If you were born and raised in the United States, you may find it hard to imagine that there are people out there who never had a PBJ sandwich.
Here goes my epicurean Cucee Confession #3: until very recently, I had not tried the All-American Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly sandwich. (Confession #1: I am obsessed with anything-cauliflower, Confession #2: I love Mexican food.)
It was already 7pm and I was still at work, struggling over another design. Feeling hungry, I went into the office lunch room to check out what was ordered for dinner that night — it was sandwiches. To my disappointment, all of my hardworking colleagues had already made their sandwich selections and were back at their desks, working hard on their code. Remaining two options seemed equally unattractive — a very smelly tuna melt double-decker and a wimpy-looking PBJ sandwich. What’s a girl, with a preconceived rejection of peanut butter and revulsion towards anything odor-reeking, to do in this case? I poured myself a cup of tea and went for the healthier option.
Before I even had a chance to swallow my first byte, I went from a theoretical nut-butter hater to a true enthusiast. As I sunk my teeth into this all-American masterpiece, the following thoughts ran through my mind:
- What planet had I been inhabiting prior to this experience?
- Should I reconsider my circle of friends, since none of them had ever told me about what I had been missing?
- With my son’s severe peanut allergies, how will I facilitate my new-found romantic relationship with peanut butter?
Sad, I returned home and poured my soul to an unimpressed and puzzled husband. See, he did not even know that I have never tried this American delicacy until now.
So, with peanuts permanently banned from our house, I started coming up with my own healthy alternatives by experimenting with various nut butters, healthy breads and seasonal fruits. My favorite as of now is (drum rolls please…) — a whole wheat pita pocket, smeared with almond butter, stuffed with pears or bananas, sprinkled with cranberries or candied almond slivers, and drizzled with honey.
Almond Butter Pear Honey Pocket
Inspired by an All American Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly Sandwich and Rita’s home-made peanut butter with pears
- ½ whole-wheat pita (you can also use any whole wheat, raisin or cranberry bread for more density and texture)
- ½ very ripe pear, thinly sliced lengthwise (you can also use apple or any other fruit or berries)
- 2 tablespoons crunchy toasted almond butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon cranberries, raisins or grapes sliced in half
- Spread a thin layer of almond butter onto each pita half
- Top with honey
- Layer the sliced pear
- Sprinkle with dry fruit or grapes
- Heat a the Panini grill (or a regular griddle pan) and grill for 1 min on one side (or until grill marks appear,) turn and grill for another minute . Serve warm.
A cool glass of Lifeway Kefir