Category: Holidays

No Food Waste: My Lenten Challenge

Posted January 30, 2018 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 1 Comment

 

 

Ash Wednesday is just a couple of weeks away, which means I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’d like to give up for Lent this year. As someone who cooks for a living, I always seem to have a surplus of ingredients left over from recipes (a cup of sour cream, half an onion, a partial carton of beef stock, etc.). I know I can and should re-purpose this stuff so it doesn’t go to waste, but I never know off the top of my head what to do with it. Every time I open the fridge, I see them sitting innocuously on the shelf, and I remind myself that I should hunt down a recipe that uses them. Then I shut the door and immediately forget about it, my good intentions resulting in nothing but shriveled onions and waaaaay expired sour cream.

This year for Lent, I’ve decided to tackle my chronic food waste problem. My goal will be to all-but-eliminate food waste from our household in three big ways:

a

Start saving vegetable scraps to use for stock

  • Sure, plants are biodegradable, but it just seems like such a shame to throw a way a technically edible part of the plant (like potato peelings or broccoli stalks) when I could save it instead. I have a great vegetable stock recipe that uses veggie scraps, but it takes me a long time to accumulate enough material to make it. I probably should have started a cache of frozen veggie scraps ages ago, but that’s kinda the point of all this: to get me to do what I should already be doing. Hopefully I’ll have enough scraps stored up to publish a post about the stock recipe soon! Added bonus: like many families, we abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, and homemade vegetable stock is a great start to a meat-free meal.
    • Subgoal: Learn about (and implement?) urban composting. We rent our house instead of own, so a compost pile for our vegetable scraps isn’t really an option. However, during Lent I’ll be looking into urban composting to see if it’s a good fit for us.

 

Organize my fridge so leftover ingredients don’t get pushed to the back and forgotten

  • This is the main culprit of my waste: I forget I have things. Then I clean out my fridge a month later and find containers of food I could have easily used. Right now my organizational method stinks (probably since it consists of NO method), so I need a way to make sure the random odds and ends are always visible.
    • Subgoal: ALWAYS find a use for these items. It wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice to pat myself on the back for serving leftover sour cream with tacos once during Lent. Instead, I want to challenge myself to ALWAYS find a use for extra ingredients. If I make a Lenten commitment, I know I’ll be more motivated to find recipes that use them. I’m also planning to make a Pinterest page of any recipes I permanently add to my weeknight cooking repertoire as a result of this challenge (and hopefully right posts for some of them!).

 

Eat all the leftovers
  • Since Lent is just as much about sacrifice as it is about making a positive change in your life, I can’t turn a blind eye to my difficulty with leftovers. I easily get bored when my meals are too repetitive, so if it takes more than a few days to finish a dish I made, I start ignoring it in favor of other food (even if I know it will go bad soon). The final part of my Lenten challenge will be to always finish leftovers and prioritize the items that will go bad sooner.
    • Subgoal: Give more food away. When I cook for other people, I’m really good about keeping things professional and tidy. I pull my hair back, wash my hands, and NEVER lick my fingers. What I’m NOT good at is maintaining that same standard when I do my blog cooking. You can usually find me at 11 am on a Monday morning, still in my pajamas, with a beautifully finished dish in front of me while I stand there with uncombed hair, licking my fingers after I adjust the garnish for the millionth time. This makes me reluctant to give blog food away. It just feels gross to give away a batch of doughnuts when I know I licked glaze off my fingers as I plated them (or fear a stray hair may have fallen into the batter). This means we sometimes wind up with more food than we can eat, and some of it gets wasted. So from now on whenever I cook for the blog, the hair goes up and the fingers stay clean. No more sad food that I’m too ashamed to send to the office with the Mister!

 

So that’s my challenge! Starting on February 14th, I’ll be sharing an intermittent blog series chronicling my journey to less food waste. I can’t promise that I’ll post on an exact schedule (since I’m not exactly sure what I’ll consider worth sharing), but they’ll most likely appear 4-5 times throughout Lent, most likely on Tuesdays.

Normally I don’t post about stuff like Lent because it’s not relevant to what I blog about, but this year is a little different. I know there are other people out there who want to cut down on food waste too and might want to see what I learn during this process. I also want to hear from people who are succeeding where I’m failing.

