Family Times

kids, Svara, Talisa

Well, it sure has been awhile!  So much for keeping other updates instead of Talisa’s monthly updates!  I have a few posts to share, but I want to do them in order.  So today here a few photos showing some of the things we do around the house together 🙂

Three months ago Svara turned 7.  I still can’t believe it! For her birthday we were happy to be able to get her one of the things she wanted more than anything – the large Lego Friends house.  The year before she had gotten a couple of the smaller sets for her birthday.  She really enjoyed them, but needed a lot of guidance to put them together.  This year she put together the whole thing almost all by herself.

lego1 lego2



Both of the girls have been helping me out with cooking as well.  Talisa loves stirring oats or flour while Svara and I are busy.  As you can imagine, this can get quite messy!


Svara, on the other hand, is now able to read parts of recipes and help out with measuring as well.  Our kitchen can be quite warm as there is no fan, so when she helps cook I usually take all the ingredients to the dining table so it’s cooler. Here she was mixing together some granola, yum!



Sometimes when I am working in the kitchen I really need to find something to keep Talisa busy.  She has kind of gotten bored with digging around in the cupboards, so I have to be more imaginative.


On this day I took out the playdough and utensil drawer and she went to town.  After awhile she was ready for something new and she asked for some oats.  She likes to stir them and eat them!




I’ll leave today with a few photos of Talisa doing what she does best – being silly!  And eating her still favorite snack – frozen blueberries!  I’ll be back soon with a few more posts of the fun stuff we’ve been up to!





blueberry7 blueberry6 blueberry5 blueberry4 blueberry3 blueberry2 blueberry1


Talisa – 18 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa
Our neighbor and friend is a fantastic photographer and took photographs of the girls recently.  Here is the first glimpse of the photo session, I'll post more when we get more!

Our neighbor and friend is a fantastic photographer and took photographs of the girls recently. Here is the first glimpse of the photo session, I’ll post more when we get more!

18 months old seems like such a milestone.  Halfway between baby and toddler.  Starting to do so many more things!  Jokes, crafts, helping, and more!

Here is the rundown of where Talisa is these days.  After this month I’ll try to get back into regular posting of daily things and probably not post an official Talisa update until 2 years.

I have to apologize, mostly to myself, for the severe lack of photos from this past month.  The memory card from our handy small camera has been misplaced, and I can never remember to take out the big camera to take daily photos!  So the few photos here are from Naren’s phone this month.  Usually I have a few on my ipad, but the wifi on my ipad doesn’t work anymore, so I don’t have it handy and don’t find it useful to take photos anymore there.

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is in this parroting phase.  All we have to say is “Can you say____” and she’ll repeat what it is we want her to.  Some words are more clear than others, but it’s amazing that she’ll give any word a try!  She hardly does any baby signs anymore as they have all been replaced by words.  Sometimes she’ll sign “more” or “nurse” but I think that’s about it.  She loves singing (Baa Baa Black Sheep is the current favorite) and she’ll sing along with her favorite tunes but with nonsensical words, it’s pretty adorable.  She says 2 and 3 word sentences pretty regularly and is always pointing things out.


PLAY – No surprise here, but books are still her number one favorite toy.  She is also getting more into role playing with dolls and such.  Not anything that makes sense, but it’s cute watching her develop that side. She is also starting to role play things in the toy kitchen – putting a pitcher under the sink spout, giving me things to eat, etc.  She is getting more accurate with her shape sorters.  Naren bought her a set of the big duplo legos for Ayyam-i-Ha and she has fun putting those together.  Sometimes she is content to play alone, and other time she insists we “SIT!  SIT!” next to her and play with her.

We were fortunate to get to a great book sale this month.  We all picked out some books we liked.  Talisa had a blast of course!

We were fortunate to get to a great book sale this month. We all picked out some books we liked. Talisa had a blast of course!


