Tasty Tuesday–The First Disney Dinner

If you know anything about me, you know I love themed meals and hands-on activities. When I started planning our Disney-focused summer school (details to come!) to coincide with our postponed family vacation, I knew I had to find some kind of cookbook to go with our experience. I really hit the jackpot, because a new cookbook created for the 50th anniversary of Disney World was recently published, and it contains recipes from all kinds of park locations!

I planned our first “Disney Dinner” to go with the last day of the 2021-22 homeschool year last week…a real kick-off to summer vacation! We started the meal with a Disney classic, the Orange Bird Flip. Yes, it contains raw eggs, which might be scary or disgusting to some, but we liked it!

The main course was Puerco en Salsa Verde from the Mexican pavilion at Epcot. In addition to cooking the pork, I also fried the potatoes and made the salsa verde from scratch (which may have been a mistake, because now my family wants me to never buy jarred salsa verde again!)…I was pretty proud of the effort I put in!

For dessert, I made the Brown Derby’s grapefruit cake:

Yes, you noticed correctly…I even bought two special serving pieces to go with our Disney Dinners…and Orange Bird cup and what is technically a Mickey Mouse pasta bowl, but also works well as a plate. In the end, they’ll make good souvenirs as well as dishes! I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from this cookbook (and one other one I already had) this summer!

And Also with You (Revenge of the Fifth)

The Jedi had their day, now it’s time for the Revenge of the Fifth! I didn’t make quite as many dishes today, but we still had a special dinner. I turned back to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook and Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook for inspiration. For the main course, I made Bantha Surprise (beef stew)…do you know how hard it is to find fresh Bantha around here?!?…and served it with Rorkid Bread (garlic bread dusted with matcha powder).

I made another special drink, the Photon Fizzle, and just left out the gin. I got to work with a new ingredient (boba pearls), which was a lot of fun!

For dessert, I made Mirial Teacakes, which also had matcha powder:

This won’t be the last themed dinner before our big trip…I already have something special planned for the last day of school next week, and beyond that, who knows?!?

May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars Day!

We have especially been looking forward to this holiday this year, because we’re so excited about our trip to Disney World and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge next month! I planned some special meals to celebrate, featuring recipes from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook and Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook. We started the day with Five-Blossom Bread for breakfast:

For dinner, I made an Eopie (pork) Roast, Plicated Orga Root (hasselback-style russet and sweet potatoes), and Roasted Rootleaf (cabbage).

We also had a Kyyyalstaad Fizz (lemon and lime juice with sparkling water):

For dessert we had Kashyyyk Cakes (chocolate cake, raspberry jam, and chocolate-mascarpone filling):

We’re not done yet…I have another special dinner planned for Revenge of the Fifth tomorrow!

Tasty Tuesday–My Little Pony Baking Book

Chickadee and I have been enjoying baking recipes from the My Little Pony Baking Book she received for Christmas. We’ve made at least one recipe from each chapter of the book at this point…here’s a look at everything we’ve tried so far:

  • Strawberry Cupcakes
  • Celebration Cinnamon Rolls
  • Piñata Cupcakes
  • Pony Poke Cake
  • Chocolate Dream Pie
  • Cupcake Cones
  • Peanut Butter Candy Cookies
  • Out-of-this-World Brownies
  • Chaos Cookies
  • Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
  • Apple Fritter Bread
  • Purple Velvet Cake

The recipes in the book are delicious, but they’re also a lot of fun, and they all look amazing…we’re really looking forward to baking more of them!

Easter 2022

Time for a look back at another Markel Family Easter, which started, as it does every year, on Maundy Thursday:

On Friday, I made hot cross buns (again), but this year, I tried a new recipe:

The Good Friday service was, as always, lovely and moving:

On Saturday morning, while we watched Rick Steves’ European Easter, we made our Paschal Candle for the year…I think this may be the nicest job we’ve ever done!

While I did have work to do on Saturday to prepare for our Easter dinner, most of the day was really spent waiting until it was finally time for my favorite service of the church year, the Great Vigil of Easter:

After church, we stopped at Wendy’s for Frostys and fries:

We’re still getting used to the fact that we don’t have to get up for a sunrise Easter service, so we felt a little more leisurely about getting ready. We were still at church early enough to take pictures outside:

And some indoors, including our traditional by-the-baptismal-font Easter pictures:

The church looked especially beautiful!

