Bless Your Spoon: Gifts of fathers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

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By Stephanie Williams Dean

There are two food loves I got from Dad — his fondness for sardines and peanut butter. He purchased the salty peanut spread in gallon containers. Other than that, the kitchen wasn’t Dad’s domain. But just like him, I love the creamy blend of peanuts on just about any sandwich. A favorite is fresh sliced tomatoes with chunky peanut butter or a thick slice of bologna with a smooth spread — now, don’t knock it until you try it! Who doesn’t love sliced banana with peanut butter, right? I grew up eating sardines right out of a can on top of premium saltine crackers: nothing fancy and not much more to say.

Dad knew his kitchen equipment. We had about every culinary tool and appliance known to man as he was in the hardware business. Even so, Dad took no interest in cooking even though he had previously owned a restaurant. But due to the service oriented industries, most of his life was spent serving others — literally. While working at Dad’s hardware store during summer as a teen, these words were ingrained in me, “May I help you?”

Regarding mealtime, I credit Dad with a couple of good habits. One was coming home on time to sit with his family at the dinner table. And he did his part to help at home. I can still picture Dad polishing the silver plate during holidays. He was an agreeable soul, and I have no recollections of sore words with my mother or anyone else. One wouldn’t expect a man like that to complain about his wife’s cooking, would you? He didn’t. You gotta love a husband who compliments and appreciates his wife for who she is.

Summing up, I highly regard many of his traits. Dad possessed a daily cheerful countenance and lived a life of service — personally and professionally serving others. The Bible has much to say about both of these.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” as read in Proverbs 7:22. Regarding individual gifts, Romans 12:8 reads, “if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Serving God is a most import important principle of the Christian faith. As believers, we are expected to help others and do it with a cheerful spirit. Hebrews 6:10 shows us that God knows your efforts of love and ministry and will not forget. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Let’s continue to live our lives of service, each day filled with joy and sharing cheerfulness, continuing to cast light where darkness persists.

And fathers, I hope you enjoy a little peanut butter on your day. My favorite brand is Peter Pan — the boy who never grew up.

Nutter Butters

• ½ cup softened, salted butter

• ½ peanut butter

• ½ cup white sugar

• ½ cup brown sugar

• 1 egg

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1½ cup all-purpose flour

• 2 tsp. baking powder

In a mixer bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix well. Beat in flour and baking powder. Mix well. Roll into balls and press down with tines of a fork into criss-cross pattern. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

PB and Cornflake Cookies

• 2 Tbsp. salted butter

• ¾ cup white Karo syrup

• ½ cup brown sugar

• ½ cup sugar

• 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

• 6 cups corn flake cereal

In a saucepan, combine butter, syrup and sugars. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and blend. Fold in corn flakes and mix well. Drop by large spoonfuls on waxed paper.

O’Henry Bars

• 2/3 cup softened, salted butter

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 4 cup quick-cooking oats

• ½ cup light corn syrup

• 3 tsp. vanilla extract

• ¼ tsp. salt

• Large pkg. milk chocolate bits

• 2/3 cup chunky peanut butter

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add oats, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Press firmly into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cook in a 375-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. In a double boiler, combine chocolate bits and chunky peanut butter and continuously stir while melting. When bars have slightly cooled, spread melted topping over bars. Refrigerate to harden. Cut into squares.

Peanut Buttermilk Pan Cake

• ¼ cup salted butter

• ½ cup chunky peanut butter

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 egg

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1½ cup all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. soda

• 1 cup buttermilk

In a mixer bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Mix well. Beat in flour and soda while alternating with buttermilk. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured 9 x 9 pan for 30-40 minutes or until done.

Peanut Butter Frosting

• ½ cup peanut butter

• 1½ cup confectioners sugar

• 2 Tbsp. half and half or cream

• Hot water

In a mixer bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, cream, and enough hot water to mix. Spread on warm cake. Cool and serve.

Nutty Buddy Brownies

• ½ cup softened salted butter

• ½ cup peanut butter

• 1½ cup sugar

• 3 eggs

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• ½ tsp. baking powder

• ½ tsp. salt

• ½ cup chocolate bits

• ½ cup chopped peanuts

In a mixer bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, thoroughly incorporating between each addition. Add vanilla. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Fold in chocolate bits and peanuts. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased 9×13 baking dish in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Peanut Butter Muffins

• ½ cup sugar

• 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

• 2½ tsp. baking powder

• ½ tsp. salt

• 2 Tbsp. salted butter

• ½ cup chunky peanut butter

• 2 beaten eggs

• ¾ cup whole milk

• ¼ cup melted currant jelly

• 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted peanuts

In a bowl, sift sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter and peanut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a bowl, beat eggs. Add beaten eggs and milk to flour and stir just until moistened. Line muffin pan cups with paper baking cups or grease and flour. Fill cups 2/3 cup full. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or until tests done. While hot, immediately brush tops of muffins with melted jelly. Dip tops in peanuts. Serve warm.

Quick Oatmeal Peanut Butter Drops

• 1 stick melted, salted butter

• 2 cups sugar

• 2 tsp. Hershey’s cocoa

• ½ cup evaporated milk

• ½ cup peanut butter

• 2½ cup quick cook oatmeal

In a saucepan, melt margarine. Add sugar, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook 2 minutes while constantly stirring. Stir in peanut butter and oatmeal. Combine thoroughly. Drop by Tbsp. on waxed paper. Allow to cool.

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

• 2 sticks salted butter

• 2 cups sugar

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 5 eggs

• ½ cup peanut butter

• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• ½ tsp. baking powder

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. soda

• 1 cup whole milk

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, thoroughly incorporating after each addition. Beat in peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well. Beat in flour, baking powder, salt and soda while alternating with whole milk. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan in a 325-degree oven for 1½-2 hours or until tests done.

Peanut Butter Frosting

• ½ stick softened, salted butter

• 1/3 cup peanut butter

• 4-6 Tbsp. evaporated milk

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1 box confectioners’ sugar

• 2/3 cup chopped peanuts

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and peanut butter. Mix well. Add evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until of spreadable consistency, adding more milk if necessary. Fold in chopped peanuts. Mix well.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Pie

• 1 cup crunchy premium peanut butter

• 8 oz. softened cream cheese

• 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

• Chocolate pie crust

• 1 container Cool Whip

• Whipped cream

In a mixer bowl, combine crunchy peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and Cool Whip. Mix well. Pour into chocolate crust. Freeze 3 hours before serving. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

3-Layer Peanut Butter Cake

• 1½ cup butter-flavored Crisco shortening

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 5 eggs

• 2 tsp. vanilla

• 3 cups self-rising flour

• 1½ cup whole milk

Icing

• 1 stick salted butter

• 2 cups sugar

• ¾ cup evaporated milk

• ½ cup smooth peanut butter

• 1½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl, beat shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla. Beat in flour while alternating with milk. Mix well. Bake in three well-greased and floured round cake pans. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until tests done. Allow to cool before icing. For the icing, melt butter and add sugar and milk. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake layers.

Nutty Butter Twirls

• 1 box confectioners’ sugar

•  2 Tbsp. melted butter

• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

• Whole milk

• Crunchy peanut butter

Combine confectioners’ sugar, melted butter and vanilla. (Save a little of the sugar to sprinkle on rolling board) Add just enough milk until mixture is a stiff dough that you can handle — fairly dry but not crumbly. Roll out mixture to 1/3 -inch thickness. Spread surface with peanut butter. Roll into a long roll. Cut into slices. Store in refrigerator until firm.