At some point in time, every mom thinks their kid eats too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
And then we worry if that’s a good or bad thing.
There has yet to be any child who has become sick or developed a disease from eating too many PBJ’s, so let’s put our minds at ease. Instead of worrying about the quantity, we should be more concerned with the quality.
- Whole wheat flour is less processed and contains more nutrients than white, plus the bleaching process and enriching of white flour is adding more steps and chemicals than are really necessary. Make the switch by subbing half whole wheat flour in homemade bread. In all honesty, the kids only notice the difference in their first sandwich. Choose the “eat it or go hungry” route and you won’t run into that problem again. 😉 You can also buy whole wheat bread, but choose a healthy wheat bread.
- If you’re using peanut butter with hydrogenated oils, switch to all natural or even organic peanut butter. At a minimum, read the label and choose one without the plastic!
- Finally, get rid of the Smuckers. Have you read the ingredients lately?
From their site: CONCORD GRAPE JUICE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE.
Wow. There isn’t even any fruit in it! And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) being second in the lineup should shake us up big time. Remember how coffee creamer is closer to plastic that food? Unfortunately, HFCS isn’t too far off.
And to think that I used to worry about finding good deals on this stuff!!
Instead of using traditional jelly, try thinly sliced bananas, peaches, pears or apples on the other side of the bread.
If you must have a spreadable somethin’ to accompany your butter, make your own.
Fruit butters are SO easy to make, especially for those who are pectin-challenge (ahem, me).
See, me and pectin don’t get along so well. Our last battle ended with strawberry puree burned onto my wax paper. My ego is still bruised considering the “simplicity” of the recipe. I’m just not ready for round two yet.
So for now I’m sticking to the crock-pot. My trusty, don’t-worry-I’ll-do-it-for-you slow cooker that hasn’t failed me yet.
And this is important when the kids are going through PBJ withdrawals!
The beauty of fruit butters is that they’re whatever you make of them – literally. Buy (or pick) whatever produce is in season, wash it, half or quarter it and throw it in the crock pot. Add a squirt or two of honey or maple syrup and read a book. The next day you’ll have super mushy fruit that your immersion blender will turn into a fresh and chemical-free spread for your sammies.
Our current fruit butter in the fridge is strawberry apple. It came from marked-down, over-ripe strawberries at the farmer’s market combined with the first pickings of the apple season. The flavor of the strawberries deepens in the cooking process, and the apples compliment the richness so well. The optional smidge of honey brings it all together.
- 2-3 cups strawberries (washed and stems removed)
- 3lbs apples (washed, quartered and seeds removed)
- ¼ cup honey (optional)
- In a 6 quart slow-cooker, combine strawberries, apples and honey and cover. Cook on medium-low for 12-18 hours.
- Puree mixture with an immersion blender.
- Prop lid open with a knife or chopstick (or the like, see below) and cook for another 2-6 hours on low, or until the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon. The propped open lid will allow excess water to evaporate.
- Once the desired consistency is reached, allow to cool and then ladle into glass jars. Butter may be kept in the freezer for long-term storage. Makes enough to fill three 16oz jars.
Kitchen Tip: Unless you’re my neighbor, strawberries are not in season. Frozen can be substituted or the berries can be omitted altogether. Experiment with whatever is available!