SKILLS – Talisa has moved to almost exclusively feeding herself with her little fork and spoon.  Last week she ate all of her breakfast oatmeal by herself (spilled a bit, but not much!).  I think she was wanting to do this before we knew it because she’d always reach for the table yelling “nah! nah! nah!” which is what she says when she wants something.  I realized finally that what she wanted was her bowl/plate of food!  I bought a bowl with a suction cup so it won’t slide around while she’s trying to scoop out the food.  She can easily take the bowl off of her try if she tries, but at least it helps with the sliding when she’s seriously trying to eat.  She can also hold an open cup and drink out of it by herself!  When she’s tired of drinking she’ll start dumping, though, so I have to watch her carefully.

FOOD – She is still eating mainly what we eat.  Breakfast is usually scrambled egg (or just the egg yolk and Svara eats the white, their preference), toast, cold cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, frozen blueberries, bananas, etc.  Lunch is often miso noodle soup (with carrots and tofu, she shares this with Svara), or else whatever we are having.  Same with dinner.  Snacks are popsicles (usually just blended up watermelon, or sometimes banana with milk/fruit), banana ‘icecream’, homemade cookies, crackers with hummus, raisins, etc.


SLEEP – Talisa is still working on those teeth!  I think the last one of that set of 8 that was coming in is just about to pop.  Then it’ll just be the canines and then her 2 year molars (hopefully not for awhile!).  It’s still the norm to nurse her to sleep.  Occasionally she’ll have a 4 hour stretch of sleep, but the usual night is 2 hour stretches, with sometimes a 3 hour thrown in there.  Hoping after this final one comes out it’ll be awhile before the canines start coming in!  She is improving with the staying awake in the middle of the night.  This past month it has only happened on the night she had a tooth popping through (twice this month I think).  She tries to get back to sleep, but it can take 2-3 hours on those nights.

GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT – we need to take her for her 18 month checkup, but she had fever and still has a little bit of a runny nose, so we’ll wait until next week.  She is SO active that she seems pretty slim (but not too slim).  I miss her chubbiness!  Her hair has seemed to stop growing this month.  It’s quite curly, but since there is not much of it, it just sticks out in funny random places.  Quite entertaining 😉


THINGS TO REMEMBER:  Here are some little things I want to remember but don’t really fall into the above categories…

  • Talisa had a bad accident this past month.  She fell on the three steps that go from our living to dining room and her teeth went through her bottom lip.  Naren was not home at the time, and it was pretty traumatizing for the three of us girls at home.  The bleeding stopped faster than I had even hoped it would, and it healed up within 2-3 weeks, but you can still see that her lip is bigger in that area.  I wonder if the evidence will ever disappear.  I really felt completely awful!
  • Talisa is starting to bully Svara!  Pulling her hair, hitting her, kicking her, etc.  She does it to me as well, but not nearly as much as she does to Svara.  I guess Svara is an easier target!  Svara used to hit me a lot starting at that age, so it’s not too surprising, but it’s hard to get Svara to react in a way that will help stop the behavior.
  • She has started saying “I love you” every time she kisses or hugs us, which is a LOOOOT.  I LOVE it!  She’s not clear in the way she says it, it’s something like “Ahdzhoo”.
  • When we are playing around on the bed she likes to tell me (or whoever) to sleep and expects me to put my head down, take off my glasses, and close my eyes.  Yesterday she did it to Naren and Svara and she even sang them some songs like lullabies, haha!
  • Her little cloth (it’s actually a premie prefold) and pacifier are her security items.  I have several of the prefolds so I can rotate them and have extras around just in case!  She has to be holding her cloth while she nurses, sleeps, and if she’s ever upset.   Svara never had any security items beyond her pacifier, so it’ll be interesting to see how long she keeps it for!
  • She is starting to show interest in toilet training, but she only wants to sit on the toilet, she never actually does anything.  But it’s a start!  Time to get out the potty chairs!

sister smiles


Talisa – 17 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa

talisa laughing at svara


My baby is quickly turning into a toddler and little girl. At this age she is still a baby in so many ways, but she is also growing in SO many ways EVERY day. I don’t have access to my photos at the moment, but I wanted to make sure to write this post anyway! So here is a rundown on where Talisa is these days!