Ladybug even got to acolyte:

And we got a nice family picture after the service:

When we got home, I made Easter breakfast, which included Kaiserschmarrn (the Kaiser’s torn pancakes) with Rhabarberkompott (rhubarb compote), hard-boiled eggs (this is really the first time we’ve ever dyed eggs…you’ll see why in a minute), and pomegranate juice:

While we watched Easter Parade and My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, I found time to play a little Animal Crossing: New Horizons so I could visit with Zipper T. Bunny. I also caught up with Roald, who was wearing an egg suit…I wonder if that’s what he looked like when he hatched?

I spent most of the rest of the day working on dinner and setting the table:

I chose an Italian theme for this year’s dinner. I served the same lamb in the slow cooker we had last year (technically Greek, but more generically Mediterranean, so close enough), lemon parmesan risotto, insalata caprese, roasted cauliflower, panzanella, breaded artichokes, capers, olives, Italian Easter bread, and lemon Italian soda.

I stuck with the Italian theme for dessert…we had cannoli and Italian sprinkle cookies:

This was an especially nice Easter. Maybe it’s because things felt more “normal” (I actually shook hands for the first time in over two years!), maybe it was because the church services were so meaningful, maybe it was because this may be the nicest Easter dinner I’ve ever made. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful we had such a wonderful celebration of Christ’s resurrection!

Tasty Tuesday–Banana Cake

I have been baking this banana cake for literal decades…it’s probably one of the first recipes I learned how to make. I’ve changed it a bit over time…I used to include walnuts in the cake, but since Moose it allergic to nuts, now I leave them out, and just offer them as a topping for those that like them. To compensate for that, I started adding extra banana, and the flavor is unmistakable!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed, overripe bananas (about three bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter in bowl of mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and eggs; mix well. Add buttermilk, bananas, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Kirby Day

Happy Kirby Day!

The Fab Five, and especially Turkey, have been looking forward to the release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land for a long time. Today was finally the day, and I decided to make the most of it.

We started with pink donuts for breakfast:

We managed to find a Target that had decorated their bollards for the occasion:

I improvised a recipe for a pink Mocktail that was absolutely delicious…it combined white cranberry-strawberry juice, frozen lemonade concentrate, and 7-UP, with some raspberries floated on top:

For dinner we had tomato soup (tomatoes restore Kirby’s health) with Kirby-themed grilled cheese sandwiches:

It was a pretty fun dinner!

For dessert, I made strawberry cupcakes (and I made sure Keeby was represented, too!):

I like finding fun things to celebrate!

Tasty Tuesday–Exploring My Heritage Through Cooking

I’ve always enjoyed ethnic cooking, especially German, Austrian, and Hungarian recipes that reflect my own heritage (two of my family’s favorite dishes that I’ve been making for years are spaetzle and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). For the last six months or so (ever since I started doing German lessons with Duolingo and wearing dirndls), I’ve really been trying to introduce more personal ethnic recipes into our meals, so I’ve been doing a lot of German cooking, mainly with recipes from Dirndl Kitchen and the Easy German Cookbook. It’s been a lot of fun trying new things, and it really helps me feel to connected to the generations who have come before me. Here’s a look at the recipes we’ve sampled since I began this little project:

  • Döner Kebab on Pide Bread (A Turkish Recipe by way of Germany)
  • Linsen mit Spätzle (Lentil Stew with Spätzle)
  • Berliner (Jelly Filled Donuts)
  • Linzer Augen (Jam Filled Cookies)
  • Schweinelendchen mit Pilzrahmsoße (Pork Medallions with Mushroom Cream Sauce)
  • Haschee (Meat Sauce)
  • Goulaschsuppe (Goulash Soup)
  • Blitztorte (Lightning Cake)
  • Hühnerfrikassee (Chicken Fricassee)
  • Kabbeljau mit Senfsoße (Cod with Mustard Sauce)
  • Königsberger Klopse (Prussian Meatballs in White Caper Sauce)
  • Milchreis (Rice Pudding)
  • Kartoffelklöße (Potato Dumplings)
  • Senfbraten (Mustard Roasted Pork Loin)
  • Versunkener Apfelkuchrn (Sunken Apple Cake)
  • Speckbohnen (Green Beans with Bacon)
  • Quarkbällchen (Jelly Filled Donut Holes)

I’m not done trying new German recipes by any means…I haven’t even made it all the way through the cookbook yet! But this is a look at where I’ve been so far, and as I try more new dishes, I’ll make sure to update the list!