A Sexy Spaghetti Squash Even Buzz Lightyear Will Adore

 By Harley May
My husband and I decided to try an ALL VEGAN DIET. You heard me. No animal based product. No cheese, no eggs, no food with a face. We don’t eat vegan all the time, but have found a few solid healthy dishes we can substitute for our not so healthy ones.
One of our biggest roadblocks is PASTA. It is vegan, my husband loves it, could eat it three meals a day and not gain a pound. Me? I cannot eat pasta with every meal and I wanted to find a side/filler dish that would go with everything (like pasta), but not be a starch that will stick to my thighs and taste like shame.
What we found? SPAGHETTI SQUASH.
Spaghetti Squash. It’s daring, surprising, and versatile. IT’S A SEXY VEGETABLE.
The sexy vegetable is fun to make and play with. I enjoy it most with pesto. You don’t have to be vegan to try it. Mix it in with shrimp, chicken, lamb, whatever your heart desires, and you’ve got an easy, healthy side that doesn’t taste like rocks. Be better than that. DON’T EAT ROCKS.
What you will need:
A spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1.     Cut the spaghetti squash in half and lay it seed side up on a baking dish.
2.     Scoop out all the seeds.
3.     Drizzle in olive oil and give it a good rub down.
4.     Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
5.     Bake at 375 for one hour.
6.     Pull it out and let cool.
7.     Shred into pasta with a fork.
As for step number 7, I can see how it might be confusing, so I have a video for you to demonstrate. It’s strange and different at first, but after a while it starts to feel nice. You’ll like it.
 No stuffed animals were harmed in the making of the video.


Everything's Better With Bacon

by Patti Wigington
I’m pretty sure that in a previous lifetime, I was a dude. Unlike so many of my organic-grass-fed-free-range friends, I am of the philosophy that bacon makes everything better. And if one slice of bacon makes it good, Gentle Reader, then TWO slices turns it into a little bit of pork-flavored heaven.
Believe me, I understand that bacon is being a bit overdone right now. It’s everywhere, taking the place of the cupcake at the forefront of America’s collective palate. Maybe it’s a bit of a Bacon Rebellion, in response to all those years of people telling us that we need to scale back on our consumption, because it’s So Very Bad For You.
However, if it helps you feel better, you can rest easy knowing that bacon contains choline, which is a micronutrient that scientists say can actually help reduce cardiac problems. Of course, studies show that the average American consumes almost eighteen pounds of bacon each year, so in theory, none of us should ever suffer from a heart attack.
Anyway, one of the reasons bacon has seen a resurgence in popularity is the very simple fact that it’s delicious.
I know, I know. Take away my Girl Card right now. I should be daintily eating Yoplait, smiling at plates of salad, watching Hoda and Kathie Lee, and going to Pilates classes, but instead, I’m peering at the remnants of last night’s dinner, which of course would have been only half as amazing if it didn’t have bacon.
It’s super easy to assemble, because it only requires four ingredients - one of which is the aforementioned bacon. In fact, if I refer to this dish as Bacon Rosemary Garlic Chicken, I bet you can guess what at least one of the other ingredients might be.
Here’s what you need:
  Chicken breasts
  Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  Garlic cloves
  Uncooked bacon
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Smoosh up a garlic clove (or two, if you love the stuff like I do) and press some into the top of each chicken breast. Lay a sprig of rosemary across the top of the chicken breast, and then wrap a couple of slices of bacon around each one to hold the rosemary in place. If you need to, slide a couple of toothpicks in to hold the bacon in place.
Toss your bacon wrapped chicken on the grill, cook on low to medium heat for about half an hour, or until the bacon is firm but not crispy. Before you eat them, slide out the rosemary sprigs (and the toothpicks, obviously).
Serve with your favorite side dish, and enjoy the bacony goodness. 


The Bride's Lasagna

by Stacey Graham

When I was a newly married girl, I thought it was my duty to stuff my skinny husband until he popped out a new appendage. So I drug out the cookbooks and happily scoured  recipes for apparently the most artery-damaging foods on the planet for supper and dessert. Weekly blueberry pies, Baked Alaska, assorted meals with green pepper (they were cheap) and my mother's fail-safe recipe for lasagna. However, this meal I was going to make it my own. I'd put my own stamp of lovin' on it so my innocent husband would adore his bride and her growing waistline.

