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If you’re planning a Disney World Christmas trip this holiday season, don’t miss out on these five festive and free activities that you and your family can enjoy together!

This list was originally published on 12/13/16 but I updated it with current information on 7/8/19. 

Disney World is so magical during the holidays and there are so many fun and festive activities for you to do to get you into the Christmas spirit. Did you know that there are also a bunch of free Christmas activities that you can do at Disney World too?

Seriously, all of these activities are 100% free, they won’t cost you a penny, and they’re open to the public! You don’t have to stay at a Disney World Resort to participate and you don’t have to purchase any expensive tickets to enjoy these activities. 

These free Christmas activities at Disney World are offered all season long, not just on Christmas eve or Christmas day. Just in case you are wondering about visiting on Christmas day, check out the following questions and answers. 

Is Disney World Open on Christmas? 

Yes, Disney World in Orlando, Florida is open on Christmas eve and Christmas day. 

Is it Crowded at Disney World on Christmas Day?

It is extremely crowded at Disney World during Christmas day through New Years. It’s so crowded that we’ve never even attempted to experience it because the crowd level is always super high that day. I think that people expect to see the Christmas parade that is aired on TV on Christmas day but that event is actually filmed earlier in the month. 

What Dates is Disney World Decorated for Christmas?

Disney World is decorated for Christmas by the end of the first week of November and the decorations stay up until the end of the first week of January. 

Is December a Good Time to Go To Disney World?

Yes, December is a great time to go to Disney World and enjoy the season! However, I would recommend that you go as early in December as possible to avoid the holiday crowds. November would be an even better time to visit because the crowds are lower and the Christmas decorations are already up. 

What is There to Do in Disney World at Christmas? 

There are so many fun things to do in Disney World at Christmas time! You can visit the decked out theme parks (they have special holiday events, holiday fireworks, festive treats), explore the festively decorated resorts within the Disney bubble, go for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Wilderness Lodge campgrounds and see all of the campers that have been decorated for the holidays, and there are even free Christmas-themed activities that you can do! Wanna know what they are? Keep reading!

5 Free Christmas Activities to do at Disney World

The following Christmas-themed activities are all festive and free to do at Disney World! Have you done any of these holiday-inspired activities? Did I miss any special free events? If so, please let me know in a comment! 

5 – Resort Hop and Enjoy the Free Decorations

All of the Disney World resorts are decked out to the max for Christmas! Decorations start going up the day after Halloween and they’re in full swing by the end of the first week of November. 

You can make a whole day out of resort hopping and looking at all of the Disney World Christmas decorations at each of the resorts, it’s one of our favorite free Christmas activities to do in the Disney bubble!

  • Grand Floridian Resort – The Grand Floridian has a huge gingerbread house with a functioning store inside of it. You can actually buy gingerbread cookies from the gingerbread house, it’s so cool! There is also a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the lobby and a pianist who plays Christmas carols. Take a seat in the lobby and take it all in!
  • Contemporary Resort – The Contemporary Resort has a huge Christmas tree (with the biggest ornaments you’ve ever seen!) right outside of the resort. Inside, you’ll find the life-size gingerbread castle. Every year it has a different character theme. Last year, all of the characters from Cinderella were depicted and the year before that is was Frozen-themed. 
  • Beach & Yacht Club Resort – The Beach Club has a life-size carousel with moving horses and it’s made of real chocolate and gingerbread! The horses move, it plays music, and it smells amazing! Don’t miss it! Walk around the Boardwalk after you check out the carousel for even more free fun! 

You should also check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, and the Polynesian Resort to see their huge Christmas trees in the lobby! 

4 – Take Your Christmas Card Picture at Disney Springs

Disney Springs has the cutest free Christmas backdrop that features Pluto, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, and Donald in Christmas garb standing next to a tree. It’s actually available all year long so you could plan your Christmas card picture whenever you’d like. The photo-op is located behind the Christmas store, where the entrance to the old bus stop used to be. 

During the Christmas season, there are also Disney photo pass photographer’s located at different spots in Disney Springs. You can ask them to take a picture of you with their holiday props on your camera/phone for free! Aren’t my parents adorable? 

3 – Enjoy the Chip & Dale Campfire Sing-a-long and Movie Under the Stars at the Fort Wilderness Campground

Did you know that you don’t have to actually stay at the Wilderness Lodge Resort in order to enjoy the free Chip & Dale campfire sing-a-long? The free meet and greet with Chip and Dale is located at the Meadow Trading Post area of the campgrounds and it usually begins around 7 p.m. during the fall/winter season. 

During the activity, you’ll sing songs (led by a cast member), roast marshmallows at one of the two campfires (you can bring your own ingredients or buy them there), and you’ll mingle with Chip and Dale while you enjoy the fire. 

After the campfire sing-a-long, you can watch the free movie under the stars! I would call ahead ((407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.) and choose a night to go when they’re showing a Christmas movie. There are bleachers available for you to sit in or you can bring your own foldable chairs or a blanket to lay on. 

2 – Watch the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Fireworks From a Resort on the Monorail Loop 

The firework show at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom is truly spectacular! The ticket to this special event is a little pricey, so if you just want to see the special fireworks you can watch them for free from the Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, or the Grand Floridian Resort. 

First, check the My Disney Experience app or call the resort to find out what time the fireworks start at. Plan to arrive at the resort one hour prior to the fireworks starting so you can get a good spot. They even pipe the music in so it’s like you’re right there in front of the castle!

Don’t try to do this on a holiday or any day there is a special event happening at the resort because they probably won’t let you park at the resort. Pick a day where nothing scheduled is happening and tell the front gate guard that you’d like to explore the resort. They *should* let you park at the resort but there are no guarantees. 

We usually end up eating at the resort quick service or getting drinks at the bar so we tell the guard that’s what we’d like to do and they’ve always let us park at the resort on regular days.  

If you have any problems parking at the resort, you could always park at Disney Springs for free and then take their bus system to whichever resort you’d like to visit. If you’re an annual passholder, you could park at the Ticket and Transportation Center for free and ride the monorail to the resort. 

1 – Walk the Disney Springs Tree Trail 

The Disney Springs Tree Trail is the #1 ultimate free Disney World Christmas activity because it feels like an event that you should have to buy a ticket to attend! It’s free to park and get into Disney Springs so you truly don’t have to spend a dime to experience this activity! I’m actually surprised that they don’t charge anything for it because it’s extensive and you can make a whole night of it! You can see what the 2018 Disney Springs Tree Trail looked like,  here.  

There are close to 30 decorated Christmas trees along the trail and each tree is themed after a different Disney movie! Each tree is decorated so artfully, you can really tell that a lot of thought and planning went into each design. Personally, we loved the villain tree, Minnie Mouse tree, Haunted Mansion tree, Peter Pan tree, and the Little Mermaid tree! 

While you walk the Christmas Tree Trail, bubble snow will be blowing all around you, there’s Christmas music playing, you can meet Santa (towards the end of the trail), there are festive refreshments (for a small fee) available, there are nutcrackers walking around on stilts, and there’s even a gift shop. You’ll definitely be in the Christmas spirit after experiencing the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail!

Also, if you see a Christmas ornament on one of the trees along the trail, you can buy the same ornament at the Christmas shop that is located at the end of the Tree Trail. 

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Do you want to know where do the locals eat in Clearwater Beach? Take it from a local, the following 14 restaurants are the BEST places eat on Clearwater Beach for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! 

If you’re planning on visiting Clearwater Beach for your vacation, you’ve made the right choice! Clearwater Beach was recently named the #1 beach in the United States for the third time in four years by TripAdvisor! 

After you’ve spent time relaxing on the white sandy beach and swimming in the refreshing blue-green water, you’re going to be hungry and wondering where you should eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Take it from a local, the following restaurants are the best Clearwater Beach restaurants that you should visit!

Just like my list of the Top 12 Best Restaurants in Disney World, this list is unique because all of the restaurants have delicious food, great atmosphere, awesome reviews, and they’re all allergy-friendly. My husband and I have been going to Clearwater Beach for the last 30 years but we’ve recently transitioned to a plant-based diet. No matter what your dietary preference is there is an option for you to enjoy at all of these Clearwater Beach restaurants! 

