Category Archives: Recipes
I’m no pastry chef, as the pictures below will attest, but I’ve had loads of fun in the kitchen today baking up Lanny and Wayne (Prep & Landing) cookies with my little girl. She’s been sick this week, so a day of cooking and crafting was the perfect pick-me-up.
If you’re not familiar with Santa’s techno-savvy, elite elfin team, you can catch the latest episode, “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice,” online right here. (It airs tonight on ABC at 8/7 Central, btw.) Anyway, Lanny and Wayne are two of Santa’s best helpers. They are the ones who keep track of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice and keep Santa’s database up-to-date. They are also assigned to sort of rehabilitate the naughties and steer them back onto the nice list.
I found several activities at DisneyFamily.com to bring Lanny and Wayne to our home this Christmas. They have printable 3D papercrafts, Lanny’s holiday paper hat, Christmas Carol’s coal cupcakes and wrappers, a printable activity book, and much more! To make the cookies, we purchased prepared sugar cookie dough, a tube of white decorator icing and assorted candies. Then, we followed these instructions:
1) Cut out the elf head/hat template.
2) Divide cookie dough in half, coloring one half green and setting the other half aside in the fridge. (If using store-bought dough, knead in a little flour to stiffen the dough so it doesn’t spread when it’s baked.)
3) On a flour-dusted sheet of waxed paper, roll out green dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut out elf head/hats. Use spatula to transfer to ungreased cookie sheet.
4) Use a 2-inch diameter round cookie cutter to cut out the faces. Place unused green circles on separate baking sheet.
5) Now roll out plain dough on flour-dusted waxed paper to ¼ inch thickness and cut out 2-inch circles from it. Insert those plain dough circles into the green elf head/hats on cookie tray.
6) Place cookies tray(s) into oven and bake according to recipe or package directions. Allow to cool on baking tray two minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
7) Decorate as shown. The Disney Family recipe calls for small chocolate wafer cookies for the goggles, but I couldn’t find anything small enough, so I used Starburst Gummibursts for the eyes. Also, instead of a jelly bean, I used Mini Chewy Sweet Tarts for the nose and ball on the cap. If you have them, you can add a pinch of yellow sprinkles to half of them to make Lanny’s tuft of hair.
Here’s how ours turned out.
We also gave the elf on the shelf a little Disney kick! We downloaded the Prep & Landing elves template and gathered the following supplies: scissors, straight pins, felt (green, tan, black and red), pipe cleaners or chenille sticks (red, white and green), cool-temp hot glue gun, brown yarn, cotton ribbon or strip of felt, faux gems, red pompom, scraps of green fleece or felt, green ribbon and cardboard tissue tube. Then, we followed these simple instructions:
1) Cut out the template and designated pieces of felt.
2) For each elf, hot glue the upper edge of one of the two body shapes atop the lower edge of one of the head/hat pieces. Then, bend a pipe cleaner into an inverted V-shape and glue it onto the joined felt.
3) Make arms for each elf by first twisting together a white and a red pipe cleaner (I used shimmery red and silver) and then hot gluing it to the center of a felt arm piece.
4) Apply more glue along the edge of the felt below the pipe cleaner and then fold the felt onto it, enclosing the pipe cleaner. Bend the ends of the pipe cleaner to resemble mini candy canes.
5) Glue one set of arms to each elf body.
6) Next, make legs. For each one, cut a 5-inch length of inch-wide cotton ribbon or felt and glue the sides together at the very bottom, pinching them to create an “ankle” that is half the width.
7) Then glue two red felt elf shoes together with the ankle sandwiched between them as shown. (FYI, the template only tells you to cut out 4, but you need to cut out 8!)
8) Attach a pair of legs to each of the remaining two body shapes by hot gluing the tops to the inner felt. Then glue the body (with the attached legs) to the matching body/arm assembly along the sides and neck, leaving the bottom open.
9) For each elf, glue the felt lenses in place for goggles. Then glue the goggles to the upper third of the face, as shown.
10) Glue on the nose so that the top slightly overlaps the bridge of the goggles. Now glue the face onto the remaining head/hat piece.