 

So here are my big questions for you guys as I set out to eliminate food waste from my life:

Do you use urban composting? If so, got any tips for a newbie?

Have a fridge organization method you love? Share it!

Clue me in on any recipes you turn to when you need to use up extra ingredients! šŸ™‚

Ā a

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Jingle Bells: Thoughts on my 4th Anniversary

Posted December 26, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 2 Comments

 

Every year on my anniversary, I like to write a post that reflects on one aspect of my wedding and highlights its wider significance to my marriage. On my first anniversary, I wrote about my wedding ring; year two, the flowers in my bouquet; and year three, the priest’s sermon. I was planning on telling the story about my wedding dress this year, but as I was hanging the jingle bell ornaments on our Christmas tree, I realized that this is a perfect year to talk about the special significance of those bells.

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A Literary Christmas Cookie Exchange: Bookish Cookie Recipes for Your Holiday Party

Posted December 20, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 1 Comment

 

Coffee in White Coffee Cup

 

I love a good cookie exchange. It’s a great chance to experiment with something new or whip up a crowd-pleasing classic. A couple years ago I made pumpkin madeleines with cream cheese frosting for a cookie exchange by riffing on my go-to madeleine recipe, and I was oh so pleased by how well they were received (definitely one of my prouder baking moments).

Sadly, I won’t have a chance to attend any exchanges this year, but I volunteered to bring some homemade cookies to my family’s Christmas get together. I decided to make Jo’s Christmas gingerbread from my Little Women menu. They couldn’t be more festive, and gingerbread is a favorite treat of the Little Mister (while I was recipe testing for my cookbook, he ate all the limbs off a poor gingerbread man before we could stop him).

Cookie exchange or not, I figure I’m not the only one who wants to try a fun new cookie recipe for the holidays. I’ve made loads of book-inspired cookies in the past that are perfect for Christmas, so I decided to share a few of them below! There’s Jo’s gingerbread of course, but also Sherlock Holmes’ brandy snaps, Romeo and Juliet’s Italian sandwich cookies, and many more. So bake up some bookish fun for Christmas! Your bibliophile friends will thank you. šŸ™‚

 

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A Toast to National Book Lovers’ Day: 7 Literary Drinks

Posted August 8, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 0 Comments

 

art, artistic, blank page

 

Tomorrow is National Book Lovers’ Day, so to celebrate I thought it would be fun to share a special roundup of book-themed drinks. šŸ™‚

Why drinks, you ask? Well, I figured drink recipes are something quick and easy you can throw together on a whim, which is important for a holiday like this (one that lands on a weekday and is the sort that some people don’t hear about until the last minute). After all, just because you haven’t got time to run to the store doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to toast your love of books, right? šŸ˜‰

The recipes listed here include cocktails, nonalcoholic punch, hot chocolate, and even Earl Grey lattes. So we’ve got something for everyone—whether you wanna party it up with an Edgar Allan Poe cocktail or get cozy with some of the White Witch’s hot chocolate.

Cheers, and happy Book Lovers’ Day! šŸ™‚

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Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Desserts

Posted July 4, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 4 Comments

 

Painting of Fireworks

 

As you can probably tell from the focus of my blog, I love making themed recipes. Themed desserts hold a special place in my heart, since they’re a great way to achieve that awesome visual wow factor. So I decided to round up all the red, white, and blue desserts on the blog and do a quick little post for anyone who’d like to whip up something fun and colorful for the 4th of July. Munch on, fellow patriots! šŸ˜‰

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11 Father’s Day Foods Sure to Make Dad’s Day

Posted June 13, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 0 Comments

 

brother, child, dad

 

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m extra excited this year!

This Father’s Day will be my husband’s first official Father’s Day AND it falls on his birthday, so I really wanted to make it count. Especially since most of the gifts baby makes for him these days come wrapped in diapers! šŸ˜‰

I usually wind up cooking something for the Mister on gift-giving occasions (for Christmas I made him white rum and almond hot chocolate!). So for Father’s Day, I decided to peruse my archive of meaty main dishes for inspiration when I realized that lots of other moms are probably in the same boat! So I decided to share a roundup of all the dishes I’m considering, so you can use them too!

