Melissa’s Produce is sponsoring a Winter Wonderland Challenge! Last week I received a package from Melissa’s with six ingredients inside, with the challenge to use three of them in a sweet recipe and three of them in a savory recipe. For the savory recipe I created this Winter Wonderland Chestnut Soup, a thick and hearty tummy-warmer for a cold evening during the holidays.
These are the three ingredients I chose for my savory recipe from the six items in the box. (Did you miss my sweet recipe? You can find Mimi Avocado’s Amazing Fresh Fruit Coffee Cake here.) I added a few more ingredients to the potatoes and chestnuts to make a velvety soup, and garnished Christmas confetti: red beets and green avocado!
In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter, add the onions, celery, and garlic, and cook until they are soft. Pour in the stock, add the potatoes, chestnuts, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Puree the soup with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve the soup in cups or small bowls.
Peel the avocado and remove the pit. Slice the avocado into tiny cubes. Slice a few beets into tiny cubes. Sprinkle the green avocado and red beet cubes on top of each cup of soup like Christmas confetti!
For the first time this year I participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Wondering what that is? Here’s the info:
“The GREAT FOOD BLOGGER COOKIE SWAP brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.
This year we are again excited to be partnering with COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease. By participating in this cookie swap you are not only contributing to the food blogger community, but also supporting a great cause.”
I made these Double Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cookies, packaged them up and mailed them to three food bloggers. Interestingly, I was paired up with one food blogger that I already knew! I happened to see TheSeasideBaker the next week and she told me she received the package at a time when she REALLY NEEDED A CHOCOLATE COOKIE. I know the feeling and am so happy that the cookies served someone who truly needed them! I received one box of Christmas sugar cookies from Local Savour , and she included an Edible magazine from Austin, Texas where she lives! Deeeelicious. There should be two more boxes of cookies coming my way in the mail….and I really hope that the other two boxes I mailed out reached their destinations!
Of course, I included a nice big Fuerte avocado in each box that I mailed to a fellow blogger! Surprise!
Here is the recipe!
Double Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used Kerrygold)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dark-chocolate cocoa ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chunks ( I used Guittard chocolate chunks)
1 3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 3/4 cups pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars using the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well on low speed.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift the cocoa into the bowl. Mix well.
While stirring on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until well combined. Add the chocolate, coconut, and pecans, mixing until they are evenly incorporated into the cookie dough. (Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.)
Using a cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes. Move them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack. Makes 3 dozen.
How are you coming with your preparations for the holidays? If you’re like me, the weeks before Christmas fly by! So many fun activities, including rehearsals, musical performances, parties, Christmas Parade and family gatherings…plus shopping! This year I’m having some extra fun answering phones for our family farm’s website CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com. It truly is a pleasure to meet people over the phone who love California avocados and want to send them to friends and family as holiday gifts.
Some folks have moved away from California and miss the special avocados they used to enjoy when they lived here. Some folks grew up with avocado trees, or their parents and grandparents had an avocado ranch many years ago. I love talking with folks who live far away from California, Continue Reading →
With the drought here in California, I haven’t been trying to care for a garden outside. This time of year is hot and dry. Tender little herbs just don’t need to be stressed by the sun and arid soil that we have right now. When I was offered a chance to try out an Aerogarden by Miracle Gro, I jumped at the opportunity! It arrived before Thanksgiving, and was so easy to set up! In just a few minutes I had filled the chamber with water, added the nutrients, inserted the seed pods and plugged the unit in! There is a grow-light that comes on Continue Reading →