Here we are in November.  The time has changed, dropping back an hour.  It does get dark an hour earlier, but I like the fact that the sun comes up sooner in the morning.  I guess there are pros and cons to the whole time change business; if it were up to me, we would stay on the same time year round.  When I moved to Indiana from Tennessee over forty years ago, one of the few things that I liked about Indiana was that the time didn’t “spring forward” and then “fall back.”

My late husband began to consider November as a very special month after I started writing “Cooks’ Corner” and discovered that it was National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month.  I think Bob would have been fine eating peanut butter with every meal.  He loved the stuff.  I like it, but in moderation.  I know that I have mentioned seeing Bob split open one of those red franks and filling it with peanut butter.  Just looking at it made me cringe – I didn’t watch him eat it.

In recent years, I have learned to be careful when purchasing peanut butter.  So much of it has high-fructose corn syrup, which I avoid whenever possible.  Thankfully, I can still be choosy and pick my favorite brand since it has a natural version sweetened with sugar and molasses.  A jar of peanut butter lasts much longer these days since Bob is no longer here to enjoy it.

A trip down memory lane reminds me of munching peanut butter and saltine cracker snacks.  Not those little squares that are available today, mind you, but crackers that were four times their size.  The big ones could be broken into smaller squares, yet it seemed like the large crackers were more fun to eat.  Big crackers were for big kids, or so we thought.  Mom could break the ones for our smaller siblings, but the older girls wanted ours whole.  It’s kind of sad that crackers don’t come that way anymore.  My sisters and I used to toast the large ones, butter them, and enjoy them as a snack.  The little ones now would get lost in a toaster.

Here are some fun facts about peanut butter:

It takes over 500 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar.

To be labeled as peanut butter, the mixture has to be at least 90% peanuts.

The nub between two peanut halves is an embryo.

Peanut butter was originally made for people who had no teeth.

When placed under high pressure, peanut butter can be turned into diamonds.  (And to think, Bob used to say that diamonds were boring…)


“Don’t play with your food!”  How many times does a child hear that statement?   I don’t know the answer; however, give kids some Peanut Butter Play Dough along with a few edible “decorations,” and they can be as creative as they want to be.  Their projects can be eaten if desired.  Directions to make the dough are included.

The other recipes in this column include peanut butter.  I chose them from various categories, including Main Dish.

Peanut Butter Play Dough

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup white corn syrup

1-1/4 cups powdered sugar

1-1/4 cups non-fat dry milk

Mix all ingredients together.  Knead well, using your hands.  If dough is too sticky, add more milk powder.  If  too dry, add corn syrup, 1 teaspoon at a time.  Play and eat!

Store unused dough in the refrigerator.

Suggestions for decorations:  Cheerios, chocolate chips, coconut, peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chow mein noodles.

Peanut Butter-Marmalade Chicken

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  OR 8 large boneless, skinless chicken tenders

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup orange marmalade

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup round buttery cracker crumbs

Vegetable oil spray

Partially thaw chicken if frozen.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Combine salt, pepper, and ginger; rub into chicken.  Combine peanut butter, marmalade, orange juice, and lemon juice.  Dip chicken in peanut butter mixture; coat well with cracker crumbs.

Generously coat bottom of a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray; arrange chicken in dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Turn chicken and cook an additional 20 minutes or until done.  Yield: 4 servings.

Hawaiian Meatloaf with Peanut Butter Glaze

1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef

3/4 cup bread crumbs

3/4 cup quick oats (uncooked)

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 celery rib, chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3/8 teaspoon salt

3/8 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; gently mix until well blended.  Put into a loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until done.  While meatloaf is baking, make peanut butter glaze.  Pour glaze over top of meatloaf 5 minutes before end of cooking time.

Peanut Butter Glaze:

3 tablespoons orange juice

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (may use white wine vinegar)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Lower the heat and continue to cook until thickened.  Pour glaze over top of meatloaf 5 minutes before end of cooking time.


3 cups Crispix cereal

1/2 cup salted peanuts

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup peanut butter

In a bowl, combine cereal and peanuts; set aside.  In a microwave-safe bowl, combine brown sugar and corn syrup.  Microwave on high for 1-3 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved, stirring several times.  Immediately stir in peanut butter until smooth.  Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.  Cool.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

2/3 cup butter or margarine (not spread), melted

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups quick-cooking oats


1 cup milk chocolate chips (may use white morsels instead)

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/3 cup peanut butter

In mixing bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla; gradually add the oats.  Press into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, for topping, melt chips and peanut butter in microwave or saucepan.  Stir until blended; spread over warm bars.  Cool completely; refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before cutting.  Yield: 4 dozen.