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is a little talker! She still uses some baby signs, but some of them have been given up since she can easily say the word. But she has also made up some of her own baby signs! Unfortunately it’s not as easy for us to know what her made up signs mean. For example, one of her self-made signs is tapping on hand on the back of her other hand. She makes this sign whenever she hears a loud hammering type sound from neighbors doing renovation. Obviously the sign means that sound, but I’m so curious to know why she made the sign like that and what exactly it means to her! She is saying new words every single day, and even 2 word sentences sometimes.

PLAY – Her play preferences haven’t really changed since the last update.  Books are still her number 1 favorite ‘toy’.  She’ll sit and look at books for quite some time by herself, or bring us books and cuddle up next to us so we’ll read them.  She likes to grab a book, roll onto her back, and page through it.  And it doesn’t have to be a baby book.  A novel, a cookbook, anything with pages will do!  Shape sorters and stacking toys are still favorites as well.  She sometimes makes little dolls and animals ‘talk’ which is pretty darn cute!  She likes dumping things out and putting them back in.

Talisa reading

SKILLS – Lots more climbing going on these days!  She’ll climb onto a stool, stand up, and then get back down by herself.  She likes stepping into boxes and baskets as well.  She is working on learning how to feed herself with a spoon.  Usually the spoon/fork goes into her mouth upside down, but it’s starting to improve a bit!

FOOD – Not much has changed here lately. She is still basically eating what we do (minus the spicy foods and still no chocolate or oranges or dairy).  She likes tofu, plain rice, soups, blueberries, toasted sandwiches, hummus on crackers, cookies, and much more.  Oh, and ice chips!

SLEEP – I mentioned last time that her molars were starting to come in.  She’s still working on them.  And not only molars, but her incisors and canines as well.  That’s a lot of teeth!  Going on 2 months of straight teething.  I haven’t been able to put her down to sleep awake for this whole time.  It has sadly become the new norm to nurse her to sleep and gently put her in her crib.  I have never had to nurse/hold her to sleep for this long before.  As soon as these teeth finish coming in (it seems like one breaks through every 1-3 weeks and each molar is a 2 week ordeal by itself) I HOPE HOPE HOPE she gets back to her old routine of nursing, then into the crib to settle herself to sleep.  If she doesn’t I’ll have to urge her in that direction.  And now that she’s much more opinionated that’ll be interesting…   So yeah, still the old good nights are 2-3 hour stretches and bad nights are 30-90 minute stretches.  And if it’s a night where a tooth is really bothering her she may be awake for 2-3 hours (last night she was awake from 5am-6:45am and then back to sleep until 8.  I don’t let her get up and play anymore when she is awake in the middle of the night.  I try try try to put her to sleep, let her sit on the bed and babble for awhile (in the dark) until she asks to nurse again, etc. etc.  Hoping that helps not turn it into a habit!  It seems to be happening less than before (crossing fingers).  She is down to one nap a day except for the very odd day here and there if she wakes up early and had a rough night of teething.

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT – As I mentioned, she has a lot of teeth coming in one after the other!  At last check (it’s hard to get a good look!) 3 molars are through along with 2-3 of her second incisors.  The canines aren’t through yet, but I think they are on their way.

She is growing taller!  I haven’t measured her, but a couple weeks ago we noticed that she was reaching for the latch on the front door and she was about an inch away from reaching it.  Today she reached it and opened the door, eeps!  Now we have to keep the front door locked 😛  So she’s definitely growing!  Her hair is growing as well, all funny and curly and adorable.  I hope to post some good photos soon!


Finally a photo of the teeth!

talisa dirty look

Talisa giving her “dirty look” to Svara. She thinks it’s hilarious!


Happy Ayyám-i-Há and Giveaway!


Happy Ayyám-i-Há!

