Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Carrot Zucchini Bread

After a Costco run where I picked up a bag of quinoa for $10, I commented that I had over 6 pounds of quinoa in my apartment.  A friend sent me this recipe to help me use it.  Fortunately, I had already been planning on making zucchini bread, so I had a few small zucchinis ready to be used.  However I had just used all my carrots, so I had to wait a few days before I made it to the store.  I looked at the recipe and immediate made a few changes: 3 cups of sugar?  Way too much, especially since carrots will add sweetness.  In that thread, I added a little unsweetened coconut to add a little more sweetness and texture.  Like I do with most quick breads, I used half white whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour.  I actually added a little extra flour because I thought it was too wet with the missing sugar.  I also swapped raisins for cranberries.  I added a couple tablespoons of toasted, chopped pecans and I will say I like the toasted flavor they added.  Finally, I added a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed, for the Omega-3s.  Definitely not necessary, but it makes it a bit more balanced (there is no butter or oil added and a little extra fat helps).  It turned out to be super dense (due to the added wheat flour, I presume), so if I were to make it again, I would add a couple teaspoons of baking soda.  Also, I used an 8x4 loaf pan and still had plenty more so I made a couple baby loafs.  I could have filled the initial pan more given how little it rose, though.

I'm not taking a picture because this batch was super ugly.  See the link above if you want to have a good picture of it.  One thing that is super great about this recipe is something I've really been working on: it includes veggies in a breakfast food. I love snacking on fruit, but I have to make sure vegetables are convenient and easy to eat, otherwise I skip them.  And this recipe does that well.  Also, as I mentioned, I cut 3 cups of sugar down to 1 and thought that it was sufficiently sweet.  Would it be better with more sugar?  Definitely.  But the reduced sugar makes me feel better about eating a lot at a time because after all, I'm getting my veggies, right?

Carrot Zucchini Bread

1 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 c whole wheat/white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
(I would add 2 tsp baking soda)
1 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground ginger
3 eggs
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c fat free, plain yogurt (it might be fun to play with flavors, however)
1 c grated zucchini
1 c grated carrots
1 c cooked quinoa
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/3 c unsweetened, dried coconut
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease & flour an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan and set aside.  In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including the spices, and mix well. Set aside.
2. In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the eggs, sugars and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the yogurt and mix together until fully incorporated. Next, add the grated zucchini & carrots and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture about 1/2 cup at a time, folding it in gently until smooth. Lastly, add the cooked quinoa, cranberries, coconut, flaxseed, and nuts, and mix well.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a tester that’s been inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a cold glass of milk or some hot tea, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Smitten Kitchen's Carrot soup with crisped chickpeas

It's starting to be that time of year that soup is super tasty.  My problem with soup is that I worry that I'll be hungry a few hours after eating it.  I don't think I usually have that problem, it's just something I worry about when I make delicious vegetable soups.  And I love carrot soup, so when I saw a carrot soups that is designed to be made with chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorites.  I'm just going to go ahead and give you the link, along with my approval.  What I did differently: I discovered the onions I keep on hand were not in good shape.  So I used about 10 green onions instead.  I also didn't use pita, which actually makes this a gluten free, vegan meal.  Another cool thing about this recipe: it uses all things that I always have on hand (except it uses MORE carrots than I usually have on hand).

Carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas

I will say, it's a little involved.  None of the components were difficult, but there were 3 of them.  Like I said, I skipped the pita, but the other components were definitely worth it.  A yogurt (or tahini) sauce is always delicious swirled into soup.  And the chickpeas give it a fun texture and a little protein.

Also the picture above shows my new favorite way of transporting/storing food: in Mason jars!  The seals are tight, they are reusable and dishwasher safe, and they are super cheap (compared with all the tupperware out there).  Perhaps I will include some of my salad-in-a-jar recipes I've been eating for lunch.

I'll try to post more.  I have lots of pictures of desserts I've made lately, but then I lost the recipes :-).