Saturday, January 25, 2014

Being Vegan in Disney

So let me begin by saying that my husband is vegan, I am not. He has been vegan since our epic California adventure in September which I may or may not share here. This dietary change has been a slow progression over the years as you would see over the course of the blog. He feels better both internally and externally which is fantastic.

Two weeks ago our whole family made its way down to Orlando to share in the magic that is Walt Disney World. Honestly this an adventure in itself. We were celebrating many great  life achievements like marriage, birth, and family. My grandparent were celebrating over 50 years of marriage, their respective ages of 75 and 74, and their 2nd great grand child. Chris and I recently got hitched and so in a way we were celebrating that as well.
Combining 12 very different people of all ages into a resort like Disney is an experience in it of itself. C was a bit rotten through the planning process because of his newer dietary choices. Its already hard enough to eat vegetarian out in the world, the choices dwindle when you are vegan. He honestly didn't think there was any food to be found. All the way until the end of the trip he was sure he would starve that week. Before we flew to Florida we packed a gallon sized zip-lock full of oats/granola for snacking and breakfast, a 4 lbs. bag of apples, and another zip-lock with almost 2 lbs. of cut up carrots. Since my parents drove down from NJ they had additional snacks like clementines, bananas, more apples, etc. During our trip in the resort I was vegan with C for solidarity and to reduce confusion with the chefs.

Not only did we NOT starve, but we were presented with so much incredible food that usually after dinner I could barely move. I was pleasantly surprised with the availability of different foods for different diets and for those with allergies.  I wish I had pictures to show all the different foods we got, but I found it to be odd/rude especially with the whole family around. I'm sure my grandfather wouldn't really understand that dinner that night was "blog worthy" and required picture taking in a nice restaurant.

Here are our tips and tricks:

 
  • Ask to see the Chef!
    • We told our waiter at every sit down restaurant we had dietary restrictions and asked if the chef could come talk to us. Every time they said yes! And every time we got excellent service. I even had a special dinner made just for me that wasn't on the menu. 
  • Be open to modifying what is on the menu
    • Sometimes you just have to ask for a salad with no chicken, no cheese, and a different dressing. No one ever judged us. A few times we were asked if we were vegan, when we said yes they gave us great suggestions of other food options we might prefer and we never treated oddly. One of the food counter people at one quick service restaurant was also vegan!
  • If you are vegan or vegetarian think hard about NOT using the dining plan. 
    • Since we were a group of 12 and we were eating dinner together 4 of the 5 nights it made the most sense for our family. The dining plan is great if you are a diverse group, but if you are a couple or going solo, think hard. Also the dining plan is available on a room by room basis, so if your buddy wants to have it but you don't, one of you will be the sore looser.
    • The dining plan costs roughly $60 per day. If you eat expensively, this will save you tons of loot, but most vegan dinners cost less than $20 bucks per person. I can't eat $20 of food each meal which made it less than worth it for me and C. BUT our family ate at buffets most nights which cost from $30-50 per person. If you eat every night at the buffet or have big meat eater friends with you then you may want to consider it.
    • In the end we could barely use all the "snack" credits and splurged at the end on tons of baked goods from BabyCakes (OMG) which was a nice way to end the trip.
  • If you choose to not do the dining plan
    • Pack your own lunch and snacks. The park will let you bring in outside food as long as it isn't in a hard case cooler or if you have alcohol packed with it. Food IS expensive in the parks and the serving size can be less than stellar for lunches...
  • Pass on the buffet restaurants. 
    • You will find better and more interesting food at a more traditional style restaurant. Its also a LOT cheaper.  The buffets tended to have all the same things, just slightly different styles and flavors.
  • Plan ahead!
    • The parks at WDW are huge, and with that have lots and lots of places to eat. Some are more v-friendly than others. Not only did this help me plan my day better, but you don't want to waste 1-2 hours looking for a place in Magic Kingdom that can best accommodate you. While every food stand/restaraunt have an allergy list/ingredient list of every product they sell, they also have very long lines to get up to the counter. At peak times of the day (or even worse during the peak times of the year) lines for lunch can be upwards of 30 minutes. It would stink if you had to do that 2-3 times before finding a place to eat. You can find menus at My Disney Experience.
  • Read other people's experiences about the staff and food.
    • This was super helpful in finding good places to eat and which places to avoid (if you can). I will post about where we ate in another post.
  • Make reservations for sit down restaurants as soon as you can.
    • Restaurants fill up quick for dinner. There was one occasion that C and I couldn't eat at a certain restaurant we wanted because the only open reservations were at 9:30PM. While we did find a good place to eat last minute, it was hard fought.
  • The resorts will be better for dinner than the parks.
    • The resorts IMO are more accommodating with more interesting themes than the restaurants in the park. Some of our best dining experiences were in places like The Grand Floridan Resort, The Animal Kingdom Resort and Lodge, and the Contemporary.
    • We mostly ate quick service in the parks which probably lends itself to being a lower dining experience.
Hipster

