Bacon Wrapped, Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

I wanted a creative title for this post. I really did. But how do you make a title like that any more awesome than it already is? I don’t think it’s possible.

I challenge you.

So while I say I eat paleo (which I do most of the time), I also incorporate dairy in my life when I want it. I know, I know. Give me a hard time. Call me primal. Or whatever. Here’s why I do it:

I can’t eat gluten. Never. Ever. Forever.

So I can never “cheat” by eating gluten. I’d be so sick, it’s not worth it.

I can however, enjoy whole milk or cream occasionally. Or even cheese. Although, I try to limit cheese where possible, unless raw milk cheese. There are exceptions though.

These are one of those.


photo 1

 

I decided to make these after having some AMAZEBALLS ones at The Misfit Bar in Santa Monica. And to think we almost didn’t order them. But I thought they’d be too complicated for me. I talk a big game, but really, I’m not a creative cook. But I really wanted them. So I did some research, and came across this blog post (here!). But I didn’t have toothpicks, and 12 dates wasn’t that many, so I decided to free-for-all it. And the results were delicious. Plus, everyone has been amazed that I did this. Win-win.

So here’s how you impress people and win friends. Just go with it.

Dates have pits. In case you didn’t know. Fresh dates, that is. I’d make some really awful pun here, but truth be told…I hate puns. Legit hate them. And yep…my name is Hope. There’s irony there. Can we all move past that?

So you gots to cut the pits out. Also a great way to put the cheese in. How else are you gonna stuff them with goat cheese? To do that, just cut it open – aka slice it. Don’t cut the things in half, just cut them open enough to get the date out and put the cheese in. See image below for exhibit A.

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Here’s the deal with this recipe. I’m not gonna tell you how much to use of anything.

I know. That means it’s not really a recipe. But the thing is…I don’t know how many dates you have, or how much cheese you like, or what kind of bacon you prefer.

I bought a package of fresh dates at Trader Joe’s, a small container of goat cheese, and had a package of bacon. I used all the dates. About 1/4 of the cheese, and all the bacon.

Back on track.

Take about a spoonful, or however much cheese will fit in the dates, and put it in there you’ve taken the pits out.

Here’s a little thing I learned – more cheese is better here. I didn’t use enough cheese (in my opinion), so it was very much date-heavy. So cram that thing with goat cheese.

photo 3

 

I know that looks like a fair amount. It’s not. Add more.

Then, you take your bacon, and cut it in half. You probably could cut it in thirds, but I don’t know what that’s like. So halve it.

And really, you wrap it around. Make sure the “seam” of the bacon, or where it overlaps, is on the bottom of the date. So it’s resting on the seam. That way the bacon won’t uncurl itself.

photo 4

 

You’ll see that I used wax paper on the baking sheet. Not really necessary. I could have used foil (I was sort of following a recipe that said to use parchment paper which I never have, so I used wax paper, which I didn’t really need). But do note that again, these make kind of a mess, so use a PAN, not a sheet.

And then you cook at 450 for like…17-20 minutes. Mine took longer because I used thick cut bacon, so probably less if you use thin cut. But I only use thick cut. So there.

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And then enjoy!

I actually found these were better the next day because the bacon got crispier. I just put them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute to reheat them, and voila!

Oh, and don’t pop these suckas in your mouth without checking the temperature. My friend burnt his mouth that way. I warned him.

On a completely unrelated note to this recipe, but still related to bacon, I just burnt a batch while typing this because I didn’t check to see if it was done and I was going to make chocolate covered bacon. So you’re welcome. Any ideas on what to do with completely burned bacon?

You’ll need (INGREDIENTS):

– Package of dates

– Package of bacon

– Goat cheese

You’ll do (INSTRUCTIONS):

1. Preheat the oven to 450

2. Cut the dates open (but not in half) to remove the pit

3. Take as much goat cheese as you want (stuff the sucka full!) and put it in side the date. Squeeze slightly closed

4. Cut bacon in half and wrap each date with a half a piece of bacon

5. Place date with bacon seam down on a baking PAN (with foil, waxed paper, naked, whatever you want)

6. Depending on the thickness of the bacon, cook anywhere from 15-20 minutes

7. You’ll know it’s done when the bacon looks done

8. Remove from pan so it’s not continually soaking in the bacon grease, and let cool enough so you don’t burn your mouth

9. Enjoy!

Ending Early

Without going into a ton of details, I have decided to end my cleanse early. I will officially go back to eating normal on Saturday….which means BACON!