The sauce was naturally homemade, the noodles freshly done and cranked out from a tiny pasta maker. I was covered in tomatoes and flour and I was going to RULE bride-dom with this dish.

Hmmm, what was missing? Tomatoes? Onion and tons of garlic? Basil and oregano from my windowsill garden of our teeny apartment overlooking the dumpsters and Glisan Street in Portland, Oregon? Ahhhhh, yes. The cinnamon. This bad boy needed a healthy heap o'cinnamon because I had read *somewhere* that Mexican dishes used a bit of the bark to spice up their flavors. Yes. Say it with me now, "Stacey. Lasagna is not Mexican and you're a complete boob." I'm not even sure Mexican meals have cinnamon, maybe they meant cilantro?

The lasagna was huge. I baked for ten even though there were only two of us. My groom looked on in love as I dished out my latest culinary achievement and took a huge bite. And spat it out back on his plate and ran out of the room since the cinnamon had been a little on the heavy side and had caused some sort of reaction to his sinuses. Whatever. The big baby.

Seventeen years later, I still hear about that fiasco. It's taken on Bigfoot sighting proportions in legend and I'm used as a cautionary tale to our five daughters when I try to teach them to cook. I think I'd better stick with granola.

Stacey Graham still hasn't mastered the art of lasagna though she does a grand job of handing out Popsicles and calling them breakfast. Don't judge, you know you want one too. She is the author of the Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide and the Zombie Tarot; please visit her at her blog, and on Facebook and Twitter.


Pass the Ketchup, Please

by Carole Lee

I’ll admit it, I could be a full-on Betty Crocker if given half a chance. I can stew like you never knew. I can fry to put a tear in your eye. I can sauté to make your day. Sadly, my culinary masterpieces fall on deaf palates around here. Mr. Vagabond has simpler tastes than mine, and some of his favorite indulgences are puzzling to me.


While living out on the farm several years ago, he woke one morning and asked for something different for breakfast. Always game, I was ready to rattle the pots and pans. Would he ask for quiche? Maybe eggs Benedict? Could he be craving some unusual fare that would require me to dust off one of my sadly neglected cook books?

He wanted an oatmeal sandwich. That’s right, friends and neighbors, Mr. Vagabond wanted a sandwich made from two frozen waffles with a big glob of oatmeal in between. I ate Cheerios, and put away the pots and pans.


More often than not, Mr. Vagabond says, “I like my lunch like I like my women: Cheap and easy.” That usually garners an eye roll from me, a cheeky brow waggle from him, and then I head off to the kitchen.

Roast Beef on White Bread with Ketchup. Yep, that is one of Mr. Vagabond’s favorite lunches. To me, it seems dull, weird and gross. To him, it may as well be a freshly toasted French Dip with steaming Au Jus. While he’s having his sandwich, I usually make one for me with nothing but a fresh, ripe tomato slice, whole wheat bread, a little mayo and a dash of salt and pepper.


Mr. Vagabond has the weirdest taste in snacks. Sometimes. For example, he delights in croutons dipped in ranch dressing, and he swoons over the perfect strawberry Popsicle. But he also loves one thing that we agree on.

Cream puffs with hot fudge. Oh, yes. There is no treat quite like tiny, fresh cream puffs dipped into a bowl of warm, melty fudge. At least he always get that one right.


Dinnertime is the thorn in my side. If I’ve made spaghetti, I have to strain out all of the tomato, onion and other veggie pieces. I tell him he may as well pour tomato soup over his noodles. If I’ve made a roast, I have to fish out all of the onions and be sure none escape to his plate. When I ordered a Bruschetta appetizer in Provo last fall, and it arrived at the table with beautiful, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a light drizzling of balsamic vinaigrette, he asked the server for mozzarella sticks. Left to his own devices, one of his favorite suppers is...

Bachelor stew. What is bachelor stew, you ask? It is browned ground beef mixed with brown gravy, and served over Ramen noodles. White bread covered with margarine is the perfect accompaniment. I’ve even witnessed him douse the whole thing with ketchup.

