Porcupine Meatballs

Me: “Whitaker, we need to look for 3 porcupines for dinner tonight!” 

W: (His Face) “Wait, What?”

Me: “We are having Porcupine Meatballs for dinner.  I need to find 3 porcupines on our walk to use for dinner.”

W: (His Face, Again!) “Mom, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

Ok, you don’t use real PORCUPINES but these fun meatballs studded with rice will remind you of little porcupine quills.  Our weather in Atlanta has been a bit rainy and gloomy.  These little meatballs add a little fun to dinner.  

At dinner, it gave us a great time discussing the creativity of God.  I mean look at a porcupine.  How cool!

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

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Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

3/4 c. uncooked long grain white rice

1/2 c. whole milk

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 T finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish 

2 t Worcestershire sauce, divided 

1/2 t garlic powder 

⅛ t cayenne pepper 

Kosher salt 

2 T extra-virgin olive oil 

1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed 

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, milk, onion, parsley, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape beef mixture into 1 ½” meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook until golden, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs to a plate.

In a 9”-x13” baking dish, whisk together pureed tomatoes and remaining teaspoon Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper. Add meatballs to the baking dish and cover with foil. 

Bake until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes more. *Be sure to cook rice until tender or your family will experience a porcupine situation in their mouths.*

Sprinkle with more parsley and parmesan before serving.

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Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus

My Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus is a versatile dip that you could have any time of year, but tastes especially great as the season of pumpkin spice everything is upon us.  At our house, we enjoy throwing in popcorn, pretzels and pita chips along with the usual veggies.

Smoky Pumpkin Spice Hummus

1- 16 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1- 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons agave
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Place all the ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds) into a food processor and blend until smooth. If your hummus is a little thick, add more olive oil.

Place your hummus in a serving bowl.  Garnish with a light sprinkle of chipotle chile pepper and pumpkin seeds. Serve with popcorn, pretzels, pita chips, veggies, etc.

Amanda’s Apple Crisp

Whether you have already been apple picking or it’s on your “apple bucket” list, you will want to save some apples for this crisp recipe.  All the ingredients play together to make fall come alive. My boys believe it must be topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This Apple Crisp is the perfect fall dessert.  

Keep Sing and Dancing in the Kitchen, Amanda

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Warm Apple Crisp

Yields: 12 servings

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (other varieties can be used)

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

1 tsp of vanilla

pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Butter an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add chopped apples, granulated sugar, 3/4 tsp of cinnamon and lemon juice.  Stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

In a separate mixing bowl, add crisp ingredients (brown sugar, oats, flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and diced cold butter).  Use a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the oat mixture, using a slight downward twisting motion, until mixture is in small crumbs.  If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two forks or even your hands to cut butter into the mixture.

Spread topping over apples in baking dish, and gently pat to even it out.  Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve warm.  We like to add a scoop of vanilla ice to our Apple Crisp.  Enjoy!  

I thought we were just having coffee

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:

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Looking Forward,
Amanda

 

Strawberry & Blueberry Bruschetta

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

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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.  

Make Your Own Pizza Night

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!

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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.

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Hold on Tight! It’s May!

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Seriously, where did this school year go? How is it already May? Whether we are ready or not, MAY is Here! This month brings mixed emotions to so many. May is a month full of activities. My calendar is full with end of year parties, last chapel, end of year tests, graduations, Mother’s Day, lacrosse tournaments, husband’s travel, and then events I don’t even know about yet! May has a way of stressing us out and getting us excited all at the same time. How are you feeling?

The Holderness Family sums it up for most of us. Watch this video to relate. I had a friend who just said that December has nothing over May. What do you think?

Let’s take this month and realize there might be a couple of ways to calm it down. We know our calendars are completely full. So, DON’T add additional activities. When the last minute plans are made or you get an invite to something extra, stop and consider if it really needs to happen. Many times we feel guilty to saying “No” but saying “No” helps us say “Yes” to other things.

Make a list! What needs to be done each week to feel good and keep the planets in line? What are your “must do’s” for your family? There are usually end of year gifts to buy. Can you do this online? Seriously, Teachers love gift cards! Pick up a gift card at Target and call it a day. Stop at a bakery to buy the cookies you need for the party.

Don’t panic over summer plans! It is truly okay if your children don’t have a plan for each hour of the summer. We get ourselves all worked up over not having their time completely full. If you are working during the summer, make a plan and don’t worry about it. It will all work out and your kids will have a fabulous summer.

What needs to be done before your kids are out for the summer? I have a couple of closets and toy bins I want to conquer before my boys are home. I know how much faster I can take care of these jobs when I don’t have my boys questioning my donation piles. There are a few appointments I want to squeeze in before the summer too.

Team up with other moms! We are all trying to defeat May and the end of the year craziness. If you are already going to Target, ask your friend if they need something there too. When another mom offers help, take them up on it. We are all in this together.

