Tag: disney

A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

Ever since I watched Ratatouille, I’ve been planning to try making my own Ratatouille. The movie version just looks so good, and so fancy, that I had to try it. Since we had eggplant ripening on the vine outside, I decided this week was going to be the time!

The important thing (in my opinion) to remember when you’re making this is that there appears to be no set recipe for this! Most recipes for traditional French dishes are very similar. However, this one seems to be more of a comfort food, and every Mom and Grandma has their own version. Some are very “organized” like this one, made with layers. Some are all cut up and mixed together. Some recipes I’ve seen have you roast the vegetables separately first, and then cook them together.

What does that mean? It means you can pretty much do whatever you want. 🙂 If you don’t like eggplant or squash – leave them out. Substitute them. Some recipes called for potatoes. Some didn’t. You can alter this to fit you and your family’s tastebuds. You can also alter the amounts. My recipe makes a small 8″ round dish. There are only two of us, and squash and zucchini aren’t our favorites. I didn’t want to make a huge amount and then end up not eating it. I chose to slice and arrange everything as well. You can just chop them up and dump them in – they’ll still taste good – maybe even better because it will all be mixed together!

Ingredients for Ratatouille

Overall, it’s a healthy, pretty easy dish, though it does require some time.

You need a lot of veggies for this. Again, feel free to swap or leave out things you want to change. You can also put more of the things you like most. But a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, red pepper, a couple of tomatoes, a couple zucchini, a yellow squash, an eggplant, bay leaves, thyme, basil, oregano, and olive oil are what I used in mine. I used fresh thyme because I had it – feel free to use dried instead.

The first thing I did was to slice my onion thinly. I wanted to caramelize them before putting them in, but it’s an optional step. You can just saute them until tender and it will work just fine. If you want to caramelize them, you’re going to put them in a non stick skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and let them cook over low heat for about an hour. (See? This is why I say you may not want to do that.)

Once they are cooked, you’re going to seed and dice your tomatoes. I seeded them over a strainer so that I could add the juice to the skillet. I also diced my red pepper, and minced two cloves of garlic. All this went into the skillet, and I turned the heat up to medium and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the peppers were starting to get tender.

You’re going to pour this into the bottom of your baking dish. If you decide to just chop things and bake them together, you’d mix in the other ingredients. But in this case, I wanted to use it as a base to help hold the slices of vegetables in place. Does that make sense?

This is probably the hardest step of the whole process. Seriously. The next hardest thing is slicing the squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Mainly because I used a mandolin. You don’t have to. I did it because I like that I put in minimal effort and they come out thin. But I also know that mandolins are sharp. Do not find this out first hand. Just trust me on this. I was at a bridal shower once helping to set up when one of the other bridesmaids was using a mandolin and chatting it up. She ended up in the bathroom holding her finger over her head while others applied pressure, and a few girls had to step out to get fresh air because there was blood.

Don’t worry – in the end, she was fine. It didn’t even require a trip to the urgent care.

But believe me when I say those things are sharp!

Anyhoo… once everything is sliced, the rest is pretty simple. Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure there are no cookie sheets stuffed inside to dry. (Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do that.) Layering everything takes a little time, but it looks pretty awesome. Having the onion mixture in the bottom helps keep everything in place as you layer them in. I alternated the types of vegetables so it would look pretty – zucchini, squash, and eggplant. In the dish I was using, I ended up only needing one of each vegetable (though I bought more). If you use a bigger dish, it may take longer and take more slices. I even had some left over.

Remy's Ratatouille

Drizzle another tablespoon or so of olive oil over the top of the vegetables, and then tuck your bay leaves in. You could put them in the onion mixture as well if you wanted. Sprinkle the top with thyme, basil, and oregano, and then place your parchment paper over the top. Put an oven safe plate or bowl to weigh it down, and pop it in the oven. I put it in for about 1 hour.

After the hour is up, carefully take the paper and bowl off, and bake another 30-45 minutes. The liquid should have reduced a little, and the top will be roasted and deliciously brown.

Once its done, take it out and enjoy! You could serve it with baked potato, rice, or just some nice French bread. Either way, it will be melt in your mouth delicious! The only thing I will say is that you HAVE to make sure that you get some of that onion mixture on the bottom. Don’t forget that part! That was my favorite part, and I thought it was crucial to have with the squash. If you were to just chop all this in similar size pieces and roast it, I think the flavors would mingle a bit more. Still, this was pretty delicious as is!

Remy's Ratatouille

 

 

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires a few more steps. It’s worth the extra effort!

 

Print
Remy's Ratatouille
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 mins
 

Inspired by the scene at the end of Ratatouille the movie!

Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zuchinni, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil you can add more as you need
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice a large sweet onion. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring occaisionally, until onions are golden brown. (About one hour)

  2. As your onions are cooking, seed and dice two tomatoes, mince your garlic, and dice the red bell pepper. When the onions are nearly finished, add the rest of these ingredients and turn the heat up to medium. Saute for five minutes, or until the peppers and tomatoes begin to soften.

  3. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of your pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  4. Using a knife or mandolin, slice the zucchini, eggplant, and yellow squash into thin rounds. 

  5. Alternating the vegetables, layer them over the onion mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle the herbs over the dish. Tuck the bay leaves between the vegetables, or add before layering squash.

  6. Place a piece of parchment cut to fit your dish over the vegetables, and weigh it down with an oven safe plate or bowl. 

  7. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the parchment and bake another 30-45 minutes, or until some of the liquid has reduced and the dish is brown and roasted.

Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

I’m going to take a brief moment today to remind you of one of the most important Cast Members at Disney – and one of the ones you don’t often actually see or think hard about – Mousekeeping!

