Oh my goodness, it has been one of those days! I got home from swimming lessons/preschool pick up/errands with the boys to find a letter from Costco in my mailbox saying that I had purchased some frozen veggies that are part of that giant recall. As I sat in my pantry digging through the freezer looking for the suspect veggies Jonathan came to me to tell me that his BFF stuffed bunny was wet. Upon closer examination I realized that his bunny was actually soaked in vegetable oil. And upon yet even closer examination I discovered that Jonathan had found my new 48 ounce bottle of junk oil that I keep on hand for craft projects and science experiments and dumped the ENTIRE thing on the floor. 48 OUNCES! Not even Google can save you there. So now that the floor is mostly cleaned up can I hang out with you for a few minutes and talk food? Thanks!
^^^ The culprit.
Last summer we sampled some delicious bean dip by Better Bean Co. at our local grocery store. They are really good, but I noticed that we were polishing off an entire container in one meal, at about $4 a pop! I figured it would be pretty easy to make my own for a fraction of the price, and just a slight “inconvenience”—seriously, it is easier to make things at home than go to the store with my hungry boys some days—so I got to taste testing in the kitchen!
Today’s post is a bit of a catch all post on all things Jonathan. Poor second child—his birthday came and went over 3 weeks ago and I did no more than an instagram post. I’ll fill you in on the delicious dessert we had for his birthday celebration below.
It’s also Food Allergy Awareness Week. (If you haven’t read my previous posts you can catch up here.) You may remember a few weeks ago that I shared on Instagram that we were doing a follow up allergy test as part of him turning 2—fun way to celebrate, right? As a quick recap, last year at 9 months old Jonathan tested positive for food allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, lentils, garbanzos, sesame, wheat and soy. We have since found out that the sesame, wheat and soy allergies were all FALSE! This is great news! I am now on a mission to figure out if he has more false positives. We did the skin testing in March and it confirmed that he still has allergies for tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, lentils, and garbanzos. AND we’re adding green peas. And dogs. Ok then.
The “interesting” thing about Jonathan’s allergies is that his response to the skin test changes each time. Last year his egg reaction was HUGE and his peanut reaction was very small. This year his peanut reaction was HUGE and the egg response was very tiny. His blood work doesn’t correspond to his skin tests either. Several of his “positives” are very small, so we are going to start challenging them one by one.
^^^ The top picture was immediately after the scratch test, the bottom picture is just 15 minutes later. Yikes! And yet, he was all smiles, despite being pretty itchy.
First up is walnut. In a couple of weeks Jonathan and I will go to his allergist’s office and he will eat walnuts in a supervised setting. We challenged sesame like this last year. Basically we start with a “smear” on his lip, then work out way up, feeding him increasing amounts every 20 minutes and watch for signs of a reaction. I will of course keep you posted with the results—join us in praying for answers for our little medical mystery!
Ok, onto the birthday celebration. I can not believe my BABY is 2! It just doesn’t seem possible. Cliche? Yep, but there’s a reason for that. In the past few months Jonathan has gone from a baby to a full boy, talking, playing, and having lots of his own opinions! He is super rough and tough, playing with balls, dirt, and trains. Then he turns around and makes sure to tuck his stuffed bunny in with a blanket and says “oooooh, so cute!” He keeps all of us on our toes in the best way possible.
For his birthday this year we semi low balled it and decided to skip the party. We did a full party celebration with David—first child—but realized that at 2 Jonathan has no idea what a party is, so we went a different route. About 30 minutes from where we live is an old fashioned railroad with a few historic train cars that you can ride. Irving and I, David and Jonathan, and my dad headed out to the railroad to ride the trains—it was a HUGE hit (my mom was out of town visiting her other 2 year old grandson, my nephew)! We packed a picnic and spent the day riding the trains, and then playing on the parked train cars at the depot. For weeks afterwords Jonathan would say “ride train, ride train Grandpa, ride train whole family, FUN!”
^^^ The sweetest. Peering out the train window.
^^^ The boys were beyond thrilled to have my dad join us!
