Season of the Force: Star Wars Eats and Sweets

Season of the Force food
photo credit: Disneyland News
With preparations for the new Star Wars-themed land at the Disneyland Resort, excitement is spreading all across the galaxy! Construction for the new 14-acre land is set to begin in 2016, and guests will have to wait a few years before Star Wars Land actually opens, so young Jedi will have to exercise a lot of patience. Fortunately, Disney Parks is making the wait easier with Season of the Force, a limited-time Star Wars themed experience in Tomorrowland. Not only do park guests get to enjoy new Star-Wars themed attractions, exhibits and merchandise, they also get to eat Star Wars-inspired food and beverages.

That's right, foodies and Star Wars fans! You no longer have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to get some Cantina grub. Disneyland's Tomorrowland Terrace has been transformed into the Galactic Grill, with a completely new menu featuring Star-Wars inspired dishes with clever names and delicious ingredients. Redd Rockett's Pizza Port and Tomorrowland food carts also have their own set of Star-Wars inspired dishes.
Star Wars sippers

I visited the Disneyland Resort shortly after the Star Wars menu items became available, and I took photos of as many items as I could. I also ordered as many items as I could to taste, but I was there for just one day, so I could only fit in the Forest of Endor pasta, Darth by Chocolate parfait, and Chewbacca Cheesecake. They were delicious, and I'm sure the rest were just as galactically good! Here's a list of Star Wars-themed menu items, currently available throughout Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park:


Darth Tamale

Wake up to the spicier side of the force with this blue corn Darth Tamale, with scrambled eggs and chorizo, red chili sauce and tomatillo. Available at the Galactic Grill.
Star Wars Darth-Tamale
photo credit: Disneyland News

Other breakfast items

Other breakfast items not pictured here include Bantha Blue Milk Bread (french toast dyed blue), Lars Family Breakfast Platter (traditional bacon and eggs breakfast platter), and Moisture Farm, a fresh fruit platter. Kid's breakfast plates include Baby Bantha Bread (kid-sized portion of the Bantha Blue Milk Bread), and Padawan Breakfast Plate (kid-sized portion of the Lars Family Breakfast Platter).

Lunch and Dinner

First Order Specialty Burger

Talk about joining the Dark Side! This burger has a patty of angus beef and chorizo, topped with fried cherry peppers and spicy-lime aioli on a dark bun. The black bun is actually more of a dark caramel brown color, and don't worry -- unlike the infamous McDonald's black burgers, it won't send anyone to the restroom! Available at the Galactic Grill.
Star Wars First-Order-Specialty-Burger
photo credit: Disneyland News

Jedi Order Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Five Spice chicken breast, fried green beans, pickled red onions, and watercress with wasabi mayo. Available at the Galactic Grill.
Star Wars Jedi-Order-Chicken-Sandwich
photo credit: Disneyland News

The Fields of Naboo

This salad is so pretty!! The pink pickled yogurt spheres look amazing next to the yellow-green starfruit. The salad also contains romaine and frisée lettuce, mango, green papaya and strawberries, feta cheese. It is drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette. Available at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port.
Star Wars Naboo Salad

Forest of Endor

A Casarecce pasta dish packed with assorted veggies such as smoked cremini mushrooms, kale, broccolini and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as major flavor elements such as pine nuts, garlic oil and Romano cheese. Available at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port. We ordered this dish, and it was a nice change from our standard order of Chicken Alfredo Pasta. The sun-dried tomatoes really give it a nice, strong taste.
Star Wars Forest of Endor Salad

Dark Side Chicken Curry Specialty Pizza

Pizza slice covered in curry chicken, roasted cauliflower, gouda and mozzarella cheese, cumin, pickled veggies and fried beans, available at Red Rockett's Pizza Port. This pizza smelled sooooo good! I love how Disneyland isn't afraid to stray from the (boring) cheese and pepperoni pizza combo. That's why we love eating at Redd Rockett's so much!
Star Wars curry pizza

Other lunch/dinner items

Other lunch and dinner items, not pictured here, include the Cheese 3Po Burger (cheeseburger), Wicket's Wicked Veggie Sandwich (portobello mushroom & veggie sandwich), and the Chopper Salad (chopped chicken salad). Kids' meals include the Jawa Turkey Sand-wich (turkey sandwich on blue-dyed bread!), Han-Burger (mini burger), AT-AT Chicken Walker Nuggets (chicken nuggets), and Force Power Pack (yogurt and fruit). All kids' meals include sides and drinks.


