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Ants on a log

Ants on a log

It might still feel like summer outside, but there’s no denying that it’s already back to school season.  Cue Debbie Downer music!  Although it’s been years since I last set foot in a classroom, I still get that optimistic, hopeful feeling whenever early September rolls around.  Living in a university town helps fuel that nostalgia and excitement, and I never get tired of it.

It’s been ten years since my first year of university, and this fall my “little” (a.k.a. six-foot-tall, eighteen-year-old) cousin John begins his studies at McMaster.  This is craziness, people!  He was a little kid, like, two minutes ago.  I’m so excited for him to start this adventure and wish him an amazing, unforgettable year.

Ants on a log

I’m now an adult with a day job, but those little things that mark the back to school season are still there – they’re just a bit different.  Instead of new coloured pencils and a fresh agenda, for example, it’s a new laptop bag and 3 TB hard drive.  Actually, I have yet to find a nice laptop bag…I’m thinking brown leather…but you get the point!

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that I’m still constantly on the lookout for healthy and convenient snack ideas come September.

Ants on a log

Whether you’re a student or office dweller, it helps to have a few nutritious snack recipes in your arsenal that you can rely on even when things get busy. We all know it’s all too easy to turn to the wide variety of cheap, easily accessible snacks at school and in the workplace, but they’re typically nutrient-poor and high in calories.

The solution is to bring your own snacks whenever possible.  Might I suggest the classic ants on a log?!

Ants on a log

The ants on a log of my childhood were celery sticks spread with either peanut butter or Cheez Whiz and topped with raisins.  More grown-up ingredient combinations that provide a hit of protein and fibre are perfectly suitable for adults and just right for the office, especially during that 3 pm slump.

The three versions I made for this post are:

  • Ricotta cheese + cherry tomatoes + fresh basil
  • Hummus + pumpkin seeds
  • Vegetable cream cheese + black beans

In addition to these, you could also try:

  • Herbed goat cheese + dried unsweetened cranberries
  • Greek yogurt + chickpeas
  • Peanut butter + crumbled pretzels
  • Mashed avocado + corn niblets
  • Almond butter + raisins

What’s your go-to snack for school or work?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Grown up ants on a log
Serves 2
Celery sticks with a variety of tasty and healthy toppings: ricotta cheese and tomatoes, hummus and pumpkin seeds, and light vegetable cream cheese and black beans.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 ribs celery
  2. 2 tbsp ricotta cheese
  3. 4 cherry tomatoes
  4. 2 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced
  5. 2 tbsp light vegetable cream cheese
  6. 1 tbsp black beans
  7. 2 tbsp light hummus
  8. 1 tbsp raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Instructions
  1. Spread each celery stick with either the ricotta, hummus or cream cheese. Top the ricotta celery stick with the tomatoes and basil, the cream cheese celery stick with the black beans, and the hummus celery stick with the pumpkin seeds. Cut each celery rib into 3 equal pieces. Serve immediately.
Ricotta & Radishes http://www.ricottaandradishes.com/

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Holly Botner September 5, 2014, 9:33 am

    I grew up eating celery stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter. Nice to see a modern playful twist on an old favourite. Love the photos!

  • Kathy Gagain September 7, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Hi Jen, I’m going to make these for Preston. He’ll love them! Keep up the good work.

    • Jennifer Andrews September 7, 2014, 6:53 pm

      Thanks so much, Kathy. Hope Preston enjoys them. I can’t believe how fast he has grown!

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche September 8, 2014, 4:02 pm

    Wow ants on a log definitely take me back to my childhood. Thanks for reminding me how awesome and delicious they are!

  • Deedra January 12, 2015, 9:14 am

    I am definitely going to try a couple of these. I’m so used to peanut butter and raisins for ants on a log, or celery stuffed with cream cheese and olives (Holiday time snack). Greek yogurt sounds really yummy!

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