The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Episode: My Son, the Hamster
Pecan Pie

Don’t you feel like there should be more pie-related holidays? Sure, there’s National Pie Day, Pi Day, Thanksgiving, and Pule, but what about all those pie-less days in-between? So I’m declaring today a special day to eat pie. And tomorrow. And the day after that and so on. I just want to eat pie every day! I know, I may have a bit of a pie problem, but I feel better about myself when I think of all the other pie lovers out there. The first one that always comes to mind is Hugh Neutron. I know he’s a fictional character, but the two of us are kindred spirits. We like the finer things in life: pie, ducks, toast, cheese. All those sorts of things. I’m also a lot like Carl and Sheen too, so throw those three together and you get all sorts of weird. I’d love to say I’m a lot like Jimmy, but he’s too smart for me. However, I wouldn’t mind getting caught up in all of his scientific hijinks.

Jimmy couldn’t be a normal kid if he tried. (And he did. It didn’t turn out well. “Hey, have you guys seen my loopy dance?”) But I love him for that. He’s always doing something like unleashing an army of evil pants, starting a second Ice Age, or shrinking everyone in town. Each episode is just so fun that it’s next to impossible for me to settle on one favorite. Just like pie. I could make an alphabetical list of all the types of pie and I wouldn’t be able to pick the one I like the most. Well lucky for me, I don’t have to look too hard to find food and fun in this series. In “My Son, the Hamster”, Jimmy has a mishap with his teleportation pods and his atoms get mixed up with those of Carl’s hamster, Mr. Wuggles. Basically, their bodies switch, so Mr. Wuggles turns into a hamster boy (Furry Jimmy) and Jimmy, according to Sheen, becomes Hamster Lord. Yep, he’s got a cute, fuzzy hamster body with a big belly and little pawsies. I just love him! He’s so adorable/freaky and it’s so funny to watch him move around. And when his hamster sense takes over, he can’t resist the tempting smell of pecans, so he climbs up to his kitchen windowsill and dives right into a freshly baked pecan pie. That sweet smell is too much for me, so of course that would drive Hamster Jimmy nuts.

Recipe makes one 10-inch pecan pie.

Ingredients

Pie Crust Or:

Crust:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into chunks

3 tablespoons shortening, cold

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

 

Filling:

1 cup light corn syrup

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

3 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups pecan halves

 

Directions

Crust:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 4-5 tablespoons of 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 corn syrup, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough anywhere from 12 to 14 inches across and place in a pie tin. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself.

Pour filling evenly into pie crust and bake until golden brown and the filling is set, 50-55 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack or on windowsill if that’s more your style. Serve and enjoy!

jimmy-neutron-piejimmy-neutron-pecan-pie-3

The human part of Jimmy loses control for just a little bit, but it’s still long enough to get him into trouble. At least he gets some sense knocked into him. With a broom. And even then he keeps munching on a pecan. I can’t blame Judy Neutron for freaking out over a vicious little rodent eating her pecan pie, even if it is her son. I’d hate for a beautiful pie like that to get ruined. Still, with all the (robot) dogs, brooms, and hawks out there, the world isn’t safe for hamsters or people with hamster bodies. But Jimmy’s smarts save the day and he and Mr. Wuggles return to normal. I just hope that Sheen doesn’t get his hands on Jimmy’s teleportation pods. The last thing Retroville needs is Lizard Lord and his Tongue of Doom.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

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My Life as a Teenage Robot

Episode: Saved by the Shell
Fried Pickle, Anchovy, and Peanut Butter Sandwich

There are times when I’m just minding my own business and all of a sudden My Life as a Teenage Robot’s theme song will pop into my head. This can happen even when it’s been months since I last watched the show. All it takes is for me to start humming a couple of bars and my brain is fried. The song will stay there until I watch an episode. And then I have to watch a second. And a third and a fourth and soon I’ve watched the entire series. How can I resist a show about a superhero robot who’d rather live a normal teenage life than protect the Earth? Just about every day, there’s a different mutant or robot or alien messing around in Tremorton, but XJ-9, or Jenny, is more concerned with her appearance, popularity, and dating. It’s tough enough just being a human teenager, so Jenny’s attempts to fit in only lead to more craziness. Throw her friends into the mix and the craziness is doubled.

