I don’t know about you, but we are experiencing extreme Walt Disney World FOMO right about now! In particular, we hate to be missing out on the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot this spring. Not only were we supposed to be at WDW last year, but we still can’t go because we are Canadian and the border is closed. (For our first impressions of Epcot, head here!)
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You already know that we love to recreate the magic at home as much as possible. So when I started dreaming about all of my favourite small bites at Flower & Garden, I roped Heidi and Elisia into a themed lunch. The beauty of a theme like this is you can go as elaborate or as simple as you want. You could do mini topiaries or a dish from each of the 11 pavilions… the sky is the limit!
With all we’ve got going on personally, we did keep it rather simple by just picking what was inspiring to us: we had a topiary from a previous event that a friend made and we made dishes that we would’ve tried had we been at the Festival!
To see all of the Festival offerings, check out the list here.
Here’s what we made for our Flower & Garden Party!
When I think of THE item that says Flower & Garden the most, it’s this. You can find this treat at the Pineapple Promenade. It’s actually crazy simple with just two ingredients: frozen lemonade, and violet syrup. I bought our syrup from Amazon because we are in Canada. If I was in the States, I would’ve popped over to the Cash and Carry Wholesale and bought it there. Simply add water and frozen lemonade to a high powered blender, then pour in a 1/2 cup of violet syrup. Adjust to your personal taste. Serve immediately (while frothy). Add an edible flower or violet if desired.
Froot Loops Shake
This was so easy and delicious. Start by making cereal milk. Soak 1 cup of Froot Loops with 2 cups of milk (homo or 2% to make it creamy). For the milkshakes we used vanilla bean ice cream and the cereal milk with a little bit of blue food colouring. Top with Froot Loops and enjoy! Fun fact: Canadian Froot Loops are only made with “natural colour,” so we no longer have the bright fun colours.
- 1 cup Froot Loops
- 2 cups homo (or 2%) milk
Soak cereal in milk for 30 min and then strain with a fine sieve so that you are left with just the milk.
- 3 scoops softened vanilla bean ice cream (we like Breyers)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup cereal milk
- Blue food colouring
We doubled this recipe and served in small plastic cups just like in Epcot (where you can order this tasty treat at the Sunshine Griddle).
Any excuse for pizza, but also, we wanted at least one thing that we knew the kids would eat. It ended up being a hit for both kids and adults.
I made my own dough, but you can go to the deli section of your grocery store and ask if they have fresh dough available; a fantastic time saver.
- 3 1/2 cups AP flour (all purpose, not annual passholder, lol)
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
Use a dough hook attachment on a stand mixer to combine the ingredients into a smooth ball, or knead by hand. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1-2 hrs). Separate into 4 individual balls, cover again, and allow to rise again for about 30 mins – 1 hr. Press out into long rectangle shapes. Pre-bake the crust at 375 F for 10-12 mins. Top with strained tomato sauce or your preferred pizza sauce (I like Mutti pizza sauce with basil), shredded mozzarella and thinly sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh whole basil leaves and continue to bake until the cheese is completely melted. Cut into squares and then on the diagonal.
Avocado Toast with Marinated Toy Box Tomatoes and Fresh Goat Cheese on Ciabatta
These mini avo toasts were almost too cute to eat!
For the toast: Slice a french baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toast at 375 F for 8-12 min. You want it lightly golden and crisp. (Note: You can do this step up to 24 hrs in advance. Store in an airtight container.)
For the avocado: Gently mash until smooth with the juice of half a lemon (for 1-2 avocados depending on their size). Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the marinated tomatoes: 1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut into halves or quarters depending on their size. If you can find multicolored tomatoes, great; if not, the red taste fantastic. The Epcot version of this dish has unbaked marinated tomatoes, we opted for a slow roasted marinated tomato. Cover halved cherry tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, season with herbs (basil, oregano, thyme) and salt. Bake at 275 F for 3 hrs or until tomatoes are wrinkly. Allow to cool, top with more olive oil and move them to the fridge.
For the radishes: Ideally, use watermelon or candy cane for colour but we couldn’t find any so the humble radish worked just fine. Slice very thin; I used a potato peeler to achieve paper thin slices.
For the soft ripened goat cheese: Crumble into different sized pieces.
Edible flowers: For us, the edible flowers really made the dish. Our friend who works for a catering company came in clutch for these. If you are in Vancouver B.C., you have to check out Black Table Farm. Fantastic way to support local!
Assembly: Spread a thin layer of avocado on the toast. I started with standing up a couple slices of radishes, then added the tomatoes around them. Next, add the goat cheese and sprinkle salt and pepper over each toast before decorating with the flowers. Perfection.
FYI, you can find this tasty treat at the Sunshine Griddle in Epcot.
Blackened Shrimp and Cheddar Grits with Brown Gravy and Sweet Corn Salsa
I followed the recipe provided for this item, which you can read here. Finding grits in Canada was a little tricky. We didn’t get an exact match, but we did find something very close. Bob’s Red Mill medium cornmeal was the closest thing we could find. We bought it at Superstore, but it is also available at Walmart.
When I made the grits, I used whole milk instead of water in order to make the grits more creamy. The grits weren’t instant, so I followed an Alton Brown recipe for grits in order to make the polenta. Another modification that I made was using Mennonite sausage instead of Andouille sausage. For some reason we can never find Andouille locally, so we have learned to make due with other sausages (but man are we ever missing Fred Meyer right about now!) This was such a tasty dish, we all loved it and will be making it again!
