Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Lights or Lites??


Okay, have we had enough sugar this season? You haven't? Not yet? Neither have I, but I have to think healthy for at least a few minutes during the holidays. One meal. That's all it takes. One meal.

I try to make sure that my characters in A Cheese Shop Mystery series eat healthy foods every once in a while. I mean, yes, cheese is healthy, but all by itself? As a constant diet? Well, c'mon. Even I can't buy that. So it's important to shake it up. Add some greens. Add some texture
. Add some fun to a meal.
Something pretty.

It's like reading. You can't read romance all the time. (No? some of you shout!) You need mystery. (Yes, yes, yes.) You need thrillers. You need sci-fi. You need non-fiction. (Argh, please don't tell me I need to read that too often. I didn't like all the history I had to read during school. And then as an adult author, I realized history was important to my research. Honestly. Now I get it.)

Side note re: veggies. In the new book due out in May, Lost and Fondue, Charlotte offers a blue cheese fondue that works like a dip with veggies. {Recipe to come soon.}

Back to today. In an effort to keep all of you balanced, and in an effort to make sure that veggies aren't feeling left out during this sweet-laden season, here's a very satisfying salad, for lunch, for dinner, for a side dish.

And, yes, it has cheese! Big surprise from "The Cheese Shop Lady." LOL.

Change it up as you will. Substitute asparagus for the beans, sweet potatoes for the potatoes. Goat cheese or a sharp Manchego for the blue cheese. The beauty is in the variety.

Enjoy and...

Say cheese!



{Serves 4}

20 green beans

4 ounces blue cheese crumbled

1 yellow potato, baked, diced

4 large mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon black pepper, ground

1 teaspoon salt


Bake potato (can do this a day ahead and reheat), until tender.

Set in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to hour.

Remove and let cool slightly. Dice.

Cook green beans as follows: Put 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon in sauce pan. Bring to boil. As water heats, snip off tips of green beans. Set green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes, with lid on top. Drain off boiling water and cover. Replace lid. Let stand for 2 minutes longer. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.

In the meantime, slice mushrooms and stir fry in oil until browned, flipping once.

On a plate, arrange mushrooms, then diced potatoes, then green beans.

Top with crumbled blue cheese, sprinkle with ground pepper, and serve warm.

*** I promise to give you a sweet recipe soon. In fact, in my latest newsletter, I've included a candy cane cream cheese cookie. And I just made the most incredible goat cheese truffles. Recipe coming soon.

If you really need a sweet now, right now, this very minute, here's a link to one of Krista's cookie contest recipes: PECAN LACE - a sandwich cookie.

As is Cleo's Holiday Grind. There's a recipe in it I absolutely must try. No-bake Mocha Rum Balls. Perfect for the holidays, right? And sweet!!


If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list (which includes the newsletter) to get in on the next contest...coming soon.


  1. Holiday lites for sure, lol. Lightening things up between the heavy stuff is a great idea at this time of year. Love the combination of flavors and textures in your salad and this is definitely the season for Stilton, so I'm there. Cheers for the sweet shout-out on Holiday Grind. :) 23 Days to Christmas, yipes! And five months to Lost and Fondue, Hurrah! :)

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. This looks too pretty and yummy to be so healthy! I'm definitely looking for something a little lighter to eat this time of year--we've been eating lots of heavy food at my house! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  3. Love holiday lites! This is my first year as a diagnosed diabetic, so I ordered a big catered cheese plate for Christmas dinner dessert instead of the usual sugary treats.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. What a terrific combination - love this recipe! thank you!

  5. I'm laughing out loud as I read this, and am going back to click links and discover more. You see, I really do work in a cheese shop!

  6. Liza, how great is that! Which cheese shop do you work in?

    Amy, what a great idea for a dessert, a big catered cheese plate. Lovely.

    Glad everyone is enjoying the combination. It really is yummy.

    BTW, do you all know about the Bookends Literary agency 12 days of Xmas? The clue is on the right, below my book cover. Good hunting!


  7. Great recipe, Avery. We do love veggies. And I've been experimenting with all sorts of different cheeses, thanks to you and your enthusiasm (as well as to Charlotte, whose options are all so mouth-watering). My husband and I stopped at Mars Cheese Castle a couple of weeks ago in Wisconsin. Came home with five new favorites. Thanks for expanding our horizons!

  8. Julie, tell me about Mars Cheese Castle. Sounds fun. And what are you new faves?


  9. Hmm, now you have me thinking of a twice baked potato with Saga Blue Cheese in it. Not quite lite, eh? LOL!

    ~ Krista

  10. Sage blue cheese stuffed potato? Hmmm, great idea!

  11. What's a good substitute for Blue cheese? Everything sounds wonderful except I just can't get around the whole "mold" aspect of Blue.