Ch Ch Ch Changes ...

I'm in the process of making some serious changes around Cupcakes for Pearyn.

Bear with me.


I'm testing out backgrounds, styles and photos, not to mention go-go-gadgeting the side bar, so until I've found something that's more "Pearyn meets Mommy's vision" AND user friendly, well, let's just say there are orange construction barrels all over this site. (And why shouldn't there be? I can't leave my house without running into one, so in my opinion cyberspace is very fair game).

Among these exciting changes is the new and not improved because it seriously is new, Cupcakes for Pearyn Twitter! Are you a tweeter? Do me a big, huge favor and click on that fancy link there and "follow" cupcakes. Just think of it as the mini muffin of this fine blog.

I wish that I had more time to delve into our adventures over the last few days, but honestly, I'm drained just thinking about them, let alone typing them all out. And the sun kind of sucked all the energy out of me anyhow.

So here's a preview of all the fun we've had here at Cupcakes the last few days.


Add a little zing to your wrap

Something incredible has happened in the last few weeks. 

Thanks to these super simple Lettuce Wraps, I've rekindled my love affair with chick peas. I've basically made it my goal to start including them as our "protein" for one meal a week, because they're so delicious and will basically absorb any flavor you decide to dress them in.

Did I mention they're actually pretty good for you? In one cup of chick peas alone there are 15 grams of protein, 12 grams of dietary fiber and 8% of your daily recommended intake of calcium (in a bean people! A bean!). 

They're also loaded with carbohydrates, so be careful not to eat them with mass quantities of rice, pasta and bread! 

So for this weeks chick pea challenge, I decided to grab a bottle of buffalo sauce and make a tangy wrap.

Buffalo "Chix"pea Wrap
(Serves 4-6)
15.5 oz can of chick peas
1 cup finely chopped or shredded carrots
3/4 cup finely chopped or minced onion
1 TBS minced garlic (more or less, adjust to your taste)
1/2 cup buffalo sauce

8-10" soft taco shells (the smaller you use the more servings you'll get)
Salsa (we used black bean corn salsa to give a southwestern sort of feel)
Lettuce (you can leave this off if you're not a fan of leafy greens)
Ranch dip (we basically take Tofutti sour cream and add in ranch powder mix, our grocery sells a vegan version)

Cut up carrots and onions.
Line a saute pan with some oil and cook chick peas, minced carrots, onion and garlic on low-medium heat.
Add buffalo sauce.
Cook on low simmer for 10 minutes.
Layer lettuce, salsa and ranch dip in your wrap. Top with chick pea buffalo mixture (add more buffalo sauce if you like it tangy).
Wrap up and eat.



Take part in Family Sunday Fundays!

So in an effort to continue my weekly blogging ventures, another annual topic will be joining Fab Five Fridays. Be on the lookout for Family Sunday Fundays!

With my husband working in a less-than-forgiving industry, Sundays are often the only times we get to spend together as a family. With summer now in full bloom, we're making an attempt to get outside and do something spectacular as a family every Sunday - even if the weather doesn't want to cooperate!

Tired of seeing all my adventures? Send a few of your own to cupcakes4pearyn@gmail.com! Snap a photo of your favorite Family Sunday Funday activities and send me a short paragraph to describe how you spend YOUR quality time! Or just send a short note about a recent family-friendly event you participated in!

Be on the lookout for a few FSF's from the past few weeks!

A very happy family of three! 


A Family Sunday Funday walk in the park

My family and Sundays have a lot in common.

For starters, it's one of the only days Ryan and I have off together.

And additionally, it's one of the only days my mother, Ryan and I have off together.

And lastly, it's one of the only days my father, mother, Ryan and I have off together.

I consider myself an incredibly lucky person because I got to grow up with one set of grandparents nextdoor and the other a mere 10 minutes away. That meant summers spent with my cousins and grandma and grandpas, lunches of spaghettios and lots of kickball.

Before I even had my beautiful little girl, I knew I wanted to be surrounded by family. Growing up with a host of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins played an integral role in my childhood. So it was incredibly important to me that my daughter (and any other future children for that matter) was able to grow up with the same sort of babydom. 

