Tag Archives: peanut butter

nutbut

I don’t know if I have ever fully opened up to you all about my love for nut butter. Let me share my heart with you a little today.

I have a friend wo has been known to challenge people to a game called “I love peanut butter more than you love peanut butter”, which usually ends in him telling his opponent that if there was a puppy in the road and a jar of peanut butter next to it, and a car was hurtling towards the pair at top speed, he would save the jar of peanut butter before the puppy (he has even been know to push the hypothetical puppy into the path of the hypothetical car on his way to the hypothetical peanut butter jar in order to win the game).

I’m not going to challenge you all to any hypothetical duals. I do, however, happen to have a bit of hard evidence.

(not pictured: my jar of tahini)

When you get to 6 (uh..7) jars, you start wondering if you have a problem. Actually, at this point in time I’m down to 4; I polished off the scrapings of both the chocolate almond butter and the crunchy pb in the form of overnight oats (one of the best breakfasts there is).

But.. I also have a stash squirreled away…

I’ll leave the diagnosis up to you, while I focus on the nut butter.

It’s the component of most of the breakfasts I eat that I believe really makes the meal stick with me. The healthy fats and protein are a satisfying combo, and then on top of that you get the vitamin E, iron, calcium, and antioxidants that occur in nuts and seeds in various quantities. I think the fact that the nuts are ground until their oils release means that the nutrients are brought out from their cells, ready for absorption. And your tongue can tell! Isn’t a spoonful of peanut butter more satisfying than a handful of peanuts? (or is that just me?)

Oatmeal with figs, peanut butter, and maple syrup.

And the enrichment of your life via nut butters isn’t limited to breakfast. Last night I made a saute of sweet potatoes, turnips, red pepper, and onion in a easy sauce made from a mixture of tahini, peanut butter, honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Just mix approximately equal amounts of those ingredients together, adjust until you like how it tastes, and thin it with water to add to your saute towards the end of cooking. You can also do salad dressings from similar mixtures.

Nut butter is an easy ingredient to play around with, and the results will seldom be unsatisfactory. Worth keeping a jar or two (or six…) in your pantry for some easily-accesible energy and flavor.

I’m always open to new ideas for things to do with nut butters, so if you have any to share, please feel free!

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Food with Friends

My wonderful friend Mer has been in town on break from graduate school this past week. She and I share many interests, but one of the most prevalent is a love of good food. We only saw each other twice over the past week, but we managed to create something delicious both times.

The first time, she came over and we made muffins. My life has been a search for chocolate things over the past couple of weeks, so we made chocolate muffins.

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Muffins with a Peanut Butter Swirl to be exact. Well, that link is actually for Whole Wheat Triple Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins, but it’s the recipe we modified for our new and improved version. Well, improved if you don’t consider white chocolate actual chocolate and think that basically everything is improved by peanut butter. (Both those topics of discussion could be categorized under “Interests Mer and I Share”.)

Our modifications include using less banana (because 2 was all I had) and making up the volume
difference with extra yogurt, excluding the white chocolate chips, adding a little milk because the batter was dry (perhaps due to lack of banana? though yogurt is pretty moist…), and swirling peanut butter on the top.

The result looked like this:

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And tasted like good.

The other food item we created involved cooking with many friends. Since it was some-assembly-required, this worked out well.
The idea for this sandwich was Bonnie’s, and though I have made one based on a similar concept before, this one was far superior. The concept is a grilled cheese sandwich, where you dip the bread in beaten egg before “grilling” it (which can only be done in a frying pan here–a toaster oven would be a mess. Well, I guess it might work if you have a pan that goes in the toaster oven… I don’t know, still sounds messy.). Think stuffed French toast, savory style.

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(The two pictures in this post demonstrate the difference between plentiful natural light and a lack of natural light when taking pictures with an iPhone. I’m sure you can guess which is which.)

Our fillings were: sautéed mushrooms, sautéed Swiss chard (grown by Christopher), that Bellavitano black pepper cheese from Whole Foods that is like a cross between cheddar and parmesan and is expensive but so worth it, an herbed cheese that I don’t remember the name of, and a sun-dried tomato puree.

I don’t think I need to tell you that that one also tasted like good.

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Peanut Palate

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I finished my jar of delicious coffee and chocolate-infused peanut butter the other day as an overnight oats breakfast. I’m sad that it’s gone, but happy to have a reason to try the next two! (I finished the honey pretzel kind too.)

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I’ve had this one open for a while: it sounds amazing, but it hasn’t grabbed me like the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed flavor did. It’s too sweet to be used as a normal peanut butter… However it is really delicious as a topping for vanilla ice cream. When I think of it as a substitute for Nutella, then I like it more. It’s less sweet than Nutella and has those coconut undertones.

I decided to open this jar too:

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Seen here with my unadorned oats this morning.

I then proceeded to use it in my adornment of said oats:

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I cooked the oats themselves with some banana and soy milk, then stirred some ground flax in at the end– extra fiber, healthy fats, and as an added bonus it makes them creamier 🙂 The dollop of PB is on top, but it’s hiding under coconut, granola, and extra raisins.
The cinnamon presence in the peanut butter is delicious; my only complaint is that I’m always digging for raisins. Maybe I should just stir some into the jar.