Top 14 Best Restaurants in Clearwater Beach 

In no particular order, I believe that the following establishments are the best restaurants in Clearwater Beach. You can look up the address for each restaurant on this map of Clearwater Beach. Each restaurant is also within walking distance of the most popular Clearwater Beach hotels.

I awarded each restaurant a category (best seafood, best quick bite, best fine dining, etc) to help you figure out which restaurant is best for you. If you try any of these restaurants near Clearwater Beach during your trip, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought! 

14 – Beach Comber (Best Date Night Restaurant)

Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber is an old-school upscale restaurant that is perfect for a special date night with your significant other. If you’re a fan of Mad Men, delicious food, stiff drinks, and casual fine dining on the beach than this is the restaurant for you! 

You can view the Beachcomber menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: The plant-based options at Beachcomber are west coast pasta, gourmet pizza, or an Impossible burger. For dessert, you can order a triple layer chocolate cake or the seasonal fruit compote. 

13 – Clear Sky Cafe (Best Dining Any Time of Day) 

Clear Sky Cafe actually was voted the restaurant with the best dining any time of day! Located right on Mandalay Avenue (we also love the location in downtown Clearwater), Clear Sky Beachside Cafe is where the locals eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Clear Sky Cafe is known to have upscale gourmet food without gourmet prices and it’s served in a relaxed environment with fun vibes. On Saturday, Sunday, and holidays they have a bloody mary bar and they serve brunch every Sunday. Don’t pass the fun photo op (you can’t miss it, it’s a huge beach chair) right outside of the entrance to the restaurant! 

You can view the Clear Sky Cafe menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: You can order a modified beet salad, falafel with pita, Beyond Burger, wild mushroom dumplings (my favorite!) a modified sesame vegetable platter, or a modified burrito. Ask for Juan when you visit, he’s an excellent server and is very knowledgeable on dietary food preferences and will help guide you through the menu. 

12 – Ocean Hai (Best Resort Restaurant)

Ocean Hai is the Wyndham Grand Hotel signature dining restaurant. Ocean Hai earns a hai five from us because it features delicious upscale Asian fusion fare (and excellent service!) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at affordable prices in an elegant setting.

You won’t find a bad review online about Ocean Hai; the breakfast buffet is superb, the dim sum at lunch is excellent, and you’ll love watching the sunset while enjoying fresh sushi at dinner on the outdoor patio. Save room for dessert, the giant fortune cookie is famous!  

You can view the Ocean Hai menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: There is an entire vegetarian menu that our server told us can all be made vegan. You can order a modified Asian green salad, hearts of palm salad, heirloom beet salad, fried brussel sprouts, vegetable spring rolls, vegetable sushi roll, vegetable fried rice, vegetable hot pot, or vegetable lo mein.  

11 – Basimo Cafe (Best Organic Cafe) 

If you’re looking for a health-conscious quaint cafe that offers delicious food made with high-quality organic ingredients, then Basimo (it means delicious!) Cafe is where you should go! Basimo Cafe is tucked away on the second floor of a building right on Mandalay Avenue. Grab a coffee and avocado toast (and a vegan donut!) for a quick breakfast before heading out to enjoy the beach! 

You can view the Basimo Cafe menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: You can order oatmeal, avocado toast, fresh fruit, hummus, a veggie burger, salad, any of the smoothies, or a vegan donut (when we were there they had vegan donuts from Sunshine Donuts). 

10 – Taco Bus (Best Quick Bite) 

Taco Bus is where it’s at if you want hot and fresh, authentic Mexican fare. You’ll find large portions of reasonably priced delicious food that’s made quickly and to order at Taco Bus. This is a great spot to walk to for lunch after a fun day at Clearwater Beach! 

You can view the Taco Bus menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: You can order the portabello rancheros, vegan empanadas, vegan quesadilla, or tacos made with smoky chipotle-seasoned Plantfare protein, soy “steak” strips, or grilled butternut squash. They also have vegan VioLife cheese!

Best Waterfront Dining Clearwater Beach Restaurants

If you’re looking for a restaurant with beautiful views of the water and delicious food, your search is over! In my opinion, the following restaurants are the best oceanfront Clearwater Beach dining options. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices! 

9 – Palm Pavillion (Best Family-Friendly Restaurant)

The Palm Pavillion has been open since 1926! It’s a classic beachy Florida town restaurant that locals love and it’s located directly on Clearwater Beach. You’ll find delicious food, great drinks, fair prices, friendly service (ask for Vince!), live music, and a great place to watch the sunset.

 

You can view the Palm Pavillion menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: You can order the chips and salsa, guacamole, a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, or the garden wrap. 

8 – Marina Cantina (Best Atmosphere) 

Visit the Marina Cantina if you want a restaurant with a fun atmosphere and good vibes all around! Try to visit close to sunset and ask to sit out on the gorgeous rooftop (weather permitting). You can enjoy fresh and unique cocktails, eat delicious food, and enjoy the breathtaking view!

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Watermelon salsa is the best summer snack, it’s fresh, fruity, and absolutely delicious! You’ll love the sweet and tangy flavors in this refreshing twist on classic salsa! Vegan & gluten-free.

*This recipe was originally posted on 7/24/16 but I updated it with better recipe instructions on 6/29/19.

**This post contains affiliate links.   

Want more easy vegan recipes? Join our vegan Facebook community below!

If you’re a fan of watermelon and you like salsa then you’re absolutely going to love this fresh fruit salsa! The combination of sweet watermelon and tropical mango, tangy chunks of kiwi, spicy red onions, and zesty fresh lime juice is delish!

This watermelon mango salsa is the best summery snack and it’s the perfect way to eat up all that fresh and juicy watermelon that is so abundant this time of year. You can scoop it up with crackers or make a summer-inspired tray of nachos!  

How to Make Watermelon Salsa

This watermelon salsa recipe is beyond easy to make! Start by chopping the watermelon, kiwi, and mango. Dice the red onion into small chunks and roughly chop the fresh cilantro.  Then put everything into a large mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk the fresh lime juice and maple syrup together. Pour the dressing over the salsa and toss it to combine. Season with a pinch of salt to taste. Put the salsa into the fridge for one hour before serving, it tastes best served cold.  

What Other Fruit Could You Use?

If you can find or don’t like watermelon, kiwi, or mango then I would suggest that you use any of the following flavor combinations instead:

  • Strawberry Watermelon Salsa
  • Blueberry Mango Salsa
  • Papaya Kiwi Salsa
  • Peach Mango Salsa
  • Honeydew Mango Salsa
  • Mandarin Orange Kiwi Salsa
  • Watermelon Pineapple Salsa 
Do You Have to Make Watermelon Salsa with Cilantro? 

If you’re one of those people who hate the taste of cilantro then, of course, you can definitely make this watermelon salsa without cilantro. You could substitute fresh basil or fresh mint or just omit the fresh herbs completely. 

Is This Watermelon Salsa Recipe Gluten-Free? 

Yes, this simple watermelon salsa recipe is naturally gluten-free. The only way it wouldn’t be gluten-free is if you used a wheat-based cracker for dipping. These sweet potato crackers and these crispy seeded crackers are both delicious gluten-free options!

Tips to Make The Best Watermelon Salsa 
  • Look for a round (not oval) watermelon with a yellow spot (not white) on its belly and lots of sugar webbing lines. If you find a watermelon with all of these features then it should be sugar sweet!
  • If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, they have a 6-pack of organic kiwi’s for a great price! That’s where I always get my kiwi’s from.  
  • If you have the choice, don’t pick a white or yellow onion instead of a red onion. Red onions are loaded with antioxidants and they have the best flavor for fresh salsa. 
  • If you want to add a boost of plant-based protein, add one can of drained and rinsed black beans to the salsa. Watermelon salsa with black beans is a delicious combination! 
  • Store the fruit salsa in the fridge for one hour before serving so it has time to chill and to let the flavors meld. 
  • Store the leftover salsa in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
More Vegan Watermelon Recipes You’ll Love! 

