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Category: Breads and Muffins

Well, the snow is sticking around up in my hometown and it’s getting darn chilly here in Vancouver. Time to dust off the slow cooker!

Some things don’t go over well with me when it comes to slow cooking foods. I need the right recipe. I don’t like it when all the vegetables start to taste the same and get all mushy. That being said, there are many fabulous recipes out there. They usually revolve around he same theme: warm, hearty and they pair well with fresh, hot biscuits!

biscuits

Pizza Muffins!

COMMENT

The time has come, summer is over and it’s back to school!

Parents with kids going into kindergarten aren’t quite ready to let go yet and every other parent is counting down the days with big red X’s on the calendar!

Whether you want them to go or not, you still, sadly, have to pack their lunch.

So, what to pack?

I LOVE brunch.

Although, going out for good brunch in Vancouver usually involves long line ups! Sometimes brunch at home is just easier, healthier and cheaper!

I had the pleasure of having my lovely friend, Lindsay, over for brunch and I wanted to make something special for her, but I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping. So, this recipe stemmed from ingredients I had on hand – the best type of recipe if you ask me!

bread pudding

Need I say more?….

I will, just in case the title didn’t convince you to make this!

I actually made this recipe last weekend, but have been too busy to post it, so I have been eating it all week! Which has worked out to your benefit because now I know just how AMAZING this recipe is. I go to bed at night excited to eat it in the morning. It’s definitely a dietitian-approved dessert for breakfast type of meal!

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Once it’s baked I leave a few slices out and throw the rest in the freezer for fabulous weekday breakfasts. I usually prepare it the night before, especially if I am taking a frozen piece out of the freezer. How I eat it depends on if I want something hot or cold in the morning:

Option 1. Put a slice in a glass container, top with berries. Refrigerate. In the morning top up with vanilla/chocolate silk soy milk (or other milk), heat in the microwave until warm. Top with nuts, hemp, flax, chia seeds etc.

Option 2. Put a slice in a glass container, top with berries and fresh/canned peaches (sometimes I pour the canned peach juice in too), top with yogurt, nuts etc.  Refrigerate. It’s ready to go in the am!

It’s a rock hard, brown lump in your cupboard. What is it? … brown sugar of course!

You can microwave it, you can put a slice of bread or apple in with it …. or you can just stop buying brown sugar and make your own! It’s cheaper, easy to do and you never have to worry about your brown sugar going hard. All you have to do is mix in about 1 tbsp of molasses for every 1 cup of white sugar. Sprinkle the molasses all over the sugar, mix well with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to just rub it all together if there’s spots not mixed in.

Depending on how dark you like your brown sugar you can add another tbsp of molasses. Personally, I use blackstrap molasses. It’s high in minerals (including iron) and it has a nice complex flavor. Well, I think so anyway, but it may be an acquired taste.

Molasses is what’s left over when the sugar crystals are extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane juice. The first extraction yields molasses which is still quite sweet and is called “first molasses.’’ Boiling molasses and crystallizing sugar out of it again leaves “second molasses’’ and if you do it again, it is called “third molasses,’’ or “blackstrap molasses.’’

Now the best part of this recipe is the broiled icing. It’s much easier than making traditional icing and you don’t have to let the loaf cool to ice it. This icing keeps the loaf so moist and adds a nice crunch. My cooking lab professor in university told be about this icing recipe in the Joy of Cooking two years ago and I have been wanting to make it every since. I’m so sad I waited so long! This icing is AMAZING. I’m going to try the coconut version of it on carrot cake next!

