Things that are bad for you

So my husband and I, as well as everyone we know, completed Portals shortly after it came out. Our first thought, of course, was to make the cake the game so vehemently insists is a lie. From reading the recipe, it was 2 cakes, one made of a standard cake mix, the other made from scratch, as well as a long list of robot parts.

This presents a problem, obviously one due to Glad’s insanity. However, vanilla crazy cake is a real thing, a vanilla-white cake that is covered with a chocolate frosting mixed with plenty of chocolate chips. The cake pictured on the opening screen obviously has chunks in it, so it is quite possible that the cake was truly modeled after real vanilla crazy cake.

Still, though, I didn’t want to completely ignore Glad’s insanity, as well as the gaming nature of the cake. Thus, I decided to use an altered cake mix so that I might make a substitution: Mountain Dew.

You see, it could be horrible to leave the milk out of a cake, or to substitute it with a nonfat liquid. In a powdered cake mix, however, the milk has been dehydrated, and is to be reconstituted by the water that you add. I could likely have figured out how much powdered milk to use, but I’m lazy and don’t want to purchase powdered milk. Thus, I went ahead with a plain white cake mix. I did add 1 1/2 extra teaspoons of vanilla, however, because white cake mixes are kind of flavorless. I substituted the full 1.25 cups of water for an equal amount of Mountain Dew, and baked immediately after mixing in two cake rounds.

It baked quite well. While it was baking, I mixed up chocolate frosting with dark chocolate chips (to represent the darkness of that thing’s soul). I have never had more trouble frosting a cake, but I eventually got it done! Then, whipped cream, cherries, and one lit candle later:

Vanilla Crazy Cake


PS: It was delicious.


For this particular workshop cookery, you will learn how to make your own mayonnaise. It is very simple, tasty, and you can alter it as you like!  We will be making “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese” to steal a line from RR. (Yesterday it was the rerun where she makes “grown up chicken fingers.”

Anyway. So instead of just mayo (’cause that’s boring and you can get it in the store!) we’ll make Roasted Garlic Mayo. However, mayo is simply the emulsion of egg yolk with oil. That kind of explains so much doesn’t it? You’re emulsifying a fatty protein thing with a fat, no more.  I promise, the results are more appetizing than that!

(Also, if you’re super duper anal about the whole egg-yolk thing, you can get pasteurized egg yolk. But don’t be!)

So, first, roast two heads of garlic. We’ve done this before. Just lop their ickle ‘eads off and stick them in the oven at 350-400 degrees until the house smells insanely good/they are quite brown. Then, squeeze out every last bit of garlicky goodness into your blender.

Now, I personally like to add the egg white to my mayonnaise as well. This means that it becomes paler, and it also is considerably more airy, and feels a bit less heavy in your mouth. In short: You don’t have to, lots of people prefer that you don’t, but I like it that way. Also it’s whiter in color, so you might be more capable of convincing picky friends that homemade mayo won’t kill you.

So I added 2 eggs. Hoorah! I also added at this juncture my other flavors, namely some salt, some pepper, and 1.5-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, for tang.

Blend this until smooth. Now, get out your vegetable oil or olive oil, whichever you prefer (I would use the most flavorless oil I have in the house, so it depends on what grade olive oil you’re talking about) and sloooowly start drizzling. Stop when it looks like mayonnaise. It will likely take a cup.

Now, slice off two slices of a nice, crusty bread. Spread each piece with butter on one side, delicious mayo on the other. Put a thick layer of medium-cheddar slices (a nice compromise between flavor and melty-ness) on one of the mayo sides. Sandwich, and fry until the cheese has melted.

Enjoy. Save the rest of the mayo in an airtight container. It’ll last a week. (A week’s worth of amazing sandwiches…)

So a while ago, my mother purchased this cranberry jalepeno salsa/jelly out of curiosity. The vendor at the kitchen store told her to try it with cream cheese and crackers. She did so, while Josh and I were there, and ohmiword people, this stuff is amazing. Knock your socks off, out of the water amazing.

Of course, I had to try to recreate it. All recipes searched proved utterly incorrect (I knew there was no cilantro whatever from the ingredients tin, also a lack of cilantro taste. It wasn’t gelatinous at all, and quite sweet) so I had to engineer my own. A couple in particular (here and those found here) helped more than others, but largely this is a memory recall.

It didn’t taste quite the same, and mine is considerably chunkier than the original, but it is equally spectacular. I also couldn’t find plain cranberries, so I had to hydrate dried ones. It was still a smashing success.

