31 Aug 2012
Regardless of how my day is going, I can count on one thing. Come 3 p.m., my stomach will begin to growl and grimace at the idea of dinner being hours away. It is as certain as the sun coming up in the morning and the night darkening the sky each evening.
I would be remiss to say I never treat myself to something slightly indulgent come snack time, but these deviances never last long. Instead, I find myself ravenous too soon and thrown off-kilter from my after-work activities. Our office is not the one you might think of where a baker-to-be whips up a batch of tempting cupcakes or cookies so this usual office temptation does not exist unless I happen to make the contribution from a weekend project.
What makes me look forward to that late afternoon hunger hump, what gets my tastebuds applauding day in and day out is unbelievably simple and a healthy snack for the ages that consists of two main ingredients: apples and peanut butter. Because the snack is so simple, the ingredients become even more important. Mealy apples are bypassed. Granny Smiths are snubbed (though they are fabulous on their own or in other combinations).
I have been testing different kinds of apples and nut butters to find the perfect match. Is the apple sweet but not too sweet? Does it have a bit of acidic tang? Is the nut butter too oily? Is it unsalted? Amid all of the taste tests and questions that have risen, I have found the pairing that beats any cookie, candy, chip or other perceived snack food. I give you the stellar combination of a Pink Lady apple and an ever so slightly salted roasted peanut butter of only two ingredients.
The ritual goes like this: slice apple, cutting away as much of the edible bits as possible and keeping the slices on the less chunky side, so there are more slices to dip. Place apple slices in one of our green bowls. Dunk a spoon into the peanut butter jar and stir. Pull out the spoon as it glistens with nut butter and drop it into the bowl taking care not to drizzle too much onto the apple slices. Not yet. I scrape that spoon clean, the curves of the spoon, any surface on which there might be nut butter yet to make its way onto an apple slice. The apple slices become an instrument akin to a spoon, a fork or knife with the sheer benefit of being edible.
If I’m feeling a bit playful, I might smear the nut butter and apple slices on a sheet of honey graham crackers. Usually though, this is my one snack to rule all other snacks. That flavor combination of sweet-tangy-roasted-salty can’t be beat. Neither can the fiber from the apple and the protein from the nut butter. This is a healthy snack to keep me satiated until dinner.
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