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Moscow Mules

4th of July Watermelon Skewers 

If you make this watermelon salsa recipe, please share it on Instagram and tag @Stacey_Homemaker and use the #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious creation! 


Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Watermelon salsa is the best summer snack, it’s fresh, fruity, and absolutely delicious! You’ll love the sweet and tangy flavors in this refreshing twist on classic salsa! Vegan & gluten-free.  

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon (diced)
  • 1 large mango (diced)
  • 3 kiwis (diced (about 1 cup))
  • 1/4 cup red onion (diced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice ((about 2 limes))
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Dice the watermelon, kiwi, mango, red onion, and roughly chop the cilantro. Add the fresh fruit, red onion, and cilantro to a large mixing bowl.

  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and lime juice. Pour the dressing over the fruit salsa. Toss to combine and season with salt to taste. 

  3. Put the watermelon salsa in the fridge for at least one hour to let the flavors meld before serving. 

  • Look for a round (not oval) watermelon with a yellow spot (not white) on its belly and lots of sugar webbing lines. If you find a watermelon with all of these features then it should be sugar sweet!
  • If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, they have a 6-pack of organic kiwi’s for a great price! That’s where I always get my kiwi’s from.  
  • If you have the choice, don’t pick a white or yellow onion instead of a red onion. Red onions are loaded with antioxidants and they have the best flavor for fresh salsa. 
  • Store the watermelon salsa in the fridge for one hour before serving so it has time to chill and to let the flavors meld. 
  • Store the leftover watermelon salsa in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

The post Watermelon Kiwi Mango Fruit Salsa appeared first on Stacey Homemaker.

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These vegan red, white, and blue Star-Spangled Skewers are the perfect 4th of July appetizer that you should serve at your party + I’m sharing a complete vegan 4th of July menu!  

*This post contains affiliate links.

**This recipe was originally posted on 6/5/2107 but I updated it with better recipe instructions on 6/29/19. 

Want more easy vegan recipes? Join our vegan Facebook community below!

The 4th of July is quickly approaching! Have you started planning what you’re going to make for the big day yet? If you haven’t started planning your menu yet, don’t panic! I’ve got lots of easy and delicious vegan 4th of July menu ideas for you to try!  

Let’s start with these super simple 5-minute Star-Spangled Skewers! Aren’t they so cute? You’ll love the flavors of the sweet watermelon (red), salty vegan feta cheese (white), and tart blueberries (blue). Like my mom would say, “It’s the yin and the yang, the tart and the sweet!” It’s the perfect festive finger food to make for your 4th of July BBQ, cookout, or party!

How to Make Vegan Star Spangled Skewers 

These plant-based skewers are seriously the easiest appetizer that you’ll ever make! Start by cutting a medium-sized watermelon into 1/4 inch slices and then use a small star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 24 watermelon stars. 

Next, cut a block of vegan feta cheese into cubes. To keep it as easy as possible, I recommend using store-bought vegan feta cheese (I use Violife feta cheese). Or if you prefer to make homemade vegan feta cheese, try this recipe

Now it’s time to assemble the skewers! You can use a toothpick or small skewer to hold it all together. Push the skewer into the watermelon star first and then through the blueberry. Lastly, add the chunk of vegan feta on the end of the skewer but don’t push it all the way through or it may crack. 

You can make these skewers the day before and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve the skewers, lay it on a platter and drizzle balsamic glaze over the top. 

Tips to Pick the BEST Watermelon

Did you know that not all watermelons are equal? There are a few key things to look for when you pick out a watermelon to use for your star-spangled skewers! 

  1. Shape – Male watermelons are oblong and watery while female watermelons are round and sweet.
  2. Field spot – The white/yellow spot on the bottom of the watermelon is called the field spot. The field spot is the side that the watermelon laid on in the field where it grew. You want to look for a watermelon that has a golden yellow spot, not a white spot.
  3. Webbing – You want to look for the watermelon that has the most webbing aka sugar lines. The more sugar lines the watermelon has = the sweeter it tastes.
  4. Tap it – When you tap the watermelon, it should sound hollow inside. The hollow sound means it’s ripe and ready to eat!
What Kind of Cookie Cutter Should You Use? 

I used a small, 1-inch star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the watermelon stars for this easy vegan appetizer. 


Vegan 4th of July Menu Ideas

In addition to making these easy and delicious star-spangled skewers, here are a few more staple vegan recipes that you should make for your 4th of July vegan feast. I highly recommend washing it all down with a pitcher of festive watermelon mojitos

Vegan 4th of July Appetizers  

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Rainbow Salsa

Vegan 4th of July Main Courses

Vegetable Burgers (I like the vegetable burgers from Costco

Whiskey Pineapple BBQ Jackfruit Sliders  

Lentil Sloppy Joes 

Carrot Dogs 

Vegan 4th of July Side Dishes

Creamy Broccoli Salad

Cheezy Mac and Cheese

Avocado Arugula Tomato Salad 

Asian Coleslaw

Southwest Quinoa Salad 

Vegan 4th of July Desserts

Watermelon Popsicles 

Strawberry Shortcake 

Red, White, & Blue Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus


If you make any of these vegan 4th of July menu ideas, please post a picture of it on Instagram and tag me @Stacey_Homemaker and use the #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious meal!

Vegan Star-Spangled Skewers

Star-Spangled skewers are the easiest 4th of July appetizer that you’ll ever make! They only take 5 minutes to assemble and you can store them in the fridge until party time! Vegan and gluten-free.

  • 1 medium watermelon, (cut into 24 stars)
  • 24 blueberries
  • 7 oz block of vegan feta ((I recommend Violife feta) )
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic glaze
  1. Cut the watermelon into slices and then use the star cutter to cut out 24 stars. 

  2. Cut the vegan feta into chunks and assemble the skewers: Watermelon Star->Blueberry->Feta. 

  3. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the skewers right before you serve it. 

  • If you don’t like vegan feta, you could substitute baked tofu cubes instead.
  • You could use a bigger star cutter for the watermelon if you want to make it more than just a small bite.
  • If you don’t want to make skewers, you could also use these ingredients to make a festive cold salad! 
  • You can make the skewers the day before and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top right before serving. 

The post Vegan 4th of July Appetizer + Menu Ideas! appeared first on Stacey Homemaker.

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Read this list of the Best Restaurants in Disney World (table service, character meals, and fine dining!) before you make any reservations for your next vacation!  

*This post contains affiliate links. 

As an Orlando local, I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World for the last 30 years. During that time, I’ve eaten at many restaurants in the Disney bubble (at the Parks, Resorts, and Disney Springs), multiple times!

Over the years, I’ve definitely gone back to certain restaurants more than others because I think that they’re the best for a reason! That reason could be based on food, presentation, experience, atmosphere, decor, characters, or all of the above. Based on my experiences, I’ve compiled a list of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World to help you plan your next vacation!

What makes this list of the best dining in Disney World unique is that each restaurant is also allergy and vegan-friendly. My husband and I have been vegan for almost three years now and all of these restaurants have delicious options for everyone to enjoy! Many of these restaurants were my favorite before I was vegan but they continue to surprise us with new plant-based options almost every time we visit! I included links to the menus for each restaurant + what plant-based options they offer, so you can check out the food and decide if it’s somewhere you’d like to eat or not no matter what your dietary preference is. 

This list is not just one category of tourist-friendly restaurants, it contains a range of restaurants from quick service to fine dining. No matter what type of dining experience you are looking for, there’s an option for you on this list! Before we get to the list, let’s go over some of the most asked Disney World restaurant questions. 

What is the Best Restaurant in Magic Kingdom? 

The best Magic Kingdom restaurant is by far, Cinderella’s Royal Table. You get to dine inside of Cinderella castle, the food is delicious, you can meet multiple princesses while you eat, and if you time it right, you can watch the fireworks from the window while you eat! 

What are the Hardest Reservations to Get at Disney World?

In my experience, the hardest reservation to get at Disney World is for dinner at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort and for Cinderella’s Royal Table. Your best shot is to book 6 months out or hope that someone cancels their reservation the day before and you can grab it last minute.

When Can You Book Restaurants at Disney World?

You can book restaurants at Disney World 180 days prior to your vacation. I recommend booking as soon as your window opens up for the best selection. 

