Thursday, June 26, 2014

Disney Recipe ~ Disneyland Hotel ~ Chicken Brochettes with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Originally served at the Disneyland Hotel as an appetizer for special events, this kabob recipe is quick and easy and can be used as an entrée, or, on smaller skewers, as an appetizer.
Sweet & Sour Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 ounces butter
Reserved juice from pineapple can (used for skewers)
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

 Melt butter in a medium sized skillet. Add onions and pepper and sauté until tender. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes.

bamboo skewers
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1 6-ounce jar cocktail onions
1 large green pepper, cut into small squares

Soak bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent burning when cooked.
Assemble brochettes in this order: chicken, onion, pepper, chicken, pineapple, chicken, onion, pepper and chicken. Repeat until all are assembled.
Cook as desired (broil, bake, barbecue or sauté) until fully cooked.
Serve immediately with sweet & sour sauce.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ten Ways to Completely Ruin a Disneyland Vacation

Although it is difficult to ruin a trip to this most magical place, it can, with some effort, be done. Follow these tips to help ensure you have a lousy time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

1.Time of Year. Don’t worry about when you are going. After all, it’s a big place and crowds shouldn’t be un-manageable right? There are very few truly low crowd times at Disneyland. Spring is crazy, holidays full, marathon weekends busy and summer packed. In a nutshell, late January and parts of February are OK as is part of September and November. Late September and October used to be slow, but the geniuses at Disney came up with Halloween Time and extra ticket parties. I expect this to spread to Christmas time parties in the near future. A crowd at Disney, which can translate to barely being able to move and horrendous ride wait times, often coupled with heat, can be a big qualifier to ensuring your Disneyland trip is awful.

2.       Don’t Use Fast Pass. What is fast pass you say? Read no further if you strive for a bad trip. Fast passes are little tickets to by- pass the bigger stand-by line at some popular rides and get in the smaller and shorter fast pass line. Fast Pass machines are located (usually) right by the actual ride (the exception to this being the fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers which is located by Bugs Land. These passes are gone early in the day so get one first thing). You have a one hour window printed on your ticket when you must return to ride. You are allowed, in general, 1 pass at a time, and cannot get another pass until the window for the first has begun (there are some exceptions to this, but that should go in an article about how to enjoy a trip, not have a lousy one).

3.       Ignore the Map. As you hurry through the turnstiles, just ignore those brightly colored maps. You don’t really need to know where anything is, right? You can just wander around and see what looks good, then crisscross the parks taking thousands of extra steps. Maybe a good blister or two will help enhance your ruined trip.


4.       Don’t Bother with the Entertainment Guide. While you are ignoring the park maps, you might as well ignore the Entertainment Guides also. These handy little slips will spell out when the parade, shows and little entertainment opportunities will occur and where to find them. If you hear a parade, surely you can find a great viewing spot at the last minute and isn’t it more fun to just stumble upon the Newsboys or Dapper Dans? When you get home and someone asks how you enjoyed the Aladdin show or Mickey’s Magical Map and you have no clue what they are talking about, won’t that just add to those grumpy memories you are looking for?


5.       Arrive Late. You are on vacation, darn it! Sleep in! Just because getting at the park as early as possible and being a part of rope drop will allow you on more rides in the first 2 hours than you can ride in 5 later in the day, don’t let that get you out of your jammies before you are good and ready.


6.       Breaks? We don’t need no stinkin’ breaks! You paid good money for those Park Hoppers (unless you really want to make it easy to hate Disneyland and bought 1-park tickets), and by golly you are going to get your money’s worth! If the park is open from 9 am to midnight, you will be there every minute. Just think of those wonderful melt down moments when the kids freak out and they are taken on the carousel kicking and screaming. I think a Photo Pass photographer can capture that for you. Why on earth would you want to have a relaxing afternoon break when it’s hot and you are doing the crowd shuffle through Fantasyland. Going back to the hotel for a nap and cooling pool break will eat into your park time and might make everyone more relaxed.  Can’t have that.


7.       Disneyland is expensive. Budgets are needed. But a great way to dampen the experience is to go crazy with vowing to not spend one…more…dime.  Why spring for a hand dipped corn dog when you can bring your own peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the park. No need to pay for that pricey Princess Breakfast when you can spend hours in line at Fantasy Faire to meet them. Having a little special thing to look forward to daily will make your trip fun. Nope, not the goal.


8.       No Kiddie Rides for me! Those are no fun so just run from mountain to coaster to tower. In fact just skip Fantasyland and Toon Town all together. Disneyland is about the big rides right? All those little magical delights in the smaller rides and attractions, like the Animation Building in California Adventure, just cut into your standing in line time for California Screamin’.


9.       Here, have a Granola Bar. This tip ties into tip number 7. Not only be stingy with spending on meals and souvenirs and experiences, but take it all the way to snacks. You don’t need a $4.00 churro or box of popcorn! Here, have a crumbly granola bar that has been stuck in the bottom of your park bag for 4 days. Walk right by that ice cream shop...ignore the waffle cone smell coming out of there…they are just trying to manipulate you into spending money! You don’t need a cookie shaped like Mickey Mouse, here’s a bag of Teddy Grahams instead.


10.   Hold on to that Bad Attitude. It’s hot, it’s crowded, that line is long, that cast member wasn’t quite magical. Your souvenir needs to be a Grumpy shirt, because you are and proud of it! There is always something lovely to see, smell, taste or hear at Disneyland, some little corner to sit or some little tucked away grotto to relish the moment. Don’t do that. Hold on to your aggravations; let the kids’ squabbling ruin your day, really take affront if someone accidentally bumps your ankle with a stroller. Having a bad attitude and looking to find every possible not perfect thing is key to truly being able to go home and tell everyone who asks how awful Disneyland is, and how could anyone waste their money at that overblown corporate nightmare. Bah…and…Humbug.