Amelia’s Amped-Up Cafeteria Tater Tots

Posted September 21, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 2 Comments

 


In Amelia’s Notebook, Amelia complains about the terrible cafeteria food at her school, citing the fact that the brownies seem “fossilized” and the mystery mush looks like it’s made of dog food. I think we all have memories of gross cafeteria food (I can recall some particularly slimy sliced turkey), so I thought it would be fun to redeem a tired cafeteria standby: tater tots.

Amelia’s school tater tots are called “tater gems,” but she thinks they taste more like cardboard. To make some delicious, Amelia-worthy tots, I started with a simple recipe for tender, healthy baked tater tots from Wishful Chef and amped it up a bit with garlic powder, minced onion, and snipped parsley. I even made some honey sriracha ketchup to serve on the side! These tater tots are super easy and ultra flavorful. If Amelia’s school served them, they’d be a hit! 🙂

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My Post-Cookbook TBR: A Reading List for When I Finish My Manuscript

Posted September 19, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 3 Comments

The complete manuscript for my cookbook is due mid October, so it’s currently crunch time at my house. Husband and baby have been very understanding of how much time I currently spend tapping away at my laptop as I make final edits to my manuscript, but I’ll admit I’m SO READY to be done with this stage of the process. I’m a rather detail-oriented person who I often likes editing, but I’ve been applying the correct abbreviation of “tablespoon” and rewriting ingredients in order of use for almost two months now. Needless to say, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen.

Even though editing process can be tough and tedious, I’ve been motivating myself with the promise that I can do some fun reading once it’s complete. Here’s my post-cookbook TBR, which I plan to dive into as soon as I submit my manuscript:

 

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Cleo’s Hamburger

Posted September 14, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 1 Comment

          

In the first installment of the Amelia’s Notebook series, Amelia and her family move from California to Oregon. The trip takes 3 days, and Amelia’s sister Cleo orders the same thing at every restaurant: a burger and fries. Amelia thinks it’s gross to order the same thing all the time, but it got me thinking…what kind of burger would be good enough to inspire someone to order it for EVERY MEAL FOR 3 DAYS? It sounded like an exciting challenge, so I set to work.

I started from the assumption that Amelia’s family probably wasn’t stopping at fine dining establishments all along the way to Oregon. Fast food joints and diners were probably more likely, so I stuck to materials you could easily find at any chain restaurant.

I started with a basic, smooshy burger bun but toasted it to get that perfect seal to keep any moisture from soaking in. Then I whipped up copycat In-N-Out Burger sauce using a slight variation on a recipe from Cherry Kitchen. It added just the right mix of creamy and tangy with a touch of sweetness, and it’s made with stuff any fast food restaurant would have on hand. Next came the burger patty itself—100% beef with butter mixed right into the meat and smashed onto a hot iron skillet for crispy edges (I used a smash burger technique from Bon Appetit). Add lettuce, tomato, and onion, and you’ve got yourself an awesome diner-style burger that takes basic ingredients to a whole new level.

I think if Amelia gave it a taste, she’d want to order it for every meal too! 🙂

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Top 10 Quick, Easy Literary Recipes to Make with Kids

Posted September 12, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt was a freebie, so I decided to cover a topic I’ve had on the brain for a while. When I made astronaut pudding for my Amelia’s Notebook menu, I loved how kid-friendly it was, and I got to thinking about how tough it can be to find fiction-inspired recipes for kids. Dishes like Turkish Delight or Deeper ‘N Ever Pie are fun recipes, but they can be intimidating for kiddos who are just starting to get curious about cooking.

I decided to do a roundup of quick, easy literary recipes for kids here on the blog, so here are ten of my favorites! These recipes require minimal cooking or cutting, and several of them are well known foods from history (sugar plums, hardtack, johnny cake, etc.) that kids are likely to come across in classic books. You can incorporate them into a homeschooling lesson, use them to satisfy your children’s curiosity about foods they’ve read about, or just whip them up for fun. The choice is yours! 🙂

 

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Amelia’s Astronaut Pudding with Freeze-Dried Fruit

Posted September 7, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 2 Comments

       

 

Our new Book of the Month is here, and it’s the Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss!

When I was a kid, Amelia’s Notebook was my JAM. After reading the books, I insisted on buying wild colored composition notebooks for school. I dressed as her for Halloween. I even had My Notebook (with Help from Amelia) and brought it to school with me. She was seriously my hero. So how could I NOT make a menu of all the awesome foods from the series?

In Amelia Takes Command, she gets to go to Space Camp. She spends the night before daydreaming about what it will be like, and one of the things she hopes for is the chance to eat astronaut food. Although she has a great time at camp, she’s disappointed that they had to eat “gross cafeteria food three times a day.” So I decided to restore Amelia’s dashed hopes by making astronaut pudding for our appetizer!

