Sonic the Hedgehog

Episode: The Odd Couple
Chili Dog

With all the running around I’ve been doing lately, I’m starting to feel like Sonic the Hedgehog. I can’t beat feet like “The Fastest Thing Alive,” but throw me a Power Ring and let’s see what happens. But even if I had some extra juice power, there’s no way I can match Sonic’s attitude. He’s as arrogant as can be and goes around singing about himself. I love it! You know who doesn’t love it? That angry, evil Dr. Robotnik. He’s got all the makings of a classic villain: an army of Swat-bots, a pet robot bird to love on, and a nephew/lackey to yell at named Snively. You’d think he’d be able to take control of all of Mobius. Well he would if the Freedom Fighters weren’t around. They set Sonic SatAM apart from the other Sonics out there and I love the entire cast of characters. Among them there’s the strong-minded princess, the sweet, little kid, the smart mechanic, the kick-butt girl, and Antoine. Oh how I adore stupid, cowardly, little Antoine with his bad English and his intense love of French cuisine. (Poor preparation of dishes such as Crêpe Suzette and Escargot can and has been used as a form of torture for him.) And since Antoine is such a gourmet, you can already guess how he feels about chili dogs.

Sonic’s and Antoine’s personalities clash anyway, but things (Or should I say just Antoine.) get crazy when the two are forced to bunk together during a snow storm. When Sonic’s hut gets smashed by Dulcy, (Thanks to Antoine.) Sonic packs his socks and makes himself at home with Antoine. Thinking that he’s being a good roomie, Sonic decides to whip up some chili dogs for the two of them because you haven’t lived until you’ve had one of Sonic’s ol’ dogs. (Antoine was not thrilled.) Now Sonic means well, but chili dogs are a messy business and they’re even messier when Sonic’s the one holding the pans. He smacks a can of chili and sends the stuff bouncing all over the house and right into neat-freak Antoine’s face. When he gets upset about it, the oblivious Sonic just assures Antoine that he can have another helping. Antoine can’t handle that and just faints. Once he regains consciousness, Antoine sees that Sonic’s chili dog adventures have trashed his kitchen. Sonic only has chili dogs on his mind so the first thing he says to Antoine is that he saved him a dog. He then proceeds to eat it anyway. Antoine goes a little nuts and screams about chili dogs in his wardrobe.

Recipe makes 2 chili dogs

Ingredients

1 (15 ounce) can of hot chili

2 hot dogs

2 hot dog buns

2 green olives

Chopped onion

1 tablespoon vegetable oil for cooking

Directions

Chili:

Open the can of chili into a medium pan over medium heat. Cook the chili, stirring occasionally, until the chili is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Hot Dog:

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add hotdogs to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally.

Putting It All Together:

Split a hotdog bun open and place a hotdog inside. Smother the whole thing with chili. Garnish with chopped onion and a green olive. Enjoy!

sonic-the-hedgehog-chili-dogsonic-satam-chili-dog

This recipe is a super simple one where you just throw things together, but that’s what makes it perfect for when you’re stuck over at someone’s house with a hankering for chili dogs. (Just try not to mess up the house so bad.) Making chili dogs away from home isn’t a common practice of mine, but I’m going to change that because they’re way past delicious! Uncle Chuck eats chili dogs and he’s been roboticized. But Antoine’s an odd one and isn’t a fan. The chili dogs aren’t enough to push Antoine over the edge, but they bring him right to it. Once Sonic starts sleeprunning, Antoine completely loses it and starts laughing maniacally and trashing his hut to the point that Sonic can’t stand him anymore and leaves. A tree even comes crashing down on his hut and he just goes on laughing. Poor little Antoine.

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving

Hot Chocolatey Ice Cream

Thanksgiving is kind of a big deal for my family because stuffing ourselves silly surrounded by our loved ones is essentially living the dream. And do you know what else (Who else actually.) is a big deal for my family? Winnie the Pooh. We’ve all fallen in love with that silly old bear and his friends. So writing about A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving just seems like a no brainer. Thanksgiving is a pretty important day in the Hundred Acre Wood too. It’s Pooh’s most favorite day of all. Most of the residents get together to share a feast and each one contributes something special to it. Pooh brings honey, Piglet haycorns, Gopher lemonade (52.6 gallons of it!), Owl biscuits, Eeyore thistles (Although he says no one will like them but him.), and Tigger brings hot chocolatey ice cream! It’s not the traditional Thanksgiving fare, but they’re happy with it. Then Rabbit shows up. He considers a Thanksgiving Day without turkey, cranberry dressing, the “once a year” plates, and pumpkin pie nothing more than a chilly Thursday. He then assigns duties and responsibilities to everyone in order to have a properly organized celebration. (Rabbit really expects Pooh and Piglet to catch a turkey?!)

