fact that Neil (Cathy’s husband) is narcissistic jerk!)  There were also a TON of side characters introduced with just small snippets to get the reader interested, never to be mentioned again.  I honestly thought that maybe this was the first book of a series (one of those that follows a different family member with each book) and that these characters would play some important role later on.  But alas.

I think the book would have been much stronger if that had been the case.  The book also could have done with an epilogue (what happens to Cathy & Tom?!?!  Ack! We’ll never know!)

Anyhow, I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it either.  It was just ok.  I won’t be running to check out more Binchy books from the library, but I won’t actively avoid her either (oh yes, I do have a shunned author list).

Since the book follows a catering business, there is plenty of foodie inspiration, especially earlier in the book (later on it’s the same dishes mentioned over and over again – Cathy & Tom do have their favorites).

Initially, I had planned to make Yorkshire puddings, which turns out to be what I’ve always called popovers.  And they’re totally on my bucket list, but they seem like more of a winter project, to that one is tabled for now.

Since it is spring and yummy fresh produce is available, I decided to make my take on a Summer Salad Sandwich.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Crazy Brownies #SecretRecipeClub

It’s time for June’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  In SRC, members are secretly assigned a blog, search the archives, make something delicious and reveal!  If you’d like to join, click that link & check out all the details!

This month I was thrilled to be assigned Rebekah’s blog, Making Miracles.  I’ve admired Rebekah’s recipes for ages (we’ve participated in many blogging events together) so I was thrilled to have an excuse to try one out!

Rebekah not only blogs delicious recipes, but she is also a surrogate mom, helping families achieve their dream of having a biological baby and blog about her experience.  What an amazing gift to give to someone else!

I am always drooling over (and pinning) Rebekah’s amazing dessert recipes, so I knew that’s what I wanted to make!  My husband’s all-time favorite desserts are brownies, so when I saw the recipe for crazy brownies was intrigued.  Then I saw that the recipe called for 1 ½ cups of assorted candies.  My eyes instantly shifted over to “the bowl”. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

2 Hour New York Style Bagels

I don’t make bagels as often as I make English muffins, because Hubs prefers English muffins, they make a larger batch, and bagels can be a little fussy (needing to proof overnight).

But every once in a while, you just need a good bagel. 

I went posting around the interwebs for a faster recipe and came across this lovely 2-hour version.  The bagels were perfect!  There may be a (very) slight texture or flavor difference between these and the more time consuming version, but without a side by side taste test, no one would ever know.  And these are miles better than the packaged grocery store version!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tortellini Antipasto Salad

It’s time for this month’s Food ‘n Flix!  In this club, anyone with a blog and watch the selected movie, cook up something seen in or inspired by the film, and them submit it (click that link for all the details!)  This month movie is the Italian flick, I am Love, hosted by Evelyne at CulturEatz.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Yummy Sirloin Steak Marinade

Wow!  What a week!   Sorry about the crickets around here!  In addition to 3 massive cake and cookie orders last week, it was also the last week of school, I was substitute teaching the last two days, and it was Hubs and my 10th wedding anniversary!

Yeah, I just had a little on my plate!

But now I’m back, and it’s with a kids in the kitchen!

Poor Dude has been waiting all week for me to get my act together so he could share this delicious steak marinade with you (he’s had his photo edited for days!)

He decided that he’d like to cook some steaks for Memorial Day and set out to find the perfect recipe.  Right when he saw this recipe, he knew it was the one for him!  Why?  He saw ketchup as the first ingredient and said, “I like ketchup, Mom.  I want to make that one!)



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