Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fire Ants on a Log

Here's a little recipe modification that I like... (and no, it's not actually flambéed, heated, or spicy. Bait and switch! Ha ha! Oh, and no real ants or logs either, just in case you were wondering about that, too...)

Many of us are familiar with the "ants on a log" snack: celery stick with peanut butter and raisins.

I prefer to use other nuts (See Not So Nuts About Peanuts post): almond and cashew are my favorites. If you don't make your own, try to find brands that are organic and definitely make sure they don't have added salts, sugars, or other additives! The ingredient list should just consist of the nut used. And instead of just raisins, I like to use soaked goji berries! (They're red, hence "fire ants.")

I take a little container and fill it with goji berries and water, let it sit for a while - it'd probably be okay with only about 10 minutes, but I just stick them in the fridge the night before so they're all pretty and plump in the morning when I pack my lunch! Spread a thin layer of nut butter on the celery, and top with goji (and maybe some organic raisins.) The raisins can add some sweetness, as I don't think the goji has a whole lot of strong flavors; or, cashew butter has some natural sweetness to it, so sometimes that's enough and I don't need the raisins at all!

This snack is great:

The water-rich celery is packed with Vitamins C and K, as well as phthalides (no, I did not misspell that!), which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention!

Goji berries (also called wolfberries), like most other berries, are rich in antioxidants to help prevent diseases and cell damage; and the polysaccharides in gojis may help with prevention and treatment of cancer
. They are usually sold in health food stores dried. If you are interested in trying these, you may want to experiment with various brands, as companies often have varying dehydration times leading to differing hardness levels.

Almonds are full of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and even tryptophan - a compound that helps make the happy-chemical serotonin! Good moods, here we come! ;-) They're also a good source of monounsaturated fats (healthy!) And if that wasn't enough - almonds are also good for helping decrease your blood-sugar after eating to help prevent that pesky spike-and-crash.

Or if you went with the cashew butter, then you're getting a great dose of copper (yep, your body needs that! It's not just for pennies!) Copper helps with elimination of free radicals (damaging to your cells and skin – which shows as signs of aging), development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment, melanin. Cashews are also rich in monounsaturated fats - specifically oleic acid, which is good for your cardiovascular health.

And, as always – have fun experimenting in the kitchen! Perhaps you like to drizzle some honey over it; or sprinkle on some cloves; or use dehydrated cherries or apricots… play! And enjoy your wholesome treat!

Have a great evening!



  1. Goji berries? Where would I find them in a store? Are they refrigerated or dehydrated or with the fruits?

  2. I haven't found them at my fancy Kroger. I buy them from Susan's Natural world, and they were with other berry items (berry powders, etc.) I have also gotten them from Whole Food next to their bulk area - they have a section in the same isle with Raw Food items and dehydrated foods. I haven't seen them at Trader Joe's, but I haven't looked recently there!