Tag Archives: food

WDW Wednesdays: Contemporary Eats

10 Nov
Me, in my Ke$ha wig

Me, my Ke$ha wig, and faux nose jewelry

I’m home safely after a crazy awesome Halloween spent in Madison with good friends, food (Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, or Cadillac Ranch as it’s now called) and drinks (forgot how giant The Real Thing is at Red Shed).  I had some serious fun in my Ke$ha costume, which has made me consider dying my never-been-colored locks blonde.  Doubtful, but I’m considering it.

Last weekend I drove to Cincinnati to visit my older sister in her new-ish house.  We bummed around all weekend, playing Wii, watching girly movies on We Entertainment channel and making some of our fave meals from childhood (hot dog pizzas, anyone?)  I also got to see the Hofbrauhaus, which totally took me back to Germany and yes, Epcot’s German buffet, Oktoberfest.  Sue me!

Speaking of WDW, it’s Wednesday!  Time for my next WDW Wednesday installment.  I’m now less than a month away from my next Disney vacation, and I couldn’t be more excited!  The thing I love about WDW is that no matter how many times you have been there, there is always something new to try, or something old you never got around to trying.  In December, my parents and I will be dining at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.  I’ve heard great things about it, and I’m excited for some fancy drinks and Cali-inspired dishes.  If I ever make it out to Disneyland someday, you can bet I’ll be trying the Napa Rose restaurant for the same reason.

California Grill is located in the Contemporary Resort, one monorail stop from the Magic Kingdom.  Considering its location and rooftop view, Cali Grill is one of the best places to view MK’s Wishes fireworks show.  We have a reservation right around 8:30 p.m….perfect timing for the 9 p.m. show!

goat cheese ravioli

Goat Cheese Ravioli, courtesy of http://www.waltdisneyboards.com

The menu is always changing, but right now both raviolis are looking amazing to me:  Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Basil; House-made Potato and Cheese Ravioli with Florida Corn Purée, Summer Squash, Vidalias, and Black Truffle.  Since that’s probably too many carbs for one meal, I’m eyeing the Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Polenta, Button Mushrooms, Zinfandel Glaze, and Sage or the veal chop or the filet.  Can’t go wrong with a steak at WDW!  But’s that’s a whole other post!

Hmmm, what am I missing?  Dessert!  Say ‘coconut’, and I’m there.  Coconut-Mango Panna Cotta: Coconut Infused Panna Cotta with Mango Gelée, Almond Biscotti, and Coquitos.  Not sure what a coquito is, or a gelee for that matter.  But I’m willing to take one for the team to find out.  Plus, there’s no sugar added, so I don’t have to feel guilty for indulging!

Remind me to pack stretchy pants.

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WDW Wednesdays: Halloween Arts and Crafts Corner

27 Oct

I have to admit, I love arts and crafts, cooking, baking…I just don’t get the opportunity to do them often because of my crazy hectic schedule and travels.  But, hell and high water can’t stop me from putting a little extra effort in around “the holidays” (and yes, “the holidays” start with Halloween!)

The Disney nerd in me wanted to give cred to Jack Skellington, everyone’s favorite pumpkin king, this year for Halloween.  I was invited to a pumpkin carving party at my friend M’s house, so I thought I’d bring a little treat along.  I had seen these Jack Skellington cupcakes  online last year, and I’ve been itching to make them ever since. 

Of course, I can’t follow the recipe.  I love Halloween, and I’m going to indulge, but I seriously don’t need to gain 5 lbs over the weekend.  So, I decided to revise the recipe a bit.

1 box cake mix (I bought Pillsbury? I think.  The kind with the pudding mix in it for extra moistness)
1 can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup water
white and black frosting (I bought whipped…more air=less calories!)

Follow the cake mix instructions for baking 24 cupcakes, except substitute the oil and eggs for the pumpkin.  Instant calorie reducer!  I used a measuring cup to spoon out the batter into the muffin tins to ensure that the cupcakes would all be the same size, so they would bake evenly. 

Then I frosted them, which was time-consuming, but I think they turned out pretty great!