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10 Festive Easter Recipes

Posted April 11, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 1 Comment

 

celebration, colorful, colourful

 

Easter is just around the corner, and I’m eager to make some spring-themed Easter recipes for my family get togethers this year. But like most holidays, I run into some problems when deciding what to make for Easter parties.

I usually want something festive and easy to pass around, but I still want it to be unique enough that it’s not just a repeat of what someone else is bringing. Luckily, I’ve developed a repertoire of these sorts of recipes over the past few years of blogging. So I thought I’d share some today! šŸ™‚

Here are my favorite go-to Easter recipes! Enjoy!

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5 Pies for Pi Day!

Posted March 14, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 3 Comments

 

Strawberry and Raspberry Pie Near White Ceramic Pitcher

 

Happy Pi Day, everybody! I wish I could say I had another St. Patrick/Pi Day mashup party in the works this year, but unfortunately it was not to be. The Little Mister has been experiencing a growth spurt, so he’s spent all his waking hours for the past several days eating. Even though it’s difficult to cook anything right now, I can’t seem to feel resentful. He’s just too darn cute! I’m seriously so proud. He’s only 5 weeks old and can already lift his head, roll from side to side, and even smile! We like to joke that someone forgot to tell him he’s a baby. šŸ˜‰

Still, just because my life’s a little crazy right now doesn’t mean everyone else can’t bake up some Pi Day goodness, right? Here’s a roundup of all the pies I’ve ever made here on AWR, if you’re looking for some inspiration. Almost all of them are savory, which surprised me…but that just means I should make sure to add some sweet pies to future menus this year!

In the mean time, maybe I can convince my husband to swing by a bakery and pick me up a slice of lemon meringue on his way home from work today. Fingers crossed! šŸ™‚

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10 Book Themed Valentine’s Day Desserts

Posted February 14, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 2 Comments

 

Yellow and Red Heart Knot on Black Labeled Book

 

What do you do on Valentine’s Day when the person you love is wild for books? Make them a dessert inspired by their favorite story…and then take them to the bookstore, of course! šŸ˜‰

These are my top ten book-themed Valentine’s Day desserts. Stay sweet, Wonderlanders! šŸ˜‰

 

The Queen of Hearts’ Painted Rose Cupcakes — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Give the king or queen of your heart a different kind of rose this Valentine’s Day! šŸ™‚

 

Romeo’s Sighs and Juliet’s Kisses — Romeo and Juliet

These two-toned cookies are a sweet tribute to Verona’s most famous lovers.

 

French Hot Chocolate — The Three Musketeers

http://wonderlandrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/three-musketeers-french-hot-chocolate-br-4745.jpg
No one knows love like the French…and nothing says “I Love You” like this French hot chocolate recipe from The Three Musketeers!

 

Cinnamon S’more Mini Baked Alaska — White Fang

These White Fang-inspired desserts make baked Alaska easy!

 

Dragon Scale Madeleines — The Hobbit

Want to show your favorite Hobbit fan you care? These red and gold madeleine cookies will do the trick!

 

Dauntless Chocolate Cake — Divergent

A love as dauntless as yours calls for the most intense chocolate cake! (Note: If you’re concerned it’ll be too sweet, swap out the bourbon frosting for whipped cream blended with a little cinnamon)

 

Brandy Snaps with Coffee Cream — Sherlock Holmes

This Sherlock Holmes-inspired dessert will make it easy for your sweety to deduce your feelings. šŸ™‚

 

Butterbeer Trifle — Harry Potter

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No time to cook? These no-bake trifles are quick and easy to throw together…and they’re a fun make-together project!

 

Katniss Cakes — The Hunger Games

hunger-games-katniss-cakes-d-4294
You can choose between Girl on Fire, “Cinna”mon, and Nightlock…or make them all!

 

Little Belgian Truffles — Agatha Christie

Wanna try your hand at candy making? These truffle tributes to Hercule Poirot are the perfect gift for the Agatha Christie fan in your life.

 

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day dessert?

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There and Back Again: Two Book Themed Baby Showers

Posted January 17, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 7 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! šŸ™‚

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! šŸ™‚

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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