Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Return of the Apples

It's an event I look forward to each fall: which Saturday will I arrive at the market to find them waiting? It's always unexpected, but delightful when it occurs. Apple season has begun!

A freshly picked apple is a thing of joy. Crisp and sweet with a hint of tart, these apples are delightful. Most of them I eat straight, or with some peanut butter, but they do make great apple butter and pies. I plan on buying vats of apples to make Christmas gifts (along with all of the pickles I've been making).

I've always thought an apple was the perfect travel food; they are sturdy, don't require peeling, easy to eat, and make a great (and filling!) snack. I toss a couple in my bag for work so that I'm assured of having a healthy snack on hand. This morning, I needed something more than the watermelon I had before I left home, so I whipped up a quick dip of peanut butter and Greek yogurt, and ate my apple with that.

Before I give you the recipe for the peanut butter yogurt dip, I wanted to clarify some reasons behind my switch to vegetarian. For the most part, I had been avoiding animal products that came from the factory farm system and opting instead for locally-raised meat, or at very least pasture-raised, organic. I found myself slipping into eating meat more often, however, that was not raised sustainably or ethically. I felt that removing meat would help me get back into that mindset of thinking about where my food comes from and eating a diet that is more sustainable for the earth and good for the animals. The animal products that I do buy (eggs and milk) come from local farms or are organic. Luckily, it's easy to find local eggs from pastured hens around here!

Anyway, now for a recipe. If you're looking for a healthy dip, this one's pretty good--it has lots of good protein from both the peanuts and the Greek yogurt, and adding Greek yogurt to the peanut butter cuts down on the amount of fat (especially if you're using low fat or fat-free yogurt), and the peanut butter flavors the Greek yogurt.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
makes 2 servings
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
Honey (optional)

Mix together and try not to eat with a spoon.

I like a little less peanut butter, but the original recipe uses a one to one ratio, so feel free to increase the amount of peanut butter. I also like mine unsweetened, especially if I'm eating it with an apple, but it is very, very good with a bit of honey added in, especially if you're feeding the dip to small children or people not used to unsweetened yogurt and peanut butter. This makes about 2 servings for a light snack.

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