Note: If you want your elf to have hair, simply sandwich a few wisps of cotton yarn between the upper face and the hat when gluing the pieces together.
11) Glue the assembled face to the body, sandwiching a pair of elf ears between the two green felt head/hat pieces. Stick on the goggle gems and hot glue a red pompom to the top of the hat.
12) For the finishing touches, glue a strip of fleece or felt trim (we used gliterry felt) around the bottom of each elf body. Add ribbon belts and faux gem buttons and belt buckles.
13) To help the elves sit upright, cut a short ring from a paper towel tube and insert it in the body. For the slim elf, cut another ring from the tube and slit it all the way up one side. Then re-roll the ring more tightly so that it’s narrow enough to insert in the body. Set them on a shelf to observe your kids’ naughty—I mean NICE—behavior!
The felt elves were a bit time consuming, but they turned out great (better than the cookies, as you can see). I’ve been working on elf projects so much today that I think turning into one!
You can get full instructions and see detailed photos of all Prep & Landing related crafts and recipes at DisneyFamily.com
P.S. If you have any suggestions for getting green food coloring stains off my fingers, I’d greatly appreciate your advice in the comments below. Thanks!
Food, family and friendship are some of the themes explored in the critically-acclaimed film THE HELP arriving on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/6/11.
Give thanks with these delicious Southern-style holiday recipes from THE HELP’s food stylist Lee Ann Fleming in celebration of the upcoming release!
THE HELP BLU-RAY & DVD – SOUTHERN STYLE HOLIDAY RECIPES*
All recipes were created by THE HELP food stylist Lee Ann Fleming.
4 yellow crookneck squash
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup butter
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Cook whole squash in boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes until tender. Very carefully cut into halves and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle each shell with butter, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
Spinach Stuffing: Sauté onions in butter until tender. Add spinach, salt, sour cream, and vinegar and blend well. Stuff each squash shell with spinach mixture. Sprinkle each with Additional Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated to serve.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
cup melted butter
2 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ cup raisins (optional)
Mix well and pour into a butter casserole
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
Mix topping with fork and sprinkle crumbs on top of casserole 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
CHEESECAKE PECAN PIE
1 (15 oz.) pkg. refrigerated
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
4 large eggs, divided
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
Unfold and stack 2 piecrust; together gently roll or press together and fit into a 9 inch pie plate according to directions; fold edges under and crimp. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, ∏ cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and salt at medium see with a mixer until smooth. Pour into piecrust – Sprinkle with pecans. Stir together corn syrup, 3 eggs, remaining π cup sugar, and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla and put mixture over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes until set.
MAMAW’S HOMEMADE ROLLS
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup boiling water
2 pkg. dry yeast
1 cup dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
6 cups sifted flour
Soak yeast in the lukewarm water. Pour boiling water over the shortening, sugar, and slat. Allow this mixture to cool to lukewarm. Add yeast to this mixture. Then add eggs and flour. Stir and mix well. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3-4 hours). The mixture will keep a week in the refrigerator. Remove the portion you wish to use and knead on a floured board. Roll thin and cut with a biscuit cutter. Dip half in melted butter and fold over for pocket rolls. Place in a greased pan and allow to rise 2-3 hours. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. This recipe can easily be cut in half.
MRS. WALTERS’ FRUIT SALAD
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 can flaked coconut
1 small jar red maraschino cherries, drained
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
Mix and refrigerate.
*Save the drained juice from oranges and pineapples.
Add to orange juice to enhance your morning beverage.
THE HELP BLU-RAY & DVD Film Clip – “Put Mama in a Chair”
Minnie (Octavia Spencer) and Aibileen (Viola Davis) joke together about their employers in the privacy of the kitchen.
THE HELP is available on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6, 2011.
- THE HELP on Blu-ray and DVD December 6th, 2011 (chipandco.com)
- The Smurfs arrive on Bluray/DVD just in time for the Holidays (chipandco.com)
- The Preservation and Restoration of Disney’s Classic Dumbo (chipandco.com)
- Fantasy Character Revealed for Statue! (chipandco.com)
Where to find it: Right here! (They used to be on the menu at Le Cellier in Epcot’s World Showcase (Canada) until they revised the menu this year). You will have to make them yourself but they are worth it.
