Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Is it breakfast or dessert? This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is both!

Is it breakfast or dessert? This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is both!

I don’t consider myself to be a writer. It’s kind of weird because I actually have a bachelors degree in English with a focus in creative writing. But I feel like that was in another life 15 years ago that I barely connect with anymore. I’m no longer the same person. I followed that path because I had no idea what to do with my life and an English teacher told me I had talent. I never loved writing. I was never meant to be a writer.

Is it breakfast or dessert? This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is both!

I don’t mean this to sound overly self-involved but I put so much of myself into my food and my photos. More often than not I am spent by the time I’ve created the finished product. I don’t want to write anything down other than the recipe. The product should speak for itself. I have nothing to say. But bloggers are supposed to be a triple threat. We’re supposed to excel at the food, the photography and the writing. All while producing content at a steady, frequent pace. I insert my photos and my recipe into a new post and then I stare at my computer screen. Again, I have nothing to say.

So when this popped up in my Twitter feed earlier today, my immediate reaction was to feel defensive and hurt:

“Anybody who says they get writer’s block is what I call lazy.” –@ruhlman #iacp14

That was from Michael Ruhlman, speaking at a conference in Chicago. As far as I’m concerned that’s neither accurate nor fair. I spoke out on my opinion, which was difficult considering I found myself challenging several people in the industry who I have great respect for. But I felt compelled to speak up. I’m not lazy. I work my butt off.

“You can’t just stop writing & blame it on writer’s block. You push thru it.
Chefs don’t get chefs block!” – not @ruhlman

No, I don’t get chef’s block. But when I stare at my computer screen with nothing to say, it’s not laziness. I may not have newspaper deadlines but I have recipe deadlines up to my ears. I do the best I can. I’d rather say nothing than write about crap for the sake of writing. If that’s lazy, I give up.

Is it breakfast or dessert? This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is both!

Anyway, here’s a smoothie.

4.82 from 11 votes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

Is it breakfast or dessert? This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is both!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 smoothie
Author: Jennifer Farley
  • 1 banana, preferably frozen and chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
  1. Puree all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Serve chilled.


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  • Totally with you on the writing. I hate writing, always have, always will. I’d rather spend my time on recipes and photos. Nor do I enjoy reading reallllly long blog posts. Just seems like a lot of fluff to me. :) I make a smoothie like this almost daily for me and the kids although we put ice in it so it’s more like a milkshake and they think they’re getting a treat. :)

  • I like whatever and however much or little you choose to say! About the recipe, I love chocolate milk made with almond milk. Now that I find I can eat bananas again, I am SO looking forward to this treat! Thanks :)

    • I love you both for ranting and saying “You know who can suck it”. Why are some people so sure that they understand what particular ways our unique brains work or what strong emotional issues might be sucking our brains dry before it ever gets to write. I wake every day wondering whether I’ll even get a chance to put my food writer/blogger hat on that day, let alone create beautiful prose. And I get cook’s block too, so there. :-)

  • I am so with you on this. There are times when I “write” my story in my head as I’m developing a recipe. I make mental notes of the points I want to discuss and it develops from there. But, sometimes, some recipes have a story of their own that I just need to tell. Those are the easy ones. But, others….not so much. Those are the ones I struggle with.

    So, after spending hours and hours developing a recipe, testing that recipe, setting up and styling a photo shoot, photographing, editing those photos, sometime re-shooting and editing some more, then uploading and writing the recipe, THEN, once I begin the creative writing…I go blank. Hmmm…and THAT makes me lazy? I don’t think so.

    Let’s talk about the good stuff now…that smoothie…hmmm…YES, please! I’m headed to the kitchen to make one as soon as I hit “post comment”!

  • I absolutely agree with you. Sometimes the words flow, sometimes I stare at the screen and think what am I supposed to write about? I think it’s even more challenging with food because after cooking it, photographing it, editing the photos, the last thing you want to do is write about it.

