Double Chocolate Veggie Nut Bread (Zucchini, Carrots & Applesauce)

  • huevos rancheros, choc veggie bread 033(Becky, the Mama.)

Yes, you can have your moist, dark, chocolate cake-bread, and enjoy your health, too!

This recipe began stewing in my mind when my sister-in-law Gail came to visit.  Every morning, without fail, she has the same breakfast: a chocolate chip chocolate muffin and a Starbuck’s frappucinno.  I am not a big fan of breakfast foods, in general, but those double chocolate muffins …. oh man, they looked and smelled and tasted soooo good!

Since Gail’s muffin’ lovin’ visit,  I’ve been in search of a moist, super chocolately bread or muffin that I can feel good about eating, even for breakfast.  I came across a Cooking Light recipe for chocolate zucchini bread that used squash and applesauce to substitute for most of the oil. It was quite moist and… pretty okay, but a “fer piece” (as they say in Texas) from that perfect dark, rich, chocolately bite I was looking for.

So I started tweaking and baking like one of those OCD chefs from America’s Test Kitchens.  By the time I was done, I’d changed every ingredient and added more, and made the recipe entirely my own. I don’t like the taste of baking soda so I switched to baking powder. It wasn’t chocolately enough so I used dark Hershey’s cocoa, added ¼ cup Hershey’s syrup and doubled the chocolate chips. I added a cup of chopped walnuts.  I substituted ½ the zucchini for grated carrots because that’s what I had in the fridge.  (Actually I just put all the veggies in the food processor and whirled them.I’ve no patience for hand-grating veggies and I value my knuckles.)

When the finished loaf came out of the oven, fragrant with rich chocolate aromas, I took one bite and said, “Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”  Chocoholics rejoice! You have seriously got to try this recipe to believe how good it is.  No one will suspect it has 1 ½ cups of veggies and 1 cup of applesauce & only 3 T. of oil and ¾ cup sugar – in two loaves.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and this would make a fun breakfast or snack or dessert for yourself or your kids or your Honey Pie.  Just garnish it with a few heart shaped strawberry slices and serve it with all the love in your heart. 

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Double Chocolate Veggie-Nut Bread

Creaming Ingredients

¾ c. organic sugar

3 T. olive or canola oil

2 large eggs

¼ c. Hershey’s chocolate syrup

1 t. vanilla

 

Sifted Dry Ingredients

2 cups unbleached or whole wheat white flour

2 T. Hershey’s dark cocoa powder (you can use regular cocoa as well, just won’t be quite as dark a loaf)

3 T. plus 1 t. baking powder

½ t. cinnamon (more if you like a stronger cinnamon punch)

½ t. salt

 

The Goodies!

¾ cup grated or ground squash, any kind (zucchini, yellow, butternut, pumpkin….)

1 c. applesauce

¾ cup grated or ground carrots

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 T. flour

Directions:

Using a mixer cream all the “creaming ingredients” together until eggs are very well beaten and mixture is smooth.   Sift together all the ingredients from the “Sifted Dry Ingredients” list.  Use food processor to grind/process carrots and squash, or grate them by hand.   Alternate adding squash-carrot mixture and sifted dry ingredients to mixing bowl.   Mix until well incorporated.  Put chocolate chips and chopped walnuts in a small bowl and toss with 2 T. flour (this helps them not fall to the bottom of your bread, keeps them floating evenly throughout the loaf).  Stir these final goodies into the batter, by hand.

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(In the picture at top above, I had frozen grated yellow squash and zuchinni from the night before, and just tossed it back in food processor with a couple of large carrots. Next pic is batter awaiting the bowl of floured walnuts and chocolate chips.  Finally my super-long bread pan, found at an estate sale.)

Pour batter into two well greased and floured loaf pans.  (Note: I baked my bread in one super-long baker’s loaf pan, a find at an estate sale.  But I’ve never seen another bread pan like it, so just use two regular bread pans instead.)

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Bake at 350 for 55 minutes. Let cool to warm and carefully run sharp knife around edge to loosen and remove from pan.  Let cool some more and then slice with a sharp serrated knife to serve. After first day, store in fridge (otherwise the moist veggies and fruit could start fermenting)  and either nuke for a second or heat slices in skillet with a little butter.

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The Title: Double Chocolate Veggie Nut Bread

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Not-Too-Sweet Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

For those of us who don't like sweets before noon, this smoothie with butternut squash, walnuts and just a 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup is the perfect not-too-sweet morning treat.

Though most days, Jared and I adore and respect each other, not every day is marital bliss. Just like any other couple, we have our “moments.” Recently we had one of those “moments” on a lunch date. I was hungry and had hardly eaten breakfast. If you know me well, I am unpleasant to be around when I’m hungry. I try to never let myself reach hunger for this reason. The tiff was over something little and unfortunately left unresolved for the night as Jared had to head straight from lunch to scout a ballgame out of town. There is a good reason that we mostly aim to resolve arguments quickly. I’m not one of those people that “just needs time.” Jared is.

