Peanut Power

Capping off the coverage of March as National Peanut Month, it seemed only fitting to mention Project Peanut Butter, a non-profit organization created by Dr. Mark Manary which has done extensive field trials in Malawi from 2001-2007 on fighting severe malnutrition using Plumpy’nut.

Plumpy’nut, Nutriset’s amazing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) product, is based on a fortified peanut paste and offers an incredible 95% recovery rate for severely malnourished children. Project Peanut Butter operates the first local Plumpy’nut Plumpynut wrapperproduction facility in Africa and distributes this therapeutic food to malnourished Malawian children in more than 20 nutritional rehabilitation centers. Last year, the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition, the World Health Organization, & UNICEF issued a joint statement that recognized Project Peanut Butter’s treatment protocols, in conjunction with Plumpy’nut, as the most effective method by which to treat severely malnourished children globally.

It’s estimated that half of all child deaths worldwide are caused by malnutrition. In fact, Joe Stirt’s recent Memo to Nick Negroponte notes that only 3% of the world’s 20 million malnourished children have access to ready-to-use food. While Joe’s post unintentionally connects with one of my main concerns about MIT’s overzealous One Laptop Per Child project (that being, do starving children really need a $100 laptop?), I believe his main point is that the cost of providing critically-needed nourishment for 3rd world children is practically trivial.

Yup, just $15 (a tax-deductible donation) allows Project Peanut Butter to offer a Plumpy’nut-based 4-week nutritional recovery protocol to bring a critically-malnourished child back from the brink.

$15 worth of peanut paste to save a child’s life? Peanut power, indeed!

Nutty Uses for Peanut Butter

Empty Jar of Peanut ButterKeeping the ball rolling on my coverage of National Peanut Month, I thought it might be fun to toss out a few unexpected or downright wacky uses for peanut butter that I’ve come across recently.

If you thought slathering an apple wedge or celery stick with peanut butter for an afternoon snack was living on the edge, well, just hold on for some really far-out ideas:

  • Let a tablespoon of peanut butter slowly dissolve in your mouth to cure hiccups!
  • Having trouble getting your pet to take some medication?   Most cats & dogs love the taste of peanut butter, so hide the pill in peanut butter and you should have no trouble getting them to swallow it!
  • Remove stubborn wax stains on your car’s rubber or non-painted plastic surfaces by applying a little creamy peanut butter to the stain with a soft toothbrush.   Peanut butter’s oils dissolve the wax and it’s just sticky & abrasive enough to lift the stain.
  • Likewise, gently rub peanut butter in a circular motion on road tar or tree sap that’s gotten on your car then wash with sudsy water to rinse off any residue.
  • Create a cheap & simple outdoor bird feeder by spreading peanut butter into the nooks & crannies of a pine cone, then coating with birdseed.
  • To get chewing gum out of hair, clothing, or carpet, scrape up what you can, rub with an ice cube to stiffen, then rub a small glob of creamy peanut butter into the gum and wipe up the whole mess with a clean cloth.
  • Make Chocolate & Peanut Butter Playdough for your kids to play with!
  • You can even shave with creamy peanut butter!   Reportedly, former senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona once did this while on a camping trip.

More Blogs in the Hood

city blocks

Early last year, I had been nosing around the virtual neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised to find that there were quite a few more Permian Basin area bloggers than I had imagined.   Well, recently I’ve been noticing once again that the ranks of Midland-Odessa area bloggers has continued to grow.   Several of the newer area weblogs have quickly made their way into my Google Reader subscription list and I keep up with them regularly.   Here are just a few:

  Ricë Freeman-Zachery’s "Notes From the Voodoo Cafe"

  Snooty Primadona’s Rants, Raves, & Ramblings

  Bob Westbrook’s "Ran with the Devil, Walked with Angels"

  Blonde Mafia

Of course, that’s just a small sampling.   You can select the "Favorite Sites" tab above to check out the ever-growing list of Permian Basin blog sites.

