Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Bombs


It’s Christmas Eve!  Let’s talk Hot Cocoa Bombs, Christmas Cookies, and Christmas movies!

First the Christmas Cookies.  Each year, I make gingerbread cookies (here’s my gingerbread recipe) and I always love to have fun with them.  This year was no expectation, as the Gingerbread Men took inspiration from 2020 and donned not only their ugly sweaters, but also festive matching masks!  These were so fun!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Classic Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

This post comes from 2013, from my old blog - enjoy a flashback and a delicious gingerbread recipe!

This year I decided that I was finally going to make gingerbread houses.  And not the graham cracker ones either!

One of the most enjoyable parts of a gingerbread house is, of course, finding all of the candy and trimmings!  Without an actual candy store in the area, I was forced to get a little creative.  Most of the candies (M&Ms, candy canes, red hots, watermelon slices, and gum drops) were found in my grocery store’s candy aisle.  I thought that chocolate Pop Tarts would make the perfect roof tops, so those were in the breakfast aisle.

And the rest?  Well, that’s all Halloween Candy!  It was the perfect use for all that candy that was just sitting around!

The boys made their houses first.

My husband and I built the houses, complete with roofs about an hour before the boys started.  I wanted to give the royal icing a chance to dry and make a nice, study structure. 

Do you remember making those graham cracker houses in elementary school?  Inevitably, someone would be working with a heavy hand and the whole thing would go tumbling down and tears of frustration would be flowing.  Definitely not what I wanted.  I wanted a fun time for the whole family.

My 4 year old decorated his house completely by himself – I only added the royal icing.  He would point to a spot, I’d pipe the icing, and he’d do the rest!  Didn’t he do a great job?

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas Tree Butter Cookies

 Each year, I think I’m just going to make my favorite Christmas cookies as is.  But then I see something online or have an idea pop in my head and pretty soon, we’re altering a favorite (again).

Take butter cookies, for instance.  I had butter cookies the first time I spent Christmas with my in-laws.  Butter cookies were Hub’s grandma’s signature cookie.

She graciously shared her recipe, then I got excited and added lemon and rosemary to the mix (so good!)

Fast forward 9 years and I went back to the basics with the cookie recipe, but shook it up and rolled them in a cinnamon-chai mix instead of the traditional sprinkles.

And here we are another year later and I’ve gone back to the basics again, but added a design in the center.  

Friday, December 18, 2020

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

 Seven years.

It’s been seven years today since our daughter was stillborn at 28 weeks.  I still think about her every single day.  

Sarah would have been a first grader this year. As a first grader, she would have made huge strides in reading.  She would be wearing her mask and social distancing with her classmates.  I wonder what she would have liked?  With two big brothers, would she have been a bit of a tomboy?  Would she have enjoyed all the vast nerdiness around here or would she have eschewed it all and been a prim girly girl?

We’ll never know.

For the last several years, I’ve made a Christmas cake on her birthday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Reindeer Peanut Butter Blossoms

Is there anything more classic than
peanut butter blossoms at Christmas?  We usually make these on Christmas Eve and lately we’ve been giving these cookies a fun reindeer twist to leave for Santa!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Snowman Chicken Pot Pies

It’s that time of year to make festive everything!  Just for fun, I decided to make individual chicken pot pies with a wintery twist!  I gave them little snowman faces!

This is a basic pot pie recipe (you can adjust the vegetables as you see fit).  Sometimes I add a biscuit topping, but other times I make a pie crust.  

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Spiderman Cake

 I made this Spiderman cake for a little guy’s 6th birthday!

I was experimenting with the cake flavor (by request) and came up with a cake that was super delicious (exactly what I was going for) but looked unappetizingly awful.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Hungarian Braised Short Ribs

It’s the 10th, which means we’re traveling the world again, this time going to Hungary!  When I think of Hungary, the ingredient that immediately comes to mine is Hungarian Paprika, and indeed, paprika often makes an appearance in Hungarian dishes.