Without Mousekeepers, the resorts would be a mess. Think about it – they come in, clean up the rooms we’ve left messy, remade beds, restocked the soaps, emptied the trash, and a hundred other jobs I wouldn’t want to do, in HUNDREDS of guests’ rooms. Every. Day. They also make sure that all those gorgeous lobbies and restaurants and shops stay sparkly clean.

So if you’re planning a trip to Disney, don’t forget about your Mousekeeper. Leave them a tip. It doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve heard that you leave a dollar a person, per day. That’s not so bad, considering how much they do every day. For our trip, I started saving my dollar bills and fives months in advance. I put them all in one envelope until I had enough set aside. That way, it wasn’t coming out of the vacation budget right before the trip (or during).

Now, you can just leave the money on a nightstand and write a little note on the pad they leave (which is what I do in a normal hotel, usually). But this is Disney – why not help spread a little magic and make something for the Mousekeeper?

You can (or the kids!) decorate a simple envelope with stickers and crayons. You can make something super fancy with a cutting machine. You can find tons of printables online. Whatever makes you happy!

I’ve tried to make some printables that you can download that are both something you can print, but also allow you to personalize them a little. They’re just the line art – made for you to color in! Markers, colored pencils, crayons, whatever medium suits your fancy! You can print them on regular computer paper, or make something more substantial from cardstock (though it really isn’t necessary – regular copy paper holds up just fine once it’s all glued and folded.)

If you want to access these (and there are more things already there, and in the works) you will have to subscribe to the blog. Hopefully since you’re already here reading this, that won’t be a problem! Once you subscribe, you’ll be given the password, and you can click on the “Resources” tab, enter the password, and download the PDF files for these envelopes!

Mousekeeping Envelope Dole Whip Mousekeeping Trader Sams PatternMousekeeping Envelope - Epcot Style

 

Margarita Cupcakes inspired by EPCOT

Margarita Cupcakes inspired by EPCOT

I have a confession to make before I begin – I don’t actually like Margaritas. I know, I know. Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. I was hoping that if I made it into a baked good, I’d like it better. And I’d rather eat these than drink a margarita, so I suppose I achieved the goal! I think these cupcakes are good, but I haven’t had the same reaction that my margarita loving friends have. They say they are FANTASTIC. I even tested it out on my coworkers, and they loved them. So you should definitely try them!

The cupcakes

This recipe is actually pretty simple. You’re going to need basic cake baking items, and then you’ll need tequila, triple sec, and limes. That’s the only “unique” ingredients that this recipe requires. If you like margaritas, you may already have those things on hand.

You do need to complete one step about an hour before you plan to make your cake. You’re going to take two limes, and you’re going to zest them into a bowl, where you’ve measured out the 1 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar you need. I use vanilla sugar because I like it. You don’t have to. (All vanilla sugar is, is a container of granulated sugar with a vanilla bean dropped in it. You can leave that bean in there for AGES and it will continue to scent any sugar you put in the container with vanilla. Try it. It’s awesome in baked goods!)

I use a microplane to zest my lime, but you could use a vegetable peeler in a pinch. Once you have your limes zested, stir the zest into the sugar and leave it to sit for one hour. This will help the lime flavor infuse into the sugar. It makes a difference. Really.

Lime Sugar

While you’re waiting, go ahead and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Or grease and flour them. But the liners are way easier. You’ll want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit as well.

Once your hour is up, you need to get out your mixer. A stand mixer is a lot easier for this, but it doesn’t matter as long as you have a mixer of some kind. The beauty of this recipe is that you dump everything together, except the egg whites, and beat. There’s no creaming (though I do it when my butter is still a little hard) or anything like that.

So dump in your lime sugar, butter, baking powder, a teeny bit of vanilla, salt, and flour. Then beat it together on high for 2 minutes. If you’re using a stand mixer, I’d suggest draping a dish towel over it, so the splatter stays contained.

Great. Now is the time to dip your finger in and eat the batter. Cause there’s no eggs yet, so that thing your mom always told you about how you’d get the collywobbles if you ate raw batter? This is totally safe.

Tell me my mom isn’t the only one who said that.

Now you need to separate your eggs. You can save the yolks and make something, like lime curd or lemon curd, or you can throw them out. Whatever floats your boat.

After the egg whites are in, beat it again on high for 5 minutes. I’d suggest beating it for about 30 seconds on low first to get things started. Sometimes egg whites fly all over if you don’t.

Have I mentioned I am a messy cook?

It should be a pretty smooth batter at this point. Take it to your prepared cupcake pans and then fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full. We will not discuss how long it took me to fill these while trying to be neat. And by the time I got to the end, I flipped batter on the pan anyway. It was a good try though, right?

Margarita Cupcake Pan

You should be able to get two dozen cupcakes out of this, give or take a few. If you overfill you’ll get less cupcakes, but it isn’t a big deal.

Put these in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. I would recommend putting these on a cooling rack when they come out, because you need to pop them out of the cupcake pans before they cool completely.

The Syrup

The key to making these cupcakes taste like a margarita is in the syrup. While the cupcakes are in the oven, you need to squeeze your two limes into a measuring cup. If you’ve made a margarita before, you’ll know how this works. My recipe for a Margarita is 1 part lime, 1 part triple sec, 2 parts tequila. For me, my two limes made just about 1/4 cup of juice. So I added 1/4 c triple sec, and 1/2 cup tequila. depending on the size and juiciness of your limes, your amounts may be different. But you want to measure how much liquid you have total. Don’t drink any. 🙂

You’ve just basically made yourself a margarita. Great. Now you’re going to add the same amount of sugar as liquid and pour both into a saucepan. Put it over medium high heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then take it off the heat and leave it to cool off just a little.

