slide show

December 15, 2010

December 9, 2010

Perfect for NYE : Review of My Tasting at Roederer Winery

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Roederer Winery in Anderson Valley about 2 hours North of San Francisco in the heart of the Norcal Wine Country.  I am not a big drinker, but those of you who know me, know I rarely turn down the bubbly. 

For some, Champagne is an acquired taste, and I guess it's one I have definitely acquired! I love the crisp, fruity taste, not to mention how the bubbles tickle your nose as you sip the luscious nectar.  I am one of those "Champagne Girls" who's goal is to let the world know..."You don't need a special occasion to drink the bubbles."  You could take that comment literally, but maybe I just feel this way, because I believe every day is a celebration!!!

Yesterday was truly a celebration, because my mother arrived in California for the first time since her college days.  Anxious to "wine and dine her" with all the best California has to offer, I planned a trip to Roederer Estate for a Champagne tasting.  I have become familiar with their wine, since their yummy Brut NV is available by the glass at nearly every eatery in Northern California, so I was exceedingly excited to taste the goods right from the source.

We entered the gates and we knew we were in for a treat.  The winding driveway paralleled the vineyards which stretched as far as we could see, leading us to the elegant tasting room, perched atop a hill with panoramic views of the estate.

Upon entry, we signed the guestbook and were warmly greeted by Jill, Roederer's sommolier and hospitality director.  After explaining that I own a wine bar back in NC, we were treated like VIPs.  We were even invited to take a peek into the adjacent bottling room before our tasting.

The tasting room was not busy, but coincidentally, the only other guests were a couple from Asheville, NC...less than an hour away from our home!  A tasting at Roederer is $6.00 per person and includes 8 1oz. pours (5 Champagne and 3 still).  You can also purchase your favorites by the glass. 

After the tasting, I purchased an etched bottle of Extra Dry which is only available at the winery and not nationally distributed...planning to save it for NYE!!! 

Brut NV 
All in all, Roederer is the best domestic Sparkling Wine I can remember tasting in quite some time and is a great deal at around $20. per bottle.  It just has that "real" french Champagne taste, and it figures, since Roederer is a branch off of the French house of Champagne Louis Roederer... maker of the famed Cristal Champagne.  I recommend this anyone looking for the perfect Sparkling Beverage to ring in the New Year.

Please check out their website to find a distributor near you!

December 8, 2010

Save 30% off Meals at Disney Parks

The Disney Parks Blog has posted a great money saving coupon on its site this morning.  This valuable coupon can save you big $$$ if you plan to visit Disneyland or Disney World 12/19/10-1/1/11!  Simply click the link and print the Dining Voucher to save 30% off the price of your meal excluding alcohol.  The voucher must be used before 12:00 noon or betweeen 3:00 and 4:30 pm and is valid at select restaurants within the parks.  Be sure to print out several, as the coupon will be taken by a Cast Member at time of redemption.

 Walt Disney World Resort Dining Discount Voucher

December 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dreams DO Come True

So pleased to say "I'm Going!"  Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

December 4, 2010

A Christmas Eve Tradition: Lowcountry Shrimp and Corn Chowder

A Christmas Eve tradition in my family is to eat a seafood dish on Christmas Eve.  Keeping in touch with my southern, Lowcountry of SC roots, this meal can be anything from oyster roast to fish fry.  The clean up after both of the aforementioned can leave me with dreams of gruesome horrors rather than ones filled with fairies and sugar plums... not to mention, the smell of fish overpowers gingerbread and spiced apple any day!  lol!

Last year we opted for a Lowcountry Shrimp and Corn Chowder.  Although this is occasionally on the soup board at my restaurant, I never tire of its creamy flavor. 

