Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: 2021

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Lemon Cupcakes

It’s time for a book review and Cook the Books Club post!  This month’s pick is a novel and….hold the presses...I enjoyed it!

I always feel like such a Debby Downer when I’m dumping on a book that someone else picked that I don’t like, so I’m ecstatic when I do like one (or in this case, two in a row!)

I do have to confess that this was a hard read for me, personally.  I very nearly gave a 3 star review instead of 4, but then realized that it was my own personal experience coloring that decision and went with 4.  Much of the story focuses on the main character, Libby’s, struggle with miscarriage, plus there are a couple pregnant characters throughout the story.  These topics are always very sensitive for me, since my 3rd pregnancy ended in a stillbirth.  Though it was 7 years ago, stories like these still gut me.  However, I’m glad I preserved, because the rest of the story was well done and enjoyable as stories from the past and “present” slowly came together in a predictable but entertaining way.

Honeysuckle SeasonHoneysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, every character in this book was very tragic. Was there a single character that wasn't affected by miscarriage or the death of a spouse? Wowsa.

Despite all the tragedy, I really enjoyed the sense of mystery as the story flipped from the 1940s to the 2020s. Part of the story were rather predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. View all my reviews

So let’s talk food inspiration!  There was quite a bit of food mentioned, but I was so into the story, I kinda failed to write anything down.  Since part of the story takes place in the 1940’s, I was thinking about researching WWII era ration recipes (always an adventure), when to my delight, I saw that 4 recipes were included at the conclusion of the story!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Easter Bunny Pudding Cups

It’s Food n Flix time and this month, is Peter Rabbit hosted by Literature and Limes.

When this movie came out in 2018...actually scratch that, when it started streaming in 2019, my kids were obsessed with this movie and watched it over and over again.  They still like to rehash their favorite parts to me occasionally!

So can I confess that I didn’t actually rewatch the movie this time around?  I feel like I have a really good handle on it!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Blacked Steak Caesar Salad

I’m a big fan of salads.   I even find myself ordering dinner salads at restaurants!  This one is an at home version of a favorite of mine from a local restaurant.

It’s a favorite because it’s fresh, healthy, and there is a ton of flavor!  The best part is that this dinner salad appeals to the men in my family...because...steak.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Pasta Caruso

Oh boy.

This month’s Eat the World was an adventure for me.

Originally, I was going to make Pasta Caruso but decided not to (yes, really).  I had found a kinda funky recipe originally that included pureeing ham into the sauce and it weirded me out.

Then I was kinda stuck.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Greek Quinoa Pita Pockets

Today’s recipe is a bit of a departure from my usuals - a meatless meal!

This year, during Lent, I didn’t do as much experimenting with meatless meals as I’ve done in the past.  That’s because both of my boys and Hubs spoke up and requested some tried and true favorites as we went through Lent!

Some favorites we enjoyed included Copycat Campbell's Tomato Soup, Creamy Mac & Cheese, Alfredo Noodles (without the chicken), Cheddar Broccoli Soup, and Shoup Noodles!

It was really refreshing to have suggestions, which made for way fewer complaints!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Chef Salad

Happy Easter!  Alleluia!  He is Risen!

It is always such a joyful day!

Today’s Sunday Funday is celebrating too.  Only we’re thinking ahead to those Easter leftovers!

In my house, there is always an abundance of ham and hard boiled eggs leftover.  The ham is no big deal.  In fact, my family loves ham so much that they’ll just eat the leftover and get sad if I horde some back for a recipes like Scalloped Potatoes & Ham or Ham & Bean Soup.

The eggs on the other hand…

We go strong for a little while and then the enthusiasm for eggs quickly fades.

Luckily for me, I love a loaded main dish lunch salad and that’s how I plan to repurpose those leftovers this year!

This chef salad is loaded with all sorts of great protein sources that just happen to be Easter leftovers too!

Enjoy these other recipes that use of those leftovers!

