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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Quarantine Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is Sunday!  If we are honest, it is different this year.  For the past two months everything has been different.  When chatting with a momma recently, she told me that this year Mother’s Day is just another day. She said it was not going to be special because of everything going on.  HELLO, WHAT?!?  Yes, I agree that things are different and might not be the dream Mother’s Day you had envisioned with your children all gathered (well behaved all day), an amazing meal out, a day of pampering at the spa, time with other mommas to sip mimosas, and that special moment at church where you get to stand up and everyone claps because you are mom! Oh and then there might be that amazing photo op that was setup and your children dressed up with fresh haircuts and all smile with you at the camera.  Then you post that picture and say #BlessedMomma.  You are correct my friend, all that special will not be happening this Mother’s Day!  So do you want to wallow in that or Momma Up!  Put on Your Cute Momma Britches and Let’s know that we are honored and loved.

A few tips of my 14 ½ of being a momma:

  1.  My husband and children cannot read my mind.  I can get frustrated or I can just say “you know I would like….”  This is what I did.  I love having brunch out on Mother’s Day.  I have already done the research and set my guys up for success.  I told them the place that is offering takeout brunch and when they need to have it ordered.  This year’s pick is: Little Rey’s. I’m already craving their breakfast tacos.  I also know I want something sweet so I have an order in to A Piece of Cake.  There is no shame in picking our your own cupcakes. 
  2. I know I will not be having a pampering day at the spa this year.  That’s ok!  I have learned during this time that just having a little time to myself goes a LONG way.  Again, I told my hubby that I would like to get out of the house.  You can take a walk or a drive.  Listen to your favorite podcast, read a book, or just listen to silence.
  3. Rediscover yourself.  IS there something you have been wanting to try?  Paint by number, baking, growing your own herbs, or playing the ukulele.  This is a great time to do this.  Tell your family that you want this for Mother’s Day.  You might need to send the links from Amazon but who cares.  You are getting what you want.  
  4. Don’t be a brat on Mother’s Day!  This is not the year to pull this.  Everyone is doing the best they can.   Your family wants to celebrate with you. You don’t want them to remember the year that mom pouted because she didn’t get the day she wanted.  

Proverbs 31:28 says “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”  Right there.  Proverbs 31:28 is the momma that I want my husband and children to find.  I want my heart and mind to focus on Jesus on Mother’s Day.  I want my family to see that I feel honored that I was chosen for them.  

Let’s Momma Up this year!  You can have your Mimosa.  (I have a recipe coming!)  Use your voice.  Focus your heart and mind on Jesus.  You got this.

Love You Mommas!

Amanda 

Last year’s Mother’s Day post looked a little different! 🙂

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.

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.  

Lemon Sugar Cookies

It is clear that I live in a house of cookie monsters.  My boys love to see the cookie jar filled with cookies.  This past week we created a new sugar cookie.  I love adding lemon to desserts.  Lemon makes foods taste fresh.  These cookies were easy to make.  The boys loved them and we have decided they will be part of the cookie rotation.

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1 cup Butter cold, cut into cubes

2 cups Sugar

2 Eggs

1 t  Vanilla Extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)

1 1/2 Fresh Lemon Juice

1 T Lemon Zest  (you can add more to add extra flavor)

3 cups Flour

1 1/4 Baking Powder

1/4 Baking Soda

1/2 Salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined.
Spoon about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.
Drop dough onto a prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle the rolled dough balls with white sugar.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

Cookbooks- My Favorites

I have shared before that I LOVE COOKBOOKS.  My collection is vast and eclectic.  Some of my cookbooks have tags and writing all through them as I have taken notes or made changes through the years.  I have special cookbooks that have been signed by the chefs. I take reading a cookbook very seriously.  I read my cookbooks from cover to cover before I will even cook one recipe out of it.  Cookbooks share stories from the chef.  You can understand the inspiration and influences as you read along.  You learn new techniques and terminology.  I love curling up with a new cookbook.  Page by page the stories and recipes unfold.

I know each Christmas (and other times of the year) that my husband, Chris, will search for the perfect cookbook for me.  He knows that he must write a little note on the inside cover complete with the date.  Over the years, I have grown to cherish many of my cookbooks but I wanted to share a few today in case you are looking for a last minute gift idea.

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Date Night In Chris gave me this cookbook last year.  I love it.  The book is organized by seasons and has a complete menu for your date night in.  We have looked forward to creating this meals together.  Each dinner has a dessert and cocktail to create.  Chris loves making cocktails so it is a win-win cookbook for us.

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The Southern’s Cookbook Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories– This is one of those cookbooks that is so fun to read.  The editors of Garden & Gun pulled together great stories and recipes all in one place.  You will love the “talk of the south.”

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Back In The Day Bakery Made With Love–  So true confession- I am obsessed with Cheryl and Griffith Day!  Their bakery in Savannah, Georgia gives me all the feels and is complete happiness.  When you visit the bakery, you will see Cheryl and Griffith in the back busy creating something yummy.  This cookbook is their second book.  I have own both  (obsessed) and both are signed (true obsession).

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Yes, I’m with Cheryl and Griffith Day at Back in the Day Bakery

The next time you are in Savannah, Georgia, you must stop by Back in the Bakery!  It does not disappoint and it is hard to make a decision. So do what I do, get one of each and share!

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Bread and Wine–  This is my favorite book to give as a gift.  One of my best friends gave me a copy and I fell in love.  Shauna Niequist tells beautiful stories of friendships that develop over food.  She encourages you to invite others over.  Break bread together and form relationship.  Shauna shares great recipes and wonderful insight on life.  She has many great books. Present over Perfect is her latest and it reminds us to present in every moment we have and don’t worry about the perfection.  I hope to meet Shauna one day. She is a true inspiration and mentor through her words.

 

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The Silver Spoon For Children is my favorite children’s cookbook right now.  The illustration are made where children can follow along and begin cooking like an Italian. Make pasta, meatballs, chicken Stuffed with marscapone, foccaccia, and the list goes on. I am a believer in having my children in the kitchen.

 

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Last recommendation is a cookbook that has been well loved that I did not want to take a picture of the front.  It has lots of battle wounds (in a good way) from the kitchen.  I have used my Gourmet Cookbook for the past ten years.  It is my kitchen buddy and has helped me cook some delicious food.

Let me know your favorite cookbooks.  I’m always looking for new ones.

Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

Let’s Get Cooking

Cooking is an art work.  I feel like an artist with vegetables, spices, and grains at my fingertips.  I have never trained in a culinary institute but I have learned from some of the best.  My mom, grandmothers, and local chefs have sprinkled inspiration on me.  I’m an open cookbook and continually learning.  I will share recipes that are tried and true.

Keep Stirring,

Amanda