Chewbacca Cheesecake

This was our favorite dessert, hands down. It's a classic cheesecake, infused with salted caramel and covered with chocolate frosting, piped to look like Chewbacca's fur. The cheesecake is topped with a white chocolate medallion with Chewbacca's face printed on it. The kids all said that they felt gross eating Chewbacca's face, but strangely enough, that didn't actually stop them from shoving that cheesecake down their mouths.
Star Wars cheesecake

Darth by Chocolate

I have a sneaking suspicion that this chocolate parfait is last May's Captain America parfait, with the chocolate Captain America shield replaced with a dark chocolate Vader head and white chocolate lightsaber. Not that I'm complaining -- I'm perfectly happen for Disney to repurpose this dessert so people can enjoy it longer! Darth by Chocolate is a dream dessert for chocolate lovers. It has layers of dark chocolate ganache, red velvet cake, and chocolate sponge cake, topped with crushed chocolate cookies, chocolate sprinkles, and the aforementioned chocolate Star Wars garnishes. It's super rich and super super yummy!
Star Wars chocolate pudding

The Pastry Menace 

The Pastry Menace is an eclair filled with chocolate pastry cream, decorated to look like Darth Maul, complete with almond face spikes. Available at the Galactic Grill.
Star Wars Pastry Menace
photo credit: Disneyland blog

BB-8 Droid Crisped Rice Treat 

Not pictured here, the BB-8 Droid Crisped Rice Treat is a Kellogg's Rice Krispy Treat bar shaped to look like BB-8. The rice cereal is dyed orange to match BB-8's droid body, and the whole thing is covered with a white chocolate topping decorated to look like BB-8.

Souvenir Novelty Food Items

BB droid sipper

Guests can purchase a BB-8 Droid Sipper for their sodas at Red Rockett's Pizza Port. Sorry collectors and eBay sellers, you're limited to five of these per transaction!
Star Wars droid sipper

Episode VII Edge Sipper

These purple soda containers feature the Millenium Falcon on a starry background. Available at Red Rockett's Pizza Port
Star Wars purple sipper

Other Souvenir Items

Other Star-Wars novelty food containers, not pictured here, include the black TIE fighter popcorn bucket, Chewbacca Beverage Stein, Han Solo Carbonite lunch box (for kids' meals), X-Wing Fighter Light Up Clip (to clip onto your frozen lemonade), and Darth Vader head cotton candy bucket.

Are there any other Season of the Force foods that I missed? And which ones are your favorite? Please let me know by leaving a comment below, or by tagging me, @bonggamom, on Twitter and Instagram!
Season of the Force poster

Disclosure: I received complimentary admission to Disneyland Park. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Wreath decorating 101: Tips for Beginners

holiday wreath decorating tips

The holidays are here and it's time to deck the halls! Our decorating season began early: last week the boys and I attended a blogger holiday party hosted by Balsam Hill, a company that sells premium Christmas trees, wreaths, and holiday decorations. Three of their designers were on hand to showcase some of their wreaths and offer tips on how to decorate wreaths. Afterwards, we took part in a wreath decorating contest! Bloggers were given a pre-lit holiday wreath and a choice of decorating materials, and 45 minutes to decorate.
holiday wreath decorating tips

If you've ever watched any Food Network competition show ever, you know how it works: contestants rush to grab materials, something always goes wrong, and everyone runs out of time at the end. What a rush! The contest was extra exciting for us, because we won first place! I couldn't believe it! All the wreaths were amazing and I didn't think we stood a chance, but it was a unanimous decision from all 3 judges. 3Po and Jammy were absolutely thrilled :)

Honestly, every family's holiday plans should include a wreath decorating contest. It's such a fun, creative activity, and you end up with a beautiful wreath you can display and enjoy. If you've never decorated a wreath before, don't be nervous -- if two 11 year-old boys and their mom can put together a nice-looking wreath, anyone can! Here are five tips to help you get started:

Plan before you begin

Don't start hanging ornaments on your wreath wily-nily! Decide what materials you're going to use (see tip #2!) and what theme you'd like to go with (see tip #5!). Lay your materials on the wreath so you can see if there are any bare patches (by the way, if your wreath is pre-lit, the cord can go either on the top or the bottom of the wreath -- just choose whichever orientation works best with your electrical outlets!). I've also heard that grouping odd-numbered items will make the overall effect more appealing and memorable.
holiday wreath decorating tips

Think outside the (materials) box

Traditional wreath decorating materials include berries, bows, and balls -- but anything goes! You can add anything from ornaments to cookie cutters to candy to pinecones to clothes pins to peacock feathers.
holiday wreath decorating tips

Make sure all materials are securely fastened to the wreath

The wreath that Balsam Hill provided for us was so lush and thick that all we had to do was nestle ornaments in between the pine needles and they would stay put.... or so we thought. We were wrong. As soon as we lifted our wreath, things started sliding off!  We had to wire each and every item with florist's wire. You can also hot glue materials to your wreath, which takes a lot less time and effort than using florist's wire -- but when you use florist's wire, you can disassemble the wreath at the end of the season and make a new one next year! Small, light items can be wired to the pine needles, but it's probably safer to wire heavier items and breakable ornaments to the wreath's central frame.
holiday wreath decorating tips

Add a focal point

If you really want your wreath to pop, add something "bongga" to catch people's attention and draw all eyes to your wreath. The focal point of a traditional wreath is a red bow, but again, anything goes. You could highlight a beautiful ornament, or a floral arrangement, or even a glittery animal figurine!
holiday wreath decorating tips
holiday wreath decorating tips

Tell a story

Having a beautifully decorated wreath is nice, but having a beautifully decorated wreath that means something to you is priceless.  One blogger was inspired by her family's love for the outdoors. Another blogger's wreath had beautiful glass train ornament as the focal point because her daughter loves trains. One blogger decorated her wreath in silver and gold because she loves those colors. The boys and I chose food-themed decorations because food plays a big part during the holidays! I also made sure there were 5 candy cane bundles on our wreath to represent the 5 members of our family. Think about the things you love or the memories you've made and take it from there.

holiday wreath decorating tips
Our award-winning wreath!
Happy decorating!!

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Holiday Store Exclusives at American Girl

American Girl Store holiday display
For almost a decade, our holidays have been inexorably tied with American Girl.  The Pea got her first American Girl doll as a Christmas present, and every year since then I haven't been able to resist buying her something from American Girl. This year I'm finally forced to admit that at age 14, she has outgrown American Girl dolls -- well, playing with them, at least! You can be an American Girl doll collector and lover all your life, and I think that's the way it's going to be for The Pea and for me.

A diamond in the rough: Donnelly Chocolates

Donnelly Chocolates Santa Cruz
photo source:

When people visit Santa Cruz, they usually head for the Boardwalk, the Pier, the Wharf, downtown, or one of the many beaches and coves. They don't usually find themselves driving on Mission Street. It's one of the main arteries of Santa Cruz (it eventually becomes Highway 1), and it's full of stop lights and cars. Locals usually take side streets to avoid the traffic, and it's lined with faded-looking storefronts that you wouldn't think to look at.

But there are quite a few gems on Mission Street worth stopping for: Sylvan Music, Vasili's Greek Restaurant, Cafe Brasil, to mention just a few. One real diamond in the rough is Donnellys Chocolates, an artisan chocolate shop located near the corner of Mission and Bay. If you love chocolate, it's definitely worth making a small detour from your regularly scheduled Santa Cruz itinerary.

Top Five Holiday Traditions at the Disneyland Resort

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort is always crowded during the holidays, and for good reason. No, it's not just because everyone is on holiday. It's because Disneyland has the ability to create special holiday experiences that turn into family traditions. Their imagination and creativity and attention to detail transform park attractions that you can enjoy any time of the year, into completely different. Here are my five favorite Disneyland holiday traditions (I have enjoyed four of them, so I can personally vouch for them, and I've heard so many great things about the fifth one that I've placed it on my bucket list!).

Las Vegas with my sisters

On November 4, Alfie and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. It's hard to believe that it has been 15 years since Elvis married us in Las Vegas!  And how did we celebrate this milestone? With a trip to Vegas, of course!

