Cheese Straws – Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey cheese straws recipe

Recently I rewatched most of Downton Abbey to take note of the food references, and the show was just as captivating as it was when I first watched it. I had forgotten about some events in the story, and even the ones I remembered were still exciting the second time around.

In Downton Abbey, there are a few scenes that revolve around food, but there are also a bunch of foods mentioned just in passing by one of the characters. These are actually my favorite food references, because it’s just a little something to lend an authentic feel to the world, rather than to move the story along.

One of these such references was to cheese straws. During a scene in the kitchen, Daisy mentions casually that she is going to make some cheese straws. I love cheese, so I looked up a good traditional recipe for cheese straws to recreate and share with you. I found a recipe from BBC Food and adapted it to my tastes.

Cheese Straws Recipe – Downton Abbey


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 Tbsp. cold water (or more, if needed)


  1. Sift together the flour and salt.
  2. Add the butter, and crumble it together with the flour with your fingers until it is well incorporated.
  3. Add the cheddar, parmesan, cayenne powder, and egg yolk and mix.
  4. Pour some cold water into the mix, a few Tbsp. at a time until a stiff dough forms.
  5. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes
  6. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Cut the dough into thin strips (mine were a bit too thick in the photos…now I know for next time!)
  8. Lay the strips onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  9. Bake the cheese straws at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

What I loved about this recipe is that most tea-time recipes I find online are sweet, and this is the perfect tea-time snack with a savory flavor. So, make up a batch of these Downton Abbey cheese straws before your next tea party!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Kronk’s Spinach Puffs – Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove

They’re so easy to make. I’ll get you the recipe.

-Kronk, The Emperor’s New Groove

Kronk's Spinach Puff Recipe - Disney's The Emperor's New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove is one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. I love anything that can make me laugh out loud, and since I have a weirdly specific sense of humor, it is actually quite rare that a movie or show makes me laugh out loud…and this movie does just that, no matter how many times I watch it!

Kronk is easily the best part of this movie. He is so funny, and I love his passion for cooking. In light of that, I knew that I had to recreate Kronk’s spinach puffs. I adapted this recipe, and I think it’s one that Kronk would approve!

Kronk’s Spinach Puffs – The Emperor’s New Groove


  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed


  1. Beat one of the eggs in a medium bowl.
  2. Add to the egg the spinach, feta, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
  3. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 9 equal squares.
  4. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and place the puff pastry squares into the individual cups of the muffin tin.
  5. Fill the puff pastry squares with about 2 or 3 Tbsp. of spinach filling, and pinch the corners closed on top.
  6. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl, and brush the egg over the tops of the spinach puffs.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.

These spinach puffs are great as a side item or appetizer, and I love that they’re pretty customizable, too. You can add bacon, chickpeas, or whatever else you want to the filling. Kronk was right, these are very easy to make!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Baked Apples – The Chronicles of Narnia

baked apples narnia recipe

Who else just adores Reepicheep?!

Okay let’s just get this out of the way. The apples I used for this recipe turned out really ugly looking for pictures…haha! Someday I will choose cuter apples and update this post with better photographs, but I didn’t want to keep this recipe from you in the meantime because, ugly or not, these baked apples tasted (and smelled) amazing!

Baked apples appear in The Chronicles of Narnia a couple times. Once in Prince Caspian when the Pevensie children find themselves in Narnia with no supplies. They find an apple orchard, and so for a few days, all they have to eat are apples. To give some variety, they try roasting the apples on sticks. In the Silver Chair, the dwarfs serve an elaborate breakfast including baked apples, which probably tasted better than the ones the Pevensies roasted on sticks.

The official Narnia cookbook has a recipe for baked apples, but the apples in this recipe are stuffed with raisins, and I hate cooked raisins! So I searched online for a baked apple recipe without raisins and found this great recipe that uses oats. I know they have oats in Narnia, because several times we see the characters eating oat cakes and oat porridge. So this could still be a totally authentic Narnian recipe.

Baked Apples – The Chronicles of Narnia


  • 4 apples (the sweeter, the better!)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Cut out the core of the apples, leaving the bottom of the apple in tact. This works best with an apple corer or a melon baller, but I just used a regular spoon and it worked fine.
  2. Mix together the brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  3. Stuff the apples with the sugar/oat mixture
  4. Place the stuffed apples in a deep baking dish, and place 1/4 Tbsp. of butter on top of each one.
  5. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish. This should caramelize with the melted brown sugar to make a sauce.
  6. Cover the apples with foil and bake them for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  7. Remove the foil, and cook the apples for 30 minutes more.

These baked apples taste great on their own, but they’re also perfect for pairing with ice cream or whipped cream. They make the house smell like Thanksgiving!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Bilbo Baggins’ Seed Cake Recipe – The Hobbit

“…I don’t mind some cake—seed-cake, if you have any.”