It will probably be more syrup than you need. You can always save it and use it on something else. I imagine whipped cream for pancakes made with this would be good. Or pouring a little over ice cream or pound cake?

Putting It Together (almost)

By now, hopefully your cupcakes are still warm, but not so hot that you can’t pop them out of the tin and put them on the baking rack. Put a sheet of aluminum foil underneath it to catch any drips. While everything is still warm, you will take your margarita syrup and brush a generous amount of the syrup onto the cupcakes. You can do this while they are in the pan, but they get sticky and it gets hard to get them out sometimes after. I discovered this the first time I made them.

I brushed mine with syrup twice, because I wanted to make sure the flavor really got in the cake. I also made sure I brushed a very generous amount on there. You can brush it with more or less, as you like.

The Icing

Let the cupcakes completely cool, and while they are doing that, you can make your icing. Its really easy. I use a stick of butter and a stick of margarine, at room temperature. Beat them in a mixer until they are fluffy. Add in 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Turn your mixer on low and start to beat the sugar in. Add 2 tablespoons of milk, and then slowly pour in about 1-2 tablespoons of the margarita syrup. You could also add about 1/2 tsp of vanilla, but since these are margarita cupcakes, I really wanted the frosting to taste like the drink. You can add more syrup if you want, but be careful you don’t add too much and change the consistency of the icing.

Once the cupcakes are cool, transfer your icing to a piping bag. You can use a tip, or you can just snip off the end and do it that way. How you choose to get the icing on is up to you. Use a knife if you’d rather!

After you frost them, get out a little bit of salt. I happened to have a sample pack of Hawaiian salts a friend sent me, so I used the red Hawaiian salt to finish mine. I think it really helps cut through the sugar, and help amplify the margarita taste. And, you know, it looks pretty.

Margarita Cupcakes Inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion

If you decide to give these a try, I’d love to know what you think! Tell me in the comments below!

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping, and a few more steps and ingredients. It’s worth the extra effort!
Print
Margarita Cupcakes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These cupcakes are inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large egg whites
Syrup
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from zested limes)
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Zest the limes and mix with the sugar. Let this sit to infuse for one hour. In the meantime, line 2 cupcake pans with 24 liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. After the sugar has sat for one hour, combine all ingredients but the egg whites in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes on high.

  3. Add the egg whites and beat again for 5 minutes on high.

  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and then bake the cupcakes for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Move to a rack to cool until you can pop out the cupcakes, then place these on a baking rack with aluminum foil underneath.

  6. Juice the two limes, measuring the amount of liquid produced. Generally, you should get around 1/4 c of lime juice. Add the triple sec, tequila, and sugar to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat. 

  7. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and remove from heat. Brush over the top of warm cupcakes, being generous.

  8. Allow cupcakes to finish cooling, then frost as desired.

 

Print
Margarita Cupcake Frosting
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 


Ingredients
  • 1 lb confectioner's sugar
  • 1-3 tbsp margarita syrup from the cupcake recipe
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup margarine room temperature
  • salt for decoration - optional
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and margarine until fluffy. 

  2. Add the confectioner's sugar, and turn your mixer on low. Gradually add in the milk and syrup. 

  3. Once combined, turn mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

  4. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes, and garnish with salt, if desired.

Margarita Cupcakes Inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion

Chien-Po’s Tofu Bowl

Chien-Po’s Tofu Bowl

This post may contain affiliate links, and purchases made by using these links will provide me a small commission that will go toward the maintenance of this site.

We were watching Mulan the other night, and the scene at the beginning where Mulan is making her first appearance as Ping came onto the screen. Yao is calmed by Chien-Po, who picks him up and chants something that sounds like a string of nonsense, but a few words are recognizable. The only one I really heard, however, was “tofu.”

Did I mention I was hungry when I started watching this?

I lived for the first two years of college on tofu and bad cafeteria pizza. While I don’t eat pizza much anymore, tofu has stuck with me. Add to it that one of my roommates through college was Japanese-American and from Hawaii… we ate a lot of tofu. One of the things I liked was Ma Po Tofu. But I didn’t have any mix, and short of ordering it online, there’s nowhere here to buy it.

So I decided, as I watched Mulan, that I could take the same basic concept and create my own dish. Thus, Chien-Po’s Tofu Bowl was born!

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can easily substitute veggie meat in this rather than including the ground meat. Regardless of your food preferences, I would recommend two things for certain – serve this with plain white rice, and make sure you use extra stock. You can add cornstarch or arrowroot powder to the sauce to thicken it if you want, but if you let this reduce too much, it will be REALLY salty. The soy sauce and black bean sauce are pretty salty on their own – reduced down they can be too much.

First, chop all the veggies. Don’t be like me and pull things out and try to prep as you go. It usually slows things down and something might burn. I’m getting better about prepping first, and I have to tell you it really makes things easier. When you’re chopping your onions and peppers, I would recommend a pretty fine dice. Then again, I am one of those weird people who doesn’t like huge chunks of veg in my dish. If you don’t have a problem with that, you can just rough chop them. Whatever makes you happy. It may change how long they need to saute and soften a bit, but you can judge that. I trust you.

Once everything is prepped, heat your olive oil in a big non stick pan. It is better to have too big a pan than not big enough. After you get the tofu in and you try to stir it around, you don’t want to have to worry about flipping it all over the stove. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

Chien Po Tofu Bowl Onions and Peppers

Once you’ve got the oil heated, dump in your onions, peppers, and garlic. Continue to saute these for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and softened a bit. After it hits that point, add in your ground meat and brown it off. When it is cooked through, drain off any excess fat.

