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this blog today has been a bit of a challange.

There hasn’t been any internet at my house for about a day. So I hadn’t been able to post the blog last night. I went to bed hoping the connection would be back this morning. But rather that finding the informtion super-highway when I awoke, what I found was that the internet was still down, and now it was blowing a gale outside (literally- my lawn furniture is skittering across my deck at the worst bits!). So, dear readers, I pulled on my warmest hoodie, and took myself to work (!!) on the first day of my 5 day weekend.

I’d like a gold star please. 😉

Today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. I’m not a big fan of PB&J sandwiches, so I thought I would look for a differnet way to bring these ingredients to life/my tummy. What I found is many many recipies for peanut butter and jam/jelly cookies. Which makes perfect sense to me – the only thing that I don’t like about most peanut butter cookies is that they can be kind of dry, sticking to the top of your mouth. What you need is a little sweet jam to keep it moist. It’s so crazy it just might work. Time to get down to work.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

(my recipe is an adapatation of this recipe from Gourmet Magazine)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg (or you can use egg replacer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar until smooth and whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, stirring until blended.

The dough will be very soft- almost too soft to handle. Roll pieces of dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. On a large baking sheet arrange balls 2 inches apart. Don’t squish then, they will melt to flatter on thier own. Bake in middle of oven 7-10 minutes (you want them to have slumped). Working quickly, with the back of a 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoon make an indentation about 3/4 inch in diameter in center of each cookie. Fill each indentation with slightly heaping spoonfull of jam and bake cookies 7-10 minutes more, or until golden. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

How were they? I think Rumon’s photo of the lovely Aviva enjoying a cookie pretty much speaks for itself…


PS- I also made this cake yesterday, which I’m pretty darn happy with. Happy Birthday Kristen!


[Ed. – The lovely Sarah has survived the insanity of the gold medal hockey game, and now is waxing poetic about PB…]

Peanut Butter Lovers Day.  Ah, who among us is not a peanut butter lover?  Crunchy, smooth, organic, sugar free, salt free, homemade … everyone can find a peanut butter they can fall in love with.

I found this on Peanut Butter

“There are many claims about the origin of peanut butter. Africans ground peanuts into stews as early as the 15th century. The Chinese have crushed peanuts into creamy sauces for centuries. Civil War soldiers dined on ‘peanut porridge.’ These uses, however, bore little resemblance to peanut butter as it is known today.


In 1890, an unknown St. Louis physician supposedly encouraged the owner of a food products company, George A. Bayle Jr., to process and package ground peanut paste as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth who couldn’t chew meat. The physician apparently had experimented by grinding peanuts in his hand-cranked meat grinder. Bayle mechanized the process and began selling peanut butter out of barrels for about 6¢ per pound. ”

My favourite mode of ingesting peanut butter is actually just on a knife.  Out for weekend brunch when you’re starving from standing in line for an hour and there are those wee packets of Kraft peanut butter on a table, who can resist?  Crack one open, scoop some out and mmmmm, you can now wait another 25 minutes for your real breakfast to arrive.  I’m also a fan of peanut butter cookies – just the very plain “1c peanut butter, 1 egg, 1/2 c. sugar, mix and bake at 325 for 12 minutes”.  Deliciously peanut butter-y goodness.  My mom has made, for as long as I can remember, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on a weekly basis.  My parents are visiting right now so she brought some for Andrew.  Pictured here are both kinds of cookies, in front of the gold medal winning men’s jockey jersey, worn by a very happy Andrew.

Other vehicles for peanut butter enjoyment include smoothies (try it!  Makes the smoothies stick to your ribs), chocolate cups, with homemade jam on homemade bread … the list goes on.  Peanut butter is also a good snack for puppies.  Susie always gets a peanut butter cookie when we visit the dog store in our neighbourhood.  Unfortunately she ate the last one before I could snap a pic.

I leave you with this word of caution oh peanut butter-crossed lovers: too much peanut butter cannot be good for a person, aptly illustrated by one of my favourite poets, Shel Silverstein:

Peanut-Butter Sandwich

    by Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)

I’ll sing you a story of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing —
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.

And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.

His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
“My boy’s committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!”

The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!

The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn’t melt that peanut-butter sandwich.

With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil —
For twenty years of tears and toil —
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.

Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin’ chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.

Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy —
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.

A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak —
The king’s jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak —
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, “How about a peanut-butter sandwich?”



Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine.
I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time;
I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch;
If I had a hundred sandwiches, I’d eat them all at once. 
~Fred Penner 


No, I did not accidently post the Pastrami blog again.  This is a tribute to Peanut Butter. I have to confess, I think the only reason the blog ladies assigned this one to me is because I told them my favourite sandwich is Peanut Butter and Pickle.  Yes, you read that correctly, and no I’m not pregnant, and no, this is not some malicious food dare.  But more on my favourite sandwich later, first a few observations.

If you plug “peanut butter” into the Epicurious search line it returns 226 recipes.  Food Network Canada gives you 116.  They run the course from sweet to savoury and everything in between.  Google it and you’ll find peanut butter lovers and peanut butter haters and 2000 things you can do with peanut butter.  (Hold the snickering and fat dog jokes.)  Of course, all the big peanut butter producers offer up plenty of their own suggests hoping to encourage peanut butter consumption. 

Apparently all that advertising has paid off.  According to several unassailable internet sources (and I believe everything I read on the internet) Americans consume over 3 pounds of peanut butter each year.  About half of the American peanut crop is used to make peanut butter.  Canada is the largest importer of American peanut products including nearly $16 million worth of peanut butter annually.  While peanut butter consumption may be easily established, the invention of peanut butter is hotly contested.  Some say the first patent for peanut butter production was held by none other than J.H. Kellogg.  I prefer to believe the Wiki version of events that that credits Montrealler, Marcellus Gilmore Edson with the honour in 1884.  Regardless, peanut butter has been widely available and wildly popular for more than a century.  No wonder it’s been lunch box staple for practically every kid in North American for generations.

Now, I don’t eat peanut butter for lunch everyday, but it does play a supporting role in several dishes that I make.  Earlier this week we had cold soba noodles tossed with a peanut dressing with a tilapia fillet on the side.  (Sorry, no photos.  I wasn’t thinking about the blog, only dinner.) Yesterday, I was looking for something sweet to make for my diabetic grandmother.  She doesn’t eat peanut butter much because it usually has so much sugar in it, but the one in my cupboard has no sugar or salt added.  We decided on peanut butter bars.  I adapted a brownie recipe to create what was an undeniable success.

Cakey, moist and delicious Peanut Butter Squares

Diabetic Friendly Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, no added salt or sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups Splenda
  • 2 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
  3. Cream together peanut butter and margarine. Gradually blend in the Splenda, molasses, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix until fluffy.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add nuts to dry ingredients.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until well blended.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the top springs back when touched.
  7. Cool, and cut into 16 squares.

Now back to my favourite sandwich… I don’t remember the first time I put peanut butter and pickles together, but it never seemed odd to me.  I loved peanut butter, particularly on a thick crust of fresh baked bread.  I loved dill pickles and have eaten pickle sandwiches for as long as I can remember.  No one blinks and eye over peanut butter with jam, bananas, celery and chocolate.  Why not pickles?  You may not think of this peculiar combo as haute cuisine but it possesses all the qualities that you look for in truly good food; a combination of textures and colours and a balance between salty and sweet, and between acid and fat.  Are you starting to see the light?

 I understand your scepticism.  It’s not something you’ll see on the menu at the local deli, though you would if I owned it.  It took a lot of convincing to get the sandwich shop near my office to make a PB&P for me.  Just recently my son’s fiancé refused to make him a PB&P because she was so utterly convinced that he was joking. 

K: Okay, funny, now what do you really want for lunch?

D: I want a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

K: Tell me what you want now or you can make your own lunch.

D: I’m serious. I want a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

K: I’m not standing here all day.  Just make your own lunch.

A couple of days later when they were at our place, he made me tell her that we do actually eat PB&P sandwiches.  She looked disgusted.  I’m not sure if she’s tried one yet. 

But I promise you, it’s not as weird as it sounds.  If you like peanut butter and you like pickles, I am positive you’ll like them together.  Many have taken the plunge before you and they’ve all come up extolling the virtues of the peanut butter and pickle sandwich.  Just ask my once incredulous husband.  My personal favourite is thick slices of dill pickle and creamy peanut butter on good chewy multi-grain bread.  Bread and butter pickles might be too sweet but there’s nothing wrong with a good kosher pickle.  And, I see no reason why pickled beets wouldn’t be just as good.  I implore you to give it a try.  No, better yet, I dare you!

Bon appétit.