Tag Archives: peanut butter

Is it granola or is it cake? Who cares, it’s delicious!

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Well much like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, the Easter bunny did not visit our house this year. In fact, up until about an hour ago, I didn’t even know yesterday was anything other than just a typical Sunday. Actually I didn’t really even know yesterday was Sunday but that’s besides the point. There’s just something weird about a giant white rabbit coming into your house while everyone’s asleep and leaving brightly colored hard-boiled eggs laying around for the kids to try to find. Hmmm… what’s that about? I mean, I leave little “surprises” around the house sometimes too, but no one ever seems to get excited about it. I usually get scolded and told that, that sort of thing is only allowed out in our backyard or in a neighbor’s yard while no one is looking. Perhaps I need to start dyeing my “surprises” in bright pastel colors and say that the Passover Puppy left them for everyone to enjoy.

Well despite not knowing yesterday was a day for celebrating bunnies and their hard-cooked eggs, I still somehow managed to come up with a fun little snack recipe that seems fitting for that particular day… granola! (aka: rabbit food). But not just any granola. Banana-Peanut Butter-Coconut Granola baked in mini muffin cups. Honestly, they look a little more like bird’s nests than rabbit food, but still very Easter-like. Kid-tasted and Jesus-approved.

Well mis amigos, I better be going now. I just hid a couple of my Passover Puppy “surprises” out in the backyard and I need to get someone to come out and hunt for them.

Better get your basket, Mama…. or a shovel.

Better late than never

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How did this happen? How is it possible that National Peanut Butter Day was on Tuesday, and I’m just now finding out about it? I mean seriously, I live with the Queen of Nut Butters for heaven’s sake, and still the day came and went as if it were just any other day. I’m hanging my head in shame right now and I sincerely apologize to all of you out there who rely on me to remember and notify you of such important events as the day in which we honor America’s all-time favorite sandwich spread.

Well since I can’t exactly turn back time (yet), I can still do my part in celebrating this all-important holiday, even if slightly belated. In my opinion, peanut butter should really have a whole month dedicated to it instead of just one day. Heck, China devotes a whole year to roosters and dragons and whatnot, and we can’t even honor the all-mighty peanut butter with any more than 24 hours? I think I definitely need to get in contact with my congresswoman about this issue. Well that and why it is that I’m not able to run for President of this country. So what if I was born in Mexico, bark at the vacuum cleaner and sometimes eat cat poop from the backyard…

So even though the day in which we were to celebrate this incredible edible has already come and passed, I still wanted to do my part in making peanut butter feel special. And I did so with these muy delicioso no-bake cookies.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave nectar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts

1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup Rice Crisp cereal

Directions:

1) In a food processor, pulse the oats and cashews into a fine flour-like powder. Add all-purpose flour, sugar and salt and pulse until combined.

2) Add peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla and process until it resembles a cookie dough. Add flour if too sticky, add more maple syrup or peanut butter if too flour-y. Add peanuts and chocolate chips and pulse until combined but still chunky.

3) Scoop dough into a bowl. Add cereal and stir to combine.

4) Form into little balls and transfer to a plate. Freeze balls 20-30 minutes before eating… or 5 minutes as was the case with mi mama. When it comes to peanut butter, that chick goes totally loco.

So there you go. Happy Belated National Peanut Butter, mi amigos. Now do yourself, your loved ones and anyone else who would appreciate a tasty ball of nutty goodness, a favor and make some of these little babies. If nothing else, do it for the sake of peanut butter.

As for me, I better be going now. I just got out of the bath tub and need to get my fur blow-dried and styled. Beauty day for me!

They’ve gone bananas for doughnuts

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Seriously, is there any combination more deserving of each other than bananas and peanut butter? Well besides Lindsay Lohan and an orange jumpsuit. I think not. There’s just something about a luscious ripe banana smeared with a hefty glob of peanut butter that makes me want to swoon with happiness. Well, I’ve never actually gotten the joy of getting to eat this delicious snack as I am on a strict diet of kibble and carrots, but I’ve definitely witnessed mi mama and papa oohing and ahhing over some PB-bananas on numerous occasions. Especially when slathered with my homemade peanut butter… hint hint. The other day I happened to come across two very ripe, very spotty bananas hanging out in the banana hammock <insert inappropriate comment here> just screaming to be used in some sort of baked good. I was actually very surprised and completely delighted to see these two bananas had made it this long in our house without being eaten. Both mi mama and papa have at least one banana a day, so we almost never have any hanging around that I can steal for a bread or muffin recipe. I often times have to hide a few bananas in places around the house that I know mi padres won’t be looking (like on a bookshelf or in with the cleaning supplies, in mi mama’s case) just so I can allow them to ripen to the point I can use them in a baked good.

So as I said, I was very delighted to find two bananas all ripe and ready to be mashed and stirred into some sort of yummy dough. Given the love mi padres have for bananas with peanut butter, I decided to surprise them with some muy delicioso baked doughnuts. They went over so well at mi abuelas birthday party, I figured they would be equally appreciated this time around too. And boy were they! I think I may have even detected a few tears of joy coming from mi mama’s eyes… although that might have just been her physical reaction to my licking her eyeball on accident. I can’t help where this tongue flails about sometimes. Lo siento, mama.

