Never Fear -- Peanut Butter is Here!

by Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam

It's 6 a.m. Once again you spread peanut butter and jelly on your child's sandwich. Guilt pours over you. You should send a little variety in his or her lunch but at 6 a.m. how can your sleeping brain cleverly whip up a Turkey Club sandwich with freshly fried crisp bacon, turkey you roasted the night before and lettuce and tomatoes picked from your garden that morning. Top that with 5 fresh rosette shaped veggies along with compote of passion fruit, mango and star fruit. Let's not even talk about preparing it or convincing your child to actually eat it.

Well ladies throw that guilt right out the window because my motto is "never fear-peanut butter is here!" In my wise old age I have concluded that children go through stages of eating just like crawling, walking, the terrible 2's and teen-age. Each stage has it's challenges but parents and children alike actually survive them all.

First milk, then mushy stuff, followed by the "I want" stage, when no matter what it is it's going in my mouth. That includes potting soil and toilet water but not anything on a plate set before them at the table. This stage lasts a very very long time, but some golden day they move to the next stage: the peanut butter & jelly stage- (and you thought the other stages were bad). For three meals a day they dig in their heels and want nothing else. It's what I call a no brainer menu with little effort to fix and very little clean up.

Eventually guilt will again overcome us insisting that we must teach them proper eating habits. When that happens, try these ideas from Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites that they may actually eat rather than trade or throw away.

Fried Apples

Make a double batch of these for dinner the night before and serve leftovers for lunch.

  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 4 large apples, cored and sliced (tart apples work best)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Heat butter in a large skillet. Put the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the skillet and cover. Over medium-low heat, cook apple slices 7-10 minutes or until they begin to soften and the syrup thickens. Top with excess syrup.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups apples, chopped or 3/4 cup apple butter (omit cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Combine the first five ingredients, and pat half into an 8x8 inch pan. Layer apples and sugar. Crumble remaining mixture on top. Bake 35 minutes at 350

Or try these other items:

  • leftover pizza
  • leftover dinner roll with a cheese slice
  • muffins
  • cinnamon rolls
  • bag of marshmallows
  • sliced orange
  • dried fruit
  • applesauce
  • deviled eggs
  • fried apples
  • cookies
  • chicken wings
  • coffee cakes
  • beef jerky

For more tips and recipes visit our Website at Tawra Kellam is the author of Not Just Beans. Not Just Beans is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. To order Not Just Beans send $14.95 (includes shipping) to Not Just Beans, P.O. Box 131, Manhattan, KS 66505 or visit

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