I think we have adopted a brand new tradition in this chowder, and I think you'll enjoy it too!  I have adapted my recipe by making it quick and easy to make for all you busy moms.  Sorry I don't have a picture, but if you make this, please send pics to and I will post it here!  Enjoy!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 c. Chopped Celery
  • 1 c. Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 8oz. Package Cream Cheese Diced
  • 2 c. Half and Half
  • 2 to 3 cups Unpeeled Cooked Red Potatoes(Not too well done)
  • 1 can (15oz) Mexi-Corn
  • 1 Lb. Fresh Raw Shrimp Peeled and Deveined
  • Salt and Pepper to Season to taste

What To Do:

  1. In a large stock pot saute celery, onions, and garlic in butter being careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add cream cheese and cream; and stir over low heat until cream cheese is completely melted.
  3. Add potatoes, corn, and shrimp.  Heat thorough, stirring occasionally and then serve. Remove from heat as to not overcook the shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper!  Enjoy!

December 2, 2010

Vivo brings Disney home for Christmas!

Christmas arrived early at the Walt Disney World Resort.  November 8, 2010 marked the kick-off the annual "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" a magical Holiday celebration unlike any other. I will refer to this event as "MVMCP", an anagram adopted by Disney enthusiasts and trip planners.

The Magic Kingdom Park is appropriately host to this magical party.  MVMCP begins at 7pm, after the park has closed to regular guests.  Interact with your favorite Disney Characters dressed in their festive Holiday Attire as Cinderella's Castle gleams in the backdrop with it's "Sugar-Dipped" appearance, thanks to the Holiday Dream Lights.  As you walk down Main Street, you may even notice the snowflakes tickling your nose... YES, snowflakes!

There are parades to be seen, music to be heard, and yummy holiday goodies to enjoy.  I've been a little bummed that we will be missing the festivities this year, so I have put together a few recipes from Cafe Vivo, my restaurant,  to help bring MVMCP home for the holidays!  Hopefully those of you who are unable to make it to Walt Disney World this year will consider throwing together some of the following snacks and popping in some classic Disney holiday movies and enjoy some of my favorite Disney holiday specials at home!  Mickey's Christmas Carol is my favorite and is available from

Disney Animation Collection 7: Mickey's Christmas Carol 

At Cafe Vivo, my restaurant in NC, I like to feature Pixie-Dusted Sugar Cookies, Vivo's signature Hot-Chocolate, and of course Vivo's Homemade Spiced Cider, this time of year...and appropriately, you can find similar treats at MVMCP.  If you're not up for the challenge, stop by Cafe Vivo and we'll do all the work!

MVMCP Pixie-Dusted Sugar Cookies

What You'll Need:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Vivo's Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate

What you'll Need:

1 tbsp. DARK cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. water
1 c. milk
a bit of vanilla or peppermint extract, if desired
What To Do:
Combine cocoa, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Heat it on low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan. After about 1 to 2 minutes, add milk and vanilla. Mix it all together until it reaches your preferred temperature.  Be sure to top with Whipped Cream or Marshmallows.
Vivo's Spiced Apple Cider:
What You'll Need:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
What to Do:

Combine water and spices in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain mixture discarding spices, return water to Dutch oven. Add apple cider, lemon and orange; cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Serve warm.                                                                                                                                                      

December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: YUM

French Toast Croissants with Organic Canadian Maple Syrup, a Fresh Berry and Custard Tart, Crispy Applewood Smoked Bacon and of course a Mimosa!  YUM!

Win Disney Movie Library, TV, and Laptop from Disney

Visit for a chance to win "The Ultimate Movie Night" from the site's Very Merry Christmas Contest.  The Grand Prize is a package consisting of a Disney Movie Library featuring 4 titles, a flat screen television, and a laptop computer.  There will also be a "Voter's Choice" prize of $1500.
A Very Merry Christmas Contest
Disney's Verry Merry Christmas Contest
All you have to do is vist the link to upload your favorite Holiday photo and choose a catagory that best fits your photo:  Scared of Santa, Silly Sweaters, or Christmas Moments.  The contest ends December 27 and winners will be anounced in early February.