Chef Salad

2-3 cups spinach or leafy green of choice

1 hard boiled egg, sliced

⅓ cup cooked ham, diced

2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons croutons

1 tablespoon ranch dressing

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

Place the spinach in a bowl.  Top with remaining ingredients and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

PS I Love You - a #FoodnFlix Round Up of Recipes


Welcome to this month's Food n Flix Round up!  Participants watched the Rom-com,  PS I Love You!  Thanks for joining in the fun!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Sand Dollar Snickerdoodles

This year, as my family prepared for Easter, I read my kids The Legend of the Sand Dollar: An Inspirational Story of Hope for Easter by Chris Auer.

The Legend of the Sand Dollar: An Inspirational Story of Hope for EasterThe Legend of the Sand Dollar: An Inspirational Story of Hope for Easter by Chris Auer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delightful Easter story to share with children of all ages. I love that it uses a sand dollar to tell the story of Christ's birth, death, & resurrection.

View all my reviews

This picture book follows a young girl and her cousin who discover that the unique etchings on sand dollars can be used to help tell the story of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

It is a wonderful story to share with children of all ages!

After reading, we decided to make our own cookie sand dollars!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

April Fools Pizza Bundt Cake

April Fools is just around the corner and I always love to have something fun up my sleeve for dinner!  In the past, I’ve done Meatloaf Cupcakes, Meatloaf “Carrot Cake” and Nilla Wafer Hamburgers.

The kids are starting to suspect everything on April Fools, so I pulled out all the stops (and even bought a bundt pan) to make this pizza bundt cake!

I started with my Chicago Style Pizza Crust and stuffed it full of our favorite toppings!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

It’s very nearly the end of Lent and I have yet to share any of our meatless meals.  My family is Catholic so my meat-loving family abstains from meat on Fridays during Lent. This is especially challenging since Spud and I do not eat fish or seafood.  Therefore, Lent is a really creative cooking time for me! 

This year, I changed things up a bit and asked the kids what they would like me to make on Fridays.  Cheese and pasta showed up a lot, but I was willing to roll with it as long as it wasn’t mac & cheese every week.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Stew


It’s Sunday Funday and we’re cooking with chiles!

Chiles aren’t an ingredient I cook with very often in the wintertime. In the summer, I grow my own jalapeños, so I’ll toss them into dishes, but they can be iffy to get this time of year up in the north.

So I put my thinking cap on and took an inventory of what needed to be used up in the refrigerator before it went bad -half a brick of cream cheese, an avocado, and 1 ½ cups of chicken broth-...a conundrum.  

Next I started looking around the freezer and pantry - a big can of tomatoes in the pantry and a chipotle pepper and corn in the freezer.  Then suddenly a soup started to come together in my mind - and with that pepper, it would be perfect for Sunday Funday!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Corned Beef & Gouda Sandwich

 It’s time for Food n Flix and this time it was my pick with PS I Love You!

If you read my invitation post, you might remember that I went into this totally blind.  I googled good movies for March and this one popped up since (according to Google) it took place in Ireland.

I found out it was also a book and since it had ”love” in the title, I picked the book for a February book club and the movie for a March movie (spreading them out so participants had time for both)

And that’s how I read the book (blindsided by the sad nature of the book) and immediately followed it up with the film adaptation.

And since I went from book to movie (you can see my book review in this post for Boozy Blue Raspberry Lemonade) I can’t help but compare the two as I write about the movie.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Leprechaun Pancakes

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

My kiddos are getting older (both are double digits now and one is a teen - how did that  happen?!?)  but I still like to make fun themed meals sometimes!

I had leftover buttermilk hanging around after making homemade butter, which I needed for puff pastry, which I needed for Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent).  Naturally, I decided to make pancakes with the buttermilk.  And since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, little leprechaun pancakes seemed like a must.  

Because pancakes are basically sugar bread, I always like to balance that meal with plenty of healthy options.  In this meal, it took the form of spinach hats for the leprechauns and fruit & veggie rainbows (with cauliflower and hashbrown clouds!)