Aunt Ruby and the Ladies Man

Rob’s sister was in town for a couple of weeks following their Mom’s funeral and it gave Liam a chance to get to know his Aunt Ruby.   She showered Liam with kisses & gifts and they enjoyed several mealtimes together.   Ruby agreed that it’s probably no coincidence that Liam Matthew’s initials could just as easily stand for "Ladies Man," because he’s quite good at working the ladies.

Here’s a family photo taken the night before she headed back home to Oregon:

Liam, Ruby and Rob


Nutty Nuggets

Continuing with the celebration of Nat’l Peanut Month, I thought I’d offer up some interesting peanut info.   If any of this helps settle a bar bet, well, ya owe me a brew…

Historically Nuts

The peanut is a South American legume with an ancient history.   Peanut shells have been found in archaeological digs that date back to 2500 BC but it’s likely that they were being consumed even before then.   Interestingly, none of the 4 main varieties of peanut (Peruvian, Spanish, Valencia, & Virginia) prevalent in the U.S. came here directly.   Instead, the peanut took the slow boat, migrating either through Africa or the Orient to North America as a result of Spanish and/or Portuguese traders.

Historically, the largest grower of peanuts in the world had been India, but China began dominating production in the 1990s.   By 2000, China was yielding almost 40% of the world crop, and India almost 25%, with the U.S. in 3rd place with only 6% of worldwide peanut production.

Peanut Trivia

  • About 2/3rds of the worldwide peanut crop is processed for oil and peanut oil accounts for 8% of the worlds edible oil production.
  • There are about 1,218 peanuts in a 28-ounce jar of peanut butter.
  • An average of 2,860 pounds of peanuts are harvested from each acre of peanut plants and an acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Roasted peanuts were first sold at a P.T. Barnum circus in the late-1800s.
  • The term "peanut gallery" was popularized in the late 19th century because those in the cheapest, uppermost seats in a theater could throw peanuts at people in the more expensive seats below.
  • Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, & South Carolina all contribute, but the predominant peanut-growers in the U.S. are Georgia & Texas.
  • The official state crop of Georgia is the peanut and that state produces almost ½ of the total U.S. peanut crop.
  • About ½ of all of the peanuts grown in the U.S. for food use ends up in a jar of peanut butter.
  • On average, Americans each eat 3 lbs of peanut butter per year.   That’s about 700 million pounds, or enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon!
  • Peanut butter’s high protein content draws moisture from your mouth.   That’s why it sticks to the roof of your mouth.
  • On May 15, 1963, U.S. astronaut Gordon "Gordo" Cooper ate bite-sized peanut butter sandwiches during the last Mercury space flight mission.


Go Nuts in March

National Peanut Month is upon us!   What began as National Peanut Week in 1941, expanded to a month-long celebration in 1974.   And it’s probably no coincidence that March is also National Nutrition Month because the lowly peanut is quite the nutritional powerhouse!

peanut graphicWhile peanuts aren’t actually nuts—they’re legumes, related to peas, lentils, chickpeas & other beans—they’re loaded with healthful goodness, with almost 8 grams of protein per serving and feature lots of dietary fiber, vitamin E, Niacin, Folate, & Manganese. They’re also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and two high-powered antioxidants: p-Coumaric acid & Resveratrol, the highly-touted component found in red grapes & wine. In fact, peanuts pack in more antioxidants than either apples or carrots!

And you can easily get your fill of those healthful morsels by indulging often in what Lindsey Knerl calls The Poor Man’s Protein or what chef & writer Florence Fabricant refers to as “The pâté of childhood.”

Yup, good ol’ peanut butter!

So, grab up a PBJ and lift a cheer for National Peanut Month!

March ’08 Blogtipping

Blogtipping iconMarch marks the 1st anniversary of Blogtipping here on 2Dolphins.   I’ve enjoyed being able to offer a little tip o’ the hat each month to a few fellow bloggers.   If you know of a blogger who deserves a little extra attention, be sure to post a comment!

