Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kill Refurb Marry: Songs from Animated Classics

Gather 'round, princes and princesses, because it's time for another game of…


On the agenda this month? Songs from animated Disney films, a.k.a. the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my young life.

Kill: "The Journey," The Rescuers



Recently, I've been really intrigued by The Rescuers. The animation, its history- it's just fascinating to me. What isn't so intriguing? Its soundtrack. The 70's style just doesn't work for me, and I usually find myself skipping them whenever possible. "The Journey" is a strange choice to me for opening credits, where it might have been more effective to start with something upbeat that would grab the audience's attention. And, y'know, something that begins a little less terrifyingly. 

(Incidentally, I omit the "Rescue Aid Society" from the lackluster majority of Rescuers songs. Mostly because of adorable international mice.)

Refurb: "You Mother and Mine," Peter Pan





It's weird- I love this song… but at the same time, I don't  love this song. As much as I adore Kathryn Beaumont's performance as Wendy, her singing here is pretty lackluster. Of course, that's understandable, as she was only fifteen when the film was released! Still, the sentiment of the song is sweet as can be, and I think it could gain popularity if used in something like a Mother's Day campaign. 

Basically, I'm not sure how I'd like to refurb this one, but I know that it could use it!

Marry: "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio





The Disney songbook is full of pieces that make us laugh, smile, and cry, but for all of us there is one song that captures entirely the essence of Disney magic. For me, that is Jiminy Cricket's dreamy, hopeful ballad "When You Wish Upon a Star." The sweeping orchestration and mellifluous tenor of Cliff Edwards are enough for this song's superiority, but for me, it is the message of hope and perseverance that sets it apart. When things are fantastic and my spirits are high, it soars alongside me. When the chips are down and I'm searching for a little hope, this song reminds me that believing in and pursuing my dreams will pay off in the end. And isn't that what Disney magic is all about?

Which songs would you kill, refurb, or marry? Post your choices in the comments below, then check out this month's other fabulous Kill, Refurb, Marry posts!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams...

Yesterday, many of us received an unexpected jolt with the news of Robin Williams very sad and untimely passing. With Williams' prolific repertoire, it's hard to find someone who hasn't been touched by the comedian's work. His humor and heart reached across generations to bring a little more laughter and a lot more light to the lives of every person who watched him perform.

My first encounter with the work of Robin Williams, like so many of my generation, came with 1992's Aladdin. As a little one, I delighted in the silliness of the Genie's antics, only to find even more enjoyment as I grew up and understood why those antics made me laugh. After Aladdin, I went on to love numerous more works of the incomparable Williams, but that first experience will always hold a very special place in my heart.

In a statement to the press, Williams' wife expressed a wish that all of us might, instead of focusing on the sadness of his passing, celebrate "the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions." In the spirit of her request, I wanted to share my favorite moments from the movie that introduced me to Robin Williams (and a world of laughter).

I so distinctly remember quoting, "It will not break! … it broke." to my family in annoying excess.


"The hair! The eyes! Pick a feature!"


And, last but not least, who could forget…


In short: Rest in peace, Robin Williams. And thanks for everything.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Food… Saturday? 'Ohana Bread Pudding!

What's better than a Disney recipe?

A Disney recipe made from another Disney recipe!

Recipe-ception.

Almost as soon as I took my 'Ohana-Inspired Pineapple Bread out of the oven, I knew I had to set some  aside to make this divine bread pudding. Decadently dense and topped with warm bananas foster sauce, this dessert is unbelievable tasty… and, surprisingly, quite easy to make!

The pudding itself comes together in a snap. All you have to do is cube up some of your yummy pineapple bread (or regular French bread… whatever strikes your fancy), toast it up in the oven, and bake it with the lightly spiced custard. The result is a rich bread pudding that can be enjoyed with or without any topping… but I think you'll be wanting that bananas foster sauce!

Quick Tip: The custard recipe calls for whole milk. If you don't happen to have any lying around (like I didn't) a mixture of equal parts skim milk and half and half works just as well!

Bread pudding, right out of the oven!

The pudding is wonderful by itself, but the caramel-y bananas foster sauce takes it totally over-the-top. Though the recipe sauce is a little more involved than the pudding's, it's definitely worth giving a shot. I made mine without the rum, partially because I didn't have any around, but also because I imagine any attempt at flambéing would result in me starting a house fire. Anyway, I just had to cook it a little longer and still ended up with a sauce that, while less traditional, added depth and interest to the flavors of the dessert!

Get in my belly.
If you want to try the recipe for yourself, head on over to AllEars.Net and check it out! And if you decide to take on the task, share your results in the comments or send them my way on Twitter at @PixieDustBecca!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Which Becca Tests Her Disney Song Smarts...

Hey there, princes and princesses!

I don't have a proper post for you guys today, but I do have something fun to share!

A few weeks ago in my adventures on the Interwebs, I stumbled across a challenge/tag video circulating on YouTube called the "Disney Karaoke Challenge". Now, I don't know if you guys have realized it, but I'm just a little bit enamored with the music of Disney films (though, in my defense, the fact that I maintain an off-and-on series called "Music Mondays" probably should've been your first clue). Basically, the challenge consists of a medley of instrumental renditions of classic Disney tunes. The challenger's task is, without having heard the track prior, record themselves in one take, correctly  singing as many of the lyrics as possible.

I definitely missed some no-brainers (much face-palming commenced after playing it back) but it was a blast to do… even if it did show me that I have some brushing up to do! If you want to do the challenge before watching the video, you can find the track here. And if you decide to take on the task, send it my way on Twitter or in the comments.


Would you guys like to see more videos like this one? Please let me know! I had so much fun making this one, and I'd love to keep it up! :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Food Friday: 'Ohana-Inspired Pineapple Bread

I've got a Disney Bucket List.

