Here are a few of my favorites on this Friday morning!
1. Gala Apples
An apple a day keeps the doctor away… You’ve heard the saying, right? Apples are SO good for you and make the perfect snack. They are full of nutrients and heart healthy fiber. One of the reasons I love them as a snack is because they are filling and low in calories. A medium sized apple has about 75 calories. I buy apples every.single.time I go to the store. I’d say we go through about 18 – 20 apples a week at our house because we all love them. I get so excited when fall rolls around and apple quality goes up and prices go down! My favorite variety is the Gala apple. So crisp and juicy!
***I do try to buy organic apples because they almost always top the list of the dirty dozen as one of the produce with the heaviest pesticide load.
I am in love with this peanut butter. Seriously, in love. It is so good.
This is where I have confession time. Peanut Butter & Co peanut butter is not sugar free. The most natural peanut butters will have only one ingredient: peanuts. But I just don’t like it that way. I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m usually very careful to watch the sugar content in the foods I buy and I almost always decrease the sugar in baked goods I make. But peanut butter is one food that I just don’t love when all the sugar is taken out. I do, however, mix in some completely natural peanut butter (with no sugar) so that I end up with about 1/2 the original amount of sugar. And I am ok with that.
Many peanut butter brands that include sugar also have some other undesirable ingredients. Take, for instance, a jar of Jif. The ingredients are: peanuts, sugar, molasses, hydrogenated vegetable oils (soybean and rapeseed), mono and diglycerides, and salt. I try to stay away from hydrogenated oils and mono and diglycerides (basically an emulsifier) are unnecessary. The ingredients in Peanut Butter & Co peanut butter are: peanuts, dried cane syrup, palm fruit oil, and salt. Thankfully, many brands do make a “natural” version without the hydrogenated vegetable oils and other strange ingredients. Just look at the label next time you go to buy peanut butter. There are a lot of good choices out there.
Peanut Butter & Co usually runs about $3.99 at most stores. But I never pay that much. In fact, the other day it was on sale at Sprouts for $2 and I had a coupon so I got several containers for $1.45. I usually won’t pay more than $2.50 for a jar.
3. Homemade Vanilla Extract
No, that vodka isn’t for me to drink. 😉 I use it to make homemade vanilla! I started making my vanilla at home several years ago and have never looked back. It’s easy, cheap, and delicious. I’ve been wanting to make it for Christmas gifts for a long time but it’s one of those things that you have to do in advance. So, this is the year! I just ordered 25 vanilla beans and will go purchase some cute little jars and labels this week.
To make homemade vanilla, you place opened up vanilla beans into a bottle and add alcohol. Let it sit for several months and then you have homemade vanilla! I’m planning to write up a “how to” post here very soon once I get started.