Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball (perfect for Christmas and the New Year!)

Tangy, with crunchy walnuts, savory shallots, and sweet cranberries, this goat cheese ball is perfect for the holidays! It is easy to whip together, can be made days in advance (or even frozen) and makes a lovely addition to a cheese platter or to serve along side celery sticks or rich whole grain crackers. Or give it as a food gift (or hostess gift.)

Personally, I am putting together some snack-y hors d’oeuvre to have out for Christmas day/afternoon when we are together as an extended family. Smoked salmon ( #affiliate link  here is a lovely example), this cheese ball, and my favorite liver pate (served with home pickled onions) with some gluten free and regular crackers will make a special but nourishing addition to the usual holiday fun.

Freezing cheese balls

I have never tried freezing a cheese ball before, but Martha Stewart says you can freeze cheese balls for up to a month, which is perfect for my plans of pre-making as much of the food as I can. This cheese ball is now nestled in my freezer well wrapped, waiting for Christmas cheer and magic to happen. But I admit, it may be a little smaller after we all had a few samples of it. ;-)

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Notes on Ingredients

You can use raw, soaked and dehydrated or toasted walnuts. To toast, stir constantly in a cast iron pan over medium heat until the nuts are starting to brown.

I love these Organic Apple Sweetened Cranberries (affiliate link) for projects like this one.

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball - A delicious appetizer, party food, or food gift!

Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Ball
 
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Tangy, with crunchy walnuts, savory shallots, and sweet cranberries, this goat cheese ball is perfect for the holidays! It is easy to whip together, can be made days in advance (or even frozen) and makes a lovely addition to a cheese platter or to serve along side celery sticks or crackers! Or give it as a food gift (or hostess gift.)
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of chévre goat cheese (look for the soft goat cheese logs)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fat of choice (such as avocado oil, home rendered fats, etc).
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup dried, sweetened cranberries (I used fruit juice sweetened), roughly chopped
  • ¼-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. In a small pan, over medium heat saute the shallots in fat/oil of choice until softened and starting to brown (about five to seven minutes). Make sure you stir almost constantly to prevent burning.
  2. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the goat cheese with the cooked shallots, ⅓ cup walnuts, and cranberries.
  3. Using a spatula, scoop into a rough ball, and then use your hands to pat into a ball. Cover the surface with the extra chopped walnuts.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Or freeze up to one month, well wrapped.
  5. Serve with crackers, crudités, cucumber slices, or celery sticks!

 

Spiced Currant Orange Baked Oatmeal Mini Muffins (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free w/ Egg-Free Option)

Spiced Currant-Orange Baked Oatmeal Mini Muffins (GF & DF) -- egg-free option too
by Alison Diven, Contributing Writer

This baked oatmeal in mini muffin form is quintessential Autumn–and so fun for little snacks or little hands! With their hearty texture, warm spices, subtle orange notes, and mild sweetness, they cozy up perfectly to a cup of tea and your favorite sweater . . . or cuddly story-time with your little ones. They’re also chock full of healthy ingredients, so I feel good about doling them out any time of day or taking them along on outings for easy nourishment.

Spiced Currant-Orange Baked Oatmeal Mini Muffins (GF & DF) -- egg free option too

This is great news because as my baby’s due date draws near (just 2 weeks now), it seems like there’s always another errand to run or midwife appointment to attend. Mama’s tired! I’ve baked several variations of these muffins and squirreled them away in our freezer for postpartum life, but truly, I’m already breaking into my stash. I can’t keep up with our daily food needs at the moment, so I’m extra grateful for foods like this that I can make in big batches when I have a burst of energy.

For the record, these freeze and reheat beautifully. I like them plain, slathered with butter, or broken up into a bowl with raw milk. My dairy-free son enjoys his solo or with a smear of almond butter and raw honey.

3 Variations to Try

  • Pumpkin Spice — One of my favorites! Just use pumpkin puree instead of mashed banana, omit currants and orange zest, and increase sweetener to taste.
  • Banana-Coconut-Chocolate Chip — My toddler’s favorite. Omit nutmeg, clove, orange zest, and currants. Add shredded unsweetened coconut and mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life has a soy-free, allergy-friendly product).
  • Cranberry Orange — Use chopped dried cranberries instead of currants and omit nutmeg and clove. Increase orange zest by up to double, depending on your taste.

Let your taste buds guide you! So long as you don’t overdo the wet ingredients, which will make your muffins forever gummy no matter how much you bake them (voice of experience here!), it’s hard to go wrong.

