Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (vegan) for Breakfast

Dear Kid,

I had fudge for breakfast. This may not seem very important, I know. And it really isn’t. But here’s what happened.

The other night after dinner, Pi said, “I think we should make something yummy.”

Me: Don’t you have homework?
Puppy: I like yummy things
Pi: Just a little
Puppy: I can help! I can help!
Me: You’d best do your homework
Pi: Then can we make something yummy?
Puppy: I really, really love yummy things!
Me: Why don’t you finish your homework and then see what you think you’d like to make and come show me.
Pi: OK
Puppy: Ok! I will think of lots of yummy things. They all sound delicious! I think my head will explode.

About half an hour later, I was presented with a multi-post-it-noted cookbook. Pi took me through the options, with the Puppy explaining why each one was the Best Possible One.

Finally, we decided to make her #1 pick: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (vegan variety).

Here is how you make Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (vegan variety):

Puppy: I love peanut butter
Me: I know you do
Puppy: Can I have some?
Me: We’ll see
Pi: But no chocolate for you
Puppy: Of course not. Puppies can’t have chocolate. I’ll just have two peanut butters please
Me: We’ll see

First you read the ingredients. When you realize you don’t have all the ingredients you turn your puppy eyes (“My puppy eyes?” “No, Pi’s puppy eyes” “Oh. I thought I was in the story” “You are in the story. Just not this part of the story.” “But later?” “Absolutely.”) you turn your puppy eyes on your daddy and implore him to make a trip to the super market.

Once you have Ingredients, measure 1 ¾ Cups of dairy-free chocolate chips into a cup. You will only need 1 ½ cup, but this way there are plenty for snacking on until you get to that part. Note: You can find dairy-free chocolate chips. It’s just not easy.

Have the child measure 1 cup of vegan margarine and 1 cup of creamy peanut butter into a saucepan. (“And I watch.” “Yes, you watch very carefully.”) Whisk the margarine and the peanut butter over low heat until smooth. (“Still watching!!”)

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. Delicious. Does not last long! DearKidLoveMom.comMeanwhile, line an 8” pan with foil. Amaze child with the trick of molding it over the bottom so it fits on the inside.

Meanwhile, have the child get out the mixer. In retrospect, I don’t think a mixer is necessary at all, but we were (more or less) following the recipe since it was the first time we’d made it.

Measure 3 Cups of powdered sugar into the mixer bowl.

When the peanut butter and margarine are smooth (it doesn’t take very long), whisk in 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Make a note to add vanilla to the shopping list.

Pour the vanilla-peanut butter-margarine mixture over the powdered sugar. Hand mix until there is little risk of a powdered sugar cloud engulfing the entire kitchen. Then turn on the mixer to finish mixing. If you’re using the mixer. Otherwise, just stir. Press the yumminess into the pan.

Pi: This is really good
Puppy: Do I get to taste? Do I get to taste? What about me?
Me: Maybe later
Puppy: I like now better
Pi: Oops. Dropped a little piece
Puppy: I GOT IT! I GOT IT! YUM!!!

Melt 1 ½ Cups of dairy-free chocolate chips (see how nicely that worked out?) and ½ Cup of almond milk (or soy or rice) and whisk over low heat until it’s all melty and smooth. (“And I watch.”)

Remove from heat and mix into 1 ½ Cups of powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder. The original recipe says to use the mixer to do it. We decided a whisk would work just fine. (“And I watch.”) Decide the mixture needs to be whisked a bit more and hand the job over to the child. While she whisks, offer the measuring cup that had the peanut butter to the puppy. (“I knew it! I knew it! I love this!!!!! I am a good boy!!!”)

Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the peanut butter stuff. If you’re following the recipe, top with ½ Cup of chopped roasted peanuts. If you’re us, don’t.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Wonder how you ever lived without this fudge.

Then wonder why on earth you just ate fudge for breakfast.

Decide to ponder once the sugar shock wears off.

Love, Mom

For more puppy conversations see

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Snowball Cookies | Recipe Without Leftovers

Dear Kid,

One of our favorite recipes from the new vegan cookie recipe book is Snowball Cookies. And by “favorite” I mean one of the two recipes we’ve made so far. (The fudge recipe is for tomorrow.)

These are fantastic. You are warned.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on two cookie sheets. Parchment paper may be the best invention modern cooking ever came up with.

