Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: 2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Whiskey-Spiked Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips (No Churn)




It’s time for another Fantastical Food Fight and with these 90+ degree days we’ve been having, the theme this month is Ice Cream!

I wasn’t sure at first if I’d be able or inspired to join in this month having just gotten back from vacation (I still want to share more about that but haven’t had the time!), but I happened to get inspired by ice cream on  vacation on the second day!

After a wild waterpark day, we decided to stop at a local ice cream shop for a treat.  The usual delicious flavors were there, plus a few specials.  The one that caught my eye was titled “Exhausted Parent” and included Bourbon, coffee ice cream and chocolate!  So perfect!

Naturally, I got a double scoop of Exhausted parent and decided I wanted to replicate it at home!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Sima (Finnish Lemonade) #eattheworld


It’s time for #EatTheWorld and we’re heading to Finland! 



As I searched for recipes, I found many delicious, hearty dishes that just seemed a bit too wintery for July, or too similar to other things I’d made before, so I kept searching. Eventually, I came across a recipe for Sima, a slightly fermented lemonade-like drink that is enjoyed in Finland during the annual Vappu celebration. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Baby Groot Cupcakes



I kind of got out of the habit of sharing my cake creations.

I was doing well for awhile, then it got to be too much for one blog, so I started a second.  I kept it up for awhile, but now I haven’t updated that one in ages (sad!)  So I thought, why not get back in the habit of sharing cakes over here every once in a while.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Half Corn-Half Flour Tortillas



The other day, the kids were watching Despicable Me 2 again.  So the tortilla chip hats got brought up again.  Only this time, Pikachu needed a tortilla chip hat (as per Spud’s request). 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dirt Cake Cups



One of my favorite desserts when I was growing up was dirt cake. 

And if I could convince my mom to make it for my birthday, it was the best ever!

It’s been years since I had dirt cake, so I decided to make a batch and place it in individual cups for Spud’s end of the school year celebration!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Rainbow Sprinkle Cinnamon Rolls



A few weeks ago, I was scrolling Facebook and saw a Tasty video for Rainbow Sprinkle Cinnamon Rolls.  I was horrified and intrigued at the same time.  Cake mix and sprinkles in cinnamon rolls?!?  What?!?

I knew I had to try them.  I decided to make a batch and send them to work with Hubs since I really didn’t have an occasion for making a whole batch of cinnamon rolls for just my family (we taste tested one first, of course).

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Cream Cheese Swirl Banana Bread



have a problem. 

It’s a banana problem.

I got to the grocery store, and the bananas look so good!  I will eat these as a healthy snack, I promise myself.

I buy a few, take them home, and park them on the counter.  Then 5.2 seconds later, they’re too spotty and brown, so I don’t eat them and I toss them in the freezer “for later” and forget about them.

Tragic.

So came a time (again) with an abundance of bananas in the freezer and half a block of cream cheese that needed to be used up, so I figured it was time to try out a new banana bread recipe!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sourdough Avocado Toast



It’s Fantastical Food Fight time again and this month it’s a sourdough throw down!

I made my very first sourdough last summer and it was amazing, so I was super excited to give it another shot and try for a bit more carving!



I used the exact same recipe from the Kitchn’ because there’s just no messing with perfection (well, at least at this point when I’m still getting used to sourdough – I’m sure there will come a time when I start tinkering). 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Baked Chicken Parmesan


Well…I had another one of those days. I had pulled chicken out of the freezer to thaw in the morning with absolutely no plans for said chicken.  The kids were begging for spaghetti and meat sauce, but we had *just* polished off the leftovers from Pastitso (not that the kids would eat it, of course), so I was in no mood for more of what is essentially the same.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Taco Scalloped Potatoes




*waves hands wildly in the air*

But I don’t always have ham on hand (call me crazy but I only make scalloped potatoes and ham when I have baked ham on hand.  I could probably make it with store bought ham, but nope, never do.)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Chicken Albondigas


It’s already the 10th, which means it’s time to travel the culinary world with the Eat the World Recipe Challenge!  This month takes us to Israel!


As usual with this challenge, I’ve had Israeli food, so a lot of research was needed.  The recipes were all over the place and I had no idea what was authentic or not.  I was kind of stumped.

Then I randomly opened an email from Amazon – you know the kind you ignore all the time?  Those, “look at all this cool stud that comes with your Prime membership!” type of things.  I nearly always delete them with nary a cursory glance.  But for whatever reason, this time I clicked through and started looking at the books.  And after a scroll or two, what do I see, but Zahav, a cookbook all about Israeli food!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)


It’s Cook the Books Club time and I was ahead of the game this month!   This month’s pick was Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chefby Gabrielle Hamilton.