So, out of the four flavors of Wild Squirrel Peanut Butter I tried, my favorite was definitely the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed, which had ground coffee in the unsweetened peanut butter, and then a swirl of dark chocolate as a sweet off-set. It is so different from any other peanut butter i have had, but it still retains a distinct peanuttiness. I like the others too, but I think that flavor is the one I would bring up in every day conversation… and will definitely purchase again!

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3 is for Wednesday

Wednesday and the number 3 are inseparable to me. Probably because it’s the third day of the week and because a W has 3 peaks.

So here are 3 things I’ve been thinking about lately:

1. Volunteering for Girls On The Run, a program to empower young girls through running-based lessons. There’s a chapter that meets 1.5 miles from my house. I could run there.

2. The Hunger Games. I am often stubbornly wary of hype, but this book has totally gripped me. The author can definitely spin a story that sucks you in. It’s hard to separate my own opinions from the work-up around the book, so I’m just going to ignore the concept of opinion in general and enjoy reading a book I don’t want to put down. It hasn’t happened to me in a while.

3. This peanut butter:

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I got it in an OpenSky order, recommended by Kath (the only one of my “curators” I’ve bought stuff from) whose blog I read on a daily basis. There were 4 different peanut butters in the box, and I’ve opened 2 of them. One is sweetened with honey and has chunks of pretzel in it, and it’s good, but this one is totally different. It has the bitter coffee crunch of ground beans in unsweetened peanut butter, which contrasts oh-so-nicely with the smooth chocolate swirl. I love it on oatmeal that has bananas cooked into it, with coconut sprinkled on top.

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You can’t really see it in that picture… It’s blurry and covered by bananas and granola.

What am I going to do when the jar is empty? Maybe I’ll acquire a new crazy food habit of mixing ground coffee into peanut butter… Or I’ll just open one of the other flavors that awaits me… One has coconut and chocolate and one is cinnamon raisin. Those should effectively distract me until I perfect an acceptable substitute of my own.

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Marathon Day

A first marathon is something that can only happen once.  Okay, obviously.  But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.

I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels…  What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event.  We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river.  There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity.  It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.

I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half.  I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2.  My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before.  But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing.  At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂  I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play.  I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs.  If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster.  Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing!    By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile?  It really was a rush, and I loved it.

Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate.   Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after.  It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there!  And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂  Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato.  In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own.  I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there?  It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.

I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen.  My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.

To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:

Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.

With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear.  I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.

And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…

Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.

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Cran Jam

Happy Day-After-Thanskgiving!  I hope it was warm and satisfying for all of you.

I got a head start on the leftover-eating…

That’s toast with peanut butter, cranberry sauce, and coconut, with a bowl of yogurt and cranberry sauce to accompany.  If you think about it, cranberry sauce is basically un-canned cranberry jam.

Mimi is thinking about it.

You’ll notice I left half my toast peanut butterless.  That’s to allow for bites such as…

Almond butter, cranberry sauce, and coconut.

In other news, tomorrow’s my marathon!  Yesterday we had a cross country reunion run; a few of us got together to catch up and run 2 miles at the high school track.  By the end of the run I was just starting to feel warmed up, and I’m feeling some good energy today after 9 hours of sleep last night.  Plus I got the shift I was scheduled for tonight covered, and the weather tomorrow is supposed to be great.  Now I just have to brave the Black Friday fanatics to go buy some energy gels… people aren’t shopping at running stores today, right?


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Sneakfast

What’s this?

If you answered a jar of  peanut butter, I don’t blame you.  But it’s just a confusing coincidence that my soaked oats with pumpkin are the exact same color as peanut butter.

Why am I eating my pumpkiny oats out of a peanut butter jar?

Well, this jar isn’t just holding my breakfast, it’s contributing to it!  The best thing to do with a jar of nut butter when it’s down to the scrapings (or almost scrapings) is to eat cereal out of it.  As you eat, you get little randomly-sized smears of nut butter in the bites where your spoon encounters the surface of the jar.

I first tried this in college when I read about making oatmeal in a jar of nut butter scrapings (add oats, water/milk, and whatever else and microwave), but the jar gets really hot and it can get messy.  Not that you shouldn’t try it, but I prefer soaked oats in my scrapings jars.  This one has oats, pumpkin, banana, hemp milk (I like to vary my milks and “milks” (as in cows milk vs soy “milk”) for the variety of tastes and nutrients… hemp milk is an interesting  taste that takes getting used to), water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little vanilla.  And of course there’s peanut butter in there, it’s just camouflaged!

Topped with honey Greek yogurt and raisins.

But wait!  What’s that lurking down below??

 

Someone’s tryna share.

Sorry… you already had your rather disgusting compressed cat salmon.

I’m hoping the rain is done for a while; today is an 8-mile run and I’d rather not get wet.  I was thinking of running yesterday, but it was raining and both my legs and I were tired.  Even though I wasn’t sore from Saturday’s long run/wedding, my legs were pretty tired on Monday’s run.  Then on Tuesday I was the closing server and we were super busy, so I didn’t get home until after midnight… went to sleep just after 1, then got up at 7:30 to open the bakery.  After my bakery shift it was pouring, and I hadn’t taken 2 rest days in a row for a while, so I thought I might as well go for it.  I’m thinking I needed it since last night I proceeded to sleep from 10:30 to 9:00.  So now both my legs and I should be well-rested and ready to go.  And now it’s just lightly misting… perfect!

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