Ratatouille: Disturb, Shake, and Stir

RatatouilleWebster’s dictionary describes the origin of the word Ratatouille as coming from the verb ratouiller which means to disturb, shake, and to stir.

If you are like me, you probably think of food, as Ratatouille is a wonderful classic French dish originating from the Provence region. Of course, there are those who associate the word with rat-turned-chef Remy in the Pixar movie Ratatouille. Yes, I am guilty of that too.

So, to me, Ratatouille is really all of the above, and it describes perfectly my life in the past three months: Disturb, shake, and stir! And God knows I’ve had my fair share of turbulence. It is now three months since I left New York City for Birmingham, Alabama. I am happy to report that I love discovering my new hometown and that I am re-discovering my love for cooking and entertaining.

Caramel Apples - RatatouilleMy blog, and some of my freelance writing, was put on a back burner but never really extinguished. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2015 is shipping to a store near you and gives me cause for celebration.

My latest article for Undercover Tourist was about my favorite snacks at Walt Disney World and I did report about the Frozen Mania that is sweeping The Kingdom of the Mouse.

Running, on the other hand, was put on ice for a while after foot surgery. Let’s just say it was another “disturbance” in the Force. I am up and running again, signed up for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando in early November.

Book signing at Todd English - RatatouilleSo what else? Well, there was a book signing at Todd English P.U.B. for Gone Pro Alabama and I can’t wait for Paul Chibeba’s visit with me Down South in just a few weeks.

Except for Paul’s visit, the most exciting item on the menu is my first business trip. In a few days I will be heading, costume and all, to Lexington, Kentucky, to attend ScareFest.

My company publishes America’s Haunted Road Trips, a series of 25 books describing places that are known or said to be haunted. We will be presenting and selling our books for three days. I am really excited about this opportunity and hope to stir up interest in some of the most ghostly tales in this country.

It would seem unfair to talk about Ratatouille without sharing at least one good recipe. So without further adieu, I give you Julia Child’s Ratatouille recipe.

Run, Liliane, Run!

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the Brrrooklyn Half Marathon. I felt confident and excited to do my first ever-non-Disney race and what could go wrong? Nothing really! I was going to do a half marathon the week prior to the race in Anaheim and a few weeks later I would do a half marathon in Orlando, so it would basically be a piece of cake.

What was I thinking? A half marathon in New York in January? Was that really necessary? In my defense, I should explain: Running a race has become part of what I do and preparing for the race part of my weekly workout schedule. Additionally, after a year of training for a 5K, a 10K, and cranking it up to a 10Miler, I got bored doing my training runs at the gym. So signing up for the Brrrooklyn Half seemed like a good idea. A race in Anaheim, followed by one in New York in preparation for the ‘real’ thing in Orlando, would certainly keep me in shape.

Run Liliane Run

Tinkerbell Half

I had fun visiting Expo and loved my first half marathon in Anaheim. I was delighted to run for the first time with a team. I am humbled to have been part of the Special Olympics Southern California team, and I recommend anybody who loves to run to consider running for a team that raises money for a charity such as SOSC. It is an unforgettable experience. What I also should mention is that the weather was simply perfect! It was even a little chilly at 5 AM in the morning, but the 45F was paradise for a good race.

The same cannot be said about the 10F at 8:30 AM at the start of the Brrrooklyn Half Marathon. And while I came ready for the cold, nothing could have prepared me for the chilly differences I experienced. It was not just about the extreme cold waiting for the race to start–it really was about the fact that participants had very little in common. There was no easy chatting about “I love your costume,” “Where are you from?” or “It’s cold out!”

Run Liliane Run

Brrrr – Baby it’s cold outside

I learned my lesson fast. After all, this is New York! As always, I found something positive to focus on: There was no distraction, no chitchatting, no characters, and no entertainment along the course, and it was terribly cold. You are wondering what’s good about that? Well, I ran as fast as I could and did the half marathon in a better time than the Tinkerbell Half.

Right now I am a bit like Oscar in Frozen and I am dreaming of summer. I can’t wait for the Princess Half and the milder climate of Orlando. I look forward to seeing my running buddies again, and I am delighted to share my latest review of lunch with an Animal Specialist with all Disney aficionados.

Lunch with an Animal Specialist

Lunch with an Animal Specialist

One thing is sure: The New Year has started with a bang and I am ready to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly–keeping in mind that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. And this brings me to Saving Mr. Banks. Have you seen the movie? What did you think? I saw it twice, I read the original Mary Poppins again, and Mary Poppins She Wrote by Valerie Lawson. Here is my review!photo 1

After the Princess Half in Orlando, I will be planning a cruise on the Disney Magic for April. I am a guest of a wedding party at Castaway Cay, and I can’t wait to witness how one can get hitched enlisting the help of the Mouse. In the meantime, I’ll keep on running.