Saturday, January 28, 2012

Junk food by any other name...

... is still junk food. 

After dragging my tired self out of bed at half past way-too-early this morning, so I could score the best deals on organic, wholesome, healthy produce at the wholesale house, my husband and I decided to take our six little monkeys to the zoo.

No sooner were we there, and my husband heard the siren's call for cheeseburgers, fries, corndogs, popcorn, and every other junk food sold at the concession stands. He was not actually tempted to buy anything (in case you don't know, food at the Phoenix zoo is pretty nasty), it just made him wish he could eat all the aforementioned. As we kept walking, the idea came into his mind that I should make my own corn dogs at home for dinner. You know, because using nitrite-free organic hot dogs from pasture-fed cows makes it such a health food. NOT!!!

Being the awesome wife that I am, I obliged. Okay, I needed something fixed around the house, and offered to make corn dogs in exchange for the repairs. Plus, I would need to go to the store for the hot dogs, and any outing without kids is practically an event these days. 

I was an adult before I first tried a corn dog, and I can't say I was impressed. In fact, I don't even like hot dogs - at all. But I must say, these corn dogs turned out as awesome as I think any corn dog ever could be. The batter was perfect - just ever so slightly crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. For those of you who like corn dogs as a special party treat, here is the recipe I used:

Corn Dogs
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour (+ some extra for coating hot dogs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
about 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 packages hot dogs
oil for frying*
 * Please note: Oil is NOT the best fat for frying, even if it is organic. The fatty acids in oil do not hold up well under the high temperatures required for frying. One exception to this is coconut oil, but it can lend a funny flavor to foods fried in it. Ideally, and contrary to what is politically correct, the best fat to fry in is lard. NOT the kind you buy at the store, which is indeed terrible, but the kind you make yourself by rendering fresh, organic pig fat. Which can be really, really hard to find, so for now I am using organic sunflower oil for foods that would not taste good fried in coconut oil. Not ideal, but I am hoping to make lard again when we get our half pig in March.

1. Set enough oil for deep frying in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
2. Make the batter by combining all the ingredients. Add buttermilk as needed to achieve a pancake batter-like consistency. The thicker the dough, the thicker the corn breading will be. Watery dough will make the breading very thin.

3. Roll each hot dog in the extra flour to coat, and insert a popsicle stick.
4. Fill a tall glass with some batter. When the oil is hot enough for frying, dip one hot dog in the batter, and wait for excess to drip off. Lay the corn dog in the hot oil. It should rise to the surface almost immediately, and expand. 
 5. When corn dog is golden on one side, turn over. It should cook for a total of about 2 minutes or so. 
 6. Set on a paper towel-lined dish to absorb the excess fat. Allow to cool slightly, and serve.

And - don't forget the ketchup. Anna just recently discovered it, and of course decided it's her favorite new food group.

On the side, to round out the junk food meal, I served popcorn and chocolate milk shakes. Again, this treat was made so much more healthy by the fact that I sipped it through my glass smoothie straw! If you haven't done so yet, don't forget to enter my giveaway for a glass straw!!

Now I'm much too tired and sluggish to get the kids ready for bed, which is not a good situation. Remember: a (corn) dog is a (corn) dog is a (corn) dog. And it will never be a health food. Unlike all those yummy fruits and veggies that I sacrificed my sleep to have. 


  1. Good for you!! I'm sure it was difficult since you cook healthy all the time. At least it was a fun memory and the kids appear to have LOVED it!!

  2. I love (homemade) corndogs! These look awesome. The ones in the freezer section of the grocery store are scary. This was great.

  3. you had never had corn corn dogs growing up? what thrid world country did you grow up in? I'll take a corndog anyday over a t-bone steak!

  4. I'm with you, I do not like corn dogs. They are disgusting!

  5. I have a friend who doesn't quite grasp the fact that even if it's organic, chocolate is still chocolate and potato chips are still potato chips: They will go straight to your hips. Your title made me laugh out loud.
    Anna sure looks like she enjoyed it!

  6. LOve your blog! So pretty. I enjoyed looking through here a bit. I really like the postcard idea. It looks like you don't hae one from our "neck of the woods" and neck it is!! The Idaho panhandle! So I will try to get one sent.

  7. Oh, how scrumptious is Anna?! She is just seriously cute! Look at all her teeth too...Meg has only just cut her third tooth yesterday, and she is 13 mths!

    I actually think I will give making these corn-dogs a go...they look interesting and I bet my kids will LOVE them too! Thanks for sharing! :)

  8. The rare treat such as a corn dog isn't a bad thing, especially when you remember that you do feed your children healthy food most of the time.

  9. I spent a good ten minutes thinking "This cannot be John, he's smaller than that, it must be Isaac but it doesn't look like Isaac" ... John has got so big !

