Cooking Something Legitimate

About nine months ago, I wrote a blog post that brought to light my cooking exploits. In all honesty, it was pretty much a parody post mocking my culinary skills. I detailed some of the “dishes” I made by using my microwave, shredded cheese, and a couple items found in my pantry. It was pretty brutal.

However, last night I took a step forward. I went from a joke chef to perhaps a chef-in-training. I didn’t just make something that I hastily threw together. Rather, I prepared an actual recipe. In order to make it all happen, I actually went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients, prepared the dish in the kitchen, and then cleaned up. To make it even more official and challenging I did one other thing: I broadcasted the whole spectacle on Facebook for all my friends to see.

In a Thursday Rundown post, I mentioned a recipe for Pop-Tart cheesecake truffles. Because the dessert contained a breakfast item I love and because it was so unique, I wanted to try them. However, I assumed Sidney would just make them for me. Not so fast! She challenged me to make them myself.

Last night we went to Food Lion and I did some ingredient shopping. I picked up Pop-Tarts, cream cheese, white chocolate coating, and cereal. The total came to a measly $10.

We headed back to the house and I took center stage in the kitchen. With Sidney sitting on a chair watching me from the dining area, I started the Facebook Live broadcast and went to work. I threw a pack of blueberry Pop-Tarts into a big zip lock bag and crushed it with a rolling pin. I then transported the Pop-Tart crumbles into a big mixing bowl and threw in cream cheese. Using big utensils that Sidney gave me (she was no longer sitting down, in fact, she had taken an assistant role) I created a perfect mixture for forming balls.

Using the scooper that Sid provided me with, I grabbed portions of the mixture out of the bowl and used my hands to perfect the ball shape. I then placed each orb shaped treat on a cookie sheet. While I was doing this, my assistant was dutifully preparing the white chocolate topping. When I had exhausted the Pop-Tart/cream cheese mixture, I took each ball and plunged it into the creamy white chocolate. Using additional utensils that Sid had given to me, I used them to turn each treat in the white chocolate so it was adequately coated.

The most challenging part might have been taking the freshly coated truffle and transferring it from the white chocolate to the topping bowl. I had to make sure I kept the newly formed ball intact while also taking care not to drip white chocolate all over the place. I had two topping bowls that welcomed the treat; Fruity Pebbles and red velvet Pop-Tarts. The recipe called for a different flavor of Pop-Tart to be used as the topping but I utilized my creative mind to offer an alternative crunchy, colorful, and breakfast-related option.

The Fruity Pebbles provided a beautiful and fun touch.

The Fruity Pebbles provided a beautiful and fun touch.

After I topped the treats, I had a cookie sheet with white chocolate Pop-Tart truffles covered in brightly colored toppings. There was also a section with perfect plain white balls for Sidney who wasn’t too excited about either of the toppings. We transferred the truffles to the freezer for a chill period and while our dessert cooled, we cleaned up. Yes, picking up after yourself in the kitchen isn’t the most fun thing to do but it is necessary. The process is made much more bearable if you clean up before you enjoy whatever dish you cooked up.

I popped these in the freezer and after we had cleaned up they were ready to eat!

I popped these in the freezer and after we had cleaned up they were ready to eat!

With the kitchen now spotless, it was time to taste our Pop-Tart cheesecake truffles. It only took an initial nibble to realize that they were incredible! I savored each bite while my confidence shot through the roof. Perhaps I can do this cooking thing, huh?

I was satisfied with how my Pop-Tart cheesecake truffles turned out.

I was satisfied with how my Pop-Tart cheesecake truffles turned out.

Next time I might actually try to make something that requires using the oven! Until then, I am going to enjoy the current cooking high I am on and enjoy the leftover truffles I have in the freezer right now. Don’t Blink.

A Thursday Rundown in Your Future

Thank you for making the choice to read another Thursday Rundown blog post. Here we go with this evening’s five topics…

Appointed as a Judge – This Sunday I will do something I have always dreamed of doing by judging a macaroni and cheese contest. Last night I was selected to serve on the panel of judges for the Surf Dreams Foundation Mac-N-Cheese Cook Off. How did I manage to pull this off? The event’s Facebook page, which I had been stalking for three weeks with anticipation for Sunday, opened up a few judging spots to its social media users. In a post, the page presented this: Please tell us why you would be a great judge. Have some fun and be creative. I took the last sentence seriously and it paid off. I will tell you all about my mac and cheese judging experience in Monday’s blog post.

Besides writing a lengthy plea on why I would make a good judge, I also created this "cheesy" graphic to drive the point home.

Besides writing a lengthy plea on why I would make a good judge, I also created this “cheesy” graphic to drive the point home.

From the Archives – Exactly two years ago today, I wrote my first of two blog posts focused on fortune cookies. Doing all I could to investigate one of my curiosities, I eventually found myself traveling all around Missoula to different Chinese restaurants pleading for fortune cookies. Although mildly embarrassing, I learned a lot about the contents of the popular ethnic dessert. My fortune cookie investigation was so memorable and so popular that the second post I did on the subject made my Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014.

In 2014, I had a lot of fun with fortune cookies.

In 2014, I had a lot of fun with fortune cookies.

Pop-Tart Cheesecake Truffles – Just a couple days after I wrote about some of the best treats I ate growing up, I can honestly say I wish this idea was around 20 years ago so it could have made the list. My love for Pop-Tarts is well-documented but the Pop-Tart cheesecake truffle recipe takes it to the next level. In this video, several Pop-Tarts are put under the rolling pin and crushed to pieces. The Pop-Tart crumbles are then mixed with cream cheese. Next, this concoction is rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. Oh my, doesn’t that sound wonderful? My only suggestion would be to crush up Cap’n Crunch or Cinnamon Toast Crunch and coat the outside with sugary cereal. Talk about an unbelievable breakfast combination.

This is what a Pop-Tart cheesecake truffle looks like.

This is what a Pop-Tart cheesecake truffle looks like.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – It was another “Sunday at the Movies” for Sidney and I this past weekend. We went and saw the war/comedy film “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” I am not a Tina Fey fan by any stretch of the imagination but I actually enjoyed the film. The movie tells the story of a bored news copywriter who volunteers to work as a reporter in Afghanistan. I have an interest in both the media and war conflicts so “WTF” was right down my alley. I found it very interesting how the film portrayed Afghanistan, both from a visual and cultural standpoint. The authenticity I got from it reminded me of how I felt about the way Iran was portrayed in “Argo.” As is usually the case, Sidney and I didn’t come away with the same review. She thought the movie was boring.

I saw "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" on Sunday.

I saw “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” on Sunday.

Wedding Update #23 – Lots of fun things are happening! My dad mailed us back all the invites he addressed and they look beautiful. Additionally, Sidney, her mom, and I chose the type of stamp we will use (I never knew the Postal Service offered so many options!). With so much fun getting the invitations ready to go, Sidney was a little disappointed when her mom gently reminded her that we still have several weeks to go before we actually mail them out.

However, Sidney was feeling anything but disappointed when she was able to bring her wedding dress home this past Saturday! After her final fitting, the ensemble was released into her possession. Adding even more excitement to this loaded wedding update, Sidney and her mom also met with the florist we will use for that big Saturday in June. Just 92 days to go.


As is custom with my Thursday Rundown blog posts, I would like to thank all of you for reading. Have a terrific weekend and enjoy Selection Sunday. Don’t Blink.