Christmas Gift Ideas

It is freezing!!!  As I write this it is mid-afternoon and the outside temperature is 38 degrees.  Not exactly the sunny southwest that I have come to love.  This type of weather can really get one in the Christmas mood.  

If you are in need of quickie gift idea then look no further.  With the holiday just around the corner I thought I would share a recipe that actually won me first place last year in a Craze-E Contest on

The theme was Holiday Gifts.  We were given a list of 15 ingredients.  The challenge was to use at least 5 of those ingredients and any other ingredients to create a recipe.  I actually came up with 2, White Chocolate Fruit and Nut Truffles and the topic of this post Date and Walnut Spread.  If you hang out at bagel shops and enjoy the various cream cheese spreads then you are gonna love this.  The spread makes a wonderful gift to go along with some homemade bread and can be mixed up in a matter of minutes.

Date and Walnut Spread
Yield:  3/4 cup (approximate)

4 ounces neufchatel cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pitted dates

In a small bowl beat together the neufchatel cheese, powdered sugar and spices.

In a food processor finely chop the walnuts.  Add chopped nuts to cream cheese mixture then finely chop the dates and blend into the cream cheese mixture.

Place mixture into a custard cup, cover and refrigerator until chilled.  Serve with bagels and quick breads for a delicious treat.

I’m pretty sure of 3 of the required ingredients but am a little unclear on the other 2.  Required ingredients (now remember this was over a year ago):

Neufchatel Cheese

I made up a batch for breakfast in the morning and used finely chopped crystallized ginger.  It is super yummy. 

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