throw back thursday go to snack // ants on a log

ants on a log
ants on a log = celery + peanut butter + raisins

Grow up in North America and peanut butter is almost synonymous with childhood. Except, perhaps, if you are severely allergic to it.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that one of the snack I fondly remember my mum making for us as children is the classically simple, “Ants on a Log.” The genius of combining these three ingredients harkens back to the 1950s (I couldn’t help looking up its history) and I am forever grateful.

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my two youngest at the beach in 2013 (because it’s fun to look back at the little years)

As I shared here, my husband looked forward to coaching little league from the time our children were babies. Me? I looked forward to the day they were p.b. + celery ready so I could make them this snack.

And whether it’s because of its name or portability, it’s also one of my favorite foods to pack for a picnic.

My two oldest when they were little circa summer 2006. Though they weren’t eating ants on a log here, we were enjoying a picnic in Stratford, ON

I recommend using organic celery since conventional celery is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and spreading it with all natural, no sugar added peanut butter (the raisins add a natural sweetness).

So tell me, what is your favorite snack from childhood? Do you still eat it today? What are your favorite plant-based foods to pack on a picnic?



behind the scenes: on creative paralysis

posting recipes that work, like this BLT salad, is satisfying, but not the true picture of all that happens with a food blog

Sometimes I forget why I do this…posting recipes and sharing about eating a plant-based diet.

As I shared here, it often feels like I don’t have the time it takes to develop, test, photograph and write up recipes.

unedited photo of cornbread that wasn’t worth writing about

And then there’s the paralysis. You’ve heard of writer’s block…well, I’ve discovered it has a companion that reaches all the way back to the recipe development stage. I get an idea for a recipe or come across one that I want to adapt and then before I even bother to reach for ingredients, I psyche myself out of it, because images of recipe fail and wasted ingredients flash before my eyes. It’s the impending waste that bothers me most.

Compounding that is negative internal dialogue which includes phrases such as “this isn’t really your original creation anyway,” and “other food bloggers are much better/more creative/more committed to eating vegan than you, ” or the clincher for any blogger, “who is going to read this anyway.”

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unedited photo of plantain chips that flopped


I share all this because in an online world, where it’s easy to make things all spiffed up and just so, it’s easy to convince others that you have it all together. Well, I don’t and I see the damaging effects of living in a Pinterest Facebook world in my own life and the lives of others.

I have an inkling this may become a series. A look at what goes on behind the happy shiny pages. Because as good as it feels to post something beautiful, it also feels good to post the ugly.

peanut butter banana milkshake (vegan, no added sugar)

pbmilkshakes Shakes and smoothies are such a “thing” these days.

(Almost) every time I see a shake or smoothie recipe posted on my favorite food blogs or on the pages of a magazine, I think, “I should try that.”

Yet, I rarely make it past this shake.100_2516It tastes rich and unwholesome but really is made from a few simple good-for-you ingredients with no dairy or sugar in sight and was inspired by this recipe over at Healthy. Happy. Life.

Enough said. With summer is in full swing and school starting in less that one month for us, I’m keeping this post short and sweet…

peanut butter banana milkshake (dairy free, no added sugar)

Smooth and creamy, this shake is a perfect combination of salty and sweet.

Course: Beverage, Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 1
  • 1 banana, pre-sliced & frozen
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dashes cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened, dairy-free milk
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, starting with ½ cup of almond milk. Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed to produce a thick but pourable shake.

Recipe Notes

I love using unsweetened almond milk for this, but suspect it would be yummy with unsweetened coconut milk too! For a peanut free version, try walnuts. To keep the recipe raw, use a raw nut butter.

timely lessons

banana bread bites (I have yet to post this recipe, but here’s the bar version of this recipe)

It takes courage to move forward.

That courage fails me more than it finds me of late…it’s much easier to talk myself out of writing a post than to it is to begin one.

The excuses are numerous…

  • The kids are home for summer vacation
  • There’s not enough time to write and finesse a post
  • I have an idea for post but do not have immediate access to the technology to write said post
  • There’s swim lessons, baseball practice, errands, exercising and choreschoreschores

But what’s really at the root of it all is a fear that I will pour myself out for nothing. That investing all.this.time. that competes for so many worthy things is really just a waste of time because it will lead nowhere. I fear sacrificing time with my family, time with others, time on tasks that must be done for something that I’ll look back on years down the road and regret having ever started. I fear wasting time.

And so a month slips by.

And yet…

And yet, I must write. To do otherwise would be burying the very thing I know my Lord entrusted to me.

With this post, I bravely step out of the boat, and trust Him with the very thing I fear.

That’s not the only lesson learned in this month of silence:

1. “Hiring” my children as prep cooks saves me time. I often hesitate to involve them because it takes time to explain and oversee and deal with meltdowns, complaints and extra messes which are reality of kids in the kitchen. Then, on a day when I was preparing a soup recipe that usually takes 30 minutes of prep work, I assigned each of them a task and, praise the Lord, reduced the amount of time it took me to make the soup. Bonus: We were spending time together instead of apart and they were learning.

100_28002. It’s hard to save time and money at the same time. One of the tasks pulling me away from writing is trying to be better about budgeting, monitoring our spending and trying to save money on groceries. It’s taking a lot of time to learn new habits, put new systems in place and then keep up with some of these money saving activities. I’m hoping to share what I’m learning in future posts as part of the Project: Pare series.


3. It’s hard to find coffee pots in hotel rooms. When we went on vacation last month, I had hoped experiment with using the expected in-room coffee pot to make my breakfast. Only one out of the five hotels we stayed in had a traditional coffee pot. So for the remaining four hotels I had to draw on a lesson previously learned from completely changing the way I eat and experiment with a different way of preparing breakfast. In the process I discovered that soaked buckwheat and millet (my breakfast of choice) has a pleasant crunch.

eating my breakfast of choice on the roadnb k