Back in July, I received a text from a friend who I had not seen in awhile asking to meet up for coffee. We became friends several years ago sharing elementary PTA adventures. Now our kids were a little older and in different places. I was excited to see her name pop up on my phone. Also completely thrilled to actually get to share coffee and a conversation with her. We had so much to catch up on.
Our anticipated coffee date arrived. We started with catching up and she quickly moved to the reason she called the coffee date. My friend had recently became editor of a local magazine. She shared how the oppopportunity came up and her vision for the future of the magazine.
Then she dropped her big idea! Without a pause in her conversation or thoughts, my friend throws out “and in the magazine we will feature a monthly recipe. I WANT YOU TO WRITE THEM.” (WHAT!?! ME? Amanda Fuller, girl from small town Texas?). She goes on to tell me she needs my headshot. (What, again?) She gives me deadlines and criteria. Then she smiles, says she is so excited to work with me, and cannot wait to see my work.
So lots of details in between: One hour with my favorite photographer, a few test products and pictures, and my first article was ready.
I share all this with you because it was a big step for me to take and to believe in myself when others already had. This is my first time to be published for my work in the kitchen. I’m beyond thrilled to be a contributing recipe writer for Our Milton Neighbor.
As I publish my monthly recipes, you will find them added to my blog as well. Thanks for sharing along with me in this new adventure. Here’s my first published article:
Hey, I’m Amanda! Some of you have been with me for over eight years when I wrote my first recipe on my blog. Others have just joined me. Whether you are a cherished friend, family member, or new to my kitchen, I am so thankful you are here.
I wanted to reintroduce/introduce myself and give a small background to the meaning behind the name “Sing and Dance in the Kitchen” If you could ever be a fly on the wall in my home, you would see that singing and dancing occurs A LOT! I started singing and dancing as a very young child and completely missed my calling as a Broadway actress because 1)I can’t really sing 2)I really can’t dance well either. However, no dance teacher, music teacher, church choir instructor, or my parents told me differently so I continued my life as a happy, singing & dancing child.
As I grew older I began to notice my voice and range did not match Whitney Houston’s (childhood music role model) and my moves did not keep up with Olivia Newton-Johns (Let’s Get Physical’s music video). This did not stop me! Singing and Dancing made me happy so I just continued. My first job as a kindergarten teacher was the best fit! My students thought I had the best moves and they didn’t worry about my voice.
And I have digressed! Since the beginning, I loved to be in kitchen. I liked cooking with my grandmothers and my mom. I loved learning tricks. I would check out cookbooks from the library and spend hours going through old family recipe cards. If I could find a cooking show, I was glued to the television. Cooking was so inspiring to me. I loved how you could create yummy foods and then gather others around.
Basically it all just clicked at one point, I wanted to share my love for cooking and gathering others. And I had to share that most of the time it involves singing and dancing in the prep, serving, and cleanup. It became so clear that I needed to share that all of my silly recipes, life hacks, table settings, songs and dances are all inspired by Jesus. Everyone has a place they feel closest to God. One of my top places is in my kitchen. It is where I prepare food for my family and friends. This is where I usually say most my prayers and have my devotion time. I have honest, lifegiving conversations with my sons around our kitchen island. In my kitchen I will pump up my music and dance around while I’m cooking or just need a break from the crazy.
Sing and Dance is my place to share my messy & crazy life that is not perfect but I am loved and saved by someone who is. I will share recipes, tips, tricks, things that make me laugh and cry. I’ll talk honestly about pits and valleys that I have been in and how God is continually working on me and my heart. Oh and I will share my crazy adventures in motherhood. You never know what someone singing and dancing will throw out there.
I am so glad you are here. I look forward to learning more about you and what makes you “sing and dance”
We are getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July. Desserts that include strawberries and blueberries naturally give you a patriotic feeling. This little recipe was inspired by my friend, Erin at The Speckled Palate. Jump over to her blog to be completely inspired plus she makes meal planning fun!
This little dessert will leave your family and friends wanting more! Prep is simple and can be done ahead of time. Feel free to play with the ingredients and make it your own. Have a happy and safe 4th of July! -Amanda
2 cups strawberries, sliced
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pint blueberries
1 pre-made Pound Cake loaf (I purchased a Vanilla Pound Cake at Whole Foods)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
8oz of Cream Cheese, allow to sit at room temp for 15 to 20 minutes
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Wash & Dry your strawberries and blueberries. Slice your strawberries. Toss strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Slice your pound cake into 1inch (or less) thickness. I made sure to make 12 slices to have enough for dessert. Brush the pound cake slices with melted butter. On a preheated grill or grilling pan, toast both sides of your pound cake. Let the pieces set long enough to get grill lines. Once all slices are toasted, set aside and allow to cool.
With a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Once all combined, place in refrigerator until ready to create dessert.
When you are ready to serve dessert, place your pound cake slices on a serving platter or individual plates. Smear the cream cheese mixture on to your cake slices. Make sure there is enough cream cheese mixture to allow the fruit to stick to your cake slices. Then top that with a tablespoon of strawberries and their juice. Add blueberries by giving them a little push to stay on the cake slices. Serve immediately, or let stand in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
One item on our summer bucket was “Make Your Own Pizza Night” We have done this several times but we jazzed it up with our head chef, Whitaker!
You can buy pre-made dough or make your own. This is my go to Pizza Dough. If you want to try something different, Trader Joe’s has a great frozen Cauliflower Crust.
We are all about the ingredients in this house. Chop up what you want and add some variety. In my mind there can never be too many toppings. I love them all! Some our favorites: Mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced), pepperoni, olives, sausage (cooked ahead), bell peppers, onions, jalapeños, and mushrooms.
We use pre-made pizza sauce to keep it easy. Once your dough is ready, start adding all the fun. It’s a great way to get everyone on the kitchen.
The sight of an overripe banana is not pretty to most. Although the outside is not attractive, we know the inside is ready for a smoothie, dessert, or banana bread. Banana bread is a classic for most but adding chocolate to it gives it a quick upgrade. This recipe is yummy and easy to make. It has a true banana taste so you need to like bananas to like this bread.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3 overripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 t vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips plus 4 T for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with a nonstick baking spray.
Peel and roughly chop the bananas.
Using a mixer, mix butter, sugar, egg, and chocolate in bowl. Then add the bananas, flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix to make sure all ingredients are fully mixed.
Pour into the prepared bread pan. Sprinkle the additional 4 Tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before running a knife around the side of the loaf pan. Allow bread to fall out of bread pan. Cool completely. Slice and serve. Store bread in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This bread is rich and goes well with a glass of milk.
Pico de Gallo is easy to put together. It’s a great addition to so many meals. We add Pico (for short) to fajitas, tacos, omelets, and sometimes just love it by itself with chips. The freshness of the flavors add something to each entree. This is my simple recipe you can add to or take away. I make it early in the day to let flavors sit for a little while. This recipes make a lot so feel free to divide ingredients if you want a smaller batch.
3 white or red onions
12 Roma tomatoes
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 to 3 jalapeños (soak in ice water before using)
Chop up onions and tomatoes. I like to make sure the tomato and onion ratio is about the same. Chop the cilantro.
Slice 1 or 2 jalapeños in half. I always wear gloves when chopping jalapeños. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and membranes. (If you want it spicy, leave in some of the white membranes.) Finely chop the jalapeños.
Combine onions, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños in one bowl.
Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice from half a lime the bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and stir together until combined. Do a taste test. You can make adjustments to your pico de gallo by adding more jalapeños, salt, or lime.