Island Cooking: PBJ … hip, hip, hooray!

I always dreamed that when my son got older that he would become an adventurous eater, but unfortunately so far that has not happened.

I dreamed of the day that he would not ask for a peanut butter sandwich to go in his lunchbox, and that never happened. I wish I knew how many peanut butter sandwiches I’ve made in his and my lifetime, since I actually really like them, too. But I like to make them a little more gourmet for myself – add some jelly and fry them in a little butter in my cast iron skillet like a grilled cheese until crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle and I can pretend it’s a little more upscale.

His next favorite sandwich is the Maine traditional  fluffernutter sandwich, and there is only one original fluffernutter sandwich in Maine as far as I’m concerned and that is with marshmallow fluff not marshmallow crème as some people suggest – believe me, there is a huge difference!

When I lived in California I would tell my friends about the fluffernutter and they didn’t really didn’t understand the concept since they had no idea what fluff was they couldn’t understand why I just couldn’t replace it with marshmallow crème. I was so horrified at the thought that I asked my friend Debbie from Bar Harbor to send a few large tubs of the fluff to me and I made fluffernutters for everyone. Then, and only then, did they realize that, yes, there was a huge difference between the fluffernutter and marshmallow crème and they really enjoyed them. A few of them even asked me to get more sent.

I guess I was thinking about this recently because it’s time to pack school lunches again for another year. If anyone has a picky eater like I do, who only likes peanut butter, it can get pretty boring. So I was thinking, ‘Here I go again with another school year so I might as well come up with a few different peanutty ideas for the lunch box or snacks for those who really just love their peanut butter!

This week’s drink is a peanut butter smoothie, but for those of you who would like the added punch, just replace the chocolate syrup with Kahlua and it will be great!

Peanut Butter Smoothie

1/2 cup milk of your choice

2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup (or Kahlua)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1 frozen ripe banana

1 8-oz. carton vanilla yogurt

Place all ingredients in blender; blend; pour in a glass and enjoy!

Lunchbox Peanut Butter Dip

1/2 cup Smucker’s Fall Harvest Cinnamon Apple Preserves

1/4 cup of your favorite peanut butter

Pretzels, crackers, apple slices – your choice

Mix your preserves and peanut butter until combined and use as a dip.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Cooking spray

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 to 3 medium rip bananas (1 cup)

3/4 cup your favorite peanut butter

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add bananas, peanut butter, milk, oil and egg. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer and mix until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If it starts to get too brown, cover loosely with foil while it finishes baking.

Cool 10 minutes and then place on cooling rack.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup your favorite peanut better

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup your favorite jam

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the milk, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and oil and mix all together just until moistened.

Fill prepared muffin cups with half of the batter and spoon two teaspoons of jam on each muffin and top with more batter.

Sprinkle with sugar if desired and bake 18 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

For the young ones: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Rolls

Take two good slices of your favorite bread and cut off crust. Flatten each slice of bread with a rolling pin and spread peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other. Place them together and roll up then slice into four pieces and there you have peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls for the lunch box or lunch!

Send me your favorite recipes to [email protected]

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Holly Simason

Columnist at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander cooking columnist Holly Simason is co-author of the mystery series “Death of a Kitchen Diva." Simason has collaborated with her screenwriter brother Rick Copp for the Bar Harbor-based series. The books are written under the pen name Lee Hollis.