Not that I needed another excuse to dig my spoon into a jar of peanut butter, but a new study showed that eating peanut butter or peanuts for breakfast can control blood sugar throughout most of the day and stave off that feeling of being hungry.
A report that appeared in the current British Journal of Nutrition says "peanuts and peanut butter caused a significant reduction in the desire to eat for up to 12 hours and a significant increase in the secretion of the hormone PYY that promotes satiety and feelings of fullness." The study was based on a clinical study of obese women conducted jointly by Purdue University and the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil.
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"If you include peanut butter or peanuts at breakfast, you not only diminish the rise in blood sugar at breakfast but also again after lunch, helping to reduce blood sugar over a very large portion of the day," wrote Dr. Richard Mattes of Purdue University, who worked on the study.
The researchers suggest that the protein, fiber and healthy oils in peanuts help to control blood sugar and contribute to feelings of fullness.
I often start my day with a toasted multigrain English muffin smeared with peanut butter -- I love how the peanut butter melts into the nooks and crannies.
Pat Kearney, a registered dietitian and program director for The Peanut Institute, suggests adding a handful of peanuts to your morning oatmeal or even snacking on peanuts in the late afternoon to control your appetite later in the day.
Heated competition: I can't wait to sit down tonight see how Prospect Heights grad Darlene Pawlukowsky and Itasca dad Brian Emmett handle the pressure during dessert week on "The American Baking Competition."
Darlene and Brian are among the six bakers remaining on this CBS reality contest. Brian has had some iffy weeks (cookies and cakes proved to not be strong suits), but last week he impressed with his bread-making skills. Brian sees Darlene as a strong foe in the kitchen, and considering she was named Star Baker for bread week, he should be worried. She's had a few bumps herself, but her croissants and soft pretzels dazzled judges Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid. Two of Darlene's recipes are even featured on the show's blog.
Things seem to be heating up this week as Brian and Francine battle over their shared refrigerator. The show switches time slots, and this week's episode will air at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Beer and burgers: An iconic pairing, no doubt. But don't grab just any beer out of the cooler.
If a cheese burger is on your plate at the next cook out, grab an Irish red. Salad? Pour a nice saison. If you spy chocolate cake or brownies among the desserts, sip a stout. That's the advice of the beverage experts with Kendall College.
Some of those same experts have hopped on board for Kendall's new beverage management classes. The college has teamed up with The Siebel Institute of Technology to build a new modern beverage facility on Kendall's Riverside campus that will house a teaching hall, brewery and beer hall. So if you love craft beers and are toying with a (new?) career in craft beer/beverage management, check out hospitality.kendall.edu for class information.
Preserving with paraffin? In last week's Cook of the Week column, Trudy Van Slooten said she seals some of her jams with paraffin, a food-grade wax. That drew concern from some readers who had heard paraffin was no longer recommended for canning.
Here's the issue: Over time, paraffin wax can dry and shrink from the edges of the jar, allowing microbes to get inside and spoil the preserves. You might see mold on the top, or you might not see any evidence of spoilage from these tiny but nasty little organisms.
Indeed, paraffin is not recommended for long-term storage. As long as fruits and vegetables are properly canned into clean, sterilized containers and processed as directed in a water bath or in a pressure canner, spoilage will not be an issue and paraffin wax is not necessary to seal jars.
Here's some advice from Sherri Brooks Vinton in her 2013 book "Put 'em Up": "Keep in mind as well that home-canned products that do not contain artificial preservatives will not last as long as store-bought items that do. You can expect your home-canned items to last one year unopened and about three to four weeks under refrigeration once you've popped the lid."
So use up those strawberry preserves and dilly beans this year. Don't stash them in your bunker for the zombie apocalypse.
Stubborn as a mule: Seems our presses didn't like the Moscow Thoroughbred recipe that appeared in the June 19 edition. The gin got deleted from the print edition (though it appeared online, go figure). So I'm rerunning the recipe today. It's a refreshing summer cocktail, so be sure to cut it out and shake one up.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.Daily Herald or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter @PankeysPlate.