Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cheshire Cat Cupcake

My family and I go to Walt Disney World A LOT, and I am always trying a new food from somewhere in the parks because the menus are constantly changing. So, I've decided to start reviewing different foods from the parks. I do read the Disney Food Blog quite regularly and always take recommendations from other readers and the writers. I've discovered some of my favorite Disney food spots that way.

Generally, I am not a sweets lover, I've mentioned this before, but,  I will choose savory over sweet 9 times out of 10. So imagine my husbands surprise when I said I wanted to try this addition to the menu at the Cheshire Cat Cafe in Fantasyland.

I introduce to you.....The Cheshire Cat Cupcake.
Now, like I said, I am not a sweets person, but if I'm eating cake you can bet it's a corner piece with as much of the flowers as possible. I only like the frosting, I don't need cake. If someone gives me a cupcake, I'm licking off the frosting and throwing the rest away. All I want is the sugary stuff. So, enter the Cheshire Cat Cupcake.....It's literally a big cup of frosting with tiny funfetti type cake layers lost somewhere in the mounds of frosting. SO DELICIOUS. The front of the Cupcake has an edible image of the Cheshire Cat. The flavor of this is very obviously Vanilla, but it comes in Chocolate as well and the chocolate version is called "Mad Hatter Mocha".  The price is fairly low, $4.19.
I honestly expected it to be higher. There are tables just to the left of the cafe and they are covered, so, it's a perfect spot to take a little break in your day and enjoy a sweet treat.

What is your favorite Disney Sweet?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Honey Garlic Chicken

While on my endless hunt for new recipes to try, I came across this one for Honey Garlic Chicken. I bought the few ingredients I didn't have on hand already (blackberry jam, because...ewww. Who actually likes that?) and was just dying to try it.

By the time I got home though, I realized, it was already after 3:00pm and the recipe said it should be in the slow cooker on low for 4 to 5 hours, which meant we wouldn't be eating til at least 7:30pm, and that was too late. In light of that realization, I soldiered on, and decided, I would follow the exact same recipe but i'd cook the chicken in the oven instead.
Not only did it work just as good in less than half the time, but it was FABULOUS. My husband liked it so much he couldn't wait to take it for left overs to work the next day. It was sweet without being TOO sweet and it had a perfect amount of spice to give it just a little kick. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I was starving or if I was just way too over zealous about trying this, but, I completely forgot the sesame seeds. Because you're shredding the chicken and pairing it with rice and a vegetable, it's very easy to stretch this meal. I've used this chicken in tortillas and made little garlic chicken tacos, i've put it on potato rolls like a pulled pork sandwich, theres a bevy of ways to serve this chicken once it's done. Such a GREAT recipe.

4 large bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup blackberry jam
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

Arrange the chicken breasts in a glass baking dish so that they aren't over lapping.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic, onion and crushed red pepper flakes, and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in 375 degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the baking dish (reserving the liquids) and place it on a cutting board. Once it's cool enough to handle, Remove the bones then use two forks to shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.
Transfer the liquids from the slow cooker into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, tossing to combine. Serve the chicken topped with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

**If you would like the slow cooker directions for this recipe, please see the original recipe**

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Influenster: Jolly Vox Box

Hello, Friends!

So, I was invited to join this awesome social media community called influenster. Basically you give reviews of products you've tried and occasionally if you qualify for the items in the current boxes which they call a "vox box", they will send you products to try. I just received my first box box and i received the following things:

This lip lacquer from Rimmel London is PHENOMENAL. 
It's not thick and goopy like most lacquers, 
in fact i could barely tell i was wearing it. It's really long lasting too. I didn't get to choose my color obviously, but the color i was sent was Celestial. It's a really pretty pink shade.

I received this HD Color Trio from NYC, which I ended up loving so much I've used it everyday. The color is vivid and didn't require lots of applications to be able to see it. It's a nice neutral soft color pallet as well so it goes with anything and didn't make my make up too over the top. The downside...that stupid little sponge brush. it irritates my eye lids. Coming with a regular eye shadow brush would be more beneficial.
I also received a roll of ducklings tape in the black and pink tiger stripe pattern. I actually used it to put some extra flair into a scrapbook I made my cousin for christmas. If you haven't tried duck tape for a craft project, do it, it's amazing. 

Wo doesn't love candy? I'm not typically a fan of chocolate so I gave these Skinny Cow divine filled chocolates (peanut butter creme flavor) to my husband to try. I did not tell him it was Skinny Cow brand of course because he might have refused to try it. He loved it. When he asked who made it and i told him, he was truly shocked. He couldn't believe there was only 130 calories in one little pouch! The downside is you cannot stop at just one pouch of candy, so you end up consuming more than that 130 calories they advertise on the box.

Last and certainly not least in my box box i received a packet of the Puffs ultra soft & strong to go tissues. Im constantly wiping my daughters nose/mouth because she's a 1yr old and she drools and has snot and what not, as all toddlers tend to have. I will only use Puffs ultra soft to wipe her face. It's soft and gentle on her sensitive skin (she turns red very easily) and i don't have to be concerned about irritating her skin and making her uncomfortable. It's literally like wiping your face with a cloud.