  10. Well Hot Dog!

    I have only had one corn dog that I can remember. I am not a big fan either, but you make it look so easy to make.

    By the way, your children continue to get more adorable each and every day. Thanks for sharing this recipe, as every now and then, those with littles need to have some out of the box recipes made at home...and you did a wonderful job!


  11. Oh, a "bad for you" dinner every now and then doesn't hurt. Lord knows you feed them fantastic and healthy stuff 99% of the time so I'm sure you all will be fine. :)

    I don't get the corndog craze either. I didn't have them until I was an adult either and just can't love them. But like you, I'm also not a huge fan of hotdogs. I ate them as a kid, but as an adult I would *never* choose a hotdog (or corndog) if there was something else available!

  12. Oh, I laughed out loud reading this post!! We also are steering clear of junk food...but we also remember how good it can taste!! :-/

    I also researched how we could make it healthier...and experimented. I don't want to share some of our failures...ick. The successes are very similar to yours. One suggestion is to use chopsticks (available at any local chinese food restaurant). They are sturdy!!

  13. Thanks for sharing this recipe.I think my husband and children will love them.Though,like you I am not a hotdog fan.

  14. I've made homemade corndogs before and they are better than the processed kind. However, I thought lard was very unhealthy and peanut oil was much healthier.

  15. Somehow adorable little kids look even cuter covered in something sauce-like after trying to feed themselves!

  16. I am actually a vegetarian/sometimes vegan who loved nothing more than a corn dog at the fair! I have yet to actually finish a corn dog, but I have my husband for that :) (My not eating meat and my husband being a meat and potatoes guy, I cook for both of us every night)

    I think I am going to change up the this weeks menu and add your corn dogs for dinner on Wednesday night. We aet them with mustard, not ketchup.

    Thank you for sharing your corn dog story and the recipe!

  17. I mentioned these to my hubby, and now he is anxious about me starting up cooking again:-)

  18. That sounds like such fun! Kids need a treat once in a while :)

  19. Ohmygosh, are you INSIDE MY MIND? I have literally been trying to find a source for non-hydrogenated lard. I am done using any vegetable oils. I am going to lard, baby. I found Maple Leaf lard in Canada, but the shipping is fierce. All the lards in the store are partially hydrogenated for shelf life. Do you have a lard source? I looked into rendering my own but that seems entirely too ambitious.

  20. Oh, wait. I just read that you render your own lard. You are indeed INSANE! I can't wait until you get your pig.

  21. Michele, rendering lard is super easy - no harder than browning ground beef. If you can pluck chickens, you can definitely do this.

    Finding high quality pig fat is the real problem, but I have found a pretty easily accessible source for that, too (besides when we get our own pig from the ranch). I'll email you about it when I get a chance, the kids are dismantling the kitchen in search for breakfast right now.

  22. I can't believe you fed your kids a corn dog! They are nasty. Beside, hot dogs are only "parts and pieces" and were never meant to be consumed. Refer to the OT where God said no pork - even if that were only for Jews (which I'm still not clear on). If it's not good enough for them to eat, then it's not good enough for anyone to eat.

  23. The corndogs look tasty & your kids are growing up handsomely/beautiful.


  24. Stefanie, I used organic all-beef hot dogs that are made from "select cuts of beef".

    Read for yourself here:

    I agree, hot dogs will never be a health food.

    Rachel, thank you.

  25. I will have to try these , even though I hate hot dogs I do crave them when I am pregnant , Anna just gets more cute by the day , I can't believe her beautiful hair my little Leah is just now starting to get some hair she will be turning one soon .

  26. I wanted to make sure I left a comment here on the blog - we made these last night and they were GREAT! My husband is already bargaining for a second go-around. Thank you for the recipe!

    Here are some notes:

    (1) We made a half-recipe for our smaller family - half the batter was fine for our five hot dogs.

    (2) We used the leftover batter to make corn fritters - just dropped spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Those took a bit longer to cook than the corn dogs (the first ones we made were still batter on the inside because we didn't cook them long enough).

    (3) We used a gluten-free mix (Pamela's bread flour mix) to make them gluten-free. To save on the GF flour (which is insanely expensive) we rolled the hot dogs in corn starch instead of flour, which worked fine.

    In a word, delicious!! Thanks!!

  27. Ha ha ha. Sorry to back track but lol - never read this. To all the naysayers, I say lighten up.

    And Stefanie my goodness. No pork? Since you're a Christian you have SURELY read something called the New Testament.

    Also people love corn dogs because it reminds them of good times. No more no less. You know, memories like going to the fair and going on a certain roller coaster or in my case, the local Poultry Show. Lol wish I was kidding.

    In Australia they're "dagwood dogs" and are very disgustingly great. Plan to make a home version to avoid some of the elements though.

    Ha ha ha great post.


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