The celebration of Ayyám-i-Há is celebrated by Baha’is all around the world from Feb. 26th through March 1st.  It is marked by hospitality, charity, gift giving, and general ‘having fun!’ times!  I grew up as a Baha’i and have fond memories of our yearly Ayyám-i-Há adventures.  One of the fun things is that there are not necessary traditions that are associated with the holiday, so each family is free to pick and choose what they like to do, share ideas, or come up with their own.  I remember one tradition we started when I was a teenager was to make a yearly gingerbread house as a ‘gift’ to our parents.  Each year they got more creative!

Now that I have a family of my own, I get the chance to create new traditions with my own children!  Music is an important part of all aspects of life, and celebrations are no exception.  Luckily for us the collection of songs available about Ayyám-i-Há grows with each passing year.  My daughter’s all time favorite song is The Spirit of Ayyám-i-Há .  You can click to see it on youtube.  She loves the video as much as the song and I can’t even count the number of times we watched it last year.  And we have started again for this holiday season!  Luckily I really enjoy the song as well 🙂

Svara and I were starting to make some Ayyám-i-Há cards and so we of course had to use a line from her favorite song as our inspiration.  Here is her first finished card.  I did the lettering and she made the paper quilled hearts for it.  Click here to see a tutorial (starring Svara!) for how to make the paper quilled heart decorations.

card finished

Now for something really exciting, a GIVEAWAY!  I am thrilled to be participating in a giveaway with two other lovely ladies.  Read on below to find out all about it and how to enter!

Ayyám-i-Há Giveaway


I am so excited to be joining with two of my favorite bloggers for a very special Ayyám-i-Há giveaway! For this contest, we want to see how YOU celebrate Ayyám-i-Há (or other favorite holiday) with your family and community. We have 3 exciting prize packages, so read below to see how you can enter to win!

1st Prize


Ayyám-i-Há: Fun Ideas for Children and Families by Varya Sanina-Garmroud and Leanna Guillén Mora: An e-book full of crafts, recipes, jokes, and printable activities!

2nd Prize



Gift certificate to Honey’s Hive Etsy Shop ($15 value): Can be used for any of the beautiful hand crafted jewelry or pdf tutorials (not for purchase of quilling or craft supplies or tools).

Ayyám-i-Há: Fun Ideas for Children and Families by Varya Sanina-Garmroud and Leanna Guillén Mora

3rd Prize

Ayyám-i-Há: Fun Ideas for Children and Families by Varya Sanina-Garmroud and Leanna Guillén Mora


How to Enter

You can enter by doing one or both of the following for up to two total entries:

1) Leave a comment on one of the participating blogs (see list below) telling us how you celebrate Ayyám-i-Há (or another favorite holiday!) with your family or community

2) Email a photo of the same to us at alldonemonkey {at} gmail {dot} com. Be sure to put Ayyám-i-Há Giveaway in the header.

Contest Rules

Contest closes on February 18, 2014, at midnight PT. Winners will be chosen by random draw. Winners will be informed within 48 hours of the close of the contest and have 48 hours to respond before another name is drawn. By submitting your comment and/or photo, you are granting us permission to use them in a post on “Ayyám-i-Há Around the World,” which will be published on February 28, 2014, on Multicultural Kid Blogs.

Participating Blogs

Creative World of Varya

All Done Monkey


Talisa’s First Birthday Party


A month after Talisa’s birthday I finally  managed to post about her actual day that we celebrated as a family.  But I never got around to posting about her party!  So here is a little recap along with some photos!

We had an afternoon tea-time party with some family and friends.  Not too big.  Of course there had to be balloons!  Naren’s parents and sister picked out this gorgeous dress for her to wear for her part, so she was quite the elegant birthday girl!  For the snacks I made two types of hummus, three types of pita bread, vegetarian sausages, and we had watermelon, fruit salad, and cut veggies.  It was simple, but good!

balloons balloons2 balloons3

As usual I made the birthday cake myself.  It was two layers of chocolate and one layer of raspberry.  With raspberry buttercream in the middle and chocolate buttercream covering.

cake cake2

After the party we tried to get Talisa to sit among her gifts, but as you can see she didn’t have much interest in them!  So we had fun opening them for her.  Her favorites were books!

gifts silhouette

Catching Up

family, kids, Svara, Talisa

I’m still playing catchup!  I’ll try to get mostly caught up in this post so I can start actually posting current photos!

