Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Cheese Spread

I am sitting on my very own couch, in our very own apartment, in California :) This can only mean one thing, our stuff is here!! Ty actually left over a week ago to fly back to Virginia, pack our stuff in a U-haul, and drive across the country with his brother and their friend Justin. Overall they said the trip wasn't too bad except for a messy snowstorm in El Paso that threatened to leave them stranded an extra night with me home alone on Christmas morning...luckily though, the roads cleared up and they drove 12 hours straight through New Mexico and Arizona, arriving here at midnight on Christmas Eve. It was just like Home Alone except John Candy wasn't in the back of the U-haul with a polka band :)

While they were gone, I did do a bit of cooking...well this particular recipe was just mixing, but it did involve my new kitchen toy! Friday was our holiday potluck at work, when we divvied up who was going to bring what, you know I picked the non-cooking option: the cheese and crackers. Even though I picked something easy, I didn't want to seem like a total slacker so I at least tried to make something, rather than just bring some cheese and crackers.

Plus, I really want to break in this bad boy

A few years ago (or last year, I really don't remember) I made this cranberry walnut cheese spread for Christmas as an appetizer to take over to my parents house. It was a huge hit, and requires quite a bit of mixing so it fit the bill perfectly! Problem was, I could not for the life of me find the recipe. You know I don't do well without some instructions.

I knew the basic ingredients, I even tried Googling those ingredients and couldn't find it! With that pretty mixer in my kitchen and zero time left to debate about it, I decided to wing it. 

On that note, I can take absolutely no credit for this recipe, especially if you don't like it :)


- 2 8oz. containers whipped cream cheese (almost forgot the whipped part, that's important)
- 8oz. block of white cheddar cheese
- 1 tblsp. spicy mustard (regular is probably fine too)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- crackers for serving

This really isn't rocket science, you basically mix all of the above together and there you go, a perfect cheese spread for your holiday party! I did have to do a little prep work though, you really should shred the cheese, no stand mixer no matter how all mighty and powerful, will make that happen for you. My food processor would of course, but that's wasn't here at the time.

Ok, shred the cheese! Then chop the walnuts, unless you buy them pre-chopped, which is fine too.

Now throw it all in a bowl and mix away.

I let it spin a couple times, used a spatula to scrape it all down in the bowl, and then mixed some more until it looked like everything was evenly distributed. I also made this the night before the party so it could sit in the fridge and I don't know, mesh or something. In the morning before I left, I sprinkled some extra walnuts and cranberries on top so it would look festive :) I think you could also form this into a cheese ball if you like that presentation better, I just used a green bowl. Serve with crackers, I'm loving those pretzel crackers, the ones that are pretzel on one side and pretzel on the other? Yeah, those are awesome with this spread.

I already love my new mixer, so much I decided to name her. did I mention I was home alone with three cats, drinking wine out of a Solo cup when I was making this? It was a little boring (no TV yet either). My initial thought was to name her Martha, after Martha Stewart, but I decided Martha is a little too "Look at how much better me and my fancy cooking/decorating/hot glue gunning are than you" so I decided instead to call her Minny. If you've read The Help, you know why :) And if you haven't, you should! I'm almost finished with it now and Minny just seemed to fit. Plus, there is a little irony there, I now know why people have these stand mixers sitting out on their counters and it's not for decoration...that thing weighs like 50 pounds!

I hope everyone had a great holiday week/weekend!


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