Monday, May 22, 2017

Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - Jack and the Franchise are Back!

Jack is back, Captain Jack Sparrow that is! The fifth adventure in the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise hits theaters May 26th! Hard to believe that it has been fourteen years since the first one arrived back in 2003. At that time pirate movies had long been considered to be a failed genre but Pirates proved everyone wrong with an incredible cast, fantastic story and a powerful musical score!

Since then, three more films followed, and here we are six years after Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In that time we have seen the Walt Disney Studios live action fare go from trying to replicate the Pirates formula to almost not needing it at all. In fact, all the studios under the Walt Disney Studios umbrella are firing on all cylinders. The Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Walt Disney live action are creating blockbuster after blockbuster.  So while maybe another Pirates film wasn't needed, it was easy to see that Dead Men Tell No Tales is a much needed breath of fresh air into the franchise.

The film is brilliantly directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (the duo directed the historical drama Kon-Tiki) who immediately bring us back into the world of Pirates with a reminder that this film is a direct sequel to the third movie in the franchise, At World's End, rather than continuing after On Stranger Tides. Without giving anything away, you quickly learn that there is a quest to find the Trident of Poseidon. And an early action sequence made me think of the Fast and The Furious franchise set in the time period of Pirates and you are back into the swashbuckling fun of the original movie.

Johnny Depp, stars as his now iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, down on his luck and once again finds another person from his past out to get their revenge on him. This time the menace is Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), a Spanish Navy Captain, whom a young Jack Sparrow caused the events that led to Salazar's nightmarish curse.

Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) is also back and causes a wedge between Sparrow and Salazar. And the two newcomers, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and Henry (Brenton Thwaites) make a charming hero/heroine duo that do not try to mimic Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. Full of action, close-calls, battles of ships and swords, you have all that you need for an amazing adventure.

This is a brilliant return to the franchise that is more grounded and level-headed than the last two films. The film also ends on a surprisingly heartfelt note. Welcome back pirates, thank you for bringing back the fun of the first adventure.

Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters May 26th!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Inspired Bento Boxes!

Bento Box Inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Created by Kristen Nichols

“Commodore Norrington, my effects please….and my hat!”  Eat lunch like a true scallywag with these adorable bento boxes celebrating the release of the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, out May 26th.  These boxes are a healthy, convenient grab-and-go solution for work, school, or play.  Each of the components are versatile and can be adapted to suit anyone’s individual taste. Our version features Captain’s Hat Sandwich Bites, Captain Jack Sparrow’s Fruit Skewer Beads, and Cheese and Cracker Gold Medallions.  You can also help keep scurvy at bay with mandarin orange slices or prepare for battle with black olive cannon balls!

What You’ll Need:

Captain’s Hat Sandwich Bites:
Sliced sandwich bread
*You can use any type you like.  We prefer wheat or rye bread because the dark brown color is truer to Captain Jack Sparrow’s hat.
Desired spread or filling
*Some varieties we enjoyed were PB&J, cucumber and cream cheese, tuna salad, egg salad, or hazelnut spread
*The sandwich bites are small so you can mix-and-match 2 or 3 flavors to taste.  We like the idea of having both a savory and a sweet sandwich together in one box!

Fruit Skewer Beads (original idea provided by @thehealthymouse):
Seasonal fruit of your choice - sliced or cubed
Mini-marshmallows (optional)
Bamboo BBQ skewers
*For a more savory taste, try making the skewers with olives, artichoke hearts, cubed cheddar cheese, and a little Italian dressing.

Cheese and Cracker Gold Medallions:
Round table crackers of your choice
Cheese slices cut to fit the crackers
    *We like the look of cheddar cheese but you can use any cheese you prefer

Scurvy Cure:
Mandarin orange (peeled and separated into slices)

“Cannon Fire!” :
Whole black olives
Hummus, ranch, or other dip if desired

How to assemble the sandwich bites:
  1. Take a slice of bread and cut a large circle out of the center.  You can do this with a circular cookie cutter or just eyeball it with a knife.  Try to make the circle as large as you can.  As a bonus this process automatically cuts off the crust for pickier eaters.
  2. Cover one side of the bread with a thin layer of spread, if desired.
  3. Gather and pinch the bread into three corners and use a toothpick to secure each one.  
  4. Fill the center with approximately one teaspoon of the filling of your choice.
  5. Remove the toothpicks when it’s time to eat and Enjoy!

