I skipped around a bit this week out of sheer inspiration from watching Air Bud last week. I watched the most beautifully heartfelt animal films I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing: The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, and Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, my golden puppy is sweet sixteen which means she is a little doggy miracle. She shows her age despite her spirit, and it’s becoming more and more apparent to my family and me that we need to cherish the time we have with her. I chose to watch these films because they have always evoked so many tears – both joyful and blue. I know that if I waited to get to “I” on my Disney Movie List to begin this touching animal saga, I wouldn’t have had the emotional strength to get through them. It is entirely possible I may not have my baby anymore by that time.
The Homeward Bound films are not only remakes of the original Incredible Journey film, but are based off of the novel The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. It is a beautiful book – a highly recommended read. The story is told from the animals’ perspectives of what they observe throughout the “tail”. Instead of cooking something to pair with these films, I’m going to make this week a tribute to my girl. She is my absolute best friend; we’ve grown up together. All through school she would lay at my feet while I did my homework, come storming into my room and dive onto my bed at 6:00 am to let me know it was time to get up, and waited patiently for me to come after school – greeting me with kisses and a toy. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t see her every day, but whenever I make it home, she is still greets me as though no time has passed. When I’m sad, she licks the tears from my face or will lay her head in my lap…or just lay on me. When I’m happy, she celebrates with me by hopping up and down, running in circles, and verbally expressing her elated approval. When I’m hungry, she is the first person to let me know it is ok to eat, and she will wait patiently impatiently for her turn to also enjoy a snack.
Shadow (Golden Retriever): I had a responsibility to Sassy – to love her and protect her – the same as I have to you… and to Peter. And the same as you have to Jamie. Chance (Bulldog): But we didn’t ask for this job. Shadow (Golden Retriever): We didn’t have to. It’s built in. Has been ever since the dawn of time… when a few wild dogs took it upon themselves to watch over man, to bark when he’s in danger, to run and play with him when he’s happy, to nuzzle him when he’s lonely. That’s why they call us man’s best friend.
My sweet friend has probably been one of the most inspirational beings in my life. She’s taught me the meaning of love, selflessness, and how to truly appreciate all of the good things that have ever come my way. I write this blog today with a heavy heart and a grateful soul. I love my girl and I will probably never have a better friend than her, but I know that she will always be with me cheering me on with a smile and wag of her tail or comforting me with the happy memories she will leave behind.
I have a golden retriever. She is my best friend; I’ve grown up with her. She turned sixteen about a month ago which is quite rare for a golden dog. My precious girl shows her age every day, but still remains in positive spirits and never passes on an opportunity to eat or play. Growing up, and still today, whenever I’ve been in a melancholy mood, she’s always been ready to pounce with a hug and a kiss. Dogs are such empathic creatures and show more love than some people can fathom experiencing. If we could all love the way our dogs love, and live our lives with the kind of compassion and selflessness the way our dogs live theirs, the world would be a much more peaceful and happy place. We wouldn’t worry about what others think; we would love and accept everyone, and we’d appreciate the small things in life that bring us joy.
I was sincerely reminded of how precious my time is with my baby while watching the Air Bud franchise this week. I ranked the films below from the best to the…probably shouldn’t have made that one. Cliché as it is to say, none of them beat the original – which you’ll find notably find in the number one spot. Not only was the cast brilliant, it really captured everything a dog stands for: love, warmth, and a happy spirit. Buddy helps to heal a boy mourning the loss of his father just by being the friend the boy needs. He didn’t judge Josh, have unreasonable expectations, and just finds joy in doing whatever Josh loves to do. Sometimes all you need is a friend to be there.
Ranking of Air Bud Franchise Films
Air Bid Golden Receiver
Air Bud World Pup
Air Bud Seventh Inning Fetch
Air Bud Spikes Back
To celebrate Buddy in all of his sporting glory, I decided to make the best game day food I know how to make: Nachos. I didn’t get the recipe off Pinterest this time; it’s actually my own that I will be sharing today. Yeah, I can cook sometimes without help.
1 bag of white corn or whole grain tortilla chips
I shredded chicken breast (Boil the chicken, let cool, pull apart to shred)
1 whole diced tomato
2 cups brown rice
1 can low sodium black beans
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
Fresh salsa or pico de gallo (You can usually find this in the prepared food section of the grocery store if you don’t have a recipe of your own to use)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cooked rice, salsa/pico de gallo, shredded chicken and cheese in a bowl.
Spray baking sheet and lay chips over baking sheet evenly.
Drain black beans and spread over chips.
Spread rice, chicken, salsa and cheese mixture over chip evenly.
So I made a blueberry pie. I’ve never made a pie before that didn’t involve pre-made graham cracker crust and instant pudding mix. This pie was all from scratch – crust, filling, etc. It didn’t come out looking gorgeous by any means, but it tasted pretty decent. For my first pie attempt I’d say it’s a win.
Why did I make pie? Well my film was The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I not only made pie, I made English scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream. These are classic folktales that needed classic recipes to go with them. For Mr. Toad, which is based on the classic English Folktale Wind in the Willows, I made proper English Scones from Rock Recipes, lemon curd from Love Bakes Good Cakes, and Devonshire cream from Smashed Peas and Carrots. I also acquired some Marionberry Jam by Maury Island Farm located in Washington State. For Ichabod Crane, which is based on the classic American Folktale “The Headless Horseman”, I made blueberry pie from Savvy Saving Couple. So basically…I cooked/baked like a boss this week.
