Hello out there in the blogosphere! Is this going to be weekly blog? No. Is this going to be bi-weekly? No. To be honest, when I tried to do that before, this experiment felt far more stressful and chore-like than something enjoyable; and I don’t want to write unless I have something to say and time to say it.
The past couple of weeks I have worked my way through the 101 Dalmatian franchise from the 1961 original classic to the 1996 live-action version starring the ever glamorous Glenn Close. And let’s not forget that each one had a sequel…unfortunately. I’m all for franchising and continuing the adventure but…sometimes we should just leave well-enough alone – especially if quality suffers. However, being the Disney fanatic that I am, even the cringe worthy sequels have a special place in my heart.
It took my about two – three weeks to finish four films which left me contemplating time
and balance quite a bit. I’ve been working really hard to get into a routine that works with my busy schedule while still allowing time to exercise and time to just be Alice. I think we work too hard at being busy and not hard enough at being relaxed and care-free. Which, when you think about it, is a complete juxtaposition. In my fight for complete relaxed, care-free time in my day I found that twilight has become my favorite time of day – that period of time when I can shift from work-mode to Alice-mode. I’ve made it my mission to savor that time and require it of myself regardless of how much work I still need to get done. In doing so I’ve found my energy is up at work and my daytime activities are far more productive. I’ve never been much for routine and hate doing the same thing every day, but truthfully, it has been the key that has unlocked the door to my happy place.
It was during my twilight time that I found the time to enjoy my Disney films before retiring to bed for the night. A couple of weeks ago when I thought I would watch the films all at once I made a candy-concoction I call “Kanine Krunchies” from 101 Dalmatians. I originally made this recipe in my original blog, but just like any reboot, I’ve also rebooted the recipe. The recipe I’m using for this blog is from Your Cup of Cake. I made a humanly edible version of Puppy Chow called Cookies and Cream Puppy Chow.
5 C. rice Chex cereal
1 C. white chocolate chips
8 Oreos finely crushed
1/2 C. powdered sugar
5 C. rice Chex cereal
1 C. milk chocolate chips
8 Oreos finely crushed
1/2 C. powdered sugar
Extra chopped Oreos
Measure out rice Chex cereal and place in a large bowl.
Measure out powdered sugar and crushed Oreos and place in a large plastic bag or in a large Tupperware with a lid (You’ll need to shake the bag/Tupperware later).
Melt white chocolate and stir until smooth.
Pour melted chocolate over rice cereal and stir until coated.
Transfer chocolate coated rice cereal into your plastic bag with sugar/cookies. Shake, shake, shake until coasted.
Dump onto a cookie sheet to cool.
Repeat steps 1-6 with the “Cookies” ingredients.
Once cooled, mix the “Cookies” and “Cream” Puppy Chow together and fold in extra chopped Oreos.
Thank you Your Cup of Cake for creating one of my favorite chocolate flavor combinations for “Kanine Krunchies.”
To kick off my reboot I chose a recipe, obviously Mickey Mouse-themed, to concoct. I asked for a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter for Christmas and found one in my stocking Christmas morning (thanks Santa!). With my new cookie cutter in hand, I wanted to find something I could make that would put it. I found Mickey Mouse pop tarts created originally by Liz on Call. In her recipe she added straws to make them lollipop-like, but I unfortunately couldn’t locate straws that would work for me. So, I made them without the straws and it still worked beautifully.
I’ve been watching a lot of Mickey Mouse cartoons lately, so I thought I’d begin my film adventure with the Mickey Mouse short “Get a Horse” that was re-imagined in 2014 – bringing Mickey and friends into the 21st century with 3D special effects. What I enjoy about this short is that although it brings a lot of what we love about technological advancements in film to the screen, it doesn’t shy away from what made the Mickey Mouse cartoons originally so fantastic: artistry. Creating a cartoon was about developing a 6-to-8-minute work of art to share with the world and “Get a Horse” captures the essence of that and what originally allowed Disney to win the hearts of millions.