Although my darling and I will never agree on food, one thing is certain. To please his palate, I only need to pretend I am cooking for a 5-year-old. It might not be fancy, but it’s certainly cheap and easy.


25 Steps and Three Short Days to a Home-cooked Meal

by Beth Bartlett

1.  Go into kitchen, locate electric skillet. Look on countertops, in cabinets. Where is it? The thing was right here just last month.

2.  Become tired and hungry while searching for skillet. Wonder if you washed it before it disappeared.

3.  Suspect dog has stolen electric skillet and is making quesadillas in his doghouse.

4.  Give up search. Order pizza.

5.  Day Two: Tell yourself nothing will stop you from cooking a real dinner tonight.

6.  Go out to thrift store and browse electric skillets. Ooh, there’s a combination yogurt/ice cream maker!

7.  Walk out with yogurt/ice cream maker. Slap forehead.

8.  Search next thrift store for electric skillets. Find one that looks like someone has made candles in it. With their feet.

9.  Settle for a nice electric wok.  Think about stunning husband with stir-fry, conveniently forgetting that last stir-fry stuck to the pan so badly, it looked like a square in a cobblestone sidewalk.

10. Bring home wok. Plug it in.

11. Open pantry door for ingredients. Note amazing lack of ingredients. Wave to the ants as they gather around a lone raisin like orphans in a Dickens tale.

12. Make note to go to store tomorrow for ingredients.

13. Order pizza.

14. Smell smoke. Unplug billowing smoke machine that was the electric wok.

15. Add ‘new fire extinguisher’ to shopping list.

16. Day Three: Go shopping for assorted foodstuffs. Decide that grocery store really should have a fire extinguisher section.

17. Come home, stock pantry. Listen to faint cheering from cupboard.

18. Plug in wok, and this time, add water.

19. When water boils, add package of ramen noodles, remembering to unwrap it first.

20. Fish out seasoning packet out of boiling water with wooden spoon. Curse appropriately when scalded.

21. Open can of mushroom soup. Smack can opener repeatedly against countertop to get it to work.

22. Take a moment to bandage cuts from flying can opener debris.

23. Pour soup into wok. Add cooked chicken from grocery deli section and contents of damp seasoning packet.

24. Simmer for a few minutes, and serve with crackers, potato chips, or salad if you’re feeling ambitious.

25. REMEMBER TO TURN OFF WOK. Relax and rest up for next month's attempt. Make note to wash wok and hide from dog. If he doesn’t have the decency to invite you to his dinner parties, he shouldn’t be allowed to borrow the wok.

Beth Bartlett is a domestically challenged freelance writer and humorist who will be delighted if you laughed during the above post, but sadly acknowledges that there’s more truth than fiction to it. If you don’t bump into her at a pizza take-out waiting line, you can catch her at Pure Geek, her main site, or her new blog Geek Girl Universe.


Film at Nineteen

by Bill Mullis

The theatre was already dark when I sidled in, full of nervous, guilty adrenaline. There was a scattering of patrons, not many, but about what one would expect for a Wednesday night.

As I found a seat, isolated but not obviously so, I congratulated myself on my planning and execution. I chose this movie house because it was not in a part of town where I was likely to be recognized. It was the middle of the week, so there’d be fewer people who would actually see me. I timed my arrival for the few minutes before the picture was supposed to start.  I had bought my ticket without letting my voice quaver (though I couldn't force myself to actually meet the ticket-seller’s eyes), and I looked neither to the right nor to the left as I navigated my way through the multiplex, ignoring the added temptations of the concession stand.

I hunkered down in my seat and watched the commercials and announcements. I felt like a bad, bad boy in a terribly rebellious mood, and I was certain that at any moment the Voice of God was going to rip the roof off the theatre and lay my sins bare to all the world.

The screen went dark. There was a pause, and then...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Perhaps I should explain.

To put it briefly, once my grandmother rediscovered -- rather over-zealously -- the religion of her youth, the movie theatre was a thing of my past. For her, going to a movie was like dancing, or swimming with the opposite sex, or playing cards: an unsavory activity in an unsavory place, where Bad Things happened on an alarmingly regular basis. It simply wasn't done. If it was done by other kids at our church, won't no skin off her teeth. Them younguns just weren't raised right.