Cover a double handful of dried cranberries with water and let them hydrate. Microwaving will expedite this process. My double handful came out to about a cup of basically rehydrated berries. They were still shriveled, but they weren’t taking any more water. I left in 1 tablespoon of “water” but if you are using regular berries, you should use cranberry juice. Just squish some out of the berries.

Now, chop one large jalapeño. Did I say chop? I meant mince. Finely. Like water. Be a human food processor! Or, better, actually chop them in a mini food processor. You don’t want pieces of this, kay? Also, take out the seeds and membrane.

Mix this in. Also mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey and a 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir (it helps if the berries are slightly warm from the rehydration, but I’m sure it works fine otherwise).

Let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pour out over 1 package of softened cream cheese (it’s fine if you don’t soften, just put out spreading utensils for your guests). Put crackers around the cream cheese and eat!

This is the easiest thing ever. It is, in fact, so simple that I invented it when I was 5 with my cousin. We were at her house, and we were hungry. I wanted biscuits, she wanted something sweet – but no jelly – and so we compromised. We were heartbroken when someone told us that Kraft had been doing this for years. Idea stealers.

Anyway, Thing One: Take kitchen scissors, because your mom won’t let you play with a knife yet, and cut up the biscuits into 4-6 peices. If your mom doesn’t have kitchen scissors, you can tear the biscuits up with your fingers, that’s okay.

Thing Two: Get two bowls out of the cupboard. Make sure that one of them is okay for being in the microwave, kay? And unbreakable would be good. Melt butter in the microwavable one, maybe one stick. That’s a 1/2 cup! It’s okay if there’s a little taken off, but not much.

In the other one, while the butter is melting, put a 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl. (The cup that is in the sugar bowl is probably a good size, right?) Then shake enough cinnamon on that it is a little brown and smells good. Mix it together. There should be lots of brown specks, but it should be mostly sugar.

Thing One should dip the pieces into the butter – her hands are already sticky! – and drop them into Thing Two’s bowl. Shake and shake until the pieces are all covered, but don’t get any on the floor, okay? Mom would be mad and you would have to clean it up.

Put it into a bread pan. They are long and thin and deep, but if you can’t find one, ask mom. She’ll know. Spray it with the spray oil. Ask mom where that is too. Put all your buttery sweet pieces in there and have mom heat up the oven (400 degrees, mom!) and bake it for 15 minutes or until it’s done. Eat with your fingers and a LOT of wet wipes.

(Mom/babysitter: 1/2 c sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons cinnamon. 6 tablespoons of butter is usually enough. Also, if you want to be mother of the year, take 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, 1 c powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Blend. If it needs thinning, add splashes of milk. Pour/spread over warm monkey bread.

However, if your kids are hyperactive already, don’t!)

I’m going to make it a new tag. Hopefully it won’t be used too often (I like not weighing 17 tons, after all) but sometimes, it’s just necessary.

And tonight is definitely a bad-for-us night. Josh has been begging – begging, people, it’s cuter than kittens and cannot be resisted! – for breakfast. Sometimes when he says breakfast he means “Wakey wakey eggs and bac-y!” but I made steak and eggs this past Sunday morning to no dice.

That means that when he says breakfast, he wants biscuits and gravy. It’s the easiest darn food in the world, ever, and simultaneously the least healthy. Between the lard and butter and the…..oh, be still, my heart. No, not that still. Please keep beating!

Recipe: Saute 1 lb of pork sausage (hot or plain, none of that maple nonsense. It’ll make it taste odd) in a pan. Leave ALL of the excess grease – and if it’s less than a tablespoon or so, you bought the lean sausage. Bad you, add shortening. Anyway, so to your 1-3 tablespoons of grease (keep beating, oh heart!) add 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir until everything is all coated in your flour. If you need more, that’s okay, this isn’t exact.  Just coat everything pretty well.
Then let that sit for a bit and get out your milk. The walk to the fridge and back should be long enough.  Add some milk, bit by bit, stirring all the while. If you need more flour or milk, add whichever you need until you have quite a bit of gravy – enough so that it’s a gravy, and not Saucy Sausage. You want it to be about as thick as an alfredo sauce – coat the back of a spoon and drip off the end. It’ll thicken when it cools, so take that into consideration.

Season very well with salt and pepper. Pour over cheap-o biscuits. You’re wasting if you make your own for this, because no one will taste them. Save those for dinner with butter and jam. Yum!