Just look at Sheldon. He builds and pilots the Silver Shell just to win Jenny over. The poor guy’s plans all fail, but you can’t blame him for trying. Sheldon tries to tell Jenny that he’s her secret admirer and she ends up thinking that the Sliver Shell set her up with Don Prima. She doesn’t think anything bad of Don yet, but I use lots of unflattering adjectives to describe characters like him and the Crust Cousins. One good thing that does come out of Don and Jenny’s date at Mezmer’s is the appearance of Sheldon’s (And apparently Don’s) favorite sandwich: Fried Pickle, Anchovy, and Peanut Butter. Am I sure it’s really a good thing? No. The sandwich sounds as weird as discovering your neighbor’s a robot, but I really like Jenny, so I might like this sandwich too.

The sandwich has 2 two pickle chips on it without a coating. That doesn’t sound all that tasty to me so, I made up a little batter for them. I’m not frying up a whole lot of pickles, but ½ cup makes me feel better than two. You’re free to fry up even more if you feel like it.

Recipe makes 1 sandwich.

Ingredients

You can add any amount of stuff to your sandwich, but here’s kind of a guideline:

3 slices Bread-Looks like a light colored wheat to me, but you can use white if you prefer

Peanut Butter

2-3 cans or jars of anchovies/anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

1 slice Swiss Cheese

2-3 slices Cheddar or American Cheese

2 leaves Lettuce

2 strips Bacon

1 Green Olive

 

Fried Pickles

½ cup dill pickle chips

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons water

Vegetable Oil or Peanut Oil for Frying

 

Directions

Bacon:

Place room temperature bacon in a cold pan and set heat to low. When bacon begins to curl, flip it to the other side. This can take about 7 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping it over every few minutes, until it’s browned and almost at your desired crispiness. The bacon will continue to cook after it’s removed from the pan. Drain excess grease by setting the bacon on a plate covered with paper towels.

Fried Pickles:

Spread out pickles and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oil in a large pot/deep skillet or in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and water until smooth. Add the pickles to the batter and coat. Remove the pickles using tongs or a slotted spoon, allowing the excess batter to drip off. Place the pickles in the oil one at a time and fry until golden, 1-2 minutes. Drain the pickles on paper towels.

Putting It All Together:

Place down a slice of bread. There is a mysterious brown space here, so you can put whatever you see fit or skip this layer. I placed some anchovies and a big blob of peanut butter here. Add slices of Cheddar or American cheese and top with lettuce, anchovies, and pickle slices. Top with a slice of bread. Add more anchovies, Swiss cheese, bacon, and more lettuce. Spread a heaping amount of peanut butter on a slice of bread and close the sandwich by placing it on top of the lettuce. Spear a green olive with a toothpick and top the sandwich with it. Here’s your order, kids!

mlaatr-sandwichmylifesandwich

Sheldon’s got some strange tastes. (He is in love with a robot after all.) But notice how I typed “strange” and not “bad.” Yep, the sandwich isn’t as scary as it looks. It’s no smooth operator, but it actually kind of works! Plus, it’s fun to make and eat. Jenny may have her work cut out for her looking for someone genuine and sweet, (Until she finally notices Sheldon!) but if she ever needs a sandwich, there’s one right here. Hey, Jenny’s wanted “skin”, the sense of touch, and the ability to dream. It can’t be too long until she’ll want to eat food.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Rugrats

Episode: Angelica Breaks a Leg
Chocolate Pudding

Wow! If anything is going to make me feel old, it’s the fact that Nickelodeon Animation is celebrating their 25th. I’ve been there from the get-go and have loved my fair share of Nicktoons. Although it’s much harder to play favorites now, when I was little, Rugrats was at the top of my list. I don’t know what it was about those babies, but I just couldn’t get enough of them. I’ve got the toy collection to prove it. While looking through all my stuff, I realized that most of it is Angelica-related. She’s a bully and a brat, so she’s not the best role model for youngsters, but that girl’s got guts. The stuff she’s pulled to get what she wants is amazing. She’s impersonated her mom to get sweets, “kidnapped” her own doll to get a new one, and feigned a broken leg to get people to wait on her hand and foot. Sure, nothing really ends well for Angelica, but I wish I could’ve given one of her schemes a go.