So, from the ages of about 12 to 19, in the Dark Age before video rentals, if it wasn't on Monday Night At The Movies, it was a rumor, something I heard the kids at school (or at church) talk about, but of which I had no personal knowledge. It chafed at me at first, but I really wasn't enough of a rebel to want to risk disappointing my sainted Grandma, and by nineteen I had convinced myself that if I ever  went to a movie, Jesus would pick that exact time to come back, and what excuse would I have for being in such a place?

But the idea of Star Wars had stirred my blood, and I risked the wrath of the two greatest powers in the universe — God and my grandmother — to see if the fuss was worth the effort.

As it turned out, Jesus did not return that night. Neither did the voice of doom echo through the den of my iniquity. Luke and Leia saved the Rebel Alliance, the stirring theme music swelled while the credits rolled, and my journey to the Celluloid Side was complete.

After which I scooted out of the theatre and drove home as quickly as the Rambler would go, and hid in my room to avoid meeting Grandma’s steely gaze.

But it was a beginning -- for a mission from God.

Bill Mullis blithely goes to the movies any chance he gets. He loves that stuff.


Tastes So Good When It Touches the Lips

Some call it the nectar of the gods. Others a delicious snack for in between meals. Me? I believe Nutella deserves a place in the food chain sandwiched between my daily servings of bread and fruit.

I first encountered Nutella when I lived in Chicago, where a small plastic bag greeted me one evening from my doorknob. I carried it inside and tossed it on the table, not giving it another thought until the snack-bug bit after dinner. Curious, I dumped the contents on the coffee table.

I had no idea my life was about to change.

The marketing geniuses who spread Nutella throughout my neighborhood had considerately included a small packet of crackers, with which we were to eat the hazelnut and chocolatey goodness. My ex and I devoured the sample in under a minute, then our eyes drifted to the front door.

"I'll go."

I tip-toed down the stairs to the entrance, cracked the front door, and ever-so-slowly removed the sample from my neighbor's front door. But alas, that sample vanished as quickly as the first. To make a short story shorter, no one else on my block tasted Nutella that evening.
Since then I've discovered a multitude of foods that are vastly improved with a dollop of Nutella, from fruits like bananas and apples, to the less obvious pretzels and Nutter Butters. But my favorite?

A good old-fashioned spoon.

The label is deceptively simple, but I believe that works in my favor. If everyone knew about the wonderfulness of Nutella, there wouldn't be enough to go around.

Melanie Hooyenga is a graphic designer by day AND night (freelance has taken over!) and squeaks out bits of writing between trips to the Nutella cupboard. She recently bought her first home and is chronicling her adventures in first-time home-ownership at melaniehoo.com/hoosblog. You can also follow her randomness at @melaniehoo.


Baloney. No. Wait. Not that Kind …

by Jason Tudor

Most of the known world gives up eating bologna sometime after middle school becomes high school. It falls away like fruit roll-ups and chugging Sunny Delight. I never did. I love bologna like fat kids love … bologna.

That said, as an adult, there are very few dishes that can be prepared with bologna. For instance, bologna fajitas will never EVER be a reality. Neither will that slow-cooked, Crock Pot-made bologna roast. There are, however, three things that can be made with bologna that won’t get your adult card pulled. These are they:

The first is Bavarian Wurstsalat. I’ve eaten Angela Merkel’s weight in this stuff since I’ve lived in Bavaria (just past three years). As my wife says, it’s bologna in vinegar, but it’s so much more than that; it’s more like a vinegar-soaked golden unicorn splashing in a bologna fountain spraying gherkin pickle drops and rainbows all over the glowing dinner table. Unicorns aside, here’s the recipe, via Wikipedia:

“To prepare the dish, the (bologna) is cut into thin slices or strips and placed, along with raw onion rings or cubes, in a vinegar and oil marinade, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Common additional ingredients are finely cut gherkins, radishes, parsley or chives. Wurstsalat is normally served with bread and sometimes also with fried potatoes.

