Friday, July 18, 2008

PB & J Challenges

Today I want to address the challenge I have had with the staple of the American lunchbox--the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So far I can only say that we have conquered the jelly part. I have found many brands of grape, strawberry and raspberry jelly or jam to suit my family's varied preferences. Cascadian Farm's brand is often the most economical in my area.

The toughest dilemma is the peanut butter. Organic or natural peanut butter is so hard to spread that I end up tearing the bread. My family also has had their complaints about it's drier taste, despite the numerous brands we have tried. Flavor, if you just eat a spoonful of it, has not been a contended issue, just the spreadability for sandwiches. Unfortunately, the fact that it has to be refrigerated once opened has further complicated that problem.

I read one suggestion regarding adding 1 part honey to 2 parts organic/natural peanut butter in a food processor or blender and tried that with high hopes, but found it, too, became less than spreadable when refrigerated. The flavor was wonderful, but still quite stiff. I don't know about your house, but in the mornings things are crazy and there isn't time for warming up the peanut butter before sandwiches are made for lunchboxes. So consider this an all-call for spreadable peanut butter suggestions--either store-bought or home-prepared from organic peanut butter.

The final problem with our current PB & J's is the bread. We all love Pepperidge Farm Light Style Wheat bread, which is light-textured, low-calorie and sliced thin, so the sandwiches aren't "all-bread". I'd like to find a similar organic bread that I can purchase for the freezer, so that when I don't have home-made bread, I'll have a quick organic option. Unlike warming up the peanut butter, which takes an hour or more, slices of bread thaw quickly when set out on a clean kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture during thawing.

Thank goodness for my bread maker. We have a favorite cinnamon-raisin bread recipe that I'll share in an upcoming post on bread recipes. I hope you will share one in return. Remember, this blog is all about us learning together. So, if you've found a light wheat (or oat) bread that you can recommend, let me know with a comment at the end of this post. Just click on the comment link in purple.

Thanks to those of you who have voted in my poll on organic food reviews. I have enlisted some of the pickiest eaters I know to give their opinions on various brands, and I will bring you their results shortly. Keep voting! I'll be giving away a ChicoBag to one lucky winner when I draw "names" from a hat full of voters' names from the poll. The drawing is August 1st and I'll do it again September 1st, with a new poll, of course. So be sure to check in and vote again.

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