“Lots!” Bilbo found himself answering…and he found himself scuttling off…to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.

-The Hobbit

Bilbo Baggins Seedcake Recipe Hobbit Lord of the Rings

Here we go with another recipe from my very favorite book of all time. I’ve seen and tried many recipes for Bilbo’s seed cake and have never liked them much. Most recipes out there are very authentic to the type of seed cake that Tolkien likely meant, which is caraway seed cake. I think it’s wonderful that these food bloggers and cookbook authors want to be authentic, but I much prefer poppy seed cake to caraway seed cake.

Years ago, when the first Hobbit movie came to theaters, Denny’s ran a promotion in which they offered a Hobbit-themed menu. Being the total nerds that we are, my husband and I drove 45 minutes to the nearest Denny’s just to eat Hobbit food! One of the items on the menu was French-toasted lemon poppy seed cake with a cream cheese glaze. It was so yummy!

For my recipe, I decided to go somewhere in between the authentic caraway seed cake and the totally inauthentic lemon poppy seed French toast, and I found a great sweet spot! I adapted this recipe for poppy seed cake from Food Network.

Bilbo Baggins’ Seed Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into a round cake pan (or several round cake pans if you’re making smaller cakes).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until done in the middle.

When I took these cute round cakes out of the oven, I really felt like a hobbit! And I had just as much fun eating the cake as I did making it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Ketchup Soup and Parmesan Potatoes – The Martian

the martian recipes

This month, Food ‘n Flix is hosted by A Day in the Life on the Farm. The chosen movie for this month is The Martian, and I am so excited to share with you my recipes inspired by that film!

Back in 2014, my husband (who happens to be a rocket scientist…no, really!) read The Martian by Andy Weir, and he loved it so much that he talked about it almost nonstop for weeks. Since I never planned on reading the book (not really the genre I usually like to read), I let him tell me all about it, and I felt like I had read it myself.

So, when The Martian movie came out a couple years later, I knew we had to see it together in the theater. We both loved it, and I enjoyed hearing my husband compare the book to the movie. They are different, of course, but he liked them both.

I decided to make two recipes inspired by this movie. First up is parmesan potatoes. Mark Watney eats a lot of potatoes in this movie, because he is stranded with very few food reserves and resorts to growing his own potatoes from a few potatoes found in a packaged meal.

I was trying to figure out what I could do to make the potatoes more flavorful that would still maintain the theme of the movie, and I remembered a part in the movie where he runs out of ketchup and dips his potatoes in crushed Vicodin. Yes, as in the narcotic. While using actual Vicodin in this recipe would be both disgusting and illegal, I thought that powdered parmesan cheese looked a bit like crushed up Vicodin powder, so I went with that.

Parmesan Potatoes Recipe


  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. parmesan cheese powder (you know, the kind that comes in a bottle shaker!)


  1. Wash the potatoes and cut them up into bite-size pieces.
  2. Put the potatoes in a bowl, and toss them together with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Lay the potatoes out onto a greased baking sheet, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

For the next recipe, I was inspired by the packets of ketchup Mark Watney uses (until he runs out, that is). And I thought, “Oh, why not make tomato soup with a ketchup base?” Um…bad idea, Courtney! Seriously, do not make soup out of ketchup. It was so vinegar-y and just nasty!

So instead of taking it so literally, I just made my favorite simple tomato soup recipe. I still called it “ketchup soup” though, because I was inspired by the ketchup 🙂

Ketchup Soup Recipe


  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove.
  2. Whisk the soup together as it heats so that all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth consistency.
  3. Add any desired garnishes, such as basil or parmesan cheese.

I served this soup with a dash of parmesan cheese powder to tie it in with the potatoes. It’s not gourmet, of course, but it is good in its simplicity…and it sure tasted better than the actual ketchup soup I made before. haha!

I hope you enjoy these fun little recipes as much as I enjoyed The Martian movie!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Josefina’s Bizcochitos Recipe – American Girl

Back in December, I posted a few recipes inspired by Kirsten, my favorite American Girl. I posted these recipes mostly just for fun and honestly didn’t expect many other people to enjoy or appreciate them, but boy was I wrong! I got a lot of great feedback on those recipes. Even now, almost 3 months later, those are some of my more popular posts on this site.

So, I am so excited to be doing another American Girl recipe today! This recipe is inspired by the book Happy Birthday, Josefina! Josefina is an American Girl growing up in New Mexico in the 1820s. At her 10th birthday celebration, they serve bizcochitos. I used this recipe to recreate this yummy treat.

Bizcochitos are a traditional New Mexican cookie with a very unique flavor. The combination of anise seed and cinnamon makes these cookies unlike anything you’ve ever tasted!

