Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tofu Chocolate Pudding

We went to PetSmart today to get some dog food and I happened to see some fancy "chocolate" dog treats. I got a package of them for our dog, and Miss immediately started saying, "I want some chocolate treats too!" I explained to her that the treats were only for dogs, but that wasn't quite going to cut it with my chocolate-loving two year old. I remembered a recipe I have for chocolate pudding with tofu, so I told her we'd make that when we got home. She wasn't happy about having to wait a while for it to chill after we got it made (though she was pacified a bit by being able to lick the leftover melted chocolate from the bowl), and it was the first thing she asked for when she woke up from her nap. It only took a few minutes to make, and it was fantastic.

I even let Lass try a little bite.

She had to think about it for a second.

She liked it.

Tofu pudding sounds kind of weird, but it really was delicious. I had never used soft tofu before (I've only ever used tofu once before, in fact). I ate a portion of it and so did my husband. He called it, "Ridonkulous" which means super-awesome fabulously yummy. Here's the recipe, which I changed a little bit from a recipe in the July issue of Parenting magazine.

1 12-oz pkg shelf-stable soft silken tofu
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup ultrafine granulated sugar (the recipe called for powdered sugar, but I didn't have any)
2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until creamy. Put it into small cups or bowls and put into the fridge to let it set up. Done.

I was really happy to give Miss a snack with nutritious, protein-packed tofu in it. Of course, this pudding is also sugar-packed, so it is certainly a treat. I'll make it again, but only once in a while, and next time I'll probably cut the amount of sugar in half. However, I am now convinced of the wonders of this soft tofu for use in puddings, smoothies, etc. I'm thinking of all sorts of other, less sugary things I can blend with it next time, like bananas, berries, orange juice, honey, and on and on.

And speaking of tofu, my next at home "Chopped" ingredients are plantains, bacon bits, and yes, tofu. It has taken me a while to get going on this one because I've not been able to find plantains in a store here, so I just ordered some and will get on it when they arrive. I think I know what I'm going to do. I have to redeem myself after my pickled herring failure. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Today we stayed home. After our weekend away, I just wanted to be here. The weather cooperated enough that we could get outside for the girls to have some fun and new experiences. Like roller skating.

She held on to my hand for about 30 seconds before saying, "I want to do it myself." And she did.

She fell down several times, but didn't seem to mind too much.

She just got back up and kept on going. Doesn't she look so grown up?

And this little one is so close to walking. Today I saw her take one tiny step forward before grabbing on to something. Outside she was most definitely the master of this lion.

She pushed it sideways in circles instead of standing behind it and rolling it.

There is a circle of grass around a big, gorgeous oak tree in our front yard. It's my favorite place on our property. I used to spread a blanket there and sit outside with Miss during her first summer. I take the girls out there now and we blow bubbles and take our shoes off to feel the grass on our feet. Today, like every other day, we were drawn to the circle. Miss calls it, "The Hole" or "The Rocks" (it's mostly sunken below the level of our driveway and surrounded by rocks).

The girls decided to take a little rest in the shade from all their hard work.

Under the tree it's cool and the grass is soft. There are usually treasures to be found like leaves, pieces of bark, sticks, bugs, etc. Miss marvels at them and Lass tries to eat them.

It's a peaceful spot to sit.

And the view from under the tree is amazing.

After naps we went outside to try out the new sand in the sandbox. Miss enjoyed it, but we had to take a break from it because she kept trying to dump the sand outside the sandbox.

I put the cover back over it and she begged me to let her go in the "baby swing." I convinced her to try out the big girl swing first (which she has enjoyed greatly but fell from when playing with her cousins on Thursday) and told her she could go on the baby swing after that if she still wanted to.

She didn't want to.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just Some Weekend Stuff

My big girl had a big weekend with her "Kids." This is what she calls her many cousins on my husband's side of our family. Some of them came to visit us last Thursday in preparation for a big weekend at the Wisconsin Dells. Miss was so excited to see them. As always, she had a blast playing with them.

Her judgement of the time spent with her kids? A wink and a thumbs up! Sort of.
Another try at the wink. My girl is funny.

Friday we went to the Wisconsin Dells, where Miss and Lass saw the rest of their cousins on my husband's side of the family. Everyone met at the Dells so that my husband, all of his siblings, and two brothers-in-law could run an event called the Tough Mudder. It's a race about 10 miles long with several different obstacles to complete along the way. Here they are after finishing. They all completed every obstacle and finished in one piece. My hubby is the one on the far left.

While I was glad that my husband had a blast participating in the mud run with his brothers and sisters, I have to say I was really not impressed with the Dells. Though I really try to make the best of any situation and have fun wherever I go, I just didn't have a good time there. There were too many people. The one water park I took the girls to was kind of lame for little ones (a lot of the attractions for really little kids weren't even turned on). The food was outrageously expensive and not appetizing. And on top of the lackluster nature of the "resort" itself, my girls were super tired, Miss had a few meltdowns, I forgot to bring snacks for Miss (though I remembered tons of food for Lass) so I felt like a big Loser Mom, and Lass woke up this morning at 4:30 am. I was seriously ready to come home today. On the bright side, Miss did have a great time playing with her cousins. And that's what really matters anyway! We have decided we might try to go back when the girls are a little older for a winter getaway weekend. An indoor water park would be a blast for them then.

In other news, someone is 11 months old today. So big!!

In the car on the way home this morning I taught her how to do "high five."

She is such a ticklish, giggly baby.

She's just so darned cute (even if she is sleeping like crud right now).

Today I made tacos with my homemade taco seasoning. I always use ground venison to make tacos or any other recipe that calls for ground beef. Before I added the seasoning I set some of the venison aside for Lass, who had her first taste of it at dinner tonight. She loved it!

When I was growing up, I ate venison rather than beef almost all the time, I think. I never really even notice the difference. I'm thankful that my husband hunts and that he gets at least one doe (rather than a buck, at my request) each year for us to eat so my girls will grow up knowing venison as the norm as well.

Today my hubby started the process of making sauerkraut. It takes a while to do whatever sauerkraut does while it gets made, but I'm eager to try it on some of his homemade brats when it's done.

He's pretty handy to have around.

Speaking of handy, my husband minded the munchkin (who napped for less than an hour this afternoon) so I could take a little nap this afternoon. I'm still pretty tired after being awakened at 4:30 though. My bed is calling me. Goodnight.