I almost made paprika chicken, when I happened upon a recipe for short ribs and switched to those instead.  I loved the idea of slow braised ribs and I’m always excited for a chance to use my dutch oven (I finally invested in one last year, so using it is still a novelty!)

Saturday, December 5, 2020

2020 Toilet Paper Cake

2020 is a year for the record books to be sure.  There’s been lots of stress and sadness, so it’s always nice when there is someone who can bring a little lightness and humor to things.

Hot Cocoa Spoons

Do you ever read a book and get inspired to cook?   I sometimes do, especially if the food descriptions are frequent or detailed. This is probably because I’m in a couple of food-centric book and movie clubs - I’ve just always got cooking on the brain!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Chocolate Mint Cake (Movie Clapper Cake)

This post originally appeared on my other blog in 2013, but since I am no longer updating that one, I am researching here!

This cake was for a friend’s 9 year old’s birthday party.  My friend always throws gorgeous Pinterest-worthy parties that I completely envy.

So for her son, she turned her den into a movie theater, complete with all of the concessions 9 year old boys could ever hope for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

No Bake Acorn Cookies

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu all set?  Well, if you need a small and easy dessert option, I’ve got you covered!  These little acorns come together in a flash  plus they’re super cute (and tasty!)

Friday, November 20, 2020

One Pot Caprese Chicken & Rice

*Disclosure: I received a product to sample from ­­­­­Book Blends.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today I’m sharing my third post sponsored by Book Blends.  Book (and TV and Music) Blends take high-quality spice mixtures and pair them with catchy popular book, TV, and music titles.  These make great gifts or are just plain fun to have around.

My first post was Game of Scone (Black Onyx Cocoa Powder) with which I made Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Muffins.  Then I use Where the Mild Zings Are (Chili Powder) to make Honeymoon Tacos.

Today’s recipe features The Marvelous Mrs. Basil (Organic Basil) inspired by the TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Muffin Tin Cinnamon Rolls


You guys!  I read the book for the bi-monthly Cook the Books Club pick -- ages ago!  I chose and made my recipe -- ages ago!  Do you think I remembered to actually finish my post and share it until now?  Nope!

A vacation for a wedding, worries over pandemic (we’re all fine), and an unexpected trip to say a final good-bye really threw me for a loop! Thankfully, I remembered just in time (as I was going through photos to edit).

So here we are!  This month’s Cook the Books Club pick is hosted by Simona at Briciole. She chose The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams.   Here’s my GoodReads review:

The Secret, Book, & Scone Society (Secret, Book, & Scone Society #1)The Secret, Book, & Scone Society by Ellery Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't typically like novels in which a regular citizen fancies themselves an investigator and goes about solving a murder (usually impeding law enforcement along the way). This book was not that.

In this novel, law enforcement is corrupt, necessitating our regular citizens to take action. Our main character, Nora goes a little too vigilante toward to end, but overall, the book was capivating and well-written.

View all my reviews

So what to make for this challenge?  There were so many ideas!  The most obvious was scones (I nearly made a chocolate comfort scone), however many bakery items made an appearance in this story and circumstances presented themselves for cinnamon rolls.

It all starts with Spud, who has very discerning tastes.  And by that I mean that he refuses to eat school lunch and insists on bringing a lunch from home almost every day.(I’ll take it as a compliment - he loves his mama’s cooking!)

Rewind back a couple months and we’re going through the monthly lunch menu seeing if there’s anything he’ll eat (one meal: taco in a bag), then I see him start deliberating…

There, at the end of the month, breakfast for lunch, including an egg and cheese omelet and cinnamon roll.

He tells me that he wants to eat school lunch that day.  But mom knows her son (and had lunch duty at his school three times a week) and I know that the only reason he wants school lunch is so he can have that cinnamon roll (there is no way on earth he’ll eat an omelet, which means he’ll have a cinnamon roll for lunch...that’s a hard no from me).