This dish is also located at the Sunshine Griddle in Epcot.
Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Plantain Chips
This is the one Flower & Garden specific item that I bought at the Festival in 2016, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. It’s also super simple. Purchase your favourite hot dog buns and spicy ballpark sized hot dogs (I buy Schneiders Juicy Jumbos Hot and Spicy Wieners). Make a pineapple chutney; I have made mine both in the slow cooker and the Instant Pot (this time I did a double recipe in the Instant Pot).
- 1 can pineapple rings with juices
- 1 whole ripe pineapple
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Ground clove
- Fresh grated and dried ginger (to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Apple cider vinegar (a couple splashes)
- Red onion (about 1/2 of a small, or 1/4 of a large)
- Brown sugar or honey
- Fresh or dried red chili flakes (to taste)
I also had a jerk seasoning blend so I shook some of that in there too. Slow cook several hours on high or pressure cook in an Instant Pot for 40 min (natural or quick release).
Serve BBQ’d hot dogs with chutney, crushed plantains and cilantro.
House-made Italian Sausage and Red Pepper Poutine (plant based)
This dish may not be a looker, but it tasted SO good! As a sometimes vegan (I try, but… cheese), I had to try this. Poutine is a Canadian classic; traditionally fries, gravy and cheese curds. This dish departs from the classic (no cheese) so I’m not sure it is considered an actual poutine, but it is delicious.
Sausage, pepper and onions:
- Yves ground veggie round (2 packages)
- Sweet red peppers (2)
- White onion (1/2 or whole, depending on size and preference)
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp each of garlic salt, fennel seeds and dried red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp paprika
Use a food processor to finely chop 1/2 white onion and 2 red peppers (use any colour pepper). Grab your favourite veggie ground substitute, we like Yves ground round. Combine everything into a bowl and add the sausage seasoning. If possible, allow the spices to marinate with the veggie ground and veggies overnight. Saute until the peppers and onions are soft.
- 2 T vegan Becel
- 2 T white flour
- 1-2 T A1 steak sauce (replace with 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce if you don’t have any A1)
- 2 cups chickenless stock
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Make a roux with the butter and flour by combining over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until there are no lumps. Add the stock little by little while stirring, and bring to a boil to thicken. Stir in steak sauce and seasonings at the end.
Serve the veggie mixture and gravy over your favourite french fries.
This dish can be found in Epcot at the Refreshment Port.
Pineapple Skewer with Tajin Seasoning
You can pick up this tasty treat at the Refreshment Outpost in Epcot. Another “non-recipe” recipe as you just cut a fresh pineapple into wedges, put it on a skewer, and sprinkle some lime and Tajin on it. I have a small Tajin that I bought from a local store in Mexico, but you can also purchase it here.
Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onion, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction
We love this twist on the classic watermelon and feta salad… it’s a summer staple for us!
Pickled onions: Thinly slice a red onion and place into a jar that has a lid. Sprinkle in 1 tsp each of salt and sugar and about 1 tsp of peppercorns. Cover the onions 1/3 of the way up the jar with red wine or white vinegar. Top up the rest of the way with boiled water and allow to cool before putting the lid on and storing in the fridge. Make sure the onions are completely covered and marinate for at least 1 day (quick pickling is possible, but you don’t get the same depth of pickled flavour).
Watermelon: Cube watermelon into 1 inch cubes.
Top watermelon cubes with pickled onions, feta cheese, and serve with balsamic reduction. If you are feeling fancy you can make your own balsamic reduction but I bought it.
This delicious salad is from the World Showcase “Festival Favourites”.
Frushi (Fruit Sushi)
This fun dessert can be found at Hanama in the Japan pavilion! It was a PROCESS (a total labour of love), but our families love sushi so we really wanted to add it to the menu.
- 2 cups sushi rice (short grain)
- 1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup sweetened cream of coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer for 2-3 min or until water runs clear. Add to a rice cooker and cook on the white rice setting. Stovetop: Bring water, milk and rice to a boil, add cream of coconut and sugar, reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot with a lid and let simmer until liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool completely before using.
The wrappers generally used for frushi are soy wrappers, which we could not find in time; however, if you want to stay authentic to the park recipe you can find them here.
Since we didn’t have the soy wrappers I came up with a creative solution… rice paper wraps! You can find these at most grocery stores; they are inexpensive and fairly easy to work with. To colour them pink we put a piece of beet into warm water, but found we needed to ramp up the colour with good old food colouring. Dip the rice paper into the water right when you are ready to use it, and don’t leave it in too long or the paper gets too soft to work with. The goal is to colour the paper and keep it intact.
- Strawberries cut into slices
- Cantaloupe cut into thin strips
- Pineapple cut into thin strips
Working one at a time, dip your rice paper into the warm water and lay flat on a piece of parchment paper. Top with some of the cooled sushi rice using damp fingers to lightly spread it over the wrapper. Put fruit down the centre and wrap like a burrito, tucking in both ends and then rolling. Once you have completed all the rolls put into the fridge and then slice after a couple of hours. Serve with whipped cream and toasted coconut!
Phew! That’s all for now!
It was a very enjoyable afternoon, and we definitely recommend trying your hand at some of these recipes even if you’re not doing a whole party at your house! We would absolutely make everything again, but the stand out favourites were the shrimp and grits and the plant based poutine. I can say with confidence that these will be on a regular rotation in our house.
Don’t forget to check out our other Disney Friends Blog posts!
What is your favourite Flower & Garden item? We’d love to hear from you!
Have a magical day!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle
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