Archive for the ‘Peanut Butter’ Category
Today has been a great day (minus the hour it took to get home). There must have been an accident on the interstate because that is a new record by 10 minutes. What kept me going during the long ride home was the excitement of my first intermediate yoga class. I signed up as part of our town’s rec department, and we do yoga in a middle school cafeteria. The teacher is awesome. She’s in her early 60s I’m guessing and she’s so peppy and happy. I kept thinking she’d make an awesome neighbor. She’d be one of those people who would always watch your house when you leave town and bring you jam in the summer.
That’s one thing that’s different in an apartment. We are surrounded by people and I have no idea who any of our neighbors are (expect the hoarders across the hallway). When we lived in a duplex, we loved our neighbors and managed to see them more often even though they were farther away.
Anyway, the yoga class lasts for 12 weeks and I can already tell I’m going to love it. Between car rides and sitting at my desk nearly all day, my body craves the stretches and inversions of yoga. And without fail, I always feel great after every class.
Pre-yoga, I snacked on kitty cookie crackers from Trader Joe’s with Oliver and my new favorite spread – cashew butter. Before I wrote this article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on nut butters, I thought I hated cashews. Well my taste buds must have changed because I couldn’t get enough cashew butter and lemon curd sandwiches. Epic, I tell you!
I remember buying cashew butter for a muffin recipe and it was pretty expensive, $7-something a jar. If you can get cashews on sale or buy them in bulk, it’s much cheaper to make the sticky stuff yourself.
To make my version, you only need cashews, walnut oil and salt. If you don’t have walnut oil, use canola because it’s mild in flavor.
Makes about 1 cup
8 ounces cashews
1-2 tablespoons walnut oil
Salt, to taste
In a food processor, add cashews and grind for about 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil while the machine is still running. Continue running the machine for another minute. If you like your cashew butter extra smooth, add a little more oil and season with a pinch or two of salt and grind to your desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 3 weeks.
In addition to cashew butter, I’ve also made homemade peanut butter, which turned out fantastic. It’s like the best natural peanut butter you can find but butter because it tastes fresher. Next on my list: homemade cookie butter. Oh yeah.
Question: What’s your favorite nut butter? Have you ever tried making it yourself?
It’s no secret that I have about 8 jars of peanut butter in my house. But this is a problem I’d gladly have any day of the week (because I know overnight oats in a jar is in my future). I still have a bit of PB Crave left, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to adapt one of their flavors into a recipe.
On Sunday, I met the girls for a Buffy-watching/pizza party. My friend Sun has made Katie Lee’s peanut butter balls many times before, so I knew she’d like this recipe. I used PB Crave’s Coco Bananas to make a banana-infused peanut butter ball. They were so good, I kind of regret leaving them at Jess’s house.
The balls are made with Rice Krispies (hence the holes in the dough). This made them a little airier than typical PB balls.
Coco Banana Peanut Butter Balls
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Makes 25 balls
1/2 cup Coco Bananas PB Crave
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces chocolate Almond Bark
In a bowl, stir together PB Crave and butter. Gradually add cereal and powdered sugar, stirring until combined. Using a small cookie scoop, shape into 1-inch balls. Set on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for one hour.
Break up Almond Bark into a small heatproof bowl. Microwave for about a minute, stirring after 30 seconds, or until melted. Using a fork or dipping tongs, dip balls, one at a time, into coating. Place back on the waxed paper. Once all the balls are dipped, let stand at least 10 minutes. These will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Name a favorite TV show from your past that you’re embarrassed to admit watching. Before soaps were a dying breed, I would have said “All My Children.” My mom watched that show when I was growing up, so I was heartbroken when it went off the air.
To all the dads out there, happy Father’s Day! I had an article about children who followed in their dad’s culinary footsteps published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today to celebrate the holiday. On the cover is Michael Engel and his three sons of Pastiche in Bay View. (You can read their story here). For the entire five sections, visit JSOnline’s Food section.
I know I’ve been slightly MIA for most of the week. I was actually in Minneapolis Wednesday and Thursday for work. I’d love to get back up there to visit and see the city more – especially St. Louis Park (I saw they had a Lululemon and I pretty much squealed).
Last night, my mom, sister and baby Tristan came over for dinner. Me and my sis left for a bit to see “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I LOVED it! I’m so embarrassed to admit, but I actually cried about 3 times during the movie. I wasn’t expecting so many emotional parts.