My family does the standard turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie thing, but that’s because we want them, not because we’d be celebrating wrong without them. Before Thanksgiving every year, each of my family members gets to choose one dish for our meal. Think of it like our own contributions, except only my mom, sister, and I do the cooking. (We’d prefer not to have Gophers in the kitchen.) What we eat is important to us, but we’re just thankful that we can eat together. Even a Hundred Acre Wood Thanksgiving would be fine by me. There’s nothing wrong with honey, haycorns, and hot chocolatey ice cream. (Leave it to Tigger to bring ice cream!) Actually, I think some hot chocolatey ice cream would be a perfect addition to my Thanksgiving feast. Pie shouldn’t have all the glory.

Recipe makes 1 quart of ice cream.

Ingredients

½ cup hot chocolate mix

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¾ cup milk

¾ cup sugar

4 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 1 cup heavy cream and the hot chocolate mix. Once combined, add the rest of the heavy cream and the milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the unsweetened chocolate until fully melted and smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until light and thickened. While constantly whisking, pour small amounts of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Once 1/3 or so of the chocolate mixture has been added, pour in the rest of the chocolate mixture. Pour the new mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 degrees F. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer and into a bowl. Add the vanilla extract. Allow mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes to come to room temperature. You can set the bowl over an ice bath to cool the mixture quicker. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until the mixture is fully chilled, 4 hours to overnight.

Pour the mixture in an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the ice cream and store in an airtight container in the freezer until fully hardened, about 4 hours. Enjoy!

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If hot chocolatey ice cream was the only thing to eat on Thanksgiving, I’d still have a very good day. (I’m about as obsessed with it as Tigger is.) But Rabbit believes that Thanksgiving is all about tradition and custom, habit and routine. He’s half right, but everyone has different traditions and can change them whenever they want. Turkey isn’t the most immensely important part of the holiday. And having enough food to calm the most ferocious of beasts is just a bonus. So if your food and decorations are ruined, you can’t just call off Thanksgiving and say there’s nothing to be thankful for. (I’m talking to you, Rabbit!) Don’t worry. Pooh helps Rabbit see the error in his ways once he rounds everyone up again to share Thanksgiving. Rabbit realizes that all he needs for Thanksgiving, or any other day, are the friends he has. That’s because Thanksgiving is truly about friends and family gathering together to give thanks for how things are and what they have. After all, the grandest thing we shall ever have is one another, or so it was said by a bear named Winnie the Pooh.

 

I’ll be taking a break next week.

Tune in next, next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Bump in the Night

Episode: Better Homes & Garbage
Slice of Sweet Potato Pie

I never dare sleep with my hands or feet dangling off my bed for fear of being grabbed by something under there. I know it’s silly. Why am I assuming that the monster under my bed is a bad one? My monster could be just like Mr. Bumpy. Sure, he’s a little rough around the edges, but he’s not bad at all. In fact, he really cares for The Boy. (He’s Mr. Bumpy’s hero.) And Mr. Bumpy is a great pal too. He does whatever he can for Squishington and Molly. He’d even give them the warts off his own back.

However, all friendships have limits and there are times when even the best of friends will fight. Squishington tries to repay Mr. Bumpy’s kindness for letting him stay under the bed, but he takes things a bit too far. (After seeing his nest cleaned and organized, Mr. Bumpy pinches his arm so hard it comes off.) And things only go from bad to worse when Squishington tries to feed Mr. Bumpy lunch. For a monster who craves dirty socks, used facial tissues, and the occasional clogged drain hair and toenail sundae, foods like lettuce, carrots, and celery aren’t very appetizing. When Mr. Bumpy runs for the filing cabinet to get some socks, Squishington tries to have him eat a slice of sweet potato pie. Instead of eating it though, Mr. Bumpy just pretends and tosses it on the floor. That doesn’t sit too well with Squishington. He feels his cleaning, cooking, and comforting aren’t being appreciated and after another fight, he says he never wants to see Mr. Bumpy again. I hate to see the bosomest of buddies fighting, especially over things like pillows, garbage, and pie.

Recipe makes one deep-dish 9-inch pie.

Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks

4-5 tablespoons ice water, plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons if needed

Filling:

3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

Crust:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough just comes together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.

Filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in sweet potato. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually stir in heavy cream and beat until combined.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough 14-16 inches across and place in a pie tin. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself. Crimp edge for a more decorative look.

