Tiana Controls My Life // Beignets, Making Breakfast, and a Cozy Mystery

I am actually continuing on with this series which has made me so happy! If you don't know I am doing a Disney Princess Controls My Life series about once a month this year. The last time I read like Rapunzel, made some hazelnut soup and worked on a hair care routine. 

Tiana was my next pick in February. My goal was to cook not only beignets but a couple of other dishes that were easy and breakfast worthy since she works at two diners at the start of her story. I also read two books this time that I think she would read. I wanted to get to her twisted tale Almost There but I am still on hold for the audiobook. Still, the books I read are perfect for her.

Tiana has the best hardworking attitude. I feel like she is one of the most realistic princesses even though her choice of a prince is questionable. I don't really get the opposites attract trope here but I will get into that later once I discuss the adaption. She is also a foodie and even this picky eater loves good food. Here's what happened when I let this hardworking foodie princess take over my life:

I've read The Frog Prince a couple of times before so I wasn't too shocked when I reread it again. Disney truly remade a whole fairy tale so I give them props. It is one of their most original reimaginings that I know of. 

  • The princess is considered the most beautiful of all her siblings (she's the youngest)
  • She loses a golden ball in a well and makes a deal with a frog to retrieve the item
  • She runs away from the frog in order not to keep said promise
  • The king has to order her to keep her promise
  • The frog eats from her plate and sleeps in her bed (part of said promise)
  • The princess is so selfish and angry that she throws the frog so hard that a prince with beautiful eyes is revealed
  • Only the princess could save him from this curse
  • They are married immediately even though she is a spoiled brat
  • The prince has a loyal servant named Henry who bound his heart in iron bands to hold onto his grief. Said bands broke as he was overfilled with hoy that it sounded like the wheel was broking from the carriage.

So what did we learn?

  • You can be selfish by not keeping your promise and almost kill a frog by throwing it at a wall and be rewarded with a prince.
  • The loyal servant loved the prince.

A very strange story for sure. No lesson at all. I found the part about the loyal servant meaningless because it literally went nowhere. I guess it was to show that the prince was a good man and loved. But I also think Henry may have loved the prince romantically or as a son. Who knows because no ages were discussed.

So how does that compare to the Disney adaption?

The Princess and the Frog reimagines The Frog Prince in let's be honest, the best way.

Changes in the Story

  • The original story is retold in the movie (Tiana's mom reads out the story to her and her friend Charlotte
  • Tiana kisses the frog and then subsequently turns into a frog
  • Tiana isn't a spoiled brat or even a princess. She is a hardworking waitress who has big dreams of becoming a restaurant owner.
  • The Frog Prince may have beautiful eyes but he is lazy and carefree
  • Prince Neveen has a servant who is disloyal
  • There is a villain named Dr. Nefario and voodoo plays a huge role in the story
  • Talking alligators and fireflies
  • There is a moral to the story where choosing family and love is more important than missing out because of a one-track mind. A balanced life is when we can achieve true happiness
  • Don't sell your soul for magic or you might get burned
I like Tiana's personality a lot better in the Disney adaptation for obvious reasons. I thought the villain was a genius idea because of where it is set. Very original. I even liked seeing the friend being spoiled as a parallel to the original story although her friend ends up being loyal and kind. 

What I Didn't Like

  • Prince Neveen is one of my least favorite princes. He is just too much of Tiana's opposite. I don't like the carefree types where nothing really matters and it'll all work out for me. Ugh. 
  • Tiana and Neveen fall in love way too fast. I guess not liking the love interest made this more prominent in the story.
  • I also never cared for the firefly Raymond's story especially the boy humor however, I like him a little more this time around.

Side Note: I know many people didn't like Tiana's hair and that she was a frog most of the time but these things didn't personally bother me. 

I am excited to hear that there will be a Disney+ series starring Tiana. I hope that there will be more details soon.

Favorite Songs

Favorite Characters

I love foodie books so I knew Tiana would like to read one. I said before that I was planning on reading her Twisted Tale story Almost There but the audiobook never came in on time. However, I did read a middle-grade book set in Louisiana that talked about flooding and living life in a small town, with family, stories, and food in the mix. I enjoyed both of my reads and I am happy to be able to review them for you!

When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great Aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 200-pound English Mastiff named Baby.
Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka The Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .

Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.