That being said, our Sundays are generally spent visiting with my parents and watching Pearyn flood their living room with toys. The best feeling in the world? Knowing she feels right at home there. She wiggles her little finger "no no" at the three giant great danes if they get in her way and she dives right into the toy basket.

If I decided to runaway to Canada, I'm pretty sure Pearyn would choose my mom over me. This may or may not be directly related to grandma introducing Pear's very first ice cream cone to her.

After a day of more Luna Burgers and leftovers, we ended our Family Sunday Funday with a trip to a local park. 

I'm pretty sure Pear's favorite thing to do is swing, but she seems pretty partial to the slide too.


Paying homage to a delicious little restaurant - Fab Five Friday style

Something absolutely amazing happened Thursday.

A restaurant focused on fresh, local foods and good prices with VEGAN options opened up not just in my city, but within walking distance to me. (And trust me folks, walking distance to me is like five minutes, because, well, I'm lazy).

It's called Amicis Place and is seriously the best thing to happen to Dayton since sliced bread. (Actually, I'm not really all that impressed with sliced bread, it's cool and all, so in my opinion this little restaurant might be even better).

Seeing as how I dined there for lunch with a friend on opening day AND convinced my husband to get pizza from there tonight (so I could "test out" the dinner options), I figured it seemed suitable to dedicate this Fab Five Friday to this awesome new place!

No. 1) The FOOD! I cannot convey how ridiculously tasty and awesome the food Amicis Place is serving looks! From the Soysage Hoagie (complete with peppers, onions and vegan cheese) to the pizza (homemade multigrain crust AND homemade sauce, topped with - you guessed it - vegan cheese), I'm convinced that any and everything on their menu has to be this good. Trust me, it's often hard for nonvegan restaurants to get vegan food right, so this place is super special.

No. 2) The people. We're talking friendly customers (well, so far, in the two days I've been there and the two days they've been open) and employees who go above and beyond. Even though Amicis ran into a few bumps on opening day, the servers and owner kept us aware of what was going on and made sure we were completely happy while waiting on the kinks to get worked out. If you're delusional and the food doesn't bring you back, the people will.

No. 3) The style. It's got a laid-back atmosphere and sleek, but simple design. With a modern interior and an awesome patio/deck area (that has Jack Johnson frequenting the radio), there's a little something to suit anyone's taste. (Not to mention a bar inside for those Margarita Monday needs).

No. 4) They're a business with a conscience. Besides catering to the cruelty-free consumers, this restaurant boasts completely compostable cups and to-go containers made from sugar cane fibers. And when it's in season, Amicis Place even hosts a local farmer's market in the field beside them as a way to source as much local produce as possible. How awesome is that?

No. 5) The menu! Talk about a variety of foods to select. From vegan benedict breakfast to stuffed soysage mushrooms and wraps stuffed with soyrizo, this local gem provides something delicious for any vegan craving, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Side note: my husband is trying really hard to convince me to get up early enough and head over to Amicis for breakfast on Sunday morning and honestly, my stomach just might beat out my need for sleep this time).

How is it possible that we can afford to eat pricey vegan restaurant food two days in a row? Simple. The prices at Amicis Place are more than fair. I actually did a double take when I saw my soysage hoagie and chips priced at a mere $6.50.

Vegans, omnivores and picky eaters alike, do yourselves a BIG favor and check out Amicis Place at 1122 E. Dorothy Lane. You'll be very, very happy with your decision. 

Just stuff it!

I am a pretty big fan of stuffing things, particularly vegetables. We turn zucchinis into boats, egg plants into garbage disposals and mushrooms into mini plates of stuffing.

Today, I stuffed a tomato.

I'll admit that I thought it would be pretty easy. I found a million different recipes and not one appealed to me, so I decided to throw a few things together that I thought sounded good.

I lucked out because the final result was juicy, rich and refreshing all at once thanks to a blend of cannellini beans, rosemary and a tart tomato shell.

Need something yummy and "grown up" feeling all in one?

Stuff a tomato!

