Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later. If you came here today expecting to see something fancy, you're out of luck. Because, for today's lunch, after several days in a row of cooking, I resorted to what I like to refer to as the "Old Faithful" lunch of vegans and non-vegans alike, and that's the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. It all started last night when I was reading through a back issue of Herbivore Magazine (a really cool magazine you need to subscribe to, by the way). I was re-reading the article where Isa interviewed rocker Joan Jett and came upon the part where Isa asked her how she managed to eat vegan all the time when she was on tour and her response was, "I eat a lot of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches." A little bell went off in my mind... ding! LUNCH!

I have actually been meaning to bring this one day, especially since I figured out how I could squeeze up to three sandwiches (if they're nice & skinny) into my lunchbox. And I didn't just bring them because I wanted a break from cooking something new, I also like the things. In fact, if I weren't trying to display an abnormal amount of variety in my lunches for a blog, I would probably bring PB&J sandwiches for lunch about 60-70% of the time. I do eat them a lot at home, and sometimes I even eat them for dessert because I'll eat dinner and want something sweet, only to discover that there's nothing sweet in the house. PB&J to the rescue. They're also handy if you find yourself in a dining emergency at someone else's home and you didn't have time to arrange what you would eat ahead of time or bring your own food. Almost EVERYBODY has peanut butter & jelly at their house, unless they're allergic to peanuts, of course.

I just slapped some peanut butter and grape jelly on some whole wheat bread and into the lunchbox it went. I was tempted to add some "traditional" lunchbox items that might go with a PB&J sandwich, like potato chips, cookies, etc. But I clenched my teeth and tried to do a little better by including some steamed broccoli and some raw baby carrots instead.

There's actually a lot you can talk about when you are talking about peanut butter & jelly. Take peanut butter, for example, crunchy or smooth? For sandwiches, I am a 100% CRUNCHY kind of person. I think it tastes so much better, and it makes it so much more interesting with all of those crunchy pieces of peanuts in there. When I'm making something where peanut butter is an ingredient though, like those peanut butter & chocolate bars I made a week or so ago, then I do use smooth.

Another thing I always insist on now is that it be NATURAL peanut butter. I just think it's sick to squeeze all of the peanut oil out of the peanuts and replace it with some other, less healthy oil and then load the whole mess down with sugar. Who needs THAT?!?! My favorite brand of peanut butter is actually the Kroger store brand natural peanut butter. It comes in both smooth & chunky varieties and there are only two ingredients; peanuts & salt. I have also tried the Smucker's brand of natural peanut butter, but I really didn't care for it too much. I thought it was kinda' dry and it seemed really gritty to me.

I think it's cool how the peanut oil rises to the top and you have to stir it back in. Plus, if you've ever spread natural peanut butter on a cracker and eaten it, then you know that it normally takes a LOT LESS natural peanut butter to give you the same kick as that highly processed sugar stuff. I didn't know that the first time I tried natural peanut butter, so I just spread what I thought was a normal amount on a cracker and popped it in my mouth. It nearly sealed my jaw shut. Hahahaha

There was an episode of "Unwrapped" on The Food Network a few weeks ago that also gave me an idea for the lunchbox that I never would have dreamed of. Strangely enough, it was a show all about pizza, and they were showing all of these different restaurants across the country that make really distinctive pizzas. Well, they showed this one restaurant that actually made a peanut butter & jelly pizza! It was just pizza crust with peanut butter spread on it and then jelly spread on top of that and baked in the oven. It showed actual customers eating it and they loved it. I never would have thought of doing that, but I guess it would be good. I do like peanut butter on hot toasted English Muffins. So I guess I could see that. It would just be bread, peanut butter & jelly. Really no different than a sandwich. How could that be bad?

So that does it for today's lunch. An easy one, I know, but a yummy one for when you don't have the time, or don't feel like cooking.

Thanks for reading my blog today and I'll see you on Wednesday!


Veganluv said...

OK, now I'm going to have to get that Kroger brand of natural
P.B. For some reason, just never bought it.

As a side note about Kroger, the Kroger brand of Worcestershire sauce is VEGAN (no anchovies).

I love to run into these "accidentally" vegan products at the grocers.

shebytches said...

also try almond butter and jelly... YUMMY!

Jen said...

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are always excellent too.

NightOwl said...

Thanks Ken! I'm going to dinner with my sister later, but am starving right now. I'm having some almond butter and strawberry jam on Ezekiel bread. Yum!

Tracy said...

Hey Ken! That's life for you....it just isn't aways that exciting.
Personally, I could live on peanut butter on bread. Best lunch ever!
By the way, what kind of field do you work in, if it's not too personal? If it is I understand. I just want to visualize the co-workers who drool over your lunch every day.
My hubby is a parts manager of a heavy duty trucking company, and let me tell you, people are always taken aback when he tells them he's a vegan.

robiewankenobie said...

have you done almond butter? cashew? they're a good way to change things up when ol faithful ain't cutting it.

kennyboy said...

I saw that just the other day on someone else's blog jen. Grilled PB&J sounds good. I think I might bring it for lunch on Elvis' birthday, but I gotta' go look that up and see when that is.

You're right shebytches and robiewankenobie, I do need to try some of those other nut butters. Don't alot of vegan "cheese" sauces use cashew butter, and don't some raw vegans use JUST cashew butter as a "cheese". Does it really taste that cheesy? I guess there's only one way for me to find out huh? I saw some at the grocery store yesterday and it was pretty expensive. Of course, cashews 'aint cheap. I wonder if I would be better off just buying some cashews in bulk at the health food store and making my own, either in the food processor at home or in the grinder there at the store. I've never used those nut butter grinders in the store. How do they clean those things? DO they clean those things?

Oh, and tracy, I work in a lab, in research for a major chemical company.

bitterknitter said...

That looks really good! I've been eating a lot of veggies and fruit and soups...and have been thinking about sandwiches the past couple of days!

Cashew butter is super yummy. I was eating it with a pear last night. Expensive, but sooo good. I buy my natural peanut butter at Trader Joes, it is cheap enough to even out the price of the cashew butter :)

KathyF said...

As far as I'm concerned, PB&J is the perfect food.

My daughters ate it every day in elementary school and were never sick. So there.

bazu said...

I agree- PB & J gets a bad rap, but it's one of my favorite comfort foods. Like you, I often eat some version of it instead of dessert or snack.