The Diana Special

I was never a big fan of Barbies. When I was a little girl, you didn’t find me dreaming about my wedding or playing dollhouse. I remember when I used to play pretend, I would be the owner of my very own restaurant, creating various specials of the day and entertaining my customers with delicious eats. My friends knew how much I wanted my own restaurant one day so much that one of them got me one of those little receipt holders for my birthday one year when I was about 10. You know, those sharp, tall pole-like things that you stab receipts onto once they have been entered into the register. Yea…not a doll. Get me something restaurant-themed instead. lol

I remember days spent watching Martin Yan on TV before Food Network became what it is today. Oh yes…Yan Can Cook. And so can you. I was so fascinated by his super-fast chopping skills with the giant cleaver, and I used to try to make stir fries just like him. I also experimented with some of my mom’s favorite cookbooks, and apparently, I wrote my own recipes.


I found this recipe for “The Diana Special” or “Vegetarian Soup” when I was looking for recipes from my grandmother in an old recipe box. There was no year on this, but I think I wrote it when I was around 10 or 12 years old.


Yep…that’s my handwriting. I guess I’ve always had a thing for writing recipes. 😉

And I guess I’ve always liked ending my recipes with “Enjoy!” lol


I especially like the long-winded description of how to cut the carrot and how I put notes for my mom to try this recipe. 🙂


This is the first cook book I can remember really using – Cooking with Mickey around our world. I think I was drawn to this one because I was such a theme park baby due to my spending roughly 7 years growing up in Orlando, FL.


The two recipes I remember the most are – Chicken a la Reine – a creamy chicken soup with red bell pepper…


…and Choux Fritters. An obvious choice for this sweet tooth. I’m a little surprised I made this one, though. I read the recipe today and thought it sounded pretty tough! I must have had some good help from my mom. 🙂


I did find a few family recipes in the old recipe box, but only a precious 4 or 5 from my grandmother. Maybe there are more somewhere else?


Mom has been big into baking bread in recent years. She’s gotten really good at it, too!


I woke up to the smell of freshly-baked sweet bread wafting up to my bedroom today.


Of course, I had to have a slice.


This tender, cinnamon-swirl bread is one of my favorites by her. It’s so soft and just melts in your mouth. I’d share a recipe, but you have to have the starter and you have to have someone give the starter to you!


My dad and sis went out to get those famous rye bagels for hubby and I to take home. They picked up Chinese take-out on their way home.


My mom also whipped up some delicious teriyaki chicken to accompany the meal.


Hot green tea was perfect with everything.


I had a bit of everything – mu shu pork, shrimp fried rice, egg roll, chicken teriyaki, dumpling, egg drop soup.


Hubby and I took over 2 dozen rye bagels home! Thank goodness these things freeze well. We eat them pretty fast, but not that fast.


Of course, I had to dig into one of the bagels for dinner…while they’re fresh baked and stuff.




Bailey is pretty tired from all the frolicking in the snow yesterday in our little winter wonderland. We’re save and sound back at the Chic house, but I think we’ve got another little road trip headed our way tomorrow.

What did you dream about when you were a kid? Were you one of the classic wedding planners or Barbie collectors?

16 thoughts on “The Diana Special”

  1. My mom has that Cooking with Mickey cookbook too! She used to make Tonga Toast (banana stuffed french toast) from the Kona Cafe @ The Polynesian ALL THE TIME. That stuff is incredible!

    And your mom’s sweet bread looks amazing. What a treat to wake up to!

  2. That’s too cute! I had a Barbie kitchen when I was a kid- loved play cooking! And then I got to relive all that many years later when my sister (10 yr gap) got her own and I had to play with her.

    I’m so jealous of your mom’s bread baking skills. I’ve been on a quest lately to make my own sandwich bread (for the husband), but I’ve only had success with a white bread recipe. The other recipes I’ve tried so far with wheat added have been too dense. I picked up some white whole wheat and will be giving it a go with a King Arthur Flour recipe so see if that works.

    Question: How does she store the bread to keep it from getting stale? Thankfully making bread is so cheap, but I hate wasting food.

    • have you tried using vital wheat gluten in your recipes? i had the same trouble with “heavy” wheat bread until i added the vital wheat gluten. you can buy it at a normal grocery store in the flour section… HTH!

      also, as for storage- i’ve been able to use ziplocs to keep bread fresh. also i’ve seen plastic bread boxes too… good luck!

  3. Omg I totally had that Mickey cookbook, too! I haven’t thought about it in ages, but now I totally want to find it at my parents’ house the next time I visit. I was definitely more of a play kitchen girl when I was a kid, too. I loved helping my mom in the kitchen and had all kinds of “waitress” type playthings. It’s so weird that little girls who show an interest in cooking are automatically on the waitress career path, right??

  4. Love that! I don’t think I even knew what vegetarian was when I was 10 or 11. When I was little I had all the play foods and the accesorries and set up my “kitchen” on our covered porch in the summer. My mom stored the stuff in garbage bags during the winter and accidently threw out my whole kitchen one year 🙁

  5. what a sweet childhood memory!

    I had an easy bake oven and I thought I was the coolest kid around.

    I also think that started my fetish with toaster ovens! haha

    as a kid I used to make books. I would write and illustrate them.
    not sure why! but it was fun, and I had barbies but I was more interested in the cool things my brothers got to do in the garage.

    love all the nibbles!
    I don’t think I have a single grandma recipe in all my cookbooks, and only a few of my Mom’s favorites (or my fav’s as it were). I have a few of my Mom’s cookbooks from when she moved and cleaned out her stash.

    I love that you found old recipes.
    I really want my family to have a handful of things I make that make them say “Oh I love Mom’s tuna casserole ” or “Mom’s apple cobbler is the best”.
    that kind of thing.
    I have two boys so I don’t know who I will pass my recipes on to …either my future daughter in laws, or maybe one or both of my guys will cook. who knows!

  6. That is so cool that you have been into cooking for so long! I wish I would have taken and interest in it while I still lived at home because it has always been such a big hobby for my Mom. I could have learned so much from her.

    I was first a major girly girl with dolls and playing house, but then was really into my “craft” – aka I was a choir and theatre geek. 😉


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