Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"You smell like peanuts..."

Mr. Willy Wonka was a thin man.

And it was probably because he ate peanuts (and smelled like them, too...).

I am a huge fan of peanuts. I think they are magical. 

Like, squeezed-from-the-horn-of-a-majestic-white-unicorn's-horn magical (betchya didn't know peanut butter came from unicorn horns, dijya?).

I always had sort of mixed feelings about peanuts. They tasted so good, but had so many calories, but tasted so good...

And I always had that pesky food pyramid in the back of my mind yelling at me that you are only supposed to eat nuts in small quantities. 

And then there was the magical day when I discovered that peanuts are a legume. Magical little legumes, pooped out by magically majestic prancing unicorns...

I believe I wrote a blog about it. But I don't think I talked about unicorns. Which is a shame, since unicorns don't get enough press, if you know what I mean (as in pressed into a tasty, peanut buttery paste to be spread on toast...).

Anyway, thus renewed my love affair with peanuts and their butter (natural, of course...none of that sugary stuff).

Peanuts have some really great qualities, the main one being protein. 

Oh, sure, you can get oodles of protein from a nice slab of steak (from a boring, non-magical nor majestic cow), but I'm in favor of eating meat sparingly, and if that means eating lots of beans and legumes to make up for it, well, then, slap my bottom and sign me up. 

And, since I am trying to become more fit and healthy (which translates to "I'd really like to lose, oh, I dunno, 30 lbs"), I'm trying to eat better (not just until I lose weight, but forever). My typical response to eating during the day is to find the food item that contains the most calories, sugar, and fats possible. This type of system usually leaves me feeling: a) sick, b) fat, and c) bad about my choices. (What can I say? I really, really, like chocolate. A lot. Jeremy has even said that he wants to buy a safe to put one--or several--of those Costco family packs of  king size Butterfinger candy bars so I can have chocolate, but in moderation. I totally support this idea, mostly because I know the second Jeremy leaves me alone with this safe I will do everything in my power to crack open said safe and eat the entire box(es) of candy bars, and I have all the tools to do so....)

So, I try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables during the day, along with some grains in the form of bread. This, as you can imagine, is great, but I need some of that protein thrown in.

Enter peanut butter, stage left. (Beans are the understudy to peanut butter....or maybe they swap days...peanut butter Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and beans taking Tuesday, Thursday, and an occasional Friday matinee...)

So, I'm going to share with you two of my favorite recipes (if you can call them recipes...) that feature peanut butter, in the hopes that you will find them as enjoyable as I do, and that it may aid your own efforts to eat healthy!

Peanut Butter Banana Toast

This has got to be one of the most satisfying breakfast items I have EVER had. Love, love, love it. I hope you do, too. 

1 slice bread, toasted
1/2 banana, sliced
1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Slather that hot slice of toast with the peanut butter, toss on the banana, enjoy. 

Chocolate PB Banana Smoothie 

Before you gag in protest, just try it. I know when I first thought of adding all these things together, I thought it sounded gross, but it is super good, and I think of it more as a treat than something healthy (but it really is both...a treat you can have guilt-free, many times a day!).

1 cup chocolate almond milk 
1 large banana
2 cups spinach or kale
2 tbsp peanut butter
Water to obtain desired consistency
Ice, if you want it to be more like a shake

Throw all into blender, blend, pour into large glass. Fin. 

Now, for those of you who can't have dark, leafy greens (*cough* Emily *cough*), you could try and thrown other items in, like strawberries (I've done this on occasion, but I would add more chocolate milk or an extra banana if your strawberries aren't sweet enough...mine never seem to be) or even a carrot to bulk up the smoothie. I would venture to say thrown in some kind of lettuce in place of the spinach or kale, but I don't know how weird that would make it. It's worth a shot, I suppose, but don't blame me if it's gross. I didn't force you to put it in your smoothie. 

Black Bean Tostadas 
adapted from diabetic living

For those of you who really like beans, or even if you don't, here is a recipe that I LOVE, and my kids love, and my husband loves, and I bet Pepper would too, since she likes chicken. I typically double the bean salad portion of this recipe, since it is so, so good! The tostada can stand alone with the bean salad, if you want to make this vegetarian. Just throw the raw onions (and spices) into the bean salad. I don't, because raw onions make me sick as a dog. 

1 lb chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can corn or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, or tomato of choice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro--more details to follow
1 tbsp lime juice
1 package tostadas, or corn tortillas
Shredded Mexican blend cheese
Fat-free sour cream, Greek yogurt, or (my personal favorite) ranch dressing
Shredded romaine lettuce, or other lettuce of choice

Place chicken in large pan. Pour chicken broth into same pan, along with chopped onion and spices. Cover and let simmer until chicken is cooked through. 

*I find that if I cut the chicken into strips before cooking it, it speeds things along*

While chicken is cooking, combine beans, corn, and tomatoes in a bowl. Set aside. 

Place a bunch of cilantro into a food processor (unless you really like chopping it by hand), add in lime juice, and puree. Add cilantro and lime mixture to bean mixture and toss until the cilantro-lime mixture is integrated. 

After chicken is done, throw into your mixer with the paddle attachment in place. This will shred your chicken nicely, unless, again, you really feel like doing it by hand. I never do. I hate shredding anything by hand. Except cheese...and lettuce...

At this point, everything can be thrown into the refrigerator for later.

Otherwise, while chicken is being shredded, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place tostadas on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. If you are using corn tortillas instead, heat oven to 400, spray both sides of the tortillas and place on baking sheet. Once oven is hot, place baking sheet in oven, and flip over tortillas every minute until golden and crisp. Source.

Assemble your tostada thus: Tostada, chicken, bean mixture, cheese, lettuce, sour cream/yogurt/dressing. 

So there you go! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! I'm a real picky eater, and these make my soul happy. Food should be healthy and taste good, and all these recipes do. Fact. 


Katscratchme said...

I'm starting to add the leafy greens back in.. I've found recently that broccoli doesn't do too much damage.. so maybe I can eat spinach too??

Jen said...

Toasted peanut butter and honey sandwich. Yum. Make sure you have a paper towel ready, cause it's gonna get EVERYWHERE . . . but sooooooo good!

The Mrs. said...

I agree, peanut butter and honey toast is my fav! Well, it was until I suddenly became allergic to honey which really bums me out. Juicing is a good way to get a lot of nutrients and is surprisingly filling as well, you might think of doing that once or twice a week.

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