Cranberry Goat Cheese Ball

Are you hosting a holiday gathering this year? Whether it is a potluck office party at work, an appetizers and cocktails party with friends, or you just need something to nibble on after all that gift opening this cheeseball fits the bill.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Cheeseball

I like to think it is quite festive getting the red from the dried cranberries and the green from the pistachios. If you are feeling extra fancy roll this into individual bite-sized balls instead of one large cheeseball. The tart dried cranberries paired well the honey sweetened tangy goat cheese is a match made on a cracker. Mmmm, goat cheese how I love thee.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Ball

If you don’t think you like goat cheese I’d recommend trying it in this fashion. Goat cheese and cream cheese are combined to make the cheeseball. The cream cheese does take away some of the “goatiness” and makes for a pretty neutral tasting cheeseball. Like my children say “try and you’ll like it.”

Tip: you can make this cheeseball in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap, pop it in the freezer until 24 hours before you want to use it, then transfer to the fridge to thaw. I didn’t notice any deterioration of quality when I saved one to serve for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Goat Cheese Ball

CRANBERRY GOAT CHEESE BALL 
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon honey
1/2-3/4 cup chopped pistachios

DIRECTIONS 
1.  In a food processor add cheeses and cranberries. Pulse to combine completely, scraping bowl occasionally
2.  While food processor is running drizzle in honey
3.  Scrape cheese on to some plastic wrap, while wrapping the cheese form into a ball shape, refrigerate for 4 hours
4.  Pour chopped pistachios into a bowl. Remove plastic wrap from cheeseball and press cheeseball into chopped pistachios, turning to coat.

 I served my cheeseball on the limited edition Cranberry Sage Triscuits and Pecan Nut-Thin crackers

Posted in Appetizers | Tagged as: , , , , | 4 Comments

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Toffee Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Toffee Cookies

This marks the second year I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. In case you aren’t familiar with the swap food bloggers all across the country sign up, pay a small fee (which gets donated), and exchange a dozen cookies with three different people. It is great because the money raised from the swap goes to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and I get to try three dozen different cookies from great food bloggers. It is reported that 566 people participated and together we raised over $12,000! Awesome!

fbcookieswap2014_whiteLG

Getting cookies in the mail is great. But supporting this non-profit is even better. They are dedicated to funding research for less toxic, more effective treatments for pediatric cancers. Since 2008 ELEVEN new treatments have been developed largely due to the support of grassroots efforts. I’d say that is pretty sweet. Be a Good Cookie and visit their website to find out how you can host a fundraiser, order cookies, or donate.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Toffee Cookies

This year’s swap cookie was inspired by some of my favorite food things. I love good chocolate and sweet toffee. To balance out the sweet I need a little salt so that is where the pretzels come in. For good measure I use browned butter to provide a nutty flavor without adding actual nuts. This turned out to be one dynamite cookie a little sweet and a little salty.

I was the lucky recipient of Pecan Fudge from The Tasty tRuth, Gluten Free Gingerdoodle Cookies from Delicious by Dre, and Winter Fruit and Nut Swirls from A Plateful of Happiness.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Toffee Cookies

CHOCOLATE CHIP PRETZEL TOFFEE COOKIES
Ingredients
12 tablespoons browned butter, cooled slightly
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
3/4 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup toffee bits
4 ounces chopped bittersweet dark chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger 70%)

DIRECTIONS 
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.  In a separate bowl whisk together cornstarch, soda, and flour. Set aside
3.  In mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream together cooled browned butter and sugars until well mixed
4.  Stir in vanilla and eggs until combined
5.  Add flour mixture in batches until just incorporated
6.  Remove bowl from mixer and using wooden spoon stir in pretzels, toffee, and chocolate until evenly dispersed
7.  Using cookie scoop, scoop cookie onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for couple minutes on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack

Posted in Desserts | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Boy, oh boy, do I have a soup for you today! Do you love sweet potatoes? (Please say yes!) Do you love chipotle peppers? (Hoping that is another yes.) Do you love bonus bacon. Of course you do! Then you are going to LOVE this soup.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

A craving for spicy sweet potatoes sort of came out of nowhere the other day. So here I am at 1 o’clock in the afternoon making soup and listening to Serial (you’re obsessed too, right?!). Roasted chicken thighs were on the menu for dinner and I didn’t know what I would serve with them. This soup worked perfectly.

chipotle sweet potato soup

Awhile back I developed a recipe for Diabetic Living that featured Chipotle Sweet Potatoes paired with a Petite Tenderloin. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. I turned that spicy side dish into a satisfying soup.

