Zucchini Carrot Bread

I wanted to bake something new, delicious, and mostly healthy today, so I set out on a crusade to find something. Half way through trolling the web, I remembered I had half a zucchini left, and my dad had bought a ridiculous amount of carrots that needed using up (seriously, like 6 bags), so I started looking around for a carrot zucchini bread, and I lucked out, finding an awesome recipe on the Betty Crocker website! It’s super moist, super flavourful, full ‘o veggies, and half whole wheat (I think it would be just as good full whole wheat, but I have a weird palate), so it’s not a bad snack at all!

IMG_20140507_160723

It’s meant to be baked in 8×4 inch bread pan for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, but I wanted to try baking it in a large cake pan, to make for slice thin bars and a shorter cooking time, and it worked so well!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

It’s super easy to throw together!  Begin by preheating your oven to 350 F, and greasing your desired pan*.

Put your shredded veggies, sugar, oil and egg into a bowl and whisk together.

image (1)

Next, mix in the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and ground cloves (feel free to add more or less spices, depending on how much flavour you want, I added a little more clove) until combined.

image (3)

*Spread into a flat cake pan, about 9×12 inches, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Mine is a silicone pan so it didn’t have to be greased at all.

OR

*Pour into a 8×4 inch loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour-1hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

image (2)

My family and I (*cough* my sister and I *cough*) ate the first batch so fast that I had to bake another batch the same night! I recommend cutting off the four corner and hiding them, if you’re the baker! They’re crunchy and 100% the best part 😉

image

 

-Happy Cooking!

Skinny Scones

Scones aren’t exactly a health-food, but made this way, they aren’t half bad! These scones are low-fat, very lightly sweetened, and half whole wheat. Plus, they’ve got delicious blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants, as I’m sure everyone is aware of now :P. You can substitute other berries for the blueberries, or apple chunks, or even chocolate chips as the original recipe from Skinny Taste calls for, but blueberries just seem right in this recipe to me!

Image

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chilled butter (must be cold) cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (preferably fresh, but I used frozen and they worked fine)
  • cooking spray (or cornmeal)
  • a couple tbsp milk (optional)
  • a couple tbsp sugar (optional)

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 F, and either spraying a baking sheet with cooking spray, or dusting it with cornmeal, which is what I opted for. I also used my baking tile.

Whisk the buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, and egg together in a medium bowl, and set aside. Whisk together both types of flour, baking powder and salt, then cut in the butter until the resembles fine crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries, then stir in the milk mixture, just until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead the dough a few times, being careful not to over work it. Form the dough into a 9 inch circle on the baking sheet, and then cut the dough into eight wedges (or twelve, if you want to be responsible :P). You can brush them with milk to promote browning if you would like, as well as sprinkle them with sugar.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes. When a wooden skewer comes out of the centre of one of the scones clean, they’re done.

Image

-Happy Cooking!

Healthy Brownies

No. I am 100% not kidding at all. These are good for you. Honestly. Yes, I know, I was excited too!

I got them off of the lovely blog Skinny Taste, which just so happens to be the first food blog I ever read, or subscribed to! It’s wonderful. With healthy things. Go check it out! I owe my discovery of this recipe to that blog.

I wasn’t too sceptical when I saw that these brownies called for black beans, because I am a firm believer that food is magical, and you can do insane things with it. My mum, however, was a bit sceptical, and my dad got a rather comical look on his face when I told him of my plans to make them. I didn’t even tell my sister anything more than, “DUDE, I made brownies!” because I wanted her to actually eat them. She’s out at the mo and I couldn’t resist putting this up immediately, so I’ve not got her feed back yet, but I have mine, and holy mother of food, these things are good. They totally and completely do NOT taste healthy. They taste like really good brownies. 

Please don’t judge me for immediately eating two.

Image

 

I can’t keep y’all waiting. Here’s the ridiculously easy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk (or dairy, skim)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and spray a  9 x 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray. I didn’t have one, so I used a weird oval kind of casserole dish. 

Blend everything except the chocolate chips in a blender or food processor.

Image

See? Beans!

