When Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, I’m in the mood for sweet treats. I love baking the traditional heart shaped sugar cookies once a year, but my fiancé complains about how bland those treats taste. This is why he normally buys me a box of individual chocolates every year so that he can eat a Valentine’s Day treat that pleases his taste buds too. For this year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I am on the hunt for a treat that both of us will enjoy. While searching on various websites, I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls. This recipe has several positive aspects. The recipe has few ingredients—only four items are needed for the whole recipe! Most of the ingredients are staples in the kitchen, and the preparation is simple without the need to preheat the oven! Eating one, one-inch peanut butter ball is low in calories, providing 70 calories per serving. This recipe is also kid friendly! Guide the kids to measure the ingredients, mix, and roll the mixture into 12 balls. Then have them sprinkle red, white, and pink sprinkles on top. Or drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate. Jump in the kitchen and surprise your family and friends with delightful peanut butter balls for Valentine’s Day!
Written by Allyson Woltman, Dietetic Intern
Peanut Butter Balls
|Makes one dozen.
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup honey
½ cup nonfat dry milk
½ cup crushed cereal flakes
|1. Mix peanut butter, honey, and nonfat dry milk in a bowl.
2. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in cereal.
3. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
Nutrients Per Serving (One ball) Calories 70, Saturated Fat 0.5 g, Iron 0 mg, Protein 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Calcium 40 mg, Carbohydrates 9 g, Vitamin A 25 RE, Sodium 55 mg, Total Fat 2.5 g, Vitamin C 1 mg, Dietary Fiber 0 g
Recipe provided by Washington State Dairy Council http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/recipes/hhp/NFDM-Recipes.pdf
eat, food preparation, recipes, resources
This month’s featured recipe is Peanut Butter Pita Pockets.
This is a great food to take to the park, on a bike ride or just for a backyard picnic. The pita pockets are great for holding in sweet juicy fruit, but whole wheat bread could be substituted to save a trip to the store or a few pennies.
This very simple recipe will be best with ripe fruit. Fruit is plentiful in the market right now, but it is not all ripe. Apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains and plums continue to ripen at room temperature after they’re picked. To speed their ripening, put them in a loosely closed brown paper bag. Plastic bags don’t work for ripening. Once fully ripened, fruits may be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their storage time. Though the outside skin of a refrigerated banana will turn dark brown, the inside will remain light-colored.
Consider teaching your kids or grandkids to make this recipes. Let them choose a new fruit to try.
Peanut Butter Pita Pockets
- 2 apples, pears, bananas, peaches, or mangoes
- 2 medium whole wheat pita pockets
- 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
- Wash and slice fruit.
- Cut pitas in half to make 4 pockets.
- Warm each pita half in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them more flexible.
- Carefully open each pocket and spread about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on the inside walls of each pita half. You may need to warm the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds, especially if it has been in the refrigerator.
- Fill each pocket with sliced fruit. Serve at room temperature.
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If your schedule is so hectic that a trip to drive-up seems like the only option, consider stocking your shelves with “Go-To” Meals. These are meals that satisfy hunger, take minimal effort and time, but maximize taste. Nutritional value is fulfilled when you plan for at least one food from each group in MyPyramid. Only a few ingredients are required, so preparation and clean-up is a snap. Plus, they save money on your food bill!
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking…
- Peanut butter and jelly is an old favorite that’s even better when served on toasted whole wheat bread. Add baby carrots, apple slices and milk.
- Pita pocket sandwiches are stuffed with veggies and healthy lunch meat. Its shape is perfect for eating on-the-go. For some variety, try a whole grain bagel sandwich.
- Scrambled eggs or omelets with added onions, peppers, leftover vegetables and cheese need only fruit and toast to make a meal.
- Beans and brown rice cover two of your main energy sources. The protein in the beans fuels your muscles, while the complex carbs in the rice provide lasting energy. To save time, try a quick-cook variety of brown rice.
- Soup and crackers will fill you up fast. Three Can Chili needs only milk, crackers and fruit to make a meal.
- Oatmeal pancakes taste great, no matter what time it is. With a powdered mix, you can be flipping some hotcakes in a flash. Add some fruits to the pancakes—or on the side—and milk to drink. To save more time, make some ahead..
- Chicken burritos are easier to make than you might think. Heat chicken, beans and vegetables, and wrap them in a tortilla. Sprinkle on low-fat cheese, and you’ve nearly hit all of the major food groups with one bite.
-pointers from Peggy
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Krista from South Carolina asked if there was conflicting information about freezing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Jan Temple says, “I did my own experiment to test this. I made a total of 6 sandwiches, two of each type listed. All were made with store brand, 100% whole wheat bread. Jelly was also store brand. One sandwich I froze; the other I left at room temperature.”
Assembly methods tested:
- Traditional PBJ with 2 slices of bread, peanut butter on top of one slice, jelly on top of the peanut butter and topped with the second slice of bread.
- Spread both slices of bread with reduced fat margarine, then applied peanut butter to one slice, topped with jelly and the second slice of bread. (In the 50’s, this is how all sandwiches were made – butter on both slices first to prevent any filling from making the bread soggy.)
- Spread both slices with peanut butter and spread jelly in between.
Jan continues, “I then compared the frozen with the room temperature to test for sogginess. My taste panel could NOT detect any sogginess in ANY of the six samples. I conclude that freezing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches works as an effective way to save money on lunch away from home. If both time and money are your motivation, I would recommend method 1. If you have more time and can handle a few more calories, choose method 3. (It takes time to spread peanut butter really thin – especially if you have stored it in the refrigerator! You might try warming briefly in the microwave first to avoid getting two thick layers of peanut butter.) Method 2 works, but today, few of us need the extra fat calories from margarine or butter.”
-pointers by Peggy
food cost, food preparation