Beat ¾ Cup of vegan margarine until it’s fluffy. Margarine fluffy, not Gabriel fluffy. Although if you eat enough of these, you can be both.

Add 1 ½ Cups of flour, half cup of powdered sugar (try not to cough from the powdered sugar cloud that engulfs your kitchen), 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add 1 Cup of dairy free chocolate chips. Eat a few chips to be sure they are good. Eat a few more to confirm your suspicions that they are quite delicious.

Scoop the dough onto the parchment paper-ed cookie sheets. I used my handy-dandy-ice-cream-scoop-like-cookie-dough-measurer which worked perfectly. You want them to look like little hills of yumminess. Be prepared to fight off people who think eating them pre-baking is a fine idea.

Bake for about 12 minutes. They’ll be a little golden around the edges but you will think they need to bake more. They don’t. They are shortbread-y, so they’ll look uncooked when they are perfect.

Remove from oven and immediately sift powdered sugar over the cookies. Do not make the mistake of forgetting to read the recipe the second time you make them and powdering them before you bake because it really doesn’t work out all that well. Let the cookies cool (again, be prepared to fight off the hordes) and sprinkle with powdered sugar again.

Serve.

Do not worry about how to package leftovers. Because there won’t be leftovers.

Love, Mom

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Candy Corn, Cincinnati, and the Greatest Diet Ever

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was no such thing as candy corn. There was candy. There was corn. But the two remained independent.

Then in the 1880s, George Renninger of the Philadelphia, PA-based Wunderle Candy Company got tired of keeping veggies and dessert separate and created candy corn (which of course has everything to do with candy and much less to do with corn).

The history of candy corn, how Cincinnati is involved, and the greatest diet ever. DearKidLoveMom.comGeorge may have been the first, but Gustav Goelitz is the true father of candy corn. He’s the first candy maker to begin commercial production (1898) in – wait for it – Cincinnati, OH. Yep, candy corn’s real life began here in the Queen City.

Back in the Day, candy corn was made by cooking sugar, water, and corn syrup, adding fondant (for texture) and marshmallow (for softness) and then pouring the hot deliciousness into big buckets 45 pounds at a time. The 45 pounds was then applied directly to my hips. No, wait. It just seems that way.

The candy was poured (one color layer at a time) into molds (shaped like corn kernels—sort of), cooled, and sold. Turns out veggie candy was popular and the Goelitz Candy Company made other veggie shapes for a while. Fortunately, they got over that and vegetables went back to being made out of marzipan which is how it is supposed to be.

During WWI, Herman son of Gustav moved to California and formed the creatively named Herman Goelitz Candy Company. Continuing the creative process, Herman made candy corn. Lots and lots of candy corn.

These days over 25 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually. Most bypass retail locations and head directly for my hips. No, wait. It just seems that way.

“Indian corn” is candy corn with a chocolate bottom. This is an approved (by me) version of candy corn.

There are all kinds of imposter-type candy corn (candy corns? candies corn? yark! What’s the protocol here?) including a blackberry cobbler candy corn (in Canada), Christmas “reindeer corn,” Easter “bunny corn,” Valentine’s “cupid corn,” and patriotic “freedom corn.” These are all ridiculous, but probably require much research on my part. Especially the blackberry cobbler corn.

Candy corn has 3.57 calories per kernel. I estimate it takes about 4 calories to chew and digest a single candy corn. Which means this may be the greatest diet ever invented! I just love estimation.

And I love you, too.

Love, Mom

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But Wait, There’s More! Decide Now and We’ll Double Your Order

Dear Kid,

But Wait, There's More!!! DearKidLoveMom.com“Order NOW and we’ll throw in the knife holder for FREE!!! Never mind that it’s worthless and you’ll never use it, it’s FREEEE!! And remember, this is a limited time offer, so CALL NOW!”

We’ve all heard the TV infomercial sales pitch. We’ve all joked about “But wait! There’s more!” We all know the seller of The-Item-Of-The-Moment isn’t going to lose any sleep over Order Now and We’ll Double Your Order!!!

And yet, gazillions of people rush to pick up the phone and order the skin-care-frying-crock-pot-vacuum-garden-hose of the moment. So something in the urgency of the messages is causing people to take action.

What’s interesting is that life is often like one of the Buy It NOW! commercials. Sometimes it feels like we just HAVE to make decisions, make changes, say something immediately if not sooner.

And it’s the immediately if not sooner that can sometimes cause problems.