  • I don’t understand why food bloggers even need to be pigeonholed into a particular mould whereby we all write breathy essays about our food, take artfully arranged photos of said food, and develop the recipes – makes for rather boring reading in the end IMO! Writing context around a recipe for the sake of writing creates contrived posts that just feel forced! (chances are, if you’re feeling like you’re straining to get it out, your reader will feel that while reading).

    To make everyone feel like they have to fit the standard food-blogger mould leads to a loss of the magic that is each person’s unique take.

    I also think that Michael Ruhlman has a unique and privileged perspective on the matter – wherein he has 100% of his time to devote to writing about food (and might I add, a kickass food photographer for a wife!). I don’t know about you, but anything I put on my blog is strictly after hours.

  • It’s always a struggle for me to write every post and it doesn’t help that I’m grammatically-challenged, shameful, I know *sigh* :D I don’t get cook’s block, heck, even photographer’s block but writer’s block?! For sure and I’m not even a writer! Now, let me have a glass of your delicious smoothie!

  • glad you wrote this. Its my least favorite part of posting a recipe. I feel there’s not enough interesting things happen in my life to warrant a good story every. Single. Time. I absolutely love the photography and editing but stare at the screen every time. I have to write one tonight and I may keep it short and sweet as a protest of sorts :)

  • I DO consider myself a writer–I’ve been making up stories almost since I learned how to write, I’ve kept a journal for over 30 years, and I’ve had an online presence in one form or another (anyone else remember Tripod or Geocities websites?) since the early-to-mid-90’s. Writer’s block happens. I have found that for me, if I don’t have something to say on my blog, I’ll write mindless drivel in my paper journals. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes not. My blog is not my FT job, so I’m lucky that deadlines for posts and recipes aren’t that frequent for me. Often, those are the posts that give me the most trouble. I agree that it’s better not to write anything at all that just to write crap. Yeah, Michael Ruhlman’s comment was probably out of context, but even still. Writer’s block (in my opinion) is your brain’s way of telling you to take a break. It’s not laziness.

  • Oh my gosh, THANK YOU! Seriously, I was having such a rough time because I am not writer. I love taking photos and creating recipes, but like you I am spent when it comes time to write. I just have nothing to say, but feel I have to be the triple threat that most bloggers are. Thank you for showing me I am not the only one who struggles with the writing. Love this post and the smoothie!

  • You are not alone! In fact, I *do* consider myself a writer, and think of it as something I generally enjoy, but I get writers block all the time. And what you said about food bloggers being a triple threat is absolutely right — we’re supposed to be able to do it all. I started blogging because I loved food, photography, and writing, but being able to do all three at once is nearly impossible. When my writing is good, my photography suffers. When my photos are great, I have nothing to say. It’s a miracle with the two line up. I feel like my creative juices can only flow in one direction at once!

    If it makes you feel any better, though, I have to say… your photos consistently blow me away, and I love your writing. So, if you’re making stuff up when you have nothing to say, you’re doing a fine job of it! ;)

  • Well you certainly had something to say today … haha! And every time I’ve read one of your posts you have, too, so obviously you do push through your writer’s block. I’m a newish blogger, but I’ve been bowled over by how many ‘hats’ we have to wear … not just the recipe, photography and writing, but all the technical stuff, social media etc. too … and I’m sure I’ve only just scratched the surface! Interesting post … thank you!

  • I’m the opposite. I often find myself uninspired to make something or feeling like I don’t want to make it and I hate taking photos. But I’ll write all day everyday. We should team up :). Oh and as much as I love to write, I do get writer’s block and it is not being lazy!

  • I completely agree with you – it is a gift not all us have! And with blog posts, I go back and forth between “I have nothing exciting to write about” and “I shared a story yesterday, maybe I need to it again” but then, “very few people even read the middle and just skip to the recipe, so should I really invest the time” blah blah blah. You are anything but lazy and it shows in your photos and recipes. This is my favorite combination and smoothies are the best! Guess what I’ll be trying soon! ;)

  • Jennifer, I enjoyed what you wrote! I also appreciate the hard work you put into your photos and recipes — it shows. For me, writing is the fun part, but there are times when the words just aren’t there. (My peeve is with whoever came up with the term ‘writer’s block!’) Next time I start staring at the screen wondering what to write, I’m going to take a break, make this shake, and enjoy every sip.