November 30, 2010

Heading to Fort Wilderness? Save $$$ with Off-Site Golf-Cart Rental

Headed to Fort Wilderness on your upcoming Walt Disney World Resort Vacation??? Planning on taking advantage of having an electric cart to "tool" around in during your stay???  If so, you can save a substantial amount of money by renting from an "off-property" company.

Currently, Electric Cart rentals are available at the Fort Wilderness Bike Barn at a daily rate of nearly $60.00 per day with no discount by the week.  This option has been well-worth it to my family and having the cart during our stay has always been a highlight!

Bike Barn Cart Decorated for a my Brother-in-law's graduation
This year, after a little savvy research, we are renting from Orlando's Golf Cart Enterprises.  With rates as low as $225. per week we will be saving approximately $200. Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort no longer allows outside companies to deliver the carts, so you must have a vehicle available to pick up your cart.

Golf Cart Enterprises Rental ~ $225. per week

 A savings like this will make "jetting" around the beautiful grounds of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort even MORE fantastic!!!  I highly recommend having a golf cart during your stay at Fort Wilderness.  The walk from the Cabins to transportation or other facilities can be a trek... with a cart, just unplug, hop in and go. There are "parking" areas everywhere and you can leave your cart plugged in while you are off exploring!  Hope this tip can help save you money on your magical vacation.

A Timeless Classic ~ Fantasia is Released from the Disney Vault Today ~ I have your $10 off coupon

Today, Disney's Fantasia has been released in extremely limited numbers, just in time for the holidays.  The film, produced by Walt Disney himself was originally released in 1940. After numerous subsequent releases, Fantasia has been restored to as close to its original glory as possible and is available today, alongside Fantasia 2000 on Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD.  Prices range from $19.99 for the DVD and higher accordingly for the Blu-Ray Combo Pack.

Disney Movie Rewards is offering a $10 discount coupon for your purchase.  The limit is 2 coupons and they expire 12-7-2101.  You will also have to sign up for a free Disney Movie Rewards account.

Here is the link:

November 28, 2010

"Tangled" Orange Biscuit Braids

While surfing the web today, I came across an adorable and delicious recipe for Orange Biscuit Braids on  After just seeing Tangled last Thursday, I HAD to give these a try!

They are simple, yet creative enough to hold your little one's interest...but delicious enough for Mama to enjoy as well... And "Mama knows best!"

  The beautiful golden braid is a delicious, flaky pastry braid adorned with almond "flowers"...just like Rapunzel's braid in the village scene in Disney's newest motion picture film Tangled which opened last Wednesdays in theaters.

Recipe by Cindy Littlefield via

 You'll need:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk, plus a little extra for brushing on the braids before baking
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • Dried fruits and slivered almonds (for garnish)
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cookie sheet
  • Pastry brush
  • Cooling rack

Orange Biscuit Braid
Photo Courtesy of Disney Family Website

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Meanwhile, measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine the ingredients.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and orange zest.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture into it. Stir well.
5. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Using floured hands, roll each piece into a 10-inch rope, fold it in half, and twist the dough a couple of times. For the best result, handle the dough only as much as necessary. Overworking it can make the biscuits less tender.
6. Arrange the biscuit braids on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little milk. Bake the braids for 10 to 12 minutes.
7. Transfer the baked braids to a cooling rack.
8. Garnish the cooled braids with edible flowers made with slivered almond petals and dried fruit centers.

Christmas at The Happiest Place on Earth ~ Part I of II ~ Magic Kingdom & DHS

I received an email from a from a friend this morning asking for some Disney advice... This is the family's first trip to Disney... they have only alloted 4 of their vacation days to Disney... AND they plan to arrive on Christmas Eve......... Yikes.... not only is that RIGHT around the corner, it is also one of the busiest times to visit Disney.  There is SO much to do in SO little time, especially since it's Christmas.

What a wonderful SURPRISE to give your family for Christmas... It may be a little hectic, but can definately be the experience of a lifetime!  The Disney World Resort is the perfect venue for your Holiday Celebration.  Beginning as early as November 3, the 40-square-mile resort is transformed into a Winter Wonderland and most of the festivities continue through January 3.