Feel free to play around with the spices in this loaf. I just guesstimated the spices I used the best I could. I brought the loaf  — if I call it loaf and not cake that makes it better for me right? — into work the next day and all the dietitians were raving about it, demanding the recipe and left me none to take back home!  How rude.

apple sauce loaf

Applesauce Spice Loaf with Broiled Icing

Ingredients:

adapted from all-recipies

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp (or up to 2, if you love it like me) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4  tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Optional: chopped nuts, raisins (I usually leave these out)

Broiled Icing

recipe from The Joy of Cooking

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream (I just used milk since I had it)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts  (pecans, almonds or walnuts) and/or shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

Applesauce Spice Loaf

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; stir into the applesauce mixture until well blended. Add some chopped nuts or raisins if you like! Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a tooth pick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Broiled Icing

  1. Place your oven rack 5-8 inches or so below the element and turn the broiler on.
  2. Combine all icing ingredients and stir until smooth.
  3. Spread all of the icing on the loaf while still warm (make sure it doesn’t all go out to the sides)
  4. Broil until the icing is starting to brown and bubbling all over, the longer you broil it the crunchier the topping gets but be very careful not to burn it (watch it closely- it only takes a few minutes!) – you may have to shift the pan a few times to make it even

Completely cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack (I let it sit out overnight).  This loaf is the best a day or so after baking… it just keeps getting moister!

Enjoy! :)

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are, by far, my favorite lunch/breakfast in a pinch. The flavor combo cannot be beat, especially if you have that perfectly ripe banana (the first day all the green is gone). I much prefer slightly under ripe bananas to over ripe…unless they are for banana ice cream!

I always get weird looks when I go to the grocery store because I usually pick 1 banana from  4 or so different bunches, all about 1 day riper than the next. That way every day you have a perfectly ripe banana! …. Yes, I know I’m a crazy foodie… but it’s a good idea right?!

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By now you may begin to understand my obsession with bananas, so you can only imagine how excited I was to come across this recipe for yeasted banana bread. Before I owned the Spilling the Beans cookbook I used to go to Chapters just to read the recipes in it. I would sit and secretly(or not so secretly) take pictures of all the recipes I couldn’t wait to make, including this one! …. I know, crazy foodie in me coming out again.

This bread is heavenly. You get that delicious, mouth watering, all-consuming smell of freshly baked bread filling your kitchen, and there’s bananas baked right in it!! Toasting it and slathering it in Nutella natural peanut butter just takes it to a whole other level. Plus, it also has beans pureed into the dough to make it an extra satisfying snack that will keep you full longer.

Have I convinced you to make it yet???? … I thought so.

Here’s the recipe…

 

yeasted-banana-bread

Yeasted Banana Bread

Source: Spilling the Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp butter (organic, grass fed is best!)
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained canned white beans (half a 19 oz can)
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 + 1/4 active dry yeast (make sure it’s not passed the best before date!)
  • 3 + 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour ( I used 1 cup WW )
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
  • course sugar for sprinkling (optional)

 

Directions: (they are long but it’s worth it!)

  • Turn the oven on to it’s lowest temperature and let it heat for 5 min, and then turn it off
  • Melt the honey and butter in a small saucepan; let cool briefly
  • Puree the bananas, beans, and honey mixture in a food processor, add the egg and process until smooth
  • Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over top and stir well
  • Add one cup of flour to the banana mixture and stir until well combined, add another cup of flour, the salt, and the cardamon and mix well. Continue adding flour, when the dough becomes too stiff to stir turn it out onto a clean counter top and knead it. Keep adding flour until the dough is smooth and not as sticky (it will be a little stickier than the standard yeast dough)
  • Wash, dry and lightly oil the bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel, and let rise in the oven until the dough is doubled in bulk, about 1.5 -2 hours (but check it earlier just in case!)
  • When the dough has risen, divide it into 3 equal portions. The dough will deflate a lot by itself but don’t hasten or further that – you want it to stay light.
  • With floured hands, form a piece into a long, thin rope (once you have it roughly oblong, hold it up and squish it down vertically – like your trying to squish water out of a rope). You’ll want each piece to be about 15 inch long.
  • Braid the ropes together, and carefully transfer the bread to a well buttered baking sheet, tucking the frayed looking ends under
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F about 45 min after this point
  • Cover the braid with a piece of parchment or oiled plastic wrap and let rise for another 1 – 1.5 hours. The dough should yield softly if you press a finger into it, and the indent should remain
  • Brush the egg wash over the bread, then sprinkle generously with course sugar (if using)
  • Bake the bread for 40-45 min in the preheated oven, until golden, when gently lifted it should sound hollow when taped on the bottom. The bottom crust will become quite browned.
  • Cool on a wire rack

ENJOY!! :)

This a great recipe for a lazy Sunday around the house, let me know how it turns out if you make it! I love to hear about your kitchen adventures.

