Peanut Butter: The Versatile Ingredient

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, I’d like to share my own personal story of how peanut butter came to my rescue. Picture ninth grade Geometry class. One near-retirement teacher is nodding off at his desk. Like a classic John Hughes film clip, chaos is in full swing. One 15-year-old girl with waist-long, late 1980s hair feels an unmistakable “plop” in her super-sized bangs. It’s gum. Bright lime green, sticky, gooey gum. A classmate across the room had been aiming at the boy behind me, but alas—despite being the ninth grade football team’s quarterback, his aim was off (or so he claimed)—and my waist-long hair was the victim.

Off I ran to the nurse’s office, and she sent me to the cafeteria for—you guessed it—peanut butter. Good ol’ peanut butter saved my tresses from the scissors, and although I smelled of peanuts for the remainder of the day, I was forever grateful to—yes you got it—peanut butter.

Of course peanut butter is useful for many purposes, not just getting gum out of hair (although if that ever happens to you, I highly recommend the strategy). Baking with peanut butter, cooking with it, eating it plain out of the jar—how many ways can we love peanut butter?  Hundreds. But since we don’t have that much time, we’ll just cover some highlights.

Breakfast:  Peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast or an English muffin is my go-to pre-workout breakfast. On the weekends, my favorite waffle topping is peanut butter and syrup (it tastes like a Nutter Butter cookie, delish). My kids love to eat apple slices dipped in peanut butter for a snack, and I love that they consume both fruit and a protein, sure to keep them satisfied until dinner.

Cooking & Baking:  My favorite peanut butter dish is peanut sauce served over stir-fried vegetables and rice noodles.

Peanut Sauce
1 cup creamy Parkers Farm peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
½ Tablespoon chopped garlic
½ Tablespoon chopped cilantro
¼ cup cold water
¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
¼ cup chopped peanuts
Stir-fried vegetables of your choice (I like carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, water chestnuts, bell peppers)
Thai rice noodles, cooked

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix or whisk until creamy. Toss with Thai rice noodles and vegetables and serve.

Here are some more delicious peanut butter recipe ideas from parkersfarm.com.

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Make Cheese the Centerpiece of Your Party

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Parkers Farm Cheese

Party season is upon us—football parties, Thanksgiving feasts, holiday gatherings, New Year’s festivities and more. If you’re like me, it’s fun to brainstorm recipes and try out new dishes in the weeks beforehand to see if they’re good enough to make the final cut for the party menu. But I also need to make sure that a number of the dishes are quick and easy to make or are recipes that can be made ahead of time. I don’t want to feel stressed, short on time or frazzled right before the party.

One way to keep things simple is to incorporate cheese in your menu, for the main dish, side dishes, or hors d’oeuvres. For example, as guests arrive have a cheese roll with pizzazz and your favorite crackers ready to go for an appetizer. Parkers Farm makes a variety of cheese roll flavors including jalapeno, spinach, pimento, cheddar ranch and port wine cheddar.

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Are you a Parkers Farm Peanut Butter Fan?

Are you a fan of Parkers Farm peanut butter?  Let’s look at all of the reasons why there are so many fans—like me—out there.

Parkers Farm peanut butter is:

  • Delicious, either plain or as an ingredient in your favorite recipe
  • All natural peanut butter
  • Healthy peanut butter—a good source of potassium and healthy fat as well as low in sodium
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Cooking with Cheese Logs

cheese recipes

Parkers Farm Cheese balls and cheese logs

I typically buy cheese logs to serve as an appetizer—they’re great to have on hand when company drops in or you realize you need something extra to serve during a meal. But they can also be used as an ingredient in recipes. You can also substitute a flavored cheese log to add an interesting, flavorful twist to a recipe you already have.

Here are some fun recipes that you may want to try.

Chicken Florentine (a family favorite!)

One package frozen spinach leaves, cooked, cooled and drained
4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup Milk
2 rolls Parkers Farm garlic cheese, chopped
Bread crumbs
Butter

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Parkers Farm supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the folks at Parkers Farm are doing their part to support the cause. Parkers Farm is donating a portion of all of its natural peanut butter sales during October to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF). You can look for the pink lids on Parkers Farm healthy peanut butter while shopping at your local grocer.

Why is Parkers Farm getting involved?  Well, there are lots of reasons.

  • Every year, more than 220,000 women and 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. One in every eight women will be diagnosed in her lifetime.
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Recipes for your Halloween party from Parkers Farm

October is here—time to get ready for Halloween!  Along with brainstorming ideas for costumes, decorations, Jack-O-Lantern designs and treats for Trick-or-Treaters, it’s time to think about Halloween holiday recipes. High in protein and good for your heart, Parkers Farm all natural peanut butter can help you make your treats healthier for all of the little ghosts and witches celebrating Halloween.

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

peanut butter recipes

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls from Taste of Home

5 cups popped popcorn
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
½ cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup peanut butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn mixture and mix well.

When cool enough to handle, quickly shape into ten 2 ½-inch balls. Let stand at room temperature until firm; wrap in plastic wrap. Makes 10 popcorn balls.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Crackers

peanut butter

Ritz Cracker Treats With Chocolate Peanut Butter Coating from About.com

8 ounces chocolate-flavored bark or dipping chocolate
½ cup peanut butter chips
Ritz Crackers, 3 to 4 dozen
Peanut butter
Orange sprinkles

Spread peanut butter on a cracker and top with another cracker. Make about 18 to 20. Melt chocolate and peanut butter chips over hot water or very low heat. Dip filled crackers into the chocolate mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Place on wax paper and decorate with orange sprinkles. If you have some melted chocolate coating left, assemble a few more filled crackers and dip them. Let treats stand until coating is firm. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

peanut butter

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars from Cooking Channel

Crispy Crust Layer:
1 ¾ cups crisped rice cereal
Cooking spray
½ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons melted butter

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer:
5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Chocolate Icing:
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon light corn syrup
4 Tablespoons butter

For the crispy crust layer: Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch-square baking pan. Into a small saucepan, pour 1/4 cup water. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup and stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and pour the mixture over the cereal. Quickly stir until the cereal is coated, and then pour it into the prepared pan. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Let the crust cool to room temperature.
For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a double boiler (with water simmering in the lower pan) stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crispy crust layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator until the top layer hardens, about an hour.

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Where can I buy Parkers Farm products?

Parkers Farm makes the best all-natural peanut butter — it’s good for you, delicious and versatile. Whether you eat it for breakfast on whole grain toast, on apple slices for a snack, or use it as an ingredient in a dinner recipe, Parker’s Farm all-natural peanut butter will make your meal better tasting and better for you.

But where can you find this healthy peanut butter?  It’s easier to find than you think. The main thing to remember is that you need to look in the refrigerated section. Parkers Farm makes their peanut butter with no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, no trans fats and very little salt, so it needs to be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and tasty.

Here is a list of grocery stores that currently carry Parkers Farm products:

Byerly’s
Coborn’s
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