Where Can You Eat With Princesses at Disney World?

You can dine with multiple princesses at the Bon Voyage Breakfast (Trattoria al Forno), Akershus, Cinderella’s Royal Table (Cinderella Castle), and at the Perfect Princess Tea (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa). You can also see Cinderella at Cinderella’s Happily Ever After dinner (1900 Park Fare) and Snow White at Storybook Dining (Artist Point). 

What Character Dining is the Best at Disney World?

My favorite character dining restaurants at Disney World are Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare, Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May, Cinderella’s Royal Table at Cinderella Castle, Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, and Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom. 

Best Restaurants in Disney World For Adults 

The best restaurants in Disney World for adults are Trader Sam’s, California Grill, Victoria & Albert’s, Flying Fish, and Monsieur Paul.

What Are the Best Table Service Restaurants at Disney World?

The best table service restaurants in Disney World are Be Our Guest, Yak & Yeti, Cinderella’s Royal table, ‘Ohana, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul, Spice Road Table, and Via Napoli. 

What Are The Best Buffet Restaurants at Disney World?

The best buffet-style restaurants in Disney World are Boma, Cape May, Tusker House, 1900 Park Fare, and Biergarten. 

What Restaurant Should I go to?

It all depends on your budget, what type of food you like, what kind of experience are you looking for? What is more important to you: food or atmosphere? Look through my list of the best Disney dining options and I think it will help you to decide which restaurants are best for you!

What are the Best Dining Experiences at Disney World? 

If you read through the previous questions then you probably have an idea of what I think the best restaurants in Disney World are but you might find some of the categories to be a surprise! In no particular order, I think that you can consider the following restaurants to be some of the best dining in Disney World as of Summer 2019. If anything changes, I’ll be sure to update this list! 

Top 12 Best Restaurants in Disney World!  1 – Boma (Restaurant with the Most Authentic Food)

You can’t go wrong with breakfast or dinner (I love them both!) at the Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The restaurant is designed to look like an African Marketplace, complete with a thatched roof, vibrant colors, exotic animal themed decor, and lots of delicious food. The buffet features bold flavors from over 50 African countries! After you eat, make sure to explore the resort and savannas where over 200 hooved animals and birds call home! 

You can view the Boma’s breakfast and dinner buffet menus, here. 

Plant-Based Options: For breakfast, you can order a tofu scramble, vegan Mickey waffles, and Beyond sausages. On the buffet, you can enjoy oak-grilled asparagus, oak-grilled tomatoes, tater tots, fresh fruit, oatmeal, quinoa, and sweet plantains.

For dinner, you can order vegetable curry or hummus with pita bread. There may be more options to order based on the chef that is working. On the buffet, you can enjoy the couscous with dried fruit and nuts, coconut rice, Western African black-eyed peas with greens and stewed tomatoes, green beans, and green plantain chips. There is a plant-based dessert on the buffet and you can also request Erin McKenna’s cupcakes or sorbet.

2 – Biergarten (Best Restaurant in Epcot)

When you step into the Biergarten, you will feel as if you’ve been transported into a traditional Bavarian Village that’s celebrating Oktoberfest at night under the moonlight (thanks to some intentional landscape lighting and an actual moon above the village!)! At the center of the room, there is a stage where a lively band of German musicians will be playing lively traditional music (every 30 minutes or so) and singing songs that will have you swinging your beer back and forth and cheering “ticky tocky ticky tocky, oi oi oi!” with your table mates! On the other side of the restaurant is a sprawling buffet that’s loaded with traditional German fare. 

You can view the Biergarten’s menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: On the buffet, you can enjoy the mixed greens with mustard dressing, grape tomato salad, bean salad, cold beets, cold mushrooms, vegan split pea soup, pretzel rolls, roasted potatoes, green beans, and red cabbage. You can also order pork-free sauerkrout, Gardein beefless tips, beefless crumbles, and Gardein fishless filets. For dessert, you can get fresh pineapple and berry compote from the buffet and ask your server for Enjoy Life cookies. 

3 – California Grill (Best Fine Dining Restaurant)

California Grill at the Contemporary Resort is our favorite fine dining signature restaurant (check out our recent dinner review) that we save for birthdays and special events. The food is fantastic, the view of the Magic Kingdom is stunning, and you can watch the fireworks while you eat or you can come back after dinner (keep your receipt!) and watch the fireworks from the observation deck!  

You can view the California Grill menu, here

Plant-Based Options: California Grill has an entire vegan unplugged menu! You can see all of the vegan options that we ordered, here

4 – Tusker House (Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant)

If you are looking for a high-energy restaurant that has a delicious buffet, safari-themed characters, excellent themeing, and a kid-friendly environment, then Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom is the restaurant for you! Tusker House is a colorful Harambe marketplace that features tasty all you can eat African fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

You can view the Tusker House breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, here

Plant-Based Options: From the lunch and dinner buffet, you can enjoy basmati rice, roasted vegetable pearl couscous, roasted potatoes, fried hummus, trek salad, black-eyed pea salad, roasted cauliflower salad, sauteed green beans, tabouleh, collard greens, corn medley, and hummus. The chef can also make you a delicious tandoori tofu dish if you ask for it!

5 – Blaze Pizza (Best Quick Service Restaurant)

If you’re looking for an inexpensive quick service restaurant with fast and delicious food then Blaze Pizza in Disney Springs is your best choice! 

You will build your own 11″ fast-fired pizza here and they have options for everyone: meat, vegetables, vegan cheese, gluten-free pizza crust, etc. I highly recommend that you try the high-rise crust for $2 extra (I’ve tried them all and high-rise has the best texture) and always ask for extra toppings, they will give you as much as you like! 

You can view the Blaze Pizza menu, here. 

Plant-Based Options: All three of the crust options (thin, high-rise, and gluten-free) are vegan as well as the classic and spicy red sauce. They offer vegan cheese, vegan chorizo, and all the vegetable toppings you would like. They will also change their gloves before making your pizza and use a clean pizza cutter to slice your pizza if you ask for it. 

6 – Whispering Canyon Cafe (Best Family Restaurant)

Round up the family and head to Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge for a rootin’ tootin’ fun frontier-themed meal served in all you can eat skillets. Whatever you do, don’t ask your server for ketchup! 

You can view the Whispering Canyon menu, here

Plant-Based Options: Whispering canyon has an entirely plant-based skillet! The skillet features Gardein chicken, beefless tips, Beyond sausage, BBQ jackfruit, green beans, potato wedges, cornbread, and a side salad. They also have vegan milkshakes for dessert. 

7 – Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (Best Themed Restaurant)

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Resort is one of Disney World’s best-kept secrets. It’s not really advertised and you might only hear about it because you heard from a friend of a friend about how original and unique it is! Trader Sam’s is a tropical tiki bar hidden away down the hall from Captain Cook’s and it’s only marked by a small unassuming sign that you will probably walk right by, as we did 100 times!

The restaurant/lounge is small and only has a few tables but it’s jam-packed with personality and surprises! I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you so please go and experience it for yourself! Make sure you try the zombie head cocktail and don’t be surprised if your server acts a little funny when they hand it to you. Trader Sam’s is also our favorite stop on the Monorail Bar Crawl

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Stacey Homemaker by Stacey Homemaker - 3w ago

These ultra-satisfying, low-carb, hearty vegetable tofu tacos are loaded with perfectly roasted cauliflower, meaty mushrooms, sweet bell peppers, taco-seasoned crumbled tofu, and creamy avocado! Vegan & gluten-free.

*This post contains affiliate links. 

**This recipe was originally posted on 1/8/17 but I updated it with new pictures and better recipe instructions on 6/22/19. 

Want more easy vegan recipes? Join our vegan Facebook community below!

These roasted vegetable vegan tofu tacos are the ultimate low-carb meal! The best part is that they don’t taste like they are low-carb tacos at all and they fill you up! The flavor and texture of the crumbled tofu taste so much like ground beef, this dinner will please vegans and meat-eaters alike. The tacos are stuffed to the brim with roasted taco-seasoned vegetables, crumbled tofu, butter lettuce, and creamy slices of avocado– it’s so good!

