The Berenstain Bear Classics, originally classified as the Berenstain Bear First Time Books, are staple series of my childhood.
I fondly remember my mom reading this series to me. Each story taught life lessons and felt so relatable. But the artwork? I loved the artwork and I still do! It’s very unique, warm and welcoming.
I realize now as I research this that as much as I loved the books I knew, there are so many more I’ve never had the pleasure of reading! I am starting to collect these Berenstain Bear books to read to my daughter, so I’ve created this one-page handy dandy bibliography to keep track as I go! Please feel free to use it too if you need it!
Welcome back friends! We took a little break from creating Disney recipes, but I’ve missed this, so we’re picking things back up again! This month we’ll be roasting the peanuts from the WDP Circus in Disney’s Dumbo.
This recipe is featured twice in the film. Timothy mouse is snacking on them when he first meets Dumbo, and when Dumbo stretches his ears to fly, he sucks them up and sprays over all the rude elephants.
I love salted peanuts! These are brined to get the salted flavor within the the shell, then tossed with peanut oil and salt before roasting. These are a healthy and delicious snack, I hope you enjoy them!
WDP CIRCUS’S ROASTED PEANUTS
1 1/2 pounds in-shell raw dried peanuts
2 quarts of water
1/2 cup of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
Thoroughly rinse the peanuts under cool water to remove any excess dirt.
In a large bowl or pot, dissolve the 1/2 cup of salt in the water, then add the peanuts.
Place a plate over the water’s surface to ensure the peanuts are submerged and brine for 24 hours.
Drain the water, and spread the peanuts on baking sheets in a single layer to dry (this may take several days).
Once the peanuts are dry, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the peanuts in a large bowl and toss them with the peanut oil and salt until well coated.
Spread the peanuts back out onto baking sheets in a single layer.
Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan(s) after 20 minutes. Everyone’s oven is different, so keep an eye on them so they won’t burn!
Remove the peanuts from the oven. They will continue to “cook” and become crunchy as they cool.
My family and I have created a playlist of cozy, classic Christmas music for you and yours! Christmas may be celebrated a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Christmas spirit!
This year we’ve decided to focus on the “tried and true” classic Christmas songs that leave a cozy feeling in your heart and soul. Primarily Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, with a few other artists sprinkled in, including Seth Macfarlane who, although a modern artist, fits in handsomely!
Please let us know if we missed or left out any of your classic Christmas favorites you feel should be included! We’d love to hear from you!
Cozy Classic Christmas Playlist 2020
CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE| Vince Guaraldi Trio
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS|Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters
THE CHRISTMAS SONG |Nat King Cole
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR | Andy Williams
MISTLETOE AND HOLLY | Frank Sinatra
SILVER BELLS | Bing Crosby & Carol Richards
WHITE CHRISTMAS | Rosemary Clooney
SNOW | Seth MacFarlane
THE FIRST SNOWFALL | Bing Crosby
LOOKS LIKE A COLD, COLD WINTER | Bing Crosby
BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE | Seth MacFarlane & Sara Bareilles
A WINTER ROMANCE | Dean Martin
I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM | Dean Martin
YOU’RE ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS| Bing Crosby
SLEIGH RIDE| Ella Fitzgerald
LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! | Seth MacFarlane
WINTER WONDERLAND | Bing Crosby
A MARSHMALLOW WORLD | Seth MacFarlane
LITTLE JACK FROST GET LOST | Seth MacFarlane & Norah Jones
FROSTY THE SNOW MAN | Bing Crosby
WARM IN DECEMBER | Seth MacFarlane
CHRISTMAS DREAMING | Seth MacFarlane
I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS | Seth MacFarlane
O TANNENBAUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
O FIR TREE DARK | Bing Crosby
THE CHRISTMAS TREE ANGEL | The Andrews Sisters
IS CHRISTMAS ONLY A TREE | Bing Crosby
DECK THE HALL | Nat King Cole
CHRISTMAS CANDLES | The Andrews Sisters
THE CHRISTMAS SONG | Seth MacFarlane
HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS | Judy Garland
A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS | Burl Ives
(EVERYBODY’S WAITIN’ FOR) THE MAN WITH THE BAG | Seth MacFarlane
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
JINGLE BELLS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I’D LIKE TO HITCH A RIDE WITH SANTA CLAUS | The Andrews Sisters
JING-A-LING, JING-A-LING | The Andrews Sisters
CHRISTMAS DINNER, COUNTRY STYLE | Bing Crosby
CHRISTMAS ISLAND | The Andrews Sisters
MERRY CHRISTMAS POLKA | The Andrews Sisters
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS |Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS |Bing Crosby
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? | Bing Crosby
THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY | Bing Crosby
MY LITTLE DRUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING | Bing Crosby
THE LITTLEST ANGEL | Bing Crosby
O HOLY NIGHT | Bing Crosby
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEARS EVE? | Seth MacFarlane
I’m always on the look out for a fun, entertaining way to pass the time like a good tabletop game! Blokus was introduced to us by my husband’s parents and we enjoyed playing it so much we purchased it straightaway!