The aforementioned unicorn loving wurstsalat. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The second dish isn’t for the faint-hearted and I gave it up sometime before my military service started. My lower-middle class upbringing, however, demanded some innovation when the cupboard ran bare of Oreos, potato chips or something else that could be better classified as food. Here it is:

The Bologna and Peanut Butter Sandwich

Two slices of wheat bread
Two tablespoons of peanut butter, smeared over the bread
Two slices of thick-cut bologna
Sliced bananas (optional)

I know. Mmm. As mentioned, I abandoned this culinary delight sometime before Cyndi Lauper jumped her She-Bop over the 1980s shark, but before that I ate four or five of these a week. I swear I didn’t swallow lead paint chips as a child, though my mother won’t admit to dropping me on my head.

Finally, in a pinch, a two other suggestions:

·         Fry a couple of slices of bologna in a pan. Roll up and dip in mustard.
·         Wrap cold bologna around a cooked hot dog, drop on the bun and dress with mustard.

Is bologna baloney? Hardly. Try the wurstsalat and prove me wrong. Just leave the peanut butter in the cupboard.

Jason Tudor can still be found pushing two slices of rye bread, cheddar cheese slices and a 1/4 cup of mustard together for lunch – occasionally. He is to creator and cohost of the Science Fiction Show podcast at www.myscifishow.com and the editor-in-chief for the upcoming science fiction anthology “Battlespace” published by the Science Fiction Show and Knightwatch Press.


Let Me Eat Cake!

By Amy Mullis

Hold me back from chocolate cakes,
Brownies, cookies, nuts, and shakes.
Help me know that if I eat,
My waist will soon obscure my feet.
It shames me some to have to tell
That I weigh on the Richter scale.
So pork chops, have no fear of me;
Roasts and cutlets can run free -
NO! I do not have the will to try it;
I would rather die than diet.

You can sit there if you please,
Eating fruit and cottage cheese.
A celery stalk, a carrot stick:
The vision fairly makes me sick!
As for me, I’ll roast and fry
And feast on pizza, cake, and pie.
I’ll gorge until my zippers bust,
And then remove them if I must.
But til that dreadful day shall be,
I’ll spend my time with Sara Lee.

Join Amy for a lifetime of "Don't let this happen to me" moments on her blog, Mind Over Mullis. Compliments go to Lisa Dovichi for the pictured treats. Lisa could make a gourmet dessert even if macaroni and chocolate milk were the only ingredients available. She's the McGyver of the kitchen set. Paula Deen beware!


Mark of the Beast

by Patti Wigington

Editor's note: I love this column so much I had to run it twice. It's nice to be queen. Enjoy!

When I was seventeen, I had the coolest car on the planet. It was a 1967 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport convertible. Nineteen feet long, and in a color that can only be described as Arrest-Me Red, it sported a 327 under the hood, and a gas tank the size of my parents’ bathtub.

Whenever I went out with friends, I drove. It was partly because the Impala looked cool, but mostly because you could comfortably (although illegally) squash eight people into it and still have room for purses, Bon Jovi tapes, and cans of White Rain hairspray.

This was 1985, and I spent all of my hard earned (i.e., burger-flipping) money on that car. It ran like a champ, despite the layers of Bondo holding the rear end together. The biggest problem with the car – affectionately known as The Beast – was one of the things that made it so glorious. It was heavy. I’m talking armored-car heavy. I’m talking about “my grandfather could have used it to liberate a small German village” kind of heavy. And so, because of this massive weight, occasionally Bad Things Happened.

For example, a Bad Thing happened when I missed a curve and plunged The Beast about fifty feet into a muddy cornfield at midnight. I drove home dragging muddy cornstalks behind me, like giant golden tentacles. There was a Bad Thing when I swerved to miss a squirrel and ended up hitting a mailbox, which shot, cannonball-style, into the yard across the street. And then, the most Bad of Bad Things, there was the Boob Incident.

I was in my parents’ driveway, top down -- the car’s, not mine. I stood at the front quarter panel, where the open driver’s door joined the body of the car. I leaned forward, probably to pick something off the windshield, and made some comment about cracked Bondo.

Then it happened.

The door. Swung. Shut.

And when it did, it managed, somehow, to pin the underside of my right breast between the triangular driver’s side window at the front of the door, and the heavy outer edge of the windshield. I was pinned. Held in place.


