Since this is a full-service blog, I’m going to share my (not really) patented PB&J recipe with you. By reading this you agree to send me a $0.05 royalty every time you use it. The Bumbling Genius got me thinking about it with a Facebook post.
I start with toasted Ciabatta bread and JIF peanut butter (my wife has a very strong brand preference). Toasting the bread makes the peanut butter melt a little bit. Lately I’ve substituted thawed frozen fruit (which, to be precise, is back to being just fruit — albeit softer) for jelly. So technically, it is a PB&F sandwich.
You have to put peanut butter on both pieces of bread, of course. That seals the bread, plus doing just one side is a misdemeanor in 37 states. Then I take frozen blueberries or strawberries out and let them thaw. Actually, I had to have done that earlier or I’m going to have to wait a long time. (I also use the unfrozen-frozen-fruit in my yogurt/granola/fruit bowls that I eat each night. My wife has been making homemade yogurt and granola that are unbelievably good). Then I squish the fruit between the bread slices. It is sweet and juicy (a little messier, I suppose) — but not too sweet, like jelly can be. Mmmmmm. Now I’m hungry.
No, I haven’t run out of things to write about. I have over 100 partial drafts and ideas and wish I had time to write more. But this topic is so important it couldn’t wait.
First, I’ve been on an oatmeal kick lately for my 9:00 P.M. feeding. I learned a trick from my wife, which is to put frozen fruit in with the milk and oats before I heat it in the microwave. I have a variety of frozen fruit around for my shakes (blueberries, strawberries, mixed berries, cherries, peaches), and it adds some natural sweetness to the cereal. Super healthy, filling and tasty. Oh, and very inexpensive.
Then there’s this about McDonald’s new product: How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong. They managed to mess up something as simple as oatmeal. I just tried it the other day before I read this article. I figured they had done something right in offering a healthy alternative, but instead of three ingredients (oats, milk, fruit) they end up with more than 15.
The oatmeal and McDonald’s story broke late last year, when Mickey D’s, in its ongoing effort to tell us that it’s offering “a selection of balanced choices” (and to keep in step with arch-rival Starbucks) began to sell the cereal. Yet in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. . . . “Cream” (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it’s also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including “natural flavor”).
A more accurate description than “100 percent natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”
. . .
The aspect one cannot argue is nutrition: Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)
It is so filling that I imagine it would be great for people trying to lose weight. Eat oatmeal first then you won’t be as hungry for other things.
Finally, it occurred to me that for people on limited budgets – and definitely for people on welfare – oatmeal is one of those perfect foods: Inexpensive, filling, tasty (enough) and nutritious.
One of my first posts four years ago (have I been blogging that long?!) was about my not-quite-patented Veggie Boy smoothies. I figured I was due for an update.
I’ve been making health smoothies for 30 years and have now achieved the state of the art. Here is the used-to-be secret recipe for my Veggie Boy protein smoothie. (For you Cheers fans, you’ll remember this is the name of the health drink Woody was hypnotized into liking. “You can really taste the kale!”). Yeah, there are more fruits than vegetables but “Fruity boy” just doesn’t have the same ring.
It is really, really healthy. Vitamins, protein, fiber, low fat, all natural, etc. Drink it for breakfast and you can eat Snickers the rest of the day. I have a couple glasses for breakfast and some more for lunch or after I work out. I never eat cooked vegetables and am fairly unlikely to eat them raw, so consuming them in smoothie form is a gigantic plus.
You need a pretty powerful blender to chop up the carrots and frozen stuff. We splurged and got a Vita Mix a few months back and I couldn’t be happier. It gets used twice a day on average. (It replaced a 2 HP Waring blender. It was nice and powerful, but didn’t blend quite as well on frozen things. Oh, and it turns out that those blue sparks coming out of the bottom meant that it was “arcing,” which apparently is a bad electrical thingy.)
It used to be more of a production to make the smoothies it so I’d skip it when I was busy, but with the extra power I can use more frozen things. For example, it saves a lot of time to have apples cut up and frozen so I can just drop them in instead of cutting them up each morning. I get up at 5:15 and like to be out the door by 5:45 so I don’t have a lot of time to prepare things.
And it saves you money as well. If fruit, such as bananas, starts to go bad you can freeze it for smoothies instead of throwing it away. I hate to waste things.
The rest of the family uses it often to make more normal (read: tastier) but still quite nutritious drinks.
Here’s the current recipe:
Milk (preferably whole milk, though not much chance of that unless I’m doing the shopping). Sometimes organic, sometimes not.
A whole carrot or some baby carrots
Some frozen mixed fruit – strawberries / blueberries / raspberries / blackberries – Wal-Mart has a good deal on these and it is easier than buying them fresh.
Any other fruit we’ve got. I’m not picky.
Some walnuts, when I remember to put them in.
Natural whey protein powder (The Vitamin Shoppe has good deals. GNC is more expensive.)
Don’t tell CPS, but when Daughter #1 was young I told her one Halloween that she could eat all the candy she wanted if she had a small glass of Veggie Boy first. I thought she actually liked it (it is rather sweet tasting), but I learned years later that she choked it down. I would have let her eat as much candy as she wanted anyway. Fortunately, she is the forgiving type. Fortunately she has turned out fabulously despite many parenting moments like that.
P.S. I never understood the juicer concept. Seems like you are throwing out all the good stuff.