Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts, salt.
As I was stirring a new jar of peanut butter this morning I was inspired to write about it. I've used natural peanut butter for so many years that I've sort of forgotten about the other stuff.

When I was a child I remember hearing my aunt say that natural peanut butter was awful and that it tore the bread when she tried to spread it. I'm not sure how accurate her recollection was. Maybe she poured the oil out or didn't mix it in properly. I don't know but my experience was the opposite. It was smooth and creamy even after being refrigerated.

The one we most often buy is at Trader Joe's. It's simple and affordable. $1.99 to be exact. I understand having to stir the separated oil back into the peanuts may seem like a bother to some but it's really a simple step that takes just a minute to do. Also, by turning the jar upside down for a while prior to opening makes it even easier to combine. Additionally, there is natural versions that don't require mixing. Just be sure to double check the ingredients on those ones to be sure it's not a natural peanut butter wannabe.

And speaking of wannabes, I've noticed the big brand peanut butters have come out with "natural" versions. Or have they? I was curious so I decided to compare ingredients. Check it out:

Trader Joe's ingredients: Peanuts, salt.

Skippy Natural ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt.

Skippy regular ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed) to prevent separation, salt.

Jif Natural ingredients: Peanuts, sugar, palm oil, contains 2% or less of: salt, molasses.

Jif regular ingredients: Roasted peanuts and sugar, contains 2% or less of: molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (soybean and rapeseed), mono and diglycerides, salt.

As you can see, the two competing big brands don't offer a truly all natural peanut butter. Not sure why. Even the makers of the famous Goober Grape, Smucker's, makes a real natural peanut butter.

Peanut butter is one of those foods that is naturally nutritious and delicious all on its own. No need for added stuff. My aunt must have got a bad batch or was having a bad day because natural peanut butter is anything but awful. So throw out the Jif and the other stuff, the kiddos won't mind, I swear!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Pie for Mikey

The boys helping me make #apieformikey
I am but a speck, if that, in the food blogging community and I am behind on this request but I am compelled to still show up for Jennie from In Jennie's Kitchen and her family. Jennie's husband died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday, August 7th. In her post "for mikey" she simply said this:

"For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on."

I didn't read of the news until over a week after Mikey passed away. And since reading about it, I haven't been able to shake the sadness I feel for her and her daughters. My heart breaks for Jennie. I do not know the feeling of losing my husband only of almost losing him. The "almost" was enough to turn my world upside down and permanently change my soul. My husband beat the beast that threatened to take his life, stage four non-hodgkins lymphoma. Although we were forever changed, we had the opportunity to repair most of the wounds it inflicted on us as individuals and as a couple. The heart attack that hit Mikey, did not extend such opportunity.

For Jennie and her family, my boys and I have made a pie for Mikey. As we enjoy a piece this evening together, the Perillo family will be in our thoughts. May time be kind to Jennie and her daughters and send a sense of peace to them ASAP.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe: Chicken (Tortilla) Soup

There was a sale last week on roast chicken at Whole Foods that I could not pass on: $4.99 each, regularly $9.99 each. I bought two. I figured one would make a nice and easy dinner as is and the other I could use for sandwiches, quesadillas and/or soup. And I made all three. I added Annie's BBQ sauce to the chicken for BBQ chicken quesadillas, I made a simple chicken salad for a sandwich and, my favorite item out of the bunch, a take on chicken tortilla soup.

The soup was easy to make and resulted in a flavorful and filling meal. I adapted this recipe from here. I chose not to use fried tortilla strips or chips but rather serve with warm corn tortillas on the side, more my style. I also added corn and cumin and skipped the cheese. I also didn't top with cilantro only because I did not have any. I liked this soup very much and will definitely make it again. I'm happy to have something new to serve with the burrito and taco dinners I so often make.