Halloween 2013

We’ve never celebrated Halloween here in Malaysia, beyond dressing Svara up when she was an infant and visited my classroom when I was teaching.  Halloween is becoming more common here, but we still didn’t have any plans for this year.  Svara, however, has learned about Halloween through a few cartoons, stories from me, etc.  so she was ready to celebrate!  We decided to go to the mall on Halloween and the girls dressed up for the fun of it.  Here they are!

halloween halloween2

Talisa wore the same costume that Svara wore many years ago and Svara decided to dress up as a witch.  A black Indian outfit and a handcrafted paper witch hat completed her outfit.  I decided to let her to to the mall without brushing her hair, to make it look more “witchy”.

A few more photos to complete 2013:

swimming hug

Hugging her sister, even in the pool!

signing %22more%22

signing “more”


summer fun!

playing in dirt

children must play in the dirt, right?

kitchen mess

this is what my ktichen looks like on a daily basis! I also usually end up pushing chairs against the sink cabinet and in front of the stove and oven to keep her from those places. If Naren isn’t home and I need to get something done in the kitchen, this is the only way!


a rare family photo! All dressed up ready to go to a wedding celebration



Talisa 13-15 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa

high chair

Wow, how have I left my blog for so long?  I’ve been so busy with work, projects, the house, kids, etc.  that this blog has kind of fallen by the wayside.  But before my baby gets any older I figured I better do a catchup post!

Here is a quick rundown so I don’t forget all of her development over the past three months:

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is talking more and more every day, always trying new words.  She does some more signs as well, but seems to really enjoy trying to say words.  But the signs she makes are very important ones for her and she uses them all the time.  When she doesn’t know the word or sign for something she flaps her arms around and says “nahnahnahnahnah”.

PLAY – Talisa’s favorite thing is still BOOKS!  She starts her mornings by looking at books and ends her days by looking at books.  Sometimes she wants the same book read over and over.  Other times she sits through one word of a book before picking up another, and another, and another.  She is starting to play with shape sorters and nesting toys quite frequently as well.  And she can now stack things instead of just knocking them down!  Outside on the playground she can climb the stairs, go to the slide, sit down and slide down, and repeat.  A big girl!  She also enjoys the baby swing a lot.

SKILLS – Nothing new here, just honing and perfecting her climbing, running, etc.  Oh, she tries to jump, it’s so cute.  And she does this running in place move that she thinks is hilarious (it is!).  She is trying to climb up and down stairs by stepping instead of crawling.  She can sometimes manage one or two steps, but then goes back to crawling or reaches for my hand for help.

FOOD – Talisa doesn’t nurse as often during the day anymore.  She nurses in the morning, before and after nap (unless she has 2 naps, then just before each nap not after), and at bedtime.  She still nurses several times throughout the night, though.    She eats most of the same foods that we do, and most her old favorites like frozen blueberries.  She is allergic todairy, chocolate, and oranges.  she gets hives from chocolate and oranges.  I’m hoping she outgrows those allergies! She likes to feed herself with her little fork and spoon.  The difficulty is that for some reason she ALWAYS turns the utensil upside down before putting it into her mouth.  Maybe because it’s easier to take out that way?  So it only works if the food that I’m giving her actually sticks to the spoon/fork.  Otherwise it just ends up in her lap or on the floor!

SLEEP – Sleep has still been up and down, mostly down.  She had a couple weeks where she had some kind of sleep regression and it was pretty horrible trying to get her to sleep.  Though she has never slept through the night, at least she lets me nurse her, then put her in her crib and she’ll go to sleep.  But during that two weeks she just screamed her head off when I put her in her crib.  I had to hold her until she fell asleep.  Not fun when she likes to toss and turn while she’s going to sleep.  It was really a struggle.  Plus she was waking up every hour for those two weeks.   Now her molars are coming through so sleep is all messed up again.  It’s hard for her to get to sleep unless she’s really tired, and she wakes up a LOT.  In general for these past three months she has woken up every night every 1-3 hours to nurse (occasionally I just have to put her down with her pacifier and she’ll go back to sleep, but 99% of the time she wants to nurse).  On good nights she’ll have several 2-3 hour spurts.  On bad nights she’s up every 45-60 minutes all night long.