What is it? Rich and creamy mashed spuds that serve as the ideal complement to a perfectly cooked steak.
Why you want it: Because they were the best mashed potatoes at Walt Disney World. During every visit to Le Cellier I had them as the accompaniment to my Mushroom Filet Mignon (pictured together here) and I miss them.
Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 8 portions
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled
1/8 qt. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese
1 cup warmed milk
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1. Boil or steam potatoes until tender.
2. Using a food mill or mixer, incorporate all ingredients and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Ask a Disney Question: Traditional Thanksgiving at Disney World? (chipandco.com)
- Disney Food Confession – School Bread from Norway (chipandco.com)
If you’re a vegetarian, you know what it’s like to be resigned to the one dish on the menu that serves as that restaurant’s sole vegetarian entrée. In fact, in most restaurants you’ll encounter the same “vegetarian” dish over and over: Some type of pasta loaded with cheese, maybe sprinkled with a few vegetables. There’s no craft or imagination in that at all and it’s easy to feel left out of a special dining experience when that’s all you can get. The good news for those traveling to Disney World is that they’re great at accommodating guests with any number of food requests. This is true particularly at Disney table service restaurants, where you’ll find chefs who are happy to test their skills and creativity by making you a dish that’s the envy of the meat eaters at your table.
Counter service is somewhat more limited than table service, but you’ll find at least one vegetarian option in every park, sometimes more. Most Counter Service places, like Cosmic Ray’s in the Magic Kingdom, have vegan veggie burgers that can be doctored up with toppings from the fixing’s bar. The bun is not vegan, but you can request a vegan bun. All counter service locations will allow you to leave off cheese and mayo or switch out salad dressings. You can buy soy milk just about anywhere milk is sold at Disney World. We’ve had luck at the following counter service restaurants:
- Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station has a great tofu and rice dish. Columbia Harbor House has a healthy veggie sandwich called the Lighthouse Sandwich and vegetarian chilli. Both get high marks on Disney message boards. You can buy Rice Dream and Tofutti at the ice cream parlor on Main Street as well as at other places in on property. Pinocchio Village Haus and Casey’s Corner, popular among meat eaters, have very little for vegetarians.
- Epcot is a great choice for vegetarians all around and the park where you can find consistently good CS meals. Vegetarians will especially like the selection in the China and Morocco pavilions. Perhaps the best choice for vegetarians is Sunshine Seasons in Futureworld. This is one of the most popular CS restaurants in all of Disney World and for good reason: There’s a wide selection of food that’s consistently fresh, tasty, and at times, innovative for theme park fare, such as a salad of roasted beets and goat cheese. Finally the new Epcot spots La Hacienda de San Angel and Via Napoli have some great vegetarian meals I have yet to try.
- Disney Hollywood Studios: CS at DHS is pretty limited for vegetarians. Both Backlot Express and Studio Catering Company have a grilled veggie sandwich on a ciabatta roll that’s very good. Toy Story Pizza Planet sells cheese pizzas. It’s one of the most maligned places to eat on Disney property, but I actually don’t think it’s too bad; there’s outdoor seating if it’s too loud inside for you. Be sure to check out Anaheim Produce for healthy snacks like fruit, veggies and dips, and trail mix. There is virtually nothing for vegetarians at ABC Commissary, Fairfax Fair, and, not surprisingly, at the Toluca Turkey Leg Company. If you want to eat well on a day you’re visiting DHS, consider a table service restaurant.
- Animal Kingdom: Ironically, the worst park for a vegetarian. Try the cheese pizza at Pizzafari, the veggie burger at Restaurantosoarus the vegetarian eggroll at Safari Eggroll near Flights of Wonder. Yes, the pickings are that slim that I’m recommending a vegetarian eggroll from a cart. If you’re spending all day in AK, consider doing a table service restaurant like Tusker House, which is a buffet with a lot of vegetarian sides, or Rainforest Café. I’m not crazy about Rainforest Café because it’s loud, but kids love it and it’s wildly popular. They have a decent Portobello mushroom burger and a sweet and sour stir-fry. Prices are reasonable for dining in the parks.
- Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney has excellent vegan and vegetarian options. It’s on the dining plan.
Don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a nice table service restaurant while you’re visiting the World. All of these restaurants have something on the menu for vegetarians, although it is usually limited to one entrée, so you may want to ask for a special meal. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for meat to be removed from salads or pasta dishes. Both wdwinfo and allears have updated menus that you can check out before you make your advanced dining reservations (ADRS). Call 407-WDW-DINE or go to the official Disney website to make your reservations online.
This is probably the most important piece of information for vegetarian diners: If you don’t see something on a table service menu you like, have it noted when you make your ADR that you are requesting a vegetarian entrée. You can also email Disney at WDW.Special.Diets@disney.com and request a special diet worksheet. Fill it out and fax or email it back. For added comfort, you can call again 72 hours before your ADR. In some cases, you’ll be allowed to speak to the chef about your needs and your tastes. Almost all restaurants will provide you with something unique and different; if you’re an adventurous eater, it’s a fun opportunity for the chef to flex her muscles and try something new that fits into the theme of the restaurant. The only places I’ve heard people having problems with this are at the buffets, where there are generally enough meat-free options to satisfy most diners. If you’re worried that a buffet won’t meet your needs, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a special meal or side. Often, the chef will take you around the buffet and let you know what is safe for you to eat.
Dishes we’ve heard great things about include:
- The vegetarian sushi at California Grill. It’s not on the menu but a friend recently had this and was served a platter of sushi almost too beautiful to eat. Not only did it taste amazing, it was very reasonably priced.
- Try The Wave at the Contemporary Resort, a quick walk or ride on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom, for lunch or dinner. It’s not too difficult to get an ADR even close to your trip and the chef is trying a lot of new and innovative things. The Wave doesn’t always knock it out of the ballpark, but this place keeps getting better and better and I really respect what they’re trying to do with local foods and healthy choices.
- Artists Point is a quiet, pretty restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge. It’s one of my favorite places on site and like the Wave, it’s fairly easy to get an ADR. The potato chive pots stickers have been on the menu for a couple of years and are delicious. The smoky Portobello soup is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, but the vegetarians at our table found out the hard way it’s made from chicken stock. I’ve heard that you can call ahead and ask for this to be made with a vegetarian stock, but I haven’t tried it yet.
- All the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge get great reviews from vegetarians. It’s worth a trip to the resort even if you aren’t staying there (plus, the resort itself is gorgeous, so give yourself time to look around). Sanaa and Jiko, one of the top rated restaurants in Disney World, both have separate menus for vegan and vegetarian guests. Boma, easily the best buffet at WDW, has plenty of vegetarian options.
- The dinner buffet at 1900 Park Fare has some great vegetarian choices such as cold soba noodle salad, so don’t hesitate to make an ADR for the character dinner there—it’s one of the best on property.
- Ohana in the Polynesian has a multi-course vegetarian option that’s reportedly delicious.
- Finally, for a real treat, the vegetarian menu at Victoria and Albert’s gets rave reviews.
Need more information? For menus, check out WDWinfo.com and allears.net. Both sites update their menus frequently although it’s likely your menu at the restaurant will have additional choices. Remember that you can make ADRs for Disney sit down restaurants 180-days before your arrival. You can make ADRs by calling 407-WDW-DINE or at the official Disney website here. To hear a first-hand account of vegetarian dining at Dsiney World, listen to the WDWToday podcast here. The restaurant boards at Disboards and Passporter have very active, friendly forums where you can read dining reviews and ask questions.
Thanks to Chip and Co. reader Carrie who inspried this question. We appreciate your input!
Photo of Sanaa courtesy OrlandoSentinel.com.
- Disney Dining Plan – A Vegetarians View (disneyonwheelsblog.com)
- Top 5 Disneyworld Quick Service Meals Spots (couponingtodisney.com)