Cooking State Fair Food At Home
Theater Review: OZ at Circus Juventas
Children’s Library Corner: David LaRochelle

Cooking State Fair Food At Home

We are trying to eat healthier, more sustainably and with more social awareness.  This article really isn’t about that. It’s about Cooking State Fair Food (and all its deep-fried decadence) at home.

It doesn’t matter how you dress up deep fried foods, they are a treat.  The State Fair is a treat.  That said, I did start with a healthified corn dog recipe from Out of the Box.  Then we dialed back the healthy to fit our budget and time constraints.  If you care at all about making a healthier recipe, I would start with their recipe.

We only had time to go to one grocery store, and we chose Aldi.  Aldi’s cornflour is wholegrain and all natural; but that’s pretty much where we stopped with the healthified ingredients.  I believe Aldi does have some turkey franks, but we chose to go with the all beef hot dogs.  All these things can be modified to fit your family’s personal tastes and your own shopping preferences.   Overall we found this recipe to be much easier than we expected and way better than any corn dog we ever ate.

As long as we had the oil heated up, we also made deep fried cheese sticks — using the same batter we made for the corn dogs and deep fried Oreos (actually the Aldi knock-off) — using just-add-water boxed pancake mix.  This entire meal was delicious, not particularly nutritious and will probably suffice for deep fried foods until well into the football season.

This is our modified recipes with pictures.


  •  One Package of Hot Dogs stuck through with chopsticks.
  • 1 1/4 C corn meal
  • 3/4 C flour
  •  1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  •  3/4 C milk
  • Enough Oil to fill big wok halfway 

The recipe we followed had suggested mixing the batter by shaking it in a jar and then dipping the hotdogs into it.  This did not work at all.  We ended up dumping it into a shallow bowland “painting” the batter on with a spatula.  I’d suggest skipping the jar and just mix it in a mixing bowl. Our 8-year-old did the mixing with supervision and dipped and painted her own dog.

It is really important to make sure the chopstick goes at least three-quarters of the way through the hotdog.  Otherwise it will be too floppy and maybe fall off.

Hot Dog

While we were prepping the dogs, we heated oil in our wok.  This is the point at which we realized our new kitchen thermometers don’t have temperature marks on them (only “rare”, “medium” and “well done”).  So we just waited the oil sizzled when we flicked water on it.  If you have kitchen thermometers that are actually useful, heat the oil to 375ish.  When the oil is ready, set the corn dogs in the oil.  Cook until they are golden brown.

Because of the nice, long chopsticks, we let the 8-year-old put her own hot dog in the oil with a warning that she needed to do it slowly and then back away so she didn’t get splattered.


This is what the corn dogs looked like when they were done.  We all thought these were the best corn dogs we ever had.  We think we’ll make them again sometime during football season.

Corn Dog

After we made all the corn dogs, we used the remainder of the batter to coat cheese sticks.  These were also deep fried in the wok — using a plastic slotted spoon to set them in and pull them out.  Again we fried these until they were golden brown.  We did not let our kids help with any portion of the cheese.  It was too messy and dangerous.


(This meal is embarrassingly unhealthy.  I really wish I could tell you we had a salad or some sort of veggie with this, but I don’t want to lie.)  After we deep fried our dinner of hotdogs and cheese we made deep-fried Oreos.  There is no real recipe to this.  We mixed up one cup of just-add-water pancake mix with the appropriate amount of water, dipped the Oreos and fried them.  Once again, the eight-year-old did the mixing with supervision, but we did not let her help with putting them in or out of the oil.  These were to die for; but we were pretty deep-fried out by the end of this process, so the majority of the cookies went out to the DJs working in our studio.


Overall, I never want to eat this much deep-fried food in one sitting again.  If you are concerned about overspending at the Fair, this could be a good tactic.  Make these foods a day before you go; and you’ll be seeking out the healthy food at the fair for sure.

**Slider image image courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

Theater Review: OZ at Circus Juventas

Circus Juventas’ 2013 Summer Production of OZ is past, but watch our Performing Arts Calendar for more productions and learn more about Circus Juventas here.

circus juventas OZLimited seating now through August 18, 2013
Tickets: $14-$35

Clearly I didn’t do my research before attending the opening-night performance of Circus Juventas’ summer production Oz. It wasn’t much like I’d imagined it would be.

 It was so much MORE! The show had more of everything – dozens of jaw-droppingly talented youth and young adults, a ceaseless assortment of acrobatic apparatus, and a running time just over three hours – than I’d gone in expecting. It all added up to a smashing night out at the circus with my oldest daughter.

Bless her six-year-old heart; she was pretty drowsy as the show stretched past her bedtime. But she couldn’t take her eyes off the characters from Oz: witches on trapezes, handspringing monkeys, Dorothy airborne amidst a spinning cyclone, and a lovely poison poppy 20 feet high (“that is too impossible!”). As we watched the story unfold through beautifully choreographed scenes of circus acts, I added my own narration for Emily, who was not familiar with the classic Wizard of Oz. This kept her going until the end of the show; she was determined to see Dorothy rescued from the clutches of the Wicked Witch by her allies (a juggling scarecrow, a tin man in a German Wheel, a mighty strong lion and, in a twist, the Wizard himself).

FFTC circus juventas oz

We ducked out for snacks during the intermission, right as the founder of Circus Juventas was giving a brief history of the home-grown program. If I remember correctly, the school (which started as an after-school class at a local rec center) currently serves 750 students and is the leading youth circus arts program in the country. Their tradition of putting on Cirque du Soleil-style productions has been going strong for almost 20 years. Had I done my research before coming to Oz would I have been any less impressed? Probably not! The show was fantastic. My daughter and I genuinely thank Circus Juventas for providing us an opportunity to experience this St. Paul gem.

Tip: Shows are selling out fast. I’d recommend visiting this link to find available tickets — and hurry!

Circus Juventas is located at:
1270 Montreal Avenue, St Paul, MN 55116
 651-699-8229 (box office)

Limited free parking in the lot or on Montreal Ave.



Children’s Library Corner: David LaRochelle

It’s been a while since we have heard from Ann, our local children’s librarian.  She hasn’t forgotten about us, and she’s back with another awesome Children’s Library Corner: David LaRochelle!  

Everyone say, “Hi, Ann!  How’s your summer been?”

While summer for many folks means lazy days of lemonade and porch swings, summer at your local library often means BUSY BUSY BUSY! (Gianna here:  She has been incredibly busy!  I can attest!)Not only do we have double the kids in the library, but there are programs, bookclubs, and our Summer Reading Program activities in general. However, it’s still a great time to take a step back and write about one of my favorite local author/illustrators, Mr. Tall Dave himself, David LaRochelle. Read More

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