"From a sparkling ice castle and symphony of dazzling lights … to legendary international customs and wondrous displays … to magical entertainment and musical delights, Walt Disney World Resort unwraps an enchanting celebration of the holiday season in 2010."

This series will be broken into 2 parts: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney.

**Holiday info gained from press release**

Magic Kingdom:

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – On 19 magical nights between Nov. 8 and
Dec. 19, holiday revelers can sip cocoa, catch a “snowflake” on a fingertip and catch the spirit of the season through enchanting entertainment that includes live shows, fireworks, carolers and special character meet and greets.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
Dancing gingerbread, marching soldiers and Santa’s sleigh parade down Main Street, U.S.A. to seasonal melodies during the twice-nightly “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade” … Cinderella Castle is draped radiantly with 200,000 glistening white lights … and “Holiday Wishes, Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” fireworks lights the night sky during a pyrotechnics show orchestrated to holiday melodies.

The night wouldn’t be complete without the forecasted flurry of snowflakes along Main Street, U.S.A. and a warming cup of cocoa in hand.  Party-goers also enjoy complimentary cookies and apple slices and enjoy unlimited admission to favorite attractions. 
For more information Guests can visit or call 407/W-DISNEY.

Photo Courtesy Of Disney Parks
Castle Dream Lights – When daylight has passed during the holiday season, Magic Kingdom guests can behold a breathtaking transformation during the Castle Dream Lights ceremony.  Each evening Nov. 8, 2010, through Jan. 3, 2011, Cinderella and favorite characters decked out in holiday garb take to the stage and magically transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace aglow with 200,000 white lights – a perfect centerpiece to a park all decked out with wreaths, bows, garland and towering Christmas trees.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Spectacle of Dancing Lights – Millions of brilliant bulbs blanket the backlot with dancing lights and animated displays synchronized to high-energy holiday tunes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Nov. 8, 2010, through Jan. 3, 2011.

Colorful wreaths, twirling carousels, flying angels and Santa and his reindeer bedazzle park-goers amid swirling snow flurries during The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, a megawatt, multi-colored spectacle that Show Director John Phelan calls “the ultimate Americana Holiday lights display.”
Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks

“Imagine it,” Phelan said.  “One private citizen (Jennings Osborne), overwhelmed by the spirit of the season, created his own ‘Holiday Wonderland,’ complete with a giant rotating globe with ‘Peace on Earth’ above it and a massive canopy of red lights that people could walk under.  He said he wanted the people to feel like they were inside the lights, looking out.  Only in America!”

In fact, originally it was only in Little Rock, at the home of Arkansas businessman Jennings Osborne.  The rich tradition began some 20 years ago when he strung 1,000 lights as a Christmas gift to his daughter.  After the exhibit grew larger and brighter – into millions of lights – it was transported to Walt Disney World Resort in 1995, where the light display now delights guests from all over the world each year.

November 27, 2010

An Ode to Disney Gingerbread Part I. ~ The Gingerbread Mickey

It's my favorite time of year again and as usual, I am incorporating into it, another favorite, Disney!!!  Nothing says Christmas better than Gingerbread... and in this Disney girl's humble opinion, no recipe can top Geppetto's Gingerbread Cookies from the classic Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookbook: Favorite Recipes from Mickey and His Friends.  And what could be better than adorable, fresh-baked gingerbread men...NOTHING... well, except maybe adorable, fresh-baked Mickey shaped Gingerbread Cookies! 

 You need a Mickey shaped Cookie Cutter!!! I was lucky enough to come across an actual Mickey Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter.  These are sold excusively in the Disney parks, but are also available through a few online merchants, including ebay!  This cookie cutter also comes with a pre-made cookie mix, which I did not ever use!

If you can't come across this particular cutter, a Mickey Head shape will also work great, and is more readily available.  I have used the Mickey Head cutter many times for all sorts of cookies.  This one perfect and very reasonable... $5.95 at the Disney Store or Amazon.

