Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Emperor's New Groove

Week 9:

I haven't watched this movie in a LONG time. Princesses and singing snowmen usually win over this movie, but I still really enjoyed watching it this week. The Emperor’s New Groove is loosely based on the book The Emperor’s New Clothes (even though I don’t remember there being llamas in that book..or wool..or any clothes for that matter). However, it did have a self-obsessed ruler in it. Speaking of self-obsessed rulers, Kuzco’s name is similar to Cusco/Cuzco which is a Peruvian city that was the capital of the Inca Empire. Pacha’s name is also tied to the Inca Empire as it refers to Pachacuti, the most important ruler of the Inca Empire (he was the village leader in the movie even). Some more Incan cultural references were shown in the movie by the awesome water features (no, not Kuzcotopia, but think the water through the nose feature) and, of course, llamas. Due to these influences and ties to Spanish culture, I decided to spice up my menu for this movie with some Spanish flair and staples. Ok, ok it may just be Mexican food, but it is the best I could do!

Here is the menu:

I had to begin my menu with the classic starter, chips, salsa (which isn’t pictured in the overall picture, because I had two big of bowls of it) and queso (the molten cheese concoction we all know and love). I got the chips, salsa, and queso from Chili’s, because I absolutely love their skillet queso.

Next, we have spinach puffs! Kronk, Yzma’s (the royal advisor) henchman and my favorite character, was quite the cook. He made this and several other dishes throughout the movie. I figured spinach puffs were safer than a stuffed pill bug (a.k.a. roly poly). Kronk almost burned his spinach puffs, because he was busy trying to “poison” Kuzco. I mean he had to deal with salad, dessert, coffee, AND poison. It was a lot to take on.

Also, spinach puffs must have been Kronk’s signature dish, because he took it pretty hard when Yzma said she never liked them. I mean, making him sleep in a tiny tent, carry you on his back and step on his hands, and wake you up? All ok, but NEVER insult a man's spinach puffs. Harsh, Yzma, harsh.

I didn’t make my spinach puffs with the elaborate triangle pastry shells like Kronk, but they tasted pretty good. I have included the simple recipe I used. One recommendation, though. Put LESS spinach than this recipe calls for. Mine came out with a bit too much spinach for me. Let’s just say I was seeing A LOT of green. Luckily, though, not in my teeth. I think.

My mom, a couple nights after I cooked the puffs, sent me this little throwback picture. I know I just made spinach puffs this time, but I have come a LONG way since those cinnamon rolls. I am surprised those were edible and I even won a ribbon. Maybe I wasn’t THAT bad of a cook before this after all!

Next, I had burritos down on the menu. You can’t go wrong with some sort of filling wrapped in a flour tortilla with cheese, in my opinion. I chose a bean and cheese burrito and, as you will soon see, it came out to be muy grande. Gracias, El Super Taco!

Another Spanish (ahem Mexican) food staple came next, rice. I paired this with refried beans, because it just makes sense. They go together like peas and carrots, like mac and cheese, like Kuzco and Pacha! I was going to mention the beans in the “add-ons” section, but I did not think they should be separated any longer!

Last, but not least, is my favorite part of any meal. Dessert. I had tres leches cake and sopapillas on the menu. I have a tried and true tres leches recipe, but wasn’t planning on making a whole cake for just Justice and I (for reasons that will become evident later on). The restaurant I was going to get a piece of it from, Joe’s Grill and Cantina, recently took it off their menu.

HOWEVER, La Huerta had sopapillas (for 99 cents I may add) that were delicious AND I will include my tres leches recipe for you, so we are back in the groove, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh!

Now for the add-ons. I was pretty sad about the tres leches cake. I did really want it, so I decided to add a couple things I could get to make it more of a Spanish smorgasbord. El Super Taco had tacos, of course, so I grabbed those for Justice and he got me some cheese quesadillas from a local restaurant called George’s. Delicioso!

The final result. Notice the Fiestaware.