Next add your sauces, broth, and seasonings. Don’t add any extra salt! You don’t need it. Trust me. After you have everything in, make sure everything is well combined and the broth is simmering. Let it cook for a few minutes. While its doing its thing, drain your tofu and cut it into small cubes. You can do big ones if you like, but when I did it the first time, I found the big ones had a tendency to end up a little torn if you weren’t paying attention when stirring them in.

Put your tofu in the pan and gently stir it into the sauce. You want to make sure its coated in sauce. Let it simmer for a few more minutes. You don’t need to cook the tofu, but you want to give it a chance to absorb some of the sauce flavors and warm up.

Chien-Po's Tofu Bowl

Once its done turn off the heat, and get your bowls of white rice ready. Serve some of the tofu mixture right over top. If you don’t own a rice cooker, I highly recommend them. I always manage to screw up rice made in a regular saucepan. Its either not done all the way through, or its stuck to the bottom of the pan. With the rice cooker, I don’t have those issues, and its relatively inexpensive. As a bonus, the one I bought also comes with a steaming tray that fits over the top.

 

 

Chien Po's Tofu Bowl

 

quick rating

Print
Chien-Po's Tofu Bowl
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground pork, turkey, or beef
  • 1 block firm or extra firm tofu (usually 12-16 oz), drained and cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 c chicken or beef broth, or veg stock
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp sweet thai chili garlic sauce
Instructions
  1. Chop and mince all ingredients. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions, peppers, and garlic.

  2. Saute until onions become soft and translucent, around 7-10 minutes. If it looks like it needs more liquid, add a few tablespoons of broth to the pan.

  3. Add your ground meat and brown off the meat. Drain off any excess fat.

  4. Add in all the spices and sauces, and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add in the tofu and gently stir into the mixture.

  5. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the tofu is warm and well coated in the sauce. 

  6. Serve over rice. 

chien-po tofu bowl

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache Filling

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache Filling

This recipe can be a little involved, but these cookies are worth it. I’ve seen them at many places – one of which is the France pavilion at EPCOT. Since I’m not going to be there for awhile, I decided I couldn’t wait, and wanted to make them at home. They’re light, delicate, and packed full of flavor – an excellent dessert for a special occasion or any day of the week! As a bonus, they are also gluten free, so if you are GF, then these are a fabulous dessert option.

These cookies are not as hard as you’d think. However, if you did it like I did, you can make it more difficult than it needs to be.

The recipe has no flour – it uses almond flour instead. The best place I’ve found for this has been Trader Joe’s – they sell a bag (I think its a pound or half pound package) for the cheapest price I’ve found. That being said, I apparently used my bag of almond flour, because when I went to retrieve it from the pantry, all I found was the BJ’s bag of almonds.

You can see where this is going, right?

Almond flour, if you didn’t know, is just ground almonds. So, if I have a bag of almonds, I can make my own almond flour. Easy, right? Yeah. Except for the part where I decided to use the food processor to grind them, rather than my spice grinder. Don’t do that. If you have the spice grinder, even if it takes you longer, use it. I used the food processor, and after sifting in what I could, had to put it through the processor twice more before I broke down and used the spice grinder. And I made a ton of difference. I will say that no matter which one you use, pulse it, and don’t process it too long, or you’ll end up with almond butter. While tasty, you’ll have to scrape it out and start over with new almonds. And you don’t want that.

These were the chunks leftover after grinding the first time in the food processor!

Once you have your dry ingredients sifted together, use a whisk to combine them. You don’t have to do that, but because you’re folding this into egg whites later, I like to have it thoroughly mixed before I start folding it in.

You’re going to need to prep your pan now that you’ve got this part going. Use parchment paper and line a cookie sheet. You can free form your macarons, or you can draw 1″ circles on the back of the parchment (that way you don’t get ink or pencil on your cookies) to use as a guide.

Once your pan is ready, you need to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. You’ll want to use room temperature eggs – if you use cold ones they’ll be harder to separate and they’ll be WAY harder to whip. I also always use a metal mixing bowl for eggs, and I usually dampen a paper towel with a little vinegar and wipe out the inside of the bowl before I put the eggs in. It is supposed to wipe away any leftover residue that might be clinging to a bowl (even a clean one). I don’t remember where I heard that tip, but it does seem to help.

I beat the eggs on a lower speed until they get a little frothy, then I crank it up and pour in the granulated sugar, slowly. Then beat the eggs until they form stiff, glossy peaks. The best way to tell if they are done? When you pull out the beater and the peak stands straight up without falling at all, OR you can hold the bowl upside down and nothing moves. I then cut my vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds into the egg whites, and add the vanilla extract. You do not have to use vanilla beans! Just extract will still make a delicious macaron! Give it a couple more quick beats, and then get out a spatula and your dry ingredients.

You’re going to dump all the dry in there, and then fold them in. If it makes you feel better, you can do it in three parts. But I like just getting it over with. For this recipe, it worked. You don’t want to over mix, but you want to make sure its all incorporated. It takes about 20-30 strokes, and I usually end up doing a figure eight motion through the batter. When its all mixed, it will have the consistency of a very thick but still pourable milkshake. Other people often say it has the consistency of lava. I’ve never actually seen lava, so I’ll take their word for it.

macaron batter

Now we’re onto the fun part!

Pour your mixture into a large resealable bag or disposable piping bag. Snip off the corner (or end) and then use your parchment circles as a guide to pipe the macarons onto the pan. If you end up with a little “peak” on top of your cookie, don’t worry – it will even out. If you’re afraid it won’t, just wet your finger in a little water and tap them down. The water will keep the meringue mixture from sticking to you. Once  you’ve got the pan finished, give it a good tap on the counter. It will help get any air bubbles out.

piped macarons

Now, you need to let these sit for 30-60 minutes to dry out a bit. I leave mine for an hour. While they sit, you can get the filling made!