Stuffed Tomatoes
(Serves 4)
4 large, garden house tomatoes
15.5 oz can of cannellini beans
1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese
1 medium onion
1/2 Tofutti ricotta
1 cup instant brown rice
1 TBS rosemary
2 TBS garlic
Nutritional yeast to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.
Lightly grease a casserole dish.
Cut the tops off your tomatoes and then using a small knife, detach the inside pulp from the outside. (Depending on how ripe or in season your tomato is, you might be able to just use a spoon. I had to depulp the tomatoes from Hell tonight and resorted to a knife).
Toss the pulp (it's really not wise to use it in the mixture as it makes things a bit too runny).
Place the tomato shells into the baking dish and salt them.
In a blender or food processor, blend together beans, onion, Daiya cheese, ricotta, rosemary and garlic.
Stir the rice in with a spoon.
Scoop mixture into tomato shells and sprinkle some black pepper and nutritional yeast flakes on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until shells are tender and bean mixture is starting to lightly brown.

Enjoy them, but forewarned, they're extra messy!


Pudding ... for breakfast?

Don't go jumping to conclusions.

I am in no way endorsing the eating of pudding cups for breakfast.

But there is a way to incorporate a little pudding mix into an already unhealthy breakfast item to make it slightly more unhealthy (and WAY more delicious).


The best pancake I ever had was a pillowy, melt-in-my-mouth sort of gift from Heaven. And because I have such a stellar cook of a husband, he discovered this little trick all on his own.

Once upon a time we were looking for tapioca powder, I think. Or maybe it was arrowroot. At any rate, I was a virgin vegan and we didn't realize the plethora of powders and flours and roots that were available at our local health food store. So we set out to find some other powdery substance to both bind our pancakes and make them puffy circles of tastiness.
The answer? 


Go ahead, make these in massive batches and full all your skeptical "vegan pancakes cannot be good" friends.

Puffy Pudding Pancakes
(makes 8-12 pancakes depending on how glutenous you are)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 TBS sugar
2 TBS powder pudding mix (there are several gelatin, dairy free versions available to vegans)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla coconut milk (we like coconut milk for our pancakes because it's got a not-overly sweet vanilla twist to it)

Turn burner on low-medium and heat up small amount of oil in skillet.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. 
Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring until the batter is slightly thicker than cake batter.
Drop spoonfuls of batter onto skillet (whatever size your heart desires - just remember you do have to flip that bad boy)!
Flip when golden brown.
Top with chocolate chips, powdered sugar, fruit or just good old fashioned butter and syrup. The options are endless!
(PS: To make them extra special, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes!)


Lettuce: the new bread?

My husband and I have always been fiends for lettuce wraps. Whenever we go to a veg-friendly Chinese restaurant we always seek out these juicy little appetizers. And since it's basically sauce and tofu rolled up into crispy air (because seriously, how many calories DOES lettuce have?), I don't feel nearly as guilty about pigging out.

The funny thing about our love of lettuce wraps?

We've never actually made our own.

So this week I set out on a mission to find the perfect blend of ingredients to make a super simple, but super delicious lettuce wrap.

And due to my fear of cooking with tofu (no, really, I only use it when microwaving or desserts are involved), I wanted to find something filling, yummy AND cheap. Did I mention cheap?

The answer? Chick peas. They're probably one of my go-to ingredients for anything lunch or dinner oriented because they're like little blank bean canvases. In the mood for Mexican? Sprinkle some taco seasoning on these puppies and you're set. Maybe a little Indian? Just add some curry and eggplant and you've got a mega tasty dish.

Needless to say, these woman-made lettuce wraps will be making several more appearances on our weekly meal plans.

Chick Pea Lettuce Wraps
(Makes about 8-10 wraps depending on cup size)
15.5 oz can of chick peas
2 cups finely chopped or shredded carrots (I bought whole carrots, coined them and stuck them in my Ninja Blender, you should buy one right now)
1 cup finely chopped or minced onion (Used Mr. Ninja again here)
1 TBS minced garlic (more or less, adjust to your tastes)
2 tsp "chicken" seasoning blend (we use one from McCormicks)
1/4 cup soy sauce (we use low sodium to feel better about ourselves)
1 head of lettuce

Cut up carrots and onions.
Line a saute pan with some oil and cook chick peas, shredded carrots, minced onion and garlic on low-medium heat.
Add seasoning and soy sauce.
Cook on low simmer for 10 minutes.
Cut head of lettuce in half or quarters (depending on how big or small you want your lettuce cup to be) and peel off layers, stacking them off to the side.
Add chick pea mixture to lettuce wraps and top with favorite Chinese-style sauce (we prefer a wasabi ginger one).
Wrap up and eat.
Don't forget your napkin, these bad boys are super juicy!


