i hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches growing up. my mom is partial to grape jelly, so that’s usually all we had around the house, and i found the combination of its flavor and peanut butter’s absolutely revolting* (though i also found the smell of paste incredibly nauseating and the smell of popcorn almost as bad, so maybe my senses weren’t yet attuned to life). sometime in high school i started eating vegetarian and the shift in diet opened up a major door for me to embrace peanut butter as a regular, easy source of protein, and not long after, jelly came jiggling in, too. i’d spread a fat whap of peanut butter on one piece of soft, grain-flecked bread and a pathetic scraping of blackberry jam on the other. an awkward start, maybe, but with that, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were finally mine to love.
like pancakes, i think peanut butter and jellies are food for memories. i can remember so many experiences of watching someone else make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and wondering why and how they formed their preferences. have you noticed that? no? if you want to learn about someone, go on a picnic with them and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. don’t bring preassembled sandwiches. make them together, and watch your peanut butter partner as they craft their sandwich. maybe or maybe don’t infer ridiculous things about their favoring one spread over the other, or about the care with which they evenly spread their jelly all the way to the crust. and tell me about it, because i’m such a nerd that i would really like that.
these days (especially after witnessing the atrocity that is uncrustables in sad “vegetarian” lunch packs at events), peanut butter and jelly usually makes for eyerollingly mundane lunchbox loot, but somehow, in a pint glass, it becomes something else — a little magical — both nostalgic and novel. this peanut butter & jelly smoothie isn’t a frozen sandwich blended (although… i dare you). it’s got a few ingredients not found in its sandwich form: banana, frozen fruits, apple juice. at first glance this combination seems like a desperate attempt to smoothify a classic sandwich, and maybe in some ways it is, but it’s also just stupidly delicious as its own, slightly surprising thing. it’s gimmicky, yes, and it’s crazy good and wholesome in a refreshing way that i’m tirelessly fond of. i hope you’ll enjoy this pb&j as much as i have.
- 1 frozen banana
- handful of frozen berries (blackberries or strawberries are my favorite)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional; adds a grainy/bready flavor)
- a fat pinch of salt (if using unsalted peanut butter)
- apple juice
- put bananas and blackberries in the carafe of a blender. fill up to the level of the fruit with apple juice, then add peanut butter (having liquid in there before adding peanut butter helps prevent it from sticking to the sides of the carafe), along with the hemp hearts and flax.
- fill to the 16oz line of the carafe with apple juice (or, to cut the intense sweetness of the apple juice and fruit, splice in a little water).
- blend. sip. enjoy. and do your dishes; don't leave them for your mom.
*this reminds me of an outtake i saw a long time ago of a young melissa joan hart [i think?] eating this from the jar with a spoon and trying to stifle her face of ultimate disgust. does this sound familiar to anyone? fifty million points to the first person who finds the video.