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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Snacks For New Year’s Noshing

Jasmine Nardo’s background is as interesting as it is varied. She completed her military service after serving a total of seven years in the Air Force and Hawaii Air National Guard, with three years on active duty. Prior to that, Jasmine spent seven years as a federal firefighter at Pearl Harbor.

Now a civilian, she is the assistant to the deputy director of the Food and Nutrition Department at Pali Momi Medical Center, and is excited about learning as much as she can about food, nutrition and healthy diets at Pali Momi.

Jasmine is very proud of being the first one in her family to earn a college degree. Her 5-year-old son, Nahoa Alii O-Ke-Kai (The Bold Chief of the Sea) attends kindergarten at Waiau Elementary School in Pearl City.

In her spare time, Jasmine collects seashells on the North Shore and practices Ashtanga and Bikram Yoga. It is a pleasure to dedicate this column to Jasmine and her son.

Happy and healthy new year to all! Here are two easy and delicious snacks to make for New Year’s buffets or for friends and family to enjoy.

ALMOND STUFFED DATES

This simple, easy treat is good for you and tastes yummy. It can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for a few days.

* 1 package pitted dates
* 1 pound dry-roasted almonds
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted with 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, (omit if you don’t like cinnamon or add more cinnamon, to taste)

Put cinnamon-sugar mixture on wax paper or large plate. Stuff an almond into the opening of the date. Roll each date in powdered sugar mixture and arrange on festive plate or platter.

PINEAPPLE CHEESE BALL

* 2 (8-ounce) packages light cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green bell peppers
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* dash salt
* 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1/2 cup chopped almonds

In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, red and green peppers, cayenne and salt until blended. Add crushed pineapple and mix until evenly distributed. Divide the mixture in half and form two balls. Mix together walnuts and almonds and roll each ball in the nut mixture. Chill for about an hour and serve with veggies or crackers.

Makes about 12 servings.

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