When Angelica fakes her brake, she even asks for the same stuff I would: a big TV and some chocolate pudding. I could never push someone to the point of a 3 AM pudding run or beyond, but it is fun to watch. I always laughed while Stu’s life spiraled out of control, but it’s scary how much I empathize with him now. I’ve had many of those moments, but never any involving pudding. If I’m making chocolate pudding at four o’clock in the morning, I hope it’s because I can and not because I have to.

Recipe makes 4 cups of mix and Pudding Recipe makes 1-2 servings.

Ingredients

Pudding Mix:

1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Use darker cocoa powder for a darker color)

1 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

 

Chocolate Pudding:

1 cup Pudding Mix

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Pudding Mix:

In a large mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, milk powder, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Move mixture to an airtight container and store until ready to use.

Chocolate Pudding:

Combine Pudding Mix and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, still whisking, until the pudding has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into a bowl or divide into servings. Serve warm or cover with plastic wrap and chill before serving. Enjoy!

Rugrats Choc PuddingRugrats Pudding

Whether I’m in control of my life or not, it’s nice knowing just how easy it is to make chocolate pudding. (I never know when someone’s going to break a leg.) Anyway, the more I look at it, the easier it is for me to see why I never tried to emulate Angelica. (She didn’t even eat the pudding!) But her crazy, villainous antics are just one of the things that keep me coming back to the show after all these years. Sure, Rugrats (and I) have gotten older, but that doesn’t mean we have to act our age.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Rocket Power

The Spot Remover
Potato Salad

If any show had inspired me to get up and active, it was Rocket Power. Seeing the kids surf, and snowboard, and the million other things they did made me want to get into extreme sports too. Unfortunately, I’ve never been the athletic type (I trip over dust.), so that dream died pretty quickly. I still love the show though and I can pretend that I’m shredding along with them.

The kids really do have the life with where they live and the things they get to experience. They’ve got the sun. They’ve got the surf. They’ve got…SAND IN THE POTATO SALAD! Oh, what a tragic loss of potato salad! My heart really goes out to Sam. I can’t stand to see food go to waste, especially good food. I guess Sam can’t either, since he decides to eat the potato salad anyway, sand and all. I’d at least give it a shot, but sand just isn’t one of my favorite flavors. However, I’m liking the idea of adding some crunch to my potato salad. Oh, and I have no idea what’s in the potato salad besides potatoes and sand. Any potato salad can be used here, but I’m using some brain power and guessing that Tito, being the fabulous cook he is, probably whipped up a Hawaiian style potato salad for his Little Cuzes.

Recipe serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds (6-7) large red potatoes, peeled

1 ½ cups dry macaroni

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons pickle relish

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 cups mayonnaise (More or less.)

¼ cup grated onion

½ cup grated carrots

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

There aren’t orange or green bits in the potato salad, so the carrots and peas are optional.

1 ¼ cup bread crumbs

 

Directions

Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set potatoes in an ice bath to fully cool. Drain again and cut the potatoes into chunks.

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water to cool.

Place eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil on high heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit 12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Peel the fully cooled eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Cut the whites into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, mash the egg yolks. Then add the vinegar, pickle relish, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, macaroni, egg whites, onion, carrots, and peas. Add the dressing and stir to combine. You can eat it now, but potato salad really is much better after it sits. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned, 10 minutes. Cool completely. Process the crumbs until fine.

When ready to serve, top the potato salad with the toasted bread crumbs and enjoy!

rp potato salad (2)Rocket Power Potato Salad

This is definitely not the mustard-based potato salad I grew up on, but it’s oh so good. Hey, I just like potato salad. (Have you counted how many times I’ve mentioned potato salad in this post?) Every time I have the stuff, I just can’t help yelling, “They got sand in the potato salad!” I’m sure my family just loves that. But as goofy as sandy potato salad is, it’s an important part of the episode. Right here’s the turning point for the gang when they realize how wrong they were and clean up their act. That’s when enemies become friends and Sam finds that sandy potato salad really isn’t that bad.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!