Peanut butter is an amazing food. It is high in protein and contains unsaturated fat.
peanuts in their shells
In fact, peanut butter has more protein than any other legume or nut. This is especially important for growing children and vegetarians. Peanut butter is also very high in fiber. All around, it is a nutrient rich food.
Peanut butter originated in 1890 when Dr. John Kellogg provided peanut butter as a healthy substitute for people without teeth. They would get all of this nutrition without needing to chew into meat or nuts.
peanuts ready to be peanut butter
Now, it has become a favorite with children everywhere. Itís great in a sandwich, on celery, and in cookies. There are so many different brands of peanut butter available at the grocery story. Many have added sugars and preservatives. If you are trying to guide your family toward a more natural diet, stick to the peanut butter with very few ingredients, like peanuts, oil and salt. However, if you want to take it one step further, make homemade peanut butter. It is simple and tastes better than the store bought brands. Besides, you will know exactly what is in it.
peanut butter in a jar
Homemade peanut butter:
(1 C. peanuts = Ĺ C. peanut butter; so, adjust accordingly)
1 C. unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, shelled
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 Ĺ tsp. honey/brown sugar
1 Tbsp canola/peanut oil
Pour the peanuts into a food processor. Blend well. Add salt and sugar or honey. Blend again. Pour in the oil and blend again. It should be creamy and delicious. Pour into a jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Enjoy.
Pizza has always been a family favorite. With all of the options, in crust thickness and in toppings, I guarantee there is a pizza out there for everyone. Besides, who wouldnít like it all of that cheese?††
In Elizabeth Gilbertís, Eat Pray Love, Gilbert travels to Italy and finds Italyís best town for pizza. She discovers the best restaurant for pizza in that town and gets to try a piece of this (the worldís best) pizza. How wonderful that must have tasted!† Some day, I hope to take the same trip and try the same pizza. Well, a fresh piece, of course.† It would be so wonderful to take an entire trip revolved around food.
Broaden you pizza perspective:
Here I go again talking about EnglandÖbut, it is relevant to this pizza story. In England, there is a pizza chain called Pizza Express. They have the most extensive list of pizza toppings I have ever seen. You can order pizza with eggs on top or raisins. Their combinations are so strange but end up tasting extremely delicious. Luckily, Pizza Express serves these pizzas in individual sizes. It would be difficult to choose one of these for the whole table. I never go to England without at least one visit to Pizza Express. They have them in almost every town. †I feel like Pizza Express changed my perspective on pizza making because I now know there are so many possibilities. I guess you can say the same about Happy Joeís taco pizza and California Pizza Kitchenís Thai pizza or goat cheese pizza (with roasted red peppers and bacon pieces).
Here, in Minnesota, when you feed your kids and their friends, it is nice to have pizza available. In fact, if you live anywhere and are feeding anyone (kids or adults) itís handy to have pizza. For years, I have tried to have at least one frozen pizza on hand in the freezer. You can serve it as an appetizer for a party or as a meal served with salad for your family. If unexpected guests arrive, you can whip up a pizza to add to the meal and feed your extra guests. Most people like pizza. So, it is a good thing to have available.
Make your own:
Recently, I discovered how easy it is to make the entire pizza from scratch. You will really impress friends if, out of the blue, you throw together a homemade pizza. †It is really simple to prepare the dough ahead of time, cover it with a bit of olive oil, place it in a baggie, and freeze it for later. If you know you will make one later in the week, you can keep it in the fridge. Itís so much nicer to have homemade pizza dough because it tastes better than frozen and it looks so much more rustic and beautiful when itís finished. I just triple or quadruple the dough recipe and store them individually in the freezer. They donít take very long to thaw.
rolling out pizza dough
You can even make your own pizza sauce and freeze or can it to have available all year. This year, I made my own sauce from all of my tomatoes in the garden. I bought the pizza sauce packet from the grocery store for the appropriate spices and just followed the directions. It was so simple. It is great to have tons of this sauce on hand. Otherwise, there are plenty of jars and cans of pizza sauce to buy at the grocery store in the tomato sauce aisle.
Finally, you will need †toppings. Here is where you can be creative. Kids love this part. Actually, kids enjoy the entire pizza making process. My kids love making the dough, rolling it out, and topping the pizza to suit their tastes. Itís also fun for them to make different designs with their ingredients. You can top the pizza with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers and onions. You should also add extra herbs and spices.
Daphne drizzling olive oil on her pizza
Or, you may want to keep the meat off of your pizza and choose artichoke hearts, onions, olives, and red pepper. Either way, you will need to have lots of shredded cheese to add to the toppings. I find that almost any cheese works. Choose your favorite and give it a try. Itís also nice to use a combination of cheeses. The possibilities are limitless. Be creative and make it your own masterpiece. Here is a video of me and my daughter, Daphne, making pizza for our family.
Makes 1 Pizza (Multiply this recipe to make a bunch of dough balls for your freezer)
2 1/4 C. flour
Ĺ tsp. salt
Ĺ tsp. yeast
ĺ C. lukewarm water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Add in the water and mix again. Add the olive oil and mix. Sprinkle some more flour as needed. Knead and pull for four to five minutes. Wipe some oil in a bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic. You can put this in the freezer. When it comes out of the freezer, let it come to room temperature (about four hours). If you didnít freeze it, allow it to sit, covered for 30 minutes. Then, roll it out, cover with sauce, cheese and toppings. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust reaches desired consistency (depending on thickness of crust). When it is finished, let it cool, cut and eat.† Enjoy. Here is a video from Breadtopia which is where I learned to make pizza dough.
I absolutely loved planting and tending to my garden all spring and summer. It was my first time ever and such a success. I hope it wasn’t beginner’s luck.†I learned how to freeze pizza sauce, can salsa, and blanch vegetables to freeze. I made my own ketchup, pasta sauce, and roasted and froze green chilis to use year round.† I have been using whole chicken so I can make stock, which I keep in small containers in the freezer to use in sauces. I’ve made many balls of pizza dough and stuck them in the freezer to make pizza whenever we feel like it. It’s so nice to go to the freezer or pantry and pull out some of these homemade items, knowing what went into making them (the precise ingredients). I decided that I am going to make a lot more of these homemade goodies, like jams and jellies, peanut butter, and more. I†discovered this great website which offers many recipes and teaches you how to make so many more items you never thought of making at home like baking powder?†Check this out: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/surprising-diy-homemade-foods.html