I *almost* had the pleasure of meeting Amie, otherwise known as The Healthy Apple, at last last April’s Nourished Food Blogger Conference. But since our paths didn’t end up crossing, we bonded over a phone date after the fact. Since then, I have admired Amie’s sweet dedication to her friends as well as her passion for helping people enjoy a cleaner, healthier diet. Amie makes her dreams come alive by working as a health coach and personal chef (a goal of mine!) in NYC. If you hire Amie, you are guaranteed to enjoy clean-eating goodies like Honey Cilantro Soaked Quinoa, Grilled Cherry Guacamole, and  Salmon Pasta Salad with Grapes.

For more of Amie’s gluten-free and dairy-free  recipes, visit The Healthy Apple, “Like” her on Facebook, and follow @TheHealthyApple on Twitter.

It’s time for a little holiday cocktail party.

A healthy cocktail party, of course.

When I was growing up, my favorite holiday ingredient was cream cheese. My Nannie used it in her famous cheesecakes, my Grandma used it in koogle and I simply ate the leftovers with a spoon (okay and maybe on top of a bagel). Those days are long gone since I can’t eat dairy but countless times I’ve tried to recreate such masterpieces for the holidays, but time and time again, I’ve fallen short.

Too creamy, too dry…not enough umphhh.

But this, my friends is perfection. Well, almost perfection. It’s easy, that’s for darn sure.

I got the idea thinking back to my mother’s famous appetizer that she brought with her to every party; Gesibel.
I know what you’re saying, “What the heck is Geisbel?” It’s simply a mixture of apricot jelly, pineapple jelly and horseradish mixed together atop cream cheese. Sounds gross but it is SOOOOO good. Served with crackers and always the hit of the party, this inexpensive and simple appetizer got me thinking…

I didn’t have any jelly or horseradish on hand but I did have a fresh box of Organic Valley Cream Cheese and Galaxy Vegan (Dairy-Free) Cream Cheese. So, I got a lil’ creative and made a dairy-full and dairy-free version for my family and I.
I just bought a new bottle of those pretty Frontier Organic Dried Peppers and they reminded me of confetti. So pretty n’ flavorful.

I just had to use them up. And I did.

I can never capture my momma’s Gesibel spot on. But this is a noble (sugar-free) version. And it’s pretty gosh darn good, too.
And since I can’t eat sugar or dairy- this is the perfect holiday appetizer for me.

I used a combination of dried red and green peppers, sea salt and pepper along with plenty of gluten-free whole grain crackers and crudites such as carrots, zucchini and celery. You could surely add nuts or seeds to this, but I think I like it this way best. Anytime I can get out of a lot of prep, I do. That’s why these dried peppers were the perfect answer. I bet they’d be pretty gosh darn good straight into these stuffed mushrooms, too.

Don’t cha think?

Whatever the question is, cream cheese is always the answer. Just stick with organic or the dairy-free- all those hormones and dairy won’t be helping you any, ya know?

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Festive Holiday Cheese Ball

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 5 minutes

An easy and festive holiday appetizer that can be made dairy-full or dairy-free.

Ingredients:

8 oz. Organic Valley Low-Fat Cream Cheese or (Galaxy Vegan Cream Cheese)
1 cup Frontier Dried Red & Green Peppers
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/6 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

Roll cream cheese into a ball and place on a flat surface. Sprinkle with dried peppers, pepper and sea salt until cheese ball is covered.

Wrap cheese ball in plastic and place in the fridge for 6 hours.

Keep cool until ready to serve.

Serve with gluten-free crackers and crudites.