These low-carb vegan tofu tacos are perfect for you if you’re watching your carbs or if you just want an easy way to work more vegetables into your diet. Switch up your Taco Tuesday dinner with these veggie heavy tacos for a delicious meal! BTW leftovers make a delicious breakfast or lunch taco too! 

How to Make Tofu Tacos

It’s very easy to make these delicious baked tofu tacos! All you have to do is follow the next six steps…

Step #1 – Press the Tofu: Begin by pressing the tofu in a tofu press for one hour. This is the tofu press that I use and love! 


Step #2 – Roast the Vegetables: Next, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the cauliflower florets, sliced mushrooms, and sliced bell peppers on two large lined trays. Drizzle olive oil (or vegetable broth) over the vegetables and toss to coat each piece. Sprinkle 1 tsp of chili powder,1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of onion powder, salt, and pepper over the vegetables and toss it to coat one more time. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes or until they are tender and the tips of the cauliflower florets are lightly browned and a little crispy. 

Step #3 – Saute the Onions: While the vegetables are roasting, saute the diced onion in olive oil (or vegetable broth) until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

Step #4 – Add More Flavor: Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, and vegan Worcestershire sauce, stir it together, and let it cook for 2 minutes. 

Step #5 – Make the Tofu Crumbles: Push the onion mixture to one side of the pan and put the block of pressed tofu on the other side of the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the tofu up into crumbles. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper to taste over the tofu.

Step #6 – Let the Flavors Meld: Mix it to coat the tofu in the dry seasonings and then stir everything in the pan together and let it cook for 10 minutes. 

The vegetables should be done roasting around the same time that the tofu taco meat filling is done cooking. Build your tacos with a low-carb vegan wrap, fresh greens, a scoop of the tofu crumbles, a hearty helping of roasted vegetables, avocado slices, and hot sauce or avocado chipotle sauce

What is a Substitute for Ground Beef?

Many Mexican-inspired taco recipes call for ground beef (or chicken) but since this is a vegan taco recipe, I substituted crumbled tofu taco meat for the ground beef. If you’re not a fan of tofu, try this vegan chipotle-seasoned walnut quinoa taco meat recipe instead. 

How Do You Freeze Tofu For Texture? 

Freezing the tofu first is optional but it completely changes the texture of tofu (for the better!), it’s like magic! Freezing the tofu makes the tofu lighter, drier, and more meat-like. If you buy tofu that’s in a package and it’s soaking in liquid then you can pop the package as it is right into the freezer (that’s what I do). When you’re ready to cook the tofu, let it defrost overnight in the freezer, drain it, and follow the instructions to press it. You’ll be amazed at the difference in texture! I especially like to freeze the tofu when I make tofu scramble

However, if you forget to freeze the tofu, don’t have time to do it, or just don’t want to do it, then that’s completely fine too. I make tacos all the time with pressed tofu that hasn’t been previously frozen. No biggie, it still tastes great. 

What Can I Use Instead of Tofu? 

If you don’t want to use tofu in this tofu taco recipe, you could substitute crumbled tempeh, green lentils, brown lentils, French lentils, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or jackfruit. However, beans are not low-carb so if that’s what you’re looking for then your next best option to use is canned jackfruit

What Type Of Tortillas Should You Use?

It really depends on your dietary preference. If you’re trying to watch your carb intake then I recommend that you try these low-carb raw spinach wraps, these coconut wraps, or you can just use butter lettuce as a wrap. If you’re not watching your carbs and you’re not gluten-free then these Ezekial wraps are delicious. 


Is This Tofu Taco Recipe Vegan Keto-Friendly?

These tofu tacos are the ultimate super-satisfying vegan keto-friendly recipe! The taco filling is made of roasted cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, tofu, garlic, lettuce, and avocado. All of the vegetables used are extremely low-carb, the tofu is your source of plant-based protein, and the avocado provides a bit of healthy fat.

Want more vegan keto recipes? Check out this list of 27 Delicious Vegan Keto Recipes!

Is This Tofu Taco Recipe Gluten-Free?

Yes, the filling for the tacos is naturally gluten-free. The only way it wouldn’t be gluten-free is if you used flour tortillas. My favorite vegan low-carb GF tortilla option to use are these raw spinach wraps or these coconut wraps.


Tips to Make the Best Tofu Tacos
  • (Optional) Freeze the tofu before you cook it to get the best meat-like texture. 
  • Whether you freeze the tofu or not, you must press and drain the tofu before cooking it. 
  • Use two pans to roast all of the vegetables so they have space to roast and not just steam if the pan is too crowded.  
  • Use low-carb vegan wraps to keep these tofu tacos low-carb. 
  • If you don’t want the big chunks of roasted cauliflower, you could use cauliflower rice instead. Add it to the pan after you crumble the tofu and then let it all cook together. 
  • If you want to add more toppings, you could also add thinly sliced cabbage, green onions, and cilantro. 
More Vegan Taco Recipes That You’ll Love!

Bomb Ass Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos

Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos

Vegetable Hummus Wraps

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos 

Taco Stuffed Tomatoes

BEST EVER Jackfruit Enchiladas 

If you make these vegan tofu tacos, please post a picture on Instagram, tag me at @Stacey_Homemaker and use the hashtag #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious creation! 


Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Tofu Tacos

These ultra-satisfying, low-carb, hearty vegetable tofu tacos are loaded with perfectly roasted cauliflower, meaty mushrooms, sweet bell peppers, taco-seasoned crumbled tofu, and creamy avocado! Vegan & gluten-free.

Roasted Vegetables –
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower ((florets removed))
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 medium bell pepper (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil ((or vegetable broth))
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled Tofu –
  • 1 package extra firm tofu ((pressed and drained))
  • 1 tbsp olive oil ((or 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth))
  • 1 medium red onion (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste ((I love this brand because it's organic and in a glass jar so it's easy to store leftovers in the fridge!))
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
Taco Toppings + Wraps –
  • low-carb tortillas or lettuce wraps ((see the notes for low-carb and GF tortilla options))
  • butter lettuce ((or kale, arugula, or mixed greens))
  • 1 avocado (sliced)
  • hot sauce ((or avocado chipotle sauce))
  1. (Optional) Freeze the tofu for 24 hours and then let it defrost overnight in the fridge. Whether you freeze the tofu or not, the next step is mandatory. 

  2. Press the tofu (in a tofu press) to remove excess liquid for one hour before cooking it.

Roasted Vegetables –
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange the cauliflower florets, sliced mushrooms, and sliced bell pepper on two silicone-lined trays.

  3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil (or 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth), chili powder, cumin, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until everything is tender and the tips of the cauliflower florets are lightly browned.

Crumbled Tofu –
  1. While the vegetables are roasting, saute the diced red onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil (or 2-3 tbsp of vegetable broth) in a large skillet over medium heat until they’re translucent (for about 10 minutes). 

  2. Next, add the minced garlic, tomato paste, and vegan Worcestershire sauce, and let it cook for 2 additional minutes. 

  3. Push everything to one side of the pan and add the block of pressed tofu to the other side of the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break the tofu up. The texture and size should resemble ground beef crumbles.

  4. Once you’ve finished breaking up the tofu, sprinkle chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper over the tofu. Stir the tofu around to coat it in the seasonings and then mix everything in the pan together. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the tofu mixture cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. The vegetables should be done roasting around the same time that the tofu mixture is ready. Build your tacos with low-carb wraps or lettuce cups, fresh greens, tofu crumbles, roasted vegetables, avocado, and hot sauce!

  • (Optional) If you have time, freeze and defrost the tofu (in it’s original package if it’s packed in liquid) before you want to make these tofu tacos. Frozen and defrosted tofu makes the best meat-like consistesy! 
  • Whether you freeze the tofu or not, you must press and drain the tofu before cooking it. 
  • These raw spinach wraps and these coconut wraps are my favorite gluten-free low-carb wraps to use for these tacos. You can also use butter lettuce for lettuce wraps. 
  • Use two pans to roast all of the vegetables so they have space to roast and not just steam if the pan is too crowded.  
  • If you don’t want the big chunks of roasted cauliflower, you could use cauliflower rice instead. Add it to the pan after you crumble the tofu and then let it all cook together. 
  • If you want to gives these tofu tacos a spicy kick, drizzle this vegan avocado chipotle sauce over the top!