You can use any filling you like – jam would work just fine! For these, I’m making a dark chocolate amaretto ganache. Its harder to say and write than it is to make. Seriously.

You need to get 4 ounces of dark chocolate – whatever you have on hand will work. I used the remains of a Ghiradelli bar. Chop it up and put it in a heat safe bowl.

dark chocolate

Then pour your cream (you can also use half and half) into a sauce pan and heat until its simmering. Take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it stand for one minute, and then stir it together with a whisk.

making ganache
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The heat from the cream will melt the chocolate. Add in the tablespoon and a half of butter, and your amaretto and mix again. It will still be pretty warm. I poured mine into a disposable piping bag (you can use a resealable baggie) that was propped up in a cup. Then put it in the fridge to firm up.

Now go sit and have a drink and surf the internet while you finishing waiting for the macarons to dry out.

When the hour is nearly up, you want to move the oven rack to the bottom third of your oven and preheat it to 350. Be sure to only put one pan at a time in the oven, and rotate the pan halfway through baking so they’re all even. You’re going to bake the macarons for 11-13 minutes, until they have risen and set. They’re going to dry out, but you don’t want them to get any color.  After they’ve baked, take them out and let them cool on the baking sheet.

baked macarons

Once they’ve cooled, you can pull out your filling, snip off the corner of the bag, and pipe your ganache onto the flat side of a macaron. Top it with another cookie and viola – you’ve made a dessert that everyone will be drooling over! Next time, I may save back some cookies and try to fill them with ice cream like the ones I’ve seen people posting about from Les Artisans des Glaces in the France pavilion. 🙂

vanilla bean macarons

Signature rating
This recipe will take some serious time, and does require some more advanced kitchen knowledge. I still think its well worth the effort though! Give it a try – but make sure you leave lots of time for yourself!
Print
Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Amaretto Ganache
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins
 

These are a little time consuming, but totally worth it!

Course: Dessert
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
Macarons
  • 108 grams almond flour
  • 176 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 80 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
Filling
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp amaretto liqueur
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
Instructions
For the Macarons
  1. Move your oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, on the back of which you can draw one inch circles to help guide your piping.

  2. Sift the almond flour and confectioner's sugar together into a bowl through a fine sieve. You can put any large pieces of almond flour left behind through a spice grinder and sift again into the bowl.

  3. In a metal mixer bowl, beat 3 large egg whites with the granulated sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form.

  4. Add the vanilla extract, and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the beaten egg whites. beat for 5 seconds to incorporate.

  5. Dump all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Using a spatula, fold the mixture in, using 20-30 strokes. The mixture will be thick, with a consistency similar to a thick milkshake.

  6. Pour the macaron mixture into a piping bag with a large round tip, or snip off the end of a disposable piping bag. You could also use a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off.

  7. Pipe the meringue mixture onto your baking sheet, filling int he circles. Let these sit for 20-60 minutes until a skin forms on top. How long this takes depends on the heat and humidity of your kitchen.

  8. Put one pan in the oven at a time. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, until the cookies have risen and set, but not browned. 

  9. Remove from oven and let cool on the pan.

For the Filling
  1. Chop your dark chocolate fine and place in a heat-safe bowl. 

  2. Heat the cream to a simmer on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for one minute.

  3. Stir the chocolate and cream, until it has melted together. Add the butter and amaretto and whisk together until all is incorporated. 

  4. Let the mixture cool until it is thick, but still pourable. Pour into a resealable bag or piping bag and continue to let it cool until it reaches a frosting consistency.

  5. Pipe onto the bottom of a macaron cookie, and then cover with a second cookie to make a sandwich.

  6. Wrap any leftover cookies tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Vanilla Bean Macarons

‘Ohana Grilled Chicken

‘Ohana Grilled Chicken

This is the last of the recipes I’m posting from the Moana dinner and movie party – but don’t think its the “least” of them! This is a great recipe, and is one of the ones given to my mom when we asked on our first trip ever.

We’ve made this MANY times over the years since then, and I must admit that there is one drawback to this recipe – it really has to be grilled. I’ve tried to bake it, saute it and everything in between, and it just doesn’t taste as good unless you grill it. Somehow, it needs that extra boost to be all it can be.

With that being said, don’t skip the recipe! Just save it for a nice day and a hot grill. The chicken (or you could do pork) will need to marinate for two to three days, and I do strongly suggest you actually follow that for this one. It needs to soak in and really do its work. The chicken will be tender and moist if you give it time!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

The recipe itself is super simple. First, you need to use a blender or food processor. A whisk won’t cut it here, because you’d be whisking for days. So pull out the food processor and then gather your ingredients. You’re going to dump the garlic, malt vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and brown sugar all together. Put the lid on, and measure out your olive oil into a container with a pour spout. Then slowly drizzle it in as you run the food processor. You want the mixture to form an emulsification (hence the reason you need the food processor). Don’t panic when this comes out! It is not a thin marinade – it will come out pretty thick. This is good, because it really sticks to the chicken well.

Now, put your chicken in a bowl or a resealable bag (in a bowl), and pour about half the marinade in with it. Seal the bag, getting as much air as you can out without making a mess. Then leave it in the fridge for 2-3 days. The leftover marinade needs to go into a container and then into the fridge. You’re going to use this to baste the chicken as you grill it later.

