Friday, May 6, 2016

Perfect Summer Recipes + Pic's Peanut Butter Review & Giveaway

If you've been following along these last few weeks you might have noticed a trend in my posts: I am excited for summer.  Spring, summer... whatever gets the flowers blooming and the sun shining.  I love running around with my shoes off and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.  Ahhh... Oh excuse me, did I drift off to dream land for a second? As it gets warmer and summertime approaches I'm getting the itch to go hiking (my favorite outdoor activity) and to just enjoy summer.  Because of this, today's post is a little different than normal but I think you foodies will like it.  Keep on reading for some of my favorite summer recipes!

[Disclaimer:  I have received free product to review from Pics Peanut Butter.  In no way am I obligated to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.]

What?  I'm reviewing Peanut Butter?
Seems weird, right?  Like I should probably stick to my craft projects and kids stuff.  Here's the thing though:  This peanut butter is made with only peanuts.  ONLY peanuts.  No sugar, vegetable oil, or salt just to name a few common ingredients found in other peanut butters.  Why does that matter?  Because I try to put real, honest food in my child's belly.  I don't always succeed at that but if I have an option to do so- I will choose the healthier option most of the time (we all gotta live a little though- right? Hello boxed brownie mix and store bought ice-cream!)

This company was actually founded by a man in his 50's (Pic Picot) who was shocked to see all the peanut butters he loved adding sugar.  He thought the sugar PB was "disgusting" (okay, I don't agree with that, I mean I love Peeps, Sugar sticks and Sweet Tarts so clearly I could just eat sugar by the spoonful) and vowed to make his own just like his mom and aunt did when he was a kid.  Starting from the ground up, he slowly made jars of PB and the rest is history.  A little over 9 years later, this company now makes peanut butter, peanut oil, cashew butter, almond butter and Peanut Butter Slugs. Pic's PB is made from the finest quality Hi-Oleic peanuts from Australia that are fresh roasted and lovingly squashed in Nelson, Pic’s then quick seals its peanut butter to preserve freshness and flavour. Pic’s is all-natural, is gluten and sugar free and has no additives – simply peanuts and a trace of Kiwi salt, the unsalted version containing 100% peanuts.

I love his story.  I have also decided that I want to be his best friend because he just sounds so fun (they included a little pamphlet with my order giving some history and  besides the fact that his New Zealand way of speaking is charming, the writing sounds like he is sitting in a chair next to you chatting you up.  I love it!  To see what I'm talking about, check out this "about" commentary from their website.  On the little pamphlet I have it also talks about re-using the jar in fun ways and interesting uses for peanut butter.  What a fun company!

So what do I really think about it?
I think peanut butter without all the extra junk is awesome!  I want to put as much "good stuff" into my toddler's body as I can (and yes mine too, but I've been tainted by years of sugar!) and this is made with only "good stuff".  However, I will admit that the peanut butter is a little more bitter/bland than I was used to and my initial reaction was not as expected.  I would enjoy eating the crunchy better (I got smooth because I wanted to use it in more recipes) and I got it without salt which I'm sure makes a big difference.  The founder Pic Picot even recommends starting out with the salted version but since I had my toddler in mind I went with the most basic option there was.  I have also found that using it in recipes makes up for the lack of sweetness.  In both recipes below, I thought the peanut butter was delicious and not bitter/bland at all!  Before using it, I have to stir it up because the oil separates but this isn't a big deal at all and it's actually reassuring to me because it proves its naturalness!

Overall, I'm very impressed by the idea of it and would love to use this product in recipes to make a healthier substitution to sugary peanut butter.  As for eating it straight from the jar, it's going to take a little more getting used to for this sugar-fanatic to be able to do that.

Enough talking- more recipes!

I'm going to share with you two recipes perfect for summertime.  The first is a toddler-approved chocolate, peanut butter, banana yogurt pop recipe and the second is my favorite granola bar recipe.  The first is more for my son and the second is more for me.

Chocolate, peanut butter, banana yogurt pops- Recipe from "Recipe Runner"

I'm always looking for new snacks for my toddler.  He loves about everything so that's easy but I do like to switch it up every now and then.  I'm excited for him to try popsicles this summer (he's had ice-cream but never a popsicle) and thought a homemade recipe would be a great first try.

