blue cheese & walnut crackers

You know how much I love cheese and crackers. And if you don’t, know that if we don’t have cheese and crackers in the house, the world is just not right. I grew up eating cheese and crackers almost every night and I’ve since continued that habit. :) This recipe combines the two – cheese and crackers bundled up in one package? I’m in!

I’ve seen the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) episode (twice!) where she helps her friend plan and prepare a cocktail party and she makes these cute little blue cheese & walnut crackers. Both times I’ve thought they would be kind of fun and I finally got around to making them. I think they would be fabulous alongside some champagne myself and that is how I plan to enjoy the ones that I don’t give away!

Blue Cheese & Walnut Crackers - adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 8 oz blue cheese, crumbled and at room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and cheese. Add flours, salt and pepper and mix until it is in large crumbles. Add 1 Tablespoon of water and mix until combined.

Dump flour on counter and roll into a long log. (I wanted my crackers a little smaller, so while Ina says to roll into 12 inch log, I did about double that). Brush log with egg wash and roll in chopped walnuts, pressing them into the log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Cut the log into thin slices (about 1/2 inch) and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool and serve at room temperature.


holiday health: pre-holiday party lunch

This post is part of the Healthbuzz December series, Holiday Health, by Foodbuzz.

Although you may be tempted to skip lunch the day of a holiday party, so that you can fully enjoy yourself, it’s the last thing you want to do. I like to have a “lighter” lunch but one that is very filling and full of vegetables, since they are often lacking at parties. This allows me to enjoy myself at the party, and indulge in a glass of egg nog or two, ;) all knowing that the first two meals of my day were great ones.

Extra Veggie Salad - 2 servings – inspired by the Kind Diet

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 cups spinach ribbons
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced
  • green onion
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • chicken breast, beans or tofu
  • 2 Tbsp toasted walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp flax oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • few drops of truffle oil

Clean, chop and assemble all veggies and toppings.

Whisk together lemon juice, flax and truffle oil, salt & pepper.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.

This salad provides about 5 servings of vegetables, good fats and vitamins, fiber from avocado and nuts, protein from chicken, beans or tofu, omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat!) from flax oil and luxurious flavor from the truffle oil. It’s perfectly balanced and equally as delicious.

holiday health: ate too much?

This post is part of the Healthbuzz December series, Holiday Health, by Foodbuzz.

It happens to all of us. The allure of exciting appetizers, festive cocktails and far too many cookies every time you turn around can make it extremely difficult to keep up with your normal, healthy eating habits. The problem isn’t over-eating at one party, it’s what happens following the party. It’s easy to give up and start thinking that since you’ve over done it last night, the cookie today won’t make any difference. It’s important to remember every day starts new and every day is the perfect time to continue your healthy eating and exercise lifestyle.

I really like to focus on “clean eating” after I’ve eaten too much and by that I mean lots of veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and tea. That also means skipping the alcohol, coffee, dairy, refined (white) flour and sugar. Working up a sweat and keeping your eats clean will leave you feeling better in no time!

Clean Eating Example:

Morning:

Lunch:

  • Big Salad: full of greens, veggies, some protein and good fat. My favorite?
  • A mix of romaine and something dark like spinach or arugula (6 cups); any veggie I can find like cabbage, peppers, carrot, cucumber, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, etc (3 cups); some protein and fiber from a grain like quinoa (3/4 cup) or beans (1/2 cup); and some good fats from flax oil (1 Tbsp) or chopped avocado (1/4 cup). Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Dinner:

  • Baked salmon (4-6 oz)
  • Brown rice (3/4 cup)
  • Roasted or steamed broccoli (1-2 cups)

Snacks: (If hungry)

  • Palmful of almonds
  • Vegetables and hummus

What do you do when you over-indulge? How do you stay on track throughout the Holidays?

thanksgiving 2010: spinach salad

Along with the heavy sides of stuffing and mashed potatoes, a light and healthy spinach salad is welcomed on any Thanksgiving spread. The combination is a classic one, and ever since my boss recently made it, I knew it needed a place on my table. And soon. Couldn’t your Thanksgiving plate use a little something healthy?

I’ve never prepared an entire Thanksgiving meal (and that’s probably a good thing) but I can only imagine that if you do, some of the dishes need to come together without much prep and come together quickly. So this salad is everything you want for a hectic, calorie-laden day: easy to make, a healthy dose of greens and delicious to boot!

Spinach Salad - 4 servings

  • 1 – 5 oz bag of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing

Toss together spinach, onion, strawberries and dressing. Sprinkle walnuts on top and serve.