Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Love Affair with Peanut Butter

I ran across a statistic on peanut butter the other day on Livestrong.com...It appears that Americans consume enough peanut butter each year to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon...um, pretty sure they did their research in my kitchen this year. 

But why do we eat so much peanut butter?  It IS healthy...it IS filling….it IS heart-healthy, but I’m willing to be it’s just because it’s that darn yummy! 

If you buy Natural — or better yet—make your own.  You get healthy fats, a filling snack, fiber, potassium, and 7g of protein per serving).  If Natural Peanut Butter isn’t on your shopping list...put it there!  The best pb to buy lists one ingredient:  peanuts. 

Making your own peanut butter is simple.  All you need is a food processor and some peanuts.  Start by tossing the peanuts (unsalted) into the food processor and over the next 5 minutes watch it transform into a smooth, creamy treat.  If you'd like to add some honey feel free, but do so slowly through the process.  Also, make sure you store it in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks in an airtight canister (I suggest a Mason jar).  Don't forget to stir it before each use.

At around 190 calories per 2 Tbsp serving, you do have to watch your intake but treat yourself to a serving daily & you’ll lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes while indulging in a healthy lifestyle choice.


    

Some of my favorite ways to use Peanut Butter…

As filler in my “meal replacement shakes”…if you are like me 220 calories a meal does not make…why not throw in 2 Tbsp of peanut butter for some added calories, healthy fats, protein and staying power?
 
As a topping on apples.  Or bananas.  Or pancakes.  Or toast.  Or…well, you get the picture.  Sometimes I don't even need something to put it on; just give me a big ol’ spoonful and I’ll be happy!
 
And, of course, in all kinds of recipes...my favorite being this one below. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 20 dates)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened raisins
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened, organic peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (about 16 chips)
  • 1 tbsp water

Directions:
In a food processor, process the dates by themselves until they form a paste, about 20 or 30 seconds. Add the raisins, protein powder, peanut butter, flaxseeds, and cacao and pulse to process until combined. Add the water if need to moisten and pulse a few more times. Remove the blade, and add the dark chocolate chips or chunks, using a spatula to combine (I like to leave the chocolate chips chunky for texture, but feel free to process them if you’d like).Roll the mixture into 12 uniform-size bites (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter each). 
Nutrition Information:
Serving Size:  1 bite
Calories:  172
Calories from fat:  36
Fat grams: 4g
Total Carbohydrates:  36g
Fiber:  4g
Sugar:  30g
Protein:  3g

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