A couple of weeks ago I posted my review of My Oatmeal (revisit here) and at that time, I mentioned that I also received a bag of their peanut butter powder called PB Lean. PB Lean is a gluten-free, dehydrated peanut butter that is a much healthier alternative to traditional peanut butter. I have used PB2 in the past, and PB Lean is the same thing, just from a different company.
The numbers for PB Lean are quite staggering when you compare them to traditional peanut butter. PB Lean contains 45 calories, 1.5g fat, and 5g protein per a two tablespoons serving. Now compare that to Jif, the most popular peanut butter in America, with its 180 calories, 16g for fat, and 7g of protein per two tablespoons serving! That is a significant difference in the two products, and becomes quite noticeable when you eat peanut butter a few times a week, like I do during training months. I like to have some peanut butter on wheat toast or with a banana before my runs over seven miles, so a healthier option is a major plus.
So, we have determined that PB Lean is obviously healthier than traditional peanut butter, but how does it taste? PB Lean could be the healthiest substance on earth, but if it tastes like the actual earth, no one is going to eat it. MY honest taste assessment is that the taste is acceptable. The absence of the fat, oils, preservatives, and so on is noticeable the first time you try PB Lean. It is not going to cause the average person to spit out their first bite nor should it, but there is a difference in taste. There is also a slight difference in texture since it can be difficult to mimic what machines do in factories with a spoon and water.
To make a serving of PB Lean, regardless of size, I used a 2:1 ratio of powder to water. This ratio holds up if you are prepping two tablespoons or two cups of peanut butter. The PB Lean bag did not give me these instructions, but I borrowed them from a leftover jar of PB2 that I had. You just add the water and stir. The longer you stir, and the more water you add, the creamier the peanut butter becomes. I have found that for a normal serving, adding one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of water to the two tablespoons of PB Lean makes a consistency that I really like. The piece of toast above was prepared using this ratio. But, obviously, if you overdo the water, you are going to have a peanut butter soup rather than your desired substance. You have been warned.
Since I had so much PB Lean, I decided to try it in a few ways in addition to eating it in a traditional manner. One way was simply adding a tablespoon or two to my oatmeal in the morning. It was a very easy way to add a new flavor to my breakfast that did not cost me too much in the way of fat or calories. There is a machine called Yonanas that makes ice cream from frozen bananas! I got it as a wedding present and despite not using as often as I would like, it is a valuable kitchen tool for a struggling fat man. You put one or two frozen bananas into the machine, add any other frozen fruit, chocolate chips, or the such to it for different flavors. I used PB Lean and added a little peanut butter flavor to my banana ice cream. A third, and tastiest, was adding it to one of my all time favorite deserts, mud cookies. Mud cookies are a major weakness for me, so anyway to make them healthier is a major bonus. So, with that in mind, I am going to include the first ever recipe in Running Large history!
3 Cups Uncooked Oats
1/2 Cup Skim Milk
1/2 Cup PB Lean
1 Stick of Butter
2 Cups of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Cocoa
1. Mix sugar and cocoa in a pot until there are no clumps.
2. Add in butter and milk, and bring to a raging boil for 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the PB Lean and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Stir in oats.
5. Quick drop spoonfuls onto wax paper.
6. Let cool and enjoy!
This recipe does not work well on very humid days and do not overcook the ingredients in the pot. Also, it works better to mix the PB Lean before adding it to the recipe. That way you have a true 1/2 a cup and not an abundance or shortage of peanut butter.
I wanted to substitute a healthy alternative for the butter and sugar, but Susan did not want me to experiment too much with the recipe. We had already been using skim milk, and then I added the PB Lean. Next will be a healthy butter alternative and then a healthy sugar substitute. Honestly, the flavor of the cookies was great, and if you did not know that I had used PB Lean, you would never have known the difference in taste. The downside is that the cookies do not firm up quite as well with PB Lean. There is a slight stickiness to them, but they still stay together and are very edible. I am going to do some experimenting with the formula and cook times to see if I can solve the consistency problem.
For peanut butter lovers that are trying to watch their weight, PB Lean can be a very valuable dietary asset. You can enjoy peanut butter without wreaking you entire diet. Plus, since it takes a little bit of work to prepare the peanut butter, you are more inclined to watch your portions and you will burn a couple of calories while mixing it up. I have tried PB Lean and PB2, and honestly, there really is not a difference between the two. I will say that being able to buy PB Lean in a one and a half pound bag is plus in my book. The cost for a bag of PB Lean was $13.99, and the cost of a six and a half ounce jar of PB2 is $5.99 on amazon. You do not have to be a math major to see the cost benefits of PB Lean! And actually, that price point is even competitive against the generic brands of traditional peanut butter in the grocery store! So not only are you saving you waistline, you are saving you pocketbook as well!
My Oatmeal did provide me with a free sample to try and review, but this fact did not influence or alter my opinion of the product. All views in this post are my honest assessment of the product and I am not being financially compensated for these views.