Sure there are things that should be dealt with right away: paper cuts, accidentally stepping on someone’s foot, an overdue phone bill, studying for tomorrow’s test.

But there are many things that sometimes feel urgent, that aren’t—or at least aren’t quite as urgent as we might think they are.

It always amazes me when we go to the emergency room that we aren’t treated the way TV emergency rooms treat incoming patients. Even the one time we went in an ambulance (for Pi’s broken arm bones) things seemed to take a loooong time.

Thankfully, neither of you have ever been Severely Wounded or Requiring Life Saving Surgery, but still. We wait. We see someone and we wait more.

No matter how Concerned Mother-y I get, we wait.

I’ve learned that if the Medical Professionals don’t seemed panicked, there’s probably no reason for me to panic either EXCEPT THAT’S MY BABY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT.

Most of the time when we feel that urgency to do-act-say it’s not because there is true urgency. Generally it’s because there is true uncertainty and Doing Something will End the Uncertainty. Too often it will not end it in a good way.

The point is, when you feel that panic, that “I have to make a decision Right Now,” take a deep breath. Recognize the world will not end if wait a bit. Call someone not caught in the DoItNow mode (perhaps your mother?).

You’ll almost always make a better decision if you relax.

Love, Mom

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Keep Your Toes Dry | Wellingtons and the Rain

Dear Kid,

It’s a beautiful day here in Cincinnati. And by “beautiful” I raining like crazy. So if you happen to like wet weather (and the accompanying smell of wet dogs), traffic jams (“Oh, look! A raindrop! Slam on the brakes!!!), and soggy toes (I hate when I forget my rain boots) the weather is perfect. If you prefer Something Else, perhaps not.

On the Other Hand, the Something Else frequently includes even worse weather, so I’m kind of OK with rain.

And trying to remember my rain boots.

Once upon a time, people didn’t have rain boots. This was a sad time in the world, what with the aforementioned wet toes and the accompanying foot fungus. (For the record, I have never had a foot fungus. Probably because I usually wear rain boots.)

Wellingtons. Wellies. Rainboots. Still have dry toes. DearKidLoveMom.comThe Duke of Wellington, who presumably liked his toes warm and dry and liked to look fashionable at the same time, had his shoemaker make a pair of fab new boots which were called Wellingtons.

Wellies were originally made of leather, but in 1852 Hiram Hutchinson had the good fortune to meet Charles Goodyear (yep, of tire fame) and bought the patent to make footwear with natural rubber. Hiram moved to France, made a bunch of waterproof boots, and became an instant hero to a country suffering from Wet Toes.

Still not sure what wellies are? Think of Paddington (the bear, not the station) and look at his feet. Wellingtons.

Love, Mom

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Chuck Yeager, the Speed of Sound, and The Right Stuff

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, the Speed of Sound thought it was a really cool dude. The Speed put up barriers all around the world (the Sound Barrier) and strutted around daring people to race.

Birds (who are smarter than they are sometimes given credit for) politely declined to race (except for a crow named Lenny who rudely declined and was later punished for his behavior). There are rumors that a mosquito once accepted the challenge but died before the race could be run.

All in all, Speed of S was the reigning royalty of zippiness. Except for light, but we don’t like to talk about that.

Then came Chuck.

Chuck was a great dude. He was an Air Force fighter pilot. After the war, he stayed in the Air Force as a test pilot.

October 14, 1947 Chuck Yeager breaks Mach 1. DearKidLoveMom.comIt is interesting to note that Chuck Yeager doesn’t look at all like his photos. I know this because I saw the movie The Right Stuff and I know that Chuck really looks a lot like Sam Sheppard.

Chuck Yeager was selected to fly the Bell XS-1 in an attempt to break the sound barrier. Everyone (including the aforementioned Speed of Sound) knew that this was impossible, because going that fast would blow up the aircraft, anyone in it, and quite possibly the entire universe. The only people who did not know it was impossible were the people involved in the testing.

Because the idea of doing the impossible wasn’t enough, Chuck fell off a horse two days before The Flight. He didn’t want to be taken off the project so he had a veterinarian tape him up (which seems fair since the horse caused the problems). He told his wife (smart man) and one other project pilot, Jack Ridley. Ridley (being that kind of a pilot) fixed up a broom handle lever so that Chuck could seal the hatch (the broken ribs making it impossible for Yeager to move enough to grab the regular door handle). It’s a great scene in the movie. And because I’m That Kind of Mom I’ve included the scene for you (below).

