Goat Cheese Cranberry Cracker spread

A few years ago (which in my time-warped mind could be last year or 5 years ago), my friend Alison had a dinner party at her apartment. At this dinner party, she served this dip. Well, it’s pretty thick, so I guess it’s more of a spread. Anyway, I loved it. Then she told me there was goat cheese in it. Ugh, gross.
Sometimes I’m like a child in that they will like what you serve them if you don’t tell them what’s in it. I didn’t like goat cheese. Or at least I thought I didn’t. This time, I didn’t stop eating the dip even with the goat cheese. It was so yummy!
Over the past few years since I had this dip/spread, I’ve figured this out: It’s actually Feta cheese that I don’t like, which is made from sheep’s milk or a combo of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. So, regular goat cheese = OK; feta cheese = disgusting & vile. (I also can’t stand blue cheese, for the record)
Now that that’s situated, let’s get back to the dip.
This stuff is so good and it’s perfect for the Fall. The cinnamon and dried cranberries are essential Fall flavors, which could be why I love it so much. I’m a bit obsessed with Fall/Winter (even though I’m in Southern California and it’s October and supposed to be 95 today).  I’ve only ever served this with Wheat Thins, but it would probably make a good sandwich or wrap spread with turkey! Especially yummy leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
I’ve only made this for parties because I know if I just had it lying around the house, I’d eat the entire batch myself, parked in front of the TV.
I’m sure there is a hard and fast recipe out there for this somewhere. I just make it from memory and eyeball it. If you find the perfect amounts of each ingredient for you, write it down, so you know how much you like.
8oz cream cheese, softened (I use the tub of whipped cream cheese because it makes mixing really easy)
4 oz goat cheese
cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice if you are out of cinnamon and keep forgetting to grab some at the grocery store)
dried cranberries, roughly chopped

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese and goat cheese until well combined. Add cinnamon to taste. You don’t need much, probably about 1/4 teaspoon. You can always add more if you want. Stir well. Add the cranberries, again, just eyeball it. I think I used about a handful.
I’ll bet some chopped walnuts would be good in this as well.
Serve with Wheat Thins because that’s the best.
Perfect for a Fall dinner party. Or a Thursday night watching Scandal.

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Roasted Garlic & Jalapeno Hummus (Freebie!!)

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OK, so I know hummus has been around for hundreds of years, but it is new to me. I’m not counting this as one of my 80 dishes, so this is just a freebie cuz I like you guys so much 🙂

According to my trusted sources (ahem, Wikipedia), Hummus has been around pretty much forever, give or take a century or two. It is a popular Levantian food, meaning it originates in the Levant region which today consists of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey.

Hummus means “chickpea” in Arabic and that is the main ingredient in hummus. The basic recipe for hummus is chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic. Over time, the recipe has evolved and now you can see many types of hummus in kitchens and in the market. The best part is that hummus is actually really healthy. It is high in iron and vitamin C; it is a good source of folate and vitamin B6; it is a good source of dietary fibers and amino acids.  It seems it would have been a great thing for me to eat when I was preggo, but too little too late on that one.

I tried hummus a long time ago and I didn’t like it at all. Just last weekend, I tried some homemade hummus at a farmer’s market in Half Moon Bay, CA and was floored. It was so good! It was creamy and light and the flavor was really good. The girl who made the hummus told me that the homemade makes all the difference, that the lack of preservatives really makes for a superior product

That’s it, I was set. As soon as I got home, I went to the store and gathered up some ingredients, determined to make my own hummus. I like to think it was a success! Next time, I will probably add more jalapenos or maybe even just experiment with different add-ins.

Hummus

1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
1 head of garlic, roasted
1-2 jalapenos (depending on your tolerance), diced. It doesn’t have to be small, the blender will just mix it up anyway.
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons Tahini
1 teaspoon salt4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup warm water

Slice off the top of the head of garlic so the cloves are exposed, about 1/4 inch or so. Wrap in foil with some olive oil and put in a 375 degree oven for an hour. Let cool. (Seriously, you will burn your fingers. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Put all the ingredients in a blender (take the cloves of garlic out of the bulb first) and blend until everything is combined and the consistency is to your liking. My Vitamix was perfect for this. If it is too thick, you can add more olive oil.

Serve with pita, pita chips, or veggies.  I used pita chips, which I like, but I think next time i’ll either try a different brand or make my own because I used Stacey’s and they were not great. Plus the whole bag was pretty much broken when I first bought it and I’ve heard from others that has been their experience as well.

Anyway, I hope you like this recipe and if you happen to spill some on your dress before a big night out, make sure to have a big Christmas bow available to cover it up!

“Hummus. I got the hummus….”                          “Alright fine, I’ll be politcal.”
“What are you supporting?”
“Duh, Christmas!”