Over the past 3 months she has been slowly transitioning to 1 nap a day.  Now she usually has 1 nap a day, but still occasionally 2 naps if she wakes up early or if her nap is short.  I actually prefer one nap because it’s nice to get that 2 1/2-3 hour stretch in the middle of the day.  The transitional downside is that when she has only 1 nap she seems to wake up 1-2 hours after putting her down at night and doesn’t want to go back to sleep.  In the past we always give up and let her play for 1-2 hours to tire her out again.  But she’ll get used to that and itcan’t go on (plus I’m SOOOOOO tired) so now I make her stay in the dark room until she goes back to sleep.  sometimes nursing, sometimes I’m holding her, sometimes she’s laying in her crib or crying in her crib (I let her cry for awhile if she is insisting on getting up and play, but I stay in the room).  It still takes her 1-2 hours to get back to sleep, but I’m hoping as she gets used to this new schedule she’ll stop that waking.  There were two or three nights in the past 3 months when she had a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep.  That was nice!!  Hoping that crops up again and sticks around.  I’m still veeeeerrrrrrry tiiiiiiirrrrred.

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT – Talisa has 2 top teeth, two bottom teeth, and now her molars are coming through.  They aren’t popping through yet, but I can see them just under the gums and they are definitely causing her discomfort.  Could be affecting her sleep lately, but it’s hard to tell as she sometimes sleeps poorly anyway.  Her hair has finally grown in the past few months.  Not much, but I can see now that it’s going to be pretty curly.

And now for a few photos!  These are all from 13 and 14 months I believe, I haven’t loaded any recent photos onto my computer.  I’ve been so terrible at taking photos lately!!

Playing in the dirt, a childhood must!

Playing in the dirt, a childhood must!

This is what my kitchen ends up looking like every day as she busies herself while I am doing prep work.

This is what my kitchen ends up looking like every day as she busies herself while I am doing prep work.

Dancing in the rain!  She now says "NAIN!" every time she sees it rain.

Dancing in the rain! She now says “NAIN!” every time she sees it rain.

Swimming, a favorite pasttime.  This girl loves water, just like her big sister.

Swimming, a favorite pasttime. This girl loves water, just like her big sister.

Talisa often looks like this, just a blur running across the room!

Talisa often looks like this, just a blur running across the room!

Talisa’s First Birthday

family, kids, Talisa

Talisa’s birthday party was not scheduled for her actual birthday, but I wanted to make sure we marked the occasion as a family.  So I made a simple carob cake, some coconut based icecream, and we planned a simple outing.  Here are plenty of pictures to commemorate the simple, yet sweet, occasion.



“hey, this is pretty good!”


time to ditch the plate before everything lands on the floor in one quick sweep!


Now testing the icecream


“now THIS is good!!”


“VERY good!!”


The cake got thrown to the floor and the icecream all licked up


“All finished!”

cake10 cake11 cake12


After cake it was time to have a bath and then go out.  We needed something simple and close by.  Talisa loves animals, so we decided to go to a big pet store and just browse around.



Walking in the mall like a big girl


Here’s the pet store!


Ooh, fish!! She learned how to say “blub blub”

mall5 snake

An active snake! She really enjoyed this and learned how to say “ssssss” for a snake

mall6 doggy

Here she is panting, her sign that means dog. there were real dogs and cats there, but she was more impressed by this huge dog poster



After our little trip it was time to go home, eat dinner, and get the girls to bed.  A nice simple day together to celebrate our baby’s first birthday.


