March is National Peanut Month

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By Denise Murray

Health and recipe blogger

 

If you like peanut butter you will also like to learn that there are many health benefits associated with peanuts. The fat in peanuts is necessary to help maintain a healthy immune system; a natural anti-inflammatory function to fight disease and infection. Peanuts are also a source of protein, and they offer all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals. Recent findings show that eating peanuts, or peanut butter, can reduce the risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.

 

Who invented peanut butter? Some speculate that peanut butter was first introduced in the United States in 1890, when a St. Louis physician invented peanut butter to provide his patients with an easy-to-digest, high protein food. Others still believe it to be the 'father of the peanut industry', George Washington Carver who invented more than 300 uses for peanuts.

Did you know Americans eat an average of about 6 pounds of peanuts per person, per year, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most of our peanuts come from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina. Almost half of the U.S. peanut crop is used to make peanut butter. It is no surprise that peanut butter is one of America's favorite foods!

Did you know that it takes nearly 850 peanuts to make a jar of peanut butter? Peanut butter was first created by blending together ground shelled peanuts, vegetable oil and salt. The peanuts are first shelled, then roasted and the skins removed. Then they are ground into a smooth butter spread. Peanut butter must be at least 90 percent peanuts with no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives to officially be labeled peanut butter.

For those with a Peanut allergy, you might enjoy "WOWBUTTER". This is a peanut free, tree nut free, dairy free, gluten free, peanut butter substitute that tastes pretty close to peanut butter and is  a Safe-for-School solution for the school lunch when socially responsible schools implement peanut free policies.  The main ingredient is Soy, and therefore high in Omega 3 health benefits. Wowbutter was designed and developed to protect the millions of North Americans who suffer from life threatening peanut and nut allergies. It was also developed to nourish the tens of millions of non-allergic school kids that need healthy lunch solutions. You can purchase this at our Local Wal-Mart, right here in Forest Park

Thai Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry Salad           Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
2  small carrots, peeled
8  cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 1/4  lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2  tsp. Sea salt
1/2  tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1  tbsp. olive oil
1/4  cup dry-roasted peanuts
1  can baby corn, drained
1  medium red bell pepper
1  medium red onion
4  garlic cloves, peeled
1/3  cup Thai Peanut Sauce
1/4  cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Directions:
1.  Julienne carrots into 2-in. pieces. Arrange lettuce on serving platter; top with carrots and set aside.

2.  On Cutting Board, dice chicken into 1-in. pieces. Combine chicken, salt and black pepper in Bowl; mix well. Heat oil in large Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken; cook 4-5 minutes or until browned on one side. Stir chicken. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center, stirring occasionally.

3.  Meanwhile, chop peanuts on clean Cutting Board; set aside. Cut baby corn in half crosswise. Slice bell pepper into strips; cut strips in half. Slice onion into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Slice garlic.

4.  Add vegetables to chicken in Skillet; cook 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove Skillet from heat; stir in peanut sauce. Spoon stir-fry over salad; sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro, if desired.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 c whole wheat flour

3/4 c.  Quick cook oats 

1/2 tsp.  Sea salt 

1/2 tsp. baking soda 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1 1/4  c. smooth natural peanut butter

1/2 c. honey

¼ c. Brown sugar

1 egg, beaten 

2 tsp. vanilla 

Optional: 1/2 c. dark chocolate or carob chips

 

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, and blend together.
  2.  In a separate bowl, Combine peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla, and cream together
  3. Mix dry and moist ingredients together, and blend well,
  4. Cool in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
  5. Drop teaspoons of batter on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or baking sheet for cookies. 
  6. Flatten with a fork if you like. 
  7. Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes - edges will be slightly browned - be careful not to burn as honey browns fast.

 

How are you going to celebrate National Peanut Month?

Best of Cooking!        Denise

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