Tag Archives: peanut butter

Walnut butter replaces addiction for PB

Some addictions are okay to have. Like, for example, nut butters. Until about a year ago, I was addicted to peanut butter because it goes well on just about everything…crackers, bread, ice cream, popcorn. As a kid, my favorite sandwich was peanut butter, honey and raisin. Fortunately, I married someone who loves PB almost as much as I do.

But you won’t find any of that mainstream slimy PB with sugar or hydrogenated oils in our house….only the real stuff — just peanuts and salt. Smooth. And yeah, you have to stir it up before you spread it but hey, it tastes MUCH better.

True to form, our oldest daughter inherited that love. All the way through third grade, she packed her lunch every single day. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The only variation was the type of jelly or jam, which could range from strawberry to raspberry to peach.

Along comes daughter number two. Surely she would share our love for PB. But no. Her very blue eyes in a family of brown/hazel should have been a clue that she would veer from the course we three were following. Try as we might, the only item with peanut butter as an ingredient that would cross her lips were honey milk balls, an amazing concoction of peanut butter, honey, oats and powdered milk (see recipe below).

Fast forward 26 years. Daughter number two and I are perusing the various nut butters in Trader Joe’s. She tells me that her tastes are changing as she gets older and admits that she actually likes peanut butter now. So we started comparing the various nut butters and I realized that like every other store I’ve checked, they don’t carry my new addiction — walnut butter.

About a year ago, my mom and my friend, Mary, introduced me to homemade walnut butter. There weren’t a lot of foods that interested me at the time — I was still recovering from abdominal surgery — but walnut butter appealed to me. I decided to learn to make it, which involved finally learning to use my 30-year-old Cuisinart.

Walnut butter on rice cracker

Walnut butter in Cuisinart

Once I mastered that, I haven’t turned back. I buy walnuts in bulk, dump them in the Cuisinart, add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and turn it on. About 10 minutes later, I’ve got smooth walnut butter. Which, by the way, goes really well with cinnamon raisin bread (see recipe for bread machine below).

Okay, so like most nuts, walnuts are high in fat. However, like salmon and flaxseed, they’re also high in Omega 3, which among other things can lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream and reduce inflammation throughout the body. So like everything else…eat them in moderation.

Honey Milk Balls
(Makes 2 dozen)
Combine in bowl:
1/2 c. honey

1/2 c. peanut butter (try this with walnut or almond butter)
1 c. dry milk powder
1 c. uncooked rolled oats
Mix well, then knead by hand until blended. Shape into small balls.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
(For bread machine)
3/4 c. very warm water
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 c. raisins (Monukkah raisins or other sticky ones, work best)
1 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. yeast
Put first eight ingredients into bread machine in the order listed above. Make an indentation on the top of the ingredients and add yeast to indentation.
Set machine according to manufacturer’s instructions for baking. I prefer to bake this recipe on the one-hour setting, but that will depend on your machine.

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Honey milk balls: good-for-you sweets

Kids aren’t the only ones who balk at eating something new if you tell them it’s good for them. Adults are pretty much the same way. In fact, we (the elders) can be downright suspicious about new foods.

Of course, we like to blame that on our parents, who we claim “made” us eat cooked spinach because it tasted yummy and because it was good for us. Note to kids: This is a lie. No parent — at least none with whom I am acquainted — ever forced a child to eat cooked spinach because (a) they also did not like it; or (b) they wanted to save it all for themselves because for some unfathomable reason, they really did like it.

That brings us to liver. And yes, I do realize there is little connection between liver and spinach, aside from the fact that both are sources of iron. Most kids — no, make that most humans — do not like liver and cannot be enticed to try it no matter how many onions are smothering it.

Here’s the thing. I love liver.  In fact, I requested it for my birthday dinners, which is why my brothers were often absent those evenings. They conveniently developed the one-hour flu. Unfortunately, while liver not only is a good source of iron, it also ranks way up there on the cholesterol scale. My daughters are still thanking my doc for having discovered my high cholesterol before I subjected them to liver.

Before I lose you, let me make my point. Food should not only taste good, it should look appealing. Ah, and yes, it should have some redeeming value. About 30 years ago, I received my first copy of Doris Janzen Lonacre’s More With Less Cookbook (Herald Press). Hidden among its pages of amazing recipes is one for Honey Milk Balls.

The name itself is intriguing. Honey and milk in a ball? How is that possible since both are (somewhat) liquid forms. But they’re delicious. Kids love them. Adults love them. I was reminded of this again when I made them for my adult students. All I had to say was peanut butter and they were snatched up.

The ingredients are honey, peanut butter, powered milk and oats. That’s it. No baking, no cooking. Mix, stir and roll into little balls. Kids love to make them because kids love any reason to get their hands into something mushy. Adults not so much.

High in protein, fiber and calcium, they are actually good for you. They’re easy to make. What more could you want? Aside from a bigger bowl to make a triple recipe. Get a big one. You’re going to need it.

Honey Milk Balls
1 c. oats
1 c. powdered milk
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
Mix in a large bowl (you may have to finish the mixing with your hands, which is okay because you can just lick your fingers. Form into small balls and eat. If you don’t eat them right away, store them in an airtight container.