Did you know that March is National Peanut Month? Let's celebrate the sometimes-creamy, sometimes-crunchy ingredient with some of our favorite peanut (and peanut butter) recipes. From supersweet desserts to one of our favorite snack mixes of all time, here are seven recipes guaranteed to satisfy your peanut cravings.
Parents of kids with food allergies can often be found questioning themselves: Did I eat something I shouldn't have while pregnant? Did I wait too long to introduce nuts, eggs, or milk? For all of the scientific research out there, there's no conclusive research explaining the 18 percent increase in kids with food allergies from 1997 to 2007.
But a new report from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in a January article in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology: In Practice suggests that we are going about food introduction all wrong. Instead of delaying the introduction of highly allergenic foods — wheat, soy, milk, tree nuts, and shellfish — until kids have reached their first birthdays, we should be giving them the foods soon after they have their first bites of pureed carrots and mashed bananas.
The author of the study says, "There's been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy." He suggests that parents should give babies the highly allergenic foods "after typical first foods have been eaten and tolerated, such as rice cereal, fruits and vegetables . . . [they should] be fed the foods at home and in gradually increasing amounts."
As the parent of a child with a tree nut allergy, I can understand the thought behind moving up the introduction of the foods, but knowing how children react — with itchy and scratchy mouths, a tightening feeling in the throat, etc. — I have to question whether it's smart to give these foods to babies who can't express what they're feeling. What do you think?
Peanut sauce is good for more than just pad thai, so if you're a fan of the Asian staple, we're highlighting a variety of ways to incorporate the sauce in different dishes. Whether you prefer to make it yourself or buy it at the store, these ideas are sure to help you come up with new, original recipes. In honor of National Sauce Month, check out these five different ways to use peanut sauce:
- In a wrap: Spice up your next lunch wrap by spreading a thin layer of peanut sauce over the tortilla, then sprinkle crushed peanuts on top for an extra nutty flavor.
- On a salad: Toss basic peanut sauce over your salad for a sweet, creamy dressing, or give it an extra boost by adding fresh ginger, chopped green onions, and dry-roasted peanuts.
- For pasta sauce: Before you top your favorite noodle dish with peanut sauce, try thinning it out a bit by mixing it with chicken broth.
- As a dip: Peanut sauce is the perfect dip for fresh vegetables, crispy tofu, meats, and spring rolls, but you can also venture out with seafood skewers or dumplings.
- In a marinade: Blend peanut sauce with soy sauce, ginger, onions, and a dash of hot sauce for a delicious meat or vegetable marinade.
What do you use peanut sauce for?
Nuts are one of the best foods you can nosh on because they're full of healthy fats, contain protein and fiber to fill you up, are cholesterol-free, and they're a great snack you can easily pack with you wherever you go. A serving size of nuts is one ounce, which is about a handful. Considering my handful and my hubby's handful look a lot different, I thought it'd be good to go over what exactly one ounce of nuts looks like. Take this quiz to see if you know.
If you love peanuts and peanut butter, then it might be wise to get yourself to the store and stock up sooner rather than later, thanks to a certain price hike on peanuts and peanut products.
After a hot, dry Summer devastated much of this year's peanut crop, the wholesale price of peanuts has skyrocketed from $450 a ton to $1,150. In response, top peanut butter brands are being forced to increase their prices: Skippy is up 30 to 35 percent from last year, and other big sellers will all raise prices between now and November (Peter Pan by as much as 24 percent, Planters by 40 percent, and Jif by 30 percent).
Sounds like there might be an opportunity for some peanut butter alternatives here. Almond butter, are you listening?
If you're craving a chewy peanut buttery treat, this might just become your new favorite cookie. While a cookie is still a cookie, this recipe offer a slightly healthier goody. The chewy oatmeal cookie coupled with the creamy peanut butter and mashed banana mixture makes a perfect flavor combination. The only downside to whipping up a batch of these cookies is you may find it impossible to hold back from eating the entire batch. Plus, it's National Peanut Butter Month, so get baking and celebrate.
After a few rough years, it seems that peanuts are finally making a comeback on menus. According to research firm Technomic, the listing of peanuts on menus has jumped nearly 45 percent between 2006 and 2010.
But according to Nation's Restaurant News, peanuts have begun making a showing across all food sectors, from chains like P.F. Chang's to independently owned upscale restaurants, and in everything from soups to sauces to frozen yogurt and desserts.
I'm glad to see more of this classic nut in San Francisco eateries; for instance, an upscale riff on the Snickers bar at San Francisco's Commonwealth left me blown away. Are you excited for the trend of peanut dishes?
Whether it's sandwiched between two pieces of white bread and grape jelly or oozing out of a melty chocolate shell, peanut butter is one of life's simple pleasures. Peanut butter is so delicious, it has its own holiday, which happens to be today: happy National Peanut Butter Day! To celebrate, make peanut butter cookies, pudding, or blondies. But before you do, tell me in the comments, are you a fan of the smooth and creamy (or crunchy!) spread?
Source: Flickr User rusvaplauke
Since the Giants will be playing in the World Series this year, there's quite a buzz in the air in San Francisco. It only seems appropriate to celebrate with a quintessential ball park dish, Cracker Jacks. While there might not be a prize, the flavor is a home run! The recipe has you pop your own bag of popcorn, and I was amazed at how easy it was. All you need is a little bit of olive oil. The popcorn is fresh and ready for a deliciously easy caramel sauce. In less than a half hour, you'll have Cracker Jacks. Don't forget to occasionally stir the mixture once it's drying on the cookie sheets — this ensures that it won't stick. Enjoy the World Series this week with a homemade batch of Cracker Jacks: just keep reading for the recipe.
No tricks, just treats! Halloween is a particularly spooky time for tots with allergies. With so many sweets passing through kids' hands, it's best for mama to have a few holiday-themed treats on hand to alleviate any accidents. As nut allergies become more prevalent, many bakeries are going nut-free – guaranteeing that their goodies are baked with ingredients and in facilities that have never been contaminated by the highly allergic nuts. Here are a handful of nut-free bakeries that will ship their Halloween cookies nationwide.
- Boston-based Fancy Pants Bakery ships their nut-free goodies nationwide, including their Monster Mash Cookie Gift Set ($40), pictured here.
- Eleni's adorable Halloween cookie tins (starting at $25) are all nut free and perfect for a group gathering, or to send to fellow costumed pals.
- Though not up on their site yet, Seattle-based Little Rae's Bakery will be shipping their peanut- and tree nut-free Halloween-themed shortbread cookies nationwide again this year.
- O My Goodness' Kosher and nut-free cookies are available in a wide selection of spooktacular shapes and will be a hit with allergic trick-or-treaters.
- Want to make your own nut-free party treats? Cherrybrook Kitchen Sugar Cookie Mix is peanut-, dairy-, and egg-free, making it safe for most of the kids who'd be attending your event!