To Honor Julia, Just Add Butter

Today would be Julia Child’s 100th birthday.

This will be me tonight, Mastering the Art of Roasting a Chicken

I love this woman. Mastering the Art of French Cooking sits on my kitchen counter, not only as a beautiful decoration, but also as a quick go-to reference whenever a question pops up. I’ve watched Julie and Julia countless times, marveling at Meryl Streep’s command of Julia’s eccentric personality. And I love butter.

Butter may just be one of my favorite foods, if butter can be considered a food unto itself. No? Well, perhaps I can lump it in with dairy. Cream, Butter, Cheese, Milk – I love them all. Good quality butter cannot be beat, especially if it’s raw!

So tonight I’ll be honoring Julia by cooking her Roast Chicken, complete with copious amount of melted butter. Of course, I’ll have to put my own spin on it slightly by adding potatoes to the carrots that will marinate in pan drippings, but other than that it will smell like a French Bistro in my house this evening. Maybe I’ll even throw on some classical french music and grab a glass of Bordeaux.

I just love theme nights, especially when they coincide with something I really care about. Julia, here’s to you!


A Magical Olympic Opening Ceremony

As Simon Schama said in his review of the opening ceremony:

No one does the darkness of childhood, its realm of startled pathos, its deep hauntings, like the Brits, from Alice and Peter Pan to Harry P.

Even though London has taken a few beatings over the theatrical nature of their opening ceremony, I personally think they knocked it out of the park. It wasn’t just about the current affairs of their nation, or what it took to arrive at where they are today; it was a culmination of everything Britain was – and still is.

Having Voldemort battle Mary Poppins, Captain Hook pop up alongside Cruella Deville, and JK Rowling read aloud from JM Barrie’s classic children’s story was exactly what the London Olympics should have been about. It’s about dreaming, imagining, and allowing children to grow up believing in magic.

Many Olympic athletes present that night were familiar with these stories. Most spectators knew the tales, as well. Britain was merely proving that when they do something, they do it right. They certainly led the way in children’s literature, and I’m certain they will continue being a highly imaginary country many years from now.

Fairy Tale Food by Lucie Cash – Bringing a Little Magic to Your Cooking

The book arrived at my doorstep on Cinnamon-scented wind. It came cradled in a basket like a baby brought by stork. Although no one rang the doorbell to announce its arrival, I knew something lay just beyond the threshold by the smell of chocolate and faint whirls of steam I could see rising over the panes in the door’s glass.

Actually, none of this happened. The book came wrapped in an Amazon plastic bag and crammed into my mailbox. But once the wrapping was off, I was enchanted.

Fairytale Food: Enchanting Recipes to Bring a Little Magic to Your Cooking. The name itself made me happy as I opened up the cover. Once the binding was creased, the pages within held even more wonders.

Every page has a drawing of some sort – a character, a magical food, a depiction of a fairytale. The illustrations, by Yelena Bryksenkova, are intricate, inviting the reader to do more than just glance at the recipe they are trying to recreate. They showcase each story and the food associated – for instance, Snow White has a section that includes Evil Stepmother’s Stew and Blood Red Velvet Cake. A little story accompanies each recipe, explaining its reason for being included.

This is another way that Fairytale Food departs from your typical cookbook. Food is not arranged according to courses (appetizers, soups, entrees), but by Fairytale. Each story generally has an entree, side dish, and dessert. Take Belle and her Beau – this section includes Beauty and the Beast Burgers, Pretty Sweet Potatoes, and True Love’s Hearts.

Other sections may include fewer courses, but are no less involved than others. Fairy Folk is filled with sweets – Enchanted Forest Gateau, Fairy Chocolate Cups, and Goblin Granitas.