To give a little explanation, I haven’t been sleeping well, so with that on top of the cleanse, I was struggling with my energy level. I also originally was going to have my first day be the day I fly to Austin for SXSW which was going to make it harder to say no to all the sugary and starchy food there. Plus, did I mention it means I can have bacon on Saturday.

On another note, I may have slipped up a little bit and had some macadamia nut butter this morning. No one really knows this about me, but I fell in love with macadamia nuts when I was at the Mauna Loa factory in Hawaii. I try not to eat them that frequently since nuts have that way of making it impossible to stop eating them. However, aside from peanuts, they are my favorite nuts.

So, in my plan to go paleo, well, Saturday, peanuts aren’t allowed BUT macadamia nuts are! Hence where macadamia nut butter comes into play. My mom bought some, and when I went over there today to do some work, I couldn’t say no. And it is AMAZING. Seriously. It has a very unique taste, nothing like peanut butter, so if you buy it, don’t expect a replacement. It has a grainy texture and is great plain. Can you tell I’m a fan?  If you’re interested, this is the brand I tried: http://www.amazon.com/Raw-Organic-Macadamia-Nut-Butter/dp/B0026SG8K0/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1330644765&sr=1-1

A Few of My Favorite Things

The past few days, I have had a one track mind. Okay, maybe a two track mind. But really, a one track mind. I cannot stop thinking about food. Food, glorious food! Cinnamon rolls and bacon and cupcakes and frozen yogurt and cream and peanut butter and really, the list goes on. The second thing being The Hunger Games trilogy, but that’s a different story.

Up until probably Friday, the cleanse has been fairly easy. The time has been flying, and the lack of food choices haven’t bothered me. And then I got sick. A cold gone bad which for some reason seemed to stir up my appetite. It’s also hard when you’re sick and all you want is comfort food which is the last thing you can have. (Nothing like having the flu in Africa without any Western medicine – but that’s a different story).

It also doesn’t help that I follow food blogs and I’m hooked on recipes on Pinterest. I’m planning on going Paleo after the cleanse ends, so I’ve been pinning recipes for that – which does little to help the appetite.

But – I do feel a lot better, have had no headaches or stomach issues which is a huge deal for me. Aside from the cold, my health has dramatically improved. Makes it worth it.

Since I can’t post recipes, I decided to post a few of my favorite things. Most of these are things I’m using on the cleanse, but as a special treat, I’ve thrown in a few post cleanse things.

Enjoy!

Ah my Tervis Tumbler. I go everywhere with this thing. Considering I drink between 100-150 oz of water a day, it’s pretty much glued to my hand. I used to carry a CamelBak water bottle around, but the lid kept leaking so I switched to this. Doesn’t hurt that my favorite flower is a poppy.

I just bought this stuff at Fresh Market and I’m hooked! I adore garlic (and now I’m thinking of garlic bread – see, one track mind) and this may be the best garlic salt I’ve ever had. I could legitimately eat it straight (although I won’t because who does that? Okay I may have a little bit, oops).

Another Fresh Market purchase, but this has been the saving grace through the cleanse. This and any other mustard. Plus it makes me think of hot dogs which I love.

I’ve been drinking the decaf version of this while I type. My mom and I have tried many, MANY different kind of teas, and we keep coming back to this. Sweetened with a little stevia, it’s amazing. Granted, it’s a lot better off cleanse with a splash of cream, but even without, it’s still delicious. But really, if you can, try it with whole cream. You’ll thank me.

And because it can’t be a post without some actual food, a little something I found on Pinterest. If you want to see all the recipes I’ve pinned, you can check it out here: http://pinterest.com/hopernorman/grocery-list-making/

Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls (check it out here)

I couldn’t resist – here are two more.

Chocolate ice cream made with coconut milk and honey. Get the recipe here.

And probably the thing I’m looking forward to the most – bacon crusted sweet potato. You gotta make this for me and let me know how it is. Get the recipe here.

The cleanse ends March 9, just in time for me to go to Austin for SXSW, but you better believe the morning of the 9th, I will be frying up some bacon before my flight. BACON BACON BACON!