12 Days of Holiday Recipes Day 5: Date, Walnut and Blue Cheese Ball

Years ago I truly believed that it was impossible to enjoy any holiday goodies and live a healthy lifestyle at the same time. In my mind you either did one or the other, but never could do both. Boy, was I ever wrong!

I realized that I could still enjoy all the delicious food offered at any festive occasion — I just needed to limit my portion sizes and remember that a couple bites of any food tastes the same as several. It was a habit I was willing to learn, and I can honestly say that it was pretty easy to do. Not only was it simple, but this habit worked wonders as I was able to enjoy every single holiday function during and after my 162-pound weight loss. Yes, it has become a part of how I continue to live today!

So when I am asked to attend a holiday event and bring a dish to pass, I have no problem bringing an item that may appear to be “off limits.” I know that I can create an entrée that includes ingredients that not only look and taste good, but are also good for your health… these entrees are not off limits when you are living a healthy lifestyle. Just remember to keep portions under control and you’re good to go!

Below is a wonderful recipe from Cooking Light for a delicious cheese ball that is great to take to any holiday function. I prefer recipes such as these because they contribute to your good health too. As you’ll see, this recipe contains Medjool dates, which contain lots of beneficial nutrients, and blue cheese, which also contains its share of nutrients, including a bacteria-fighting mold related to penicillin. 

Ingredients

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons minced and pitted Medjool dates (2 – 3 dates)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preparation

  1. Place first three ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the minced dates, shallots, lemon rind, salt, and pepper; beat at medium speed until well blended, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
  2. Spoon cheese mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Form into a ball, using a rubber spatula. Wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap; chill overnight.
  3. Combine parsley and walnuts in a shallow dish. Unwrap cheese ball; gently roll in nut mixture, coating well. Place on a serving plate. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Yields 14 servings at 2 tablespooons each.

Photo by quinn.anya

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