Welcome back to another installment of HEALTHY DISNEY NIGHTS!!
So we have been a bit slack in our Weight Watchers. With the coupling of both Turks & Caicos and Cape Cod in the last few months, we have been much more “vacation” than weight loss. But I mean, it’s summer so back off. I wasn’t receiving any compliments on my bikini anyways.
So yeah, we are getting our healthy Disney nights back up and running. And if you don’t remember, these nights are pretty great as they combine fun with dieting. Which I guess is less “combining” than it is two completely opposite things being forced to cohabitate. Insanely great sitcom fodder, but it becomes challenging when trying to put together a Disney theme night.
However, I do think we did a really good job with this one. The movie is obviously great but while I sometimes feel dieting may be a popular choice for demons during 7th Circle of Hell Theme Nights, Weight Watchers does at times force us to move out of our comfort zone and try new things. Tonight was one of those nights. I like nights that force me out of my comfort zone. Because my comfort zone is sitting on the couch watching GLOW. And that’s not a life.
Wait, is it?
And besides, we are coming up on another Disney trip. And I can’t let Belle see me like this.
Seeing as I have written about many of these films we are currently going through to build up to our November trip a few times over, I decided to do something a little different. Rather than give a review rehashing everything I have already said, I am going to start doing a Top 5 list of things I love about these movies. Unless of course we come up against a movie I haven’t written about yet. Looking at you, Moana.
So, here we go.
The Top 5 things I love about The Lion King (in no particular order):
- You Know, A Sort Of… Father-..Thing – I have written before about how this movie has hit me at so many different times during my life in so many different feels. And it all links back to the father-son stuff. When I first saw this movie, I loved seeing how this played out the father-son relationship of Simba and Mufasa. Disney had always focused much more strongly on Moms than Dads so it was nice to see this on film, especially as my relationship with my father was always a close one.
When my father passed away, this movie hit me differently. Obviously. And not just as a surface, “oh that’s sad” kind of thing. While Mufasa’s death is a big part of this film, it’s also about Simba’s need to move past it in order to be the person his father always wanted him to be, thus keeping his spirit alive. Losing my father was a crushing moment in my life, but as time has gone on, I have learned to celebrate the man he is by trying to emulate the best parts of him as I raise my own children. And in doing that, he not only lives on in me but he becomes a part of my kids’ lives too.
Which is where this movie is now. Now that I am a father of my own, I love watching this movie with my own kids. And I hope they can carry what I have carried from this movie as their lives march on as well.
Circle of life, right? Heavy.
- Wait, Hamlet? – Yeah, this was technically an original story by Disney but also technically, it’s not. Borrowing elements from Hamlet, this story is bonkers. Uncle wants to be king so he (spoiler alert) kills his brother and tries to kill his nephew. Son deals with his father’s death and blames himself so he goes into exile. Everything goes to crap. Disney movies often have some messed up undertones, but man. This story is pretty perfect all around, with moments of sadness, joy, humor, sadness, singing, and abject terror. Good stuff.
- Timon and Pumbaa – Fine, they are technically two things. But they are AWESOME. Timon’s delivery on every line is like, pitch-perfect and Pumbaa is the first Disney character to ever fart on screen. So I mean. Win. Plus, while they do a great job of being comic relief, I especially love when they show up to fight for Pride Rock at the end. Because they love Simba. Stop. With the aww.
- The music – 1994 was a legit amazing year for movie soundtracks. We had Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Camp Nowhere.
The 90’s were great. But seriously, I pretty much immediately bought The Lion King soundtrack right after seeing the movie. The songs are all pretty stellar – Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to be King, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Circle of Life. All of these are legit Disney classics. And you also got Elton John versions. So double score. But my absolute favorite song? Pfft, Be Prepared is THE BEST VILLAIN SONG EVER. Scar is best. That is all. Actually, that’s not all. In fact…
- Scar – Scar is SUCH a good Disney villain. He is def evil. I mean, he (spoiler alert) kills his brother, tries multiple times to kill his nephew, and he pretty much takes down an entire ecosystem. But man, is he charming. I still think his “Forgive me for not leaping for joy. Bad back, you know” line is HIGH-larious. Timon and Pumbaa are great, no doubt. But Scar is the funniest character in The Lion King. Which is saying a lot. SINCE HE TRIED TO KILL HIS NEPHEW.
Also Lilo loves the movie. So.
Aw this activity though. WE WENT TO THE ZOO!
No not Zoobilee. Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA. Right down the street from our house, Stone Zoo has always sort of been the merp zoo of the Zoo New England family (Franklin Park being the other, more better one.) And while Franklin Park remains the better of the two, Stone Zoo has been putting a lot of money into improvements. We always enjoy visiting there, especially because it’s right down the street and we have a membership.
And there are otters. So.
But yeah, we had a good time seeing all the animals and checking out the new Caribbean Coast section. And a bonus? The flamingos didn’t smell like death. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.
Here are animals now….
And we also got a glimpse of the new Snow Leopard cubs. Unfortunately, they are still too young to be roaming around the enclosure so we saw them via the “Cub Cam.” And they were insanely cute. I wish I could get this channel at my house.
We have typically based our Lion King nights around steak. Because lions like steak and….OK, fine. It’s because I like steak and I am a big fat steak person and having the meat sweats feels to me like being wrapped in rainbows and puppy unicorns.
Are you happy?
Sorry. I’m sorry. This whole diet is really wearing on me.
Fine. That’s also not true. I ate a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids just 10 minutes ago.