The post Roasted Cauliflower Tofu Tacos appeared first on Stacey Homemaker.

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Stacey Homemaker by Stacey Homemaker - 1M ago

This fresh watermelon cocktail will be your go-to summer drink! It’s perfect for sipping by the pool or serving a big pitcher for a summer party! Vegan.

*This post contains affiliate links.

*This recipe was originally posted on 6/25/17 but I updated it with better recipe instructions on 6/20/19. 

This watermelon cocktail is the perfect summer drink, it’s a fun twist on a classic drink! It’s light, tangy, and flavorful, and it has just a touch of ginger that’s balanced by the natural sweetness of the fresh watermelon juice. It’s absolutely delicious, refreshing, and perfect for sipping on while sitting by the pool during the summer. 

A big pitcher of watermelon moscow mules or a tray of watermelon popsicles would be the perfect addition to your summer BBQ, pool party, or family event. If you’re planning on making it for the 4th of July, make sure you check out this recipe for vegan star-spangled watermelon skewers too!

How to Make a Moscow Mule

It’s very easy to make Watermelon moscow mules! Start by picking out the perfect watermelon and cutting it into chunks. You need 2 1/2 cups to make this watermelon cocktail recipe. Add the watermelon chunks to a high-speed blender and blend it until smooth. Pour the watermelon juice through a strainer to get rid of any leftover pulp or seed sediment. Use a seedless watermelon if possible. 

Fill a copper mug or glass with ice cubes. First, add the vodka, fresh lime juice, mint leaves, and strained watermelon juice. Lastly, add the ginger beer and give it a stir. Garnish with a lime wedge. 


Should You Use Fresh or Pre-Made Ingredients?

When you’re shopping for the ingredients to make this watermelon moscow mule recipe, should you buy fresh or pre-made watermelon juice, lime juice, and ginger beer? 

  • Watermelon – I recommend that you buy a fresh watermelon to cut up and blend to use for the watermelon moscow mules. Also, by picking out a fresh watermelon you can pick the best, sweetest watermelon that you can find using my tips below. If you do want to use store-bought watermelon juice, make sure that you check the label for how much sugar is added to the juice. 
  • Lime – Always use fresh lime juice! Not just for this watermelon cocktail recipe but for everything that you make that calls for lime juice. The lime juice in a squeezy bottle tastes artificial and the flavor is not the same. Use this citrus hand squeezer to make juicing fresh limes quick and easy! 
  • Ginger Beer – I bet there are some people that like to make their own ginger beer but I’m not one of them and it’s definitely not necessary to make your own for this watermelon juice cocktail. This is my favorite store-bought ginger beer, it has the best authentic ginger flavor and it doesn’t have any high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

How to Pick Out the Best Watermelon

It can be overwhelming to pick a watermelon. You want the best one, right? Here are a few things to look for when you are searching for the perfect watermelon.

  1. Golden spot – Each watermelon has a white, yellow, or golden “field spot” on its belly. You want to look for a golden yellow spot, that means that it was picked at its prime ripeness.
  2. Webbing – My grandpa taught my mom and my mom taught me to pick the melons with the most sugar lines! The more webbing, the sweeter the watermelon will be.
  3. Round shape – Round (female) watermelons are sweeter and oval (male) watermelons are waterier.
  4. Give it a thump – My mom swears that if you knock on the watermelon and it sounds hollow, then it’s perfectly ripe.
Tips to Make The Best Watermelon Moscow Mules
  • Use a seedless watermelon for this recipe so you’ll have less to strain out of the juice. 
  • You can triple the recipe ingredients to make enough for a full pitcher. Don’t add ice to the pitcher because it will water it down. Store the pitcher in the fridge, put ice in your cup, and pour the watermelon moscow mule over the ice. 
  • You could substitute other fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches) instead of watermelon if you prefer.
  • Make sure to strain the watermelon juice so you won’t have chunks of pulp or seed sediment floating in your drink. 
  • You could also put this mixture in popsicle molds to make boozy frozen watermelon popsicles for a refreshing adult-only summer treat!
  • You could make this a watermelon moscow mule mocktail simply by omitting the vodka. The ginger beer is non-alcoholic.

If you make this watermelon cocktail, please post a picture of it on Instagram and tag me @Stacey_Homemaker and use the #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious creation! 


Watermelon Moscow Mules

This watermelon Moscow mules recipe will be your go-to summer drink! It’s tart and sweet with a splash of ginger! Perfect for sipping by the pool or serving a big pitcher for a party! Vegan.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 4 oz fresh watermelon juice ((About 2 1/2 cups of seedless watermelon chunks))
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • 2 lime wedges
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and then blend the watermelon in a high-powered blender until it has a smooth consistency.

  2. Pour the blended watermelon juice through a strainer to remove any pulp or seed chunks and then discard the leftover sediment.

  3. Fill a copper mug or glass with ice and add the vodka, lime juice, mint leaves, and strained watermelon juice. Then add the ginger beer and give it a stir. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge.  
  • Use a seedless watermelon for this recipe so you’ll have less to strain out of the juice. 
  • You can triple the recipe ingredients to make enough for a full pitcher. Don’t add ice to the pitcher because it will water it down. Store the pitcher in the fridge, put ice in your cup, and pour the watermelon moscow mule over the ice. 
  • You could substitute other fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches) instead of watermelon if you prefer.
  • Make sure to strain the watermelon juice so you won’t have chunks of pulp or seed sediment floating in your drink. 
  • You could also put this mixture in popsicle molds to make boozy frozen watermelon popsicles for a refreshing adult-only summer treat!
  • You could make this a watermelon moscow mule mocktail simply by omitting the vodka. The ginger beer is non-alcoholic.
  •  

The post Watermelon Moscow Mules Recipe appeared first on Stacey Homemaker.

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Stacey Homemaker by Stacey Homemaker - 1M ago

I don’t say this lightly. This truly is the best vegan stroganoff recipe! The ultra rich and creamy sauce coats every bite of this jackfruit and mushroom-loaded dish, it’s oh-so-satisfying. Vegan, & gluten-free. 

*This post contains affiliate links. 

**I originally shared this recipe on 4/19/17 but I updated it with new pictures and better recipe instructions on 6/15/19. 

I truly believe that this is the best vegan stroganoff that you’ll ever taste! If you’re craving comfort food then this is what you should make, it will definitely hit the spot! 

I don’t cook with vegan butter or wine that often, I save it for when I want something especially decadent like this vegan mushroom stroganoff recipe. The sauce is so creamy and rich, and the way it coats each noodle will make your mouth water with anticipation of tasting it. You won’t miss the beef in this vegan stroganoff either because of the delicious tender chunks of shredded jackfruit. This dish will please even the pickiest meat-eater. 

How to Make Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

This vegan stroganoff recipe is very simple to make and is ready in about 45 minutes! Begin by melting 3 tbsp of vegan butter (I use Miyoko’s vegan butter, I think it has the best flavor!) in a large pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and saute until they’re translucent for about 5-8 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Stir to combine and let it cook for 10 minutes. Add the red or white wine (your choice, both are delicious) and deglaze the pan. Let it continue to cook and reduce for 5 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, combine two cups of low-sodium vegetable broth, 1 tsp of arrowroot powder (this helps to thicken the sauce), and 1 tbsp or vegan Worcestershire sauce (this is my favorite vegan Worcestershire). Next, add the rinsed and drained young green canned jackfruit (this is my favorite jackfruit brand), dried thyme, sea salt, and vegetable broth mixture to the pan and mix it well. Bring it to a low simmer, cover it, and let it cook for 15 minutes.


While the jackfruit is cooking, boil water in a separate pot and cook the noodles. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and use a wooden spoon to lightly break up the chunks of jackfruit. Don’t remove the jackfruit seeds, they should be soft and edible.

Stir in the vegan sour cream (I used a 5.3 oz cup of Kite Hill unsweetened plain greek yogurt) and let the stroganoff cook for 5 more minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives and serve over hot bowtie noodles.

