Pioneer Sweet Potatoes

Posted January 19, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 1 Comment

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In the Little House books, many of the foods are simple and hearty, but they’re also a little unusual. You don’t see many people eating smoked venison or salt pork these days, and Johnny cake is even more rare. So I thought it would be fun to take some time to make a pioneer food that’s a little more familiar to modern palates: roasted sweet potatoes.

Like most Midwesterners, I’ve eaten sweet potatoes all my life, so it was fun for me to read about a food I recognized in the  Little House books. In Little House on the Prairie, a friend brings some sweet potatoes to Christmas dinner, and the Ingalls family bakes them whole in the ashes of the fire. I wanted to make something a bit more involved that still remained true to the simple, natural way the Ingalls cooked, so I diced my potatoes and roasted them (skins still on) with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh thyme.

The end result was a hearty dish perfect for a pioneer kitchen! 🙂

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There and Back Again: Two Book Themed Baby Showers

Posted January 17, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 5 Comments

 

birthday, christmas, gifts

 

My baby’s due any day now, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about the two awesomely bookish baby showers my family threw for me! 🙂

At first I didn’t think I’d have time to write a post about the showers, but I was so floored by the incredible effort my family put into them, it seemed like such a shame not to share them. Plus, if you’re planning any book themed baby showers of your own, there are some great ideas here! 🙂

P.S. I can’t take credit for any of the cool things described below. It all goes to my mother-in-law, mom, and sister. They’re the creative geniuses behind these parties. ^.^

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Smoked Venison

Posted January 12, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 4 Comments

 

Today’s post is more of a technique than a recipe, but it’s one I’ve been wanting to try for months now! 🙂

This past weekend, I got to do something super fun and pioneer-y: I made smoked venison! When my brother got his first deer this year while hunting with my dad, I begged for a hindquarter steak to use on the blog, since nothing could be more perfect for a Little House on the Prairie menu than smoked venison. 🙂

Then I called up my friends David and Gina, who were kind enough to let me use their smoker. I’ve included details about our process below. Enjoy! 🙂

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Happy National Hot Tea Day!

Posted January 11, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Teas / 4 Comments

 

drink, food, kitchen

 

National Hot Tea Day is tomorrow, so in honor of my favorite beverage, I’m ranking the best teas from my Alison’s Wonderland Tea gallery! Of course, choosing favorite teas can be super difficult, since the differences between varieties can make them hard to compare (how do you choose between a rich, robust black tea and a truly excellent herbal tea?). That in mind, I decided to sort them all into categories based on the type of tea (black, green, white, chai, honeybush/rooibos, mate, and herbal) and choose favorites in each category. Let’s get started!

NOTE: Varieties like oolong aren’t featured because I don’t have any blends that use it…yet! 😉

 

National Hot Tea Day: My Favorite Teas

 

Black Tea: Miss Mary’s Garden and Second Star

Straight out of the gate, I had trouble choosing and came up with a tie. However, much of my difficulty came from the fact that these two teas are VERY similar. They both have an Earl Grey base and feature lavender, but Miss Mary’s Garden is accented with strawberry and rose petals, while Second Star is mixed with cream tea. I love them both because they’re rich Earl Greys with floral notes that are strong but not overpowering.

 

Green Tea: Calypso’s Tea from The Odyssey

I’m not usually a big fan of green tea, but this blend is so fresh and airy with hints of fresh tropical fruit. I could sip this by the seaside for the rest of my life! 🙂

 

White Tea: Becky’s Peach Tea

This might be my all-time favorite non-black tea. It’s so fresh and summery! I love to make it as sun tea, and it doesn’t even need sugar (and I say that as a self-professed sugar addict). Personally, I think it’s the inclusion of white strawberry tea that makes the big difference. It adds a level of complexity that I have trouble finding in other white teas.

 

Herbal: Tori’s Peppermint Tea

Tori’s Peppermint Tea is the best mint tea I’ve ever had. I love the refreshing but not overpowering mint flavor, tempered with faint hints of lemon. Add some honey, and it’s divinity (plus, it’s great hot or iced).

 

Chai: Hallowe’en Party

This tea is a blend of spiced apple chai and cinnamon that totally tastes like autumn in a cup. I can’t get enough of it!

