Category Archives: food

Día de los Muertos ~ Skull Cheeseball

Well, it turns out I’m not at all done “playing with my food” just because the weekend is over. I had a few spare minutes after lunch, so I put together a #DíaDeLosMuertos #CheeseBall for my husband & daughters to have as an afternoon snack when they get home later.

🌹cream cheese – 2 blocks, 8 ounce ea
🌹green onions – about 6, sliced thinly
🌹dried beef – 2.25 oz jar, finely chopped
🌹smoked ham – 4 oz finely chopped
🌹finely shredded cheddar
🌹garlic powder
🌹accent – sprinkled on green onions
🌹Worcestershire – 2 teaspoons
🫒embellished with 2 olives and some capers just for decoration

Dia de los Muertos ~ Skull Cheeseball


Your Friend, AmberHH

Bloody Eyeballs!

We’re bringing #EYEBALLS to the Halloween party tonight!

👁 Easy to assemble & healthy-ish
👁 Fresh blueberries
👁 Canned #lychee fruit
👁 Strawberry Jam
👁 Toothpicks

Fruit, BLOODY EYEBALLS, by WhatAmberLoves

These are sweet, fun, and a bit gory in appearance. The recipe/assemblage is simple. The finished treats amuse me a lot.

Do you think other guests at the party we’re attending tonight will be willing to try one?


Your Friend,


Favorite Beef Stroganoff

First, I’m going to give the recipe so you can easily jump to top of page for ingredients and instructions and then add helpful photos. TIP: Rather than putting raw ingredients into the slow cooker, I highly suggest following first two steps thoroughly for best flavor.


• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

• 4 pounds boneless beef

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 sweet yellow onion , thinly sliced

• 8 ounces crimini mushrooms , sliced

• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 2 cups beef stock

• 1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

• 1 Tbsp Worcestershire

• 1 teaspoon dried green herb blend (thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, etc)

• 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

• 1/2 cup sour cream

• 16 ounces egg noodles, cooked about a minute or two less than done


• With high heat and tablespoon of oil in skillet, brown beef on all sides. Move the beef from skillet into the crockpot pot (or Dutch oven pot, if you’ll finish the cooking process in the oven instead of slow cooker crockpot.)

• Add thinly sliced sweet yellow onion into the skillet with a tablespoon of butter and a generous sprinkle of salt. Cook on low-medium until onions become translucent and quite blond. This step can take about 30 minutes, so it is a great time to tend to another task and just stir onions occasionally.

• Once onions are ready, add a few cloves of finely chopped garlic and mushrooms to the skillet. Cook until the liquid from mushrooms has released.

• In a small bowl (I used a 4 cup glass) mix together the 2 cups beef stock, 1 Tbsp mustard, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire, herbs, paprika, & pepper. Add this mix to the skillet of onions, garlic, & mushrooms. Stir thoroughly.

• Pour this full skillet over the beef in the slow cooker crockpot.

• Set timer for 6-8 hours and walk away. (-or- Cover pot and roast in the oven for 2-3 hours, until beef is easy to shred.)

• Near end of beef cooking time, boil egg noodles according to package directions (about 7 minutes.) Drain.

• Using two forks, easily shred the tender beef into bite size pieces. Stir in the sour cream. Add your cooked noodles. Serve and Enjoy!

Well, is this a recipe you’ll try at home, too?

I’m not promoting this recipe as a “one pot meal,” like the ones where authors suggest putting a bunch of raw ingredients into the slow cooker. I truly, truly believe this dish is infinitely elevated if you take the moment to pre-brown all sides of the beef. Likewise, using that same skillet, cooking the onions over low-medium heat for an extended period of time really brings out a sweetness in the onions that you wouldn’t get if added to slow cooker raw.

Rather than standing over onions in the skillet for half an hour, I simply just tend to other tasks in the room and only stir them every 5-7 minutes. (I’ll unload the dishwasher, or catch up on email, or just anything else I can do while loosely keeping an eye on the onions.)

Let me know if you have questions! I’m also always interested in hearing about ways you make adjustments for your particular taste preferences. I hope you find this as a great base to make it your own. The meat is so tender! The sauce is so rich and flavorful.

(Using a red wine, like a Malbec, in addition to or instead of beef stock yields great results, too!)

Later Gators & Afterwhile Crocodiles! Your Friend, —AmberHH

Me, AmberHH

Focaccia Bread! Happy Harvest Day!

🌾🌻🌾 Lammas. 🌻🌾🌻 Give Thanks.

Harvest Day. 🌾🌻🌾 Loaf Mass. 🌻🌾🌻

Focaccia Art in honor of Lammas!

Focaccia Bread! So fun and easy to make and decorate! First, let’s look at the ingredients and instructions. Then, if you want, you’ll find lots of step by step photos to peruse to keep you on track. This is an easy recipe to follow that is pretty foolproof and flexible. While there are times of rest and time of baking, overall you’re only “hands on” for about 15 minutes in the whole process.


• 4 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning blend

• 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)

• 2 cups warm tap water

• 4 tablespoons olive oil divided

*Optional toppings/decorations*


Prepare the Dough:

1. In a medium-large bowl, combine flour, packet of dry dressing seasoning, and INSTANT yeast. (This is different yeast than most commonly seen varieties of quick yeast.) Stir well. Add the warm water. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix until all of the flour is well incorporated (there should be no small pockets of flour.) Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

2. Line pan(s) with parchment paper. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the center of a metal 9”x12” pan, or smaller pans. Divide dough in half with a large spoon or rubber spatula and place dough in pan, turning to coat with oil. Tuck edges of dough underneath to form a couple of rough balls.

