Sea. Food.

So ... I cooked. Well ... "cooking" may be pushing the definition a bit, but let's just say that food was assembled in my kitchen. As finger foods to be served at my Book Club. Last week.

I went with a coastal theme, no surprise there. The cheese ball above is a recipe I have made for over 30 years. (The cheeseball itself is not 30 years old, just the recipe.) I have formed it several times into a pine cone shape at Christmas (using whole almonds to create the look) but let's face it, I have mostly shaped it into balls and logs. No one seems to care.

The recipe is this simple and this good: Take one softened 8oz package of cream cheese. Mix that with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and one can of deviled chicken spread. (Strange, but true.) Add about a tablespoon each of dried minced onions and parsley. Shape it and put the nuts on. Refrigerate it. Eat it. Love it. Eat more. Hide some for later.

These sand dollar cookies are even simpler and you could probably just figure it out by looking at them. Just slice up a roll of sugar cookie dough (from your grocer's refrigerated section ... or with much more time alloted to make your own recipe, Martha.) Take a package of slivered almonds and place five on each cookie to form the sand dollar pattern. (Hint: If using store-bought refrigerated dough, cut it while it is still very hard, but then let the slices soften up just a tad before you apply the nuts so you can "sink" them a little bit.) Bake as directed.

I was thrilled with the outcome and our Book Club was a resounding success. This was partly (all right ... largely) due to the fact that the author of the book we read, Ms. Riley Noehren herself, was with us online to answer questions.

All good.

(I know you thought I was never going to use my huge kitchen, but you were wrong.)

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