 

Rooibos/Honeybush: Abbot’s Chocolate Hazelnut Tea

This is hands-down my best selling tea, and it might be my favorite out of all the blends I’ve ever made. It combines honeybush hazelnut, chocolate, and cream to make a rich, sweet, robust tea. It’s practically a dessert all on its own. I like to think of it as Nutella tea! 🙂

 

Mate: Chocolate Mocha Tea for Ze Little Grey Cells

This tea is a tribute to my favorite Agatha Christie character: Hercule Poirot. Since he likes coffee and hot chocolate instead of tea, I made a mocha nut mate blend with chocolate and hazelnut. It’s got a definite coffee flavor, but the chocolate adds sweetness where you would otherwise expect to find bitterness. I don’t normally like coffee, but I LOVE this blend!

 

 

What’s your favorite tea to brew for National Hot Tea Day?

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Ma’s Apple Pie Tea from the Little House Books

Posted January 10, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Teas / 0 Comments

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There are lots of classic, All-American desserts mentioned in the Little House books, but when I decided to make a tea for the series, I couldn’t get Ma’s pies off the brain. Dried apple pies are a specialty of hers that stood out to me, so I chose it as the theme for my tea! I chose one of my favorite rooibos blends from Adagio (Rooibos Cinnamon Apple) as my base, adding cream, apples, and spice to make the flavor more unique. The result was a tea that conjures of the cozy scent and taste of a winter day bundled up at home. Enjoy!

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Little House Johnny Cake

Posted January 5, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 6 Comments

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Welcome to our very first menu of 2017! I’m proud to announce that our new Book of the Month will be Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.

I love all the hearty frontier food featured in the books—smoked venison, corn cakes, snow candy, and so much more! One food that stuck out to me in the Little House books was “johnny cake.” I’d never heard of it before, but the Ingalls family eats it while traveling to their new homestead, so it sounded like perfect pioneer food.

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Reading on the Prairie: A Little House Reading Kit

Posted January 3, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Reading Kits / 2 Comments

cabin, field, forest

 

Howdy, folks! Our new Book of the Month (or rather, book series of the month) is the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ll start posting recipes based on the books on Thursday, but today we’re starting the month off with a Little House reading kit!

I always have fun planning reading kits, but I had a particularly good time making this one. I LOVED playing pioneers as a kid, so when I decided to make a Little House kit, it totally sent me back to my childhood. I kept thinking of things I would’ve loved to have while reading the books as a kid!

Of course, that now gives me the unique problem of reeeeeeeally wanting to buy all this stuff for myself. But is that even really a problem? I mean, I can just tell everyone I’m being cultured, and they’ll accept that as a TOTALLY legit answer, right? Please say yes…

 

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Our Most Popular Recipes of 2016 and Some New Year’s Changes!

Posted January 3, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 2 Comments

 

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2017 is here, folks! Can you believe it? I seems like just yesterday I was making plans to kick off 2016. So much has changed since then! I doubled my number of blog posts, hosted my first recipe linkup, and am expecting a baby by the end of this month. So much excitement!

Every New Year, I like to share a review post detailing the most popular recipes of the previous year. This year I’ll also include a summary of the changes you can expect to see on the blog in 2017 (many of them are baby-centric changes). So in true New Year’s spirit, whip yourself up a cocktail, and let’s get started! I recommend our most recent recipe, a nonalcoholic cocktail called Sugar Plum Punch:

 

Do you have your drink? Ok. Let’s start by revealing last year’s top ten posts! The winners are…

 

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December in Review (and our Book of the Month Hint for January!)

Posted January 1, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Hints / 2 Comments

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food-tomato-large black

 

Man oh man, the end of the year came up FAST. Christmas was wonderfully hectic this year. I made apple pie spice candied walnuts, coffee muffins, almond white hot chocolate, Reese’s Pieces chocolate chip cookies, honeycomb candy, almond toffee, wine-marinated frozen grapes, and SO MANY batches of peppermint humbugs! 🙂  So if I’ve seemed absent on social media or took forever to respond to blog comments, I blame the fact that Christmas was holding me captive in my kitchen. 😉

In the midst of the craziness, I still managed to crank out a menu I’ve been wanting to make for a looong time: food for The Nutcracker! I always have fun with festive, seasonal menus, and Nutcracker was no exception. Let’s take a look at what we made!

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Sugar Plum Punch: A Nutcracker Bonus Recipe

Posted December 29, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 3 Comments

        

 

Welcome to our Nutcracker bonus recipe! I actually stumbled across this punch recipe while looking up how to make sugar plums, and it just sounded too delicious to pass up. Plus, it’s so easy. You just stir the ingredients together and serve! Talk about a no-hassle punch recipe…and just in time for New Year’s! 🙂

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