It is extensive, it is extravagant, and it will probably take 30 years and a chuck of change to complete (if at all). I touched on it about a year ago in this post, but since being around the parks more the list has only served to grow to truly astounding length. However, not all of my check-offs are up in the stratosphere of possibility. One of the biggest is simply to dine at some of Walt Disney World's numerous award-winning table-service establishments.

That's right: I have never eaten at a Disney restaurant that wasn't quick-service*. I mean, when you look at it, it makes perfect sense. Growing up, most of my visits to Disney were with school groups, and really, what teenager is going to waste lunchtime sitting down and eating fancy food when she could be riding Splash Mountain and noshing on a corn dog?

Even though I've grown up and developed a more…. shall we say… refined palate, I'm still a college student of fairly meager means and any food over ten bucks is expensive. Incidentally, this is what often leads me to grab a School Bread around one o'clock and call it "lunch".

Balanced meals, kids. Do as I say, not as I do. 

*Okay, I've just realized that I've had multiple meals at Rainforest Café… but does that one really count?

All of this rambling exposition goes to say that I haven't actually ever tasted today's recipe in its original form. Someday I'll make it to the Polynesian Resort's 'Ohana restaurant (and Kona Café… but that's a different brand of pining for a different time!) 

As with last month's School Bread recipe, I made a few tweaks based on ingredient availability and personal preference. For starters, the recipes calls for unsweetened coconut flakes in the filling. I happened to have a lingering 1/3 of a bag of sweetened flakes that begged using up in the fridge, so I used those and simply cut the sugar by half.  I switched butter for the shortening because shortening weirds me out. The original recipe also calls for high-gluten flour… unless you're really committed to an identical product, just use bread flour. I mean, if you use the fancy high-gluten stuff on a regular basis, knock yourself out. Bread flour was what I had on hand and it worked out beautifully.

One last thing: I substituted an envelope of active dry yeast proofed in a few tablespoons warm water for the instant yeast that the original recipe called for. It was a matter of what I had on hand, and the active dry yeast worked very well. Of course, I'm sure the instant yeast yields the same result, so just use what's convenient for you!


Now, since I haven't had the real thing, I can't vouch for authenticity.

What I can say, though, is holy wow I want to eat this every day for the rest of my life.


'Ohana-Inspired Pineapple Bread
Adapted from allears.net

Ingredients

Bread: 

- 1 3/4 c water           - 1 egg yolk
- 2 T butter, cubed    - 4 1/2 c bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt               - 1/3 c sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast, or 1 T instant yeast

Pineapple-Coconut Filling
- 1 c crushed pineapple
- 1 c sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 T cornstarch

Directions:

For Filling: 
  1. In a medium-small bowl, combine 1 cup pineapple and 1 cup coconut. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
  3. Add sugar mixture to pineapple mixture, mix well, and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

For Bread: 
  1. In a cup or small bowl, sprinkle packet of yeast over several tablespoons warm water. Allow to proof while mixing other ingredients. If using instant yeast, skip this step. 
  2. Combine all other ingredients (in order listed) in a large mixing bowl. Add proofed yeast (if using  instant yeast, add now). Mix until dough comes together and leaves sides of the bowl clean. 
  3. Allow to rise until doubled in size. (For me, this took about an hour!)
  4. Once dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it's about 2 inches thick.
  5. Remove pineapple mixture from fridge and spread evenly on top of dough.
  6. Fold dough over and transfer it to a greased 9x13 pan.
  7. Cut dough into 12 squares and arrange evenly in the pan.
  8. Allow dough to rise in a warm oven (110 degrees) until halfway up the side of the pan.
  9. Bake bread at 325 degrees for 20-25, or until golden brown on top. 
  10. Allow to cool, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Into the Woods… To Watch the Trailer!

Rejoice! Rejoice! The day has arrived!

What day, you ask? 

The day we finally get to see a trailer for Disney's upcoming adaptation of Into the Woods


I could make a bunch of clever references and pummel you with lyric-related puns, but I'll just say that I am so excited for this movie! (Besides, Disney's official blogs are already slaying with their titles alone.) I do wish that we had gotten to hear just a little bit of singing in the trailer, but I'm sure there will be plenty more to come in the coming months. Into the Woods is one of my all-time favorite shows and I cannot wait to see more as we get closer to the film's December 25 release date!

Bonus: Since it's Throwback Thursday and all, I can't help but sneak in this photo of me when I played the Baker's Wife back in high school! I'm the one on the right (with the slightly silly hat)!

Undoubtedly about to go have a moment in the woods...

Will you be going "Into the Woods" on Christnas Day? Sound off in the comments!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's a Festival of Fantasy!

Okay… so I may be a tad obsessed with the Magic Kingdom's new(ish) Festival of Fantasy parade. 

Since its premiere in mid-March, it has been a non-negotiable part of my MK game plan, and one that I don't see changing any time in the foreseeable future. The bright colors and upbeat music exude total joy, while intricate costumes and choreography create an aesthetic that simply cannot be beat. Every time I see it I find something new to fall in love with, and every time I walk away with my heart just a little more full of hope, happiness, and magic. 

With so much going on in the parade, I never want to miss a moment, but I was able to catch a few of my favorites during my most recent trip! 









 Have you had a chance to catch Festival of Fantasy? I think my favorite float has to be Ariel's… but it's just too tough to choose! I'd love to hear yours in the comments below!

Shameless plug: The Festival of Fantasy parade actually inspired my very first article in the most recent issue of Celebrations Magazine! It's a fantastic publication and I highly recommend it to anyone with a love for Disney parks and films. Check it out at celebrationspress.com!