I love peanut butter. I love jelly. And I love smearing both of them on bread, cutting the result diagonally, putting it into a plastic bag—which I wash and reuse—and finally sliding the compact snack into the top of my backpack. However, I cannot eat the same strawberry preserves on wholewheat, seed-infused bread with Teddy peanut butter every time I climb. Sometimes you have to branch out. Here’s how:
BREAK OUT A NEW NUT BUTTER:
Peanut butter is delicious, but, after years of putting it on sandwiches, bagels, apples, and Oreos, it can get a little old. Try eating almond, cashew, soy nut, or, my favorite, sun butter; just don’t think they’ll taste like peanut butter, cause they won’t, and you’ll hate them.
If you’re nervous about eating a new nutty spread, you can try new flavors of peanut butter. The Vermont Peanut Butter Company has flavors from “Maple Walnut” to white-chocolate infused “Avalanche” to “Mad River Moja,” a blend of peanuts, almonds, cranberries, flax, pumpkin seeds, honey, and cinnamon—no jelly necessary. If you are less adventurous with your peanut butter than your outdoor activities, you can always switch from creamy to chunky pb for a texture change.
SLATHER ON A FRESH SPREAD:
You can put more than just jelly on your pb. Try a pb and honey or, if you have the real thing, a pb and maple syrup sandwich. Nutella is another option for chocolate hazelnut lovers. For those looking for a healthier option, try a pb and banana sandwich—it’s an excellent way to carry a banana without squishing it into your backpack. Don’t like bananas? Try thinly sliced apples on a sandwich or rolled up in a pb and apple wrap (see breads below).
JUMP FOR A NEW JELLY:
Sometimes you still want the salty-sweet combo of the pb+j—no other nut butter or sugary spread will do—but having your 57th Concord grape jam sandwich in a row just isn’t cutting it. Try buying a new jelly or some preserves. If you always go for strawberry, try grape, blackberry, raspberry, or peach. If you want to get even more creative and spicy, try a pepper jelly, pineapple habanero jelly, or strawberry chipotle jam. If you’re really adventurous, pick up some beer jelly, carrot cake jam, or coffee jelly. Stop by a local farmer’s market for more funky homemade flavors.
BUY A DIFFERENT BREAD:
If you love pb+j but are tired of the sandwich, then try a pb+j wrap or pita. Or grab a new type of bread; pick up a loaf of honey wheat for a sweeter touch or 79+ grain for a more interesting texture. Made French toast for breakfast, or need an excuse to? Use the leftovers as a sweet vehicle for your pb+j or pb and maple syrup.
THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX:
Have you tried a pb+j and fried egg sandwich? I hadn’t until this summer, and it was surprisingly not disgusting; it also packs some extra protein without taking up much precious space in your pack. I’d recommend going for over-medium or over-hard to avoid mopping up egg joke on a belay ledge.
Two words: Hot sauce. If you enjoy dumping spicy sauce on everything from your scrambled eggs to midnight spaghetti, then why not try a spicy pb+j?
If you’re feeling spicy and adventurous, make a hot sauce and fried egg pb+j. It’s a picnic breakfast and lunch all in one.
For a more dessert-esque variation, make a grilled pb+j: Construct your favorite pb+j or variation, then spread butter on the outside of each slice of bread, and heat in a frying pan like you would a grilled cheese. Cut in half diagonally and enjoy.
And then there’s the other answer: JUST TRY A WHOLE NEW SANDWICH.
Originally published September 21, 2015, on coffeetapeibuprofenclimb.blogspot.com.