Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sneaky... Zucchini Bread

Getting children to eat their vegetables is often a challenge for moms; finding those tried-and-true recipes that sneak vegetables in, and plenty of them are a saviour when you're faced with complete refusal and crying fits during dinner. Although, it was a case of necessity in my kids' early years, I've always believed in the virtue of them being able to recognize the vegetables they were eating. This would foster healthy eating habits and let them appreciate their individual sensory components such as taste and texture. I have been very fortunate after years of constantly having them show up in their meals whether they liked it or not, that all three mostly enjoy eating them now in their whole form glory. 

I came across this wonderful zucchini bread recipe in a health magazine that caught my eye. It was a recipe from How To Feed A Family cookbook written by the founders of Sweet Potato Chronicles. I recall in my formative years in the test kitchens at Kraft, when we used to brainstorm ideas for the ever in-demand topic of Picky Eaters. Time and time again, zucchini bread but with chocolate chips always came out on top. We made and tasted it, but it never really resonated with me. Perhaps, because I didn't have kids then, and didn't have to resort to eating such a healthy kind of bread. But now, these kind of baked goods connect with me in a comfort kind of way. Being such a busy mom, its not just increasing the vegetable intake of my kids but also my own. And it tastes great too! Here is my adapted version:

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used a 120g peach yogurt since I didn't have Greek or plain)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (1 large), do not strain water
1/2 cup grated carrot (1 small)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan. Use your toaster oven to save electricity;
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dried ingredients;
3) In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients up to vanilla extract in recipe. Add the dry mixture to the wet and combine;
4) Stir in the remaining ingredients until everything is evenly distributed throughout the batter;
5) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning loaf out onto a rack to cool completely.

The batter will be thick, but once you add the zucchini the water in it will moisten things up and make stirring smoother.

The whole house smelled like cinnamon and carrot cake. The bread was moist with a nice crunchy crust. Visibly, the bread was gorgeous, speckled with red and purple hues and orange and green flecks. The taste was delicious- nicely spiced and sweet, just right.

The kids easily devoured their piece and the next, having zucchini bread for the first time, and it's a keeper.. even Mr. Happy was happy! 

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