I garnished it with a little cilantro and bacon. This is gluten free and vegetarian (if you leave off the bacon). Yay! You could make it vegan if you subbed the greek yogurt for a little coconut cream. Mmmm. This is the perfect cold weather soup. It will warm you up from the inside out.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

SPICY CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO SOUP
Serves: 4
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cubed sweet potatoes
4-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 -1 chipotle pepper, depending on your level of spiciness
1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt or coconut cream
garnish: bacon bits and/or cilantro

Directions:
1.  
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil for 3-5 minutes
2.  Add sweet potatoes and enough stock to completely cover. Bring mixture up to a boil. Cover. Reduce to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender about 15-20  minutes
3.  Stir in chipotle pepper and yogurt
4.  Using immersion blender or regular blender (in bathes) puree until smooth
5.  Return to pot and thin out soup with additional stock if needed
6.  Garnish with bacon and cilantro

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

I think I will be sad when Serial is over. What podcasts do you listen to?

Posted in Gluten Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Honey Peanut Butter

Hello friends! How was your weekend? This weekend I helped co-host a baby shower brunch for some dear friends. Babies, friends, and brunch are pretty much my favorite things so it was a wonderful Saturday. I made my favorite cinnamon rolls and turned a batch into caramel pecan rolls. I based the rolls off my bread machine recipe however, I need to update the recipe since my bread machine has since croaked, and I had to make the rolls the old fashioned way. :)

Baby Shower Cake

I also made the cake: chocolate filled with a dark chocolate ganache and vanilla with a white chocolate ganache, iced in a pink Swiss buttercream. Yum!

As I was writing I realized that I have been creating recipes and sharing them online for seven years now. SEVEN years! I can’t believe it.

There will be no pomp and circumstance in celebrating my seven years. Instead I am sharing the easiest recipe I probably have ever made.

Have you ever made your own peanut butter? It is crazy stupid easy, especially, if you own a food processor. I am shocked this is the first time I have actually done it.

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? And comfort food heals the soul, right?

My family has been fighting off colds for awhile now and to be a good mother hen I made some chicken noodle soup. And chicken noodle soup needs to be served with half a peanut butter sandwich. Why half? Well that is what they served in elementary school and it just feels right to me.

Fast forward to me opening up the pantry to get out the peanut butter. Except in this case there was no peanut butter. Bummer! I did have some dry roasted peanuts though. I was really set on serving peanut butter sandwiches so I poured those peanuts into the food processor and let them whirl around for about seven minutes.

Honey Peanut Butter

I drizzled in a little local raw honey to sweeten it and a tiny bit of coconut oil to help smooth the peanut butter even more. Holy yum! Now I know how crazy stupid easy it is to make my own nut butters I can’t help but think of almond butter or cashew butter. Dreamy!

Honey Peanut Butter

HONEY PEANUT BUTTER
Ingredients
20 ounces dry roasted peanuts (I recommend unsalted so you can control the salt content)
2 teaspoons honey, more or less depending on preferred sweetness level
pinch of salt, to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Directions
1. Pour peanuts into food processor. Process on high until smooth and creamy, scrapping bowl occasionally.

First nuts will turn in to a fine ground. Then they will begin to stick together, use spatula to scrape the bowl. Then they will become a thick paste that will eventually turn smooth and creamy.

2. Add honey and salt. Taste and season more if necessary. Add coconut oil and process for a minute more until utterly smooth.

Keep covered in the fridge for about 1 month

Honey Peanut Butter

Posted in Gluten Free, Sides, Vegetarian | Tagged as: , , | 12 Comments
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