A healthy afternoon snack

Well, as I said last week, the rains have finally arrived. I emptied 2½-inches out of my rain gauge earlier in the week and after a couple of gray days, with very little sunshine and lots of clouds, we are back to rain as I am writing this. The gauge is back up to 2-inches and it is still drizzling. Love seeing it as we were beginning to be in dire straights from the lack of rain. I haven’t noticed any crops that were in need of cutting or anything, but then I haven’t been any further from home than to Cuero and the area between here and there is mostly open fields and some brush land.
A lot of my week was spent staying at home waiting for the man to come fix my stove. He fixed it on the 8th and it worked fine except that by Monday morning, I smelled too much propane or something, so I turned the stove off. It wasn’t the noxious odor of gas, but a metallic smell that made my eyes burn. When he finally got here on Thursday, he told me the pilot light in the oven was too high and it was burning carbon. The stove now works fine, and I just hope it keeps working, if not, since it is a 1954 or 1955 model Maytag, I may have to replace it!
Of course, being that I had to stay at home and the weather wasn’t too very good, I got some sewing done to begin getting ready for the craft show in November, and my friend was over one day and we got several tea towels decorated. Now, I just have a couple still to do, and I got a Fall/Thanksgiving apron mostly done on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday a friend and I went to a neighboring town to their church picnic. The weather was fine while we were there, but while ago, it started raining again and since they were in a brand new, barely finished building with caliche and dirt around it that was already a mess from showers earlier in the week, they may have had a couple of problems. I’m glad we left when we did!
We all know that lots of peanuts are raised in the Devine area, but have you ever given peanut butter a thought? It made its debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. The original patent was given to Dr. John Harvey Kellog, who initially developed peanut butter as a meat alternative for his patients. However, George Washington Carver is considered by many to be the father of the peanut butter industry. He began his peanut research in 1903 and suggested to farmers that they rotate their cotton crops and cultivate peanuts as well.
Peanut butter accounts for about half of the peanuts grown in the United States.
All peanut butter is made by a similar process, first the raw, shelled peanuts are roasted and cooled, and then they are blanched to remove the skins. Some manufacturers split the kernels and remove the heart of the peanuts as well. The blanched peanut kernels are electronically sorted or handpicked one last time to be sure only good, wholesome kernels are used in the peanut butter.
The peanuts are ground, usually through two grinding stages to produce a smooth, even textured spread. The peanuts are heated during the grinding to about 170ºF. Once the emulsifiers are added and mixed, the butter is cooled rapidly to about 120ºF or below. This cooling crystallizes the emulsifiers, thus trapping the peanut oil that was released by the grinding. To make crunchy peanut butter, the manufacturer will add peanut granules to the creamy butter. (Source: The Great American Peanut.)
Homemade peanut butter is easy to make using an electric blender or food processor. The longer the blending, the softer the peanut butter will be. The peanut butter should be stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. Stir to mix the oil before using.
Peanut Butter
1 cup roasted, shelled peanuts (with or without red skins)
1½ teaspoons peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit salt if salted peanuts are used)
Place ingredients in a blender or food processor, and with the lid secured, blend until the mixture becomes paste-like or spreadable. If necessary, stop the machine and scrape the mixture from the sides of the container to put the mixture back in contact with the blades. Continue blending until the desired consistency is reached. For crunchy peanut butter, add 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts after the blending is completed. (Makes approx. 1 cup).
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
q cup granulated sugar
q cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2½ cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Beat together until very creamy, the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, and then stir in the dry ingredients with a spoon. Roll into small balls, place on cookie sheets, dip the tines of a fork in flour and flatten the rolls in a criss -cross pattern. Bake at 400ºF for 10 to 12 minutes.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
1 package yellow cake mix
Ingredients needed to make cake (oil, eggs, water, etc.)
½ cup chunky peanut butter
Mix cake mix according to package directions, adding peanut butter when you add the eggs and water. Spoon batter into muffin cups, lined with paper liners you have lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool thoroughly. Frost with the following:
1 can chocolate frosting
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
Mix together the frosting and the peanut butter and frost each cupcake. Decorate with candy corn or one of the candy pumpkins if desired.
One of the favorite snacks of my family is to mix equal parts of candy corn with dry roasted, salted peanuts. The salty peanuts sort of take away some of the sweet of the candy corn. I took this to Sr. Citizens this past week and even the lady who truly does not like candy corn declared it very tasty.
Hot Chile Nuts
1 pound (3½ cups) raw, Spanish peanuts
¼ cup peanut oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon red pepper
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Place peanuts in a 13×9-inch baking pan and pour peanut oil over nuts, stirring well to coat. Place in a preheated 350ºF oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove just before peanuts are the desired doneness; they will continue to cook as they cool. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle combined dry ingredients over peanuts and stir until well coated. Store in a tightly covered container.
Spiced Peanuts
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup Chinese rice noodles
1 cup raisins
Place butter or margarine in a 9×12-inch baking pan; microwave on HIGH until melted. Stir in seasonings and add nuts and noodles; toss gently to coat. Microwave on HIGH for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes. Add raisins, stir and continue to cook on HIGH for an additional 2 minutes. Let stand until cooled, stirring often. Yield: 6 cups.
Candied Peanuts
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw peanuts
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon red food coloring (if desired)
2 to 3 drops cinnamon oil (if desired)
Mix all ingredients in iron skillet and boil until water is gone. (Stir frequently). Pour on cookie sheet; bake for 15 minutes at 300ºF. Pour out onto foil lined cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.
One of my favorite “nibbles” at this time of year is to mix candy corn with peanuts…it is so very good, I made a batch up the first day that I found the candy corn at the store, ate some myself, shared it with family when I was in Devine, and since I still had a little over half a jar of peanuts, I made some more this weekend. One of my grandsons told me a long time ago that 2½ peanuts was perfect for 1 kernel of candy corn, go figure!