Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Fruit Tree

If you're looking for a healthy option to serve at the upcoming Christmas festivities, or for a pretty centerpiece, OR both in one, then look no further than this adorable Christmas fruit tree!!

Christmas Fruit Tree 2

I mean, how much cuter can a centerpiece get? And you can customize the fruit to your liking, and even make a family bonding experience out of it with the kids! Like making a gingerbread house, only healthier!! The number of fruits you choose will determine how much of each you need - the more variety, the less you need of each. Ya feel me? I chose to use grapes, blackberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, and kiwi. And some parsley for garnish. 

I won't lie to you, this was more work than I anticipated that it would be, but still nothing outrageous. I think the Styrofoam cone I bought was unusually hard, so getting the toothpicks in and out was a challenge. Most cones aren't like that, in my experience. 

Also, a little tip...no matter how tempting it will be to first stick the fruit on the toothpick and then stick it into the Styrofoam, don't do it. That's a surefire way to stab yourself in the finger when the toothpick shoots out the other side of the fruit your holding. It hurts. Take my word for it. 

This is also why it takes a little time. positioning the toothpicks, sticking fruit on, and then realizing you need to re-position it and having to pull it all off/out and do it again. Of course, you could always use more parsley throughout the tree to fill in any gaps. I wish I'd have thought about that while I was making my tree. 

I started at the bottom and worked up my up and around, but I'm sure you could start at the top and work down just as well. Whatever you decided to do, just allow yourself the time to work on it, so you don't get in a rush and wind up frustrated. 

It's definitely worth the time and effort it takes, because the end result is not only beautiful, but delicious and a great healthy option for the holidays!

Christmas Fruit Tree

What you will need:
  • 1 Styrofoam cone (they make various sizes, so choose depending on your desired size - I used a smaller one, about 8" tall)
  • Toothpicks (have plenty on hand)
  • Assorted fruits (I used a pint of strawberries, green grapes, a 6 oz carton of blackberries, cantaloupe - scooped with a melon baller - and 3 kiwi)
  • cilantro of parsley for the base garnish (and throughout if you like)

How to assemble:
  1. Starting at the bottom (or top, if you prefer), place toothpicks into the tree, and place fruit on them. Alternate the fruit so you have a good variety and not one kind all bunched together. Place them as close as you can to avoid seeing through to the cone. Or alternately, you can place cilantro or parsley in-between to fill any gaps.
  2. Work your way around the tree until the cone is covered and your beautiful fruit tree masterpiece is complete. Place your garnish on the bottom of your desired serving dish or plate, and top with the fruit tree. Place as a centerpiece or snack table decoration, and watch it be devoured!

Friday, December 11, 2015

What's Baking: Double Chocolate Biscotti with Sea Salt

Happy Friday, friends!! It's been a loooong week, but what better way to end it than sharing these little bars of happiness??

Double Chocolate Biscotti with Sea Salt

For our What's Baking challenge this month, hosted by Colleen of The Redhead Baker, we are all making biscotti!!! Do you know just how many different kinds of biscotti there are? Like, eighty bagillion. Seriously. It's cray. 

I actually made three different varieties to share with my co-workers this week, but this was the overall favorite. I'm not typically a biscotti fan (gasp!) because I don't particularly care for crunchy cookie-type desserts. I'm more of a soft 'n' chewy cookie kinda gal. 

BUT. These particular biscotti are not excessively hard and crunchy. They're crispy, but easy to bite into so you don't feel like you'll break your jaw trying. Oh. And they're chocolate. Double chocolate. Dark chocolate, dipped in milk chocolate. Sprinkled with sea salt. Um. Yes, please. 

Double Chocolate Biscotti

I'd actually never made biscotti before so I had no idea what I was getting myself into making one batch, let alone three!! But, these are actually very easy to make. The dough comes together quickly and the bulk of the time is in the baking, cooling, and baking again. Make sure you carve out about an hour of time that you'll be home and able to deal with these, but the active time is less than 10 minutes. 