So I told him no.  And he marked it as a cold lunch with a sad face and told all his classmates how his mom was making him have cold lunch on cinnamon roll day.

So I gave in...slightly.

I gave him a balanced meal (cold chicken, grapes, and bell peppers) with a homemade cinnamon roll for a treat.

I wanted to experiment with baking these in a muffin tin with the purpose of sending these in the cold lunch.  Mission accomplished!  The cinnamon rolls were delicious as ever and easy to pack in a lunch, making me no loner the meanest mom ever (especially since he got to bring a cinnamon roll for a couple days in a row!)

Muffin Tin Cinnamon Rolls 


1 cup warm water (around 110 degrees F)

1 packages (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast

2 ½ tablespoons sugar

2 ½ tablespoons softened butter 

1 egg

½ tsp salt

3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, divided


¼ cup butter, very soft

½ - ¾ cup brown sugar

2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon


¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar, butter, egg, salt, and 1 cup of flour.  Beat with the paddle attachment until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and gradually add the remaining flour.  Knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  If the dough is sticky, add up to 2 tablespoons additional flour.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple times to form a smooth ball.  Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Put in a warm place to rise until the dough is light and doubled; about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle and spread the butter all over the surface of the dough, keeping about ½-inch away from the edges.  Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon, then, starting from the long end, roll into a tight cylinder.

To cut into evenly sized rolls, use a strip of unflavored dental floss (or a sharp knife) to cut the dough log in half.  Then cut the half in half.  Last, cut each of the quarters into thirds.  You should end up with 12 rolls.

Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 12-cup muffin tin.

Cover the pan lightly with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the rolls are light and airy, place then into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are browned.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the frosting by whisking together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.  Place in a piping bag or zipper bag with one corner cut and drizzle the frosting over the cinnamon rolls.  Serve warm.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Bangers and Baked Beans

 It’s time for this month’s Food ‘n Flix, hosted by my real life friend, Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm.  She chose the movie, Knives Out.  

I absolutely loved the movie.  It was a quirky, weird (in a good way) mystery, reminiscent of the 80’s film, Clue.  Plus it was very well cast.  Being me, I don’t remember the names of any of the actors or characters, but suffice to say, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

50% Wheat Soft Sandwich Bread

 Even though I’m not always blogging consistently, I am always cooking (you should see how many posts are in my “to-do” pile...oops).  I often go back to my tried and true recipes time and time again.  But then, I start tweaking them, just a bit, and start settling in to a new version of a favorite.

Take Soft & Chewy Italian Bread for instance.  I go back to that post constantly.  Sometimes I make it as written (because it is super delicious that way), but more often I use the adaptation below.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Military Cake

This post first appeared on my other blog in 2016.  I'm slowly migrating all posts to this blog.

I made this cake for a good friend’s graduation from officer school.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup

It’s time to put on our traveling shoes for this month’s Eat the World Recipe challenge.  This month we’re going tropical as we head to Jamaica!

There are so many delicious choices from this country.  The obvious choice is jerk chicken, but I don’t always like to go with the obvious choice.  The next choice is a rum punch.  A lot of the rum punches are way too sweet for my liking.  I did find a rum punch that I nearly tried, that involved a dram (spicing rum on your own).  I nearly went for it, but I realized I really didn’t need a dram. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Bolognese with Bacon

Each week, when I make my weekly menu (which I post on instagram, if you're interested), I usually have a couple recipes in mind, either because I’m craving something, or saw something interesting online, or have a recipe to make for a foodie club.

Fridays are nearly always pizza/movie night.  Then there are always planned leftovers days, either because I know a previous recipe will make a huge amount or because I know that we have a crazy busy night and I won’t have time for cooking (I’m looking at you Wednesdays).

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Fancy Focaccia Bread

We have a new favorite bread in my house!  The kids are obsessed with focaccia bread and are insisting that I made it to accompany every soup I make this fall and winter (and I make a lot of soup once the weather turns cold!)

