Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: July 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Reads

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Rating: ★★★  
Foodies Read

Author: Soda Fountain Trade Magazine
Rating: ★★★★★  
Foodies Read

Author: Hayden Herrera
Rating: ★★★★

Author: Thelma Adams
Rating: ★★★   
Kindle First

Author: Kerry Lonsdale
Rating: ★★★★★  

Kindle First

Author: Jim Butcher
Rating: ★★★★★

Author: Robert Ludlum
Rating: ★★★

Friday, July 29, 2016


My 8 year old, Dude, is a thinker.  He is constantly reading and thinking.  He loves science and experiments and inventing.

The other day, he was finishing lunch and asked me if anyone had invented juice popsicles yet.    I told him they’d probably been invented already, so he decided to try something new.  He wanted to place a sucker into the popsicle for a special surprise inside – plus the sucker took care of the pesky problem of finding small popsicle sticks (we used a bit of foil to keep the popsicles fresh AND hold the sucker in place while they froze)!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Perfect Lemonade

Spud loves lemonade. 

He’s 5, so he likes basically any kind of lemonade.  The stuff made from powder mixes, the weird stuff from soda machines, and homemade.

So I made it my goal to make the best (and easiest) homemade lemonade I could.

The best thing to do is to start out with a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), so avoid any undissolved sugar.

Ok tangent – who grew up trying to mix kool-aid in a deep pitcher with a wooden spoon and the sugar would.not.mix!?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

English Muffins: Shortening vs Butter vs Bacon Grease


We’re talking English Muffins.

For a good reason though!

I’ve always used shortening (Crisco) in my English Muffins, but I know that some people are super opposed to the stuff.  And I recently had someone ask me about possible substitutions.  My gut told me that butter (or another fat) would probably work, but I really didn’t know.

As luck would have it, Hubs had just finished off the last of the English Muffins and I had half a quart of buttermilk hanging out in the fridge.  It was destiny.

So (inspired by the science-y nature of The Food Lab), I went into experiment mode.  I made three identical batches of English Muffins (using half whole wheat flour), changing the fat in each batch.  The control used Crisco, the next batch was butter, and bacon drippings in the third (I always have bacon drippings around and they’re my favorite fat to use when making bread or buns).

Friday, July 22, 2016

Strawberry Caprese Salad

Yummy summer salad alert!

Oh and another book review too.

I requested a copy of Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand from the library when I found out that one of the bloggers I follow had developed recipes to be included in the novel.  The book seemed interesting enough and it’s always fun to see book inspired recipes, so I dove right in.

However, the “light summer read” was anything but.  While it was a quick read for such a long book, it was anything but light.  There was death, betrayal, affairs, and serious drug addiction.  It was a very heavy book.  And there were only 4 recipes included in the whole 400+ page book – and I didn’t even like them!  Sad panda.

You can get my whole book review and the synopsis of the book over here on GoodReads – I’m terrible as writing synopses, I mean, why rewrite what someone already wrote (and probably better than I did), right?

But I was determined to make something inspired by the book.  Thankfully, a couple of the main characters were chefs, so quite a lot of food was mentioned in passing, including a Strawberry Caprese Salad.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Brownie Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve totally been on a dessert kick here on the blog, haven’t I?  Ice cream, pie, and now cookies!  I promise to bring you a yummy, healthy salad next!

Hubs travels a lot for work with the summer and I always like to pack reinforcements, because it’s never fun to be hungry and traveling. 

Most recently, I was a bit overwhelmed with cake orders when I suddenly realized I hadn’t made road treats.  Hubs wouldn’t have minded either way, but I decided to make something super quick and easy (plus then the boys & I had some of the leftover cookies to munch on all weekend!)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie

Is there anything more summery than strawberry rhubarb pie?

I recently came across the concept of sour cream pies and I was fascinated.  I love using sour cream in baking (especially cakes), so I knew I had to try it!

The creamy tartness of the sour cream plays off the sweetness of the pie filling beautifully.  And since the pie needs to refrigerate to set up (it’s absolutely imperative that the pie chills long enough), it’s cool and refreshing and the perfect treat for a hot day.  Oh, and don’t forget the whipped cream!

Recipe Notes:
*If using frozen berries, thaw them first and strain out the excess liquid.
*Do not use light or fat free sour cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie
Adapted from Willow Bird Bakes

1 recipe pie crust

1 cup flour
1 ¼ cups sugar + 1 tbsp
Dash of salt
8 oz sour cream
2 ½ cups sliced strawberries
1 ½ cups sliced red rhubarb
Whipped cream or ice cream, to serve

Make a single pie crust according to instructions (or use a single frozen crust) and place onto a pie plate.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together the flour, sugar (less the 1 tablespoon), and salt together.  Stir in the sour cream until smooth (the mixture will be quite thick).  Fold in the strawberries and rhubarb until combined and pour into the pie shell.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top of the pie.  Decorate crust as desired.

Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is browned (the center will still be jiggly.)

Move the pie to the upper rack and set oven to broil.  Broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully until the sugar on top caramelizes (the juices will be bubbling as they caramelize). 

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.  Then, move to the refrigerator and chill for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight, before cutting and serving. 

Serve topped with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1 pie

Want more?  Try these!

Pie Crust Cookies

Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Crumble Topping

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fruits & Flowers Ice Cream Sundae

I love old books!  I have a small collection of 100-year old books that I have piled around the house.  I usually flip through them after I buy them, but mostly I just have them for looks.

However, a few weeks ago, I was perusing a garage sale and scored a great vintage book that I actually read!  I found a 1915 copy of the Dispenser’sFormulary or Soda Water Guide.  In other words, a guide on how to start up your own soda fountain business (including what you’ll need and about how much it might cost) and tons of fantastic soda fountain recipes!

Reading the book was like being transported back in time!  It was such a fun read!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Colorful Tortilla Soup

Dude is back in the kitchen today with a delicious soup recipe he found in one of his cookbooks!

We made a few changes to the original.  Since Dude decided to make the soup kinda at the last minute, we relied heavily on freezer ingredients (frozen chicken broth, chicken breast, corn, and some diced tomatoes with herbs (yay for cleaning out the freezer!))

Even with solidly frozen ingredients, the soup came together quickly – perfect for a busy night!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pesto Chicken Quesadillas #SecretRecipeClub

It’s time for July’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  In SRC, members are assigned another participating blogger, find a recipe that strikes their fancy, makes it, and reveal on the selected day (interested?  Click that link to join the fun!)

This month, I was assigned Nicola’s blog, Lemon & Cheese.  Nicola is a librarian in London (Nicola – we need to talk books!  I’m a bibliophile an always have a book in hand!)  Nicola also loves trying new foods, but tends toward simple recipes using fresh ingredients and freezer/pantry staples.

Nicola has been blogging for a long time, so her recipe index is extensive!  I had such fun looking through!  I’ve been reading quite a lot of British novels lately (Harry Potter, 101 Dalmatians, & Scarlet Feather (actually Irish, but there’s some food overlap) spring to mind), so I was immediately drawn to recipes like Steak & Kidney Pie and Treacle Tart.  I also had my eye on Funfetti Shortbread, because I’m a sucker for cookies and sprinkles!

But what really won me over was Pesto and Chicken Quesadillas.  I LOVE quesadillas!  I love traditional quesadillas and I love to play with flavors, so these were right up my alley!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Last month, I spotted a video for Baked Spaghetti Casserole on Facebook.

Dude was looking over my shoulder and decided that he definitely wanted to try that recipe (Dude LOVES spaghetti and meat sauce you can see his recipes here, here, and here).

We originally planned to adapt the recipe a bit more (we were going to add some fresh herbs to the spaghetti mixture and on top), but just as we were cooking, the storm sirens started blaring because of a tornado warning (thankfully there were only funnel clouds and no actual tornadoes).

So I was upstairs hastily finishing our casserole and tossing it in the oven, while my two worried little boys huddled downstairs begging me to hurry up (Hubs was out of town – seriously – every time he goes out of town in the summer we have severe weather!)

Thankfully, by the time the casserole finished baking, the tornado threat had passed (but it was still raining too heavily to grab my herbs), and we were able to enjoy this delicious casserole!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Turkey & Spinach Burgers #FoodnFlix

It’s time for July Food n’ Flix!  In this club, bloggers watch the selected movie, make something inspired by the film and share it!  It’s early in the month, so you still have plenty of time to join in the fun!  This month’s movie is the 1980 film, Popeye, hosted by Elizabeth at The Lawyer’s Cookbook.

I used to watch the Popeye cartoons with my dad when I was little, but had no idea it had been made into a movie (before I was born!)

Overall, it was a very enjoyable movie.  I wasn’t impressed with the overarching storyline, but I think it’s difficult to translate a short cartoon into a feature length movie. 

What I did love was the characterization.  That characters were perfectly cast and the actors were able to preserve the slapstick comedy and personalities of the characters – it was just like watching the cartoon and I was super impressed that they were able to pull it off with live actors. 

I also adored the musical numbers.  I felt like that’s when the actors/directors were able to really let loose and enjoy the characters instead of focusing on the trite storyline.



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