Josefina’s Bizcochitos Recipe


  • 3/4 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise seed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. apple juice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar


  1. Mix together the lard and 1/2 cup of sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and anise seed and stir it well.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and apple juice and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for about 2 hours.
  5. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and 3 Tbsp. of sugar.
  7. Cut out individual cookies, and dip them into the cinnamon sugar before placing them on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

The traditional shape of bizcochitos is the fleur de lis. Since I didn’t have a fleur de lis cookie cutter, I used a star, and I think that turned out beautifully, too.

With these lovely little cookies on hand, you’re ready for an authentic New Mexican celebration, just like Josefina’s birthday party!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Chocolate Cherry Tart – Pan’s Labyrinth

“You will see a sumptuous feast, but don’t eat or drink anything. Absolutely nothing. Your life depends on it.”

-The Faun, Pan’s Labyrinth-

chocolate cherry tart recipe

When I read that the film for Food ‘n Flix this month was Pan’s Labyrinth, I knew I had to jump at the chance to participate in this online film club for the first time. This month’s Food ‘n Flix is hosted by Pretty Cake Machine. Check out either of those blogs for info on how you can participate! Now, let’s get to it.

I am normally quite squeamish when it comes to movies and TV shows, so I usually steer clear of rated “R” movies, since they normally have too much violence for me to handle. However, I make an exception for Pan’s Labyrinth because it is just such a beautiful film. I love the gritty, realistic version of fantasy found in this movie, and the symbolism in the story is heart-wrenching and inspiring all at once.

I was of course inspired by the scene with the Pale Man. Even though that scene gives me anxiety, the food on the table is stunning. No wonder Ofelia and other children like her were tempted by it.

One dish that stood out to me the most was a tart or pie studded with bright red cherries. I already had a jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge, so I knew immediately I wanted to recreate this delectable dessert. I used a recipe for chocolate pudding that I found on the Hershey’s website.

So, here it is. A chocolate pudding tart adorned with bright red cherries. It’s so easy to make, but also yummy and beautiful.

Pale Man’s Chocolate Cherry Tart – Pan’s Labyrinth


  • Pie crust (I used a store-bought graham cracker crust…sue me! 😉 )
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk (trust me, do not use anything other than whole milk!)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Maraschino cherries


  1. Mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt and milk in a saucepan.
  2. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it starts to boil, stirring it constantly.
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for about 1 minute, remembering to keep stirring.
  4. Remove the pudding from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.
  5. Pour the pudding into the pie crust, and allow the pudding to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  6. Allow the cherries to drain on a towel for a minute, then arrange them in a circular pattern across the top of the tart.

Bonus Recipe – Warm Milk with Honey

Mercedes is one of my favorite characters in this movie. She is sweet and kind, but also determined and strong. I love the kindness she shows to Ofelia. In one scene, she offers to give Ofelia some warm milk with honey, and I thought that warm and comforting drink sounded lovely, but since it’s so simple, it can’t really be counted as a recipe.

Just warm some milk on the stove or in the microwave. Pour a few tablespoons of honey into the bottom of a mug. Pour the warm milk over the honey, and stir it all together. You can also add some cinnamon for a little something extra.

I hope these two recipes help you get into the spirit of Pan’s Labyrinth. Enjoy!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Apple Charlotte Recipe – Downton Abbey

apple charlotte recipeOne of my favorite things about Downton Abbey (besides all the juicy drama, that is) is that food actually plays a rather important role in the story. When the downstairs staff, many important scenes take place in the kitchen while Mrs. Patmore and Daisy are preparing meals. Upstairs, a lot of riveting conversation and drama occurs at the dining table, especially when there are visitors present. For this reason, I have loved coming up with recipes to recreate so that I can feel more integrated in one of my favorite shows.

This apple charlotte recipe was inspired by one of the earliest episodes of the show. In season/series 1, Cora is desperate for her eldest daughter, Mary, to find a husband. To this end, she invites Sir Anthony Strallan over for dinner. Cora hopes that Mary and Sir Anthony will hit it off over dinner, but Lord Grantham isn’t so optimistic since he is “at least my age and as dull as paint.” Well, then.

In preparation for Sir Anthony’s visit, Cora asks Mrs. Patmore to make Sir Anthony’s favorite apple charlotte recipe for dessert. That sounded very fancy, and I do love a good apple dessert, so I did some research. A “charlotte” is a type of molded pudding. Traditionally, it should be baked in a charlotte mold, though you can use a casserole dish or souffle dish like I did. It will certainly look prettier if you use a charlotte mold, however.

