Lettuce Eat Local: We had a fair time

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“I love you when you go to the fair, Mommy.”
Fortunately I know Benson loves me all the time, but I’m glad he clearly enjoyed our experiences at the Kansas State Fair last week. We went for a couple hours on two different days, and I was afraid it would end up just being a lot of noise, walking, and waiting for a two-year-old. To be fair, it was all those things…but apparently the animal encounters made it all worth it.
We have cows literally 200 feet out our front door, yet Benson is still quick to mention how he saw cows at the fair. We even visited a couple of our expectant mama Holsteins in the birthing center, trying to heed the “do not pet the animals” sign. I enjoyed seeing the two sets of tiny (for now) pink piglets, although my explanation to my son that this is a fence only served to make him think he was supposed to carefully duck under it instead of stay on this side of it.
The place where you are supposed to pet the animals went much better — we spent a good portion of time in the petting zoo getting up close to the llamas, zebra, and potbelly pigs. The feisty wallabies and prickly porcupine got plenty of personal space, but Benson walked right up to the two pygmy goat kids sticking their heads through the fence and gave them a double hug. (Unfortunately even that sweetness hasn’t convinced Brian we need some of our own…yet.)
The poultry barn would have been a big draw, except he’s had a lot of noise sensitivity since his concussion, and chickens, ducks, and geese make not only loud sounds but sometimes oddly disconcerting ones. Rabbits, however, tend to be delightfully nonverbal, so we inspected approximately every single one in their building.
But in between animal adventures, Mommy made him come along with her to the Domestic Arts Building for a couple food special contests. Every year I tell myself I’m not investing the time, effort, expense, and disappointment to enter any more of the fair competitions…and every year I win just enough to keep me coming back. For real though, this was my last year for a while; it’ll be too hard to drag a baby plus a three-year-old around for all of that. Right?
I actually don’t know the results of my last contest, but right now I placed on three out of five entries. Which, like I said, is just enough blue-ribbon and cash-prize appeal to keep me feeling like it was worthwhile.
By the time judging was complete on the first da, both my son and the leftover first-place popsicles were done. (I was too, but I’m hoping it wasn’t quite as visibly obvious.) When I first started entering the three categories of the soy foods special contest a few years ago, Brian was fairly offended. We’re dairy farmers, after all! While he still doesn’t eat my soy-full experiments, as a matter of principle of course, he’s at least given in to the fact that I’m going to try some things. I enjoy finding my creative space within some different parameters than usual, and honestly I really like tofu, soymilk, miso, and other soy-based products.
These popsicles — or rather, pop-soy-cles — actually include all three of my favorite soy elements. I missed the judges’ actual comments due to the doneness of the aforementioned two-year-old, but I was delighted to hear they found the flavor and texture all very appealing. I mean, I thought they were delicious, but we know that’s not always a good criterion.
So here’s the recipe for you to make your own judgments. I’d say you should at least try and give them a fair chance.

PBB Pop-soy-cles

My poor (or lucky?) child thinks popsicles are fruit and yogurt, and I love that I can give him such healthy, refreshing treats. These are definitely richer than our norm, but also chock full of protein and plant fats, so still a win — and so tasty and easy. If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you can try freezing these in dixie cups with a wooden craft stick down the center.
Prep tips: Clearly I won’t be mad if you use cow milk and regular granola, but the tofu really belongs here. If you have leftovers after filling your popsicle molds, just refrigerate the extra and enjoy a rich, nutty pudding!

1 [16 oz] package of firm tofu
2 ripe bananas
¼ – ½ cup unsweetened soymilk, as needed
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon white miso
¼-½ cup brown sugar, to taste
½ cup soy-based granola

In a high-powered blender, blend tofu, 1 banana, soymilk, peanut butter, salt, and sweetener to taste, until completely smooth. Pulse in remaining 1 banana so that it’s incorporated but still chunky. Spoon into popsicle molds, layering in granola. Freeze until firm, at least a couple hours. Remove from molds whenever you want, and store popsicles in freezer.
When ready to serve, let popsicles sit at room temp for a few minutes, or microwave for a few seconds, to soften.

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