Spiced Currant-Orange Baked Oatmeal Mini Muffins (GF & DF) -- egg free option too

Related recipes you may enjoy from The Nourishing Gourmet:

Buckwheat Crepes (as Gluten-Free Sandwich Wraps)
Mini Zucchini Millet Muffins
Pumpkin Maple Baked Oatmeal
Apple Oatmeal Mini Loaves (Soaked Whole Grain and Naturally Sweetened)

Spiced Currant Orange Mini Baked Oatmeals
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 mini muffins
 
Perfectly spiced and gently sweet, these flourless oatmeal mini muffins nourish any time of day and are especially nice for little hands. You can, of course, make them as regular-size muffins by increasing the cooking time to 30 minutes. I chose currants because their size suits mini muffins, but feel free to use raisins instead, either whole or chopped up. Now that my son can eat eggs, I use them for the protein and vitamins, but the recipe works great without them, between the holding power of oats and banana. Just add enough additional liquid to make a batter.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats if needed)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
  • 2 eggs OR additional ¼ to ½ cup coconut milk for egg-free version
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut sugar or other natural granulated sweetener (liquid sweeteners add too much moisture)
  • zest of one orange
  • 6 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons currants (or raisins)
Instructions
  1. The night before baking, mix together the oats, coconut milk, and lemon juice in bowl and leave out, loosely covered, overnight.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 and grease a mini muffin pan.
  3. Break up the thick, gummy soaked oats with a fork, then add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  4. Scoop heaping tablespoons into the greased mini muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer- www.thenourishinggourmet.com

Written by Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity

There is something lovely about wrapping your hands around a cup of hot coffee – it is soothing for the soul. Hot drinks always make me feel a sense of calm, whether it is in the quite hours of the early morning, with a friend or on a hectic day when kids can’t seem to get along. Just that brief moment of lifting the mug to my lips and taking a sip makes everything right, even if only for the moment.

I am by no means a black coffee kind of gal but I also can’t bring myself to use overly processed creamers as appealing as they might be. I tend to stick to a bit of raw cream, vanilla and maple syrup. In fact, I mixed them together to make my own vanilla creamer. With autumn here I couldn’t resist adding a bit of “fall” to my cup.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are all the rage at the moment. When I have the time I like to make my own pumpkin pie latte but sometimes I want that bit of fall flavor without taking the time to whipped up a latte. I put my thinking cap on and decided to make my own pumpkin spice creamer.

Homemade creamers only take minutes to make. Once they are made you just store them in your fridge until you are ready to add them to your coffee. How easy is that?

(You can make your own pumpkin puree using this easy crockpot method here.)

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk (I use pastured raw milk)*
  • 1 cup pastured cream (I use raw cream)*
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Liquid stevia drops to taste (optional)
  • *If you do not want to use raw milk, you can use organic milk or two cups of a dairy free milk of your choice. If you are using canned coconut milk, use one cup of the milk and one cup of water.
Instructions
  1. Pour all the ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for about 1 minutes. Or, you can pour the ingredients into a 1-quart jar and blend with an immersion blender.
  2. Store in a glass jar or bottle.
  3. Shake before use.
  4. Lasts for at least one week in the fridge.

 

How to Throw a ‘Frozen’ Party (without gluten, dye, or eggs)

Frozen party ideas! Food, games, and crafts

Whether you are looking for “Frozen” theme party ideas, or ideas for a winter/snowflake themed party, this is for you! Those who are gluten, egg, and dye-free may find it especially helpful.

My sweet Elena just turned eight, and we threw, per her request, a “Frozen” themed party. It was so much fun, and I found a lot of great ideas online. Unfortunately, many of the ideas were simply decorated junk food or well dyed blue food, which isn’t really our style. Throw in a gluten-, egg-, and most dairy food intolerances, and many of the ideas were also not an option.

Thankfully we got creative, made up some new recipes, and had a wonderful, and beautiful party! I thought that it would be fun, and perhaps helpful to parents in a similar party planning mode to see what we did (and I’ll be sharing all of the recipes I used too!). While ours was a Disney Frozen themed party, it would easily work for any winter themed party as well.

I will be sharing each recipe in a separate post in the coming week and a half (and I will keep adding links to this post as I publish them), but meanwhile, here is the outline of our party.

Décor for Frozen Party:

When people heard our theme, a bunch of friends donated their Christmas lights, snowflakes, and more to use. We also got blue and white streamers and blue balloons. A poster provided by a great grandparent certainly helped the Frozen theme along as well.

Menu for Frozen Party:

Frozen themed crafts and games!

Crafts & Games for Frozen Party:

  • Epsom salt painting of snowflakes – This is so fun! It dries into crystals on paper (use black so you can see them). To give them time to dry, we did this first thing in the party.
  • Coffee filter snowflakes
  • Pin the nose on Olaf the snowmen (my husband drew the poster for me!)
  • Pinata (full of small toys from the dollar tree)
  • Snow pick up (with one hand behind the back, a blindfolded child tries to scoop as much “snow” – that is cotton balls – into a bowl with a spoon for 30 seconds. Whoever gets the most wins!).

Favors for Frozen Party:

  • We made Frozen themed playdough to give out as favors (You can see how to make your own glitter playdough here!)
  • Frozen pencils
  • I made simple snowflake bags for their pinata toys, homemade snowflakes, and favors. I took plain brown paper bags and traced clear Elmer’s glue in the shape of snowflakes. I then sprinkled glitter on the glue, put the bag on the side and gave a simple tap on the table to remove excess glitter, and then lay flat to completely dry. We especially liked the results when made with a (affiliate link) light blue glitter.

While truthfully this was the most we ever did for a birthday party before, it was a lot of fun, and fairly simple as well. Keep watching for the yummy recipes of desserts we served!