Although I haven’t attempted any of the recipes yet, there are plenty of tips that will allow me to begin in the correct manner. A list that includes common sense information such as “Ensure that your cauldron is sparkling clean” comes just before lesser-known wisdom like “When stirring, always stir widdershins (counter-clockwise)…” Who knew cooking magically could be so easy? Keep in mind that the book was published in the UK, meaning that measurements will have to be converted for anyone more familiar with US measurements.

This will be such a fun cookbook to use in the future with children. I can just imagine creating tea-time treats as we dress up according to the menu of the day!

Summertime Peach Cobbler

I’ve been on the hunt for a grain free peach cobbler for months – long before peaches were actually in season. Now that they’re overflowing the Franklin Farmer’s Market, I knew it was high-time to commit and actually make some cobbler!

This is a spinoff of an Elana’s Pantry recipe. Her Peach Crisp looked tempting, but I think I’m more of a cobbler girl!

Summertime Peach Cobbler

  • 6 Peaches, Sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Oil (I used a combo of Coconut and Butter)
  • Scant 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/8 tsp. Stevia Powder

Preheat oven to 350. Place peaches in a large bowl and toss with Vanilla and Arrowroot Powder until evenly coated. Place in a coated baking dish that has a cover. In a smaller bowl, combine Almond Meal, Salt, Baking Soda, Oil and Honey. Crumble this mixture over peaches. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the juices begin to bubble on top of dish. Remove cover and bake until golden brown.

Serve with lots of Vanilla Ice Cream!

Some Big News – Baby White is On the Way!

I’ve put off the news for long enough – I’m pregnant!

This is the first day or so that I’ve actually started to show, so you’re seeing the bump for the very first time…and I’m attempting not to freak out about it!

Finding out about the pregnancy was certainly a surprise for Jeremy and I, not because we were trying NOT to, but because we simply weren’t sure I had the ability. When I found out, I was already 7.5 weeks along – halfway through the first trimester with absolutely no symptoms!

As of today I’m 18 weeks along. No cravings, no sickness, just a slowly growing baby inside. We’ll find out the gender in 2 weeks and I cannot wait. In the meantime we’re acquiring what we can that’s gender-neutral – the crib arrived yesterday and its already set up, sitting in a big empty room just waiting for others to join.

I won’t be discussing the pregnancy here at Taste of Wonderland, but you can follow this new, exciting, and scary adventure into motherhood over at Writing In White!

I’m also at Top Baby Blogs, so if you like Writing in White, be sure to vote for me by clicking on the banner below, then clicking on the owl on the Left. Simple as that!
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2012 Disney World Food and Wine Festival

I cannot wait to be in Disney World again. Not only because I need my fix, but also because I will be able to participate in the Food and Wine Festival for the first time.

This year’s theme is Taste Your Way Around the World, where each country in Epcot’s world showcase will feature food and wine from their particular region. Although there aren’t details on the dishes to be served as of yet, I do know that there will be at least 12 new plates offered throughout. Considering I’ve never been, that’s 12 more I get to try out!

As always, Disney takes care of their guests with allergies. In 2011 alone, the Food and Wine festival had at least 13 gluten free options in various booths. This is only set to grow in 2012! Highlights last year included Argentina’s Grilled Beef Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce and Ireland’s Flourless Warm Lava Cake.

In 2012 there will be a Dessert and Champagne booth where I know I’ll be having a glass of bubbly, and an entire booth simply devoted to one of the great loves of my life – Cheese.

Here are some details:

17th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

September 28 – November 12, 2012

Registration for Food & Wine Festival Events Begins on August 14 at 7 a.m. EST

New for 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

New Marketplace Kiosks & Offerings:

  • TERRA Marketplace – For the first time, a vegan kiosk will be introduced for 2012, featuring vegan dishes such as Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice, Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips and Cashew Cheese, and a new Dairy-free, Lactose-free Berry smoothie.
  • FLORIDA Marketplace – will introduce guests to fresh twists on regional flavors such as White Corn Arepa with Mangalitsa Pork and Sweet Corn, Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Veggies and Crispy Plantains, and Key Lime Wine. L
  • Look for new kid-friendly dirnks at kiosks throughout the World Showcase, such as non-alcoholic smoothies and “Honest Kids” organic juices.