Now comes the really special part of this meal, which I hinted about when I said there was a reason I didn’t make a cake. This week was my birthday!!! At first, I was hoping Justice would draw Monster’s Inc. or Mulan, because I love Asian food and that is what I typically choose for my birthday meal but, after watching this movie, The Emperor’s New Groove was the PERFECT Disney movie for my birthday. The reason it was perfect was due to the fact that there are many more references to birthdays in this movie compared to other movies. For example, Kuzco met Pacha when he was needing “verification” to build Kuzcotopia (his birthday gift to himself), Kuzco became a llama on the eve of his 18th birthday (as stated at his “funeral”), and Pacha managed an escape from the diner by telling the waitress it was Yzma’s birthday (did you notice the tin foil llama wrapping up her leftovers?). I, unfortunately, gave up my sombrero and so did Justice (even his tiny one for his cat, Bella), but I have ANOTHER throwback picture to a friend's birthday! Feliz CumpleaƱos!

Now for the reason for no tres leches cake. Firstly, this week was, also, two of my coworkers' birthdays. One of them LOVES Starbuck’s Salted Caramel Mocha, so his daughter and I made him copycat cupcakes and he shared his lemon birthday cake with me! Secondly, Justice surprised me with a buttercream, oreo filled birthday cake in our wedding colors (side note: our invites and save the date supplies came on my birthday, so it was a good, wedding reminder filled day) with some cooking supply gifts I have been wanting for the blog (I know, I am lucky). Lastly, Justice and I, also, had our wedding cake tasting at my favorite dessert shop! These three things plus the fact that I had the sopapilla was why I did not make the cake. Just saying.

Sniff, it is so beautiful

I had so many desserts I was hoarding in my fridge that I felt like Yzma holding the secret formula to lifelong happiness (evil laugh).

Then, a few minutes later, the amount of food and sugar in my body began to really weigh on me. I should’ve started with a light salad and, then, saw how I felt after that.

Too. Much. Cake. Strike That. Too. Much. Mexican. Food. You can NEVER have too much cake! I mean Yzma even put her plans to murder Kuzco on hold for dessert…and coffee, but I built that into dessert (see above).

Since my birthday was on a Thursday this year and I had the throwback cooking picture from my mom and sombrero number, I decided to show some pictures from some of my past birthdays (Kuzco even got in on the throwback action). I couldn’t find a picture of my cookie monster cookie cake unfortunately. However, I have pictures of an early birthday with my adoring sister (I think I had a Pocahontas cake for that particular one), my 20th surprise birthday cake and dinner with my new friends in London when I studied abroad, my 21st Tiffany birthday cake, my Facebook post from my 22nd birthday (I know, I know Taylor Swift. I celebrated with Asian food in Akron, OH during work training..which is a coincidence, because I am traveling back to Akron for a week after this birthday)!

With all this birthday and throwback awesomeness, you are probably wondering how can it get any better? I told you Kronk was my favorite character, right? Well, the park down the street from my house has a “friendly squirrel problem”. See where I am going with this? I got to communicate with a squirrel! He wagged his tail at me which, based on Kronk’s translation, means he wished me a happy 23rd birthday and thanked me for the Cheerios I fed him! He got much closer than the pictures suggest.

There, phew, this meal is terminado.

It was my turn to draw and guess what came up?

Coming Soon: Mulan

P.S. Watching The Emperor’s New Groove definitely worked out after all, because I still got Asian food twice during the week and, as you can see, I drew Mulan so I get it AGAIN this coming weekend! Unplanned surprises are the best, I tell you. However, since I got my Egg Foo Young in this week, I might switch up the Mulan menu a bit. I don’t know. I have been going back and forth on it, because changing the menu has, from the beginning, been a BIG no-no of mine (Justice can attest to this). However, I can think of three good reasons I should just walk away.

One, I don’t want a Chinese overload. Believe me nobody is happy after that. Two, the egg foo young and I weren’t friends last weekend. Three, I have been missing my before-diet standby, sweet and sour chicken. Yup, I believe I will go for the grey/gray area and edit slightly, making up for it with an addition.

I have already said too much, though. Until next week, my amigos/amigas!

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