This recipe is pretty straightforward but I made a few changes.  Of course, if making this for yourself you might not be interested in my substitutions but for a toddler they are perfect!  First, I replaced the non-fat greek yogurt with whole milk greek yogurt.  When we age we prefer the non-fat stuff but little babes need the fat!  I also replaced the milk with breastmilk.  I'm still nursing my son and although he does occasionally have cow's milk or almond milk in things like cereal, I figure why not put it in his frozen pop if I can?  Just letting you all know that it does work well even with these substitutions!

Just blend the ingredients, pour into popsicle containers and freeze!

Or... if you have extra (I need to buy more popsicle containers!) and your toddler spots it, you can also just drink it like banana, chocolate milk!  I wouldn't have thought to do this but he LOVED it.  He would take a drink, set it down for about half a second and then pick it back up to drink more.

{Excuse the food everywhere, we were just finishing up supper}

Granola Bars- Recipe from "Made from Pinterest"

I love this recipe because it's easy, no bake and it's a standard "base" that allows me to add my favorite toppings to make custom granola bars.  I usually make a batch or two with a few different flavor combinations in each!  Granola bars are the perfect snack for hiking, trips to the park or just hanging around at home!

Plus, there are no crazy ingredients.  I forgot to put the vanilla in the photo (oops) and it also calls for coconut but my husband doesn't like that so I leave it out.

Don't forget to have fun with your topping choices...

This time around I made: Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter, S'mores (marshmallows and chocolate) and Salted Caramel (they have chips flavored like that now!)

Since we're here talking about peanut butter, I'll let you know how I did that one.  First I made the base, then I simply added a few tablespoons of Pic's Peanut Butter, tossed in a small handful of dark chocolate chips and mixed!  After pressing it in the baking dish I drizzled more peanut butter over it and sprinkled Chia Seeds over the top of that (because Chia seeds are crazy good for you and you can't even taste them. I add them to everything.)

The batch of peanut butter ones were a little more gooey than the others because of the added "liquid" but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing at all!  I prefer to put real peanut butter in the mix instead of peanut butter chips because it covers every bite!

Let the batch harden in the fridge and then cut and enjoy!

I love granola bars.  Sidenote:  If you are breastfeeding, oatmeal is a super food for helping increase your supply!  Shoot for Old Fashioned instead of instant (the recipe says to pulse Old Fashion oats before using but I never do).  After my son was born I became a little oatmeal-addicted because of this and now yummy oatmeal snacks like this are my FAVORITE!

I was a little worried that the peanut butter wouldn't be sweet enough, especially when drizzled on the top but it's perfect in this recipe.  Even a sugar lover like me thinks this is delish!  If you love sugar as much as I do, try this peanut butter in a recipe like this first.  This way, you are cutting out some of the sugary stuff (those chocolate chips are still full of it!) but still able to enjoy the foods.  It's small steps like this that lead to better choices!

Let's Get Cooking!
Okay, neither of those recipes involved any actual cooking.  After all, this isn't a food blog and I can guarantee that is not my specialty.  Whether you like to cook or not, I think you should give Pic's Peanut Butter a try so we are offering a free jar to one lucky winner!  {P.S. It's not so easy to get a jar in the US except online so you might want to try and win it here}

You choose Crunchy or Creamy and Salt or No Salt.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Crafting (and baking and freezing... and eating...)
Kelsie Ann


  1. I love that there are no additives!

    1. Me too! I'm always on the hunt for food that's not full of "junk" (it's hard to do!)

  2. Peanut butter is my favorite food and I like to get it all natural, so I'd really like to try this!

  3. I eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every day. I have probably tried just about every brand.

    1. We eat a lot of PB sandwiches too. Or... with a spoon. Whatever the mood strikes!

  4. My kids eats loads of pbandj would love to win this for them. It look yummy! Thank you for the giveaway!

  5. i love trying out new brands!

    - judith

  6. I want to try it because I want to know what sugar free peanut butter tastes like but also I have plenty of recipes to use this peanut butter.