Transfer to a bowl, and then fold in half of the chocolate chips. Then pour the batter into your sprayed pan. Sprinkle the other half of the choco chips on top of the batter. I was stunned with how smooth this turned out, and how delicious the batter was. I totally did not lick the spatula and bowl. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Image

 

Bake them for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. It took me nearly 40 minutes, because my dish was a little smaller, therefore deeper, andthicker, and because my oven is… challenged. Let’s go with challenged.

Look how beautifully they turned out!

Image

 

Please, for your sake, let them cool completely before you cut into them. I would even go so far as to chill them in the fridge for an hour or two. I was too impatient, and cut in and got scraggly lines. I didn’t care, they were ridiculously good.

Image

See the scraggly lines? My impatience will be the death of me one day. Especially with desserts. *sigh*

I can’t wait to give these to my sister. I am going to watch her enjoy one with gusto, and then tell her that they contain black beans. She will eat chickpeas, she will eat navy beans, but she will not eat black beans. Hey, don’t feel bad for her, she told me to disguise veggies in things, because she won’t eat them otherwise. The way I see it, this is an extension of that! I’m a good little sister, really.

Try these! You’ll be glad you did.

-Happy Cooking!

Spinach Berry Smoothie (And Some Pictures to Make You Jealous)

Look where my run took me today! How ridiculously lucky am I to have grown up enjoying island life, and am now enjoying it again?

This post has a lot of chatting, as with all my others. Skip to the end if you just want the recipe! I won’t feel bad.

Image

 

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, very freely, that I am not in very good shape at all. The heaviest thing I can lift is probably a pot of soup. I’m not kidding. ButI’ve been working out everyday since I got home, and I plan to remedy that. I usually rely on walking and yoga for exercise, because I’m in such bad shape that anything else is completely awful (like running :(), but I really just need to run sometimes. Cardio is just necessary.

I felt that hardcore today, after making another batch of éclairs. Yes, my dad ate seven between yesterday afternoon and 10 am this morning. Don’t judge, we have fast metabolisms in this family (and he forgets to eat during the day most of the time, so some decadence is okay).

Now, I felt the need to run because of two reasons: 

  1. I was tasting as I went along with these éclairs to make sure they turned out right, and I got a seriously unhealthy amount of sugar in me from making sweet vanilla whipped cream.
  2. When I get frazzled (which often happens in the kitchen when other people are hanging over me, or something isn’t working), I get adrenaline rushes.

These two things combined gave me a serious case of shaky hands and pent up energy. When I feel that, I go for runs! Even if they’re short, they help. That’s how I ended up at this lovely place which my family and I call Fishy Pools (because there are little tide pools), but the rest of the sane world calls L’anse Aux Epines Point. It’s so beautiful there, and if you go prepared with towels and a swim suit on a rough day, you can have serious fun at the blow holes. 

Even though I had a sugar high, I knew I needed actual nutrients for a run, so I had a smoothie before I went. I think it was delicious, but I understand that it may not be for everybody.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 c almond milk, and 1/2 c 2%, because I prefer almond milk but it doesn’t have as much protein as regular milk)
  • 1 cup frozen fruit (I like mixed berries, but I made it with peaches for a friend once and they loved it)
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach (I pack it a bit, but go easy if you’re not a veggie fan)

Blend in a blender of your choice. I swear by my magic bullet. 

Image

 

I can’t taste the spinach in this, I swear. Nor can a couple of my sister’s friends who I made this for. My parents, however, could, and didn’t like it. I find this to be a delicious, refreshing smoothie, which I feel super awesome drinking because I know how good for my body it is. I have no problem getting my veggies in, because I love veggies, but if you’re not fond of them, disguise them in a fruity smoothie. It works, guys.

Anyway, here’s another jealousy inducing photo:

Image

 

-Happy Cooking!

 

Vegan Whole Wheat Oat Bread

Bread time! Vegan bread, time. To be honest, it’s only vegan out of necessity, but hey, I like vegan, so I’m good with that. I don’t keep regular milk in the house, so my almond milk would have to do for this.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, took me no time to put together, and allowed me to smell freshly baking bread (which is even better than eating bread in my opinion… go ahead, call me crazy).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (or soy–or 2%, if you aren’t interested in vegan)
  • 1/2 packet of yeast (about 1.25 tsp)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 and a 1/4 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour (additional for kneading)
  • 1/4 cup of oatmeal (plus additional for sprinkling on top, optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (optional, but I think it would be lovely with a bread for dinner, or a healthy lunch sandwich)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan to no more than 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). Sprinkle the yeast over-top and let stand until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 5 minutes; stir in the sugar.

