This past week, I had an experience that I look forward to each year: A new Walt Disney Animation Studios movie! I always cherish the moment I first see a new Disney film, as I know it will quickly become a part of my family’s memories forever. Disney’s stories are always beautiful, heart warming, and poignant yet timeless. Moana was definitely all of those things! One of the most incredible films I’ve ever seen.
Each time a new animated film is released, I think “There’s no way the animation can be topped next time, this is as good as animation can get!” And each time I’m surprised. The animation is absolutely incredible, and I am a huge fan of the mixed formats of animation throughout the film (most noticeably the 2D mini Maui interacting with 3D Maui).
Technical aspects aside, the story was perfect, emotional, yet uplifting and inspiring. The music from Lin Manuel Miranda is very catchy, and fits with the Polynesian inspirations of Moana wonderfully (I’m listening to the soundtrack as I write this). The two main cast members, Dwayne Johnson as Maui and newcomer Auli’i Cravalho as Moana have incredible chemistry and fit into their roles perfectly.
Having a daughter, I loved the amazing role model Moana was for young girls. Just from watching the film once, I can tell she will be a role model for young girls and women for decades to come, just like other strong Disney female characters before her.
Moana comes from long-time Disney directors John Musker and Ron Clements, who have directed Disney classics such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (just to name a few). They have once again brought Disney magic to the screen, but in a way never experienced before. This film, although has a Disney “feel”, is unlike any film I have ever seen before. Let’s just say, it is now my all-time favorite Disney movie! You can now see Moana in theaters, and purchase tickets here.
Pua Polka Dot Coconut Cupcakes
When I went to brainstorm for a Moana-inspired recipe, I thought what better character to model a recipe after than one of the most adorable: Pua the pig! These coconut cupcakes are polka-dotted with chocolate chips, to look like Pua’s spots. And the best part? They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free!
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 2 eggs
- 2 mashed ripe bananas
- 1 1/4 cups coconut flour (can sub white flour, but won’t have as much coconut flavor)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or carob chips)
- Toppings: Whipped cream or soy whipped cream, strawberries, shredded coconut.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Mix coconut milk, baking powder, salt, melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and egg.
2. Add your mashed banana, mix again.
3. Add your flour and shredded coconut, mix well.
4. Add your chocolate chips, mix.
5. Scoop batter (it should be thick), into cupcake liners. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
6. Allow them to cool, then top with whipped cream.
7. Slice strawberries in half, and top on the sides to look like Pua’s ears, then top with more coconut!
Enjoy! These cupcakes, since made with coconut flour, are a little crumbly, but oh so moist, delicious, and coconutty!
Be sure to catch Moana in theaters! What better way to spend Thanksgiving with your family?
Inspired by Disney’s Moana: Pua Polka dot Coconut cupcakes! They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free!