Yesterday I read a sign in downtown Small Town, which I should have purchased for myself and nailed upon the wall of my kitchen, so that there simply weren’t any doubts among visitors (or even those who actually live here).
It simply said, “I read recipes in cookbooks like I read science fiction novels. When I’m done, I shake my head and say, ‘THAT will never happen.'”
Because Edward, the vampire, being able to restrain himself from taking a chunk out of moody Bella’s neck? I’m pretty sure it would never happen.
And a trio of friends named Han, Luke and Leia, being caught in a trash compactor with a giant serpentine monster slithering around their feet? I’m going to venture out on a limb here and say, “Um… no.”
And Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Lime Sauce, Accompanied by Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts?
Hold on for a minute.
I’m laughing too hard to type.
I’m sure y’all wonder to yourselves, “What on this good Earth DOES Mama cook for her family for dinner?”
Oh, people. I cook. I really do. It’s just that I prefer to do the five-ingredients or less method of cooking, and the pan and spatula had better be included in those five ingredients. Tonight, for instance, it was macaroni soup with broccoli and ham. You know… It takes very little thought to boil some macaroni noodles and add steamed broccoli and onion and milk and ham chunks and a handy can of Campbell’s Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup. And yes, that itemized list of ingredients exceeds my limit of five by one, but I simply hold a hand to my forehead to fend off the tunnel vision and the faint, and I muscle my way through it. Plus, a bowl of that stuff warms your gut on a snowy day (Yes! It snowed! Even though I predicted last night that it wouldn’t!), the boy eats it with great enthusiasm, loud cheering and much clapping, and there are LEFTOVERS, which insures that I have a night OFF from all the sweating over the cooktop.
(Also, as a delightful side note, I thought y’all should know that Hubs took one bite of his soup tonight and blew it all over his bowl. And then he loudly announced that he had just scorched all of his tastebuds to ASH, and that he was pretty sure he’d burned a hole from the roof of his mouth into his sinuses.)
(Oh! The drama! It is an on-going thing around these parts!)
But listen, people. On Friday night, I took the boy shopping for groceries (which is never a wise thing to do, because he tends to go stark-raving MAD when he stands in front of all the sugary cereal boxes lined up like beloved toys, because HOW ON EARTH WILL HE CHOOSE JUST ONE??!) because I needed some ingredients.
Some very SPECIFIC INGREDIENTS, because I had a game plan.
I told the boy, “We’re going home and we’re making a new recipe, and it will be on your list of MOST WONDERFUL GARBAGE MY MAMA ALLOWED ME TO EAT.”
The boy looked at me with wide eyes and said, “We’re baking? Have we EVER baked together, Mom?”
And then I had a moment right there in front of the refrigerated cream cheese bricks, where I hung my head in shame and mentally added one more item to my Bucket List: BAKE SOMETHING WITH THE BOY. MAKE IT MEANINGFUL SO THAT HE’LL REMEMBER IT FONDLY WHEN HE’S 97 YEARS OLD.
But, people, listen. This recipe doesn’t really require the baking. Oh, not at all. This is the recipe where you plunk all the ingredients down on the kitchen counter and tell the boy, “Use the KitchenAid mixer while Mama sits here and peppers you with questions about how your day went at school.”
And that is what we did. We made the time memorable, and, although the oven was never set to 350, I’m pretty sure the boy will remember our Friday night as a precious, precious time, especially since he asked, “Hey, are we DONE making this? Because I have a new Monster Quest on the DVR that I want to watch.”
Oh, the male child is so complex.
When you really ARE done with the recipe, and your son has abandoned you for the big screen in the family room, you will be left with a bowl of this:
So, without further ado, I give you the SECOND RECIPE EVER TO DEBUT HERE AT JEDI MAMA, INC.
We called it ADDICTING SLOP FOR YOUR GRAHAM CRACKERS, but the recipe book actually called it COOKIE DOUGH DIP.
It was powerful. And also very moving. And it needed an encore of applause, while the angels sang.
1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup caramel chips (The recipe called for 1 cup of crushed Heath candy bar, but listen. Heath candy bars are made with crushed almonds, and the boy! He is allergic to the peanuts! Since we don’t like seeing his face puff up like the Michelin Tire Guy, we avoid the peanuts, as well as ALL OTHER NUT PRODUCTS. Period. But I will say, the caramel chips were flat-out delicious, but if you’re free of nut allergies at your house, feel free to follow the original recipe and use the crushed Heath bar.)
1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3. Serve on graham crackers or with apple wedges. (But seriously. Don’t kid yourselves. Although society RECOMMENDS the graham crackers and the apple wedges, for the sake of being polite and not appearing piggish, if no one is looking, feel free to eat it straight out of the yellow polka-dot bowl with a spoon.)
When Hubs came home on Friday night, he casually asked what was for dinner. I took the spoon out of my mouth, stuck it into the top of the Addicting Slop For Your Graham Crackers like Neil Armstrong smacked the American flag on the moon, and said, “You’re looking at it.”
And, bless Hubs’ sweet heart, he picked up the spoon, slathered a graham cracker, and said, “This! Is! Incredible!”
And then he went downstairs to catch the second half of the new Monster Quest show.
And, people… Y’all are PLUM WELCOME for this recipe, because it will change how you forever look at cream cheese. Oh, yes! It will! From here on out, your graham crackers will feel naked and empty and lonely without this stuff.