How to Make Vegan Stroganoff Without Beef

Most people would say that you can’t have stroganoff without some sort of “meat” and I agree, that’s why I use jackfruit as a substitute for beef. As much as I love mushrooms, there needs to be something besides mushrooms in the sauce to make it a true stroganoff! Once the jackfruit is cooked, it will shred and look just like big, juicy, tender chunks of meat. It’s absolutely delicious! 

I think that the quality of jackfruit that you use is very important too. I’ve heard people say that they’ve had to cut off big pieces from the jackfruit because it was so hard. I’ve never experienced that problem with this organic brand of jackfruit (this is not sponsored, I just really love it and want you to use the best jackfruit too!) or the Trader Joe’s canned jackfruit

Want more delicious jackfruit recipes to try? Check out this list of 17 jackfruit recipes that taste better than meat!

How to Make Vegan Stroganoff Without Sour Cream

I use (1) 5.3 oz cup of Kite Hill unsweetened plain greek yogurt as a vegan sour cream substitute to make the vegan stroganoff sauce extra rich and creamy. However, before I discovered store-bought vegan sour cream, I would blend 1/2 cup of raw cashews + 1 1/4 cup of water + 1 tbsp lemon juice in my Nutribullet to make a creamy “sour cream” substitute to add to the stroganoff. If you don’t want to use a store-bought sour cream the cashew cream will work just as well. 

Should You Use Red Wine, White Wine, or No Wine?

I’ve made this vegan mushroom stroganoff recipe with red wine, white wine, and without wine! It’s not necessary to deglaze the pan with wine, but it just adds an extra layer of flavor to the stroganoff sauce that I absolutely love and I think you will too. 

If you do decide to use red wine (this is my favorite organic vegan red wine that I buy at Trader Joe’s) or white wine, the number #1 rule is to use a wine to cook with that you enjoy drinking as well. Don’t buy the cheapest wine you can find because you will be able to taste the difference. 

What Should You Serve Vegan Beef Stroganoff With? 

You can serve this vegan beef stroganoff recipe over bowtie pasta, gluten-free noodles, mashed potatoes, polenta, grits, brown rice, or quinoa. For a low-carb option, use spaghetti squash, mashed cauliflower, or cooked cauliflower rice. 

Is This Vegan Stroganoff Allergy-Friendly?

Yes, this vegan stroganoff is allergy-friendly. It’s naturally dairy-free, gluten-free (serve it with gluten-free noodles) and soy-free. To make the stroganoff nut-free, omit the vegan sour cream unless you can find a nut-free vegan sour cream. 

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff Slow Cooker Instructions

To make this vegan mushrooms stroganoff recipe in the slow cooker, put all of the ingredients except for the pasta, arrowroot powder, and vegan sour cream into the slow cooker. Set it to cook on high for three hours. After three hours, put 1/2 cup of the hot broth into a small bowl and mix in the arrowroot powder. Add the mixture back to the slow cooker and stir in the vegan sour cream. Leave the lid off and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Cook the pasta separately. 

Notes to Make the Best Vegan Stroganoff
  • Normally, I recommend to saute with vegetable broth or a little bit of olive oil but using vegan butter (I use Miyokos vegan butter) really makes this vegan stroganoff taste even more decadent. 
  • You can use white button, cremini, or wild mushrooms to make this stroganoff, it won’t change the flavor of the dish. Buy what looks the freshest and is the best price. 
  • You don’t have to cook with red wine, you could also use white wine or completely omit the wine if you don’t consume alcohol. The stroganoff doesn’t taste like wine, it just gives it extra flavor. 
  • I think this is the best quality jackfruit to use for the vegan stroganoff. Make sure you rinse it very well to get rid of as much brine as possible and then drain it. If you don’t want to use jackfruit, you could use tofu or seitan instead. 
  • If you’d like to add extra vegetable protein to the vegan mushroom stroganoff, add 1 cup of green peas when you add the jackfruit. 
  • To keep the recipe gluten-free, use arrowroot powder instead of flour to thicken the sauce and serve the jackfruit mushroom stroganoff over gluten-free noodles
  • If you don’t want to use farfalle pasta (bowties), you could substitute cavatappi, fettuccine, or orecchiette. 
  • Store leftover vegan stroganoff in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze it. 

More Healthy Vegan Comfort Food Recipes You’ll Love!

Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Shells

The Only Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe You’ll Ever Need!

Creamy Pesto Pasta Casserole

BEST EVER Vegan Enchiladas 

Super Saucy Lentil Meatball Subs 

If you make this vegan mushroom stroganoff recipe please share it on Instagram and tag @Stacey_Homemaker and use the hashtag #StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious meal! 


Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Vegan mushroom stroganoff has the creamiest sauce that coats every bite of this mushroom-loaded dish! The shredded jackfruit takes the place of beef and it’s oh-so-satisfying. Vegan and gluten-free options. 

  • 16 oz package gluten-free noodles
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter ((I use Miyoko's vegan butter))
  • 1 medium red onion, (diced)
  • 1 lb mushrooms, (sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • (2) 14 oz cans jackfruit, (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth ((or mushroom broth))
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream ((I used (1) 5.3 oz container of Kite Hill Unsweetened Greek Yogurt))
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. In a large pan, melt 3 tbsp of vegan butter over medium heat. Saute the diced onion until it’s translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic and let it cook for 10 minutes. 
  2. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of red or white wine and let it cook until the sauce reduces for about 5 minutes.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the two cups of vegetable broth, 1 tsp arrowroot powder, and 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce. Add both cans of the rinsed and drained jackfruit, thyme, sea salt, and vegetable broth mixture to the pan. Bring it to a low simmer, cover it, and let it cook for 15 minutes. 

  4. In a separate pot, boil water and cook the noodles according to package instructions now. 

  5. Remove the lid and gently use a wooden spoon to break up the pieces of jackfruit. Stir in the cup of vegan sour cream. Let the stroganoff cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over hot bowtie noodles. 

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Stacey Homemaker by Stacey Homemaker - 1M ago

This fresh watermelon popsicle recipe has no added sugar and it only takes 5 minutes of prep work to make! It’s the best low-calorie frozen treat to enjoy on a hot summer day! Vegan, gluten-free. 

*This post contains affiliate links. 

**This recipe was originally posted on 7/8/15 but I updated it with new pictures and better recipe instructions on 6/9/19. 

The summer is always brutally hot here in Florida and all I want is to cool off with an icy cold, frozen treat. I’ve been trying to cut out excess sugar from our diet, so ice cream and processed snacks are definitely out.

These fresh watermelon popsicles are naturally sweet and loaded with juicy watermelon that has been blended and frozen into the perfect healthy summer snack. This watermelon popsicle recipe couldn’t be any simpler to make, I hope you give it a try!

Tips For Picking the Perfect Watermelon

First, pick out the perfect watermelon. Did you know there are a few things you should look for when you pick out a watermelon? My mom and grandpa taught me these tips:

  1. Shape – Round watermelons are sweeter, oval watermelons are more watery.
  2. Webbing – Look for watermelons with lots of “webbing” or “sugar lines” because that means they’re extra sweet!
  3. Yellow belly – Every watermelon has a white or yellow field spot on its belly. The spot is where is rested on the field. A more golden color = a riper watermelon.
  4. Thump it – A ripe watermelon will have a hollow sound when you give it a good thump.
How To Make Watermelon Popsicles

After you find the perfect watermelon, follow these simple steps to make the easiest summer dessert ever! 

  • Cut the watermelon up into large chunks.
  • Blend the watermelon chunks and fresh lime juice into a smooth puree.
  • Pour the watermelon puree into BPA-free popsicle molds and freeze it until solid, about 2-3 hours.


Watermelon Popsicle Recipe Variations

This vegan watermelon popsicle recipe is very customizable. You could add whole frozen berries (blueberries would look like watermelon seeds!), or layers of frozen pureed fruit to make these pops even more fun.