Have you been to WDW recently? What were your dining experiences? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Splitting

Hey! For the 5 whole people that occasionally read this thing, I've started posting more of my sewing stuff on my new blog Figure 8. I'm going to focus more of my adventures in sewing, pattern drafting, fashion, etc over on that blog. I decided that I would really like to keep the focus of this blog on food and general craft.
I am hoping to really focus more on social media and internet community this upcoming year so while I may not write a lot, there will be stuff! In the next few weeks I would like to talk about my food experiences at Disney World. It was a wonderful crazy trip and I would like to share it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sewing Storm

Like the thunderstorms blowing in from the South West, my desire to sew is powerful and booming. In the past 2 weeks I have sewn a pair of linen/rayon trousers, 2 t-shirts, a t-shirt dress, lounge shorts, and this dress up above, not including a few small odds and ends for work. One of the perks of working for a textile company in the R/D department is all the cool fabric I get to test out. Every single item I've sewn in the last two weeks is from fabric samples I've been evaluating. Above is a 100% poly-interlock. Normally I am a natural fabrics kind of gal, but JEEZ is this stuff dreamy feeling. The surface is smooth and the fabric is overall very light with great drape.  If it weren't for the fabric being black, I might would have had to line the dress. The fabric has claims to being wicking. I will say that it feels like poly, but I never felt hot or stifling when wearing the dress.  
This morning I drafted the dress to be as easy to put together as possible with 1 yard of fabric.  The fabric is 60" wide which makes this project so easy. I held the fabric up to my waist to figure out length, added 2 inches of ease to the front and back pieces, and cut a very basic a-line skirt (i.e. cut at an angle to the edge of the fabric at the other end). Honestly, I wish I could have done something different with the top, but c'est la vie! I had limited fabric. I pieced together the top from a strapless dress pattern from long ago. Created a "facing" for the banding around the top like you do for a t-shirt neck line and serged the edge of some fold over elastic for the straps. I used the matte side if you were curious. On the inside, I serged 1/2 elastic at the waist to pull in the dress. I used a serger for the whole project, so the initial fitting was a bit big seeing as I had all these seam allowances I wasn't using but was quickly able to adjust it.  I think it turned out pretty well for taking less than an hour from concept to conception. I wore Sunday to the farmer's market here in town and got a few compliments. 
If I could do it over again, I might would consider shortening the dress in order to have more fabric for the top half. Maybe next time. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fast and the Furious

I feel like summer is moving through like a freight train. Those in the southern half of the States know that summer is two fold, the first half beginning as around at mid-May with full on summer by mid-June and oppressive heat season beginning some place around mid to late July. The concept of being chilled in the evening is nonexistent until mid-October. Much of this doesn't matter, really. The season's move and shift, and I do my best to enjoy the outside as much humanly possible without much sweating like a beast doing so. This is harder than imagined seeing as most of August the temperature doesn't dip below 80 even at sunrise and the relative humidity rates keep it feeling like it is well into the 90s.