I got a sense of what the main character, Maddy, was going to be like before I started reading. I confirmed the vibe of the book by reading the first chapter. This is imperative to do because you won't like the book if you don't know what you are getting into. I would consider Maddy materialistic, flighty, and not someone who would get their hands dirty. Basically, this is a story of an influencer who gets their life turned upside down and seeks refuge in a new town after a disastrous almost wedding. If you know this and think you'll enjoy reading from her perspective after reading the first chapter I'm sure you'll like this book too.

I have been on the hunt for cozy mysteries featuring a bakery. Those are the only cozy mysteries worth reading. Maddy doesn't know how to cook much less bake but since she's inherited a bakery she's willing to do her best to learn the business. I appreciate hardworking characters so this gave her points towards her characterization. The description of baked goods was a treat to read. They all sounded delicious and a couple of them are featured as recipes in the back of the book.

Baby is an English Mastiff that was Maddy's grandma. Maddy grew to love her grandma's dog, Baby, quite easily when all the drooling would have me shaking my head most of the time. Her relationship with Baby was sweet especially since he was such a good guard dog. He warded off danger and a killer from her mists a few times throughout the book.

The murder mystery was enticing. I went back and forth on the reasoning of why there was someone murdered and who it was so that was fun. It's never enjoyable when you can figure it out right away. Maddy had a squad of people helping her solve the case which is something I haven't encountered in a mystery before. There was a neighbor, a fellow business owner, a baker, and a cop. The cop honestly was a bit annoying because she said she wasn't intelligent and couldn't solve a case without the help of Maddy's grandma which made her instantly bothersome to me. I mean she's not a terrible person or anything but take courses and read books if you think you aren't smart. Another side character that got a lot of page time was the baker who was alright. He would help Maddy in the kitchen and with the case. The characters were mostly distinct and moved the story along.

One thing I didn't like was all the hashtags and social media posts that were way too cringy but I got over it. I actually gave this book to a family member after finishing it and they thought it was a YA book and was too immature. It is immature. It's a light read that's good to break up more of your more difficult reads. I like the story enough that I want to read the sequel that's coming out later this year. There's one specific murder case I'd like to see play out and the way the town is set up (lots of corruption) there are lots of suspects.

Why did I choose this book for Tiana: It was the bakery and there is a Black main character. Simple as that. I didn't know the main character was going to be so materialistic so it doesn't really fit Tiana's personality but after marrying a carefree prince I think Tiana would enjoy this book. But since it's not exactly the perfect book for Tiana I thought I would read another book. One set in Louisiana.

In a town slowly being destroyed by rising tides, one girl must fight to find a way to keep her community’s spirit from drowning.

For thirteen-year-old Jillian Robichaux, three things are sacred: bayou sunsets, her grandmother Nonnie’s stories, and the coastal Louisiana town of Boutin that she calls home.

When the worst flood in a century hits, Jillian and the rest of her community band together as they always do―but this time the damage may simply be too great. After the local school is padlocked and the bridges into town condemned, Jillian has no choice but to face the reality that she may be losing the only home she’s ever had.

But even when all hope seems lost, Jillian is determined to find a way to keep Boutin and its indomitable spirit alive. With the help of friends new and old, a loveable golden retriever, and Nonnie’s storytelling wisdom, Jillian does just that in this timely and heartfelt story of family, survival, and hope.
Jillian is proud of being a Robichaux because Robichaux's stay and endure. Her family has been living in Boutin, Louisiana for generations so she's already planning on staying too not like her dad who left and hardly has time to even call her. But after flooding in the area shuts down her school she learns that Louisiana is slowly going underwater. Her town might not be livable soon. She decides to fight to save her school and her town while making new friends, getting angry at the local government and her dad, and collecting stories before her town goes under. Nowhere Better Than Here is a fantastic, realistic story about the inevitability of nature/climate change and one girl's journey to make a difference.

I loved Jillian! I loved her town, her Nonna was hilarious, and the stories she collected were wonderful. I was shocked to read that this was Guillory's debut because I felt like I was there with Jillian. I had her Louisiana accent in my head and felt for all she was going through in my heart. 

Nonna was the grumpy soft-hearted grandmother Hillian lived with who would tell her outrageous stories about the people in the town. She made the story go up to another level for me because you saw where Jillian got her grit and her caring attitude. I loved that right away she had taught her to help her neighbors and they were doing just that when Jillian found old photos of places that have been underwater before she was born. This got her started on a path to collect stories and photos of the town so that they would never be lost.