Pour filling evenly into pie crust and bake for 1-1 ½ hours, or until skewer inserted in it comes out clean. Remove pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Variations: As soon as I saw the slice of sweet potato pie in Bump in the Night, I got all sorts of excited to make one. I came up with the recipe, made the pie, fell in love with it, AND THEN realized that it’s supposed to be good for you. Whoops! Although sweet potatoes are pretty healthy, loading them down with cream, sugar, and butter probably isn’t the best thing for you. (But Molly considers stray sock holes to be a part of a comforting and nutritious meal, so who knows?) Anyway, here are some tips to make a lighter version.
For a healthier pie crust: Replace half or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat (I’d use white whole wheat.) and you can omit the sugar.
For the pie: Reduce the granulated sugar to 1/4 cup or omit it all together. Feel free to use a sugar substitute or baking blend for the brown sugar. Reduce the butter to 3 tablespoons and replace the heavy cream with 3/4 cup of milk.

bump-in-the-night-piebump-in-the-night-sweet-potato-2

It doesn’t take long for Mr. Bumpy and Squishington to start missing each other and make up. (Causing the “Moral Alert” sign to hit Mr. Bumpy on the head.) I’m just glad to see those two getting along again. And I got a yummy sweet potato pie out of it too. Maybe I can make friends with my own monster by leaving some pie out for him or her. (I know Squishington likes eating pie in the dark.) Alright, time to fess up. Do I have a monster living under my bed? No, and I know for sure that I don’t have one in my bathroom. (Although one would so come in handy.) But my closet, that’s another story.

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Ewoks

Episode: The Curse of the Jindas
Taffy

I’m one of those lucky individuals who had been introduced to Star Wars at a very early age. I can’t even remember the first time I actually watched the movies, but I’ve seen them a ton. My parents loved them, so the tapes were always close at hand. After spending most of my life with Star Wars, I could mention like 6 million things I love about the franchise. But, I’m going to try to narrow all that down. Here’s a fun fact: When I was little, I wanted an Ewok. (I also wanted a droid, and Yoda, and to be a Jedi, and have Darth Vader be my friend.) But asking for an Ewok seemed to be the most reasonable thing for me to do. I thought I could take care of one. To me, they were cute, little teddy bears with attitude and I couldn’t get enough of them. I guess I wasn’t the only one because there’s a cartoon dedicated to the Ewoks. I found that out when I saw a tape at one of my local video stores. (Well, it was labeled as a film, so I called it the Ewok movie for years.) Animated Ewoks! It just can’t get any better! I rented that tape multiple times and always enjoyed it. Years later, I finally got to watch the series and I still gave it a thumbs-up. (I can overlook Season 2’s issues.)

I love getting a closer look at the forest moon of Endor and the daily lives of the Ewoks. Wicket W. Warrick will always be my favorite, but I’ve found that I identify most with his slower, klutzy brother, Willy. When the village is attacked by Master Logray’s Stranglethorn Plant, Willy runs to the bakery and tries to eat all the baked goods before the plant does. He also has a thing for taffy. (Actually, he has a thing for any kind of food.) When Wicket and the gang go to Mooth’s store to trade their surplus goods, Willy eats from a large vat of taffy and begins to make a sticky mess. Yeah, Ewoks and taffy seem like an odd pair, but that’s nothing compared to some things that’ve come out of the Star Wars universe.

Recipe makes at least 50 pieces of taffy. It depends on how big you cut them.

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup corn syrup

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing hands and pan

1/2 cup water

1/2-1 teaspoon extract/flavoring

Food Coloring

 

Directions

Butter a shallow pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add corn syrup, butter, and water and place over medium heat. Stir to combine ingredients until the mixture begins to boil. Attach a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from heat and add flavor and color. Pour taffy onto pan/sheet.

Let the taffy sit until it’s cool enough to handle. Butter your hands and begin pulling. Pull the taffy until the color lightens and takes on a sheen. It should be difficult to pull by then. (This is when placed it in a small loaf pan for the picture.) For actual taffy pieces, roll the taffy into a long, thin rope and cut into pieces with kitchen shears. Wrap each piece in wax paper and they’re ready to devour!

Ewoks Taffy WillyEwoks Taffy

I did try leaving my taffy in the small loaf pan and just pulling some out when I want it, so I’ve gotten pretty sticky like Willy does. It’s a mess and gets tough after a while (Willy must be playing with hot taffy.) but I find it fun. I also love the versatility of taffy. I have no idea what flavor Willy’s taffy is and Sugarleaf Taffy could be anything, so I made some fruity and left some unflavored. And they both taste delicious. It’s too bad my parents never got me an Ewok. I could’ve shared my taffy with him. Oh well. More for me.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!