Gravity Falls

Episode: The Time Traveler’s Pig
Mystery Dogs

“Ah, summer break. A time for leisure, recreation, and takin’ ‘er easy.” Unless you’re Dipper Pines. He and his twin sister Mabel get shipped up north to Gravity Falls, Oregon to stay at their Great-uncle Stan’s place in the woods. Well, their “Grunkle” doesn’t live in an ordinary house. He transformed it into a tourist trap called the “Mystery Shack.” “And guess who had to work there.” Dipper thought he’d have to suffer through the same boring routine all summer, but that changes when he finds a mysterious journal in the forest. Dipper’s suspicions about the town’s weirdness are confirmed and then some. The kids begin uncovering the mysteries of Gravity Falls and encounter all kinds of magical creatures and paranormal thingums. And of course, no summer is complete unless the fate of the world is at stake.

Dipper and Mabel unlock all sorts of crazy secrets surrounding the town, but there remains one mystery left unsolved: How do they get Mystery Dogs in the shape of a question mark? (“It’s unnatural.”) Yeah, I’m talking about the corn dogs at Grunkle Stan’s Mystery Fair. They’re the ones that Dipper and Wendy get before Dipper accidently hurts Wendy, steals Blendin Blandin’s fancy tape measure time machine, and goes back in time over and over to keep Wendy and Robbie from getting together. I know. There are a whole lot of puzzles and blink-and-you-miss-it things in this series and I get hung up on corn dogs. I’ve seen Soos direct traffic with corn dogs, and there’s the Tunnel of Love and Corndogs at the Mystery Fair, and-Oh my gosh! Is there some kind of Gravity Falls corn dog conspiracy? Nah, I’m sure Old Man McGucket would have mentioned something. Right? Hmm…maybe I should look into this. Or maybe I should just shut my yap and get on with making corn dogs.

Recipe makes 3 large corn dogs.

Ingredients

3 footlong hot dogs

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating hot dogs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

Mustard (Optional)

Oil for frying-Enough to submerge corn dogs, a little over 1 gallon

Directions

Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the eggs and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pat the hot dogs dry and roll in flour to coat. Insert a 12-inch skewer halfway through the hot dog. Bend the top of the hot dog to make the curve of the question mark and continue pushing the skewer through so it holds it in place. Cut off part of the bottom of the hot dog and pull it down to make the bottom of the question mark.

Dip a hot dog into the batter and evenly coat. (You’re going to have to get your hands dirty.) Allow any excess batter to drip off. Carefully place the hot dog in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the corn dog to a wire rack or paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining hot dogs. Top with a little mustard and enjoy!

Gravity Falls Mystery DogGravity Falls Insp Mystery Dog

So I just made corn dogs shaped like question marks. That’s got to be one of the more weird things I’ve done over the summer. (You’re next, Mobius chicken strips!) Hey, my summer breaks weren’t nearly as supernatural as the Pines’. Still, I loved them more than anything, so whenever August rolled around, I’d start wishing summer could last forever. Unfortunately, whether you’re saving the world from a whole lot of weirdness or you’re just lazing your days away, summer ends. And then it’s time for us to grow up. (“But not too much.”) I wish I could go back and relive my past summers, but that’s not going to happen unless I get my hands on some sensitive, extremely complicated time equipment. But time machine or not, whenever I need just a little more summer, I know I can always return to a sleepy town in the woods called Gravity Falls.

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

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Star vs. the Forces of Evil

Episode: The Banagic Incident
Banagic Ice Cream

Star vs. the Forces of Evil promises a little weird, a little wild, and a good time. I’d have to say it delivers. If a magic-wielding, monster-fighting princess from another dimension living as a foreign exchange student on Earth doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does. How does this even happen anyway? Well, Star isn’t what one would call a “typical princess.” She’s reckless and irresponsible and sets her kingdom on fire shortly after receiving a great family heirloom, The Royal Magic Wand. Her parents send her to Earth to train and she takes up residence in the Diaz household. This was done as a safety measure, but Star still finds plenty of ways to get into trouble. When she’s not narwhal blasting some ill-intentioned monsters or cutting her way into other dimensions, she’s got to handle everyday life in a place entirely new to her.

Star lives a pretty exciting life, but even she isn’t safe from boredom. (It’s her biggest fear.) She was going to have to renounce her vow to never have a dull day until she saw a magazine ad for The Banagic Wand. It’s one of those “As Featured on TV” products that you see in those late night commercials. “Designed by leading freeze-ologists, The Banagic Wand uses state-of-the-art molecular ice-stronomy to frostulate your sizzle zones and chill you out.” (It makes banana ice cream.) Star can’t resist this “Earth Magic” and insists on immediately finding a “Better Store” where it’s sold. (Supplies are limited.) But Marco refuses to skip his karate class, so Star’s on her own. She wasn’t doing too badly until she mistook the staff of a pirate-themed restaurant for real pirates and trashes the place. They chase her all the way to the store and corner her right in front of The Banagic Wands. Star tells them that they need to “chill out,” so everyone does just that. Banagic Wand Party at Marco’s house!

Recipe makes one 2-cup serving

Ingredients

4 ripe bananas

Yellow food coloring

Directions

Peel and thinly slice the bananas. Freeze the banana slices for at least two hours. Place the frozen banana slices in a food processor. Blend, occasionally scraping down the sides of the processor, until the bananas become creamy. Add a little yellow food coloring and blend a few more seconds. Scrape out of the food processor. (You can fill a piping bag with the banana ice cream and pipe into a bowl to give it more of a soft serve look.)  Enjoy immediately!

StarvstheFOEStarvstFOE Ban

Star completes her quest, conquers her boredom, and feels like she’s mastered Earth. Marco is impressed and admits that he underestimated her. Star’s not too happy to hear that though and she pushes Marco’s Banagic ice cream out of his hands. I wasn’t surprised that Star found a Banagic Wand, but I was surprised that it actually worked. I’ve gotten sucked in by enough infomercials to know that they can’t all be trusted. Well Banagic Wand or not, banana ice cream is pretty magical. “I’m totally chilled out!”

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!