Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remaking an old favorite- The Peanut Butter Sandwich

A nice bowl of hard spring wheat- the makings for... a peanut butter sandwich?

Sometimes, at my house, we do things the hard way. Today, you will see that what I just said, is so, so true. Over the past year, I estimate that I have fixed approximately 350 lunches- give or take a few. Add that to the 350 or so breakfasts and 350 or so suppers and you will get the idea that we don't go out to eat very much. Truthfully, we don't eat "quick" pre-packaged foods either. What does this all add up to? I pretty much live in my kitchen.

Feeding my family wholesome and most importantly healthy foods is a labor of love for me. The meal that drives me crazy is lunch. There are only so many times that you can eat sandwiches, soups, leftovers, etc. To put it nicely, the kids get sick of their choice of lunch items.

In the past, if you mention peanut butter sandwiches around here, one or more kids quickly said they are not the least bit hungry, ran to the cabinet, and started scavenging for something else.

Fast forward to the present: The peanut butter sandwich now has been totally remade at my house. No longer is there scavenging at the mention of America's staple sandwich spread.

Here is what we did (the hard way) that has changed the PB & J forever:

The ingredients:
  • Fresh flour tortillas
  • Peanut Butter
  • Applesauce
  • Honey

We started with an idea (and the realization we were out of bread) of making flour tortillas to spread the peanut butter on. With the flour container empty, the trusty, old hand cranked flour grinder was brought out and set up. Everyone loves grinding grain (for the first 3-4 minutes only) and argues over who gets to grind first. If you are not out of flour like I was, just get your trusty bread flour out. (Mental note: I want an electric grinding mill for Mother's Day)

Here is the first grind. The grain was quite rough so we ground it two more times.

Flour Tortilla ingredients:
  • 3 cups fresh whole wheat flour (if purchasing flour, use bread flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (sea salt is best but not necessary)
  • 6 Tablespoons shortening (I use organic palm oil)
  • 1-1/4 cup warm water
Mix the salt and baking powder into the flour. Add the shortening and cut in using a pastry cutter. Continue to cut in the shortening until the mixture has the consistency of pea-sized clumps. At this point, mix in most - but not all- of the water. Mix together and add additional water as needed to get the consistency of biscuit dough. Transfer the dough to a surface and knead for a few minutes. You only need to knead the dough until it is well mixed and smooth. At this point, divide the large lump into lots of smaller balls about 2 inches in diameter. (You can make them smaller or larger but the idea is to have enough to make into a normal sized tortilla).

Divided dough balls

Let the dough balls rest for about 10 minutes. If you roll them out without letting them rest, they will be unruly and difficult to manage. No one wants unruly dough balls.

Sorry that I don't have a picture but next, use a rolling pin to roll the individual small dough balls into a circle. If you are lucky enough to have a tortilla press, now is the time to use that handy gadget! (mental note: I want a tortilla press- ask for one for Mother's Day).

Cooking Tortillas on the Griddle- (and yes, I know they are not perfectly round- cut me some slack please....)

Cook the tortillas for a few minutes on a hot griddle. Flip and cook the other side until both sides have a faint browning. (My griddle is set at 350 degrees). Don't over cook as you still want the tortilla to be soft enough to roll up.

It is at this point, I do not have any pictures of the assemblage of the sandwiches because they were gobbled up faster than I could run to get the camera.

Mix peanut butter and a desired amount of honey together. Spread an even layer of the peanut butter/honey mixture on the entire surface of one side of a tortilla. Spread a thin layer of applesauce over the peanut butter/honey mixture. Start on one side of the tortilla and roll toward from one side to the other. You should have a cute rolled up peanut butter sandwich when you are done.

Stand back and watch the "sandwiches" or roll ups disappear as quickly as you make them!

So there you have it. The peanut butter sandwich was remade at my house. I wonder how long it will take before the kids get sick of these? Maybe I have awhile ......

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