**I received these items complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes**

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pumpkin Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage

I'm not a typically adventurous person when it comes to trying foods that are out of my comfort zone (so basically, I won't try it if theres too many vegetables, uses a fruit as a savory ingredient or contains and ingredient i've never heard of), but every once in a while I come across a recipe that seems easy enough to modify to my likes thats very different from something i've ever had. I've been wanting to make a really "fall" type recipe and nothing says "fall" to me like pumpkin. So I looked around for a pumpkin recipe that wasn't a dessert dish and wasn't too far out of my comfort zone and came across a Rachel Ray recipe for pumpkin pasta w/ sausage. I did change it around a little bit but it's virtually identical to hers with just a few teeny tiny changes. I'll include a link to the original recipe at the end of this post. 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 sprig of rosemary minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating

Heat a large skillet (preferably of the non-stick variety) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Once it is browned remove the sausage and set aside. 
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and add in the garlic and onion.
Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender. 
Add rosemary, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. While the wine reduces  bring a pot of water to a boil and boil your pasta.
 Add in the chicken stock and pumpkin to the wine and herb mixture in your skillet and stir to combine, until it comes to a bubble. 
Return the sausage to the pan skillet, reduce heat, and stir in the heavy cream. 
Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. 
Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken. 
When the pasta is cooked, drain pasta and add it to the skillet. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over   low heat for 1 minute, transfer to a serving bowl or platter and enjoy!

As always let me know how you liked it! and what (if anything) you changed to make it yours.

Sausage & Cheese Biscuits

 A few weeks back (in the post right before this, because I'm a slacker) I posted some broccoli ham and cheddar bites. They were delicious but I really wanted something with more of bread or biscuit-like texture. A few days later I decided to wake up and be nice to my husband and cook him breakfast before I handed him the honey-do-list for the day (like I was gonna let him relax on a saturday? HA!). I decided a snack type breakfast like the broccoli ham and cheddar bites was the direction i wanted to go but not exactly what I felt like eating that particular morning, and then it came to me....  
The recipe for this deliciousness can be found below.....with pictures! HUZZAH!

  • 1 roll of Jimmy Dean MILD sausage, browned & crumbled (i say one roll because it sounds better than tube, you can use any kind of breakfast sausage you choose you need about 2 cups
  • 1 can of pillsbury biscuits (i chose to use the flaky layers, because they are my favorite but you can use any kind you like)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I chose a 4 cheddar blend, you can choose whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 mini muffin pan (or large muffin pan if you wish)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine the browned, crumbled & slightly cooled (you don't want the cheese to start melting yet) sausage with the shredded cheese of your choice. Open the biscuits and cut each biscuit into 4. Grab one of the
biscuit quarters and flatten into a circle shape with your fingers a bit until its about 2 inches in diameter.
Spoon about a table spoon of the sausage & cheese filling into the center and fold the edges of the biscuit inward sealing in the mixture.form it into a ball shape and dip the top into the sausage and cheese mixture to coat the top part, then place in the muffin pan with the coated side up. Place them in that nice toasty oven for about 20 minutes or  until the tops are a nice golden brown.
Enjoy and as always, please let me know how you liked them!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I'm alive!

I apologize for the disappearing act, I ran off and had a baby. Now that I sort of have this taking care of 2 under two thing down, I think i can resume trying to make tasty treats. HOORAY!

The inside of these little creations.
Anyway, before my little hiatus my daughter wasn't yet eating much in the way of regular foods, she was just starting to try some solids, so, meal planning for her wasn't a thing. Now, that she's 1, I'm finding it hard to come up with ideas of things for her to eat. I scoured pinterest for ideas and found the usual food arranged to resemble animals and plants and robots and what not. None of the ideas was helpful. I did however come across a recipe that someone adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe. Their recipe was for a pepperoni & cheese kind of muffin thing that you dip in pizza sauce  (which i made and they were totally delicious). I loved the idea of this mini bread bite type thing with meat and cheese inside, because you could totally turn this same base recipe into a million other things just by tweaking a few ingredients. 
Molly loves bread, if there is bread on the table and you're attempting to feed her anything else she will refuse her food and only ask for bread. So, I wanted to make this bread bite into something that would give her the protein and vitamins she needed while still being something I knew she would eat.  So I started thinking what foods to try my first batch out with. I started with the pepperoni recipe I originally saw, and they were pretty yummy, so I decided it was safe to create my own version.

Ham & cheese was my first thought, but I needed a vegetable, obviously broccoli was the vegetable of choice, mainly because I was gonna test this out and i didn't wanna get too adventurous with ingredients. I wanted to stick with flavors I knew worked together.  So I made up a batch while Molly was napping this afternoon, knowing that when she woke up it would be lunch time and I could test them out. SHE LOVED THEM. This kid actually got excited every time she saw me grab the baggie I put them in because she knew she was getting another one. So it's safe to say, these are kid tested and approved.

Now....onto the recipe!

3/4 cup flour (I'd like to try using whole wheat flour next time, curious how that would taste)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon BADIA Complete Seasoning
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded cheese (your choice of cheese, I used Kraft's 4 cheddar blend)
1 cup ham, diced (i used sliced ham and diced it up but you can use any kind of ham you like)
1 cup Broccoli spears diced into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and seasoning and mix it together thoroughly. In a separate small bowl, combine milk and egg. Slowly pour milk / egg mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients using a whisk to mix the dry and wet ingredients together (it helps prevent lumps) once the dry and wet ingredients are completely mixed add in the cheese, ham and broccoli and mix it all up again. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
When that 10 minutes is up, fill the mini muffin pan with the mixture and bake until golden brown on top, about 20-25 minutes.

 They should pop right out, and be fluffy and cheesy and super delicious. I will say they are best when eaten right out of the oven, but they are still pretty yummy when cooled to room temp. The only con of eating them at room temp is they are a bit more dense as the cheese has cooled. I initially made these for tiny mouths and hands which is why I used a mini muffin pan but you could just as easily use a regular muffin pan if you wanted. These would be great for making ahead of time and bringing on planes, trains, and automobiles when traveling. They are good for a work snack, and (if you eat enough of them) can serve as a whole meal. 

 Im working on a good dipping sauce for these, If you come up with something that would make a good dipping sauce, please let me know. Please try these out and let me know how you liked them! 

Ham, Cheddar & Broccoli bites...coming up!