Blokus is a two to four player strategy game that can be played with reckless abandon, or the studied care one would reserve for Chess or Checkers.
Players each choose a color and a corner, then decide who goes first; turns proceed clockwise around the board. To begin, each player must use their first turn to lay down a piece that covers their base corner’s square. Play then continues with each player placing one piece each turn that must touch the corner of one of their colored pieces, but only the corners! Full sides of the same color may not touch one another.
When a player reaches a point where they cannot place another piece, they are done. The game ends when no player can place anymore pieces. Once the game ends the players count the number of squares in their unplayed pieces, the player with the lowest number of squares left, wins!
My only complaint is based on the packaging or storage. The version we purchased has no storage for the 84 colored pieces which is surprising and disappointing. I use four sandwich bags, one for each color to store them. This cuts down on the amount of time spent sifting through the pieces before starting each game!
If you’re looking for a fun, fresh take on a timeless strategy game that feels like a spiritual successor to Checkers and/or Chess, check out Blokus!
Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be baking up the red velvet cake Ichabod Crane stuffs into his mouth in Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
This cake is featured during the Halloween party thrown by Baltus Van Tassel, Katrina Van Tassel’s father. Ichabod’s stomach is never satisfied so he snatches a piece of this cake up while dancing with Katrina, and pops it in his mouth without even skipping a step.
Similar to Mrs. Frankenstein’s Dutch Apple Cake, the first cake recipe I posted, this recipe was a lesson in trial and error. I knew I wanted to go more natural and traditional, using beets as the red component in the red velvet and ermine icing (or flour buttercream) instead of cream cheese frosting. The first attempt was delicious, but I only used the beet juice and it came out more cocoa brown than red. This time I used the physical beets and it resulted in a red I am very happy with.
RED VELVET CAKE
3 medium beets
¾ cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons non-dutched cocoa powder
2 cups cake flour (sift before measuring)
1 ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash the beets and wrap each one in aluminum foil.
Bake the beets until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet (about 1 hour 15 minutes), then remove them from the oven and allow to cool until they can be handled.
Peel the beets and place them into a food processor, then chop them until they’re about the size of finely diced onions.
Measure 1 cup of the finely chopped beets and set aside. Remove the remaining beets from the food processor and reserve them for another purpose.
Return the cup of beets to the food processor and purée with the buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla and vinegar until smooth.
In a medium size bowl, sift together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft.
Slowly add the sugar and beat until fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Alternate adding dry ingredient mixture and the beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat for 10 seconds after each addition and scrape down the bowl after each addition of the beet mixture.
Grease two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and grease again.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (about 20 to 25 minutes), then remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
To assemble, peel away the parchment of one cake and place the flat side down on a serving platter. Place about 1 cup of icing (see below) onto cake and, using a flat spatula, spread evenly over top. Remove the parchment from the second cake and place the flat side down on top of first layer. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of cake.
10 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 pinches salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (do not microwave)
2 cups granulated sugar
In a small saucepan, whisk together flour, milk, and salt.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture is very thick. If small lumps develop, whisk vigorously until smooth.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
Transfer to a small bow and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the mixture’s surface to prevent a skin from forming, then set aside to cool completely.
In a medium to large bowl, cream butter and sugar for about 3 minutes then stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cream butter and sugar for another 3 minutes until very smooth, light, and fluffy (insufficient creaming of the butter/sugar will result in a gritty frosting).
Gradually beat the cooled flour mixture into the creamed mixture a few tablespoons at a time and the icing will begin to lighten. The mixture might look curdled when the flour paste is first added, but additional whipping will smooth it out.
Gently scrape bowl and beat until mixture is fluffy and resembles whipped cream.
Ermine Icing will break down above 70 degrees F. It’s best when freshly-whipped, but cakes and cupcakes should be completely cooled before frosting.