  • Layered popsicles – To get solid layers, pour pureed fruit layer by layer into the popsicle molds and freeze for 10 minutes in between each layer. Continue alternating between the flavors you want to use until the molds are filled almost to the top. Leave one inch of space to put the popsicle stick in so the filling won’t overflow the popsicle mold.
  • Watermelon slice popsicles – You could also fill up the molds with the watermelon juice but leave one inch of space at the top. Freeze them for one hour and then add blended kiwi (or diced kiwi) on top and put the pops back into the freezer to finish freezing. Then the popsicles will look like a slice of watermelon with a green kiwi rind!
  • Loaded popsicles – If you’re making this dessert for an adult party, watermelon tequila popsicles would definitely get that party popping!

Why You’ll Love These Fresh Watermelon Popsicles

These easy watermelon popsicles are a super fresh, naturally sweet, gluten-free, vegan, low-calorie delicious treat that you can feel good about eating! There’s no processed junk, preservatives, added sugar, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce in these healthy watermelon popsicles. These popsicles are also kid-friendly, very easy to make, and picky husband approved!

Tips For Making The Best Homemade Watermelon Popsicles
  • Use seeded watermelon so you won’t have any hard chunks in your popsicles. 
  • Use fresh lime juice, the stuff in the squeezy bottle does not taste the same. 
  • Make sure to use a BPA-free popsicle mold, this is the popsicle mold that I use. If you don’t want to use a plastic mold, this stainless steel popsicle mold will work too. 
  • If you’re not a fan of watermelon or it’s out of season, you could use strawberry, blueberry, mango, or pineapple frozen fruit instead. 
  • To add even more flavor to the pops, add 4-5 mint leaves to the popsicle mixture before blending it. 
More Vegan Dessert Recipes You’ll Love!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus

Easy Chocolate Truffles

Tropical Mango Coconut Candy Bites 

If you liked these watermelon popsicles, please remember to rate the recipe and let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious vegan recipes


Watermelon Popsicle Recipe

This fresh watermelon popsicle recipe has no added sugar and only require 5 minutes of prep work! It’s the best low-calorie frozen treat to enjoy on a hot summer day! Vegan, gluten-free. 

  • 4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 3 tsp fresh lime juice
  1. Cut up the watermelon into chunks so you can measure out four cups. Put the watermelon and fresh lime juice into a high-powered blender and blend until you have a very smooth puree.

  2. Pour the watermelon juice into six popsicle molds. Add the lid to each popsicle mold and then freeze it for 2-3 hours or until fully frozen.

  • If you want to make boozy loaded watermelon tequila popsicles, add 3 oz of your favorite tequila to the watermelon filling before you blend it. 
  • If you’re not a fan of watermelon, you could substitute strawberry, blueberry, mango, or pineapple. 

 

The post Easy Watermelon Popsicles appeared first on Stacey Homemaker.

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This is the ultimate guide to Caladesi Island! It contains everything you need to know + answers to all of your questions + information on how to walk to Caladesi Island State Park! 

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Caladesi Island is one of the Gulf Coast’s last uninhabited islands in the Tampa Bay area. This isolated island features 4 miles of pristine white sandy beaches, a 3-mile mangrove-shaded kayak trail, and a peaceful nature path. Caladesi Island truly is an island paradise! 

I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years and I just recently got to visit Caladesi Island State Park for the first time. I wish I had found it sooner! My family always visited Clearwater Beach because it’s ranked as Florida’s #1 beach. However, Caladesi is just as beautiful as Clearwater Beach with the extra perks of having fewer people and the beauty of an untouched island.

My husband and I kicked off the summer by visiting Caladesi Island and we had a wonderful time! We explored the entire island, went shelling, swam and snorkeled in the crystal clear water, and we even got the surprise of a lifetime when two beautiful dolphins swam right by us! Although it takes a bit more effort to get to Caladesi Island, I think it’s 100% worth the trek. 

While we were at Caladesi Island I made sure to find out everything that I could so I could share the most current and up to date information with you. This guide has the answers to all of your questions about Caladesi Island + tips for having the best experience while you’re visiting the island. Click here to view the Caladesi Island State Park Florida map. 

Caladesi Island State Park Guidelines
  • Hours are 8 AM until sunset, 365 days a year.  
  • Pets are permitted in designated areas only and they must be kept on a leash that’s no longer than 6 feet. 
  • Swimming, fishing, boating, and fires are allowed in designated areas only. 
  • Fireworks and hunting are prohibited. 
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption is allowed in designated areas only. 
  • If you need help accessing the beach, you can contact the ranger station and they will assist you. 
  • Caladesi Island Kayak rentals are available for $25 per person on the island.
  • There is a picnic area, playground, restrooms, concession (Caladesi Cafe), and showers available on the island. See pictures below. 

How Much Does It Cost To Go To Caladesi Island FL?

There are multiple ways to get to the Island, but once you’re there the Caladesi Island State Park fee is only $2 per person to enter the state park.

How Do You Get To Caladesi Island?

You can get to the island by taking the Caladesi Island ferry, by private boat, by renting (or using your own) a SUP, jet ski, kayak, or by walking from Clearwater Beach. 

Where Do You Catch The Ferry To Caladesi Island?

You can catch the 20-minute Caladesi Island ferry ride from Honeymoon Island State Park (starting at 10 AM) for $14 roundtrip per adult ($7 per child aged 6-12, kids 5 and under are free). You can save $1 off your ferry ticket (good for up to 6 people) by using this coupon. If you take the ferry, there is a 4-hour time limit on the island. 

Can You Stay On Caladesi Island?

No, you cannot go camping or stay overnight on Caladesi Island State Park beach as there are no cabins or hotels on the island. However, boaters can dock overnight at the 108-slip marina as long as you register before sundown. The marina as electrical and water hookups for you to use. 


Can You Walk To Caladesi Island State Park?

Yes, you can walk to Caladesi Island State Park from Clearwater Beach. It’s not a short walk by any means but it definitely can be done. I can say this with 100% certainty because I’ve done it and you can see exactly what the walk is like in this video (I will post the video link as soon as the video is live).

WHERE SHOULD YOU PARK? 

If you’d like to walk from Clearwater Beach, I recommend parking your car on a side street across from the entrance to the beach at the northern end of Mandalay Avenue. If you visit Clearwater Beach during spring break or summer, you may have to park in a paid parking lot.

WHERE SHOULD YOU START WALKING FROM? 

Make sure you’re well hydrated, grab your backpack, and head to the beach. We like to start walking at the public beach access on Somerset road. Once you’re on the beach, head north until you see a sign that says, “Welcome to Caladesi Island State Park!” You’ll also see a sign for the nature trail and the bridge that leads to the ferry access point and Caladesi Cafe. 

HOW LONG IS THE WALK TO CALADESI ISLAND?

If you start at North Beach, the walk to Caladesi will take you approximately 90 minutes and it’s close to 3 miles. 

IS THE WALK HARD TO DO?

I don’t consider myself to be very athletic but I can walk around Disney World all day with ease. I had no problem walking to Caladesi, but the walk back, after a long day at the beach, was tough. It was very hot, we were tired, and it was high tide. If you have any knee or back problems, or if you can’t walk for long without pain, then I recommend that you take the ferry over to the island for a more enjoyable experience. 

WHAT WILL YOU SEE ON THE BEACH? 

The walk to Caladesi Island is very enjoyable, it’s quiet and peaceful and you’ll run into very few people along the way. There are lots of birds to see, protected turtle nests, driftwood, mangroves, and you’ll run into the secret shell trees! As you walk, you’ll see less and less hotels and homes until it’s only vegetation and the beach. 

WHAT ARE THE SECRET SHELL TREES?

About a half a mile before the entrance to Caladesi Island State Park, you’ll run into a stretch of beach where all the trees and bushes have all kinds of shells hanging from their branches. It’s really a site to be seen! I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years and never knew about the shell trees, it’s truly a well-kept beach secret! Make sure you find a shell to hang on one of the branches to prove that you were there!

CHECK THE TIDES BEFORE YOU WALK

Before you leave for your walk, check the Caladesi Island weather and the tides so you can plan accordingly to avoid high tide. At high tide, there are some parts of the walk that will be difficult to do because you will be walking through knee-high water. It can definitely be done but it’s easier to navigate the path at low tide. 

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