I remember, after the initial shock of OHMYGAWDITSGOTMYBOOB, trying to reach over and open the door. But remember, this was a car that was nineteen feet long. I couldn’t reach the door handle.

Twenty-odd years later, I can’t recall who was there when it happened. Possibly my best friend, or maybe my boyfriend. What I do know is that I did the only thing I could think of, once I realized I was stuck in the car door.

I pulled away.

And let me tell you, it hurt. It hurt a lot. It left a mark four inches long and two inches wide, angry purple and throbbing, right there on my boob. It took weeks for that bruise to fade, but worse, it took a long time to get over the humiliation of admitting, “Um, yeah, I shut my boob in a car door.”

There was no long-term damage to anything other than my pride, but to this day, when I see the rare animal that is a 1967 Chevy Impala Super Sport Convertible, I cringe a bit, and whisper, “You’re not gonna get me this time, Beast.”

Patti Wigington began writing at the age of seven, when she ran out of books to read in her small-town library. Since then, she's grown up (a little) and published a couple of books, a whole bunch of columns, and a few short stories she's embarrassed to even have on her resume. In addition to writing, Patti spends her free time putzing around in her garden, coming up with new and exciting ways to re-use stuff she didn't think she wanted anymore, dying her hair odd colors, and full-contact recipe experimentation. She is married to the most patient man in the world, and is raising three children who are remarkably well-adjusted, despite their mother's best efforts to turn them into very strange people. Patti lives in central Ohio, and keeps people updated about her shenanigans at http://www.pattiwigington.com.


My Own Kryptonite

by Jennifer Caddell 

Superman has his kryptonite, but there is one thing in this world that has a more powerful hold over this stay-at-home supermom.


Yes, that melt in your mouth deliciousness known as sourdough.  I am a sourdough addict and willing to eat it in all forms:


I honestly think sourdough goes with anything and everything.  It is manna from heaven, a gift from the angels and the magic elixir that helps to add more lumps to my thighs. 

There is a local dealer to my addiction too.  A sourdough bakery tucked innocently in a small, nondescript building on Main Street.  The baker tantalizes me with a sign that announces new hot loaves ready for the taking.  The loaves are amazing with their buttery golden crusts and their doughy sour, pillow-soft centers.  The loaves I buy are not precut so I can grab my serrated knife and make my slices as thick as I want.  Then, after the toaster chimes and the delicious aroma fills the air, I grab the slice and slather on copious amounts of butter.  The initial crunch of the toasted bread is a delightful announcement of the deliciousness yet to come.  The soft insides of the slice soon tingle my tongue with its tangy goodness.  Yes, heaven. 

But this bakery doesn’t stop with bread.  No.  This bakery produces a sweet addiction that few can resist.  It is something worth getting up early for.  In the morning on the weekend, this bakery makes the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, sourdough cinnamon rolls in the entire world.  I say this because I don’t know of another place that makes sourdough cinnamon rolls.  This bakery makes these cinnamon rolls in sheets, each roll is in the shape of a square, and each roll is dripping in brown sugar, cinnamon, icing and raisins.  This cinnamon roll is the king of all things sourdough; a melt-in-your-mouth experience that causes you to want to die, right there, with a lump of cinnamon sourdough in your mouth. 

In fact, I would be willing to bet you that even Superman would sport some extra pudge if he lived near this place. 

For those of you who are able to leap tall buildings and want to make your own sourdough starter, this is what you do.

1. Grab a large canning jar.
2. Add flour, yeast, and warm water to the jar.
3. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and set it on top of your fridge.
4. Wait three days.

5. After the third day, your starter will have escaped from the jar in an attempt to consume your fridge. Then, clean it all up and head to your local bakery for a loaf of amazing, tangy sourdough goodness.


When she isn’t getting her superhero cape covered in butter, Jennifer Caddell can be found at her local sourdough bakery, smelling the aromas while typing her on her sci-fi story.


