Being the parent of a child with a food allergy (peanuts in our case) can be a bit stressful at times. Where a bowl of peanuts at a party used to be viewed as a perfect finger snack to accompany a juicy burger and a cold beer, it's now seen as a bowl of death that must be eliminated in order to ensure safety of all that surround it. Recently at a baseball game I found myself in this exact situation. From across the room I locked eyes with a salty, roasted death trap and quickly prepared myself to lunge across the table and swipe the offending snack. Luckily before I embarrassed myself (I mean, I was in a skirt, for crying out loud, things could have gotten ugly really fast) I realized that the Baby - who actually has the peanut allergy - was hanging out safely at her Aunt and Uncle's house. Peanuts (and my pride) escaped unharmed.
That being said, I am a former lover of peanuts. Desserts, savory dishes, you name it - I loved adding peanut-y goodness to it. We are clearly not the only family to be living with food allergies (and truly we are completely blessed that it's just a peanut allergy as some families are dealing with far further complicated allergy combinations). Luckily, there have been several new peanut butter alternatives to hit the market, my favorite being Sunbutter which is a butter made from sunflower seeds. It has the creaminess (and crunchiness in some cases) of peanut butter, and while the flavor and taste is definately 'sunflower seeds', it makes a wonderful roasted nutty swap out for peanut butter. Spread it on apples and graham crackers or pair it with your favorite jam. It is the way I have been able to fill the peanut butter sized hole in my life. Baking and cooking with Sunbutter can sometimes be a challenge (it doesn't always get along with baking powder and soda so recipes need to be altered specifically for Sunbutter), in a recipe where the Sunbutter is simply melted along with other ingredients, it shines like a star.
Last night, the kiddies and I decided to whip up a little 'night before the first day of school' treat. It was so easy, and so completely addicting that I have to share it with you. It's an old classic that I grew up with called Puppy Chow. Here's what to do:
Melt some Sunbutter, chocolate chips, and butter in a microwave safe dish. Stir it up until it's all shiny and melty. mmmm.....
Mix with some crunchy cereal.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and toss it around a bit.
Voila! Super easy. Super sweet and crunchy.
It's really very difficult to stop eating. Don't say I didn't warn you.
(Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement of Sunbutter, I just love it and want to share with you all)
Peanut Free Puppy Chowmakes about 4 cups – Feel free to double or triple recipe.Ingredients:4 cups of crunchy cereal (such as Chex or Crispix)½ cup of chocolate chips (whichever kind you like)½ stick of butter or margarine¼ Sun Butter or other sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter if you don't have an allergy)¾ cup of powdered sugarDirections:Place chocolate chips, butter and sunflower butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for 1 more minute. Watch closely so chocolate does not burn. Mixture should be nice and melty.Pour cereal into a large bowl. Spoon melted chocolate mixture over cereal and toss to coat. This will take a few minutes to cover thoroughly. Sprinkle half of powdered sugar over cereal mixture and toss gently. Sprinkle remaining sugar over mixture and toss to coat. Allow to cool. Store in an air tight container.Enjoy!