If you’re looking for different ideas, you can check out an earlier version of these here.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Cinnamon Swirl Apple Pie

Apples and cinnamon.  Can it get any better?  Especially on Pi Day?  I’ve wanted to make this particular pie for a while now.

A couple years ago, my mother in law and I made one of these together, but it was one of those things where we got to their house at 11 at night the evening before Thanksgiving.  My mother in law had made the following already and we completed the crust in a sleep-deprived state.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Parmesan-Garlic Pita Chips

It’s Sunday Funday and our theme is Chips!  This broad theme can include recipes made with chips or recipes for chips themselves.

I decided to make Pita Chips!

I started off with homemade pita rounds.  I’ve used this Whole Wheat Pita recipe in the past, but today I used this recipe.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent)

It’s the 10th which means we’re traveling the world today with the Eat the World Recipe Challenge!  This month, we’re heading to Luxembourg!

Luxembourg is a small European country bordered by Germany, Belgium and France.  This is important, because the cuisine in this country is very influenced by its neighbors!

Case in point, today’s recipe, Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent) in classically French, but very popular in Luxembourg.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Super Nacho Taco Salad

 It’s Sunday Funday and this week features healthy salads!

I love this theme, because I eat a lot of salads.  I nearly always have a side salad at lunch and oftentimes (especially when I’m packing lunch for work), I’ll take a main dish salad.  I’ll typically use whatever protein I have on hand (leftovers from dinner meals) and add toppings that complement the protein.

I always like when I have leftover taco meat, because then I can make taco salads!  

Once I have my protein, I start building the rest of my salad based on what I have on hand.

If I’m taking this salad to work, I’ll crunch chips on top like croutons.  But if I’m home, like I was this day, I’ll treat myself a little and melt cheese on my chips for a little nacho topping - it’s kinda like upside down nachos - with more lettuce and less nachos!

Stay Healthy With Salads from other bloggers!
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad from Palatable Pastime
Chicken and Mandarin Orange Salad from A Day in the Life on the Farm/
Golden Apple & Potato Salad from Sneha's Recipe
Irish Cheddar Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Japanese Potato Salad from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Kale Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Lettuce, Pear and Grapefruit Salad from Cook With Renu
Red Cabbage, Apple, Mandarin Salad from Food Lust People Love
Snap Peas and Avocado Salad from Mayuri's Jikoni
Sesame Chicken Salad from Making Miracles
Super Nacho Taco Salad from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Super Nacho Taco Salad

2-3 cups lettuce of choice (I used spinach)

¼ cup taco meat

2 tablespoons corn

2 tablespoon olives

¼ cup cheddar jack cheese

8-10 tortilla chips

1-2 tablespoons sour cream

1-2 tablespoons salsa

Place the lettuce on a plate.  Add all the toppings.  If bringing to work, crunch the chips over the top.  If enjoying at home, melt the cheese onto the chips and place on top of the salad.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Yoshi Cake

 Last month, I was asked to make a Yoshi themed cake for a friend’s son’s birthday!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Boozy Blue Raspberry Lemonade & a Food n' Flix Invite

Happy March!

This month, I have the pleasure of hosting our Food n’ Flix movie and this is your invitation to join in the fun!

This month’s pick is PS I Love You. 

To join in the fun, do the following:

  1. Watch PS I Love You 

  2. Get inspired by food from the movie (there isn’t much - sorry!  Feel free to get inspired by New York or Ireland!)

  3. Make some tasty food and post the recipe to your blog or Instagram (tag @foodnflix).  Be sure to link back to Food n’ Flix and this post.