Hold the roast!

As promised in my last blog, I have here the world's best vegan pot roast recipe. This hunk of deliciousness is amazing, filling and seriously easy to make. After searching long and hard for the best homemade seitan recipe (and A LOT of trial and error), I think we're finally on the right track with this one!

Crock-pot Roast
(makes about six servings, best cooked in 6-8 quart crockpot)
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 TB Italian seasoning
1 TB onion powder
1 TB garlic powder
2 TB ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 1/2 cups water
16 oz bag of frozen, chopped carrots
1 large onion chopped in medium-sized chunks
5-6 medium potatoes, chopped into quarter-size chunks (we used red-skinned, golden ones)
4 TBS minced garlic
1 15.5 oz can of veggie stock

Turn crockpot on low
Mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast and seasonings.
Add soy sauce, steak sauce, ketchup, 2 TBS of garlic and water.
Mix and knead for 2 minutes. The mixture should be slightly damp.
Form a roast-like loaf and place in crockpot.
Add chopped carrots, onion and potatoes around loaf. (We used a lot of veggies that they almost covered the roast, we like veggies, what can I say?)
Pour can of veggie broth over roast and veggies.
Top with 2 TBS garlic and Italian seasoning and onion powder to taste.
Cook it on low for 3 hours and then on high for 2 hours.
Eat and enjoy!
(P.S: It tastes even better the following day!)

Celebrating Father's Day the Family Sunday Funday way

Ryan celebrated his second Father's Day yesterday.

How unfair is it that because I went into labor on Mother's Day 2010, I didn't actually have Pearyn until the next day and therefore didn't get to celebrate said Mother's Day. So now Ryan will always have one extra Father's Day than me!

We started the day of with some delicious buttefly, duck and tulip shaped pancakes (hey, that's what you get when you're a father to a little girl). They passed the Pearyn test as she devoured the three she had on her plate and even ate a leftover one later for brunch. 

We spent the rest of the day with my parents, where we made an even more incredible crock pot vegan pot roast (see next post for recipe) and watched Pearyn run around like a crazy person. This little girl seriously loves her some outside time - rain or shine. It makes it pretty easy to participate in our Family Sunday Funday anthem when our darling daughter absolutely beams from playing outside!

She's already amazing mommy and daddy with her animal-loving ways. 

She plays fetch with Karma, tries to sit with my parent's cat Buddy and hands off bones to their three great danes, Walter, Kelsey and Bailey. In fact, Pearyn actually climbed into Walter's cage with him yesterday (which is basically the size of a twin bed) and shut the door so they could hang out one-on-one. Note: we tried to snap a photo of this, but Pear refused to cooperate.

All and all I'd say it was a pretty successful Father's Day (again). The best part? No animals had to suffer in the making of our super awesome Father's Day feast AND we have delicious leftovers!

Sounds like a good day to me!


The Fab Five reasons everyone should have cousins ... lots of them

This past week was a blur - in the best way possible.

My sister-in-law, nephew and niece loaded up their minivan and made an impromptu trek to wrap up a few things in Ohio. It was a very last-minute trip, but boy am I glad they made it.

It's funny. Just the other week I was thinking about how much I missed my brother and his little family and suddenly, a week later, 75% of them are sleeping in my basement (unfortunately my brother was away on business).

Sometimes I guess things really do work out for the best.

With Eli's fourth birthday looming in the future and the twin cousins recent first, the more time they get to spend together the stronger the bond they form. What better topic to dedicate this Fab Five Friday to than the two cousins my daughter just spent the last three days with.

No. 1) They're built-in, born best friends. Cousins are the people you get to spend all those awkward family moments with, so how could you not be best friends? Instead of listening to parents drone on about the good old days, you can go play kickball or ghost in the graveyard with your cousins. Or heck, you can even enjoy a good swing.

No. 2) They're also the people you get to spend your vacations with. Whether its Fourth of July fireworks, summer trips to the zoo or a baby's first view of the ocean, cousins are those people you get to spend those weeks with when mom and dad have a little extra time on their hands. Plus, they're the friends you can get into trouble with when you're out to eat.