The bread is delightful on its own, but then I stumbled upon focaccia art on instagram and I was obsessed and knew I had to give it a try myself!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Grilled Steak Tacos (Honeymoon Tacos)

*Disclosure: I received a product to sample from ­­­­­Book Blends.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today, I’m sharing the second of 3 posts sponsored by Book Blends.

Last month, I shared my recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Muffins, featuring Game of Scones, a black onyx cocoa powder inspired by the book series, Game of Thrones.

Today’s recipe features Where the Mild Zings are, a mild chili powder inspired by the classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are.

For the recipe, I decided to remake my steak tacos, or as I call them, honeymoon tacos and the mild chili powder was exactly what this recipe remake needed!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Monstrous Monster Cookies

Monster cookies are great any time of the year, but they’re especially fun at Halloween, and especially if candy eyeballs come into play!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Feet Loaf

Well, well, well...look who got her Food n Flix movie in early! Woohoo! 

This month’s theme was hosted by Simply Inspired Meals.  She allowed a lot of free reign choosing a general topic of “Halloween movies”.  I was glad she didn’t pick anything terrifying - this allowed me, the chicken, to choose a non scary movie as my inspiration.  Non scary Halloween movies are few and far between, if I’m being perfectly honest.  And most of them are kids movies.  I thought about doing “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, but wanted to challenge myself with a movie I hadn’t seen.  I ended up choosing the latest Addams Family animated movie.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Khao Piak Sen (Lao Chicken Noodle Soup)

It’s time for this month’s Eat the World Recipe challenge and we’re heading to Laos!

The flavors in the recipes from Laos sounded amazing, and with the turn in the weather, I was immediately drawn to a Lao version of chicken noodle soup!

The spices brought extra dimension to the chicken noodle soup we know and love.  It was a wonderful change of pace!

Check out all the wonderful Laotian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld.

  Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
 Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Khao Nom Kok (Lao Coconut Cakes) 
Pandemonium Noshery: Laotian Party Noodles - Kua Mee 
Making Miracles: Lao Grilled Chicken 
Sneha’s Recipe Sai Gog Khao Jee 
Sugarlovespices: Laotian Sweet and Sour Tofu 
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Pork Larb 

Monday, September 28, 2020

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Ever make a fancy pie for no reason at all?

I made this one for our little family on a random day because we were bored in quarantine.  Plus, it coincided perfectly with this month’s Food ‘n Flix and Lit Happens book club: Chocolat by Joanne Harris.  

Chocolat (Chocolat, #1)Chocolat by Joanne Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great story! The magical realism in the book is expertly done, allowing the reader to suspend belief just enough to make the story plausible.

The story is told using several devices, such as alternate perspectives and flashbacks and the story slowly unfolds as each character bring their own flaws, triumphs and prejudices to the table.

View all my reviews

Both book and movie picks are being hosted by Heather at Food ‘n Flix.  The movie was chosen to mark the 10 year anniversary of Food ‘n Flix and was the very first movie chosen by the club.  At the club’s 5th anniversary, I watched the movie and made both Tequila Spiked Chocolate Dipped Jalapeño Peppers as well as Mexican Hot Chocolate with Ice Cream.

I loved the movie 5 years ago, finding it sweet and charming.  This time around, I read the book first and then rewatched the movie.  And wow!  The book has such great character development!  Added to that, the reader really gets to know the characters and their motivations and roles in the town. There is a hint of magic realism that is interwoven perfectly in the story, allowing the reader to suspend belief and believe it’s real.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Muffins #BlendsBash

 *Disclosure: I received a product to sample from ­­­­Book Blends: Spices for Book Lovers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


About a month ago, Judy from the Book Club Cookbook contacted me wondering if I wanted to participate in this year’s #BlendsBash!  The concept was simple, sample some of their fabulous spice blends and share a recipe.

I’ve always loved book blends.  The spice blends are your typical kitchen spices with a fun book, tv, or song twist! Plus, the spices are high-quality and delicious!

