Our school is a nut-free school. I respect that (after some serious soul searching). I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a child with a life threatening allergy. I cannot imagine what it must be like to send your child to school, and put your faith in others to not bring nut products to school and jeopardize your child's life. Luckily for me my kids are not over the top in love with peanut butter. They like it, but they don't miss not having it at school. It is however sometimes a life saver when you have not shopped, or don't have much time.
Last year I found "sunflower butter". It was a spreadable product made from ground sunflower seeds. I purchased it on a whim. Turns out, it was delicious. The next time I looked for it, it was no where to be seen. Very frustrating.
This week-end I was in a real experimenting state of mind. I was thinking about the sunflower butter, and I wondered, how hard could it be to make? Turns out it was not that hard. I purchased a container of bulk sunflower seeds from my local grocery store. Unknown to me at the time I purchased them, they were raw and unsalted, but that worked out to be o.k. I tossed them in my cast iron frying pan with about one tablespoon of olive oil. I tossed them around long enough to brown them up, then I let them cool.
When my toasted sunflower seeds were cool, I put them in the food processor with about 1 tbsp of olive oil, a little sea salt and about 1 tbsp of local honey. Let me share with you, that this process is not for the impatient (that would be me). I ground them down to what looked like a flour. Grace by that point had come in to investigate what the noise was. She then became my helper. It's really good that she came in because she reminded me to be patient. She checked her ipod, "This website says that you have to keep on working even after it looks like flour.... Mom, be patient." She was right.
In the end we ended up with sunflower butter. It is a kind of a gross colour, but it tastes really good. Even better than the mere taste (which is really important), it's full of pure ingredients. There are no additives, no chemicals, no extra anything. I can send this in my children's lunches knowing that it packs a powerful punch of calcium, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, foliate, and vitamin E, all the while keeping other children around them safe. It's a win win... oh and it was fun to make.