The Chocolate Mousse Mistake

By Sara Spock

The year was 1999. Christmas time. My Office Manager always made an over-the-top dessert for the office party; dishes like Bouche de Noel with handmade meringue mushrooms, German Chocolate Cake with her own cherry filling, and Chocolate Mousse Cake with homemade painted chocolate leaves. You know those desserts, when you take a bite and you’re suddenly dreaming of eating this one thing every day for the rest of your life or sneaking off to the supply closet with the rest of the McDreamy dish right this very minute. Paula’s Chocolate Mousse made me want to be a glutton, or a chef, or Julia Child. The recipe was clipped from a 1970s issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I begged her for the recipe, promising my firstborn, my car, and my Grandma’s heirloom earrings in exchange.

My chocolate addiction comes from my Dad, so I promptly attempted to make the mousse for him the very next week. If you take a minute to look at the recipe, you’ll see that it’s a 2-day affair. Day one consists of making the crust, the frou-frou chocolate leaves, whipping heavy cream into a frenzy, but stopping before you’re churning butter, melting a googolplex of chocolate, separating eggs, whisking the whites into stiff peaks, watching the peaks break and fall, speeding to the store for more eggs, separating the eggs, whisking the whites, and then making the mousse out of each carefully crafted ingredient. After everything comes together, you have to pour it into the chocolate crumb crust and put it in the fridge over night.

Yes, what I’m saying is that you’re going to have a vat of rich chocolately goodness and you’re going to have to wait at least 6 hours to eat it. Or you can throw caution to the wind, grab your biggest wooden spoon, and just go crazy. That’s not what I did, of course. I was making dessert for my dad and if I ate the whole bowl of mousse, I would have had to rush back to the store for more heavy cream, chocolate, eggs, and cookies, while praying to the gods of gluttonous girls that I used pasteurized eggs. 13 hours and two batches of mousse later, my dad said it was the best thing he’d ever eaten. Good thing he enjoyed it because I never made it again. I couldn’t handle the temptation and can’t really cook from prison. Turns out, the authorities frown on selling your kids for chocolate.

If you’re brave enough to try it out, you can find Bon Appetit’s Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe by clicking the link. Enjoy!

~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer, and Chocolate Addict.  When she’s not looking for clever ways to use the word googolplex, Sara can be found over at The Hero Complex where she tries to save the world, one. recipe. at. a. time.


Just Remember: M-M-M

By Terri Coop
There, you now know how to make the world's easiest and tastiest dessert. You are now popular and in demand at every potluck and picnic. People think you are brilliant. You are thanking me.
What? You want more? Yeesh . . .
Okay, here is my recipe for Oreo (circle R trademark thingy) Truffles. No cooking or skill necessary.
The Ingredients:
1 bag of Oreos (keep sealed until you are ready, soggy cookies make for soggy truffles)
1 block of cream cheese (real cream cheese, not that weenie low-fat stuff)
You got that? Do you need a minute? The cool thing is the cookie-cream cheese ratio is constant. One Bag = One Block. Want to eat half the cookies and still have a platter for the office potluck? One-Half Bag = One-Half Block.
The Steps:
1. Mash the cookies into fine fluffy flour. I use a 2-cup food processor. You can also use a blender or a hammer if you have a lot of anger issues.
2. Gradually mush the cream cheese into the cookie flour. No utensils allowed. Pin back your hair and roll up your sleeves (and scratch your nose first, trust me on this one). Add the cream cheese bit by bit until you have a ball of firm dough that is shiny and slightly oily to the touch. Refrigerate for 30 minutes while you are cleaning cookie dough from under your nails (by the way, cream cheese is an excellent moisturizer).
3. Mold the dough into any shape you please. A melon baller works great, or just roll it into balls. Silicone molds, cookie cutters, whatever you want. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
4. Bonus step! Your truffles are now officially awesome. However, you can dip them in tasty stuff like melted chocolate chips, almond bark, dark chocolate, vanilla . . . you name it. If it is dippy, go for it. And sprinkles. Everything is better with sprinkles. Put a lollipop stick in it and everyone will think you are Martha-freaking-Stewart.   
Terri Lynn Coop is not a half-bad cook, but is a terrible baker. She was hesitant to give up her secret recipe that has rescued her from potluck embarrassment, but she does believe in sharing the wealth. She lives in Kansas with her two Chihuahuas.