My dad had an orange vinyl recliner where we used to sit and eat chocolate ice cream together.
Usually, this meant I slurped down my ice cream out of my little blue plastic bowl, then I’d climb up beside him in the recliner and “help” him eat his.
It’s one of my absolute favorite memories of Dad (and the photo above is probably my favorite picture of us).
A love of chocolate ice cream is one of the many things I inherited from him. Besides our mutual affection for writing, a lot of those loves – both good and bad – include food.
Peanut butter and blackberry jelly is high on that list.
But Dad had health problems, partly brought on by diet choices, and I’m trying to avoid that legacy. I’ve spent the past few years educating myself on the negative effects of sugar, refined carbohydrates and modern grains (even “healthy” whole grains), and what I’ve learned is enough to make me seek out healthier alternatives.
When Debbie Arnold, a real food blogger and the curator of Foodie Friday for the Arkansas Women Bloggers, announced this month’s theme, I immediately started devising ways I could put my own spin on “Peanut Butter & Jelly Time.” My aim was to:
- Make “peanut butter and jelly” recipes that are healthful and delicious.
- Think outside the breadbox. I interpreted “peanut butter” as any kind of nut or seed butter and “jelly” as any fruit that you might pair with those butters, whether that means a sauce with a bit of natural sweetener or just plain ol’, naturally sweet fruit.
- Make grain-free (possibly gluten-free), low-carb riffs on the theme.
- Get you to try something new. (I tried a new thing; see below.)
I think I succeeded on the first three, but I’ll let you be the judge. No. 4 is entirely up to you.
Here’s what I have for you today:
- Nutty Crunchy Grain-Free Granola.
- Almond Butter Fruity Toast with Sprouted Grain Bread.
- Maple Almond Butter Cookies (modified from my 2009 recipe).
- Bonus recipe: Suzy’s Coffee Protein Smoothie (doesn’t contain a fruit that is typically found in jelly, so it’s a stretch to include it in a PBJ post!).
A few notes:
- These recipes are limited only by your imagination and the fruits and nuts available to you. With fresh fruit, pick what’s in season to make it more affordable, available and delicious. (And don’t forget to #BuyLocal.)
- Use whatever nuts, seeds, dried fruits and sweeteners/binders you want. Can’t decide between pecans and walnuts? Use both – I did! Honey, molasses or maple syrup? Yes, please! For the fruit, I went with cranberries because it was the only dried fruit I had on hand that didn’t require chopping. (Prunes, anyone?)
- This was my first foray into eating sprouted-grain bread, although I had been wanting to try it. Sprouted grains can offer more health benefits and be less allergenic for those sensitive to gluten. I’ve been limiting grains for a few years, so this was a good way to eat a sandwich without veering too far off the path.
- You’ll notice that almond is my go-to butter in all the recipes. I’m not trying to say peanut butter is unhealthy, but I’m in the middle of a doctor-prescribed 60-day elimination diet that forbids legumes, so peanuts are out for a few more weeks. I don’t think I’m allergic, but many people are. I keep almonds, walnuts and pecans in my freezer. (Plus, we have pecan trees in our yard.)
If you’re trying to tame the sugar monster or conquer a carb addiction (it’s a real thing), I hope you’ll start thinking outside the breadbox, as I’ve done for the most part with these recipes.
(Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for the bonus recipe. You’ll need to click through to my other blog, Suzy & Spice.)
So let’s get started.
Bonus recipe (on the other blog):
This one doesn’t have the “J,” but it contains delicious “PB” – along with coffee, banana and protein powder. Suzy’s Coffee Protein Smoothie is a riff on a rich and yummy (but entirely waist-expanding) drink I used to buy at a local smoothie hut. It’s another recipe that you can modify to your tastes (for instance, I make mine with hazelnut-flavored coffee).
Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you’re going to make, go make it and then come back and tell us how you did.
Y’all, I’m not one to tout products very often, as you know if you’ve been hanging with me for a while. But there’s a super deal going on at Beautycounter called the 5-Minute Face, and I don’t want you to miss out. The special deal goes away Sunday night, so you need to hurry.