Get your rest! Drink your water! Get to the gym! You have to refuel each day. Fill that Yeti cup full of water each morning and keep filling it up during the day. Don’t stay up catching up on Netflix. Get yourself to bed so you will be ready for the next day. Make a priority to get some physical activity. It will help you with your overall goals and make you feel good.

Pray! Seriously, I know when I stop and talk to God about this craziness, I begin to feel better. He knows how my brain races and how I want to make things perfect for my boys. When I put things into perspective and give them over to God, May has nothing over me. Pray for your friends too. We are all trying to get through this together.

May can be crazy! Don’t let it take over. Try to stop and enjoy the last few weeks of this school year. There is so much to celebrate. You got this!

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day

In a recent conversation with friends, one mom shared she would love for her husband to have their minivan detailed and washed for Mother’s Day.  She did not want breakfast in bed.  She was not concerned about a fancy brunch.  This momma wanted a clean minivan free of  fallen chicken nuggets, crunched gold fish, and lost socks.  Sometimes it is just that simple.  Moms love a handmade card, flowers, and a day with children but it’s time to step it up to what a momma really wants for Mother’s Day.

With the help of my friends, I have compiled a list that can help spoil all the moms out there.  Feel free to pass on to your husband.

What Moms Really Want

  1.  A Day of Pampering- Most mommas love time to be pampered.  A manicure, pedicure, massage or facial will make mom feel refreshed and loved.  Plus this gives mom time to sit and relax for a little bit.  (Hint- Dad use this time to clean up around the house.  Or take the kids to their practices and games. )
  2. Let Mom Sleep In- Like really sleep in.  Get up with kids before mom has a chance to notice.  Take the kids out for breakfast and let mom have time to just lay in bed.
  3. Detail Mom’s Car- Take the time to have mom’s car washed and detailed.  This could take some time but it is so worth it.  Then let mom take her newly cleaned car for a spin before the children enter back in with their sticky fingers and snacks.
  4. Give Mom a Day off from “Mom Jobs”- Seriously, a day with no laundry, dishes, chauffeuring children, and cooking dinner.  Basically give mom a day where she does not have to make decisions and take care of her daily jobs around the house.
  5. Make plans for Brunch, Lunch and/or Dinner- Mom always has the menu ready and the groceries purchased.  Tell her you have it all taken care of it.  Make reservations and go grocery shopping.  Do whatever you need to do to have meals ready.
  6. Complete the “Honey-Do List”- You know that list that mom has of hanging pictures, replacing the light bulbs, and getting something out of the attic.  Well, how about you actually take care of the list.  She will be delighted that the list is done and feel loved that you took the time.
  7. New Shoes- Moms love shoes.  Get ahead of the game and buy her a pair of shoes she would not buy herself.  She will love getting a new pair of sandals or cute summery flats.  Check out Birdies, Rothy’s, and Tory Burch for some of my favorites.
  8. A New Book and Time to Read it- If momma loves to read, purchase a few books she is wanting to read.  Then give mom time to actually read her books.  Let her curl up on the couch or by the pool and get lost in a good book.
  9. Jewelry-  This is sometimes a very easy out on Mother’s Day.  Take time to find something unique for mom.  There are so many talented artisans that can create  beautiful pieces.  If you don’t have time to shop on Etsy, you can always find great jewelry at Kendra Scott, Sundance, and James Avery.
  10. Subscription Box- Everyone loves happy mail.  Get momma a monthly subscription box.  There are so many out there.  FabFitFun, Grove Collaboration,  and Faithbox.
  11. Barefoot Dreams–  Give mom a cuddly cardigan, blanket, or robe.  Barefoot Dreams is the coziest thing around.  She will love curling up in her new comfy cardigan each morning and will thank you for it later.
  12. A Phone Call- Let’s be honest, we love to hear from our children.  It’s easy in the early years because they are always with you.  As adult children, we sometimes forget our moms want to hear our voices.  Moms want to know we are doing okay.  They want to hear about all the silly routines and crazy weekend plans.  Yes, they love to hear about their grandchildren but they want to hear from their own children.  Trust me.  Call your mom!

That was Not the PLAN!

I am a planner! Every year my mother-in-law buys me an Erin Condren planner for Christmas. That planner is with me ALL the time. Each family member has a color for their activities. Chris is Green. Will is Red. Whitaker is Orange. And I use my favorite, Cyan/Aqua Tiffany Blue Color for all my activities. Then I sprinkle in Purple for various other things.

This past week, my planner was like a rainbow. Lots of activities. All great plans- Bible study, lunch with friends, dinner with friends (that we can never get to happen), Easter Egg Hunts, Spa Day with Momma-to-Be, and then just all the other activities that are part of being a mom of two.