I was so intrigued when I first heard about socca. It seemed like something I would totally love, it’s healthy, easy to make and great for bringing to parties!

socca-4

This is such a versatile little flat bread, just think of your favorite flavor combo and add it in! I tried it plain first because I was curious about the base flavor but I recommend add ins to amp it up! Fresh and dried spices, cheese(s), olives, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded zucchini (drained), caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms – you name it!

One of my favorite combos is adding sauteed mushrooms, onions and sundried tomatoes to the batter and then serving the socca cut into strips with a truffle oil dip (1/2 cup plain greek yogurt mixed with 1.5-2 tsp truffle oil and a dash of salt).

socca2

For my first attempt I made it a little thicker, kind of like an unleavened pancake, but I prefer a thinner crispier (and cheesier) socca now. You can use it as a wrap, pizza crust, flat-bread, savory crepe or use it in place of naan or a pita.

1 cup of chickpea flour has 21g of protein, 10g of fiber and 25% daily value for iron (for men, women have higher needs) and as an added bonus this flatbread is gluten free for all those with sensitivities and allergies out there!

upbeet.ca socca

Socca – Chickpea Flatbread

-1 cup chickpea flour (I found it at superstore labeled Besan)
-1 cup lukewarm water
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Add Ins and/or topping ideas

-red pepper flakes, garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika ….
-3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
-1 cup shredded zucchini (make sure to squeeze out all of the excess moisture)
-caramelized onions
-sauteed mushrooms
-shredded cheese
-olives/olive tapenade
-sundried tomatoes
-1.5 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
-sauteed greens
-shredded potato
-chutney
-fried/scrambled eggs

Instructions

1. Sift the flour and whisk together with the water, olive oil,  salt and any other preferred dried spices in a small bowl. Let rest for 1/2- 2 hours or up to 12 hours (in a pinch I have skipped the resting). Then stir in any other desired add ins.

2. Set an oven rack six inches below your oven’s broiler and turn it on. Heat a cast iron skillet or oven proof frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat.

3.  Coat the bottom of the pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Whisk the chickpea batter and then pour 1/3 – half into the hot pan. Tilt the pan to help it spread evenly if needed.

4. Cook the socca a few minutes until set and browned on the bottom. Then pop under the broiler until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown. The socca should be flexible in the middle but crispy on the edges (or however you like it… it depends on the use how crisp or flexible you want it- I prefer it crispier)

5. Slice it into wedges or squares, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little good olive oil. Top with any desired toppings or use for your favorite dip. Repeat with any remaining batter.

Best served immediately while still warm, but can be refrigerated and re-toasted for up to a week.

(Socca can also be baked in a 450 F oven. Pour batter into a hot, greased baking dish and then broiled to finish. You really can’t go wrong, experiment and cook it however you like it best!)

Avocado and Feta Scones

COMMENT

Avocado is natures butter right?

Well, I like to think so!

But, when it comes to baking, you just cant mimic the way butter melts with an avocado. However, I still love this recipe. You don’t get the same flaky texture as scones made with butter, but they are a fun twist on the traditional.

These “scones” are chalked full of scrumptious, healthy ingredients.

Find out where the word avocado originates (you may be surprised) and more interesting avocado facts here.

Avocado and Feta Scones

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/2 large ripe, but still a bit firm Avocado (or more if you like)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (heaping), crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh curled parsley
  • 1 finely chopped green onion
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
Directions:
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flax seeds
  • Grate the avocado into the flour mixture (if you are using a very soft one it might be easier to cut it in with a pastry cutter – to the size of small beads)
  • Add the cheese
  • Add the parsley, green onion, eggs and buttermilk
  • Mix, and press together into a disk shape on the counter, cut into 8 wedges
  • Space the wedges out on a greased baking sheet
  • Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.  Do not over bake.


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