Biscotti make great gifts, they ship well, and store well for a week or so. But...unless you are making the ahead of time for something, they won't be around that long!!


Double Chocolate Biscotti with Sea Salt

Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour, you can also use all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sugar, for sprinkling
  • 12 oz milk or semi-sweet chocolate or bark, melted
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (with rack in center) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a larget bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes, or until the butter is pale in color. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat for another minute or two--scraping down the bowl with a spatula to incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, in batches, until well mixed and a smooth dough has formed.  
  5. Divide dough in half, and roll each half into a 12" log.-Place both  rolls on the prepared baking sheet, with an inch or two in between for spreading, and use your hands to flatten and shape each into a 3"-4" wide, 3/4"-1" thick rectangle (still 12" long)
  6. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and bake for 25 minutes, or until the logs are firm to the touch. Remove from oven (but leave it on) and allow to cool on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. 
  7. Remove to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to cut each log into 3/4" pieces (across the short side, so you'll have 3"-4" x 3/4" pieces.)
  8. Place the pieces, flat back onto the baking sheet, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely before dipping into chocolate. 
  9. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate for 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds a at a time until mostly melted. Stir with a spoon until completely melted. Place chocolate in a shallow wide dish (I also melted mine in this dish to save dirtying and extra dish,etc. Mine was microwave safe - I recommend doing this if possible.) 
  10. Dip one flat side of the biscotti into the chocolate, coating about half way, and then lay on wax paper or your cooled parchment baking sheet, chocolate side up. Repeat with remaining biscotti. 
  11. Once the melted chocolate has cooled a bit, but is not hardened yet, sprinkle with sea salt. 
  12. Allow chocolate to cool and harden and then store in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Citrus and Herb Baked Chicken and Veggies

Recently J and I decided to plan a last minute trip the week after Christmas. You see, I have a pretty sweet gig at work and every year at Christmas time we all get either the week of Christmas or the week of New Year's off. This year, for the first time, I am taking the second week off so I will be off 12 days straight. Hallelujah! J is a ski-fanatic and has been dying to go for a loooong time, so we're going to take a road trip to Colorado to go skiing for a few days.

However, trying to book such a trip just a few weeks out proved to be a little challenging. Because, you know, most people plan in advance and most lodging was already booked. But alas, we finally found a place and booked it  yesterday. Squee!! Of course, I say that but I've never skied and I hate cold weather so...yeah. That's love for ya right there. I am excited about taking a little vacation, though. And, the plan is for me to take ski lessons, though my less-than-graceful self is a little terrified that I'll go tumbling down a snowy mountain. But by-golly, I'll give it a try. If I hate it or I can't take the cold, I'm quite sure I can find other things to do while my hubby skis to his heart's content. Spa day, anyone??

One part of our search criteria for lodging was a place that had a kitchen. Because yes, we are going on vacation, but no we don't want to eat out for every meal. J usually says that he'd rather eat my cooking that any restaurant anyways. "It's not Jaidy cookin'" is usually the response if I ask him how something is at a restaurant. Isn't he the sweetest?? We won't be planning anything elaborate, and the place we got doesn't actually have an oven, but does have stove-top burners, which should be juuust fine. Simple is better since we don't want to spend a lot of time cooking, but we do want good, home-cooked meals.

Citrus Baked Chicken & Veggies

I love meals that dirty up very few dishes. One pot meals, crock-pot meals, and casserole-type dishes. This is one of those meals. Throw everything in a casserole dish, pour a tasty sauce over the top, and pop it in the oven for half an hour or so. Dinner is served. It doesn't get much simpler than that, folks.

And when the sauce is chock full of citrus juice and herbs, there's no doubt that it's going to taste amazing. I opted to sub butternut squash for the potatoes the recipe originally called for because I had some that I needed to use up and it sounded like it would go great with the chicken and green beans.

Boy was it!! J and I both gobbled this dish up and had leftovers for lunch the next day! You can always use red potatoes or sweet potatoes in place of the butternut squash, but I strongly suggest giving it a try as-is, first!!

