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Ants on Logs: Apple, Celery and Cucumber – Cooking with Kids

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”

– Craig Claiborne

If you remember a few months ago, I posted a recipe I had made with a little friend of mine, The Jam. At that time we had made these Pizza Baguettes, and we had decided to work on our long distance relationship by cooking together as well as reading stories.

Well, since then, we’ve talked plenty and read plenty; but cooking is a little bit more of a feat than either his mom or I had originally contemplated. For one, we have to agree on a time and date that suits us both, and for two, I need to decide ahead of time what we are making, experiment by myself (if necessary), and then send the list of ingredients to The Jam’s mom. Consequently, we have only “cooked” together twice and both times we tried not only the traditional “Ants on a Log” snack but also different variations using different bases for the logs as well as different fillings.

This snack is a quintessential and perennial favourite of kids all over the place (adults, too, seem to have a lot of fond memories of this snack). It’s easy to make and, generally, one tends to have the ingredients on hand. When making these with The Jam, we used cucumber more often than celery as celery can be a little harder to come by here in Korea and, also, because The Jam really likes cucumber. He also really likes Ryvita crackers, so he used those along with cucumber the second time, we made them while I used celery and cucumber.

While I mostly led and told The Jam what to do and when, I also had him decide what he wanted to try. One of the memorable choices was cucumber with JUST honey (or in my case maple syrup). I have to admit it wasn’t MY favourite but The Jam seemed to like his just fine! According to The Jam, his favourites were the ones with cream cheese. I have to admit I am torn between the Apple Peanut Butter with Almonds, Walnuts & Chocolate (pictured below, top right) AND Cucumber Cream Cheese with Chorizo, Walnuts & Red Bell Peppers (pictured below, top left).

Younger kids, like The Jam, can help pick out their filling and favourite toppings. They may need some help spreading the peanut butter or cream cheese but should be okay sprinkling the various toppings on top of the filling. Older kids can learn how to wash and prepare the celery and, if using cucumber, to scoop out the seeds. Depending on the age of the child, you can teach them how to handle a knife correctly to slice the vegetables (and toppings). Lay the food out as follows, left to right: base, fillings, toppings.

The peanut butter versions, particularly with the dried fruit and nuts (no maple syrup or honey) can be made up ahead of time or used for school lunches. The cream cheese ones are best eaten right away. So, what are your favourites?

antsonlogs1

Ants on Logs: Apple, Celery, Cucumber

Ingredients

Logs

  • Celery, chopped into palm sized pieces
  • Cucumber, halved length wise, chopped into palm length pieces, scoop out seeds (& reserve the seeds)
  • Apples, sliced (remove seeds)

Fillings

  • peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • plain cream cheese
  • cream cheese mashed with the cucumber seeds

Toppings

  • Chorizo, diced
  • Bell Peppers, diced
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, etc)
  • Popcorn
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin etc)
  • Apple, diced
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc)
  • Honey, Maple Syrup
  • Dark chocolate (I used Lindt 90%, The Jam used Butlers)

Method

Celery/Cucumber/Apple and Peanut Butter

  1. Pick your base and fill with peanut butter.
  2. Top with any of the following ingredients.
    1. raisins/cranberries
    2. apples
    3. nuts
    4. seeds
    5. chocolate
    6. popcorn
    7. honey/maple syrup
  3. My favourite combination: Apple base with peanut butter, chocolate, almonds and walnuts

Celery/Cucumber and Plain Cream Cheese

  1. Pick your base and fill with cream cheese.
  2. Top as follows
    1. chorizo
    2. red bell peppers
    3. apples
    4. nuts
    5. raisins/cranberries
    6. honey/maple syrup
    7. seeds
    8. chocolate
  3. My favourite combination: Celery, cream cheese, apple, sesame seeds, walnuts

Celery/Cucumber and Cucumber Cream Cheese

  1. Pick your base and fill with cucumber cream cheese
  2. Top as follows
    1. chorizo
    2. red bell peppers
    3. apple
    4. nuts
    5. seeds
  3. My favourite combination: Cucumber with cucumber cream cheese, chorizo, walnuts and red bell peppers

This is part of my series: Cooking with Kids. If anyone would like to be a guest blogger in this series, please email me at spooninasaucepan@gmail.com

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