We would love to see how you create your Pirates bento box!  Leave pictures of your creations in the comments and don’t forget to check out the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in theaters May 26th.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Last night in Hollywood, fan favorites Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario along with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg walked the red carpet and greeted throngs of fans in pirate garb at the Los Angeles premiere of Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.

Guardians of The Galaxy: Mission Breakout Inspired Recipes - Ravager Fuel Pizza and Gamora's Matcha Pina Colada

“Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout” - Ravager Fuel Pizza and Gamora’s Matcha Pina Colada

We’re “Hooked on a Feelin” that it’s time for a celebration!  Celebrate National Pizza Party Day (5/19) and get hyped up for the newest attraction at Disney California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, opening May 27th, with these easy-to-make recipes.  This Star-Lord approved pizza and Gamora’s Matcha Pina Colada are sure to please all the Guardians of your Galaxy!  Enjoy!

Ravager Fuel Pizza

This recipe combines fresh veggies, wholesome ingredients, and a classic family favorite to properly fuel any Guardian’s next mission.  The toppings can be varied to suit different tastes and dietary restrictions.  Best of all this recipe only takes an estimated 30-45 minutes to cook, making it a great weeknight dinner option.  “Groot said this pizza is frickin’ delicious...only he didn’t use frickin’.”

Makes 1 12” pizza, serves 2-4

1 package Trader Joe’s pre-made whole wheat pizza dough*
1 small jar pizza sauce*
*We used Trader Joe’s brand but you can use whichever brand you prefer
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small zucchini (sliced in half once lengthwise and thinly sliced)
½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 2.25oz can sliced olives
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
1 clove garlic (minced)

You’ll also need:
¼ cup olive oil (to coat the baking sheet and drizzle on top of the pizza)
¾ cup flour (for rolling out the dough)

  1. Pre-heat the oven and prepare the pizza dough according to the instructions on the pizza dough package and lightly coat a baking sheet with half the olive oil (reserve the other half for later)
  2. Once your dough has been rolled out to the desired thickness and width, transfer it onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Using a fork, puncture the dough several times to prevent the crust from puffing up.  Bake crust for 5-7 minutes.
*Trader Joe’s brand pizza dough does not specify the need to pre-bake your crust once it’s rolled out but we’ve found that pre-baking the dough ensures it is cooked thoroughly.
  1. Once the crust is removed from the oven add sauce, cheese, zucchini, mushrooms, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to taste.
  2. Mix 1 clove minced garlic with remaining olive oil and drizzle over the top of the pizza
  3. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and vegetables have softened
  4. Let cool, slice, and enjoy!

Gamora’s Matcha Pina Colada

“If you like Pina Coladas...and Matcha Green Tea!”  My attempt at a song parody may be terrible but this drink is delicious!  This cool take on a summertime classic can be enjoyed on it’s own, as a sweet pairing with a meal, or dressed-up into a cocktail.  The melody is pleasing and so is this recipe!

Yields approximately 2 8oz drinks

1 ½ cup ice
3 Tbsp Rishi brand Sweet Matcha green tea powder
8 oz pineapple juice
1 cup pineapple chunks
*Pro-tip: 1 20oz can of Dole pineapple chunks yields approximately 2 cups of pineapple chunks and 8oz of juice
4 oz coconut milk

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth (yep, that’s it!)
  2. Enjoy!

For adults:
Add 2oz white rum
Layer with grenadine to finish

For kids:
Decorate with whipped cream and sprinkles

We hope you enjoy these fun sweet and savory recipes!  Leave a comment telling us how you are celebrating National Pizza Party Day and don’t forget to check out Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout in Disney California Adventure when it opens on May 27th, 2017.  Special thanks to @thehealthymouse for the heads up about National Pizza Party Day!  
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