I think we’ve probably established the fact that I love chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate + peanut butter. But that was just a teeny reminder in case you’ve forgotten.
So when I first started South Beach, I figured I would be giving up my beloved Peter Pan peanut butter for good except for a few special occasions. I had heard of this natural peanut butter but it sounded weird and I wasn’t really interested. One weekend when was was home from college, Mom bought some for me to try.
Low and behold the stuff was amazing! I could (and sometimes do) eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. (I know, eww, you probably shouldn’t use my peanut butter). Sadly, it’s pretty high in calories even though it’s healthy so I can’t eat a jar a day like I would prefer. In fact, I sometimes have to just ban it from my house since apparently I don’t have the self control to keep it around all the time. But anyway, for the past 6 or so years this has been one of my favorite foods. There’s not telling how many jars I’ve consumed! I love the stuff. In fact, I now completely prefer it over “regular” (Peter Pan) peanut butter any day. The only time I use the other kind is when I’m baking because the natural peanut butter doesn’t do too well in most recipes. Except one. I’ll share that in a minute.
Fyi, if you’ve never tried it – you need to stir it up really good before using it. The only ingredients are peanuts and salt. The oil that you see on top is just the oil from the peanuts that rises to the top. Just stir it up really good (don’t pour the oil off – it will be really dry and nasty!) and then store it in the fridge so it doesn’t separate again. Like I said, this is high in calories but the oil in peanuts is a good fat and is especially good when paired with some fruit (I prefer apples or bananas) – remember how we talked about pairing high carb items with some fat to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream? (if not, click here).
So Smuckers natural peanut butter works for me!
Now, you won’t want to use this in most baking recipes but it does do very well in this granola bar recipe that a friend gave me several years ago.
mix it up really well
then add the oats, flax seed, and m&m’s (forgot to take pictures)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 cup flax seed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or mini m&m’s like I used this time, just because that’s what I had on hand)
- coconut and/or nuts are some other optional ingredients that might be good, too
Mix the butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together. Blend well with the oats, flax, chocolate chips, and/or any other dry ingredients. Bake in a greased 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or when lightly browned. Allow to cool and cut into squares.
1. My friend who gave me the recipe wraps hers in plastic and freezes them; she tosses them in her kids’ lunches frozen and they thaw by lunch time
2. Yes these are somewhat healthy but don’t treat them like a 100 calorie Quaker granola bar. These are pretty high in calories. I don’t know exactly (I started trying to add it up but got nervous and quit) but I know with butter, peanut butter, flax, and oats you’re looking at quite a large amount. However, they are very filling so you won’t want to eat a lot at once and they do have some good fat (peanut butter, flax) and good carbs (oats). That redeems them somewhat in my mind.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy them! I hope that my favorite little final-taking college students who will receive the ones that I made will.