  4. Then email amyscookingadventures(@)gmail(.)com and heather(@)foodnflixclub(.)com.  Please include:

    1. “Food n’ Flix Submission” as the subject

    2. Blog Name

    3. Recipe Title

    4. Recipe Photo

So here’s a bit more of my decision making process this month…

I was trying to think of a good movie to choose, and when I couldn’t think of one, I took a shot in the dark.  I decided to look for movies that take place in Ireland since this month it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

As I researched, I came across PS I Love You, which the internet said took place in Ireland (spoiler alert, only a small part is in Ireland) plus it was inspired by a book (which does take place in Ireland).  I always love a good book-movie comparison, so I chose the movie without reading any synopses at all!

Imagine my shock when I realized that the premise (below taken from Rotten Tomatoes):

“When Gerry (Gerard Butler), the husband of Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank), dies from an illness, she loses the love of her life. Knowing how hard Holly will take his death, Gerry plans ahead. Beginning on her 30th birthday, she receives the first in a series of letters written by him, designed to ease her grief and encourage her to move forward to a new life.”

Woah - all the feels!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Best Brine for a Whole Roast Chicken


I never used to brine chickens.

Then, a couple years ago, I decided to try brining my first turkey - the moist turkey was a game changer, and I realized that I needed to start brining all my poultry...which means I do a lot of brining. 

Why, you ask?

Because of Spud.

You see, since kindergarten, at the most, Spud would eat about half the school hot lunches and want cold lunch for the rest.  As the years have progressed, this number has dwindled to the point where he only eats one school lunch (Taco in a Bag).  He sometimes goes for months taking only cold lunches.

Honestly, I’m fine with this choice, since I know I can provide him with a healthy balanced meal (school lunches can be as well, but kids have a huge tendency to dump what they don’t like.  I have lunch duty a couple times a week and you wouldn’t believe the stuff that gets tossed - yikes!)

Here’s the next problem - Spud (especially after COVID and quarantine) has become increasingly picky about what he’ll eat in his cold lunch.  I think being able to heat up whatever he wanted to lunch during quarantine spoiled him a bit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chicken Wings


Let’s get reading with this month’s Cook the Books Club pick - Aaron Sanchez’s (Food Network Star) book Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef.  

This one immediately piqued my interest, since I’ve seen Aaron Sanchez on Chopped.  I have to admit - Sanchez was never my favorite judge, but I was intrigued nonetheless. 

After reading this memoir, I was impressed.  The memoir was well-written and gave a lot of insight into Sanchez’s past.  It gave the chef I’d seen on Chopped a lot more dimension.  I feel like I will watch old episodes of that show with fresh eyes.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Egg & Bacon Sandwich (Homemade Egg McMuffin)


Sunday Funday is back with one of my favorites: Breakfast for Dinner!

If I’m completely honest, breakfast for dinner is the only time I really ever eat breakfast foods.  In my house, breakfast is a protein shake for me and cereal for the boys.

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my go-to recipes, though usually for lunch, not dinner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Restaurant Style Rice


This month’s Food n Flix movie is hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  She chose the anime flick, Spirited Away.  As  I started watching, I realized that I had seen still shots from this show before (maybe a meme?)  I can’t recall, but do know that some scenes seemed vaguely familiar.

The movie was...odd…

I’m not a huge anime fan, and this one didn’t endear me to the genre any more.

Nevertheless, there was ample food inspiration.

The food that stood out the most was a rice ball. I started searching for recipes and then realized that what I was really interested in was the rice itself.  Lately, Spud has become more and more vocal about rice.  He is super frustrated that I make rice wrong or buy the wrong rice.  He loves the rice that sticks together at restaurants and has no patience for the regular long grain rice that I make at home.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

It’s Valentine’s Day!  Is there any more perfect day for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries?

And since Valentine’s falls on a Sunday, Romantic Valentines treats are also the theme for this week’s Sunday Funday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Red Lentil Soup (Sudanese Addas)

This month we are heading for Sudan for the Eat the World Recipe Challenge!

I look forward to these challenges every month, because it forces me to think outside the box!  

Yet, even when I’m thinking outside the box, there are still limits, especially because I have learned that there are certain flavor profiles that my kids will absolutely refuse.

