Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Secret Ingredients

Let’s take a break from a running post. Why? I don’t know. I guess because I feel like it and it’s my blog.

When I was growing up my mom liked to experiment with interesting recipes and foods. Once we had wild boar for Christmas dinner, which wasn’t really the thing to do in the 70s (or anytime for that matter) . She threw stale cereal into cookies and hid zucchini in bread before it was hip. She laced our cakes with Coke (the soda kind, not the drug although that might have been cool) and put vinegar in baked goods (Wacky Cake – amazing). 

A game she played with us was “guess the secret ingredient.” This mystery thing had to be something bizarre and unexpected. So, for example, if it was a chocolate cake, the secret ingredient wouldn’t be some fancy cocoa powder from Madagascar, but something odd like mayonnaise or pickled beets.

Since I like to carry on traditions, I terrorize my family this way as well. Once I made fudge made with Velveeta. It’s a thing, really!

Me: Do you like the fudge?
Them: Sure, why?
Me: Well, there’s  secret ingredient in there, but I’m not going to tell you until you’ve finished it.
Them: What is it?
Me: Finish it.
Them: We’re not taking another bite until you tell us. Is it poop?
Me (laughing): Much better than that.
Them: Is it  chocolate?
Me: Haha, smart ass, funny. NO!  It’s something weird you would expect to be in there
Them: Is it weed now that it’s legal?
Me: I’m not going to feed my children weed
Them: Then it HAS to be Velveeta
Me: How the heck did you know that?
Them: We saw the box in the trash.

This tradition of guessing carried over to last night when I had my aunt, uncle, parents and some friends over for dinner. I had received a crap load of various kinds of hummus from Eat Well, Embrace Life , so I decided to do a simple taste test with the different kinds to see if everyone could figure out the flavors.


Can you guess any of them? The pink one is not Bubblicious (answers at bottom)


The really clincher came with the dessert.

Apples are SO good right now, I decided to make apple dumplings. I searched my favorite go-to site and the stand-out best recipe included the most random and  GROSS ingredient – Mountain Dew. I might put Velveeta in my fudge, but I’m not putting Mountain Dew in my apple dumplings.

I continued searching and found an apple dumpling recipe by the queen of all cooking, The Pioneer Woman. Great, I thought. Here is the recipe I’ll use! Guess what? It had Mountain Dew in it. What is this thing about Mountain Dew and apple dumplings? How am I 47 years old and never knew this?

So, because I do trust the Pioneer Woman, I took a leap of faith and decided to try the caffeine and soda laced apple dumplings.


They were insanely good and easy (recipe HERE). Just trust me on this one.

As my company raved about this dessert, I asked what they thought the secret ingredient was. Their feedback – cumin? cayenne (grasping here), weed? (why always that?), breast milk (what? I only put that on my cereal), urine (huh?), apples (genius). It’s a fun game, you should all try it at your next dinner party.

I’m glad I run a lot so I can eat all of this crap.


Ever make anything with a secret/odd ingredient?


{Answers: white bean, beet, red lentil with chipotle, spicy black bean}