No. 3) Because they're not just there for the big moments, they're around for the small ones as well. Whether it's a first birthday party or merely a three-day excursion "just because," cousins are the people you get to share everything with. Sometimes that just means a trip to a nearby park to cool off.

No. 4) They're always just a phone call away. Whether you grow closer or further apart over the years, they're never more than a phone call away. I was lucky enough to grow up with three female cousins whom I spent several summers with. While we've all followed our own paths over the years, I don't doubt for one second that they'd be there if I called.

No. 5) Because they accept you. Even if you don't make a lot of money, don't know what you want to do with your life or heaven forbid if you're a bit different. Crazy vegan or hamburger-loving addict, cousins love you just the same. And if you're really lucky, they'll even share a dairy, egg and cruelty-free cupcake with you for your birthday.


A really tiny, itty bitty human being

Before our little girl blessed our lives, Ryan and I used to discuss what our child would be like. Whether she'd be sweet or feisty, girly or a tom boy, what her sense of humor would be - or if she'd even have one. And when I pictured all those things, I think I was picturing Pearyn when she was a good four or five years old, not when she was 13 months old.

They really do become mini little humans, don't they?

Even though she's still trying to figure out this whole communication thing (although, she's trying really hard to say things like 'thank you' and 'doggy'), she's making her likes, dislikes, feelings and opinions known.

So far we've come to a few conclusions:

Pearyn seems to be interested in purses
Small clutches- well - mommy's small clutches to be exact
It's official. She's a TOTAL girl.
Besides learning that she's really into pulling things in and out of a purse (which she's gotten really, really good at - in fact, I think daddy might have to buy her a little purse of her own soon), she's also conquering some pesky motor skills, like coloring.

She's kind of obsessed with crayons, as in has to hold all of them at one time in each hand and refuses to put them down, even though it's incredibly difficult to control any of them. Oh, and she's really pumped about her Spongebob coloring book too.

You have to concentrate extra hard when you're trying to color with four crayons at once

And sometimes you have to taste them to make sure they work OK ...

But if mommy says 'no' then we just throw a little tantrum.
Did I mention she also has her mother's temper? Yeah, the super fun tantrums have started too. You know, the kind where she stiffens her body like she's a statue, flails her arms like she's trying to fly and then curls her lips out and wails? Yeah, she's doing those too.

I can't wait until she figures out how to use her words to describe her feelings instead of her actions.

Then again, I know a few adults myself who have yet to learn this talent.

Fingers crossed :)


The first of many Family Sunday Fundays!

Today the T clain celebrated something super special - our two-year wedding anniversary. OK, so Pearyn, the tiniest T basically had no idea that today was anything out of the ordinary, but we still tried to make it a special day for the family.

We had a pretty relaxing day visiting with my parents. Ryan had some special bonding time with my parents over-sized horse great dane, Bailey, while Pearyn and I got a couple side dishes ready for our planned cookout. We also tried Luna Burgers (aka Heaven on a bun) for the first time and most definitely not the last. These little bean and oat burgers are prepped right here in the Buckeye State and they were worth every penny and more.

To kick off Family Sunday Fundays, the T clan convinced my parents to head outside for a game of cornhole. Note to self: don't play against my father and husband with my mother as my partner EVER again - we got our butts kicked.

After just a few instructions from grandma, Pearyn seemed to have a pretty strong grasp on how to play the game. Although, she did have a difficult time following the whole "don't cross the board" boundaries rule. But other than that, I'm pretty sure we have ourselves a future cornhole champ here.


Five fab reasons to kick dairy to the curb in June

Earlier today I was perusing Yahoo News to see if anything exciting was going on in the world (you know, other than the whole "Weinergate" scandal). While browsing through the top stories I came across a fluff piece about all the fun ways to celebrate June, which is apparently National Dairy Month.

It only seemed suitable that today's Fab Five Friday honor "National Dairy Month ..." and by honor I mean rejecting completely.

So here it is you dairy-drinking, cow's-milk loving fiends. Five Fab Friday reasons to ween yourself off the teet - seriously.