So yeah, since we are trying to be all healthy and what not, I searched on skinnytaste for African recipes and built the menu around that. So the menu was as follows:
- Easy Shredded Harissa chicken – 2 points per serving, served with butternut squash rice (0 points) and grilled corn on the cob (0 points)
- Stonefire Mini Naan Original – 5 points for 1 piece
- Worms in Dirt pudding cups – 4 points
Total meal – 11 points
So yeah, technically, the Harissa chicken is the only actual African food on the whole menu. Butternut squash and corn on the cob just went so well with the Harissa chicken.
And the naan bread. Yeah, I know. But Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Technically, Kidani Village) serves it. And Animal Kingdom Lodge is like staying in the Lion King. Well, not in the Lion King. Like, not the character or anything. Like, not like wearing the skin of Simba or anything. Pfft. Freak. But yeah, so. I like naan. Whatever. We had Stonefire Original Mini Naan for this one. We baked it in the oven and it was really good. People be like, “was it awful?” and I be like, “Nahhhh…n. Naan.”
And this stuff was a great substitute for a fork. I really hate utensils.
Everything was really good though. From the naan to the entrée to the dessert. We were not sure what to expect from the Harissa, but it was really tasty and since I made the sauce from scratch, I could control the spice for my less-adventurous housemates (translation: lame fam squad).
I will post recipes for the chicken, corn on the cob, and worms in dirt but the rice was relatively simple. We bought a package of butternut squash rice from Market Basket:
And simply followed the instructions on the back:
Onto the recipes:
Grilled Corn on the Cob – 0 points
Recipe serves 4
Yup, no link here. I make this stuff legit alllllll the time. Yup, corn. On the cob, mind you. Hm? No. You’re super easy.
- 4 corns. On the cob. (I mean, if you are serving 4…honestly, you can have more than 4. It’s ok.)
- Olivio buttery spray
- Water (for corn dipping)
- Also need some aluminum foil
- Oh also…obvs a grill
Preheat grill. I typically set my grill on high to preheat and then drop the temp when I put the corn on.
Husk and clean your corn. Unless it’s already husked. Then maybe take this time to sit back and reflect on the successes and failures of your life up until this point.
To prepare corn for grilling is a three step process:
1 -Spray corn with Olivio buttery spray (I spray it pretty liberally because I mean, buttery spray)
2 – Either dip buttered corn in a bowl of cold water or run under a light stream in the faucet. I am lazy so I usually go with the light stream
3 – Wrap corn in aluminum foil
Now that the corn has been prepared, place aluminum foil wrapped cobs on grill. Cook for 30-35 minutes, turning the corn every 10-12 minutes or so to avoid burning.
The nice thing about this corn is that it steams and butters as its cooking. I add a little salt after unwrapping them to mine but honestly, that’s not necessary. The butter flavor definitely stands on its own.
Easy Shredded Harissa Chicken – 2 points per serving (https://www.skinnytaste.com/easy-shredded-harrisa-chicken/)
Recipe serves 4
I found this recipe on skinnytaste when I did a search for “African” so. I am obviously a cosmopolitan man of the world.
Like I said, though, this was super tasty. And very easy to make. The recipe link says she often uses Mina Harissa , which is probably fine. But I couldn’t find that at my local store so I made it myself using her provided instructions for those that shop at the Revere Market Basket. I actually think there may be a book somewhere full of instructions for those that shop at the Revere Market Basket.
Sorry, what? Oh right. Harissa.
How to make Harissa:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 12 ounce jar roasted peppers in water, drained
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to your taste
Like I said, I made this one a bit less spicy so I more probably used like a ½ teaspoon of crushed red. You like-ah the spice?
Very easy to make though. Even skinnytaste only devoted two sentences to making it:
Sauté the garlic in oil until golden and fragrant then combine with the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve room temperature. So yeah, easy. Here is what it looked like at the end:
Funny story though – my blender doesn’t get much use but it is a gift from our wedding. We also just celebrated our 15th anniversary. So, it leaks. Harissa all over the blender. Harissa all over the counter. Harissa explains it all.
Now for the chicken
Also super easy. Crock pot recipes are like the best. They are always easy. And they made the house smell like heaven. Which was good. As it wiped out smell remnants from the zoo. Win-win.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup mild Harissa sauce (jarred or as prepared above)
Season the chicken with the cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
Place chicken in a slow cooker and pour over the Harissa. Cover.
Skinnytaste says to either cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 4 hours. For the record, I went with the LOW setting/4 hour recommendation and the chicken was literally falling apart when I took it out.
Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.
After shredding, I put the chicken back in and mixed with the remaining Harissa in the crock pot and let it warm for a little bit (like I do with pulled pork).
Timon and Pumbaa’s worms in dirt cups – 4 points per cup
Recipe serves 4
Eh, I guess this isn’t really all that much of a recipe but I was still excited to have gummy worms, Oreos, and pudding and…hrm, I just spoiled the whole recipe.
- JELL-O sugar free dark chocolate pudding snacks (package of 4)
- 4 Oreos
- 8 gummy worms
For the gummy worms, I used Black Forest Organic gummy worms. I don’t know if they are widely available or what, but they are 2 points per ¼ serving, which equals to 2 points for 2 worms. I did see they are available at Walmart so they can always be ordered.
Also, for the Oreos. So we got Reduced Fat Oreos. Which are 2 points per cookie. However, I checked and regular Oreos are also 2 points per cookie. So I mean, just get the regular Oreos, man. Nice try, Nabisco. Nice try.
Open pudding cup. Crumble one Oreo on top. Add 2 gummy worms.