  • I can DEFINITELY commiserate — I, like you, often feel like by the time I go through the effort of creating, shooting, editing, re-editing, re-shooting, etc. in my posts, it’s a whole other uphill battle to create words and a story to go with my photos and have it really resonate. I agree with you — that should be ok, and and should be enough.

  • I was hoping you would say something about this after I saw your Twitter exchange. I totally agree with you on being a triple threat, and I would also add that bloggers also have the task of maintaining a website and doing their own backend work on said site. I love that I’ve taught myself so much about web design, but I’d really rather spend my extra time in the kitchen, not sitting in front of the computer Googling how to fix something on my blog.

    • Oh man, I *hate* maintaining the website. Every time there is a glitch I wind up losing hours trying to troubleshoot it. I bought a book about WordPress fundamentals but it puts me to sleep.

  • UG. I can’t believe Ruhlman said that. Thank you for your post. I’m in the midst of a LONG ass case of writers block and I hate it. What Ruhlman doesn’t take into account is that most people who are writing still have day jobs. Very few of us are fortunate enough to call food writing, photography, recipe development our full time jobs. And even those of us who do this full time are sure to come up against creative blocks. #stopjudging

  • I agree with you totally. It’s definitely not laziness. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know what it is for me sometimes. Confusion about what to write. I want to tell the readers about the recipe, how delicious it is, how easy. I also want to maybe share something from my life. Or something that I read (or saw on twitter!) lately. And then I need to find a way to tie that into the recipe. And it feels fake when I try to tie it in. So I stare at my computer screen not only having trouble writing anything but even just trying to decide which angle to take. (I will say that I’ve started taking my laptop with me to my kids’ activities. If there’s time in between watching them, I will write up a paragraph there. Or in the car (parked!) while waiting for something. Somehow, if I’m not in front of my usual computer, in my office, connected to the internet, I can write much better. Often consider taking my laptop to Starbucks and sitting there for a few hours and writing a bunch of posts). Thanks for this! It really needed to be said!

  • I totally understand!!! I put so much time into my recipes and pictures that when I sit down to do a post, I blank almost every single time. You have an absolutely awesome blog and I always enjoy seeing your posts and photos! Just keep doing what you do best!!! We heart ya!!!

  • I kinda agree, I LOVE making the food and photographing it, the writing of the post is sometimes the pain in the ass as you don’t even feel like people read it at times. But it is a good way for people to get to know you. So it is a necessary and it can be the fun part of blogging. I have gotten writing assignments in magazines because of my job, so it can also be of benefit to you to write. It feel like MORE work though after you already developed a recipe and took so much time to photograph it. But I think most people are coming to your blog for the fantastic photos and recipes. So don’t worry about it. :)

  • I hear you on this. I love the cooking and the photography. And *sometimes* I can write what I think amounts to a coherent blog post. But more often than now, I just want to write “Here’s these meatballs I made. They were awesome. Bye.”

  • I totally agree Jennifer. I also agree with what ^^ Christine ^^ said. It takes a ton of effort to write really good quality posts, and I don’t always have it in me. Lazy? No. Of course I can bust out a blog post even if I have nothing to say, but do my readers really want to hear that garbage? No not really. I am so glad you posted this. And as always your photography speaks for itself ;)

  • I am the worst at writing that’s why I don’t p have a blog and just my FB page. I enjoyed reading all of your comments especially while sipping on a smoothie, so thank you for the great recipe. I think your newsletter and blog is worth reading so I say go with the flow xoxo

  • I love writing and consider myself a writer, and I also think that his statement about writer’s block is false and unfair. Everyone has a different process, and sometimes it involves being stuck in a writer’s block, sometimes the words just flow.

    I also didn’t think much about the “triple threat” until you wrote about it here – good point!

  • Thank you for sticking up for all us of food bloggers who sometimes just want to post a delicious recipe that we spent hours creating, shooting and editing. The point is to share our love of food. I do not claim to be a great writer; I don’t think I ever will be but I do have a love of food and want to share it. That is my goal. Thank you again for sticking up for all of us!