All of this baking (Sugar! So much sugar!)has inspired my POSSIBLE next personal journey project. Drum roll please…Exercise. I’ve never been one to obsess over fitness and take gym selfies, but there was a time in my life when I exercised regularly. Over the past few years that has dwindled and life has happened. When I went through my break up I became even more sedentary. It was like I was waiting for something to happen and the idea of moving forward with anything felt wrong – like I’d be leaving something behind I wasn’t ready to leave behind. I’m ready to keep moving forward now. I’m ready to release those endorphins!
Before I get started on an exercising extravaganza, below are the recipes I made this week.
Caution: Sugar High Ahead
Proper English Scones
1⅔ cups all purpose flour
2½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp white sugar
pinch table salt table salt
3 tbsp butter
½ cup milk
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a food processor add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pulse to mix together well. (You can just mix the ingredients in a bowl if you prefer the manual method)
Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (or just use your fingertips to rub the butter through the dry ingredients until the same texture is achieved.)
Whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla. Reserve a few teaspoons of the liquid to brush on top of the scones. This helps them brown nicely)
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir in quickly with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. It should be a little sticky. Don’t over work the dough or your scones will get tough and not rise well.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured board or counter top.
Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and just using your hands, form the dough into a round about ¾ of an inch thick.
Using a 1½ inch biscuit cutter, cut out your scones and place them about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Re-roll the scraps and cut out the rest of the scones. Brush the tops of all the scones with the reserved milk and egg liquid.
Pop the scones into the hot oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the scones are evenly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with thick or clotted cream and your favorite jam.
*Note: I don’t own a biscuit cutter. I used a pizza cutter and sliced the dough into triangles.
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
⅔ cup lemon juice (that was about 6 lemons for me)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add the eggs an egg yolks one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in the lemon juice.
2. Transfer the butter and egg mixture to a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom. Cook and stir the mixture over low heat until the butter melts and the mixture looks smooth. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, abut 15 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.
3. Remove the lemon curd from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the lemon curd to a container and press plastic wrap onto the surface, covering the lemon curd, to keep a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate.
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream
Cream the cream cheese, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Slowly add whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form.
Chill before serving.
Serve with scones and jam.
The scones, curd, and cream were a lot of fun and super easy to make. I made them all within half an hour. Of course I needed to wait for the lemon curd to cool…but the prep and cook time was easy. I may have cheated on the jam part by purchasing it rather than making my own preserves…but honestly…I don’t really have a desire to can and preserve things. Its great for those that love it. I’m just not really a mason jar girl.
2 sticks of unsalted cold butter from the fridge cut into little cubes
8 tablespoons of ice water
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 egg yolk
coarse sugar for sprinkling over the crust (Add all of these ingredients into a small bowl and mix them together. Use a baster to paint the egg wash over the lattice)
Mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then add the butter. The cold chunks of butter should be mixed into the flour using a pastry wheel (I don’t have one so I used my hands and a mixer).You want the flour to go from looking like little peas to breadcrumbs.
Slowly add the water in to make a dough consistency. You may want to use your hands, or a spatula to work the dough into a large ball.
Once mixed, separate the dough into two balls, and place them between wax paper to make to even discs. Refrigerate them for an hour to make handling easy as “pie”.
Once you are ready to roll out the crust, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a well floured surface roll out on ball about 2 inches larges in circumference than the pie baking dish. Fit the crust into the pan, and trim excess using a pie trimmer.
Roll out the second ball to and using a pastry wheel, cut the dough into 3/4 strips. (I used a pizza cutter…that might be the same thing? But it worked!)
Fill pie crust with blueberry filling.
Lay out the lattice strips you’ve cut over the pie. I just set them where I wanted them. It didn’t look gorgeous but I don’t think its beauty or lack-there-of affected the taste.
Bake for 20 minutes. Later, reduce the heat to 350 and bake it for another 35 minutes. MAKE SURE you allow the pie to SET for several hours before eating it so that it is not a runny mess!
Until next time Disney Foodies! Hopefully next time I will have a new project to get myself started on!
There’s no major life lesson to go with today’s recipe and movie(s) of the week. I’m kind of in a weird emotional limbo right now. There are times in our lives when we just want to ignore the nagging tasks hanging over our head (Me. Everyday.) and run away from anything else that is emotionally stressful. So, let’s escape to the Savannah shall we? I watched two Disney Nature films: The African Lion (1955) and African Cats (2011). Well… I suppose the 1955 film is actually a Disney’s True Life Adventures. If I had to take my pick of one I preferred, it was probably African Cats. The other was a bit more like a film you’d see in a science classroom on a day when there is a sub. Although Cats is just as informative, the info is couched in a story that tugs at your heart strings. I think it brings to light the fact that animals are just as emotional as humans which is something that can be easily lost when watching a documentary that keeps you at arm’s length. I probably could have throw The Lion King in here…but I have bigger plans for those films.
I made South Africa Piri Piri Chicken to go with these films from a recipe I got from The Wanderlust Kitchen. I’m aware that African kittens tend to live in the Savannah rather than the highly populated areas of South Africa’s major countries and cities…but this just looked so delicious! It was very messy to make but totally worth it.
Juice of two lemons
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
1½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground oregano
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
In a large bowl, whisk together everything except for the chicken. Add the chicken and toss with tongs to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least three hours.
When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a oven-save skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Use tongs to transfer the chicken breasts out of the bowl and into the pan, reserving the marinade. Let cook for two or three minutes per side, until nice and browned.
Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and spoon the sauce onto the chicken. Turn off the stove, and use oven mitts to transfer the pan to the pre-heated oven.
Let cook in oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on thickness of chicken breasts), or until cooked through.