Our Harry and David Gift Box

I know it is Christmas time when a Harry and David package arrives on my doorstep. As a “picky” eater (I prefer knowledgeable, but, you might call me picky) I prefer not to eat foods with ingredients such as maltodextrin, dextrose, modified stuff, BHA, BHT, natural or artificial colors or flavors, or anything else I can’t easily pronounce. So, I often give away half of my gift basket. When Harry and David improve their recipes, I will gladly indulge in their sugary sweets.
But, they do some stuff right! Like smoked salmon, Oregon cheeses, olive oil crackers, and their famous Oregon pears. Those simple ingredients made for a fast, deliciously Oregonian snack.
This is one of the only years since moving to Colorado that we will not be heading out to Oregon for the holidays, so it was fun to eat like an Oregonian for a night with wild caught smoked salmon, some Tillamook white cheddar cheese (which we had at home, as usual), some Touvelle cheese from the Rogue Creamery (which I had never tried but will now look for in Whole Foods), olive oil crackers, and Oregon pears. Harry and David included something new in our box this year- some lightly candied walnuts with an ingredient list I could have made at home. They were a fantastic addition to olive oil crackers and the two cheeses. Yum!

So, though I’d like to see some higher quality baked goods and pre-prepared foods come out of Harry and David, I understand that they are concerned more about shelf-life than a healthy-life. I get it. But, they would be such a cool company if they took out some of those junky ingredients and made things more small-batch, crafty-style. Just an idea… take it or leave it. Either way, I enjoyed what I ate.

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Walnut Muffins

Could it get any better than banana chocolate chip coconut walnut bread? Or, in this case, muffins? I made muffins because they bake so much more quickly than a loaf, and in the summer heat, that makes a big difference. Muffins are also more manageable… you can easily count how many you’ve eaten. That might not be a good thing, but this recipe is.

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda (a little less if at altitude)
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 (375 if at altitude).
As with all of my baking recipes lately, start by whipping the cream into butter. Pour the cream into your KitchenAid stand mixer and whip on speed 10 with the wire whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Then scrape down the bowl, switch to the paddle blade, and add the honey. Cream that, add the egg and vanilla, mix well, add the banana, and mix again. Easy.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (except for the nuts, coconut, and chocolate). With the mixer on a slow speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Finally, mix in the nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
I poured mine into muffin pans lined with If You Care baking cups. I like this brand because they are more environmentally friendly than your average baking cups.
My delicious muffins were done in about 20 minutes. But, make sure to check them by sticking them with a skewer or knife to be sure they’re baked all the way through. Cool on a wire rack and try to enjoy in moderation.

Walnut Pesto

This is the best time of year because fresh produce is finally growing in Colorado. I have a basil plant at home, so now I can start making fresh pesto in a pinch.

I put a cup of walnuts, a cup of basil, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, some sea salt, crushed black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil in my food processor, and in a minute had pesto. Perfecto!

Banana Maple Walnut Smoothie

This is the best drink after Bikram yoga!
A banana, some yogurt, a handful of walnuts, and a splash of maple syrup. Love it.
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