3. Cover each pan and allow the dough balls to rise for 2 hours (it may take as long as 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen). The dough should cover most of the pan.

Decorate & Bake:

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F with a rack positioned in the center of the oven.

2. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil over each round of dough. With oiled fingers, using only fingertips press gently stretch the dough, if needed, to allow the dough to fill the pan. Also, press a few dimples in thick areas of dough if needed.

3. Sprinkle the top with seasoning and flaky sea salt.

4. Optional: Decorate with thin slices of veg and herbs. (Really thin slices work best to avoid affecting the integrity of the bread during and after baking.) I like using all sorts of things that vary according the design I want to achieve: chives, parsley, cilantro, oregano, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onion, leek, black olives, etc

5. Transfer the pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and the undersides are crisp. Remove pans from the oven.

6. The parchment paper allows you to easily lift the loaves from pan. Serve warm or allow to cool completely then store in a zippered bag.


Focaccia Bread Ingredients 👩‍🍳
dough view after gently combining 🥣
dough view after refrigeration 🥣
separate in rough balls 👩‍🍳
dough view after rising 2 hours 👩‍🍳
press dough with only fingertips and prepare fresh veg & herbs into thin slices 🔪
focaccia art on dough can be as simple or complex as you wish 🌶🫑
place the decorated focaccia dough into the preheated 425°F oven for 20-22 minutes ⏲
remove from oven and admire your artful focaccia loaf of bread 🌻
focaccia art bread should lift easily from pan, thanks to the parchment paper 📄
Serve the focaccia art bread warm or room temp. Store leftovers in a ziplock bag or airtight container for several days. 🍽

Happy Harvest Day!

This is such a fun, easy bread to make any day of the year. You can artfully decorate the focaccia bread to fit any season or holiday. Sunflowers just seemed fun to me today in acknowledgment of First Harvest Holiday commonly known as Lammas or Loaf Mass.

I am grateful for the bounty of the season!

Your Friend, —AmberHH

Focaccia Bread Art, before and after baking

Meat Flag! (4th of July)

Charcuterie Meat Flag! —WhatAmberLoves

Show Me Your Charcuterie!

—Blueberries & PepperJack stars
—Hot Bacon Jam & Cream Cheese
—WheatThin crackers
—cherry tomatoes
—Habanero/Pineapple Almonds
—Monterey cheese
—Babyback BBQ pork ribs
—baked Ham

Does it look like the American Flag?

I assembled the FLAG tray using items available at our neighborhood Kroger and Walmart stores. Our family enjoyed snacking on the goodies on the tray throughout the afternoon on the 4th of July while waiting until it was dark enough for the firework festivities to start! We hope your family had a fun day, too! —AmberHH

Front yard fireworks! —WhatAmberLoves
Selfie loop during fireworks! —WhatAmberLoves

Aromatic SouthAsian/MidEast Chicken Soup

Seven-Spice Chicken Soup


4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Tbsp. Seven-spice powder*

*(I buy this at a local Mid East grocery store. It includes a finely ground blend of all spice, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, & ginger)

2 Tbsp. oil*

*(I used olive oil. A peanut oil would be great, too.)

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

4 cups chicken stock

1 Tbsp. Minced fresh Ginger*

*(I use the tube of fresh minced ginger, available in the produce dept of WalMart.)

2 small serrano peppers, thinly sliced

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

1⁄4 cup Asian fish/oyster sauce

2 cups baby carrots

1 Tbs. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves

2 Tbsp. green onion, thinly sliced

–Pat the chicken dry and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper and the 7-spice powder. Cut into small pieces, about 2″

–In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken and sear, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker.

 –Add the chopped yellow onion and Serrano peppers to the frying pan and sauté over medium-high heat until golden, 6 to 7 minutes. 

–Pour in 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Stir in the ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar. Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker. Add optional ingredients: I added baby carrots

–Add the remaining chicken stock to the crockpot until contents are covered. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours. The chicken should be very tender and thoroughly cooked.

–Ladle the soup into warm shallow bowls, distributing the chicken evenly. Scatter the cilantro leaves and green onion over the top! Serve immediately. 


**I ate it as described above, as a soup, however for my husband and daughter, I prepared white rice and ladled the soup over the rice for their heartier meal.


It was exactly the warm flavorful soup that I was craving on this cool, damp January day!

You’ll try it, too?

I love you, but I’ll love you even more if you use the Pinterest or Facebook Button on the bottom of this post to share it! 😍

Your Friend, Amber

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Hungarian Mushroom Soup


I LOVE It!! Really, really loved it!! It is by far, my favorite new soup discovery!!

Adapted from AllRecipes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sour cream

DIRECTIONS: (makes 6 servings)

1) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

2) In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and flour together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Finally, stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Last night, I’d originally planned to make Sriracha Fig Jam Chicken Wings, but then I remembered that my daughter was cheering at her middle school home basketball game, so I wouldn’t be home to cook. (Stay tuned for the Wings, they’re happening soon, though.) Hubby to the rescue! He offered to cook!! I thought a soup might be a good idea, since its hard to predict exactly when daughter and I would be home… He made mushroom soup for me, and it was AMAZING! Not only was the soup amazingly yummy, it was pretty cool that he found the recipe and made it just for me and daughter, because we LOVE mushrooms. He doesn’t eat them! As a matter of fact, he avoids them at all costs, the same way I avoid all seafood and fish!! Yet, he made mushroom soup for me!! Is there anything hotter than a hot guy in the kitchen? No, there’s not! 🙂 Lucky girls we are!! We loved the “Hungarian Mushroom Soup!!” Thanks, Mitch! We give you 5 of 5 stars!!




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