Jack Skellington cupcakes

My Jack cupcakes!

OH!  And I also added a bit of pumpkin pie spices to the batter to bring out the pumpkin flavor.  Loved it!

So at M’s house for the pumpkin carving party, I brought with a template to carve Jack’s pumpkiny head into my jack-o-lantern.  Carving this was a pain in the butt!  First you poke holes around like a stencil, then you have to go back and carve it all out.  The mouth was insanely intricate, and my wrist definitely hurt after awhile, but I think the result was worth it.

Jack Skellington Pumpkin

The Pumpkin King

I hope everyone enjoyed WDW Wednesday today, and I hope you use some of my tips to Disney-fy your Halloween!  Be safe and have fun!

Madison, I Love You

4 Sep
Rathskeller

Der Rathskeller

I don’t even remember the last time I was in Madison.  I always say I’m going to get up there soon for a weekend, visit a friend or two, see a football game, chill at the Vintage and take comfort in being surrounded by multitudes of fellow Badgers.  People who understand why I dream about muggy Summer nights on the Terrace.  People who understand why I squeal when “Jump Around” comes on the radio.  People who know that once you go mac and cheese at Ian’s, you never go back.

My soulmates.

It’s a crime that I’ve been away for so long.  I righted that wrong today.  My mom and I drove up there for Taste of Madison, but mostly just to spend time in one of my favorite cities on the planet.  Even when you never really end up doing anything in Madison, it always ends up being a perfect day.

The campus was alive.  Badger game day meant a sea of red and white along State Street.  I felt home again.

Sipping moscato at the Taste around the Capitol Square.  Chocolate Shoppe ice cream walking along State.  Chilling on yellow and orange chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace.  It just feels right.  Every building holds a memory.  Every smell, a different slice of nostalgia.  I used to never be able to walk down the street without running into someone I knew.

Today, every face was that of a stranger.  Everything was the same, yet completely different.  Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give my right arm to stay there forever.

I left there today with a void in my soul.  Every time I leave Madison, my heart breaks all over again.

Madison is the freaking love of my life.

Walt Disney World Wednesdays (on Friday)

3 Sep

I’m thinking about starting a Walt Disney World Wednesdays series to my blog, so these posts will be limited to Hump Day pretty soon, but I was just so excited by this news I had to share today!

Some of you (or all of you) may know I interned down at WDW in 2008 through the Disney College Program.  It was my dream through college to work for the mouse in any way, shape or form, be it in marketing, event and conference planning or public relations.  Unfortunately, the economy didn’t allow me to continue my career path at WDW, but I still visit there often.  Not a day goes by when I’m not planning a future vacation to WDW.  Today is no exception; I’m going in December 🙂

Hence, Walt Disney World Wednesdays!  It’s my passion, and you’ll just have to deal with it!  I subscribe to the Disney Parks blog and get Google alerts about WDW (nerd, I know).  So, I’m on the up and up with all that’s going on at the parks.

Today, I was updated on two news items that caught my eye.  The topics?  Food and exercise, naturally.

I started training for 5Ks last year, suffered a setback with a groin pull, and am still recovering from that while still training for a 5K.  I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to run longer races someday.  My dream race?  The WDW Princess Half Marathon of course!  Before that, I’d like to run the WDW Wine and Dine Half Marathon relay (split 5-mile and 8-mile legs between two people, and finish at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot!) with my mom.  I’m always looking for new information, tips and tricks for running, and one of the experts has just partnered with WDW: Jeff Galloway!  You can see the full post here, but basically Galloway will be the new training consultant for the new runDisney edurance series!  There is a facebook page and everything.  You can bet I’ll be “fan”-ing that page later tonight!