When we got home, we made homemade pizzas (the sourdough pizza crust is our go-to recipe from King Arthur flour). Toppings included pepperoni (it said Wisconsin Quality on the package, but it was actually manufactured in Kansas!), green peppers, onions, kalamata olives, Mozzarella cheese and Asiago. On the side, we dolled up a Suddenly Salad pasta salad with peas, kalamata olives and bacon bits. The meal deserved a gold star for sure.
Nuts About Granola Product Review
This morning before my 6-mile run, I tried out my Nuts About Granola sample. They have a ton of flavors, but I was happy to receive their Peanut Butter Granola to try. It may go without saying, but this granola tastes homemade (and has a similar texture to my Apple Butter Granola). I’ve tried other commercial brands and some flavors just taste…off. This stuff tastes like I made it myself, fresh, simple, tasty.
I also love the very distinct peanut butter flavor. I can see myself sprinkling it over waffles or pancakes (in addition to yogurt). As far as ingredients go, everything is natural: whole oats, peanuts, brown sugar, honey, natural peanut butter, canola oil, organic wheat bran, cinnamon and natural sea salt. You can buy Nuts About Granola products at these locations or online.
Questions: How did you celebrate Father’s Day?
What’s the last great movie you saw? Besides “What to Expect,” Brenton and I saw “In Time” with Justin Timberlake. I saw it got some flack, but we really liked it.
It seems like I’ve been hearing about PB Crave all over the place, so I was thrilled to be able to try it myself. Not only is it all-natural, each of the four flavors are infused with their own unique ingredients. I taste-tested their Cookie Nookie, Razzle Dazzle, Choco Choco and Coco Bananas.
Each flavor is over-the-top delicious and yet not overpowering. My favorite was the Cookie Nookie (which reminded me a tad bit of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter). What I like is that their products are peanut butter, first and foremost. And you can eat them whatever way you eat normal peanut butter (like in Overnight Oats or in Protein Cookie Dough). I think it’s safe to say that if you love peanut butter, you’ll love PB Crave.
My parents came over a few weeks ago and we had a peanut butter taste-test. My mom, who is the pickiest eater, loved the Razzle Dazzle. Both of them said they would buy the product if they ever came across it. Rght now, you can buy PB Crave on their website or on Amazon.
As far as the nutritional stats go, it’s comparable to regular peanut butter – 180 calories, 6 grams of protein, 120 mg sodium, 2 g fiber and 6 g sugar per 2-tablespoon serving.
I also love how PB Crave is giving back through Project Peanut Butter – a non-profit organization committed to helping malnourished children.
How great would it be to infuse peanut butter recipes with the extra flavor of PB Crave? Since it’s National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, I think it’s only fitting to include some of my favorite cookie and bar recipes. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I did receive free products from PB Crave, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own.
What’s your favorite thing to do or make with peanut butter?
This week has been an uphill battle to eat more healthfully. After a weekend of indulging on cheese and more cheese, its been tough to make better choices during the week. This really proves my theory that the more you eat nutritiously and exercise, the more you want to keep doing it. But when you get used to not working out and eating heavier foods, it’s harder to get back on the wagon.
So for me, this week has been one of transition. I have been working out every day, whether it’s a 5-mile run or strength training at the gym. Here are some of the power foods that have helped me get back into the swing of things.
On Saturday during our Wisconsin Cheese Tour trip, we stopped at the Dane Co. farmers’ market in Madison (recap to come soon!). I was able to pick up a ton of fresh produce, like the Italian heirloom lettuce, kale ad asparagus used in this salad.
Chicken Detox Salad
1 1/2 cups lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup kale, chopped
1/2 small tomato, diced
1 leftover chicken breast, diced
1 ounce Swiss cheese, cubed
4 asparagus spears, cut in 1″ segments
1/2 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Spices, to taste
Croutons, to taste
Light ranch dressing, to taste
In small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the asparagus spears and onions. And any spices you like (such as garlic, salt, pepper), and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
On a plate, place your lettuce and kale. Top with tomatoes, chicken and cheese. Add asparagus and onions. Add croutons, if using, and drizzle ranch dressing on top.
