Saturday, August 8, 2015

Leader Enterprise - August 5, 2015 - Peanut Butter



I know...it's hard to believe summer is coming to an end and kids will be going back to school soon. I thought it only right that we do a little 'talking' about this yummy-for-your-tummy protein-builder. 

Peanut butter has always been a favorite food for kids, and for moms, who could quickly make a lunch their kids would eat. Cooks have used it in all kinds of sweets, from cookies and cakes, to candy and beverages. We're now eating peanut butter in entrees and sides, even for breakfast. Spread peanut butter on toast. It's a great way to start the day with sustaining protein.

By law, peanut butter must contain 90% peanuts, with no artificial sweeteners, coloring or preservatives. 

Here are some fun and unusual (even nutty!) ideas for using this favorite product.

- Have you ever tried to cure hiccups with peanut butter? Try eating a heaping spoonful. Many claim its a definite cure.

- If a ring is stuck on your finger, lubricate it with peanut butter and it should slide right off.

- Is your child afraid to take a bandaid off? Coat it with peanut butter, let it sit for 5 minutes, then peel off.  The oils in the peanut butter dissolve the glues. (Adds some 'fun' to the process for your kids too!)

- Try dressing up your brownies with peanut butter. Either stir in 1/2 c. to the batter or dollop it over the top of your brownies before baking and swirl. It just may become a favorite way to enjoy them.

- I love adding a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter to my cooked oatmeal. (Drizzle some chocolate syrup on it for a 'no bake' cookie flavored breakfast!).

If you love the Amish Peanut Butter on tables at Shipshewana restaurants, you'll love being able to make your own. Simple and delicious. This makes great gifts too. 


AMISH PEANUT BUTTER 

2 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
2 Tb. corn syrup
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 c. peanut butter
1 - 16 ozs. marshmallow fluff 

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, water, corn syrup and maple syrup.  Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; let cool to about 15 minutes. 

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Unless you have a stand mixer, I think it's easiest to stir it by hand.  Add cooled sugar mixture gradually and stir until it's smooth and combined well. Pour into air tight containers. Yield: 24 servings.

This next recipe is a fun thing for kids. I use to make it for my children, and now they make it for theirs.  Make sure their hands are clean...give them rolling pins and cookie cutters. Maybe they can decorate their creations with chocolate chips? They can eat the dough when they're done. (It's rich so they won't eat much).

PEANUT BUTTER PLAYDOH

2 parts smooth peanut butter (i.e. 1/2 c.)

2 parts powdered sugar (i.e. 1/2 c.)

1 part honey (i.e. 1/4 c.)

Using mixer or dough hook, mix ingredients together, adding more of one or the other, until right consistency. Store in sealed container. Make sure the surface and utensils are clean before children begin to play.

The kids will go wild over these healthy snacks.  Fun for the kids to make too. And oh so colorful!

MONSTER COOKIE PROTEIN BALLS 
1 c. dry (old-fashioned) or quick oats
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c. (natural) peanut butter
1/3 c. agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 c. mini m & m's 
1/4 - 1/2 c. mini chocolate (or carob) chips 

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (or food processor for a smoother texture) and chill for 30 minutes. (I prefer to mix oats/flax seed in one bowl, then combine peanut butter, honey and vanilla in another, then mix the two together). Roll into balls. Refrigerate. Enjoy.

Gretchen Rubin has said "The days are long, but the years are short". Enjoy every day with your kids - they grow up much too quickly.