Friday morning came early with tornado sirens in Milton, GA. As we gathered the troops to go to the basement, I realized I felt horrible. Like roll me in a ball to the corner bad. But I continued with my morning realizing that mommas don’t roll in balls and hide. As the day progressed, the worse I felt and it became clear my body was overtaken by something awful. Possibly I had eaten a barbed wire and now it was thrashing in my body. (You get it!) Or it was an oyster the night before that did not settle right. Or it was food poisoning. Or I was truly dying! Yes, I go there fast. Plus curled up in bed with the help of my WebMD at hand I was diagnosed with multiple illnesses.

Enough with the my barbed wire stomach, fetal position, and holding on for dear life. Let’s celebrate that my newly five year old took great care of himself that day while dining on fruit loops, organic fruit snacks, pretzels, and whatever else he could reach in the pantry.

All that aside, let’s go back to my planner! My day was filled with great events. I had a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt that I was in charge of pulling off. That night Chris and I had dinner plans with two amazing couples we can’t seem to get together with. Don’t even look over to Saturday. That was a day at the spa with a momma-to-be and yummy lunch. And it was Easter WEEKEND!!

As the barbed wire took over my body, I began to get upset, angry, and sad. Why!?! I was so looking forward to this weekend. All my plans were good, purposeful, and fun! I had made them in advanced. There were items purchased. Dinner reservations and spa appointments had been made. And now I am curled up and MAD!

So, where does my madness go? Where does my blame start? You guys, I started questioning GOD! What!?! Oh yes, in the middle of sadness and pain, my sinful and human heart started asking God about all this. (Yes, complete madness! And that’s why I’m sharing this now!) It’s amazing how quickly I can get upset and look for someone to blame. As I laid there in bed, I tried to rationalize it all out. My heart knew that God was not punishing me. He did not want me to be sick or have a barbed wire in tummy. He is good and He loves me. It was the devil trying to get the best of me. Yes, the devil loves for me to get down and look for blame. The devil wants nothing more than for me to question God. The devil loves when I look at my planner for guidance and not to God.

Saturday afternoon I realized it was time to try to eat. I made toast. For a moment I thought about the yummy Italian lunch I was suppose to be eating. Although that would have been amazing, I was happy about my toast.

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The Plan Was Italian Food. Not TOAST!

It was NOT my plan but it was a plan that was good. The barbed wire left that evening. I had a peaceful night sleep and woke up on Easter morning feeling wonderful.

I am a continued work-in-progress. Daily, I need reminders that my plans might not be the way the day turns. I can make all the colorful plans I want but there are days that nothing is going to go the way I want. In each day, God is good. God loves me. God has great plans for me. He has great plans for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the “barbed wire” of life.

Are you a planner? Have you had days that don’t go as planned?

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda

Kids Faith Krate

As a Christian Mom, I am always looking for ways to talk about Jesus with my children. I recently was introduced to Kids Faith Krate. Kids Faith Krate (KFK) is a monthly, boxed, curriculum for you and your children. KFK arrives by mail and ready to go. Each week you are guided through an activity to do with your child. The activity includes reading from the Bible, discussing what you read, child-friendly scripture memorization, prayer, and a craft.

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The Krate arrives before the beginning of the month so you are ready to start. The lessons are written by educated, gifted, christian moms that understand the limited time you might have and how to get a big impact with a simple lesson. Your Krate arrives with EVERYTHING you need. This is huge for any momma. You can begin each lesson and be assured you have everything you need for your craft and lesson.

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I know sometimes as a mom, I feel lost when daily guiding my children to Jesus. As an educator, I always want a well-thought out lesson that is meaningful and is at their level. Sometimes I struggle for the right words or questions to ask. Kids Faith Krate breaks it down each week where I can wrap my thoughts around one big idea or concept.

One of my favorite parts is the guiding questions that are ready for you. (Because, I can struggle with this and I have a degree in it!) KFK has a whole section dedicated called Talk Together. Right there, questions are supplied for you to discuss while you craft, while you are getting ready for bed, while you eat, and when you are on the go! (Complete GOLD to this momma!)

I have loved going through the KFK weeks with my 4.5 year old, Whitaker. He is an energetic guy that likes to be active and engaged. I was not sure if the Krate would hold his interest. Well, I was proved wrong. Whitaker is excited when I tell him we have an activity to do in our Krate. He sits down at the kitchen counter and gets ready. The activities are very kid-friendly so he can be a part of the whole project. I feel prepared with all supplies and great curriculum to guide me. The best part is Whitaker feels really proud of the project he has created. The art/project become part of our home decor and can quickly prompt a question or discussion later. He loves telling his dad and brother (13 years old) about what we created for the day. Throughout the week at dinner and bedtime, we talk about the concept/lesson as a family.

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Being a momma is tough. It is a high calling with great responsibility. I am so thankful for Kids Faith Krate. This tool has given me another resource as I navigate through christian parenting. Are you looking for a tool to help you? Do you like having meaningful activities to do with your children? I encourage you to check out Kids Faith Krate. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Click here for more information.

When ordering, use promo code 5OFF (for $5 off your first month) It will be ending on 2/28.

Be sure to place your order before 2/28 in order to get March’s box!

Looking Forward,
Amanda