Even when my kids were quite young, I’ve never been one to make two meals, simply because someone is picky.  My goal has been to nurture adventurous eaters.  My motto has typically been “eat it or starve”.  The exception is when I make something that I know will be quite spicy.  When I do that, I still require that the kids taste a small portion, but usually have some leftovers from the previous day or two in the fridge that they can heat up.

That being said, the kids have made it abundantly clear that there are some flavors that they simply won’t tolerate (they will literally go to bed hungry (taste a bite and say “I’m full), rather than eat what I’ve prepared).  Two of those flavors are cinnamon and peanut butter when added to savory dishes.  Then add in my refusal to cook seafood or fish in any form and a preference against coconut and we've got a real challenge when it comes to some countries, and Sudan was one of them.

After extensive research, I finally landed on lentil soup.  Then I worried, because I remembered buying the red lentils that were sitting in my pantry for a previous Eat the World Challenge....and I had made soup then too.

I looked back and the previous country was Fiji, and thankfully, the recipe was quite different.

I halved the original recipe (because I only had a cup of lentils on hand), so it was the perfect amount for two adults plus a small scoop for two kids, (who mostly ate the homemade mac & cheese I had on hand).

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Lion’s Head Meatballs


Chinese New Year is this Friday, so Sunday Funday is celebrating today. I wanted to challenge myself a bit and do something different than the usual stir fry.

Cue Lion’s Head Meatballs.  Lion’s Head Meatballs are called such because of their large size.  These meatballs are often served at banquets or special occasions, probably because they can be a bit labor intensive.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Homemade Crescent Rolls

It’s Sunday Funday, a new fun group of bloggers who are sharing fun themed recipes on Sundays!

This week, we’re featuring croissants since yesterday (January 30) was National Croissant Day.

I’ve made croissants in the past and the recipe is so good, that I’ve felt no need to improve upon it or seek out an alternative.  However, croissants are incredibly labor intensive.  Done right, with all the proofing, croissants take a full 3 days to make.

Friday, January 22, 2021

I Love You to the Moon & Back Cupcakes

This post was originally published in 2016 on my other blog, but I love this cake, so I'm sharing it here!

These sweet little cupcakes & smash cake were for a 1st birthday party.  The Birthday Girl’s mom had always said, “I love you to the moon & back” and that became the party theme!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Baby Yoda Cake

You guys.

I made a cake today, because my older kiddo is 13. THIRTEEN!  AAHHHH!!!!  I have a teenager in the house!

He always asks for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (my favorite!) but since he’s getting big and cool he doesn't always have a cake decoration request anymore (sad!) 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Chocolate Eclairs


It’s time for Food n Flix!  This month is hosted by my friend Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm.  She picked the movie Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible is a quirky rom-com with a touch of magic.  Parts were a bit reminiscent of It’s a Wonderful Life, with an angel-like character intervening occasionally.

I have to admit that I found much of the plot confusing, and was wishing there was more explanation, for instance, how did the magic work, exactly?  Was it the earrings? The crab? The angel character? 

After watching the movie, I looked to see if it was a book first - my hope was that if it was originally a book, I could read it and the book would likely fill in the plot gaps.  But alas, it was not a book, just a poorly written screenplay.  So I am left only with questions and no answers.

But let’s talk foodie inspiration!  Since the movie centers around a chef, there is no shortage of inspiration.  One of the most memorable dishes, however, are Caramel Eclairs, which cause those who smell or eat them to become very...ummmm...passionate.

I’d never made eclairs before, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give these pastries a whirl, only I decided to make chocolate eclairs instead of caramel, because I love chocolate!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup

Is there anything better than soup in the winter?

This one has it all.  Chicken, cheese tortellini, and the broth tastes just like alfredo sauce!  It is divine!

I actually made this soup for this month’s Cook the Books Club pick.  Deb from Kahakai Kitchen picked Eat Joy: Stories and Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers edited by Natalie Eve Garrett. 

You, guys...I was not a fan.  Here’s my Goodreads review.



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