If you know me, you know I love food but am now much more interested in healthful options at WDW, so I don’t gain 5 lbs. every week I visit.  Along with some info about new designer hot dogs at the Lunching Pad at Magic Kingdom (MK’s home to the infamous turkey leg), this post offers some great news for those watching their waistlines at the World.  Here is an excerpt:

  • Every table-service restaurant has at least one vegetarian option, and at least one low-fat or no-sugar-added dessert.
  • The top-selling kids’ drink? The 5-calorie lemonade-pomegranate punch.
  • All smoothies are now made with non-fat yogurt and fresh fruit purees (knocking them down from 420 calories to just 120 calories).
  • Seventy percent of trans fat items have been eliminated in merchandise locations
  • I, for one, am stoked that smoothies are offered with non-fat yogurt now.  It’s an equally refreshing snack to, say, a Mickey’s Premium Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich, but with far, far fewer calories.  I’m also not ashamed to say I’ve ordered the 5-calorie kids’ lemonade.  It’s pretty darn delicious.  And, it comes with a light-up Tinkerbell clip, perfect for Fantasmic!  Too fun!

    I find it ironic that the health tips come after their hot dog announcement.  I guess you’ll need to know where you can cut back after having one of those reuben dogs (you can bet I’ll be trying one)! 

    But, if you’re running one of the WDW marathons, I think you’re safe to indulge a bit 😉

    My Travel Standbys

    10 Aug

    On Friday, my mom, sister and I leave for a 7-day Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.  

    I’m too excited to sleep.  

    Here’s the itinerary:  

    Barcelona, Spain  

    Day at Sea  

    Pompeii (Naples), Rome (Civi) and Florence (Livorno), Italy 

    Villefranche and Toulon, France 

    Since I’ve already been to Greece, I’m so thrilled my mom chose the Western Med cruise.  Not that I’d be against going to Greece again.  The islands were, in one word, breathtaking.  But now I get to add three more countries to my Places I’ve Been list. 

    This week, I’m just working, packing, stressing and counting down the days until I leave.  What’s making packing easier is that I do it so often now that I have a system, and some good ol’ travel standbys I swear by.  What are they?  I’m glad you asked… 

    Ginger kid tested. Ginger kid approved

    • Fossil handbags: they are a bit expensive, but if you can grab one on sale, they are good quality, made with nice fabrics and have an assortment of pockets, zipped, clasped and open for all your travel needs.  I ususally bring one as a carry-on and as a purse for sightseeing all day. 
    • Jergens Natural Glow: as a gingerkid, I don’t tan.  I go from see-through to white.  So I need some help in that department if I don’t want to blind everyone poolside.  Use this once a day for a week, and you’ll have soft, faux sun-kissed skin.  I use JNG for fair skin tones, obvi.  But they make medium and dark as well, for those of you luckier than me.
    • Comfy shoes: and yes, I always pack more than one shoe.  Even the most comfortable of shoes will cause blisters and ouchies on your feet after a couple days of straight wear.  It’s important to switch off shoes everyday to prevent painful rubbage.  Some of my favorite brands are Clarks, Born and I just got some cute silver Sketchers sneakers.  I know what you’re thinking.  “But Heather, I want to be cute, fashionable and comfortable.”  Tough.  Those things do not exist together in shoes.  But, Clarks usually have decent-looking sandals, and Born are seriously like walking on clouds.  Suck it up, Nancy.  It isn’t a fashion show.
    • Mini Clif bars: since the regular Clif bars are the same calories as a light meal, I was ecstatic when they came up with the mini bars.  My favorite flavor right now is Oatmeal Walnut Raisin, but I’m still trying others, too.  These are great to pop in your new Fossil bag for the airport, in case you get stuck somewhere and need a pick-me-up snack.  Tiny and delicious.
    • Amazon Kindle: ok, I just got one for my birthday, and having used it on a trip to Denver last month, I can now say I’m a fan.  Nothing will replace the smell of a book or the feeling of curling up with a good book and mug of hot tea on a rainy day, but for travel, the Kindle is seriously superior.  Ultra light, skinny, and the battery lasts way longer than my iPod.  I have to admit, I just returned my Kindle so I can upgrade to the newest generation.  I’m sad I won’t have it for my cruise, but the benefits of the newer model far outweigh not having it for one trip.

    In the meantime, I’m off to Borders tonight to inhale some book fumes and grab a good read for the cruise.  Something set in Italy, I think.

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