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Create an edible almond pinecone cheese ball with a creamy spread inside

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Parties and holidays occur many times throughout the year. But it doesn’t mean you have to have a big occasion to enjoy some cheese and crackers covered in whole almonds.

This is a great little recipe that combines a snack of cheese and crackers, the goodness and crunch of almonds that is also a wonderful food to snack on but also a centerpiece for the middle of your cracker platter that is a picture to behold.

Putting this little masterpiece together is quite easy and you will wow your guests or family if you serve this cheese spread for movie night or a Sunday gathering with relatives.

Enjoy the spread and the nuts and try this recipe out today, February 16 and celebrate with all the other nut lovers in the world by celebrating National Almond Day!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of port wine
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup of thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 cups of whole almonds, toasted
  • Rosemary sprigs to garnish the platter

Directions:

  1. Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese to break it up.
  2. Then add the wine and cayenne seasoning and mix into the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Next you want to add in the green onion and cheddar cheese and mix just until it is all combined.
  4. Scrape the mixing bowl clean and place the cheese spread on a sheet of plastic wrap.
  5. Wrap the cheese ball and place it in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  6. After the ball has chilled sufficiently you can now mold it into the shape of a pinecone and place it in the center of the platter you intend to serve it on.
  7. Then start at the bottom or the thinner end of the pine cone and add rows of whole almonds so that they overlap each other until the entire cheese ball is covered.
  8. Place some sprigs of rosemary at the top or around the pinecone cheese ball to achieve the desired look you want to present to your guests.
  9. Place crackers around the cheese ball and serve with napkins and small cheese spread knives.
  10. Enjoy!

(Whole almonds used in recipe were received from California almonds)

© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved

Jackson residents can shop at any of these local grocery stores: Pick’n Save or Wal-mart for all the ingredients needed for this recipe.

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Tofu Stay with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
Tofu Stay with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce California Almonds

Tofu Stay with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce

DESCRIPTION:

A fiery dish that brings a favorite Thai-style small-plate into your kitchen. These skewered bites accompanied by rich almond butter sauce are a perfect party favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound flank steak, frozen until firm but not hard
12 (8 to 10 inch) bamboo skewers (soaked in water at least 30 minutes before grilling)
Marinade:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, pressed

Almond Butter Dipping Sauce:

3/4 cup almond butter
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Lime wedges

PREPARATION:

Slice steak against the grain into thin strips.  In small bowl, whisk all Marinade ingredients to blend thoroughly.  Thread steak strips onto bamboo skewers, dividing equally.  Place in shallow non-reactive dish or pan, in single layer.  Generously brush all sides with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  ||Meanwhile, make Almond Sauce.  In blender container, combine all ingredients except pepper flakes; blend until smooth.  Stir in pepper flakes; cover and set aside.  Grill, broil or pan-fry steak skewers until cooked through about 10 minutes, turning often.  Serve with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce and lime wedges.||NOTE: Boned and skinned chicken breast strips can be substituted for the beef.

Tofu Stay with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce

 

Cranberry almond loaf
Cranberry almond loaf California Almonds

Cranberry almond loaf

DESCRIPTION:

Slice this Cranberry Almond Loaf and enjoy it as a jazzed up base for your turkey club sandwich. Or toast it and dip in olive oil for a delicious breakfast or after dinner treat.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup creamy roasted almond butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds, plus 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top

PREPARATION:

In a large bowl, blend almond butter, olive oil and eggs with a handheld mixer until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda. Blend arrowroot mixture into wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in apricots, cranberries, seeds and sliced almonds. Grease a 3 ½ x 7 ½ x 2 ¼ inch loaf pan with olive oil and dust with almond flour. Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle remaining sliced almonds on top. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 1 hour, then serve.

Cranberry almond loaf

Silver dollar pancakes
Silver dollar pancakes California Almonds

Silver dollar pancakes

DESCRIPTION:

Get ‘em in your belly! These Silver Dollar Pancakes made with almond flour are gluten-free, but you’d never know from the taste of ‘em.

INGREDIENTS:

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 ½ cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Grapeseed oil, for cooking

PREPARATION:

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, water, vanilla and agave. Add almond flour, salt and baking soda and mix until thoroughly combined. Heat grapeseed oil on skillet over medium low to medium heat. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time onto the skillet. Pancakes will form little bubbles, when bubbles open, flip pancakes over and cook other side. Remove from heat to a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter; add more oil to skillet as needed.

Silver dollar pancakes

Spring fruit and herb crumble
Spring fruit and herb crumble California Almonds

Spring fruit and herb crumble

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons (raw, turbinado or white) sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest, divided
Pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil*
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
1 pound fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 375? F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine almond meal or almond flour, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the orange zest and sea salt. Add coconut oil and mix well to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond extract with strawberries and raspberries; gently toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.  Remove almond mixture from the refrigerator. Using your fingers, crumble the mixture and place it on top of the strawberries and raspberries, covering the surface. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil, mint and the remaining teaspoon of orange zest. Serve warm. *Vegetable oil can be used in place of the coconut oil.

Spring fruit and herb crumble

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