I used this recipe from Food Network and it turned out great.

apple charlotte recipe

Apple Charlotte Recipe – Downton Abbey


  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12-20 pieces of white bread, crusts removed
  • Extra butter


  1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
  2. Cook the apple mixture on the stove for 45 minutes.
  3. Butter 4 bread slices (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan), and place them butter-side down on the bottom of the pan. Trim the edges to fit the shape of the pan if necessary, but make sure the entire bottom of the pan is covered with bread.
  4. Cut 11 slices of bread (or however many are needed to cover the sides of the pan) in half, lengthwise. Butter the bread and place the pieces against the sides of the pan, buttered side out. Overlap the bread slices a bit to ensure there are no gaps.
  5. Pour the apple mixture into the pan over the buttered bread.
  6. Cut 7 bread slices (or however many needed for the top of the pan) into triangles.
  7. Fan the bread triangles across the top of the pan, ensuring they cover the apple filling entirely. Brush the tops with melted butter.
  8. Bake the pudding at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Allow the pudding to cool slightly and set. Flip the pudding onto a serving platter to slice and serve.

This apple charlotte recipe tastes great when served with whipped cream or ice cream. Serve it up for a fancy dinner to impress guests, or make it just for a fun treat.


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for any sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew – Star Wars

rootleaf stew

Update: I am submitting this recipe to the monthly Fandom Foodies link-up! This month is Star Wars themed, hosted by My Main is a Cook. Check it out! #MayTheFork be with you!


In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke goes to Dagobah, where he meets Jedi Master Yoda. Yoda finds Luke eating some dry rations, and he insists that Luke come with him for some better food. In his humble little hut, Yoda serves Luke rootleaf stew. Yoda claims that this rootleaf stew is good and healthy and will help Luke grow strong, however, Luke seems less than impressed with it.

There is an official rootleaf stew recipe floating around out there, but, in my opinion, it contains far too many ingredients, one of which being lamb. I don’t feel like Yoda could find lamb or any quality meat on the swampy planet of Dagobah.

I used a few root plants and some leafy greens…roots and leaves…get it? The beauty of this is that this soup is highly customizable, which is perfect if you’re stranded on a planet where you are at the mercy of whatever food you can forage.

I used beef broth because, when mixed with the green juices of the spinach, the broth takes on a kind of swampy look. It looks gross, but I promise it tasted yummy. Feel free to use a different broth if you want it to look a little more appetizing. May the force be with you!

Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew Recipe – Star Wars


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a pot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beef broth, potato and carrot.
  4. Cook the stew for 15 minutes, or until the potato and carrot are soft.
  5. Add the chopped spinach, salt and pepper, and cook the stew for about 5 more minutes.

Feel free to make substitutions according to your tastes. I’m sure Yoda substituted ingredients depending on what he could find to forage. Use any kind of root vegetable in place of potatoes and carrots, or substitute the spinach with kale or another leafy green.


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for any sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Puss in Boots’ Cornish Hen Recipe

cornish hen recipe

This is the second month I’m participating in the Fandom Foodies linkup, and so far, it’s been lots of fun! Last month, Alison’s Wonderland Recipes took us on a magical journey to Narnia. This month, Pretty Cake Machine is hosting, and the theme is “cats in media.”

Now, I am a huge fan of cats. Seriously, I like cats better than most people. They’re my favorite! But I wasn’t sure if I could participate in this linkup while staying true to the theme of my blog. But then I remembered a charming little movie called Puss in Boots.

I’m sure there have been tons of film adaptations of this fairy tale over the years, but the one I’m referring to is a live-action film released in 1988 starring Christopher Walken. Yes, that Christopher Walken. This is a low-budget film with ’80s-style hairdos and ridiculous song numbers. It is terrible and wonderful all at once.

Christopher Walken plays the title character, who transforms into a human from a cat when he is gifted a pair of boots. In his human form, Puss in Boots is always seen catching, cooking, and eating some type of bird or another, so I knew I’d have to cook up something poultry-related for this story.

I settled on Cornish hens because of a lavish feast that Puss in Boots prepares for everyone at the end of the film. He serves the fanciest-looking little Cornish hens, and I knew I had to try replicating them. Luckily, I was able to find some frozen Cornish hens at Aldi. At nearly $4 a piece, they were more expensive than larger chickens, but still affordable if you’re not feeding a crowd.

Puss in Boots’ Cornish Hens Recipe


  • 2 Cornish game hens, thawed
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the hens, breast up, in a roasting pan.
  3. Baste the hens with the melted butter, and sprinkle the salt and pepper over them.
  4. Roast the hens for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an inserted thermometer reads 175 degrees F.

These gorgeous hens can be served with rice, potatoes, your favorite veggies, crusty bread, or whatever else you normally serve with chicken.

My favorite part about these Cornish hens was that I felt so fancy serving them for dinner, yet they didn’t require that much extra work from any other dinner I’ve made. No wonder Puss in Boots decided to serve them at the banquet!


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for any sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!