Monday, November 25, 2013

Magical Mondays - Disney 2013 Day 3

We started our second day around lunchtime. The sweet Dara was able finally join us. She is honestly one of the dearest friends I ever could have asked for. We talk almost every day and she is my #1 go to accountability partner. 

 We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe outside of Animal Kingdom. I love the atmosphere here. 
 This picture.... HA
 Seriously, the biggest nachos ever.
These two!! (Dara and Viadly)

 Safari time!

 They had a baby giraffe, ya'll!
 So adorable!

 I want this tree. The end.

By the time we rode the rides we wanted to do at Animal Kingdom and going on the Safari, it was almost closing time at DAK. We went over to Hollywood Studios for a quick service dinner and to watch Fantasmic. 

It was a short park day and, looking back, I wish we had taken more pictures and done more of the photopass opportunities. Next time! ;-)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Healthier Crockpot Red Beans

This Louisiana born girl loves her some red beans and rice. Especially, if they resemble Popeyes red beans and rice... But when you look at the copy cat recipes and see all of the fat/lard/grease that is contains and the calorie count its almost enough to make you swear them off. Almost.

My mom always made red beans and rice with a thinner stock base rather than loading it up with fat. It's delicious! This is a crockpot adapted version of her recipe. It's so easy to set the beans on to soak the night before. I also use my rice cooker and set the brown rice on to cook about 2 hours before dinner time.

1 lb. red kidney beans
1-2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
Rice, cooked
Fresh chopped parsley
Meat (optional) - I prefer cajun Conecuh sausage

Rinse beans in cold water (sorting out bad beans as you add them into the crockpot)..
Soak beans overnight in the crockpot
Cook in 3 quarts of water for 2 hours.
Add all other ingredients(excluding meat and rice) and cook for an additional 2-3 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Add meat about 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Serve with hot rice. 

TIPS: Don't add the meat too early. Some sausages end up drying out if they are in there too long. Also, you will most likely want to add more salt to taste. I would suggest not adding it until serving because too much salt slows the beans cooking process down and they will not soften as quickly with additional salt.

Yummm. =)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Magical Mondays - Disney 2013 Day 2

We started out the morning of our first full day, Monday, later than expected. My sweet friend, Dara, was supposed to go with us to the parks but she was up all night Sunday night with a nasty spider bite. We ended up going to Downtown Disney to meet up with my friend, Viadly, and to see our Sunset sister, Ashley and her new fiance before they went back to Philly. 

Viadly, Ashley and I

Viadly was our paparazzi for day one. We have a LOT more pictures from Magic Kingdom than anything else. 1) We are not big fans of picture taking 2) after our wedding a couple days later, I was not in a picture taking mood 3) we both ended up with the flu before we left and were not thinking about pictures.
 Ticket and Transportation Center
 Telling him to keep his eyes out for his first sighting of Magic Kingdom ;-)
 There it is!!

 I absolutely LOVE the fall decorations at Disney.

 My first home when I worked at Disney, Tomorrowland!
 Space Mountain
 Tea Party
 Obligatory pre-dizzy Teacup pictures. JP and Viadly.
 Me and Mr. JP
 Disney's Philharmagic! JP loves it just as much as I do

 Exploring the expansion to Fantasyland

 Ariel's Grotto
 Under the Sea with Ariel
 Under the Sea with Ariel
 Under the Sea with Ariel
 Under the Sea with Ariel
 Haunted Mansion
  Haunted Mansion. Group picture take 1. 
 Haunted Mansion. Group picture take 2
 Oh, you know... Just drinking a Spark while waiting for the parade. haha
 Right before the parade started, we became friends with the family next to us. Unfortunately, the husband got stuck on the outer ring of the parade route and didn't make it back in time for the parade. So JP volunteered to put the daughter on his shoulders so that she could see. She was absolutely giddy about it.
 With the rest of our new friends ;-)

 Watching Wishes! 
 It was extra magic hour at MK, so while the majority of the crowd stuck around to watch the second parade we took off to do some rides. 
 Jungle Cruise
 Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
 Pirates of the Caribbean
 Pre- Splash Mountain
Post - Splash Mountain. Walking right on to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 

Overall, it was a late starting day but it was a great day and a perfect way to introduce JP to Disney World. Mission: Make JP fall in love with Disney was a success. YES!