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Entries in peanut butter (9)

Sunday
Oct072012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Every so often, I crave a warm cookie fresh from the oven. Crisp edges and a soft center can take me away to a special place I like to call cookie heaven. I love the simplicity of a cookie; it may not be as beautiful as a tiered cake or as fancy as a crème brûlée, but it doesn't have to be to leave an impression. Cookies are the everyday dessert—for afternoon snacks and evening treats.

It's hard to beat the simplicity of a good cookie.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

As I was growing up, my mother had a rule that my sister and I were never allowed more than two cookies in one sitting. The size of the cookie never mattered—two was the limit. Even though the rule was a simple one, with our best interests at heart, it quickly turned into a rule my sister and I heeded with a religious fervor. For the most part, the rule was easy to follow; easy, that is, until a box of Oreos was placed in front of me.

It is very difficult to eat only two Oreos in one sitting.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Yet, the rule was followed faithfully for years. Even when I wasn't in the house, the rule was so ingrained within me I didn't dare break it. It wasn't until my teenage years that I took my first rebellious step against the cookie regulation. After school, with a house to myself, I ate four Oreos for an afternoon snack. Once the last bite was taken, I immediately felt guilty. Though no one had seen the crime, I was certain my mother would somehow find out about it. I drank a glass of milk to wash out the evidence between my teeth. I rearranged the Oreos left in the bag to try to cover up the scandal. So great was my guilt that I didn't eat a single cookie after dinner that evening.

Looking back, the fact that my rebellious stage involved eating too many cookies in one sitting seems fitting. Even if my mother had found out about my minor rule-breaking at the time, I can't imagine she would have done anything but laugh at me. In fact, since I've kept my cookie secret until now, I can only imagine she's doing the same, shaking her head at the lengths I went to hide my cookie shame.

For the record, I now eat three Oreos in one sitting. I make my own rules now.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies are the ideal accompaniment to a glass of cold milk. Both the chocolate and peanut butter are in balanced proportion, with neither flavor trespassing over the other. The cookies bake up crisp on the outside, but soft in the center. I love to eat these warm, when the peanut butter is gooey and the chocolate is runny, but they are equally delicious after resting for a few hours (or days).

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Friday
Jun292012

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

When I lived in a tiny, but undeniably lovely apartment in Montreal, I spent most of my time around the kitchen table baking, eating, or working. I spent my mornings and evenings in the kitchen, discovering a passion for food in the sugar jar and the heat of the oven. The kitchen was minuscule, incapable of even holding a refrigerator, but the dark, wooden table and the large open windows made the space feel like a home. I wasn't the only one who had the same feelings.

A small mouse moved in, making a nest in a hole behind the stove.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

My roommate was the first to spot the visitor, as he scampered into hiding once his secret had been found out. As we wondered what to do with our little friend (mousetraps were certainly out of the question unless they were humane), my roommate went away for a weekend and my mother came to visit. My roommate and I thought it best that my mother didn't know of our little friend. Firstly, so she wouldn't believe we were living in squalor and, secondly, so that she wouldn't fear sleeping on the futon which rested only a few feet from the mouse's house. Since it had been nearly a week since the mouse's discovery and he hadn't appeared for me, it seemed best to keep mum on the subject.

On the second night of my mother's visit, we sat around the kitchen table enjoying spaghetti squash and fresh figs. In the quiet of the apartment, there was suddenly a tiny scratching sound coming from the inside of one of the cupboard doors. The mouse, it seemed, wanted to say hello. As my mother stared at the cupboard in horror, imagining a range of creatures hiding behind the door, I spilled the secret, backed into a corner by none other than the mouse himself. Though my mother raised her eyebrows at my explanation why the mouse had become my third roommate, she kept her thoughts on the subject to herself.

My mother, to her credit, still slept on the futon.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

It was a few days more until I spotted the mouse for myself. As I quietly worked in the living room, he finally peeked out to look me over. He was so tiny I could have easily held him in one hand, sporting ears as large as elephant's. I couldn't help but fall hopelessly in love. I began to have childish fantasies of transforming the movie Ratatouille into a reality, turning the mouse into a pet with an appreciation for good food.

Then the reality of having a mouse in the house hit me.

The mouse, though tiny as he was, had an uncanny ability to peep about in the baking cupboard. He ignored the baking staples as he looked for his prize—a large bag of almonds. Overnight two pounds of almonds disappeared. Though I was upset about that (almonds certainly aren't cheap), it was the thousands of little crumbs he left behind for me to clean up that drove me to frustration. I cleaned out the cupboard, moving sealed baking supplies and tossing out the rest. When we discovered the corner he treated as a litter box, my desire to have a mouse friend began fading. The mouse, to his credit, was a very quiet house guest, leaving a long enough time between his little surprises that we'd forget we even had a third roommate.

I moved away before the saga of the mouse had come to a head. Sometimes I wonder about that little mouse and his whereabouts, curious how long it took him to eat his almonds. Sometimes I worry that my own kitchen will capture the attention of a little mouse, especially when the dishes begin to pile on the counter top. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if it did—he could help me pick up the crumbs from off the floor.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

This Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie is sweet (without added sugar) and absolutely filling. Bananas, peanut butter, tofu, and oats come together to create a robust, flavorful beverage. One serving of the smoothie has roughly twenty grams of protein, making it a good choice when you need to power up. If you are nervous at seeing the word "tofu," don't be worried; like yogurt, it thickens the smoothie but lends no flavor to the final product (just protein!).

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Wednesday
May022012

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

Lethargic, listless, lackadaisical. I've been utterly lazy the last week and half. At first, it was because I was jet-lagged, blaming time differences and long flights on my reason for not getting up from the couch. However, after the fatigue wore off, so did my excuses. I began setting my alarm to get up for the gym—an honest attempt to drag myself back into a normal schedule. Waking up to the loud beeping with cloudy skies overhead, I found myself hitting the snooze button and turning over for another hour's rest.

Not today, I'd tell myself. Maybe tomorrow...

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

One day turned into two. Then three, then four. After rolling out of bed, I'd eat breakfast before situating myself in front of the television to watch hours of sitcoms and Lifetime movies. I made up excuses to convince myself I didn't need to leave the house. Overdue library books sat by the front door, accumulating small, but bothersome ten cent charges each day that passed. I wasn't sad or depressed, sick or under the weather. I was simply and inexcusably lazy.

I don't really need to go to the gym, I'd tell myself while eating through a bag of potato chips. I'll bake something tomorrow, I'd assure myself, scrolling through more recipes on Pinterest. Laziness was a luxury, wasn't it?

But, as the days turned into a week, I wasn't so sure of that anymore.

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

Abraham Miller once said that he who knows how to loaf is wiser than three sages. I have the feeling, however, he wasn't talking about me. With all the reality television I was watching, I couldn't hope to be as wise as one sage, much less three. Laziness was no longer a luxury. It was becoming a chore (and no one likes chores).

Exactly 10 days after my lazy streak started, it abruptly ended. I pulled myself together. I went to the gym. I cuddled back up to my Kitchenaid mixer and made sweet, sweet desserts. I returned the library books back to their rightful home. Though laziness does have a time and place (and I will look back upon mine fondly), sometimes enough is enough.

The real world comes calling and we all must get up off the couch.

Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies

These Peanut Butter Cornmeal Cookies are the product of curious thinking and experimentation. Gluten and dairy free, the cookies are made with crunchy peanut butter and rolled in sugar for sweetness. The cornmeal adds a little extra texture to these cookies, without a distinguishable taste. Though the cornmeal can give the cookies a drier texture, it isn't anything a glass of milk can't cure.

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