Protein Cookie Dough
For breakfast, I discovered the best thing ever. It’s called Protein Cookie Dough and it’s from STUFT Mama. The best part? It kept me full for 5 hours (a miracle) and it tasted great. I was a little nervous because I’ve never used protein powder in anything but smoothies. I’ve heard of bloggers putting it in their oatmeal for awhile. Great idea, if you as me.
Also, it gave me a chance to use my PB2 in a new way.
Protein Cookie Dough
Adapted from STUFT Mama
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup Rice Krispies (generic or brand name)
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons PB2
1 tablespoon PB Craze Cookie Nookie
2 tablespoons homemade applesauce (yes, I made this stuff with Brenton’s parents in fall 2009 – time to use it up!)
Mix everything together and press into a bowl. Refrigerate if you like.
Since it’s not even 7:30, I’m making this for breakfast again this morning. I can’t wait to try STUFT Mama’s Fudgy Protein Cookie Dough next (since I have about 9 cans of pumpkin in the house, I need to!)
Question: What healthy recipes have you been making this week? AND Have any good recipes that use pumpkin? Feel free to link up!
Last week, the folks at Bell Plantation sent me some of their PB2 to review. I love peanut butter and was extremely intrigued by their powdered varieties. Because 85% of the fat and calories are removed, PB2 had only 45 calories per 2 tablespoon serving. Regular peanut butters have 180-200 calories for the same amount.
I tried their regular powdered peanut butter, chocolate PB2 and PB Thins, their peanut butter crackers.
To make peanut butter, simply combine 2 tablespoons of powered peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of water and mix.
If your peanut butter is too thin, simply add a bit more powder. If it’s too thick, add a pinch of water.
I decided to try each variety on a sourdough English muffin before a 6-mile run on Sunday.
The consensus: I love the fact that each serving as 4-5 grams of protein. This is only a tad bit less than regular peanut butter with much fewer calories. This makes it great for people who are concerned about losing weight or maintaining it (and since I just came off of a weekend of cheese eating, that would be me). There aren’t any preservatives in these products either, which I love. So many peanut butters on the market are filled with high fructose corn syrup and additives. I felt like I was eating something that was much better for me.
As far as flavor goes, I feel PB2 has a more mild flavor than regular peanut butter. And because there isn’t any oil or grease, it’s less sticky and thinner than peanut butter.
You can add the powder directly to smoothies, which I can’t wait to try. PB2 has a giant recipe page, so I’d love to find interesting ways to use their powdered peanut butter.
I really liked dipping PB Thins into PB2 – their peanut butter crackers. But I think it tastes a little more like a hybrid between a cracker and a cookie. I really liked these and found myself adding a few to my breakfast plate each morning. Since all of the ingredients are dog-friendly and Oliver LOVES peanut butter, I thought I’d share one.
He gobbled those things up. But since I only have one bag, I didn’t want to share too many! To buy Bell Plantation products online, click here.
Question: How would you use PB2? I’m thinking some overnight oats.
*Disclaimer: I did receive free products from Bell Plantation, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own.
On Friday I got the most delicious surprise in the mail. Carol sent me some of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter!!!
I literally screamed when I opened my mailbox. And no, it wasn’t because I was hopped up on Bloody Mary’s from happy hour at Barnacle Buds. Needless to say, I immediately dug in.
See, even Oliver was excited.
I’ve been hearing about TJ’s Cookie Butter for months. The nearest Trader Joe’s is about 30 minutes away (by Oliver’s vet). The last time I went in, they were out. The store clerk had no idea what I was talking about and pointed me in the direction of the pumpkin butter. Ummm, not the same thing! I finally got a hold of a manager who told me that it was originally made as a limited-edition item, but the response was so great that they were bringing it back.
The consensus: I had no idea there were actual cookies in there. It almost takes like a gingersnap – you can definitely taste cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. In other words, it was everything I hoped it would be.
The first night I smeared it on some graham crackers. The next morning before BodyPump, I smeared in on a banana. The morning after that, I put it on a homemade sourdough waffle with some marshmallow fluff. HEAVEN! In fact, I can see Cookie Butter starring in an upcoming Fluffernutter sandwich.
I balanced that meal out with some homemade yogurt, fresh blueberries and Special K with Red Berries.
Definitely an A+
Have you ever tried TJ’s Cookie Butter? How do you eat it?
Is there any food that you’ve always wanted to try? Did it live up to the hype when you finally did?