As you also may know, I recently found the skin-care and cosmetics company of my dreams(!), and I want to keep sharing my love for Beautycounter and what it represents to me and millions of others. You can read here about my search for safer beauty products, why I love this company, and my ultimate switch from a brand I had been representing for nearly 18 years.
On my Beautycounter page, you can customize your 5-Minute Face by clicking through 6 steps; the site helps you pick your colors, starting with foundation and ending with lip gloss, with a dose of the NEW mascara (details below) thrown into the mix. Whatever it is, we’ve got ya covered.
The 5-Minute Face page includes a zippy little video that walks you through the steps in less than two minutes. It’ll take you a bit longer than that to execute, 🙂 but the short tutorial will give you the basics. (This one is for Deep skin tones, but you can also see clips for Fair, Light and Medium skin tones.)
BONUS: With your purchase of the 5-Minute Face bundle ($148 U.S. for $194 U.S. value), you get a FREE Retractable Foundation Brush ($35 U.S. value) (so you’re really getting $229 in products for that $148 purchase). When I became a Beautycounter consultant in April, I didn’t use a foundation brush. I had always preferred my fingers or a good sponge. I was skeptical. But after I tried this beautiful brush, I was in love! Why had I ever doubted the usefulness of a foundation brush???
LET’S TALK PRICING
Before I let you go, let me say a little bit about pricing, and then a couple of other NEW items of note:
- You might experience a bit of sticker shock when you compare Beautycounter products with what you’ve been using (especially if you’ve been picking up cheap foundation and eye shadows at the dollar store). But one thing I’ve noticed about this beautiful brand is that A) there is more product in a container, and B) you don’t have to use as much, so your product will last longer than others. (I can attest to this in my personal use of the skin-care line and the color cosmetics, and I also had a customer tell me she doesn’t have to use as much of the shampoo as with her other brand, PLUS it makes her hair feel amazing. She lives in an area with funky water, so she had been struggling to keep her hair from drying out and her color from fading. Bonus: She loves how it smells!)
I’m working on an ounce-to-ounce comparison chart of Beautycounter vs. my old brand so that I can demonstrate that you’re getting at least as much bang for your buck, if not more. Stay tuned for that.
- Even if the above were not true, for me it’s worth paying a little more to know I’m not putting a bunch of toxic chemicals on my (and my family’s) face, hair and body. (Did you know Beautycounter has Kids and Baby collections, too? I use the Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream on my eczema!) Beautycounter has a Never List™ of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that it never uses in its products. I’m proud of that commitment to safety, even if this makes the procurement process a bit more challenging.
Our NEW collection of shampoos, conditioners and styling products is wonderful, so head on over and check out the sets.
Two NEW mascaras: If you want va-va-va-volume, check out our Volumizing Mascara, which is a brand new product; and for ooh-la-la-length, we have a new formula for our Lengthening Mascara.
JOIN OUR MOVEMENT
If you want to become a Band of Beauty member and get rewards, discounts, the opportunity for free shipping, exclusive members-only offers, plus a FREE gift with your first order of $50, visit my page and click “Become a Member.” Or if you want to go all in and join the mission with me, visit that same page and click “Become a Consultant.” Ask me for details, or just sign up!
REASON TO SIGN UP WITH BEAUTYCOUNTER TODAY
Just look around, and you can already tell that the holiday selling season isn’t approaching – it’s already here! As a beauty consultant for 18 years, I can assure you that now is the best time to get started, whether you just need to earn a bit of extra spending money or you want a new career. Your income is limited only by the effort you want to make. (If you have questions, get in touch with me here or leave a comment on the blog or my Facebook page.)
So, whether you want to jump in with both feet or just want to test the waters, don’t forget – the special deal on the 5-Minute Face ends Sunday night. Hurry and take advantage of this sweet deal!
Have you tried Beautycounter? If so, what’s your favorite product?