Have you ever thought about bread? I mean really thought about it? Before my pregnancy, I rarely ate bread. Occasionally we would have some at a restaurant, or at someone’s house, but generally speaking we did not have bread in the house. I have always (and still do) feel like bread is a filler food. I am one that believes that we should always fill our bodies with food that is fuel. Such as vegetables and fruit.
Until being pregnant. Now I cannot get enough bread. I have had a few cravings. Nothing too exciting. Chex-Mix, animal crackers, and for the entire pregnancy I have wanted bread. In the form of toast, sandwiches, and pizza. It is the only thing that ever sounds good. My OB said that my appetite would come back in the second trimester. It has not. Nothing ever sounds good. I never really am interested in eating. Except I know when I need to. When I start to get nausea (although I never had morning sickness) I know it is time for a snack or a meal. When that happens I only want bread.
It is comfort food. If you think about it, we have the option for bread in many different meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in different cultures (roti, naan, flatbread, to name a few). Now we even have gluten-free. You can have it plain, or toppings galore. I remember as a young child when I did not feel well, or when I wanted a treat, my grandma would make me toast with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. My dad loved peanut butter on his toast, my mom loved apple butter. At the moment, in the middle of this pregnancy, I want jelly. There have been times though when all I wanted on my toast was melted butter.
Now bread has become a phenomenon via the not so new culinary concept of “toast.” In San Francisco and New York you can find menu items such as buttered toast for $4. Yes. Maybe it is on high quality brioche, but still. I might sound like my grandma but I can almost get a loaf for that amount. In any case, bread, toast, what have you, it is my comfort food of choice as I ease into my third trimester.
It is the perfect midnight snack. You know those times when you for some reason are starving and you are not sure why, but you need something now? A warm mixture of peanut butter, chocolate, and bananas may just hit the spot. Yum. What is not to love? It is so easy, and takes all of two minutes.
It could also be the perfect breakfast treat. Or it reminds me of when you go to a crepe restaurant and you get a savory one and then follow it with a sweet one. Make a chicken quesadilla and then follow it with gooey peanut butter, chocolate, and bananas. Try it. You will not be disappointed.
I can be very salty — you know in that sassy kind of way. Yet, I also have a sweet side. Maybe that is why I am so into things salty and sweet. Take brunch for example, while we do not do it often, there are times when I want to order a sweet dish like french toast or pancakes, and pair it with an egg dish and then split it with Chris. Then I want it on the same plate and so a little bit of the syrup oozes into the eggs and bacon. Why not, right?
Recently we found this easy peasy recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Squares. All good salty and sweet things combined. A nice treat or snack that hits the spot.
Crust 1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup ground pretzels (measure only after grinding them) 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
Filling 2 cups chocolate chips (we used semisweet)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chopped pretzels to sprinkle on top
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper. Use enough paper to line the sides for removing later.
2) To make the crust, combine the flour, ground pretzels, and sugar. Mix with your hands. Add the melted butter and mix again until you have a dough.
3) Press the dough into the pan and bake for 12 minutes.
4) To make the filling, melt the chocolate chips in a double broiler. Stir in the creamy peanut butter until completely mixed. Pour the filling over the crust.
5) Sprinkle chopped pretzels on top.
6) Cool in the freezer for about an hour. Remove from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Slice into your preferred size. Serve cold for best result.
Oh man, these were good. So easy, and really nothing to call the dessert police on. There is no flour or sugar (just a tiny bit of honey). It can all be made in your blender. Since they are mini muffins you can have one, wait a bit and have a few more and not feel guilty at all. You can taste the chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. Yum!
A few notes: since we have a Vita-Mix, we blended a bit too long, and the chocolate chips were no longer in solid form, thus the look of a brownie mixture and the darker color than if the chocolate chips remained solid. Oh, and to change it up a bit we added toffee chips to the mix. Why not?
Prep time: A few mins
Cook time: 8-9 mins
Yield: 15-18 muffins
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I also added some heath bar bits)
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Prepare mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray or canola oil. Flour the insides or make sure they’re greased very well if you don’t want to use flour.
3. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into a blender and blend until creamy.
4. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
5. Use a tablespoon and distribute batter evenly to muffin pan(s).
6. Bake for 8-9 mins. Let them cool in the pans for about 10 mins before removing.
My sister and a good friend just had babies in the last two months. It is fun watching (well I guess more through pictures at the moment) and thinking about Chris being a father someday. It has also prompted me to be reflective about my relationship with my own father. It was not really a rock-solid relationship. We had hard times, we had good times, but through it all we had memories. Here are a few remembrances of my dad:
If I knew I would lose him at such a young age, I would have kept all the letters he wrote to me on Christmas Eve (aka Santa who ate my cookies and drank the egg nog). Of course we left out egg nog for Santa, my dad LOVED his egg nog. The letters from Santa though, I guess I got rid of them, and they were the few letters I had from my dad. It would have been fun today to hear his wisdom. Especially during a holiday he loved. I am positive his letters probably shared his best self.
I wish he had been here long enough to meet Chris. He would have inadvertently taught him about construction. Chris would have picked up things quickly and learned to leave the truly professional jobs for the professionals.
He would have fun talking to Chris about cars. His “Automobile Quarterly” was a cherished possession. The two of them would geek out, although he would probably talk Chris’ head off with his endless stories of growing up on his Dad’s car lot.
The only movie I can remember seeing with him is, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Seriously? What was he thinking? Bad movie, Dad.
His blue pickup truck was, well honestly, a piece of shit, but it was his truck and it contained all of his endless notes, crappy construction items, odd-shaped pencils, tape measures, clipboards, and what I will never forget, the device you could wire to the horn and play my favorite ever – the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. How cool I thought it was to have that blaring from the truck as we drove down the street.
I wish I knew I had a short time with him. I would have gotten over the grudge I held for so long. Not that it would have been easy for him, but I would have made us talk through our differences.
I do not remember it as much as a kid, but as I got older and saw him less and less, he seemed to show his emotion more and more. If only that had started earlier on in my life. If only.
He was a good/big hugger. Maybe that is where I get it from.
He had an addiction to Ritz crackers and peanut butter. I do not share this addiction. It just makes me think of sandpaper and glue. Dry and sticks to your mouth. Lime chips are where it is at! Wish I could spoil him with my addiction.
He would have loved iPhones. Not for the email, or phone, but for the games. If he knew you could play Cribbage, Euchre, Scrabble, Solitaire, I can imagine how unproductive he would have become. I think he would have played me from wherever he would be living.