Here’s my GoodReads Review:

Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant ChefBlood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What can I do if I have no actual story to tell? I know! Go for shock value! And that precisely what this book is. A boring memoir built fowl language, crude behavior, and a “look at me, look at me” approach to her accomplishments.

The storytelling is jumbled and confusing as the timeline jumps all over the place incoherently (but after failing college 3 time becomes a writer - brava! (Insert sarcasm here))

Ms. Hamilton’s accomplishments as a restaurant owner are impressive, and yes, she is clearly a hardworking and driven individual, but this book is a total flop.

View all my reviews

Yeah…I wasn’t impressed.  However, there was no shortage for foodie inspiration.  I was more inspired by a food mentioned very early on in the book (like the first chapter – I almost quit reading right then and there, but decided to see this one through).  She mentioned the Pastitso she enjoyed on those rare occasions when the family got to go out to eat.  Having never heard of pastitso, I quickly googled it and found a fascinating Greek version of lasagna.

As much as I didn’t love the book, I did love the pastitso!   It was amazing!  The key to pastitso is the distinct layers and the inclusion of a creamy bechamel sauce.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Orange Glazed Cornish Game Hens


The other day, we were walking through the grocery store and Spud (age 8) spotted a freezer case of “tiny chickens”.  Spud loves tiny things (tiny stuffed animals, the smallest paper airplane one can fathom, etc.) and immediately decided that we all needed to have our very own chicken for dinner.  Since I’m always up for trying something new, I was more than happy to oblige!

I decided to make use a simple orange glaze on the cornish hens and it was perfect!  My boys were so excited to have their own personal chicken to eat! 

Shortly after I made the Cornish Hens, I watched This Beautiful Fantastic for this month’s Food ‘n Flix hosted by Heather at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen and realized that the recipe was perfect for the movie!



This Beautiful Fantastic follows a motley crew as they break down walls to cultivate friendship, a sadly neglected garden, and good food!  



In the beginning of the movie, we learn that Bella (in addition to hating the outdoors) in very particular about her food.  It is nearly always the same overcooked, canned vegetables, nothing touching, but arranged in fun mosaics.  Later, Vernon takes over, messily creating extravagant dishes.

There is no shortage of inspiration here, and though Cornish Hens don’t show up in the movie, they seem like something Vernon would have made.  Additionally, this movie takes place in somewhere in England, so why not the region of Cornwall? 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Olive Garden Style Salad



So we were just talking Olive Garden Breadsticks…but what are the breadsticks without the salad?!?  

I mean, let’s be honest, the Olive Garden Salad is all about the dressing.  Sure, you can buy it, but why not make it fresh instead?

So, it’s a little funny that I’m even making this salad/dressing, because I’m notorious for underdressing salads (read: I almost never use salad dressing!)

But I’m willing to make an exception for Olive Garden.  Enough to even make the dressing at home.

This version is spicy and delicious and seems very close to the original! 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Copy Cat Olive Garden Breadsticks



Who doesn’t love a great breadstick?

Let’s be honest, when you think of the best breadstick it’s Olive Garden, right?

Well, I learned how to make them at home and they’re just as fabulous!  Even left over and warmed up in the microwave they’re amazing!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Beef Stir Fry with Leeks, Broccoli, & Bok Choy



A couple months ago, I got a Rachel Ray Magazine in my mailbox.

I paged through and found a yummy picture of stir fry.  Then I read the recipe and realized that the greens I was were wilted iceberg lettuce!

And I just couldn’t wrap my head around it!

I grew up eating iceberg lettuce, but now I typically go for spinach or romaine.  And I’ve heard of grilled romaine but can’t quite wrap my head around that either.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

French Onion Burgers on Brioche Onion Buns



It’s Fantastical Food Fight time and with summer right around the corner, this month is a burger fight!  Luckily for me after weeks of rain and chilly temperatures, it finally got warm enough for grilling last weekend!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what to put on a burger – there are so many yummy, creative combinations out there!  I eventually decided that I wanted to play with texture by adding crunchy fried onions as a burger topping.  And with crunchy onions in the topping, why not add them into be burger too?  How about an onion brioche bun to go with it?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Glazed Lemon Shortbread Cookies




Happy Mother’s Day!

How do you celebrate?

I know my boys made little gifts in school that they’ll present later on. 

In past year I’ve “taken the day off”.  I went out shopping and we ordered pizza for dinner…and I had a huge backlog of chores to do on Monday (boo).

This year, I decided that I want to cook and bake all day and make some sort of extravagant dinner.  I requested that my gift be that everyone else cleans up instead of me, but honestly?  If it doesn’t happen, it’s not big deal.  I’m hoping for a family bike ride, but I think it’s supposed to be rainy, so maybe we’ll go out for ice cream instead.

