Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Disneyland Resort Pumpkin Twists ~ My Take

I saw these treats on my latest Disneyland Resort visit, but found that even I couldn't eat all day, so missed these.
 Therefore, I was glad when the recipe and 'how to do' video showed up. The video was short and left out some steps, so I was a bit confused. So I printed out the recipe and was still a bit confused since the recipe says makes six. Six what? Six twists? Six huge sheets? Nope, the original recipe used 3 boxes of puff pastry so made 3 large sheets cut into 1 1/2" twists, etc. It just seemed easier to cut it down to a home sized treat, so here it is.

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have this so used a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
1 teaspoon instant pectin (What? I had liquid pectin. Is this that? I didn't know so just left it out)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I heaped it)
Milk wash of 1 egg plus a bit of milk
Sanding sugar (none to be found in my town so just used regular)

Combine brown and white sugar, 1/2 of the pumpkin pie spice and pectin in a small bowl. Add pumpkin puree and mix well.

Lightly dust wax paper with flour, and place on it one sheet of puff pastry.  Roll lightly to remove creases. Spread pumpkin mixture over pastry, almost to, but not at, edge.
Roll out second sheet on another piece of flour dusted waxed paper.

Gently flop this second piece on top of the pumpkin coated piece and  lightly press down.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then cut into 1 1/2 inch strips. Preheat over to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully put your pumpkin strips on the sheet and twist.. Coat with egg wash and sanding sugar mixed with rest of the pumpkin pie spice, and bake for 22-24 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.
Verdict? Winner!



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adventures By Disney New York Dreams ~ Part Two ~ Ellis Island Review

We arrived a day prior to our Adventures By Disney New York Dreams trip to specifically visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Neither of these is done during the Adventure. They need to address this! A guide and I discussed this as many want that experience during  the Adventure. I know just how they could fix this and will share later.

Goal for the day…get to Battery Park and visit both attractions, then make it back in time to see our very first Broadway show.

I dithered a lot on how to get to the ferry area, should I take a hop on hop off tour bus thing? Take a cab or brave the subway? We braved the subway, armed with a little map handily supplied by the Concierge at The Manhattan Club, and after only momentary panic figured it all out and made it safely and quickly to the final stop, Battery Park.

I cannot stress this enough. Pre purchase your ferry ticket! Purchase at the official site: where you can choose your time and if you want pedestal and/or crown access. Find your way to the line for those who pre purchased tickets (there are plenty of workers around to direct you), and be prepared for security checks.  The Ferry goes to the Statue of Liberty first, and then Ellis Island. Since I had relatives come through Ellis Island, I was more interested in visiting there and wanted to be sure I had plenty of time, so went there first. We simply skipped getting off on the Ferry until it reached Ellis Island.
Take your time to tour this wonderful, historical place. Much of the island is still under initial renovation and also sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy, so exhibits have items missing and construction is underway. This did not detract from the experience. Take advantage of the audio tour as you make your way, and hear experiences by actual immigrants who passed through the rooms and halls. There is much to explore, and even giving ourselves a good bit of time, we still missed a great deal.
There is a room for a bit of genealogy research, and if you have a family member listed on the Wall of Honor, which I do, you may find where your names are located on the Walls.  There is a fairly decent outside snack bar and the views in the eating area cannot be beat. You’ll also find a well done gift shop.

I found this a meaningful time of reflection and patriotism and think every American should make the effort to visit Ellis Island.

If you get back on the New York Ferry, you will go back to Battery Park, so since we skipped the Statue of Liberty and wanted to visit it second, we were directed to take the Ferry that originates in New Jersey. Since that Ferry visits Ellis Island first, and the Statue of Liberty second, this was the best way for us to go to the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island. This worked great, and off we went for our second big attraction of the day.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adventures By Disney New York Dreams ~ Part One ~ The Manhattan Club

Some people really don't seem to care where they stay on a vacation. You hear things like "I'm not in the room that often", or, "It's just a place to sleep". Not me! My accommodations while on vacation can really add to, or subtract from, enjoyment of the entire trip. I differentiate rooms while 'just on the road', to rooms while 'at the destination'. While on the road, just stopping to rest before the next day's drive, any hotel with a free breakfast, reasonably clean, and located where I won't get murdered will do. But vacation lodgings... those matter.

Therefore, my first post in my Adventures by Disney New York Dreams report, will deal with the hotel room provided.

The Manhattan Club is the specified lodging for this trip, and I was able to add two pre-adventure nights. The property is a time share but also offers regular hotel stays. Located at 200 West 56th Street, the hotel is ideal for all mid town stays. Within a block around the hotel are plenty of eating places and a super close subway stop. It is easy walking distance to Times Square, tons of shopping and all the big Broadway theaters.

Like most places in Manhattan the hotel has a small lobby and entrance, but is built upwards. There is a lounge on the 26th floor for evening drinks and a Continental breakfast. Skip the breakfast. Pricey and, honestly, blah.

It's my understanding that many hotels in New York have smallish rooms. Not The Manhattan Club. The time share layout really shines here, with a kitchenette, dining table, sofa bed, master bedroom with French doors, two bathrooms and two TVs. The kitchenette is stocked with real dishes and glassware, including wine glasses, and has a small refrigerator and microwave. Unlike many time shares, The Manhattan Club provides daily housekeeping, and a little extra perk is microwave popcorn is restocked daily as well as coffee and toiletries. Upon check-in our room had two cookies, shaped like a taxi and an apple, inside big logo mugs. We were told we could keep the mugs and the cookies were yummy but, unfortunately, NOT restocked daily.
The room has plenty of storage and room to stretch out and not feel cramped. It would be a perfect location for an extended New York stay, if you could be so lucky, and a family could easily enjoy their time here without driving each other crazy.

The staff is helpful and professional, the provided Concierge was eager to help, and the doorman was usually around to greet you and open doors.

The Manhattan Club set the tone for a wonderful adventure, and did not disappoint in any way. I hope I can stay there again!