Once your 2-3 days have passed, fire up the grill and get the chicken cooking. As it cooks, baste it liberally with the reserved marinade. Once it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, pull it off the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

In the restaurant, they serve the chicken with dipping sauce. I don’t have the copy of the peanut sauce – somewhere in the last move it was lost! But I’m going back to ‘Ohana in a few months.  While I’m there, I’ll get that recipe and post it! Until then, I’d suggest using the one found at AllEars.net. I’m pretty sure its the same one.

The pictures for this really don’t do it justice, but when the chicken was taken off the grill, I didn’t get to the camera before the guests got to the chicken…. so the photos were taken quickly with what I could rescue briefly!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

I hope you try this, and if you do, please let me know how it goes! Have you had this before? Been to Ohana? What did you think?

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping and the grill. Its worth the wait though!
Print
'Ohana Grilled Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Given to me over 10 years ago at Ohana, its as good now as it was then!

Servings: 8 people
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c malt vinegar
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Tabasco
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1 c olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor.

  2. Slowly pour the olive oil into the processor as it is running, forming a thick emulsification.

  3. Put the chicken into a resealable plastic bag or container. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken. Save the rest in a container.

  4. Let chicken marinate for 2 to 3 days. 

  5. When ready to cook, heat grill and grill chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the saved marinade and baste the chicken frequently while grilling.

  6. Remove chicken from heat when done and let rest for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Ohana Grilled Chicken

Cooking with Character was given The Liebster Award!

Cooking with Character was given The Liebster Award!

I received an email not long ago from Stephanie at Love, Laughter and Luggage, nominating me for the Liebster Award for new bloggers!  I was extremely excited, because this is a virtual award passed from blogger to blogger as a show of support, and a way to promote other blogs we enjoy reading.

 

Be sure to stop by Stephanie’s blog, and show her some love on social media. She has a fabulous website!

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  1. You must acknowledge who has nominated you and also share their links.
  2. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer all 11 questions asked.
  4. Nominate 11 more bloggers whose blog you would recommend.
  5. Ask 11 questions that you would like those bloggers to answer.
  6. Include an image of the Liebster Award either in your post or in the sidebar of your blog.
  7. Let the bloggers you have nominated know that they’ve been nominated.

11 FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I used to be a technology education teacher, and now I’m a high school librarian. I’m also certified to teach high school English.
  2. I’m a published Young adult and middle grade author.
  3. I have a husband and a cat. I’m pretty sure the cat rules the house.
  4. I can wiggle my ears.
  5. My minor in college was Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Reading the original King Arthur stories ruined it for me. To this day, I can’t stand King Arthur, mainly because Guinevere really isn’t much of a catch to be fighting over.
  6. I love to cook – but only in the last several years have I managed to expand some of my tastes. I didn’t eat shrimp until this year! In my defense, I have weird texture issues.
  7. I once accidentally walked into the kitchen in a restaurant in France when I took the wrong door while looking for the bathrooms. Luckily, no one saw me.
  8. My aunt and uncle invite friends and family every year (we try to go every year, but we may have to start doing our own version at home if we don’t make it more often!) and make over 500 pounds of cabbage into homemade sauerkraut. It’s amazing stuff. Your arms ache for days afterward. And no matter what anyone says, those inferno pepper slices are not safe to eat alone. Take it from me.
  9. Even though I’m a librarian, I almost never have time to read at work. It’s sad.
  10. I love writing snail mail letters. I think it’s a lost art, and I want to get high schoolers interested in it again.
  11. I think one of the best sandwiches ever is a bologna and ketchup sandwich. If its garlic bologna, even better!

11 LIEBSTER QUESTIONS

  1. What’s your middle name? My middle name is Ellen.
  2. What is your favorite song right now? Oh, man. Well, I’m going to say that it’s a toss-up between either “Carry Me” by Eurielle, or “Shiny” from Moana.
  3. What gives you inspiration for blog post ideas? Lots of times its watching a movie and thinking about what they might eat in that country, or looking through a Disney cookbook, or a book or blog post about Disney. Sometimes it happens when I’m walking through the grocery store and I’m hungry and thinking about what I want to eat.
  4. Best and worst parts of blogging? I enjoy this, but I have to say that doing it seriously, and trying to do it well, is a lot of work. More than you’d think it is. I’m trying to learn as I go, but keeping up with social media and a day job and my writing and everything else in life is HARD. But it’s worth it.
  5. Your favorite spring trend of this year? I’m about the least likely person to even know what the trends are, but it seems that there’s a lot of tropical prints and pineapples around, and I love a good pineapple/tropical print during the summer.
  6. Sun or snow? Can I qualify this and say sun, but not scorching?
  7. Future goals for blogging? I would love, LOVE, to be able to do this blog and have it open up opportunities that would allow me to make it a full time job. Most of all, I’d love to have a community of readers who want to see what I post next.
  8. Do you have any pets, if so what are they? We have a cat, named Molly, who is a rather lazy fuzzball. I had her before I met my husband, but she’s totally ditched me in favor of him.
  9. What is your favorite social media platform and why? I like different platforms for different reasons, but my top two are Twitter and Instagram. I like twitter because I can interact in real time with people, but I like Instagram because it’s just fun to have the visual there.
  10. Coffee or tea? Tea all the way!
  11. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? This is tough. I should say something like Walt Disney or Julia Child. But I think I’d like to have dinner with my Grandma Caynor. She died six months after I was born, and I would have loved to have met her.

 

My Liebster Nominations are:

  

My Questions To You.

  1. What is the one place in the world you want to visit, if money was no option?
  2. Who is your favorite Disney character?
  3. Do you prefer phone calls or texting?
  4. What is your favorite part of being a blogger?
  5. What is your ultimate goal for your blog?
  6. What is your favorite book (or author)?
  7. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  8. Almond or vanilla?
  9. If you could interview one person, dead or alive, for your blog, who would it be and why?
  10. What is your favorite thing to do on a warm summer evening?
  11. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could have one meal delivered from anywhere in the world, what would it be and why?