Mickey Mouse Icon Cookie Cutter (Walt Disney World Exclusive)
And of course, you can always use a traditional gingerbread man cookie cutter, or simply drop spoonfuls of dough on the cookie sheet! They are still delicious plus easy to make!  The little ones will have so much fun helping out and decorating these little guys, not to mention EATING them! Sorry Mickey!

So here is the recipe directly from Mickey Mouse Cookbook :
What you need:
Butter or margarine (for greasing cookie sheets)
1 package (14.5 ounces) gingerbread mix
¼ cup milk
¼ cup salad oil
It’s nice to have 2 cookie sheets so that you can bake the cookies all at once. If you only have 1, though, cut out and bake half the cookies. Remove them from the sheet and let it cool. Then grease it again with butter or margarine. Cut out the rest of the cookies and bake them. 
Before putting the cookies into the oven, try adding some of these tasty decorations to the tops to make faces or clothes or pretty designs: crushed peanuts, candies, raisins, miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, coconut, sprinkles. How many more can you think of? You can also decorate the cooled baked cookies with frosting-filled cake decorating tubes.

What you do with it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with a little butter.
2. Pour the gingerbread mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and oil and mix well with a spoon.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a round. Wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s firm, about 1 hour.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
5. Cut out cookies (see pages 28-29) and place them on the cookie sheets with a wide spatula. Leave some room between cookies.
6. Bake for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet.

November 21, 2010

Low Fat Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

After seeing a tweet from a friend searching for a healthy Pumpkin Muffin recipe, I quickly recalled that I made delicious Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins last year and they were a hit at my bakery.

I am posting the recipe here, just in time for Thanksgiving.  These muffins are "just right" in terms of sweetness and are actually low fat...weighing in at under 200 calories per muffin. 

These yummy treats are best served warm and are incredibly moist. I actually made "mini-muffins" for Thanksgiving Breakfast last year... Great complement to your morning coffee! The flavor just screams "Fall"!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
*** I sometimes add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, but this will slightly increase the calories (It's worth it)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Combine pumpkin, beaten egg, oil and milk in a medium bowl. Make a well in dry ingredients; add pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped cranberries. Fill muffin cups and bake for 22-25 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins

November 19, 2010

I Am SO Thankful: Thanksgiving Blessings Mix

Here is a recipe I found online several times for a simple, inexpensive, and thoughtful Thanksgiving snack mix that is not only super yummy, but also conveys a wonderful message.

Individually packaged, these will make a nice Thanksgiving table-setting, or share with friends as the perfect holiday favor. 

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix RecipeIngredients:
2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey's-brand chocolate kisses

In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.
Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags or small ziplock bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem, raffia or twist tie and attach card.

Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.

(Card Descriptions):
Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.
Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.
M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.
Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives

November 8, 2010

Narcoosees' Coconut Creme Brulee

Here is another post while I am attempting to pass some time waiting for a "Magical Disney Phone Call."

One of my favorite spots to dine at WDW is Narcoossee's, a seafood restaurant located at The Grand Floridian.  This is one of WDW's signature dining experiences, and has always lived up to that reputation, as far as I'm concerned.

It's not just the meal itself, but the whole experience... From the quaint, nautical setting with panoramic windows overlooking Bay Lake, to the unique octagonal shape, to the Magical View of Cinderella's Castle in the distance!  My last visit to Narcoossee's was on my birthday during "Wishes" with the beauty of the Dream Lights twinkling on the horizon!  They even pipe in the Music and we were lucky enough to snag a window seat.

Since it was my birthday, I was offered a complimentary glass of champagne as well as a "Creme Brulee" duo of Key Lime and Coconut... I have decided to post a recipe here so you all can enjoy it as well!