No. 1) You do realize what you're actually drinking, right? It's like breast milk - only from cows - cow udders to be exact. Does anyone else think it's funny that we're completely grossed out by the idea of eating ice cream made from a human's breast milk, yet we have no issue wolfing down a big bowl of boob cream from another SPECIES? Anyone?

Mmmm .... big old cow boob. Got milk?
No. 2) Because there is a whole, wide world of dairy substitutes. And not only are they super delicious, they're WAY better for you. We're talking WAY better. How much better? Take a look.

So aside from the whole protein category, all those loosey goosey "milks" kind of win out. Did I mention they're delicious? Oh, and, no boobs were harmed in the making of these dairy substitutes. YUM.

Pear enjoying a tall, sippy cup of coconut milk. 
No. 3) Because cow's milk is designed for - you guessed it - baby cows. Just like human breast milk is designed for - you guessed it again - humans. Please note that aside from a few random cutesy stories about a cat nursing a stray, motherless dog, we are the ONLY species who steals another species milk to survive. Wow, we're such big bad top-of-the-food-chain humans that we can't even provide our own nutrition to sustain our species.

No. 4) I didn't want to have to go here, but because of osteoporosis. The United States is one of the only countries to continue sucking down cow's milk after the age of two, and guess what? All that gulping isn't doing our bones much good. So for the month of June, let's just say no to the white stuff and get our calcium from some broccoli instead. Who's with me?

No. 5) Because cows are living beings too. Let me tell you a short little story. Once upon a time, I birthed a baby girl. In order to feed my baby girl, I breastfed her. When I went back to work and had to be away from baby girl for six, eight, sometimes 10 hours a day, I had to pump said breasts. Do you know how much fun hooking your boobs up to a machine is? None. AT ALL. But I did it, because I had a tiny infant and I knew that the pumping was worth the pain for my baby.

Well, that's kind of how it is for a dairy cow. Except, their baby never get's their milk and it NEVER ends. In fact, their poor lives are generally cut in half after being constantly impregnated again and again so our lazy butts in the U.S. can make Ben and Jerry's on a liquid designed to make a baby calve triple it's weight in its first year. Seriously? I'm going to start a new rule. Until you've hooked your own breasts up to a machine and pumped liquid from them, put the cow's milk DOWN.

Yeah, hook that bad boy up to YOUR breast.

Vegan blonde butterscotch cookies

There is something crazy magical about butterscotch. I think it basically improves any sweet item you decide to make. Don't believe me? Try spicing up your blah carrot cakes with a little butterscotch frosting, you'll never look back.

Vanilla who?

Anyway, while I generally like to bake cupcakes, muffins and breads (oh, my!), yesterday was one of those times when I felt like filling my adorable cupcake cookie jar with something I actually made (not those store-bought Oreo's)!

And I found a box of butterscotch pudding mix in my cabinet (because really, who doesn't have a box of butterscotch pudding just laying around the house)? We usually stock our shelves with Dr.Oetker Organics pudding mixes, because I use pudding mix for a lot more than the normal person should!

Not to mention I had some left over vegan white chocolate chips (they do exist!), so I figured why not throw it all together to form one super delicious cookie?

And that is how chewy these chewy, butterscotch pudding white chocolate chip cookies were born.

Blonde Butterscotch Bites
(Makes 3 dozen)
2 cups flour (I use a whole white wheat combo)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (yes, that much)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3.4 oz package of butterscotch pudding mix
3 tsps Ener G egg replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons water
White chocolate chips to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Soften butter and mix with egg replacer mixture and vanilla extract.
Add white and brown sugar, mixing to form a sandy paste.
Add budding mix. Whisk to form a creamy, thick, pudding-like texture.
Add 1/2 cup flour mixture and stir, then continue to add the rest until all four is mixed in. Add baking soda.
Mix in white chocolate chips to taste.
Roll mixture into one-inch balls and flatten. Spread on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Don't let these little cookies fool you. The pudding gives a really squishy-looking consistency. These should not stay in more than 10 minutes or they will burn. I was skeptical and left them in for 12 because they just didn't look baked enough, boy was I wrong. 10 minutes max!

Enjoy :)

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Invasion of the tofu kind

Read it and weep, meat lovers. Not only is our bean curd better for your heart, it's filled with vitamin, protein and other mineral goodness.