I guess this really figures into the fact that if I feel that the seasons are moving like a car down a highway. The real heat will be here before I know it without me being able to enjoy the weather now.
I believe this latter issue to be larger than I want it to be. I feel rushed and anxious so far this summer. There are many large projects I am working on at work... and at home. Many of them culminating at various points mid summer and into the fall.  I know I am not the only one feeling the heat of the sun like pressure on the chest. C is hard at work as well.  Many of his deadlines for work are in a similar timeline to mine. We both feel it. But lots of exciting news comes from all this work. We decided to officially get hitched this fall. *This was actually especially difficult to write surprisingly seeing as the only people that know so far are very close family and I'm not sure how I want to come out to the public about it. This has weighed heavily on me and is difficult to put to words. I want to be excited, but in reality I'm full of anxiety. I'm really not sure how C and I are going to pull this off.  He's about excited as a sloth. His mind is elsewhere, mainly focusing on work.  He has many big deadlines starting in August and the work is intensive. I, too, have many looming deadlines beginning in July for work. 
I am concerned we will be consumed until right up until the end. That we will miss the most important deadline and project, our marriage. I am totally freaked we will botch this.  Because in reality we both are passive, laid back, kinda lazy do-ers, that have a serious "What-evs" policy in our house. Do you know that last time I was on time for work? Neither do I.  But it sure wasn't in the last 2 weeks.
So maybe you see why I am forlorn at the summer approaching so quickly and with such speed. Why I am sad to see May go so quickly and June descend upon us without having enough tea and and the other important T, time.

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P.S. I'm still working out the kinks to my one piece block, but found some great nylon swimwear while in NYC last week. I am hoping to purchase some yardage in a few weeks! Until then I'll be trying my hand at underwear and making C some T-shirts with cotton jersey I picked up at Spandex House.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sneak Peak

Sneak peak into a new project:

Can you tell spring has come and summer is now on my mind?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Going Forward

AAAAAnd we're back!

I have to agree with other bloggers about not apologizing about an extended break from blogging.  So I won't.

The past 2 years(!) since I've shown face on this blog many great things have happened for me and C.  Just to name a few, we built a sofa, moved to a new apartment, I received a promotion, C quit his job to pursue his art (check it out at kearneypeeps.tumblr.com), and we're thinking of starting a business together.

I'm hoping to resurrect this blog not just as a food blog, but as a blog for creative discovery.  C and I discuss at length between the two of us that we are inherently makers. As makers we strive to not only create, but regularly try to interject it into our ordinary life. We not only enjoy lots of cooking, but in our free time enjoy sewing, knitting, textile design, woodworking, gardening, ceramics, and stone work.  I'm not trying to toot any horn, and believe me, its not like I'm some kind of wonder woman that gets tons of stuff done to then beautifully photograph it for your instagram pleasure.  Its just we like to work with our hands and what was named above is a sampling of what we like to do in our relatively small free time.

I will still try and post recipes, its just I want to talk about the other things I do too. I'm hoping this will prod me just enough to spend more time writing even if it means doing it differently. I'm also hoping this will help hold me more accountable for the projects I start, as I have a terrible case of start-itis, and even worse the pre-project-stall-itis.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure.




Monday, May 2, 2011

Simple Mint Syrup

Refreshing drink addition to the hot spring days here in North Carolina.

1 good sized bunch of Mint
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Chop the mint, mix all ingredients on the stove, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Will keep in the fridge up to two weeks. Add to your tea (to make mint sweet tea) or get your hands on some bourbon for Mint Juleps. Peeps and I are going to make Minty Lime Sodas!

I haven't kept my blog promises, but truth be told... I got a lot going on. Will have pictures soon to prove it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Ok, like I need another book, never the less a cooking book.  But I want it.  I want it bad.  This book, just looks amazing!  While Peeps and I are not vegan, we have many friends who are.  Also I'm always up for challenging new ways of cooking and eating.  Vegan recipes are great for everyone.  Don't have eggs?  Just ran out of whole milk?  Still want to make something awesome?

Please try it for yourself.  I put some sprinkles in mine to make confetti cupcakes.  De-Lish!

You can find the recipe here. We substituted rice milk for the soy because its what we happened to have in house. 
Enjoy.

P.S. for dinner we are having very not so vegan veggie lasagna.  Will report back later.