For my first post, I sampled Game of Scones, a Book Blend inspired by the popular book series, Game of Thrones.  What is it?  Black Onyx Cocoa Powder!  I love the tag line!

I love it! I’ve read the Game of Thrones book and was enthralled with them and I am equally in love with this cocoa powder!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep)

It’s time to travel the world, foodie-style with the Eat the World Recipe challenge hosted by Evelyn at CulturEatz.

This month, we’re traveling to the Netherlands. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize that the Netherlands was the country and Holland was a province - I thought it was the other way around! Oops! But that’s why this group is so great - I get to learn about new countries (and their food) each month!

As I started looking for recipes, I found a ton of inspiration and really had to work to narrow down my choices! Eventually, I landed on a soup - we’re having unseasonably cold weather and a soup sounded just perfect!

The soup itself was super tasty - with cauliflower being an interesting ingredient that we all loved. We enjoy roasted cauliflower frequently, but never thought to put it in soup (other than the occasional blended cauliflower in a Skinny Baked Potato Soup (so the cauliflower does not take a prominent role)).

I didn’t realize, until I started cooking, that this was a vegetarian soup (other than the chicken broth, but that’s easily swapped out for a vegetarian option). I am making a mental note to make this tasty soup for Lent this year (It’s always great to have something I know the whole family will eat and enjoy!) However, for a heartier dish, I think it would also be delicious with some shredded chicken added in.

I was surprised as I read the recipe to see that the cheese was not mixed into the soup, but instead broiled onto toasts. The more authentic recipe enjoyed in the Netherlands uses boerenkaas cheese, an artisan type of gouda. Since that is not available here, I used gouda for the first time and loved it (gouda will end up on my shopping list a lot more often now).

Check out all the wonderful Dutch dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld.

Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Memories of Holland, Dutch Traditions, and Sailboat Speculaas

Pandemonium Noshery: Mosterdsoep - Dutch Mustard Soup

Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep)

Sugarlovespices: Dutch Apple Tart, Hollandse Appeltaart

Making Miracles: Hutspot met Gehaktballen (Dutch Mashed Potatoes and Carrots with Meatballs)

Sneha’s Recipe: A Small Batch Bitterballen

Chef Mireille: Ontbijtkoek - Dutch Spice Cake

Kitchen Frau: Boerenkool Stamppot (Dutch Mashed Potatoes and Kale with Sausage and Pears)

A Day in the Life on the Farm: Hachee

Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep)

Adapted from SBS


3 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

3 large carrots (about ½ pound), peeled & sliced

1 ½ pounds potatoes, diced

1 small head cauliflower (about 1 ½ pounds), cut into florets

8 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper

Cheese Toast

1 baguette, cut into rounds


Gouda cheese, sliced

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until the onions are starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, chicken broth and bay leaves. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, butter the baguette slices on both sides with butter. Place under a broiler until lightly toasted. Flip, top with gouda, and broil for another few minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheese toasts to serve.

Amy Eats the World in...

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)

Ireland: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale

Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Geode Cake

Let’s talk cake!

I made this Geode Cake for myself for my 37th birthday, because I’ve always wanted to try a Geode cake and never really had the opportunity!

Oftentimes, I “share” a birthday cake with Hubs, enjoying leftover cake (his birthday is a few days before mine), but since I made him a Mini Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake, there were no leftovers and the opportunity was there to make myself something fabulous!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Hot Cheese Puff Canapes

This month’s book does double duty.  It is the Cook the Books Club pick, as well as the Lit Happens pick!

Cook the Books Club, generally picks a food centric book and then those choosing to join in post a recipe inspired by the book.

Lit Happens is very casual.  Done entirely on facebook, this one is done more book club style, with online discussion questions (and books are not necessarily food centric).

The book for both clubs was Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown.  Recipe for a Perfect Wife follows two women from two different decades, Alice from contemporary times, and Nellie from the 1950s.



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