  • I read your blogs for the recipes and the photos. I don’t read it for your writing, but you do that well enough for my needs.

  • I want to chime in here as well, as I was actually sitting in the session with Ruhlman when this all went down. I think it’s interesting to note, as a set-up to this, that Ruhlman collaborated with Thomas Keller on his first big break-out cookbook. Ruhlman was the words, Keller was the recipes and probably somebody else was behind the photographs. So for all of you struggling with wearing many hats, there’s a little context for you. Currently, Ruhlman doesn’t collaborate, and does create his own recipes, prose and sometimes photos (care of his wife). But mainly he considers himself a writer. Which is very different than the way many of you feel (resonating more with the recipe development and photography). And I don’t think he was judging the phenomena of writer’s block so much as criticizing folks who use it as an excuse to not keep pushing when inspiration fails them. The quote about “chefs don’t get chef’s block” was meant in the context of a restaurant. When dinner service goes on at 5:30, the chef can’t look around at 5:00 and say, “I don’t know what to make. I have chef’s block.” They have to push through it. In all of my coverage of his session, I was paraphrasing him, and he is pretty rant-filled (by his own admission) and therefore quite entertaining!

    Finally, in another session, Stephanie Stiavetti (The Culinary Life) was advising on how to create great content that will boost your SEO. She gave this insight that I think is amazingly simple and will most likely help all of you: think of one individual that you’re speaking to in your post. Are you trying to help her master a technique? Are you trying to ease her burden of getting a healthy dinner on the table five nights in a row after a long day at work? Are you teaching her about gluten-free, vegan baking? Drill down to ONE person to whom you are writing, and really understand who she is. Does she work long hours? Does she have a family, kids? Does she have allergies? Take the time to create a fully-realized person. Then write to her/him. Forget everyone else. Your prose will benefit from it, you’ll stop trying to please the masses, and Google will reward you for your authority on that subject. The individual can change over time, or even from post to post, but it will help guide your content and writing. Worth considering!

  • Thank you, Jennifer, you are obviously talented in many areas.

    I am a visual artist and also enjoy creative writing. I have definitely had the blank canvas syndrome, brain fog, writers block … call it whatever! But it has nothing to do with laziness in my opinion. I never push it if the mood isn’t right especially with writing … however, I will slosh some paint around and usually that gets me in the zone for painting and off I go… it is the creative process which is not easily explained… it’s a feeling, intuition a process … one’s creative life!

    I think if you don’t want to write, don’t! Your recipes and photography are strong enough for a successful blog
    and I for one, enjoy it, without much ranting and raving. Leave it to those other bloggers … there are plenty out there! … cheers m :)

  • I’m right there with you. Sometimes the writing comes easy and sometimes I struggle with what to say. And for the record, I get “chefs block” too. Not often but I find myself uninspired in the kitchen now and then. I don’t beat myself up. Just roll with it. This too shall pass.

  • It’s an interesting debate – I have heard another very well respected author (fiction, rather than food writing) say something similar. Not about the being lazy part but that if writing is your job, you just do it, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s not something special or any different to the guy who collects the trash every week whether he wants to or not. I actually like that idea – that writing isn’t sacred, that you don’t have to be in the zone to do it. It’s just a few words on the page. That said, I totally get where you’re coming from. I can barely think of a single thing to say every time I open a blog post!

  • Beautifully said.

    It’s amazing how many people echo the same sentiment – that the words are hard and that if they could just do a photo and the recipe they would…. but then, aren’t these OUR blogs, and couldn’t WE really do that if we wanted? I will be the first to admit that a lot of the blogs I “read” I will just scroll right past their lengthy descriptions and beautiful stories to get straight to the gold > the RECIPE.
    I have much love and respect for Ruhlman and now I’m super jealous of him because, can you imagine? Him saying that he’s never had writer’s block gives me the same feeling I get when someone says they don’t get headaches… WHAT? ARE YOU A HUMAN? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? I feel like my whole life is writers block with just moments of inspiration peppered in … haha!
    Let me be the first to say, Jennifer, that I would TOTALLY still frequent your blog even if you decided not to write a single word besides the recipe, just make sure to keep using those gorgeous photos <3 ;)

  • I TOTALLY understand how you feel-sometimes I have those days too. I just wanna be like “This is delicious. Recipe here:” and I think it was totally right of you to stand up and say something! Because…writing is hard and sometimes you just can’t summon anything.