Whisk the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour the milk mixture into the well. Stir until the dough has pulled together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes should do it.Image

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (80 to 95 F) until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Image

My warm place happened to be my NOT TURNED ON oven.

Image

Image

The size it was, post 45 minute rising.

Grease a 8×4-inch loaf pan. Deflate the dough (I just gave mine a good punch in the centre, strangely therapeutic :P) and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Shape it into a loaf and let it rest for 10 minutes. Place into the prepared pan, brush with the tiniest bit of olive oil (or honey, if you want a sweeter bread), then sprinkle with a tiny bit of oats and pat them into the surface gently (UPDATE: you can most definitely go for olive oil or honey as a topping and get a wonderful flavour, but neither makes anything stick. To see what does, see my post on experimenting with bread). Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Image

Preheat an oven to 350 F, then bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Image

IMG_20140228_212315

Does this not look amazing?! I expected it to be more dense, but it turned out pleasantly light and crusty. A truly scrumptious vegan bread.

-Happy Cooking!

Yoghurt Berry Explosion

I have, pretty much, the biggest sweet tooth in existence. I’m being serious here, it’s ridiculous. However, I’m quite good at finding food which is decently healthy, but can still kick your sweet-tooth’s butt, so I’m not too worried 😛 This is probably my favourite snack…dessert, breakfast, whenever you want to eat it, it’s goooooood.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 4 tbsp non-fat plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp raspberry jam

NOTE: this recipe is really versatile, these are just the ingredients I chose. You can switch them out for any other type of frozen berries and jam, or go for flavoured Greek yoghurt and skip the jam. This is just my favourite flavour combination. You do, however, need frozen berries to get this consistency. When they thaw a little bit, they release liquid which thins out the Greek yoghurt a bit.

Method:

Put the frozen berries in microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds. Spoon the yoghurt and jam over the berries, and stir until well mixed.

Very simple, healthy, high in protein because of the use of Greek yoghurt, and really sweet and delicious.

Image

 

Frozen blueberries release that crazy purple colour, which I find wonderfully girly! 

-Happy Cooking!

Healthy Granola Bars

I LOVE GRANOLA BARS. A lot. They’re delicious and crunchy and portable, but the store bought ones, while delicious (Nature Valley Oats ‘n’ Honey Crunchy Granola Bars, anyone?? I would eat only those for the rest of my life if I could), are usually pretty sugar laden. So, I searched and searched to find a recipe that made a low sugar recipe, and even when I did, I still had to modify it a bit. So I give you, the healthiest, yummiest granola bars I could find 🙂

Image

I put cashews in mine, because they’re my favourite type of nuts and I buy tubs of them in bulk, but you can use whatever nuts or seeds you like, or leave them out! I do sometimes. The bars alone are delicious 😀

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or vegan margarine if you would prefer)
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (If I’m out of eggs I use about 3 tbsp of non-fat plain greek yogurt, or 3 tbsp of unsweetened applasauce)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews*

*You can replace these with other nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, dried fruit of any kind, coconut… really, go nuts and personalize these to suit your taste 🙂

Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 9×9 inch pan with foil, so that some comes up over the edges for easy removal. Spray the pan lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, with a mixer (or a rubber spatula if you don’t want to pull out a mixer) cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed.  Then beat in the egg (or chosen substitute) followed by the apple sauce and vanilla extract.

Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the cashews (or whatever you are using in their place).

Spoon oats onto prepared baking dish, flattening to make an even layer . Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges. Do it this way if you prefer chewier bars, but I prefer them a bit crunchier, so I leave them in for an extra two minutes (27 in total).

Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting them, otherwise you will have a hard time cutting them (which should be done with a long serrated knife). You can either do 16 bars like I did, or sixteen squares. Or 8 large bars or squares 😀

-Happy Cooking!