Spoiler alert: on October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager reached Mach 1.07. Speed of Sound went to bed without dinner and sulked for many days. After that Speed went back to work and spent more time than usual tormenting mosquitoes.

Chuck Yeager went on to break a boatload planeload of other records. To the best of my knowledge, he did not apologize for breaking them and everyone knows you should apologize if you break something. He was one of the first American pilots to fly a MiG-15 (you’re playing the soundtrack in your head, aren’t you?). He flew a chase aircraft in 1953 for Jackie Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than the Speed (told you he was a good guy).

Also in 1953, Other People were the first to reach Mach 2. Ridley and Yeager decided to outdo the O.P. and hit 2.44 before the O.P. could even have a good celebratory party.

On October 14, 2012 on the 65th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier, then Brigadier General (retired) Yeager did it again at the age of 89. Pretty dang cool if you ask me.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Tries to Talk His Way Out of a Bath

Dear Kid,

Puppy: Mommy. We need to talk.
Me: We do?
Puppy: I heard you talking to Pi
Me: Yes?
Puppy: And you said that it was better to explain why she didn’t want to do something rather than just saying she didn’t want to
Me: Very true
Puppy: And to explain the good parts and the icky parts
Me: Still true
Puppy: So I made a list
Me: You what?
Puppy: Made a list
Me: Of?
Puppy: Why I don’t like baths
Me: I can hardly wait. Do tell.
Puppy: I like the cheese afterward. But I’m a big boy and I think I should get two pieces of cheese.
Me: One piece it is
Puppy: And I like when you tell me I’m a good doggy.
Me: You are a Most Excellent Beast
Puppy: I like snuggling. And I like when I get you wet and you squeak.
Me: I’m sure other people share your joy
Puppy: But I don’t like the water
Me: Hard to see how we’ll manage a bath without water
Puppy: I don’t like the shampoo. It’s cold.
Me: I am not going to microwave the shampoo
Puppy: And the linens. I don’t like having you wash my blankets
Me: Why not?
Puppy: Because then they smell CLEAN! And I don’t like it when you wash my tail.
Me: It’s a part that has to get washed
Puppy: No, I don’t think there are any parts that HAVE to get washed
Me: Don’t think we’re going to agree on that one
Puppy: I like it when you dry me, but you should do it faster. Much faster.
Me: So you can get to the cheese more quickly?
Puppy: The two pieces of cheese
Me: One
Puppy: So I think it would be better if we just snuggle and have cheese and skip the water and shampoo part
Me: You do
Puppy: Yes. I think that is an excellent idea
Me: It certainly is interesting
Puppy: Oh, good
Pi: Be carefully, fuzzy boy. In Mom World “interesting” doesn’t mean she agrees
Puppy: WHAT? That doesn’t seem right
Pi: Trust me
Me: Have you finished telling me the list?
Puppy: Why?
Me: It’s bath time
Puppy: I’m pretty sure I have to take a nap. I have to chew a toy. I have somewhere to be
Me: That “somewhere” is your bath
Puppy: Maybe we should review the list again
Me: Sure. We can discuss it while you’re in the bath
Puppy: But no water and no shampoo, right?
Me: No water and no shampoo until it’s time for water and shampoo
Puppy: I don’t like baths. I am not a water dog
Me: But very soon you will be a clean dog
Puppy: This conversation worked out much better in my head
Me: I love you too, sweetie. You are a Most Excellent Beast
Puppy: I am a good boy
Me: You are. Please lift your paw so I can wash it

Puppy rolls around after a bath. DearKidLoveMom.com

Love, Mom

For more puppy conversations see Puppy Conversations and Food Observations, Spring Puppy Conversations, New Puppy Conversations, Winter WonderPuppy | Baby It’s Cold Outside, Puppy Conversations Translated for the College Kid, Puppy Conversations and FIFA World Cup Soccer, Puppy Conversations and the Joy of Quirkiness, Puppy Conversations| In the Beginning, Puppy Conversations | What’s In a Name?, Puppy Conversations | Puppy Plans a Party, Puppy Speaks Foreign Languages…Sort Of, Summer Puppy Conversations | Speaking of Hope, National Dog Day | Puppy Has His Say, Puppy Conversations | Completely In Love with Tal, The Puppy and The Cricket | Wildlife in the House, and October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month |Puppy Has an Announcement

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