"Ah! To do nothing - and do it well." This is a quote from a book I have, that I apparently don't refer to often enough, titled The Art of Doing Nothing Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself by Veronique Vienne. I have found that the month of December is not the ideal time of year to commit oneself to such a lofty but worthy goal, so... I made my first batch of Christmas cookies this morning. It is a new recipe that I found on eatingwell.com and a keeper! The recipe is simple with few ingredients which spells quick, they are nutrient-packed, and yummy... the traits that make a recipe a winner.
Date Bran (or Flax) Jingle Balls
½ cup pecans
2 cups bran flakes cereal (I used flax flakes cereal since it’s what was in my pantry… a perfect substitution.)
¾ cup whole pitted dates (I coarsely chopped them to aid the food processor.)
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened (I substituted *Farmer Cheese because it’s what I had.)
2 tsp orange juice
½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut or wheat germ
Coarsely chop pecans in a food processor, place in a small bowl, and set aside. Place cereal and dates into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add honey, cream cheese (or farmer cheese), and o.j. then pulse until a stiff dough forms. Add chopped pecans and process briefly so as not to finely chop them (or you can stir them in by hand). You want the nuts to remain in coarse pieces. Scoop tablespoon-size portions onto parchment paper and shape into balls with lightly moistened hands. Leave balls as is or roll in coconut or wheat germ. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. (I put my in the freezer for longer storage.)
*Farmer cheese is similar to ricotta cheese. It is a drier product than cream cheese but, even so, it substituted well in this recipe. According to the Friendship Dairies web site, Farmer Cheese is very low in lactose; each serving containing less than 0.5% lactose. This is important for people with restricted diets who still crave dairy products and cheese. In fact, some "intestinal health experts" recommend Dry Curd Cheese for those suffering from digestive conditions such as Crohn's Disease, Colitis, Diverticulitis and Celiac Disease.