say “cheese”

One of the things I adore about the holidays are …………..drum roll…………….wait for it……………………….. SNACKS.

cheese ballI adore snacks.  I love a good cheese ball.  I love the idea of little nibblies to whet our appetites.  Having a couple of cheese balls made and flavors melding in the refrigerator, is a lovely feeling.

You can grab your homemade cheese ball, add a box of crackers, tie on a sprig of evergreen with a piece of red and white bakers twine add a jaunty cheese spreader,  there you have it.  Instant hostess gift.

Dreary Sunday afternoon, chilly, damp, game on the television?  Set a cheese ball on a jaunty holiday platter, surround with some divine crackers (homemade or store-bought), add a sprig of fresh Rosemary,  toss on some veggies and TA DA. Instant goodness. spread happiness

About 2 years ago we gave up dairy.  Now, don’t get your holiday panties in a knot.  If there is cheese sprinkled upon our baked potato at a friend’s home, no we don’t SCREAM, WE DON’T EAT DAIRY!  We are polite, civilized guests.  Of course we eat what our host has provided.  If there is a bit of cheese in a ravioli at a restaurant, we don’t send it back.  We just choose not to consume dairy on a daily basis.

One of the things I discovered, it is not the actual cheese ball that I was missing.  Oh sure, that flavor is wonderful.  It was the holiday “act” of nibblies.  Let’s face it, a cheese ball on a festooned platter of goodness, just hollers holidays.

May I offer up an amazing, delicious, go back for seconds and thirds recipe that will not only fulfill that need for a holiday treat, but will satisfy our choice to stay dairy free?

“Cheese” Ball 

2 cups cashew pieces, soak overnight  (purchase in the bulk foods section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup filtered water

2  probiotic capsules (use the powder, discard the capsules)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon real salt

6 grinds of cracked pepper

2 full teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

Combine soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water and probiotic in food processor.  Scrape down.  Blend until smooth.

Line a strainer with cheese cloth (fabric store or Bed Bath and Beyond) spoon mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit over night.

Put cashew mixture in a bowl.  Stir in the thyme, yeast, S & P and garlic.

Divide into 2 balls.  Roll in crushed pecans (option:  add a bit of green herbs for color)

Refrigerate 2 days and serve or up to a month in the freezer.

Say Grace and indulge.  Seriously, indulge.  You and your family are so worth a lovely treat.

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