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Michelle Fern Michelle Fern
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edge staff writer


PB&J five days a week

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The kids are back in school and as much as I jump up and down with glee, I feel somewhat melancholy because with each new school year means that they are growing up. But it also means harder homework (for both the kids and me) and dreadful lunch-making.

If it were solely up to me, I would just default to peanut butter and jelly. While my kids love PB&J, five days of it a week can get a little boring. But don't knock the venerable sandwich it's been the largest staple lunch sandwich in the U.S. for over seven decades and the average American child eats 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches by the time he/she graduates from high school.

In doing a little research, there not much published about the combination prior to 1940. What we do know is that GIs in World War II were given rations of both peanut butter and jelly. When they returned to the states after the war, both peanut butter and jelly sales soared. It would seem that this was the birth of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

PB&J can get tiresome if it's eaten five days a week; however, there are several ways to change it up through the bread you're using. Instead of basic white or wheat bread, try putting it on a bagel or croissant. You can even put it on a sweet bread, such as banana or zucchini bread surprisingly, my kids love zucchini bread, primarily because it doesn't taste anything like zucchini.

Try some gourmet peanut butters instead of the plain varieties. They can be found in your local supermarket. Better yet make your own all you need is a food processor and you can have homemade peanut butter in less than 10 minutes. You can add chocolate, dried fruits or chopped pretzels. Just recently I discovered Planters Nut-rition peanut butter. I bought the berry nut and it's fabulous.

You can also use other toppings to your peanut butter instead of jelly, or simply add items like bananas, sliced apples, raisins and cinnamon. Try using a quarter cup of regular peanut butter and stir in a half teaspoon of cinnamon and some raisins very yummy.

An all time favorite from the past is grilling the PB&J; not only does this change the texture of the sandwich, but grilling also creates an entirely different flavor. My mom used to make these for us on the weekends, but they can be made anytime. When I say grill, I'm talking about firing up the Coleman outside but any indoor grill like a George Foreman grill or cast iron skillet (like mom's) or grill pan will do.

And it's not just for lunch you can make PB&J cupcakes, PB&J French toast, PB&J cookies, a PB&J cheesecake, PB&J smoothies and, even as crazy as it sounds, PB&J wings!


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