Yes, this Mother’s Day, I want to do what I always do.  I want to be the mom.  I’ll take anything special that happens to come my way, but really, I want to be my kids’ mom – it’s seriously the best job in the world!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Loc Lac (Cambodian Beef with Lime) #eattheworld



Pack your bags and grab your passport!  We’re heading to Cambodia for this month’s Eat the World recipe challenge!



After researching Cambodian food, it looks like stir fries, sea food, and brothy soups are very common cuisine.  Another popular recipe is Loc Lac or stir fried beef.  There are many variations of this dish, depending largely on the region on Cambodia it comes from, additionally Loc Lac is also popular in Vietnam (though without the fried egg).

As with anytime I push the boundaries with recipes, the kids had a comment.  This time, “I thought this was stir fry mom, why is there BBQ sauce, an egg, and salad?”

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Strawberry Moscato Slushie #FoodnFlix





Mamma Mia! 

It’s already time for Food ‘n Flix because I’m getting in early this month.  This month’s movie pick (chosen by my friend Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm) is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.


This movie is a sequel to a movie I wasn’t terribly impressed with, yet, I’m always willing to keep an open mind.  Mamma Mia 2 was one of the 3 Food ‘n Flix movies I watched while on the plane to Disney World back in January!  The other two were Book Club (I made Cheesy Spinach& Chicken Soup) and Crazy Rich Asians (I made a double header – Homemade Wonton Wrappers and Ginger Pork Pot Stickers).

Saturday, May 4, 2019

May the Fourth Mix


Happy Star Wars Day!

As the kids and I embark on a Star Wars movie marathon (Hubs is out of town, so he’s missing out), we needed snacks to munch on!

In addition to popcorn, we made a super fun (and super yummy) chex mix. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Churro Cupcakes



Who’s ready for Cinco de Mayo?

Fun fact!  I was researching Cinco de Mayo and found out that it is commonly misunderstood to be Mexican Independence day, but is actually the anniversary of an underdog victory by Mexico against France in the Franco-Mexican War.  The holiday is noted (a little) in the region in which it was won, but it not really a big deal in Mexico (it is NOT a holiday).

In the United States, however, it has become kind of a big deal and a time to celebrate Mexican culture.  Funny how that works, isn’t?



Cinco de Mayo has been a favorite in our house ever since Dude (now 11) was a baby.  When he was born, someone gifted us a set of “holiday bibs”…Baby’s first Christmas, Baby’s first Easter, and Baby’s First Cinco de Mayo.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Color Changing Sparkling Tea #Sipbysip


Disclosure: I received tea to sample and review from The Republic of Tea.  All opinions are my own.



Today is a fun #SipbySip event coordinated by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla and sponsored by the Republic of Tea!

The Republic of Tea sent two of their delicious Daily Beauty Beautifying Botanicals for our Sipping Beauties event!

The very first thing I noticed was that the first ingredient promoted on the Blueberry Lavender Tea was “Collagen-Promoting Blue Butterfly Pea Flower”.  Then, nerdy boy-mom teacher in me then got really really excited. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Chicken) #CooktheBooksClub





Pull up your favorite coffee mug and tuck in with a blanket, because it’s Cook the Books time (and what’s better than a coffee, a blanket, and a good book?)  The April/May book pick was Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee.



The book follows Edward Lee as he traverses the United Stated looking for unique ethnic restaurants with a story.  Lee goes to these restaurants, enjoys the food and then sits down with the chef/owners to hear their stories.



Lee’s specialty is fusion cuisine, but not in the “break all the rules” trendy way.  No.  Lee believes that our experiences change and shape us.  And those experiences, those twists on a recipe because we can’t get those ingredients in our area, that is what makes fusion cuisine. It’s about the heart and the memories, that’s what makes good food.

You guys!  I love that way of thinking about fusion!  So often, I set out to make an authentic recipe, but continually question its actual authenticity (with the internet, you never know) or I have such trouble finding ingredients that I have to make substitutions.  I always end up loving the recipes, though – and isn’t that the real goal here?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Huevos Rancheros Tacos (Breakfast Tacos) #FoodnFlix


It’s time to pull up a bowl of popcorn for this month’s Food n’ Flix!  This month is hosted by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Camilla chose something a little different this month: a restaurant documentary, Spinning Plates!



Spinning plates follows 3 very different restaurants and the people that make them: a high end fusion restaurant chasing its 3rd Michelin star, a century old rural family-run diner that is the heart and soul of the community, and a new Mexican restaurant run by a young family that is brand new to the restaurant industry.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Grandma's Easter Bread


Every year, my grandma makes Easter bread.  She makes an enormous batch
(enough for the extended family) that calls for a whopping 24 cups of flour!


