Uncle Monty’s Coconut Cake

Posted April 28, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (April 2016) / 4 Comments

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Of all our Series of Unfortunate Events recipes, I think this was the one I was most excited about. I knew for sure I would be making Uncle Monty’s famous coconut cake from The Reptile Room as our dessert—it’s the food I remember best from the whole series! All the cakes I’ve made on the blog so far have been chocolate (like Delicious Death and Dauntless Cake), so it was fun to try something different. And you can bet the Mister was excited: he loves coconut! This particular recipe starts with a mix, but I used a few baking tricks to make it more like homemade. The frosting is my own invention too, but I used this BHG recipe as my starting point. The final result is a moist, fluffy cake with just the right amount of coconut. So eat up! If your life is anything like the Baudelaires’, you may not know when you’ll encounter such a delicious dessert again. 😉

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Aqueous Tea: Cucumber Mint Tea Inspired by Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events Books!

Posted April 26, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Teas / 13 Comments

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It’s time to premiere our Series of Unfortunate Events tea! When brainstorming ideas for this tea, my first thought went to Esmé Squalor, the Baudelaires’ guardian in the 6th Unfortunate Events book. Esmé is obsessed with all things “in,” and this obsession leads her to drink crazy concoctions like parsley soda and aqueous martinis—all in the name of fashion. Of course, there was NO WAY I was making a parsley tea, so I set my sights on the martini. In truth, the aqueous martini isn’t really a martini, since alcohol was “out” when it was created Instead, it’s simply ice cold water in a martini glass with an olive. I liked the idea of something crisp, simple, and classy, so I used that as my inspiration. Channeling the cucumber and mint infused waters I’ve been seeing at parties lately, I went with a white cucumber base and added spearmint to make it extra refreshing. The results make a perfect iced tea!

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Beatrice’s Black Bean Mango Salad: An Alison’s Wonderland Original Recipe

Posted April 21, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (April 2016) / 5 Comments

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I’m super excited to include this mango and black bean salad as our Series of Unfortunate Events side dish! In the books, this recipe is credited to the author’s lost love—the mysterious Beatrice. It’s considered her signature dish, and I can see why! This recipe is easy, healthy, AND super delicious. The sweet, juicy mango plays off the mellow beans and crisp celery, hitting all the right notes along the way. And the hint of lime in the dressing adds a touch of freshness, making it perfect on a hot day.

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Things I Love about the Blogging Life (and Some Things I Miss About Not Blogging)

Posted April 19, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Blogging / 8 Comments

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Blogging is definitely one of those things that changes your life. Whether you monetize your blog or not, you often find yourself needing to treat your blog like a job so you can bring consistent, high-quality posts to your readers.

Personally, I love the blogging life. I love the new opportunities I’ve been able to pursue and the way blogging challenges both my creativity and my practicality. Still, I sometimes look back on my pre-blogging days with a wistful sigh as I remember the free time I used to have.

Here are a few of the thing I love best about being a blogger (and a few things I miss about life before blogging):

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The Remarkable Reading Kit: A Series of Unfortunate Events Reading Kit

Posted April 12, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Reading Kits / 0 Comments


Making this reading kit was actually a little tough. Not because there aren’t many potential reading kit items in A Series of Unfortunate Events, but because there are SO MANY! I found myself constantly wishing that these reading kits were twice as big so I could include all the SoUE stuff I wanted (Violet’s hair ribbon! A heart-shaped balloon! Gum from Lucky Saws Lumber Mill! Sunglasses! A tribute to Uncle Monty’s cool snakes!). Good problem to have, right? 😉 I decided to stick with items that are relevant to the series as a whole, that way this kit would be perfect no matter which of the Baudelaires’ unfortunate life events you’re reading about. Enjoy!

 

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Aunt Josephine’s Chilled Cucumber Soup

Posted April 7, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (April 2016) / 10 Comments

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Our April book of the month is definitely a modern classic (or rather a classic series). We’re cooking A Series of Unfortunate Events! I DEVOURED those books as a kid. In fact, when I first started the series, I went to the library three times in three days, because that’s how fast I was whipping through it.

Even though it’s been years since I first read A Series of Unfortunate Events, I still remember the Baudelaires’ Aunt Josephine and her chronic fear of pretty much everything. She was too afraid to even turn her stove, resulting in her penchant for cold cucumber soup.