Baked Banana-Peanut Butter Doughnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

1 cup peanut butter

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/8 cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tbsp milk

2 tbsp peanut butter

Directions:

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a donut pan with Pam and set aside.

2) Combine flour, oats, baking powder and brown sugar in a large bowl.

3) Whisk together the milk, peanut butter, bananas, egg, oil, applesauce and vanilla in a medium size bowl.

4) Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

5) Pour dough into individual donut cups about 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter to make a total of 12 doughnuts.

6) Combine powdered sugar, milk and peanut butter in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cooled doughnuts and enjoy!

Honestly, does it get any better than that? Now get in the kitchen and make yourself a batch of doughnuts to enjoy too instead of just drooling over pictures of mine. And stop licking your computer screen, mama. Typing on a wet keyboard is bad for my delicate paws. And it’s hard to see through the drool lines.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I really must be going. I’m the guest of honor at the Tau Lambda Sigma Gamma annual holiday party this evening and I still need to clip my toenails and apply my flea medication before I leave. Should be a fun little fiesta.

A new spin on pasta

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Do you ever have one of those moments in the kitchen where you have no idea what the heck you’re going to cook and so you just start throwing a bunch of different things together in a skillet and then before you know it, the resulting meal ends up tasting like heaven in a big ‘ol bowl? No, just me? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me last night. After enjoying my evening carrot underneath the coffee table, I meandered back into the kitchen without any plan for what I would be making for that evening’s meal. I like to have a plan. Usually I figure it out during my morning yoga session (yes, I know I should be meditating during this time, but it’s impossible to turn my teeny chef brain off). But during this particular morning, a new Shih tzu had joined our session and I was too busy staring at her lovely tail than think about food. Although the idea of a rump roast did come to mind…

Anyway, back to dinner. I found myself standing in the kitchen without a plan or a recipe and so I did what any other culinary genius would do– created. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (we won’t even talk about the Chocolate Chicken Piccata disaster). Luckily, in this particular instance, it worked, and now I will share the recipe with you. Forgive me if the measurements aren’t totally precise. I was too busy making magic happen than remember to write everything down.

Chicken Peanut Pasta

2 tsp canola oil

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped

1 large carrot, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces

8 oz package rotini pasta

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp agave nectar or honey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

chopped peanuts, for garnish

Directions:

1) Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse and set aside.

2) Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink.

3) Meanwhile, steam the veggies (carrot, bell pepper and broccoli) until they turn bright in color, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook. Blanch under cold water and set aside.

4) In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, agave nectar, vinegar and ginger. Add to the skillet with the chicken. Stir to combine.

5) Add the pasta and veggies to the skillet. Stir well to combine and cover everything with the sauce. Allow to heat 4-5 minutes.

6) Portion onto 4 individual serving plates or bowls and top with chopped peanuts. Start swooning 🙂

Mi papa was all about this meal. I’m pretty sure he ate at least 3 of the 4 servings in just one sitting. Gotta love the metabolism of a young male athlete. Unlike me, who bloats up to the size stuffed burrito if I accidentally lick the floor one too many times.

I think next time I make this, I’ll try it with tofu instead of chicken. Then mi mama can do the same amount of ooing and ahhing as mi papa. Plus, we all know she adores anything with peanut butter…

Speaking of mi mama, I was looking through our spice cabinet the other day and came across something quite disturbing. Perhaps another intervention may be in order.

“It’s peanut butter jelly time…”

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Going back to the topic of comfort foods which I posted about a few days ago, I failed to mention what mi mama’s answer was to the question of what her idea of the perfect comfort food would be. It’s not quite as exciting or complicated as macaroni and cheese (although, neither is she) but I think it still deserves some merit as some out there may actually agree with her. She answered very quickly and without hesitation, “Peanut Butter and Jelly!!!”  And when she says PB&J she’s referring to the Jif creamy peanut butter with Welch’s grape jelly slathered on two pieces of Wonder bread type of sandwich. Nothing gourmet or fancy, like you might see nowadays on some restaurants’ menus or websites. In fact, she stills requests this sandwich every now and then, upon which I go off on a rampage and start preaching to her about all the preservatives that are in Wonder bread and all the high-fructose corn syrup in Welch’s jelly and all the partially hydrogenated oils in Jif peanut butter. That usually changes her request pretty quickly, as I know using big words like “hydrogenated” tends to scare her. Still, I sometimes feel bad for not catering to her requests so easily as I do mi papa’s (what can I say, his lap is bigger and warmer than her’s). So the other day I decided to surprise her by coming up with a new recipe completely devoted to her. It’s not a Wonder bread peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it’s definitely the next best thing as far as taste and, for sure, more healthy.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

2 tbsp applesauce

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup fruit-sweetened jam, any flavor

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with Pam or line with muffin cups.

2) Combine flours, sugars, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Make a well in the center and set aside.

3) Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through vanilla) in another bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

4) Fill each muffin cup half full with batter. Add 1 tsp of jam to each and then spoon remaining batter on top to cover completely.

5) Bake 20-25 minutes before removing from oven. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

6) Enjoy as an afternoon snack, easy breakfast-on-the-go or even as a healthy after dinner treat with a warm glass of milk (or Schnapps, depending on your mood and/or taste buds). Delicioso!

Mi mama went completely over the moon for these muffins and was so happy that I finally created a healthified version of her all-time favorite comfort food. According to her, it was exactly like a PB&J but in muffin form. Yes, sweet mamacita. That it is… That it is.

Now if you’ll excuse I must be going. I need to go finish packing her lunch pail for the day (complete with PB&J muffins, of course).

Utilizing the Peanut Butter Supply

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As you’ve probably noticed by now, we have quite a lot of peanut butter hanging out in the pantry of our kitchen. And by “a lot” I really mean more than any normal human being could ever hope to consume in her lifetime. Not that I would put it past mi mama to try to lick those jars clean before their expiration dates (and boy, if given the opportunity I would definitely like to be there to help her out), but we probably have enough to supply a small village in Chihuahua. So yet again I was inspired by the huge surplus of peanut butter and got to work creating a new recipe that could utilize some of it. And by “some” I mean the amount I actually ended up using barely made a dent in the overall amount we have left. Oh well, at least it’s one less bowl-full she’ll need to eat as a midnight snack (and 11am snack, and 2pm snack and pre-dinner appetizer…).

So after scanning the rest of the contents of our fridge and pantry, I came across three freckled bananas that were just screaming to be used in some sort of bread or baked good as well as a package of unopened gluten-free all-purpose flour mi mama had purchased a few weeks ago on a whim. Apparently she thinks she may have an intolerance to gluten… I think it’s just that her stomach lining has now turned into peanut butter and can no longer function properly in order to digest anything else. Still, the idea of creating a gluten-free baked good really intrigued me so I set forth to concoct a recipe featuring all three of these items. Therefore, I present to you my “Use up some peanut butter and over-ripe bananas” gluten-free peanut butter banana bread.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used Oikos Greek yogurt)

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)

3 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used the Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed 

1 tsp xanthan gum (this is used to add volume and viscosity to gluten-free breads)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped (optional but really adds some awesome crunch)

Glaze:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp milk (any kind will work)

1 tbsp peanut butter (I used creamy)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5″ bread pan with Pam

2) Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Add the sugars and blend well.

3) In a medium size bowl, combine all other ingredients except peanuts.

4) Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just moistened. Add the peanuts to combine.

5) Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. A toothpick should come out clean when it’s done.

6) Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan onto a cooling rack.

7) Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the bread.

8) Cut a slice, smear with more peanut butter, wipe the drool from your mouth and devour.

I’m pretty sure this is a bread that will satisfy not only those looking to go gluten-free but also those just looking for a yummy banana bread bursting with peanut butter-y deliciousness.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go figure out what I’m going to make for dinner this evening. I’m thinking soup….

Hippie-chic Granola

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As you know, I’m quite the social butterfly. I get invited to a lot of functions and parties and I also frequently entertain at my own casa. More often than not, these get-togethers focus around food, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner and are usually that of the potluck variety. There is a monthly breakfast potluck I attend at a friend’s home on the lake and while I first started off by bringing a variety of different baked items, I realized the one thing I made that always got the most attention and praise was my granola. Ahh yes, leave it to the Oregonians for loving them some granola. The same folks who drive Subaru Outbacks and wear socks with their Birkenstocks. Anyone who says that’s just a stereotype of people in Oregon and not true, is just plain wrong. Not there’s anything inherently bad about wearing socks with their sandals (ahem, mi abuelo), but it doesn’t necessarily look good with tight biking shorts. But anyway, back to my much-loved granola. So I figured if it was granola that they requested at the monthly breakfast potluck, it was granola that they would get from that point on.

The beauty of the granola, other than the taste of course, is the vast number of combinations you can come up with. My granolas pretty much turn out different each time I make them, usually based upon what’s occupying my pantry at that point in time. For my most recent concoction, I was once again drawn to mi mama’s large peanut butter surplus and was inspired to create a granola with that as the main focus. It took awhile convincing her to unlock one of her jars from the mighty nut butter vault, but in the end, I managed to get my paws on one of her containers of crack peanut butter.

Peanutty Peanut Butter Granola

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup agave nectar or honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup flaxseeds

2 tbsp wheat germ

1 cup peanuts

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2) Heat all wet ingredients, peanut butter through vanilla, in a small saucepan until smooth and creamy ~5 minutes.

3) In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

4) Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

5) Spread granola into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.

6) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to a container (or straight into your mouth).

So simple and easy, and yet so delicious. You can use the granola as a topping for a yogurt parfait, add it to your morning bowl of cereal or just eat it plain with a handful of raisins. Mmmmmmm!!! 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go “fertilize” mi mama’s potted plant. I hear it’s perfect for gardening.