Peanut Butter for Dinner?

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Are you as obsessed with peanut butter as I am? I love, love, love it and it is so healthy for you! This week, we observe National Peanut Butter Day, but I am turning it into a week of peanut butter yumminess. In my last blog entry, I included my recipe for Peanut Butter and Honey Power Muffins. Tonight, we are having a vegetarian friend over for dinner so I came up with this delicious recipe using peanut butter.

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp siracha sauce
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk (not canned)

Mix all ingredients together and add to cooked vegetables and rice or soba noodles.

This will last about five days in a closed container in fridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peanut Butter and Honey Power Muffins for National Peanut Butter Day

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Peanut Butter lovers everywhere, rejoice! Yesterday was National Peanut Butter Day!

But, but, but? Isn’t peanut butter bad for you? Peanut butter is absolutely, positively, by no means, BAD for you. Well, to be fair, eating half a jar of peanut butter wouldn’t exactly be the best thing for you, but a healthy serving size once a day provides so many health benefits.

Let’s break it down. Peanut butter comes, of course, from peanuts. Natural peanut butter (emphasis on the NATURAL) is made up of one ingredient and that’s peanuts. In case you didn’t know, peanuts aren’t even actually a nut. They’re a legume and they grow in the ground. The peanuts are roasted and ground into a paste to make the spread.

Composed primarily of fat, a serving of peanuts also packs in about 8 grams of protein, so it’s a great plant-based protein source. Keep in mind that the fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated, a good fat that can help lower your LDL cholesterol and benefit the heart in numerous ways.

Just so you don’t get too carried away, a typical serving of peanut butter consists of two tablespoons. For two tablespoons of peanut butter you’ll get about 180 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 7 grams of carbs.

This is the breakdown for natural peanut butter. Now some of you may have been raised on named brand peanut butters that were packed full of sugar and other hydrogenated oils, but today, even many named brands have natural options with just the one ingredient of peanuts!

You may have seen my blog a few months ago about the benefits of peanuts (to read, click here). All of those same benefits apply to peanut butter of course. I’ll recap some of the main points:

  • Filled with monounsaturated fats that help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and raises HDL levels
  • Decreases chances of heart attack and stroke
  • Curb appetite
  • Promote weight loss
  • Packed with Fiber

The big takeaway here is that peanut butter is filled with healthy fats. Healthy fats are essential to a healthy diet. So make sure you watch out the “reduced fat” label. In these products, where the fat is taken out, sugar and other additives are added to replace it. Natural, natural, natural, I can’t say it enough!

While peanut butter can be good on toasted whole grain bread…yuuummm, there are so many other ways to use it. Be sure to try this breakfast or snack favorite of mine that I made yesterday for the celebration!

Peanut Butter and Honey Power Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat (or gluten free all purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (excluding the oats) in a bowl.
  3. Melt peanut butter and honey together in microwave at 30 seconds intervals, stirring until completely combined.
  4. Allow mixture to cool before adding the rest of the wet ingredients.
  5. Once cooled, add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix to combine
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well combined
  7. Spray muffin tin and add mixture to tin. Each cup should be about ¾ full
  8. Sprinkle oats over top of muffins (makes them look extra yummy)
  9. Cook for 12-15  minutes or until a fork comes out clean

 

Peanut Butter Cup Oat Squares

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Did you know that October 29 was National Oatmeal Day? IT’s not too late to celebrate!

There isn’t one bad thing I can say about oatmeal. Oats are a cereal whole grain that are harvested for their seed. A typical serving of oats (½ cup) contains 150 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates (of which 5 grams are fiber), 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat.

You often see oats labeled as “heart healthy.” The consumption of oats has been linked to lower cholesterol levels. Oat bran, the outer coating of the oat, is packed with soluble fiber which aids is lowering LDL and overall cholesterol in general, which reduced the risk of heart disease.

Also found in the bran of the oat are Beta-glucans. These help to regulate blood-sugar levels. While some foods cause blood sugars to spike, eating oats can help prevent that. Studies have shown that consuming oats on a regular basis will provide this benefit.

Considering the holiday season, here’s a yummy treat you can try with oats to curb your sweet tooth! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Oat Squares

  • 3 cups of oats
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter (+1 tbsp for drizzle)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips (+2 tbsp for drizzle)
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk

Instructions:

  1. Grease an 9×6 pan with parchment paper. (variously sized pans will work)
  2. Combine peanut butter and honey or maple syrup in a bowl and heat in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until combined.
  3. Add in oats, cocoa powder, and flaxseeds. Stir to combine. (Add in 1-2 tbsp of milk here if mixture is too dry)
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Add mixture to pan.
  6. Melt coconut oil and additional chocolate chips in a bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted.
  7. Drizzle melted chocolate and peanut butter over top.
  8. Place in fridge for 2 hours to harden, then remove the parchment paper with the bars from the pan, cut into squares, and enjoy!

 

 

Celebrate National Peanut Day with Peanut Butter Energy Balls

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Today is National Peanut Day and this food is definitely deserving of a day for itself! Peanuts aren’t actually a nut, they’re a legume. They flower above ground but grow below ground.

Peanuts have fat and fat is bad. WHAT?! If someone ever tells you this, tell them they’re WRONG! Not all fats are created equal. Peanuts are filled with brain-boosting, heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. These fats do not lead to weight gain! In fact, the fiber, healthy fat, and protein combination found in peanuts can be part of a weight-loss diet, if eaten in moderation. You don’t need much…a quarter cup of peanuts or a couple Tablespoons of peanut butter can curb hunger for a few hours!

The unsaturated fat in peanuts is mostly monounsaturated fat, which is associated with lower cardiovascular issues. Monounsaturated fats assist in keeping your arteries clear, which allows blood to flow freely. This decreases your risk of heart attack or stroke. These fats also help to lower your LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels and raise your HDL or “good cholesterol” levels.

You want to choose “natural” when it comes to peanut butter. If you check the nutrition label and there are more ingredients than just peanuts and salt, then it’s not natural. In many brands, sugars and unnecessary ingredients are added in.

Another thing to watch out for is the “reduced fat” label on peanut butters. Like I said before, fat is not the enemy! When something like peanut butter is made to contain less fat, other ingredients have to be added, usually sugars, to fill the place of the fat. Just go for the natural peanut butters for the best and cleanest type!

Hear me out on this…my favorite way to enjoy peanut butter is on a sandwich with cucumbers. Don’t knock it until you try it! The cucumbers add a freshness and crunch that can’t be beat. If that’s not your favorite, give these Peanut Butter Energy balls a try! They’re perfect for a mid-day snack or for when that sweet tooth craving hits!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls Recipe:

  • ⅔ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup ground flaxseeds
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and roll into balls. Keep them in a closed container for up to a week or in the freezer for however long you want!

Enjoy!!!