Wow that last paragraph sounded incredibly impersonal…That’s what I was trying to avoid right? I’m not trying to sell anyone on Disney. You either like it or you don’t…not really my job to sell it to you. Do you ever feel like our lives have become about selling someone on an idea be it your actual job or just convincing your friends to try a new wine bar? When did we begin selling to each other rather than suggesting or even just stating, “this is my opinion?” Why do we need to sell each other on life? Shouldn’t we just appreciate or acknowledge an opinion and move on? Maybe that is why our society is so anxious all the time. We’re so nervous and care so much that someone won’t like our idea that we forget why we had the idea in the first place. This is starting to sound like a lot of word vomit and rambling so with that I say people, let’s “get a grip”, “get a life, “get a horse” …
Betty Crocker pie crust mix
1/3 cup of water
Smuckers Strawberry Preserves/Jam (¼-1 Tsp. per Mickey shape)
½ cup of powdered sugar
½ Tsp. of vanilla
2 Tsp. of milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Stir 1 pouch of Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix with 1/3 cup of water
Roll the dough mixture out on a flat, lightly floured surface
Using Mickey cookie cutter, cut bottom pieces and place on baking sheet
Place a ¼ -1 tsp dollop of jam preserves in the center of each mickey depending on how big the shapes are.
Spread the preserves out on the shape so that it reaches the ears.
Cut out the top Mickey pieces using the Mickey cutter and place them on top of the jammed shapes already on the sheet.
Using a fork, press the edges of the shape together to give it the puckered look or a pop tart.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let cool before drizzling icing.
Combine, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk into a small mixing bowl.
Whisk together until smooth.
Drizzle the icing over the top of cool pastry.
*You can add sprinkles to the top if desired. I added black, red, and yellow sprinkles to make them as “Mickey” as possible. Enjoy!
What a way to kick off the summer! I watched the Disney Baseball trilogy Angels in the Outfield, Angels in the Endzone, and Angel’s in the Infield. Nothing says summer like baseball and….hot dogs! I grew up with the first two but had never seen the third one. In fact, I didn’t know a third one existed until this project of mine. Honestly, the third one lacked what the original and sequel had; and when I say lacked, I mean Doc Brown was not a part of the film. Christopher Lloyd brings a delightful spark of magic to the screen that Disney is known for. Not that David Alan Grier is deficient in the magical spark department, but when I remember Angels in the Outfield as a kid, Lloyd’s smile and delightful encouragement to believe that anything is possible makes the film memorable and magical.
I know hot dogs don’t exactly require a complicated recipe so I thought I’d just share the ingredients I used to make my super spicy concoction and the recipe I created to make a kind of failed potato chip. I say failed because I meant to make a chip but they never got crispy enough so it turned out as just potatoes which were still delicious.
Ballpark Gourmet Hott Dogs
BBQ any hot dog of your choosing
Toast an onion roll for your hot dog bun
Carmelize onions in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil
Cut fresh jalapenos – making sure to de-seed them
Spicy brown mustard
Cut potatoes as thinly as possible
Toss in a bowl with three minced garlic cloves, tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt.
Let’s talk about the breakdown of the family unit. Yeah, I’m going to talk about the things you aren’t supposed to say. We live in a very different world than we did only twenty-some plus years ago. Homes are broken, no one talks to each other, and most parents don’t parent. Instead family members are more like cohabitating individuals rather than a connected unit.
The film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, is a nod to what the family unit used to be and what it should be. The Coopers battle children’s book miss-prints, wardrobe malfunctions, car wrecks, and an unfortunate event concerning cough syrup all in one day. However, the most memorable, most endearing part of this no-good tale is this family’s love and support for one another. They aren’t just individuals existing; they are friends and genuinely care about each other’s successes. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that if families still kept the same Beaver Cleaver 1950’s values as the Coopers, our society might be far more peaceful.
A majorly iconic dish made in this film is the crustless quiche created by Papa Bear Cooper. I decided to replicate the dish with some minor adjustments. First of all, I’m not a fan of egg yolks so I decided to double the amount of eggs the recipe calls for, but only use the egg whites. I also used reduced fat cheddar cheese as my cheese of choice to cut down on the fat content but also still get the golden brown on the top. Lastly, the milk in the recipe calls for whole, but I don’t drink or use whole milk often enough so I went with fat-free. The result? Delicious.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
6-8 oz. spinach
8 egg whites
1 cup fat-free milk
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and ground pepper
1½ cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 3500 degrees
Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish OR 10-inch pie plate.
Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir in onion and sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
Add spinach and continue cooking until moisture evaporates. Set skillet aside.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk, salt, and ground pepper. Add cheese, spinach, onion, and mushroom.
Pour mixture into the greased baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden and center is solid. (~30-35 min; you should be able to insert a knife cleanly in the middle)
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.