Peanut butter-Thank god, a food we can all eat!

Our family all joked that before Charli (B.C.) we were so lucky that none of us were allergic to peanut butter and thank god, because it had become a staple in our house. Then I got pregnant. Then I started sneezing. I sneezed all the time, uncontrollably my first trimester. I could not figure out why. I also knew that the sight and smell of peanut butter sent me flying into the bathroom. I also know that sometimes when I eat peanut butter, Charli now sneezes! Oy! I don’t know what that is all about. We will not know for about 18 months, when I am brave enough to give her some. Peanut allergies can be serious. Unfortunately, when my older two were little, I did not even know allergies existed. I did have one friend who’s little boy had a peanut allergy, but at the time I thought it was crazy and rare. I thought that there was a problem with the little boy’s immune system. Like other allergies, a peanut allergy is an abnormal immune system response. The body decides that the proteins peanuts contain pose an immunological threat, and it generates Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody, to fight peanuts the next time they appear in the body. Sometimes it takes multiple exposures to peanuts to develop IgE. When someone with a peanut allergy eats peanuts, it triggers the formation of histamines in the body to fight the peanuts, causing an allergic reaction. Studies have shown that young children are more likely to develop peanut allergies than adults. If a child is not exposed to peanuts before the age of four, it is highly probable that he or she will not develop an allergy. In some instances, children have also grown out of peanut allergies, although this should be determined by a medical professional. Family history is a major risk factor; children of parents who are allergic to peanuts are often allergic as well. If someone suspects a peanut allergy, allergy testing can be conducted to confirm it. Patients can either undergo skin testing, which directly embeds proteins under the skin, causing a rash if the person is allergic, or a blood test which looks for IgE in the blood. I thought this was very interesting and I will be curious to see what happens with Charli and peanut butter. In the meantime, the Velick 3, I am not doing peanut butter since I am breastfeeding, enjoy their peanut butter. Peanut butter is a great source of protein and fat in my family’s diet. We actually buy 4 different kinds of peanut butter, depending on what we are in the mood for. I love fresh peanut butter the best! This can be purchased at any health food store. They have machines with peanuts in the top and simply grind and aim for any size container you want! Not the most economical, but a fresh, yummy alternative to the jarred variety. Now, when I am in a pinch and need to make some cookies in a short period of time, I keep the Skippy Natural Creamy peanut butter on hand. It is made with roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil and salt. Not the most healthy, but at $5.50 for a 40 oz jar, it is definitely the most economical. For everyday use, we enjoy the Kirkland brand Organic creamy peanut butter. Made with only dry roasted organic peanuts and salt, this peanut butter tastes great, is a good value and comes in a 28 oz 2 pack at just $8.59. Just stir and refrigerate. The ‘gold’ of peanut butter at our house, that is used very sparingly, mostly for my younger daughter’s lunches, is the 365 Brand Organic Creamy peanut butter. Very similar in texture to the Skippy brand, but 4X the cost. But because it is organic, I prefer her to eat it more for everyday meals than the Skippy brand. It too is made with sugar, palm oil and salt, but also with organic dry roasted peanuts. Regardless of what kind of peanut butter YOU decide to buy, peanut butter provides 7 grams of protein and only 3 grams of sugar per serving. It is relatively low in sodium, with only 105 mg in 2 tablespoons, and it provides 3 grams of fiber and 200 mg of potassium. I love peanut butter because it is filling. When we reach for a snack, whether it an apple, a rice cake or even a bowl of oatmeal, I can always encourage them to have it with peanut butter to really help fill them up. Peanut butter fills you up because of its fat content. At 15 grams per serving, it really gives you a bang for your buck. And even if you are watching your fat intake, remember that it only has 3 grams of saturated fat, or the bad fat, per serving and no trans fats. Naturally gluten free, it is a great quick spread that goes on almost anything. The Velick’s have been known to put it on waffles, pancakes, in oatmeal, on hotdogs, and our favorite is on matzah with tuna during Passover. Please send me all the ways YOU and your family enjoy eating peanut butter. We are always game to try new things!
If you love the flavor of peanut butter, you will love these easy to make peanut butter banana muffins. All the things you would love for breakfast, wrapped up, literally, in one little muffin. Serve with some orange juice in the morning and you will be set for the day!
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

2/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour
2/3 cup brown or white rice flour
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
1/3 cup carob chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, xanthan gum and salt. In a separate bowl, mix mashed bananas, oil, eggs, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until just moistened.
Pour into muffin liners in a muffin tin.
Bake for 13-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.
Makes 12-16 muffins.

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