Citrus and Herb Baked Chicken and Veggies
Adapted from The Rustic Willow

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large lemons, one juiced one sliced
  • 2 naval oranges, one juiced one sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups trimmed green beans

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, garlic, honey, Italian seasoning, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken to a 9x13 baking dish, then add the butternut squash and green beans and distribute evenly in the dish and around the chicken. 
  4. Pour the olive oil mixture over the top, making sure to coat each piece of chicken well. 
  5. Sprinkle thyme over the chicken and add rosemary springs to the dish.
  6. Place the orange and lemon slices around the chicken pieces and throughout the dish. 
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are roasted and softened. 
  8. Remove from oven and serve!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Venison Steak Diane

With Thanksgiving a couple of weeks behind us and Christmas fast approaching, my mind is in super planning mode and super baking mode. Which makes life a little difficult since we are in the midst of our 24-Day Challenge, and sugary treats are not on the approved foods list. I took a hefty batch of Christmas goodies to work today. Three different kinds of biscotti. And I ate none of them. That's some will power, y'all. Instead I am focusing on cooking healthy meals and looking forward to finishing the challenge strong and being able to indulge a little bit once Christmas is here.

Venison Steak Diane 2

As of  Sunday night, J has now brought home 3 deer this season so far. Our freezer is plenty full and I am once again rounding up recipes that I can use to make the most of our haul. I found this recipe awhile back and couldn't wait to make it. And, you guys...holy moly. The sauce for this recipe is one of the most amazing sauces you will ever taste. No joke. J loves it and we are ready to put it back on the menu. Repeats aren't that prevalent for us since I'm always trying or coming up with new recipes, so for something to be so good that we both want it again right away, that means it's something pretty spectacular.

I don't even know how to describe the sauce...the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and coconut milk all come together, with the beef broth to form a rich, creamy, and slightly tangy sauce that will punch you in the mouth. In a good way. 

Venison Steak Diane

If you have a freezer full of venison, or someone has gifted you a nice piece of backstrap, you must try this recipe. MUST. And for those of you who are not venison eaters, you could also use beef or lamb loin.

Venison Steak Diane
Slightly modified from Hunter Angler Gardner Cook

Ingredients
  • 1 lb venison back strap, cut into 1/2" medallions
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup brandy (I used Amaretto because...that's what I had...and it worked out quite nicely)
  • 1/2 cup venison stock or beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, not low fat)
  • 2 Tbsp curly parsley, chopped for garnish

Preparation
  1. Season venison medallions with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  2. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for about 90 seconds, or until melted. Add the venison, in a single layer, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked to your desired doneness. Remove the venison to a plate and keep warm.
  3. Add the shallots to the saute pan and cook for 1 minute, until slightly softened, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the brandy (or Amaretto...) and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Let the brandy cook down almost to a glaze, then add the stock, tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. 
  5. Cook on high heat until thickened enough that if you drag a wooden spoon across the pan it leaves a trail behind that doesn't fill in for a second or two, about 3 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the boiling subside. Stir in the coconut milk until the sauce is as light as you like. 
  7. Add the venison medallions into the sauce and turn to coat. Serve with parsley as a garnish, if desired. 



Friday, December 4, 2015

Baked Salmon with Arugula Asiago Pesto

Hiiiiiiii, friends!! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and that you are recovered from the food coma that came with it. I know J and I ate way more turkey and fixins than we wish we had. And the scale made sure to tell us so. That jerk.

Anywho...we had already made plans to start a 24-Day Challenge after Thanksgiving weekend, and we were more than ready. We are on day 5 of the cleanse phase currently and I'm already down 4 pounds! Wooohooo!! And the beauty of it, is that we don't really have to make any drastic changes to the way we eat, since we already eat pretty healthy most of the time. Like this lovely little salmon, for example.