Jillian's relationship with her father is complex. He seems to be trying at one moment and is a decent guy but he doesn't seem to get that he needs to put her first for once. His dog is the cutest golden retriever. I was able to imagen her easily shaking her tail and hesitantly trying to get Nonna to love her. 

As someone who lives in Florida, I found it interesting to read about the flooding happening in Jillian's town. It makes me want to research the effects of climate change happening in Florida. It's surprising to read about a town slowly going underwater and I think it'll open the eyes of young readers. 

Nowhere Better Than Here far exceeded my expectations. The characters, plotline, stories, and growth were absolutely wonderful to read about. I loved the descriptions of nature and all the animals Jillian saw in her hometown. I will for sure be reading more books by this author in the future and recommend them to young readers.

Why did I choose this book for Tiana: I wanted a book set in Louisiana that was dealing with something real. I think Tiana would read this and love it just like me because of Jillian's personality, her Nonna, and her gumbo, and it describes nature in Louisiana in a realistic way. I also think Tiana would be strategizing right along with Jillian to prevent flooding in her town as well.

Tiana wants to open up her own restaurant. It is a fancy restaurant but in the beginning, she works at diners so I thought I would not only make a signature Louisiana dish - beignets - but some eggy breakfast foods. I cooked a lot compared to how I usually do thanks to her and some delicious food too. Here are the cookbooks I used:


I wish I would have used the more "complicated" version of Tiana's beignets in the Disney Princess Tea Parties Cookbook because the dough was so sticky! I kept on adding flour so much of it that me and my mom were laughing our butts off. I also shouldn't have listened to the recipe saying to cook them three minutes on each side which I eventually ignored. Otherwise, the beignets came out well. Less time in the oil would have been better because it was a little tough but I loved having them with chocolate milk in the morning. My brother and his wife took a bunch and seemed to really enjoy them but the critical side of me knows they could have been better. I would have to add more vanilla and maybe some cinnamon to make it sweeter next time. I liked them enough and it was such a simple recipe that I would make this again. 

Ricotta Scrambled Eggs

This was my first make out of the Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook (I know the worst time to be making egg recipes but I need to make easy things). I made spaghetti with a ricotta sauce in January so I thought I might as well make this. Did it revolutionize scrambled eggs? No. It was nice to try something different but regular scrambled eggs are fine with me.

Scrambled-Egg Hand Pies

So I basically made egg hot pockets. I used a puffy pastry shell instead of a piecrust because I bought it last year and never used it so might as well. I bought some expensive gruyere cheese so I felt fancy. I used way too much cream cheese but it was still a delicious breakfast food. I would make this again with less fancy cheese, pie crust, and half of the amount of cream cheese. 

Pannukakku (Finnish Oven Pancake)

This one was so much fun to make. It was simple and I loved seeing the pancake pop up and grow. It needed six eggs! But it was worth it. I loved having this in the morning. I will say it's not as soft as a regular pancake and I believe that's how it's supposed to be. I just slather it with maple syrup to make it softer. 

Final Thoughts on the Tiana Experiment

I've got to put it out there... my photos can use help. It just takes so long to write up this post so I get antsy but I need to edit them and possibly put them in a collage format.

I would have liked to get more recipes done but as a noncook, this went about as well as I could.

In general, I read more this month so I forsee my reading for these experiments to be a lot more spot-on to the character. I will try to read retellings when appropriate in the future.

I'm mainly excited to make more recipes, especially easy ones, and ones I know I am going to enjoy unlike the hazelnut soup situation last month. I'm planning on making recipes outside of my experiments a lot more in the upcoming months. This part of the Disney Princess Controls My Life was genius of me because I am slowly tricking myself to be excited to cook.

Coming Up Next

I know it looks insane but my life is going to be controlled by two princesses next month. I planned on going to a Renaissance Faire for Belle but it makes more sense for Merida. I didn't want to push back any of my other plans so Belle is coming along for the ride. Wish me luck!

For Belle, you can expect me to read a certain number of pages each day, retellings, and cheese souffle.

For Merida, you can expect renaissance faire shenanigans, Scottish myths, and spell cakes.

If there is any Disney Princesses you love and you would like to recommend a book for me to read let me know in the comments!