    Anyway, you’re awesome and I love this smoothie!

  • I have my bachelor’s in English with a concentration in writing, and I struggle with writer’s block more than I’d like to admit. I struggle less with recipe inspiration, but that happens too. It’s not laziness, that’s for sure. I think sometimes we’re so overwhelmed and overworked that our brain gets tired; well, at least mine does. BTW, I love the end of this post. You can’t go wrong with this combo. Pinned.

  • OMG. That tweet just burned my cookies!! Are you kidding me? I have a couple of rants on my blog too and I can assure you, I would have not been as eloquent and kind as you were in this post, if the comment was directed at me. Blame it on my Italian blood or whatever you want, but I cannot put up with such self-righteousness, especially from those who do not even know the person they are attacking! Good for you, Jennifer! I’m glad you addressed this, and am 100% behind you! Btw, your photography is so fantastic, you could not write a single word outside of the recipe and you’d still have one of the best blogs out there!

      • No, it wasn’t directed at me. He was speaking at IACP and people were tweeting soundbites from his session. As it flashed across my twitter feed I realized I was probably getting that quote out of context. But still! I get stuck all the time and it has nothing to do with lack of effort. Wrong adjective, dude!

  • Saw your post on Google + and HAD to know what your rant was about lol. I totally agree with you though! I was always told I was a good writer in school, but when it comes to blogging, I so often feel like the writing is the hardest part, the part that doesn’t quite come as naturally. It’s nice to read this post and all the comments and see that I’m not the only one. :)

  • I think all bloggers can relate on some level… I certainly can! I find it’s best to be honest and brief, leave the flourishes for a post that’s really interesting for you to write. You did a fabulous job with this post… even if you didn’t mean to! And this smoothie? Well, it speaks for itself anyway! Wonderful recipe.

  • I’m not on Twitter much lately, but I did see that comment and it ruffled my feathers. While I do (try) to be a writer, anyone who says you’re just lazy is full of crapola. The creative process works differently in everyone and forcing it is not usually the answer. (And yes, as a food blogger, there is already enough pressure with also producing great photos and fabulous recipes on a regular schedule-eek!) I think it’s perfectly fine to let the gorgeous photos and recipe tell the story sometimes. Better that than writing just for the sake of hearing the keys click.

  • I have been to many eating establishments from the sublime to the sub-par and not once have I been approached by the chef and listened to him describe his creative process or his home life. I do not fault you for just wanting to create and share your culinary treats.

  • what an obnoxious and unhelpful thing to say! good for you to speak out against him! I find writing a post the hardest thing to do, it’s frustrating enough without being called lazy! this smoothie looks delicious too btw!

  • Jen,
    Thanks so much for writing this. Newish to the blogging world, it’s refreshing to hear the thoughts on the writing part. And to read everyone’s comments, too! Such support! Kinda cool, because the shake looks awesome- maybe few words were needed here. ;)

  • At least it is the writing you struggle with. For many years for me it was the photography–and it is very hard to get anywhere in this business with interesting writing, good recipes and lousy pictures! (Which I want to stress is not me calling your writing lousy, but I think you know what I mean). So I sympathize. And despite everything I just said about me and writing, I too find it hard to have something interesting to say every single post. My blog has been (with the best intentions) criticized for occasionally just kind of saying here is the recipe, so I make a huge effort not to, but I feel your pain.

    Gorgeous shake.

  • Who can understand the creative process? I agree with the suck it comment! Lol! One of the best things I’ve ever heard on creativity- Stephen King said that he sets aside the same time every day and wait for your muse to show up. It trains the brain to go to the creative place more easily. He was very serious and included that it may be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it is worth the effort and sacrifice. Hope that is helpful! You are doing great!!