We've converted another. 

OK. Not really. But we can proudly boast that we've turned a full-fledged, chicken nugget devouring family onto tofu.

OK. Not really. But their 15-month-old son totally digs it. And I have to admit that I did smile pretty big when my friend texted me to let me know that her son had in fact turned down a chicken nugget for a bowl of delicious tofu. (Earlier that day he'd picked a banana over said chicken nugget, so maybe he's just got something against meat in nugget form, who knows. 

At any rate, their growing boy is getting 80 calories chock full of Vitamin B12 & B6, not to mention 8 grams of protein, a little Vitamin D, iron and calcium. Oh, and did I mention, NO cholesterol?

I know, I know. He's a toddler (sorry Crystal, he's a young, 15-month-old toddler), so do we really need to be concerned with how much cholesterol he's taking in? Maybe not.

But it can't hurt. With a jumble of heart, high blood pressure and cancer risks between my husband and I's families alone, you can generally find me preaching this whole "no cholesterol" perk of a vegan diet to strangers in a store. 

Is my friend's son suddenly a vegan because he ate some cubed tofu? Heck no. Does it mean he's never going to eat a hamburger or a chicken nugget in the future? Probably not. But here's an example of a mother who is willing to try something a little different with her son (a food, which, albeit having great protein and vitamins doesn't really look all that appealing in its 'au natural' form) to assure he's getting what he needs.

 And the best part about it? She didn't just go to the store and pick up some pediasure for him to drink, blaming her "picky eater" as the reason she had to give her son a liquid diet, she found a way to get him to chew, swallow and digest all those vitamins in minerals.

What could be better? 

Well, maybe a trip to the splash park. 

The two tofu lovers enjoy a good spray
Pear might be part fish, she LOVES the water

And if that doesn't do it ... an ice, cold root beer will.

Got ya! This can is totally empty. 


The Fab Five reasons guideparents rock

The T Clan packed up our little hamster car and hit the road for Memorial Day weekend. We celebrated Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in northern Ohio with Pearyn's guideparents (aka, my husband's best best best friend and fiance).

They're basically the coolest people we know.

So I figured what better way to thank them for their hospitality than to dedicate the Fab Five Friday to the many, many reasons they are so awesome.

No. 1) They're crazy animal lovers like us. It's no secret that my husband and I are animal obsessed (hence why we don't eat them), but Pearyn's Guideparents are like on steroids when it comes to their dedication to animals. They have three of the cutest, craziest pups a family could have, but somehow the utter chaos just works.

Although, it doesn't hurt to have a gate to keep them at bay every now and then.

What on Earth is she looking at?
Just Brutus ... nothing to see here
Even Pearyn doesn't want to get close to Oliver.

No. 2) Not only do they share our love of furry, four-legged creatures, one of Pear's guideparents is an extreme, tofu-eating, vegan like our little T clan. The best part about being vegan and going to visit a vegan? There's always something in the fridge to eat. Pearyn feasted on veggie burgers, peanut butter and jelly galore and other delicious vegan staples. Needless to say, our stomachs left very full and very happy.

No. 3) Since they're basically our second family, we get to be a part of their actual family as well. This includes hanging around Momma and Poppa Hartzell's house for a super scrumptious cookout, followed by a dip in the pool (for Pearyn anyway). This also means when we have to attend say, a mandatory birthday party at the bar, we have a built-in babysitter that loves and snuggles our little girl as much as we would. 

No. 4) Because they treat Pearyn like she's their own, they also get her gifts like she's their own. And while I'm not greedy in the slightest, the wagon they got our little girl for her first birthday is by far the coolest, sweetest set of wheels any one-year-old could have. Between a cooler built into the seat, one attached to the side, cubby holes and compartments everywhere and an umbrella, this is the kind of wagon a one year old AND adults can enjoy. See below. 

No. 5) The last and maybe most important reason Pearyn's guideparents are totally awesome is pretty simple. It's because they're them. They are two of the most loving, caring and amazing people anyone could have in their lives. They're the people you can laugh with, cry with, sit on the couch and do nothing with, but it still feels like you had the best time. And the fact that our little girl gets to have such outstanding individuals to turn to for guidance throughout her life helps me sleep a little easier at night.