2 days later, on his actual birthday we celebrated in 90 degree weather—seriously record setting—with a taco fiesta on our deck (I made my Frijoles de Cabo for the tacos!). It was gorgeous out, and the food was delicious if I say so myself! Jonathan is so excited about anything related to transportation so I thought about doing a big chocolate cake with cookie crumb and digger trucks, sort of like this one. But as I started thinking more practically I realized that Jonathan would be equally happy with a dirt cup style dessert, topped with diggers.
^^^ A little boy’s dream come true!
^^^ Figuring out how to blow out the candles.
I revamped my Dirt Cup recipe from a few years ago, swapped out the sweetener for “more wholesome” maple syrup, and served it up truck style. Everyone loved it—even my unsuspecting parents who had no idea they were eating tofu Don’t have a truck obsessed 2 year old running around? Skip the trucks and serve this up grown up style—don’t skip the cookie crunch on top—it’s my favorite part!
I hope your truck enthusiasts love this as much as mine did! Make sure you take a picture when you make this yummy treat, post it on Instagram, and tag it with #frieddandelions! I love to see what you’re up to in the kitchen!
These dirt cups are guaranteed to be a hit with both kiddos and grown ups alike!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8 servings
3 ounces chocolate chips/chocolate bar (Enjoy Life is a good allergy safe brand)
¼ c cocoa powder
2 T coconut oil
1 12.3 ounce package of silken tofu (these are shelf stable, not refrigerated. You could substitute for other tofu, but I can’t promise the exact consistency. Flavor will still be great!)
¼ c maple syrup
¼ - ½ t cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (I like the brown can of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s or the Thai Kitchen brand)
1 package of chocolate cookies (I like Enjoy Life Crunchy Chocolate Cookies)
Small plastic trucks to decorate (I got these— http://amzn.to/1Wr4ONF)
Carefully drain your tofu—just open the package and let the water drip out, without losing the tofu in your sink! Puree the tofu in your food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and coconut oil. Pour into the food processor with the tofu. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Puree again until fully incorporated. Set aside again.
Carefully remove your refrigerated coconut milk from the fridge and open the lid. Scoop out only the hardened cream on the top, saving the watery coconut milk for tomorrow’s smoothie. Place the coconut cream into your mixer and beat on high (gradually) until the cream is whipped and makes soft peaks when you lift the whisk out of the cream. Turn the speed down to low and slowly incorporate the chocolate tofu mix into the coconut cream. Bring the speed back up to high and beat for a minute or two, keeping it nice and fluffy (don’t over beat). Place in a storage container and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. It will firm up even more once chilled.
While it is chilling place all of the cookies into your food processor and pulse until the cookies are crumbled with no large chunks remaining (or eat the chunks—problem solved!). Set aside.
Once chilled, scoop into serving bowls. Garnish with a big scoop of the chocolate cookie "dirt." Top off with a digger truck or the garnish of your choice. Serve to your favorite truck lover!
I’m really excited to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Renee Press, owner of Fire and Earth Kitchen here in Seattle. This is the first of a new (and hopefully regular) series that I am going to write, highlighting different influential vegans in Seattle. I am always curious to meet other vegans, even if I only meet them virtually, and thought you might be too!
Renee and I met in March when I took one of her famed cooking classes—seriously, her classes are great and they sell out right away—they are really popular! Renee has graciously answered a few questions for us about herself, her business, and why she’s vegan. And all the way at the bottom of this post you will find her recipe for Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup that I learned how to make at her class a few months ago (really, keep scrolling, it’s ALL the way down there!). Without further ado, here’s Renee!
^^^ I made Renee’s Cinnamon Bun Muffins (she taught this recipe in class) for my Moms’ group at church and they were a HUGE hit! So delicious! Continue reading →
I am so excited to be sharing another great cookbook with you today—Baconish! The premise of the book, written by Leinana Two Moons of the blog Vegan Good Things, is bacon! Veggie bacon, to be more precise. Each recipe in this book features a different type of plant based bacon—and they are all delicious! We’ve tried several recipes from the book already, and have several more corners folded down for next week.
I love sugar. I love anything sweet. The sweeter, the better, usually. But….I know that it’s horrible for me. I go through fits and starts on my quest to cut sugar and I’m not normally very successful.
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