Still cruising along on the parental theme, this month’s Blogtipping highlights 3 blogs I’ve discovered recently that’re for dads.   Many of us dads don’t have the advantage of the instinctive parenting know-how that most of our wives seem to have, so we can use all the help we can get!

Dad Balance Digest by Derek Semmler is a resource for , & discussions for Dads who’re struggling to find a healthy balance between career & family.   Derek offers:

  1. Practical tips & advice for making the most of your "family time."
  2. Relatable & funny stories to help drive home key points or ideas.
  3. Easy to navigate site & RSS feed makes it easy to keep up with the latest posts.
  • Tip: I enjoyed the interviews with well-known bloggers like Darren Rowse & Leo Babauta.   I’d like to see more of these!

MetroDad is less about offering advise or pointers but more about sharing stories from the battlefield that is fatherhood:

  1. MD seems to be from that cusp between the "Baby Boomers" and "Generation X," so his stories are very relavent.
  2. MD’s anecdotes are hilarious!
  3. Add the blog’s feed to your RSS reader and you can stay up-to-date easily.
  • Tip: I believe MD is working on some design changes that’ll bring a fresh look to the site.

noodad from Gregory Ng & Mike Schneider is a blog for new dads who’re looking for a little guidance — or just other dads to sympathize with.   With a site logo that’s a baby bottle morphing into a beer bottle, what more do ya need?   It’s worth a look because:

  1. Practical advice & tips for us newbie dads.
  2. Great product reviews!
  3. Hot celebrity mom polls!
  • Tip: Hey guys, please add a category on your sidebar for product reviews to make ’em a bit easier to find those articles!

As a bonus, I’ve just got to mention DadLabs again.   The videoblogs that these crazy dads from Austin crank out are not just insightful & informative, but they’re also freakin’ hilarious!

Pimpin’ the Site

Trey sent us a photo this week of his son Zach that just begged to be blogged.   You may recall that Zach was quite expressive even before he was born.   Well, now he’s using his outspoken attitude & incredible sense of style to help promote our 2Dolphins website.

Zach wearing a 2Dolphins bib

After this, I’m sure you’ll all be craving our cool swag, so be sure to cruise on over to the 2Dolphins Marketplace to get your very own, limited-edition, high-quality gear featuring our custom site logo and/or graphics!

Silly Legal Disclaimer:
We reserve the right to only sell our awesome products to those interested in purchasing the stuff.   The content on the CafePress 2Dolphins Marketplace, including our snappy captions & clever product descriptions, is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the stuff actually looking cool, having limited availability, or being constructed of high-quality materials.   The purchaser fully assumes the risk of appearing uncool while wearing our stuff — although we think you’ll be totally stylin’.


A Month of Contrasts

I’ve read that seldom does happiness come so pure as to not be also tempered by a measure of sorrow.

And so it was last month, that Dede & I finally completed our adoption of our son Liam from Russia only then to lose my mother to a sudden illness barely 2 weeks later.   The sadness of our loss has certainly felt much sharper than the joy of becoming parents, but Liam has been an anchor for me during this bleak time.   Naturally, he’s too young to have any concept of what has occurred, but somehow just having him to hold onto has made Mom’s slipping away a bit more bearable.

Rob’s Mom

By the way, the outpouring of support from all of you has been incredible.   We’re truly grateful for all of the food, cards, plants & flowers, comforting thoughts, and prayers that have been showered upon us.

Although it was surely for the worst of all reasons, I did appreciate the opportunity to visit with family who I hadn’t seen in quite some time.   Having Uncle Truitte, Aunt Carlene, Aunt Gladys, & my cousin Kathy here gave Rich, Ruby, & me a chance to go through stacks & stacks of old photos to identify people we could never have guessed otherwise.   And we relived some great old memories and shared lots of wonderful old stories about Mom & the whole Tolbert clan.

Among some of the other forgotten nuggets we found was this old photo of us O’Daniel boys:

Rich & Rob (then)

…and here’s a more current pic for comparison sake…

Rich & Rob (now)