This particular soup is a light, delicious recipe originally developed by Whole Foods. I specifically sought out a cucumber mint soup, since the author mentions that such soup has “a delicious, minty taste.” I’d never made cucumber soup before now, but this recipe is easy and refreshing, not to mention healthy. Not bad for not using a stove! 🙂

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TTT: 10 Brilliant Bibliophiles You Should Be Following on Twitter

Posted April 5, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Blogging, Link Up / 12 Comments

I think one of the best things about being a book blogger is the sense of community. Reading has traditionally been considered a solitary activity, so we readers appreciate it that much more when we meet someone who loves the same books we do. Of course, Twitter plays a huge part in maintaining the online reading community, and the 10 accounts listed below are the bookish “tweeters” I simply couldn’t do without. They’re clever, insightful, and often hilarious—a blessing to all book lovers everywhere! 🙂

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March Blogging Madness: Three Musketeers Tea, Daredevil Parties, and a New Menu of the Month Hint!

Posted April 1, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 9 Comments

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Normally I feel like March drags on FOREVER (perpetually gray skies are NOT my thing), but this year I had loads of exciting blog stuff to keep me busy!

Our Three Musketeers menu went off without a hitch. Five shiny new recipes are now tucked safely away in the archives. This month, I made my very first copycat recipes, and I did them back-to-back: 3 Musketeers candy bars and Cafe Angelina’s French hot chocolate! I made mini versions of the candy bars for my family’s Easter party, and they were a big hit. And my oh my, the French sure know their hot chocolate! For a chocoholic like me, it was like drinking liquid happiness. Milady de Winter’s Soup

I also premiered a delicious new tea. While we’re on the topic of 3 Musketeers bars, I should probably mention All for One and One for All Tea: my new chocolate caramel tea from Adagio. I designed it to taste like a 3 Musketeers bar, and I daresay I succeeded. It’s super chocolaty and sweet enough to make a perfect dessert tea with a some milk and sugar. You can order it here.

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On a more embarrassing note, I had my very first blogging snafu this month. For some reason I cannot fathom, I thought it would be a good idea to schedule my Drunken Ham post before it was finished…and I accidentally scheduled it to publish a day early! The post was up for an ENTIRE HOUR before I realized the mistake, and although all the text was ok, the pictures were all placeholders from old posts (I hadn’t uploaded the edited pics yet). YIKES! Lesson learned.

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The Mister and I went to C2E2, a Chicago comic con, where we had a blast. There were babies dressed up as BB-8, steampunk cosplayers selling tea, and SO MUCH FAN ART. It was perfectly awesome…though I may have dropped the ball and forgotten to get us tickets for some key YA fiction panels, which would have been perfect for the blog. * sigh * C’est la vie, I guess? Anyway, I promise to plan better next time! 🙂

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We also threw a Daredevil party to marathon Season 1 before Season 2 came out on Netflix. I didn’t have time to make a post about it, but I shared the food in some tweets. We made Kingpin Omelets (which were basically the Aramis Omelets I made earlier this month), Anatoly Applesauce (this recipe from Taste of Home), Avocados at Law (aka Epic Meal Time Guac Grenades), and World on Fire Cupcakes (which are the same as my Girl on Fire cupcakes from The Hunger Games). All the food was well-received, but I think I had the most fun with the Avocados at Law! 🙂

 But now it’s time to bid March adieu and turn our gaze towards April. Ready for your photo hint? Take a guess at what our next Book of the Month will be:

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HINT: It’s a series.

The new menu premieres this Thursday!
Any guesses at what our next Book of the Month will be? 🙂

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French Hot Chocolate: A Café Angelina Copycat Recipe

Posted March 31, 2016 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Three Musketeers (March 2016) / 2 Comments

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Since there’s an extra Thursday this month, I get to do a bonus recipe! At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make; I felt like the main menu had already covered what I considered to be the most important Three Musketeers dishes. Then I remembered the mysterious “breakfast of chocolate” d’Artagnan eats at a friend’s house midway through the book. I did a little research to figure out what it was, and the most likely candidate seems to be hot chocolate. As it turns out, people in France often have hot chocolate with their breakfast. D’Artagnan speaks about his chocolate breakfast as if it were a small, insubstantial meal, and having only a cup of hot chocolate would certainly fit that description. As such, I decided to make authentic French hot chocolate as my bonus recipe, and boy oh boy was that a good choice! The recipe I use here is a slight variation on one by Erin from Well Plated, which is a copycat version of Cafe Angelina’s famous hot chocolate. This thick, smooth hot chocolate has enough intense, rich flavor to satisfy even the most ardent chocoholic!

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