CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You can make your own peanut butter. I do, after first starting out with Simply Jif, switching to Smart Balance smooth, then crunchy as they appeared on the grocery shelf.
But not liking the ingredients in some and comparing nutrition numbers in others and reading the label on the jar of plain unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, I decided to produce my own.
I don't think I'm creating sleeplessness in the peanut butter industry, but the homemade has lower numbers and no added sugar, honey, molasses, hydrogenated and other oils, or salt. Just the simple peanuts (sometimes I add whole, dry, unsalted almonds to the peanuts), whirred to a smooth paste in the food processor. The result is fresher than the Smucker's All Natural.
Peanuts contain the same compound found in red wine that scientists believe may lower blood cholesterol levels. They are also rich in monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and folic acid, all heart-healthy nutrients.
Although good for you, there are still calories in the homemade peanut butter, so watch portions. And you may have to develop a taste for it.
In today's recipe, you may go with Cool Whip. I see it called for in all types of healthy recipes, especially in health-professional publications, so it must meet standards, although I never used it in my regular cooking.
I switched any Cool Whip to cream. There is light Reddi-wip on the grocery shelf, reduced in calories and with more comforting ingredients, if you prefer a little real cream to hydrogenated oil. Either way, we aren't talking about a huge amount.
Creamy Peanut Dip
2 tablespoons your preferred peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/3 cup Cool Whip (fat-free, sugar-free or light), thawed
Sliced fresh apples or pears
WHISK peanut butter and milk until well blended; fold in Cool Whip. Serve with fruit slices or alone as a peanut butter mousse. Suggested serving: 2 tablespoons dip and 4 slices of fruit. As a mousse, entire prepared amount is about 14 carbs or one carb choice.
Reach Judy Grigoraci at ...@suddenlink.net.