Time Together

family, kids, Svara, Talisa

At night before going to sleep Svara likes to plan out our next day.  We talk about possible things we’ll do for school, things we might make to eat, etc.  Our days don’t usually go as planned, but that’s okay.  We usually find time to do some of the things and think of new ones as well.  Here are a few things we have been up to in the past couple months:

Playing Monopoly!   As my siblings can attest to, Monopoly has always been one of my favorite games.  I was always pretty good at it, too!  Svara saw it on the shelf and wanted to learn how to play, so we’ve been playing it since.  It is good practice for counting and learning higher numbers.  We play with the time limit of Talisa’s nap so the game doesn’t drag out too long.  So far she has beat me every time (disclaimer: I’m not being ruthless and I’m actually giving her many tips throughout the game, so at this point it’s kind of like me playing against me).  It’s fun playing Monopoly again!



One of the activities that Svara likes to do while I’m putting Talisa to sleep is building.  Sometimes with regular legos, sometimes megabloks, sometimes these wooden blocks or anything else she can find.  Here she was creating a little house for her polly pockets.  In the second photo she made the house into  a stage with a curtain.  It’s always fun to come down after putting Talisa down and see what creative things Svara has been up to.

engineer1 engineer2



Last month there was a day that was so cool and breezy, it almost felt like fall or spring, it was awesome!!  I made some homemade veggie burgers, buns, and lemonade and we ate our dinner outside, taking full advantage of the beautiful weather.  We set up our table right outside our house next to the playground.





Well, it looks like most of the other photos are on the camera, not downloaded yet.  And Talisa has just woken up from her delayed and then short nap, so it’s time for me to go for now!


Giant Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

food, Recipe

I have a bunch of photos I wanted to share on mini blogposts, but I never seem to find the time!  I also wanted to share the giant peanut butter cups we made a few weeks ago for family movie night.  so first I’ll share our peanut butter cups and then do a catchup post.

I have been making peanut butter cups and/or balls for years.  Reeses peanut butter cups were always one of my favorite candies.  Not very healthy, though!  And definitely not dairy free.  I needed to learn how to make my own vegan peanut butter cups! One of the things I wanted to re-create is the sort of “mealy” texture of reeses peanut butter cups.  The filling isn’t super smooth, it kind of crumbles and then melts in your mouth.  Most recipes call for powdered sugar in the filling, but I didn’t want to add much (if any) sugar, but I wanted a kind of stiff filling.  I had a brilliant idea of adding ground flaxseeds and it worked perfectly!  So that is what I have been doing for several years.  I don’t have an exact recipe, but my method and ingredients are these:

Scoop some peanut butter in a bowl (less if you just want a few little balls/cups, more if you want… MORE!)

If the peanut butter is quite stiff, put it in the microwave for just a few seconds so it’s softer.

Add a pinch or two (or more, depending on how salty your peanut butter is and how salty you like your filling)

Add a little sweetener if you wish (I usually don’t and I use peanut butter that also has no sweetener in it)

Add enough ground flaxseeds to make a workable filling.  If you are making cups, it doesn’t need to be too stiff, but if you are making balls you’ll want it more stiff.  It can take a good amount of flax, an awesome and delicious way to get more ground flaxseeds into your diet for those omega 3s!

Melt some chocolate (I use non dairy dark chocolate chips or bars).   Either roll your filling into balls and dip into the chocolate, or make peanut butter cups.  For cups, I like to use the silicone cupcake liners (I have the mini and full size ones).  you can use paper ones, but it is MUCH harder to spread the chocolate in them.  The silicone ones make it a breeze and they pop off easily later.

For these giant ones I used the full size cupcake liners.  I spread a layer of chocolate on the bottom and up the sides, then let it chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes.  Fill it up with the peanut butter filling, and then top with more chocolate and smooth out.  Freeze for at least an hour.  The only sugar in these was in the dark chocolate.  I consider that to be a healthy indulgence!

peanut butter cup 1 peanut butter cup 2

Naren prefers the smaller cups or the peanut butter balls, but Svara was utterly delighted at having a HUGE peanut butter cup (she ate half of it for the movie and saved half for the next day).

peanut butter cup 3