Arugula Asiago Pesto Salmon

Now, this meal was made pre-challenge, so the little wine glass accompaniment would be the only part we couldn't have right now. But the salmon, asparagus, couscous (not pictured) are all perfect healthy and acceptable. Sure, no alcohol and no sugar, but those are small things to cut out when you consider all the good food we are still "allowed" to eat. I don't know about you, but I don't do well with being told I "can't" do or have things. I tend to get that defiant and rebellious streak that makes me only want to do/have those specific things 24/7. Am I alone in this??

I will admit that it's a little harder during the holiday season to do a challenge like this, with all the holiday parties, etc. leading up to Christmas. I've had to turn down some invitations to events I do annually because...lead me not into temptation, right?

The small sacrifices will be worth the big results in 19 more days though, no doubt. And, as I mentioned before, we still get to eat great food!! Not only is salmon chock full of omega-3's, but this particular dish has a pesto made of arugula(!), walnuts, garlic, and Asiago cheese. Uh. Yum. Oh, and it's marinated in this pesto plus some white wine. Mmm. Wine.

But I digress. 

Arugula Pesto Salmon

Simple ingredients, easy preparation, and quick cooking time. You can have a full, healthy meal on your table in less than 20 minutes!! What more can you ask for, folks? And this one comes at an especially good time since we all just indulged ourselves half to death a week ago. A nice light meal is exactly what most of us need.

Baked Salmon with Arugula Asiago Pesto
As seen on Everyday Dishes

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz each)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation
  1. Combine arugula, garlic, cheese, olive oil, and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside ½ cup of pesto for later use.
  2. Mix the remaining pesto and the wine in a large resealable plastic bag, add the salmon, seal and turn to make sure salmon is sufficiently covered with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. 
  4. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side down. Season with salt and pepper, and bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness, or until salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. 
  5. Serve salmon with the reserved marinade spooned over the top and your favorite sides. We had asparagus and couscous with ours. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Roasted and Stuffed Acorn Squash

Happy Tuesday, friends!! It's been a minute since I last posted, sorry about that!! I've been waiting - no dying - to share this recipe with you guys. It's kinda Aca-Awesome, if ya know what I mean.

Please tell me you know what I mean...

Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash

I know everyone is in super-prep Thanksgiving mode since it's, ya know, in TWO days and all. We'll be heading to my Mama's house tomorrow evening to help her prep and prepare all the good eats. I get off work early tomorrow (wooot!) so I will cook my contributions then - butternut squash and cranberry pilaf, balsamic and honey roasted beets, pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies, and hopefully, pumpkin bread rolls.

I'm starting to (finally) get into the holiday spirit a little more. Not sure what has me so bah humbug this year, but I'm ready to shake it off and get into my usual holiday happy mode!! Ooh! I went to a Christmas shopping bazaar thingy with one of  my besties this weekend and got the cutest apron. I can not wait to wear it whilst baking all the cookies and treats over the next few weeks. Maybe that's all I needed to jump start the holiday cheer...a cute new apron. Who'd have thunk it??

Maybe that, and the fact that we finally had a real cold snap. Like, down to 30 degrees cold. J built fires over the weekend and it finally felt more like holiday season. Of course it'll be back up into the 70s starting today. 

Roasted & Stuffed Acorn Squash

Now I guess you want me to tell you about the delicious little squash bowls, eh? J and I had never had acorn squash before. I saw this recipe and it sounded good, and we like butternut squash, so it seemed worth a shot.

You guys. OMG. Acorn squash is amazing. It's even more amazing when you roast it, and stuff it with turkey, tomatoes, beans, and orange zest. The orange zest gave it the most amazing punch of citrusy flavor, but the squash was so buttery delicious, and the seasonings were perfectly autumn-esque. But that orange zest, y'all. That's no joke.

Oh, and just in time for turkey day...you could so easily substitute leftover turkey for the ground turkey...just stir the seasonings in with the rice and beans and then add some shredded turkey and call it the most amazing turkey leftovers eva. You're welcome.