As the family gets larger, there’s not always enough bread to bring home, so
I thought it was high time that I learned to make grandma’s Easter bread myself.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Blood Orange Mule



I’m not generally a huge orange fan, but blood oranges are a different story – sweeter than their counterparts, this short-season fruit is the perfect addition to a non-traditional Moscow Mule!

Hubs and I first tried a version of these last week – we had tickets for a show, but then it got canceled due to inclement weather (sad!)  The kids were all settled in with movies at home, so we decided to go out for a quick drink before heading home.  We ordered the Blood Orange Mule & fell in love!  I immediately decided that I wanted to reproduce it at home.  And can I tell you a secret?  I like this one even better!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Easter Chick Mini Cheeseball






It’s Fantastical Food Fight time and this month is a Cheeseball throwdown.  At first, I was going to bow out.  I don’t think I’ve ever made a cheeseball and I certainly didn’t have an occasion for making and serving a cheeseball either.



Then I made my 3-cheese tortellini and ended up with just a bit of extra cheese filling (I think I under-filled a few tortellini).  So I got to thinking…could I add some cream cheese to the ricotta mixture and create a cheeseball?  What about mini-single serving cheeseballs??  What about something Easter-themed?!?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Homemade Three Cheese Tortellini



It's meatless Monday again!  This time, I decided to break out the pasta roller again and make homemade tortellini!

Homemade tortellini are a lot of work (it takes a ton of time to individually shape the tortellini) but it is well worth the effort.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lenten Charcuterie Board



Last Friday, Spud came down with a cold and all he wanted was homemade knoephla soup.

Problem: it was Friday and it’s Lent so knoephla soup (with all its chicken) was a no go.  Spud suggested a meat-free knoephla soup.  Meatless knoephla soup, however, is basically just a bowl of carbs, so I wanted some protein, fruits and vegetables to serve with it, and I created a nice Lent-friendly charcuterie board!

I took pictures, but you won’t be seeing that soup recipe anytime soon, it was merely “ok” and certainly needs some work (if a meatless knoephla can ever be truly achieved).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Crispy Pork Carnitas


Well, well, it’s the 10th of the month, which means we’re traveling the world for the Eat the World recipe challenge!  With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, we’re headed to one of my favorite destinations: Mexico!


Mexico is a favorite since Hubs and I honeymooned in Mexico and went back for our 10-year anniversary.  Great memories and amazing food!

I make Mexican food (well, Tex-Mex at any rate) fairly often at home – taco Tuesday is frequently requested, as are homemade tortillas!  I’ve also made food inspired by both trips (Honeymoon Tacos and Guacamole Skull).

I wanted to make something authentic that I hadn’t made before and I finally settled on Pork Carnitas.  Now, I cannot truly attest to the authenticity of this particular recipe.  As I researched, I found many recipes claiming to be authentic, all containing wildly different ingredients.  So, is it one of those recipes where everyone has their own twist on the recipe or are some more authentic than others?  I can’t say for certain.  Eventually, I chose one and added one of two components from a couple others and called it a day.

Authentic?  Probably not.  Delicious? Oh yes.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Veggie Pot Pie



Lent is nearly over and I still haven’t shared that delicious meatless pot pie that I promised a month ago!

Let’s change that, shall we?

I made this amazing Veggie Pot Pie on Ash Wednesday.  After fasting for most of the day, I wanted to make a hearty vegetarian dish for dinner.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Quadruple Layer Brownie Cheesecake



It’s a March tradition to make cheesecake!  It’s a birthday month in my house and you’d think that as a hobby cake decorator, I would be making fantastic cake creations for Hubs and my birthdays.  But nope.  I pull out all the stops for the kids, but Hubs honestly prefers brownies or cheesecake and I, well…I usually get leftovers of Hubs’ cake or (like this year) ice cream!

Anyway, this cake was the third version of brownie cheesecake!  The first version was the simplest (and oh so delicious for its simplicity), the second was an amazing Brownie Tuxedo Cheesecake and while astoundingly delicious, that a wonky gelatin texture that became more pronounced after the first day.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Snickerdoodle Coffee Syrup



Everything is awesome!

That’s right, it’s time for this month’s Food n Flix, hosted by Simply Inspired Recipes with this month’s move, The Lego Movie!

My family loves The Lego Movie, so it was fun to rewatch with foodie goggles on!  There was a surprising amount of inspiration in the first movie (croissants, hot dogs, tacos, ridiculously over-priced coffee, to name a few), then since the new movie came out in theaters, I thought it would be fun to take the family out and see how the new one compared!

I loved the second Lego Movie as much as the first!  There were so many nerdy little jokes aimed toward the adults in the audience (without innuendo!) – I loved it!

Since I was in the theater, I wasn’t overly focused on the foodie moments, however I did note many of the same Lego foods as the first movie…plus cake!

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