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Bar Exam: Peanut butter pretzel Clif Mojo bar

I think I may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t really like Clif bars. At least not the original variety that are like thick chalky bricks, those always give me acid reflux and make my tummy hurt. I have no idea why they do that.

I decided to give this Clif Mojo bar a try because…well…because it has pretzels in it. There’s really nothing more to it than that, I was just intrigued.

Clif Mojo peanut butter and pretzel

Ingredient list is pretty clean, lots of stuff in it but nothing I’m too afraid of.

It clocks in at 190 calories which is a little bit low for a satisfying snack but still good. 9 grams of protein and another 9 grams of sugar are both respectable stats. And I was worried about the salt content with this being chock full of pretzels, one of the most classic of salty snacks, but at 220 milligrams it’s really not totally unreasonable.

Clif Mojo ingredients

Appearance: I like the cobbled-together look of this bar.¬†Loosely clinging together pieces of pretzel, puffed rice, peanuts, and peanut butter chips. I was very excited to see those adorable little peanut butter chips, I didn’t even know they were there until I opened it. Nice golden sheen from the brown rice syrup too.

Clif Mojo unwrapped

Texture: Crunchy and chewy, a bit jagged but not unpleasant. There’s no sogginess in the pretzels from being in contact with the moisture from the brown rice syrup. Peanut butter chips are buttery smooth and the puffed rice is a nice subtle crackle.

Clif Mojo bite

Taste: I expected this to be a contrasting sweet and salty flavor, but it was really mostly salty. Not a bad thing, just not what I expected. The peanut butter chips are subtle, they provide a nutty flavor without any additional salt or sweetness. The salt comes solely from the pretzels, with some bites being less salty and others very salty when you bite into a piece with big salt crystals.

Overall, I liked this bar but I don’t think it’s one I’d add to the regular rotation. It’s definitely light years better than those regular thick pasty Clif bars, but still not that exciting. However, if you’re a lover of salty snacks more than sweets, this might be just right for you. I, however, was really hoping for that awesome contrast between salty and sweet. I think a bit of honey flavor would have taken this over the edge for me.

Salty, sweet, or both at the same time?

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Thai peanut noodles with tofu

Thai food is definitely making a resurgence in our household. Jeff and I have been to Garlic Thai for dinner 4 times in the past month and I still have the cravings left to make it at home too.

Case in point: Last night’s Thai peanut noodles with tofu…

Thai peanut noodles with tofu

So creamy and delicious!

Here’s how to make it: First, press and cut up a block of firm tofu. Coat lightly with oil and bake on a sheet pan for about 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

While that’s in the oven, toast some cashews in a dry pan until they’re as browned as you like em.

Toasted cashews

Set those aside and add about a tablespoon or so of sesame oil to the pan. Sautee a bell pepper and a couple caps of sliced shiitakes or any other mushroom.

Sautee red pepper and shiitakes

Next add a can of coconut milk and about a half a cup (packed) of my Thai red curry coconut peanut butter. Add 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Thai red curry coconut peanut butter 2

Add coconut milk and red curry coconut peanut butter

I turned the heat all the way down to low while my soba noodles were boiling. When they’re done, just drain them and add them straight to the sauce.

Boil soba noodlesAdd noodles to peanut sauce

Serve it up topped with the baked tofu, toasted cashews, and sliced scallions.

You can use any noodles you have available, and to make it vegetarian or vegan, just eliminate the fish sauce.

Thai peanut noodles with tofu 2

I think this would be even better with a sour punch. Maybe lemongrass or kaffir lime leaf. I’ll have to play around with it some more but Jeff and I were both mmmm-ing the whole time so it’s definitely a winner already.

So, so good. It’s like asian alfredo!

Thai peanut noodles with tofu

Creamy Thai peanut noodles with a kick of red curry.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 handful shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup Thai red curry coconut peanut butter
  • 2 portions soba or other asian noodles
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • handful of cashews and scallions for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil for noodles.
  2. Press excess liquid out of tofu and cut into cubes.
  3. Bake tofu for 25 minutes at 375 degrees on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Toast cashews in a dry pan until brown, set aside.
  5. Saute bell pepper and shiitakes in sesame oil until soft.
  6. Add coconut milk, seasonings, and peanut butter and whisk to combine.
  7. Add noodles and toss to combine.
  8. Serve topped with baked tofu, toasted cashews, and sliced scallions.

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Thai red curry coconut peanut butter

Is your mind blown yet?

Thai red curry coconut peanut butter 2

I have been meaning to try my hand at making nut butters from scratch for so long now. Sure, I could have started with something simple like a honey roasted nut butter or simply salted, but I’ve been dreaming up nut butters for months without actually making them so I’ve kind of already skipped those first steps in my head.

I’ve had this container of red curry paste sitting in my fridge for several months now and it’s on the verge of reaching the end of its shelf life, so I’ve been racing to find uses for it before it’s too late.

Bright red curry paste

I tried making a curry with it last week that ended up unblogworthy. I used to make curry at least once a week for dinner but just kind of fell out of the habit of it. I’ve been craving peanut noodles recently too and then it hit me, why not put the flavors of the sauce into the peanut butter itself?!

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • up to a half cup of coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp. agave nectar
  • up to 4 tsp. red curry paste (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • pinch of salt

The nuts I bought said they were roasted but they tasted pretty raw to me, so I roasted them on a sheet pan for about 1o minutes at 375 degrees until I could see a bit of color on them. Those got obliterated in the food processor for a good 5 minutes. Then I added everything else and let it whir away for another few minutes.

I’m pretty sure that the blades on my old food processor are too dull to ever make a smooth and drippy nut butter, so I stopped after about 10 minutes when it became apparent that I wasn’t gonna get anything thinner than peanut pate.

I thought that would be disappointing but the texture is part of what makes it wonderful. It’s spreadable but still thick and creamy, like the texture of peanut butter frosting.

Thai red curry coconut peanut butter 1

If your food processor will get it completely smooth though, go for it!

I was eating this on everything yesterday. I could not get enough of the full peanut flavor tinged with a fruity creeping heat and balanced with a subtle sweetness. Amazing!

I’m totally hooked on making crazy nut butters now.

Thai red curry coconut peanut butter

Home made peanut butter with the exotic flavors of Thai red curry and coconut.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 2 and a half cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • up to a 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. agave nectar
  • up to 4 tsp. red curry paste (adjust for spice tolerance)
  • a pinch of salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Grind peanuts in food processor until smooth (about 10 minutes.)
  2. Add other ingredients and pulse to combine.

Help me out: What’s the most interesting nut butter flavor you can come up with? If I see one that I think I could create I’ll make it!