The Happiest Place on Earth is just that for me. I don’t mind the crowds. I love the rides, the smells, the music, the food. Especially the food. So what now? The last two times I visited the Magic Kingdom I was inundated by deliciousness that I couldn’t have. It made me sad.
Don’t worry, I was good. I brough fresh cut veggies, almonds and fruit. I sat at Pizza Port and watched my children devour Chicken Fusilli while I picked at a dry salad and nibbled on an avacado I brought along from home.
I had done my research on eating vegan at Disneyland before heading out. The problem is that just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean I can eat it. Chips and a Coke are technically vegan, too! My restrictions are such that nothing pre-prepared, aside from salad or fresh fruit, works for me.
All day long I walked past churro carts and popcorn stands, sniffing the air obsessively. I stopped in front of the candy shop where they were hand dipping warm chocolate caramels into crushed pecans. I ogled people as they caught drips running down their giant chocolate dipped cones from the Gibson Girl ice cream parlor. I actually walked past the corn dog cart a few extra times on purpose, just to soak in all that lovely greasiness wafting out. My stomach ached for food I could not have. It was pitiful, actually.
Then I stopped to take stock. I am changing my eating because my food choices were slowly killing me. My doctor had thrown the “F” word at me. No, not that one…. Fibromyalgia. I was staring down the barrel of a life time of pain and misery. My choices, while restrictive, are actually setting me free!
I also know that after all this time of clean eating, if I actually tried to eat something like a corn dog, I would have such a massive food hangover it wouldn’t even be funny!
I have decided that the Happiest Place on Earth is still indeed just that, because I can walk the ten so miles we usually do around the park and I no longer have to go lie down in the car half way through the day. I don’t have to dose myself before, during and after with Motrin. I can go and smell the smells, and ride the rides, and experience my day full of energy and enjoying my family.
All that being said, I do miss the food, so imagine my joy at learning that the Vegetarian Gumbo they serve in New Orleans Square is actually something I can make and eat at home with a very few modifications!
I found the official Disneyland recipe here.
Roux is out of the question for me. It is usually flour and oil or butter, cooked down until dark and caramelly in color.
Since you CANNOT make gumbo without it, I made a dry roux by using 3/4 cup of chickpea flour and toasting it in a dry, hot sauté pan for 10 minutes until dark golden brown. Make sure you keep it moving and don’t leave it for a second. Once it is finished, add it in after the veggies are done and right before you add the water or broth. Delicious!
I also made my own Creole seasoning. Here is Emeril’s recipe from Food Network.
A word to the wise, if you love spicy, by all means, use the recommended amount of cayenne called for in the recipes. I cut it down a little for my spice wimps and my husband still ended up having to eat something else for dinner. Poor guy! I, however, was in heaven!!!
I will be making this again, although I will actually be leaving the cayenne out completely and sprinkling mine liberally after I have served it up. Haha!
I hope you enjoy this little taste of Disney as much as I did.