Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Disney and work treats...

Jeff's big birthday present (way back in September) was a trip to Disney World in December to experience Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Because of timing and other obligations, we were only going to be able to go for a quick extended weekend - we left at 3 am Friday morning and started our trip back home Monday afternoon. Whew! Whirlwind trip, but we packed in all the wonderful decorated sights we could.

We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort - this was our second time at this one and it was just as lovely - clean, quiet and had a beautiful view of a river that runs behind it. Here I am standing by one of the fountains in the courtyard.

Disney definitely goes all out for Christmas and we are glad we made the drive down to see it, though I was surprised with all the decorated Christmas trees we saw, most of them didn't have any Mickey-related decorations on them. The resorts don't go as crazy as the parks, but several of them had these outrageous gingerbread houses - here's a snap of one of the many.

And here is what it look to make the giant house - dang!

We were in awe Saturday night when we went to walk through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios - what a show!

If you are ever visiting Disney during this time of the year, that is definitely a must-see.

The Christmas Party was a pretty spectacular event - they escorted anyone not attending the party out at 7 pm, only allowing those with the party wristbands to stay. The Disney folks were pretty strict about it too! They had a number of shows all around the park, a special parade and, of course, an amazing fireworks display. Viewing the castle all light up was a sight to be seen!

One of many little touches Disney does.

We had our share of food, but nothing really to write home about as we didn't go out of our way this trip to make any sit-down dining reservations. Jeff and I did go to Earl of Sandwich a couple times and that place never manages to disappoint. One notable exception was the mile high Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake from Starring Roles Cafe - sweet, but stupendously good.

I was anxious to see how wearing those Vibram Five Fingers would make my feet feel after the miles and miles we ended up walking over trip.

I'm pleased to say my feet have never been happier! With shoes, I always ended up sore at the end of the day during our Disney trips, but not this time. My feet were quite comfortable, relaxed and ready to go, even after all the walking! I was, however, not expecting all the attention they got - lots of comments and questions while standing in line, with the random toe-groping (really - it happened a few times!) from little ones whose parents were not paying attention.

It wasn't a perfect trip though - Jeff lost his credit card on Saturday, the movie we went to see late that same evening restarted 3 times four minutes into the film, after sitting through 20 minutes of previews, (they ended up giving everyone refunds as they couldn't fix the problem) and the weather was pretty cold for Florida!

After we got back late last night, I remembered that I still needed to get a treat day goodie together for Jeff to bring in Wednesday morning. I completely forgot to plan for that and not having time to go to the market, it had to be something that could be thrown together with pantry ingredients. We ended up with the much published Snickerdoodle Blondies that have been traveling the food blogosphere. I don't have much time tonight to talk about them, but here's a brief overview.

Prepared in a flash, these bars were in the oven and cooled before I knew it! Brimming with cinnamon, we did pack one more zing into these with the help of a handful of Cinnamon Chips - you don't need to use them, but they are a fun addition. Just leave them out if you don't have any.

Before the blondies went into the oven, the stiff dough was sprinkled with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to give them a flashy topping - you can use all granulated sugar, but we used a mixture of coarse (demerara in our case) and granulated for extra crunch. The bars are dense and moist, with a candy-like chewy sweetness to them that swayed Jeff and I both to have another one after dinner (we tested them out before we sat down to eat!). I thought about browning the butter first, then letting it cool and firm back up in the refrigerator, but I wondered if that intense nuttiness would take away from the cinnamon. I might try that at some point, but made as is, we were quite satisfied!


  1. I'm glad you and Jeff had such a nice trip to Disney. I watched a show the other night on HGTV about Disney's Christmas decorations. It's really quite a production and they just cannot be beat.

    I'm glad you have good things to say about the Port Orleans resort; my husband and I are running the DisneyWorld marathon next month and that is where we are staying.

    I make those snickerdoodle blondies often and they never disappoint. I love the idea of adding cinnamon chips. I'll have to try that next time.

  2. Lucky you. I went only once but want to go back. What a great trip.

  3. My husband just got a pair of those Vibram Five Fingers for his feet! He LOVES them....good to know you walked all around Disney with them! Looks like you two had a great trip to Disney! LOVE your blog and your recipe updates!
    Your Charlotte neighbor - Angela!

  4. My husband just got a pair of those Vibram Five Fingers for his feet! He LOVES them....good to know you walked all around Disney with them! Looks like you two had a great trip to Disney! LOVE your blog and your recipe updates!
    Your Charlotte neighbor - Angela!

  5. Yaaay for another trip to "The World". We were trying to go in December to see the Christmas party and decorations, but had to put it off until December. I've been debating the Vibrams and am happy to hear your positive report.

  6. Fun lil' trip. We need to get our kids to Disney.
    I've never seen or heard of those socks but they sound cool and look awesome. Gonna have to look them up!

  7. As soon as I saw the pic by the fountain with your Vibram's, I was going to comment and ask if that's what you were wearing and then I kept reading to see that yes they are.

    I love Disney at Christmas.

  8. Paula in Colorado12/09/2010 05:44:00 PM

    Wow! I just happened upon your blog the other day and I'm in love. . . with the food. . . the photos. . . the dog. . . the stories. . .

    By the way, I'm looking for a job. Wherever Jeff works, that's where I want to work (at least on Wednesdays!). ;)

  9. Alison - Don't forget to try the beignets!

    Helene - It is always a fun time!

    Angela - I've had them for a few months now and they are the only shoe I wear!

    Heather - I hope you find time to go!

    Katrina - Shoes, not socks! ;-)

    Jan - Do you have a pair?

    Paula - Thanks for finding us!

  10. I do not have a pair YET..but planning on it after some great reviews by a few people!

  11. I was wondering if those were the shoes you were wearing. I've been seeing them around a TON lately.

    Love the idea of a snickerdoodle blondie. Two great tastes in one.