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup flaked/sweetened Coconut
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place six 3/4-cup custard cups or ramekins in large roasting pan. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks and whole egg in large bowl to blend. Combine cream, coconut milk and coconut in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Whisk into yolk mixture. Pour custard into cups, dividing equally.
Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are just set in center, about 35 minutes. Remove from water. Cool; chill overnight.
Preheat broiler. Arrange custard cups on baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each. Broil until sugar browns, rotating baking sheet for even browning and watching closely, about 2 minutes. Chill custards at least 1 hour before serving. (Can be broiled, then chilled up to 6 hours ahead.)

*** This recipe is from I DO NOT use the broiler method for Brulee-ing.  I prefer to use a Culinary Torch.

*** PLEASE-- THE BRULEE is SO important, and you MUST give the custard enough time to cool...Hot Creme Custard is NOT GOOD!!!

June 12, 2010

Just Me

"Grew up in the lowcountry of SC and have been living in the high country of NC for the past decade. A self-professed 'Disney-fanatic', I am known by family, friends, and neighbors as the Disney Go to Girl. I spend a good portion of each year methodically planning our Annual WDW vacation, pulling out all the stops.

I am mother to a beautiful princess, Bella, and wife to my best friend. I am extremely active in our church and try hard to put God first in my life. I am a long-time fan and follower of the jam-band music scene, and when I'm not busy fulfilling my dream job as a mommy, or day job as a restaurant and Wine Bar owner, I can be found at concerts, music festivals, cheering on the Yankees, eating Thin Crust NY style Pizza, singing in the shower, and of course, dreaming of Disney!"

June 3, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookies for my MP Gang to enjoy!!!


Photo Courtesy of The Disney Food Blog! Check out her review here!

I have entered this post especially for my WDW Mom's Panel friends.  One of my fave WDW snacks happens to be the Carrot Cake Cookie...found exclusively at DHS' Writers' Stop.  The posting of this recipe is even more pressing, since a little birdie told me they are no longer available at the original venue!!?? 

Upon arriving home from my last trip, obsessed and completely consumed by this little "carrot-y, spicey" delicacy, I had to seek out a recipe... and I have also sold these in the bakery case at my cafe. SO HERE GOES:

You can keep your Carrot Cake Mix Cookies simple with just a carrot cake mix (I like Duncan Hines Decadent Carrot Cake Mix ~ Has everything included), butter and eggs,  Or you can embellish them with extra spices, grated carrots, nuts, and/or drained crushed pineapple. (If you use the Decadent Mix there's no need to add anything)

The way you prefer your carrot cake is probably the same way you will prefer your carrot cake cookies!

Always remember to check your cookies at the earliest baking time specified and continue baking if necessary, checking every minute or so until your cake mix cookies are done. And only put cookie dough on cool cookie sheets, never warm, to prevent your cookies from melting and spreading too much.

These cookies should bake in about 10 to 12 minutes if you are not using additional wet ingredients such as carrots and pineapple. They will need a couple more minutes baking time if you do.

***Be sure to keep reading as I have included my Nanny's recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting (you can use store bought if in a hurry, but homemade is simple and WORTH it!)

Carrot Cake Mix Cookies Recipe

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package of carrot cake mix (I like Duncan Hines Decadent Brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
Any of the following optional ingredients you choose: (The Decadent Mix includes Shredded Carrot)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup grated peeled carrot
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper for best results. (Alternatively lightly spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.)
  2. In a large bowl beat half the dry cake mix, oil, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice (if using) with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the, remaining cake mix and any optional additions you are using with a wooden spoon, just until combined.
  4. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
  5. Flatten the cookie dough balls slightly with the back of a fork or the bottom of a glass.
  6. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or just until the edges are set but the centers are still soft.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen Carrot Cake Mix Cookies (Adapted from Epicurious)

Sandwich 2 cookies together with a glob of Cream Cheese Frosting in the Middle

Amanda's Nanny's Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8oz. Packages Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1/2 cup Butter Softened
  • 2 cups Confectioner's Sugar Sifted
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2Tbsp Milk


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Add Milk if necessary to soften. Store in the refrigerator after use.