The recipe I use here is a slight variation on one from Feels Like Home. You’d think astronaut pudding would be super complicated or require special tools, but it’s actually really easy (and all you need is a ziplock bag!). It’s a great dish to make with kids and tastes great alongside freeze-dried fruit. So let’s get cooking! 🙂

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An Amelia’s Notebook Reading Kit

Posted September 5, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Reading Kits / 2 Comments

 

That’s right, folks! Our new Book of the Month is the Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss. I fell in love with the books as a kid, and they were a big inspiration for me to start writing my own stories. Plus, Amelia’s signature composition notebooks and focus on school make September a great time to feature her books, what with everyone heading back to school for fall. So let’s get started! 😀

Today we’re kicking things off with an Amelia’s Notebook reading kit. It’s got loads of Amelia-inspired items: lunchboxes, eraser, notebooks (of course!), and a lot more. This is definitely one of those kits where I had to limit myself. I kept thinking of more things that would be perfect for the kit—I almost couldn’t stop! In the end, I included only the best of the best. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and I think you’re going to love it. 🙂

So let’s get ready to start reading Amelia’s Notebook…and don’t forget to check back on Thursday for our first Amelia-inspired recipe!

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Smoking Bishop: Spiced Red Wine with Port

Posted August 31, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 1 Comment

         

I always tend towards making a cocktail whenever I have a chance to make a bonus recipe, and my Man in the Iron Mask menu is no exception. Smoking Bishop is actually a traditional British beverage—not French, like all my other recipes for this menu—but it was just too perfect to pass up. The mulling spices (nutmeg, allspice, and cloves) along with the rich wines make it a perfect companion to our French Onion Soup and Secret Note French Bread. Plus, the name goes perfectly with the story, since Aramis (the Bishop of Vannes) is such an important character in Man in the Iron Mask.

The recipe I use here (a slight variation on one originally from PUNCH), is easy to throw together. Though roasting the orange adds to the prep time, I highly recommend it. Juice from the roasted orange adds so much flavor! The final cocktail is cozy and warm, with a lovely spiced aroma and a bit of citrus bite to offset the sweet wine. I can just imagine Aramis sipping this to calm his nerves before helping the prince break out of the Bastille!

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Chef Inside the Box: Chicago Meal Kits That Take the Chaos Out of Dinner Time

Posted August 29, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 1 Comment

 

This post is sponsored by Chef Inside the Box. I was given one free box of four meals in exchange
for an honest review of the service. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Most of you know I’m juggling a cookbook, a blog, and a baby…which basically means my life is a crazy, wonderful mess at the moment! 🙂 Despite loving to cook, these days I don’t always get dinner on the table at a reasonable time (or at all), and when I do, it’s often a hassle.

That’s where Rachel comes in. She emailed me a couple weeks ago representing Chef Inside the Box, a brand new Chicago-based meal kit service. They send a box of 4 quick-to-make meal kits right to your door, complete with instructions…all for $27.80/meal! Since I’m a Chicago-based blogger, Rachel offered to send me a free box in exchange for an honest review. And I was instantly like:

 reactions come on liz lemon lets go lets do this GIF

I mean, who DOESN’T want to get a package on Monday that takes care of dinner for the rest of the week?

Plus, with a new school year starting, I figure there are a lot of people out there whose lives are in a similar state of craziness. And I’m pretty sure we could all use an easy way to take the headache out of dinner. So let’s talk meal kits! 🙂

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Fouquet’s Meringue Cookies with Peach Curd

Posted August 24, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 3 Comments

         

 

When I first decided to make a Man in the Iron Mask menu, I fell in love with the idea of making a traditional French dessert. And when I read about Monsieur Fouquet’s famous peaches, I knew my dessert would have a peach theme. I tossed around the idea of peach madeleines, but I already made madeleines for my Hobbit menu (and adding fruit to the batter can be tricky).

Peach macarons also came to mind, but I’ll admit I was a little intimidated. I’ve never tried to make the infamously difficult macaron before, and I wasn’t confident that I’d have enough time to perfect such a temperamental recipe. Then I hit on the idea of meringues.

I’ve had great luck making meringue in the past, and I liked the idea of trying it as a cookie, something I’ve tasted but never made for myself. I used a combination of recipes to get my cookies: the proportions and prep instructions come from my baked Alaska recipe and the baking instructions come from a Taste of Home meringue cookie recipe my mom recommended.

But how to add the peaches? Since meringue can be fussy, I didn’t want to mess with the flavoring too much, but I’ve had fruit curd on the brain since I recently finished developing a blueberry curd recipe for my cookbook. So I consulted a peach curd recipe from Chocolate Moosey and made adjustments to my blueberry version to suit the differences in the fruit.

The final cookies had crisp, delicately sweet meringue with clean lines from the piping (no cracks or melting—yay!), and the peach curd was silky and fruity. Top with a sprig of mint to contrast the sweetness, and you’re in business! 🙂

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TTT: Top 10 Back to School Items for Book Lovers

Posted August 22, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 8 Comments

The new school year is just around the corner! Now’s the time for what I consider one of the best parts of the back-to-school season: shopping for school supplies. I loved school shopping as a kid because every item was an opportunity to show my personality. I remember purple and teal composition notebooks, novelty erasers, highlighters in every color of the rainbow, and scented markers (but you wouldn’t believe how disappointed I was that my graphing calculator only came in black).

So when The Broke and The Bookish announced that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt would have an open-ended back to school theme, I knew I wanted to make a list of back to school items for book lovers. Below you’ll find everything from backpacks to study materials, all with a bookish theme. May they help you ace that classic lit exam…and maybe strike up a friendship with a fellow book lover!

P.S. Since we’re all book lovers here, I just wanted to note that your supply shopping can benefit National Novel Writing Month by shopping through Amazon Smile! (NaNoWriMo didn’t sponsor this post, I just think they’re really awesome. :))

 

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