Roasted and Stuffed Acorn Squash
As seen on The Cozy Apron

Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ onion, finely diced
  • ¼ lb ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, divided use
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • zest of 1 orange 
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese

Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray. 
  2. Cut the bottom point of each acorn squash off with a sharp knife, to create a flat bottom. YOu only need to take that small point off, so the bottom is flat but solid, you don't want to cut too far and cut into the center of the squash. Then cut your squash in half crosswise - so that you top and bottom of the squash are the halves. Scoop out the "guts" (seeds and stringy part of the squash) and discard. 
  3. Drizzle each of the 4 halves with olive oil (about a teaspoon each), season with salt and pepper, and place on the prepared baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast for about 35 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender. Remove from the oven (leave the oven on), and allow the squash to cool enough to be handled. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the ground turkey and brown, stirring and breaking it up. 
  5. Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.Cook for an additional minute, then remove from the heat. 
  6. If your skillet it large enough, stir in the remaining ingredients, except the cheese and stir to combine. If your skillet is not large enough, combine the turkey and remaining ingredients except the cheese in a large bowl and stir to combine. 
  7. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, turn them over so the cut side is facing up, and fill each half with the turkey mixture. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of cheese on top of each filled squash and place back in the oven, until the cheese is nice and melted. This will only take a couple of minutes. Serve immediately with a nice side salad!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Smoked Gruyere Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Ohhhh, the weather outside is frightful...

Smoked Gruyere Butternut Soup with Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

And I really wish that Mother Nature would pick a season. What they say about Texas really is true, y'all. It can be 30 degrees one day, and 80 the next. Or even better...40 degrees in the morning and near-80 in the afternoon. Boo.

I'm ready for boots and sweaters, fire place fires at home, soup and hot cocoa and hot apple cider all.the.time. And for no more mosquitoes. Seriously. It's mid-November and I'm still getting eaten alive.  Over. It.

Thankfully we have had some cooler snaps, so I've been able to make some delicious soup and not sweat while I'm eating it. That's a plus, eh?

And this soup...omgoodness. I've had it pinned to make for...a long time. Like, since last year. And even put it on the menu a time or two. And finally - finally - it made it's way into existence in my kitchen. I was a little worried since it's a vegetarian soup and J usually wants meat with every meal. You know, protein and all that jazz. BUT...he loved it!!! He was especially fond of the crispy, spicy chickpeas.

The soup was smooth and creamy and full of all-flavors. Um...nutmeg y'all. Yep. Just a hint, but the perfect complimentary spice for the butternut squash. It screams fall. Now if Mother Nature would just get on board and scream it too. And this is coming from a summer baby who loves the heat, so you  know it's serious up in hurr.

Anywho...hopefully wherever you live has actual seasons and it's cooler than 78 degrees so you can fully enjoy the bliss that is this soup.

Smoked Gruyere Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
As seen on How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 oz smoked gruyere cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions

For the spicy roasted chickpeas

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas (drained, rinsed and dried with a paper towel)
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, line a baking sheet with foil, and set aside. 
  2. Place the paper-towel dried chickpeas in a medium bowl, add the olive oil and seasonings, and toss to evenly coat.  Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and shake or stir the chickpeas around to prevent burning, then return to the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes, until nice and crispy. Set aside until soup is ready. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and red pepper flakes and stir to coat in the oil and butter. Saute about 5 minutes, until onions are slightly softened. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
  4. Now, stir in the squash cubes, salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg and stir to coat. 
  5. Cover the pot and cook until the squash has softened slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock into the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the squash is completely tender, about 8-10 more minutes.
  6. Once tender, you have two options: 1) Use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup right there in the pot! or 2) pour the contents, in several batches, into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth, then return to the pot over medium-low heat. 
  7. Add the grated cheese, a handful at a time, and stir until melted. Then add the coconut milk and stir until warmed through. 
  8. Serve up the soup topped with a scoop of chickpeas, chopped green onions, and an extra drizzle of coconut milk. 

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