Taking Sides: A Tale of Peanut Butter

my new love. image courtesy of google

Hey guys!

If you, like me, take your nut butters seriously, then this one’s for you.

A few months (ish) ago, I can’t exactly remember when, I decided to try natural peanut butter. Gasp! I remember when I was younger great-grandma gave a jar of this stuff to my grandma, after which everyone declared the stuff “tasteless”. Haha!

Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, once again inflicting something ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’ (synonyms for gross in my family) on my poor innocent relatives. True to their nature though, the jar of peanut butter stays in the fridge for about a week before it’s completely empty. Barely enough in the bottom of the jar to feed a mouse (let alone a fridge-elephant!). This is what happens when I buy something ‘healthy’ that everyone claims to dislike: 1. food item gets brought home. 2. food item is claimed to be unfit to eat. 3. food item has disappeared by the end of the week.

Even I, ladies and gentlemen, cannot claim to have eaten a full 750 gram jar of goodness by the end of the week. Essentially, my family is a bunch of sneaks!! But, at least they’ve started to admit their likeness for my peanut butter 😉

Something equally strange is, for my whole life I remember distinctly being a smooth peanut butter person. Arguments were literally had, such as the following, circa fifth grade.

small me: smooth peanut butter is the best!

classmate: I like crunchy.

small me: what’s wrong with you?

classmate: what’s wrong with YOU??

small me: SMOOTH!

classmate: CRUNCHY!!!

argument does not get resolved

Alas, I was a difficult child.

However, now, I actually prefer crunchy natural peanut butter! I was really upset when I found out I only had one jar left in my cupboard, and it was smooth. Sad face. But it’s still getting eaten! On toast, in sandwiches, in oatmeal, dipped with apples….straight out of the jar…. 😀

How do you like your nut butters? Do you use more than just conventional peanut butter?

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Fall Family Bake-Off!!

Hey guys! How’s everyone’s transition into fall? Going smoothly? A wee bit bumpy?

Mine’s going pretty good, but I always find myself wishing I could get outside and enjoy it more. Especially with my recent move, I’ve been itching to get outside and explore my new neighbourhood but haven’t really started yet. In time, I suppose!

Anyway, I was home for the weekend, and this morning mom decided would be a bake-off. As in, we’re going to make like twenty kinds of cookies and stuff and then all just die from the visual explosion of fall goodness sitting on the table! Yes, it gets that intense.

By noon, she’d made my FAVOURITE, and proudly one of my first completely made-by-me recipes, my Soft Molasses Spice Cookies. These babies are to die for, so soft, and just bursting with that fall/winter/cold weather comfort food flavour. I think one of the things I love the most about them is how easy they are to tweak to accommodate food allergies and lifestyles.

Fast forward to 4 pm. I was outside for the afternoon, came back, and what did I see?

Well, it wasn’t the kitchen table, I can tell ya that!

Date squares, peanut butter cookies, biscotti, chocolate chip cookies, home made bread (sidenote: I actually made the bread in the morning, but it adds to the overall effect, right?), and chocolate crinkles. Plus, pumpkin pie in the fridge. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Grandma made apple streusel muffins too. Seriously, so many baked goods! We could’ve easily had a bake sale and all the fall cottage goers would’ve paid our hydro bill for the month.

I’d definitely say my favourite was still the good ole molasses cookie. It just can’t be beat. Add a cup of tea, and I’m done. See you tomorrow, it is officially chill time!

What are your fall favourites? Do you like to get outside and explore or enjoy the fall splendor from inside?

Fall Obsessions

Hi, I’m Shannon, and I’m obsessed with fall.

**Hello, Shannon**

Well, I’m glad we agree on that! Ha ha 😛

Some of you guys may have noticed that….well, I’m fall CRAZY! Name something about fall and guaranteed, I love it! I woke up to some crazy fall rainstorms this morning, and there’s probably nothing better to me than a (semi) peaceful rainy walk to school. Wearing my favourite flower pattern rubber booties (I should post a picture of them, they’re awesome! So funky and I always get so many great compliments on them!) and crunchin’ through the colourful leaves. Sigh.

Anyway, today in my grocery store I realized there’s a lot of seasonal fruits and veggies that are so available in fall that I hardly ever take advantage of! I’ve compiled a quick list as well as some prep suggestions for how best to use them.

1. Kale: such a big one. I actually have NEVER tried kale yet, which is weird considering I love me a good powerhouse smoothie. And the healthier, the better! I got my first bunch today though, so some experimentation is soon to commence! Suggestions: I’ve heard they make amazing baked chips, as well as parts of salads and even added into soups. Smoothies, obviously. I’m going to have a hard time deciding what to make first!

2. Black Grapes: I remember growing up my mom had a grape bush (vine? bush? I don’t know!) growing along one of our wooden fences, and they were to DIE for! So sweet, juicy, and tangy all in one! We used to get into trouble, my sister and me, for eating them all before she could pick them! I haven’t had any in years though since the bush died, and saw them in No Frills this morning kind of gave me a hankering. Suggestions: Eaten out of hand honestly seems like the best option, but cut up into a fruit salad would be nice. I saw a recipe for grape jam that sounded awesome too! Google is our friend, ladies and gentlemen.

3. Melons: When planted at the right time, you can grow watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon with minimum effort right in your backyard! The growing season extends well into September and October as well, and trust me when I say a home grown melon is millions and millions times more sweet, juicy, and just plain fantastic. Suggestions: Slice ‘er up, put ‘er in a bowl, and eat that sucker right away! Sooooo goood!! Apparently you can also pickle watermelon rinds, so for the more creative chef, maybe give that a go? I can’t say I’m completely sold on that idea yet.

4. Onions: So essential, yet so overlooked. The first time I made french onion soup (in the dead of winter), it definitely became a family favourite, but the flavour was nowhere near as amazing as a batch made with fresh onions did later. Onions are a staple in my household, and with good reason: they add tons of flavour while also serving up fiber and a host of phytochemicals essential to our health! Suggestions: Any savory dish, from sauces to soups to roasts to omlettes, anything can benefit from some chopped onion.

5. Yellow Raspberries: Bear with me on this one. My grandma had this raspberry bush that always came into full swing right in September, except instead of a ruby red, the berries were yellow! Say whaat? And they were delicious! They were a very pale yellow though, so don’t get too weirded out by the colour. The flavour is very mild compared to red raspberries, but the mellowness would perfectly complement a tangier partner, like a dark chocolate pudding or a balsamic vinaegrette in a salad. Suggestions: Eat them out of hand, add them to any fruit based desserts, pretty much whatever you’re feeling like! I rarely see these gems in the grocery store, so you might have to see if your local farmer’s market carries them.

What ways do you incorporate seasonal produce into your diet? Let me know what kind of fall recipes and ideas you love. We can fangirl (or fanboy) together!