 

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

This past weekend, we had friends over for a Moana dinner and a movie party. Like any good party (or at least the ones at our house) there was a lot of fabulous food! We tried to keep with a Polynesian theme for all the dishes, and it was a hit!

We started with an easy salad – my garden isn’t producing lettuce, so we had an easy bagged salad, with homemade croutons and Honey Lime Dressing. The recipe for the dressing actually came from the Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana restaurant on my first trip to Disney World with my parents back in high school! When we ate there, we all LOVED the food. My mom took a chance and asked our server for the recipe. We were all thrilled and surprised when the server came back with printouts of all the ones we asked for!

Back to the party – we made the dressing, and we made rice, and we made three different main courses. There was ‘Ohana Shrimp, ‘Ohana Chicken, and Boma Marinated Flank Steak. I will be the first to point out that the steak is not even close to the Polynesian theme. But its DELICIOUS, so we made it anyway. It was the last thing off the grill, after we’d eaten most of the chicken and shrimp, and people said they would just try a bite, but they were stuffed. We also made the Maui Wayfinder Sunrise, which is quite a tasty way to start off the evening, and Bananas Foster Cookies for dessert!

There was only a quarter of it left when I turned around later.

But we aren’t talking about beef. In this blog post, you’re going to find the recipes for the ‘Ohana shrimp. We made this for three reasons: it fit the theme, one of our friends is a vegetarian (pescatarian, I suppose, if you want to get technical), and because it’s just YUMMY.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

The recipe says to marinate the shrimp for two days. We have made this and barely marinated it, marinated it for a couple hours, and for this particular meal, for the full two days. The taste is awesome, no matter which way you do it. If you want them really spicy, then marinate them for two days. That was the biggest difference I noted. The longer it sits, the more spice it picks up. And for the record, I don’t really eat spicy, but I can handle this, so it’s not going to leave tears running down your face and smoke rolling out your ears.

I recommend putting this in a plastic resealable bag (and then in a bowl. I’ll say it every time.) for easy clean up. You can also pour off a cup or so before you put the shrimp in and save it to baste them with. I frequently make this in a skillet rather than the grill and just pour a little of the marinade in to help make a sauce.

You will need to either make this in a food processor or a bowl and then pour it into the bag. The directions from the original recipe say to whisk it together in a bowl. But I already had the food processor out for the Ohana chicken, so I just pulsed it a few times in that. I’d probably do it again that way, just because it was so easy.

Gather your ingredients. I chose not to use hot garlic chili sauce and regular garlic chili sauce both. Instead, I just used the regular garlic chili sauce and used a little more than originally called for. I have significantly scaled back the amounts of ingredients, because it made a TON of marinade, and unless you’re making several pounds of shrimp, you just don’t need that much.

Anyway, put your garlic chili paste, finely minced ginger, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper in your bowl or food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking well or keeping the food processor going until all the oil has been blended in.

Then put your shrimp in the bag and pour over the marinade. I used 25-30 size shrimp, and got them peeled and deveined. You could get shrimp still in the shells, but I wanted to keep the mess to a minimum. That is up to you! I try to seal it with as little air as possible (without making a huge mess), and then put it in the fridge. As I said, the recipe says two days. I say anywhere from 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on what you want. It’s really convenient to be able to start it the day before a party, because it cooks quickly and you can get things made in advance to alleviate some stress the day of.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

Then you can either sauté the shrimp in a skillet, or put the shrimp on the grill. I’d recommend a grill basket or skewers if you go the grill route, as it will make life a lot easier.

Either way, the hardest part about this dish is keeping it on the table longer than a few minutes! The pictures I got of these were snapped quick, because they were gone almost as soon as the platter hit the table!

Ohana Shrimp

table rating

Print
'Ohana Grilled Shrimp
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is slightly altered from the print out our server gave us in the Polynesian resort's 'Ohana Restaurant years ago. 

Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 3/4 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce (use regular, not hot)
  • 1 cups Honey
  • 1 cups Lemon juice
  • 1/2 quart Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs Peeled and de-veined shrimp 25-30 count really, use whatever size works for you
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the oil well. While whisking, pour in the oil slowly. You can also use a food processor.

  2. Place the shrimp in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the shrimp, reserving about 3/4 cup for basting, if you like. Marinate the shrimp for 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on your time.

  3. Once you're shrimp are done marinating, skewer the shrimp. You can cook them loose, but if you are grilling them, skewers will make the process easier.

  4. Heat the grill, and place your shrimp on there, basting as occasionally. Alternately, you can saute them in a non-stick skillet. 

  5. Cook shrimp to an internal temperature of 145ºF, and enjoy!

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

My blog is (obviously) not the only Disney food blog out there. While we may be a tiny portion of the food blogging world, we are awesome! Today I wanted to share a list of what I believe are the a few of the best Disney food blogs out there. You should check them out and follow them as soon as you can! There are delicious recipes waiting to be discovered on their blogs, as well as other information – dining reviews and general Disney park posts. These are in no particular order, and I may have left off a blog that you think should be here. It could be because I don’t know about it, or it might be because I thought that the others nudged it out. Don’t be upset – everyone’s opinion is right! Feel free to let me know if you think I’ve forgotten one in the comments!

1. The Disney Food Blog

This one is really obvious, so I’m getting it out of the way first. The Disney Food Blog is amazing, full of all the dining information, reviews, and news you could want. Its also the most visible of the pages, so I’m sure most of you already know about it! The sheer amount of information on their page is daunting, but if you are looking for a specific restaurant, this is the place where you are sure to find it.