New Marketplace Chef Tours:

This walking-and-tasting tour around the World Showcase will offer VIP access to several international marketplaces and will take place each Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Hosted by festival chefs, guests will learn culinary secrets while sampling five dishes and five beverage items such as beer, wine, and cocktails. Cost is $90 plus tax.

New Regional Lunches:

  • Due to renovations taking place at France’s Bistro de Paris restaurant, the French Regional Lunches will not be available in 2012, but will return in 2013.
  • Italy will continue its popular series of festival events at Via Napoli, as well as the exquisite White Truffle Lunch on November 4 at Tutto Italia Ristorante. The Italy Pavilion will be adding a new Italian Regional Food & Wine Luncheon in the recently opened Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, pairing wines with casual, authentic dishes. Tutto Gusto luncheons will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Cost is $75 plus tax.

2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Highlights

Marketplaces & Promenade
Over 25 international marketplace kiosks will serve up tapas-sized portions of regional specialties. Guests will get the chance to explore the World Showcase countries through their most mouthwatering foods and beverages!

Eat to the Beat! Concert Series
Nightly musical entertainment during the nightly Eat to the Beat! Concert Series. Enjoy a varied lineup of classic rock, soul, R&B, jazz and funk, including Boyz II Men, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Sister Hazel, 38 Special, Blues Traveler, and more.

Seminars and Demonstrations
Learn from the masters with the festival’s schedule of seminars and demonstrations featuring the fresh ingredients and secret techniques that go into some of the world’s most extraordinary dishes and drinks. Chef appearances by Robert Irvine, Rock Harper, Jamie Deen, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Andrew Zimmern, Erika Davis (from Top Chef Just Desserts) and others will share their talents during culinary demos.

Special Festival Experiences

  • Party for the Senses: October 6, 13, 20, 27 and November 3, from 7:30 – 10 p.m.
    guests may book any of 3 tiers for this event. Gratuity in included in the pricing. Both of the reserved seating options also include a specialty cocktail and early admission at 7:15 p.m.
    • A reserved table on the main floor is $170 plus tax
    • A reserved table in the premium Wine View Lounge is $270 plus tax
    • General admission is $145 plus tax
  • 3D Dessert Discovery: Features “3D” viewing of Illuminations while enjoying a variety of desserts. A selection of vegan and gluten-free desserts by Babycakes NYC Bakery will also be provided! Parties take place on select Fridays throughout the festival.

No Oat Chocolate Chip “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

I purchased a new cookbook, enchantingly titled Fairytale Food. I’ll be writing a full review of it coming up soon, but suffice it to say, it made me crave sweets as if I were under the spell of Hansel and Gretel.

While I have at least 5 different recipes for Chocolate Chip cookies (some of them on this blog alone), I needed something a bit different. Oatmeal cookies were calling my name.

No, these did not come from the fairytale cookbook, but they are so delicious they certainly could be a fairytale food!

No Oat Chocolate Chip “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Almond Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sunbutter
  • Scant 1/4 Cup Honey
  • Fill remaining 1/4 Cup with Maple Syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. Stevia Powder
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp. Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Dried Fruit of Choice (I used dried Blueberries this time, but Raisins are more traditional)
  • 1/4 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all cookie ingredients in a large bowl, adding Dried Fruit and Chocolate Chips last. Drop the dough onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets using a large tablespoon. If you want uniform, pretty cookies, flatten and shape them slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes and gobble them up!

James Franco as the New Wizard of Oz


Coming out March 2013, Disney is taking a new approach with the classic movie (much like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked) and will show the backstory to one of Oz’s most notorious names…the great Oz himself.

Who else gets chills while watching this new Trailer from Disney?

Here’s a synopsis:

When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Looks like a great cast!