The only thing was, I didn't take that trip to Vegas with Alfie. I took it with my sisters. One of them lives in Manila and the other lives in London, so we don't get to do this kind of thing very often. In fact, the last time we had a sisters' getaway was about 10 years ago. I can (and do) party in Vegas with Alfie whenever I want. But Vegas with my sisters? That's a once-every-ten-years thing. Fortunately Alfie understood completely, so the day after our anniversary, my sisters and I made our getaway.

Revisiting The Cheesecake Factory

When I lived in Boston, The Cheesecake Factory was my go-to-restaurant for family meals. My sister and brother-in-law introduced me to the place, and we ate there on special occasions. You'd think I would have been happy when The Cheesecake Factory opened a branch in Palo Alto, but in the last fifteen years we've only eaten there twice. I guess the novelty had worn out by then, and the large portions kind of turned me off.

Last week I was in Vegas with my two sisters, and we found ourselves in front of The Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace just as our stomachs started rumbling. My sisters looked longingly at the cheesecake display, and I agreed to give the place another shot.

Halloween at The Yahoo Lady's House

Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

The Must-Do Halloween House in our neighborhood is, without question, The Yahoo Lady's House. That's what all the kids call Marissa Meyer's home (they used to call it The Google Lady's House until she moved to Yahoo). She has a home just across the street from the kids' former elementary school, and just from looking at it, you wouldn't really think that it belonged to a multi-billionaire tech giant -- unless you happened to pass by during Halloween.

Marissa is always the subject of a lot of press, and not everyone likes her, but say what you will about her, she puts on an over-the-top Halloween show for the neighborhood. Every year the house is decorated to the nines, with cornstalks, pumpkins, and life-sized ghouls.  The highlight is always a giant carved pumpkin. She started out with just one, and now she has at least three or four. The pumpkins always look amazing at night.

On Halloween night, there are always long lines at her place, because she gives out movie theater-sized candy, as well as plush Beanie Babies! Usually parents send their kids to the front door to get candy while they hang around on the sidewalk, but not at The Yahoo Lady's House.  Here, the parents line up with their kids so they can check out the decor.... and get a glimpse of Marissa Mayer. She always hands out candy personally.

Last year, Marissa took a cue from Disneyland and created a mini hay bale maze so that people could look at stuff while they waited in line. Her front lawn doesn't have enough space for it, so she used the parking lot of the empty funeral home that she bought (she turfed up the parking lot and she uses the space to host fabulous parties).
Marissa Mayer's giant Halloween pumpkins

By the way, those are photos taken from Halloweens past.  I stopped by her house the other day to take some photos of this year's display. It's difficult to say which one is my favorite!
giant pumpkins at Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

giant pumpkins at Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

giant pumpkins at Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

giant pumpkins at Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

giant pumpkins at Marissa Mayer's home Halloween

See you at The Yahoo Lady's House tomorrow night!

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Five Must-Do Attractions at Great America's Halloween Haunt

We've been going to Halloween parades and festivals since the kids were babies, and now that they're older, we're starting to get into the spookier side of Halloween. This year we visited our first honest-to-goodness haunted house. To be more precise, we visited five, and all were at California's Great America Halloween Haunt. I fully expected to hate it -- not that I think any of those monsters are real, but I hate getting startled -- so it was a pleasant surprise to find myself having fun!

For Halloween Haunt, Great America offers ten haunted mazes, three Scare Zones, and about half a dozen entertainment stages. I've covered the bare bones in a post over on Bonggamom Finds, so I won't repeat it all here. If you want to find out what Halloween Haunt is all about, go to my post: Everything You Need to Know about Great America's Halloween Haunt. Keep reading for the scoop on our favorite attractions at the event:

Guac-O-Lantern Dip

Guac-o-Lantern Dip

Want to hear something scary? October is almost over, and I haven't written a single Halloween-themed post!  Usually my blog is filled with Halloween costume how-tos, recipes, and decor. It's not even that I've been doing my usual Halloween stuff and haven't had time to blog. I haven't even done my usual Halloween cooking/crafting/decorating extravaganza in real life. I guess life just happened (that's my standard excuse for 2015).

Well, better late than never. I've got two days left to turn the front yard into a graveyard (thanks to the drought and lawn watering restrictions, the dead grass will make the perfect setting). We'll definitely be carving pumpkins. And I did find time for to make a disgustingly un-appetizing appetizer for Alfie's office Halloween potluck. I like to call it my Guac-O-Lantern Dip!