2. Yo Ho Yo Ho A Blogger’s Life For Me

This is another Disney focused site that has more to offer than just food and recipe information, run by a former Disney intern. There are trip blogs, general Disney information, news, and tips. When it comes to the food blog side of things, she has great reviews of restaurants, as well as some recipes and cooking videos! If you’re looking for a specific dining review or recipe, this is a great place to search.

yo ho yo ho blogger's life for me
Courtesy of Yo Ho Yo Ho Blogger’s Life For Me.

3. The Healthy Mouse

While this site is not all Disney, all the time, she has some awesome recipes and resources. It even has a link to a Facebook group – The Healthy Mouseketeers  – for eating healthy at Disney! If you’re very concerned about what you’re eating at Disney, this is a great site to browse. There’s a whole section of blog posts to help you find the healthiest choices when dining in the ‘World. They aren’t all just about salads or general health. Some are specific to different diet choices, like eating paleo, and other focus solely on snacks.

Even if you aren’t a healthy eater all the time, like me, it is still good to look at and read up on what things you can get if you decide you do want to chow down on something a little less sugary or fried. Her recipe section is also really cute and varied, with lots of Disney inspired dishes. Definitely worth checking out!

4. Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

Alexis’ website is another geared to a specific audience, in this case those who need gluten-free options, and is not totally dedicated to Disney. She covers Disney, Orlando, Traveling in general, there’s a recipe section, reviews, and more. Her Disney information is pretty extensive, and definitely worth looking through, even if you aren’t following a gluten-free diet. Her Disney posts are broken up in several sections. There’s a section of top 10 lists, “The Best Things I Ever Ate” (separated by courses), “Best Resorts for Special Diets,” and also goes through each park and offers specific information about eating gluten free at each one, as well as the resorts. While it isn’t a comprehensive list of every restaurant on property, it is extensive.

There are more articles, ranging from reviews of specific allergy free menu reviews, Disney cruise line information, links to gluten free Disney Pinterest boards, and has a few gluten free Disney recipes. I know several people who follow a gluten free lifestyle, and eating out can be a struggle. This site is really well done, with lots of great information, and very thorough in helping you find what you need at Walt Disney World. I would highly recommend this if you have a person in your family who has a gluten free requirement.

Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter
Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter – Photo Courtesy of Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

5. The Disney Chef

This is probably one of the other biggest and best known Disney food blogs. She has TONS of recipes from all over Disney World (and Disneyland) – if you can’t find it anywhere else, you can probably find it here! Her signature recipes are also pretty awesome! Her website also includes Disney tips for touring the parks as well as tips for dining in the parks (which is always helpful). It also includes a section about Run Disney. Her blog covers her recipes and food (obviously) but she also posts about other Disney related things which have nothing to do with eating in the World.

Her site is fun to read, and guaranteed to make you hungry. If you’re looking for a specific recipe you just can’t seem to find anywhere else, she’s probably got it. There is something for everyone, so definitely stop by and bookmark this one!

6. Dining at Disney

This site is less focused on recipes, and more focused on dining reviews, news, and suggestions. But don’t let that stop you! Its really a one-stop site for whatever you want to know about dining at Disney, whether you have the meal plan or not. Because they are run by a team of people, rather than a single person, there is a lot more variety in what they cover and in their reviews. They also have guest bloggers, which gives you even more diversity of opinion.

Their information is very detailed and useful if you’re trying to decide between restaurants on your next vacation. They also have links to recent food related news in Disney, some recipes, and they’ve broken down restaurants by park. If you are planning a trip, I would say you should add this site to your list of places to check for information and reviews. This should be a great resource if you’re trying to plan and decide!

Dining With Disney Logo
© Dining with Disney

7. Allergy Free Mouse

This site has no recipes, but does have extensive reviews and tips for eating in Walt Disney World if you or someone in your family has allergies. They also run a podcast. (I’m a sucker for a good Disney podcast – they’re in the queue for my commute to work.) They cover all kinds of allergies, from gluten-free to peanut-free, but also have sections about general Disney planning. Everything from tips about character meet and greets to tipping. The website is easy to navigate, and if you have any of the allergies they talk about, could be useful when planning your trip.

 Are there any sites I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

7 Disney Blogs You Should Be Reading

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

I know I’ve already posted a DisNews post about Pandora, but I can’t help but post another. Disney has begun some preview days, and released a video of one of the animatronics in the Na’vi River Ride.

And they look AMAZING.

Na’vi River Journey

Just take a few minutes to give this a look – I mean, the movements are seriously smooth, and the details are just mind boggling. The amount of engineering that went into that…. I can’t wait to see it! There are a few other videos from what looks to be a media preview on YouTube. Some of them have longer clips of this, and really its just amazing what they’ve done. Whether you liked the movies or not, I think seeing the new area of Animal Kingdom will definitely be worth it. If nothing else, its pretty to look at!

Video courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts.

Avatar Flight of Passage

The river ride looks fun, but pretty laid back. (That is NOT a complaint!) But the Avatar Flight of Passage ride looks pretty awesome. The details about it floating around the internet seem to be mysterious and vague, but it looks to me like a combination of a 4D ride and Soarin’ – and that is something I would definitely go for! Especially if its as pretty to look at as the movies were. Besides that, I love Soarin’, as well as 4D movie experiences.

AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage. (Disney Parks)

My problem is I know we’ll probably only get to see one of the two attractions, as they currently have the FastPass system set up with tiers for these, meaning you can only pick one when you choose your first three fast passes. Since we’re planning to FP Rivers of Light, it means we’ll only be able to get to one. (Unless the lines are shorter than I’m thinking they will be this August.) If that ends up being the case, which one do I pick?!?