So a few hours after Jared left, the argument to him magically resolved itself. That magical dust must have passed over me though.  While waiting on the ballgame to start, he sent me a Words With Friends (basically a Scrabble app for iPhones) game request. My first thought was “Yeah, I’ve got some words for you, buddy.” But then I realized I might be dealt letters for words like “love” or “apology.” It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. So I instead rejected his game request. That will get him. We are not friends right now and I don’t want to play with you. So there! 

This may be a new low for me.

The next morning before getting out of bed, Jared graciously apologized. I’m pretty sure that all of my maturity shifts to him during our arguments.

In an effort to keep from turning into a 4-year old again, I made myself sit down that morning with a healthy breakfast and a little quiet time.

I had cooked up some butternut squash for Jackson the previous day and used a cup of it to throw into a smoothie. I still wasn’t quite in the mood for being overly sweet or for an overly sweet breakfast. This smoothie paired with a little peanut butter and honey toast was the perfect not-too-sweet breakfast to start my day. Filled up in mind, spirit, and body, I was finally ready to be friends and play nice.

Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Rachel’s
Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Ingredients

1 c. Butternut Squash (I’ve used acorn squash too), cooked and cooled*
1 c. milk of your choice
1/4 c. walnuts or pecans
1 banana
1 t. cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional)
1/2 t. maple syrup
A handful of ice

Directions

Put all the ingredients except for the ice in the blender, blend until smooth. Add a little more milk if needed. Add ice and blend again until it is finely crushed throughout. If you like a sweeter smoothie, you can add a little more maple syrup.

*The easiest way for me to cook squash is to cut it in half lengthwise and put both halves in a baking dish face down with about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cook at 400 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the flesh of the squash can easily be scooped out with a fork or spoon. For the smoothie, just scoop out the flesh when it cools down and store in tupperware in the refrigerator until ready to use (will keep for a few days). You can also freeze it in ice trays and then store the frozen cubes in a ziplock bag for at least a month. Just thaw a few whenever you need them. Steaming, roasting, or boiling the squash would work fine too if that’s your preferred method.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Not-Too-Sweet Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/30/not-too-sweet-banana-butternut-squash-smoothie


Hello Mother, Hello Daughter

“My mother burns the toast as surely as the sun rises each morning. In fact, I doubt that she’s ever made a round of toast in her life that failed to fill the kitchen with plumes of throat-catching smoke. I am nine now, and have never seen butter without black bits in it.”   Nigel Slator, Toast

Becky (“The Mother”)

Though I’m now a truly good cook, I’m still not always an alert cook, which means that I tend to burn food. The smoke alarm, for many years, was basically our dinner bell.

When my second born Zeke was about five years old I handed him a perfectly golden piece of toast. He took the toast and a dinner knife and walked over to the trash can and started scraping it. “Zeke, Honey,” I said. “You don’t have to scrape your toast today. Mommy didn’t burn it!” To which he looked at me, eyes wide and said, “Oh. I thought we always had to whittle our toast.”

******

We recently visited at Jared and Rachel’s home in Texas, having driven a couple of days from Denver to get there. With my adorable grandbaby flashing us a dimpled smile from his highchair, Rach and I couldn’t wait to roll up our sleeves, get into the kitchen, and cook!

Rachel made an amazing butternut squash soup for our lunch, and while it was simmering, she popped a pan of homemade croutons in the oven, giving me one job: to guard them. Then she disappeared to rock Jackson and put him down for his nap.

Rachel (“The Daughter”)

As I settled into the rocking chair with my sleepy baby, I was going over our lunch menu in our head. The soup was simmering, the side dish was all chopped and ready for consumption, the croutons were toasting.

Oh no. I left the croutons on 450 degrees!

Sure, a high temperature is a quick way to crisp up the chunks of bread lightly coated in olive oil and Italian seasoning, but they need to be watched closely with this quick cook method. The problem: my mom, notorious for burning the bread, was in charge of them. I considered texting her from the nursery to remind her to keep an eye on them, but I’d only asked her to do that one thing…surely she hadn’t already forgotten. I told myself, “Surely, Mom will smell them browning before they get too crisp. I can live with a little char.”

Before I’d finished the argument in my head (“Should I, or should I not, text her?”) I heard a loud “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!!” coming from the kitchen, an all too familiar sound from my childhood. This was not a kitchen timer, not the microwave, not an annoying cell phone ring…this was none other than the smoke alarm.

Still holding Jackson, who had been on his way to dreamland but was alert and wide-eyed now, I rushed to the kitchen. Through a smoky cloud, I see Mom carrying a pan of black char to the back patio.

Like the “Saturday Night Live” skit, “Really!? with Seth and Amy,” all I could say was “Really, Mom? Really?!”

Shoulders scrunched, an innocent smile on her face, mom sheepishly replied, “Soooorrry. I think I may have slightly over-cooked the croutons.”

How can you not forgive a face like that? It’s a little bit childlike, mixed with a lot of ditzy blonde, sprinkled with a dash of Steve Urkel. Did I do thaaaat? I may not need this sweet innocent face as often as my mom has used it,  but it’s a family skill I’m proud to have learned.  It works wonders on my husband…especially after he looks at the credit card bill. Did I buy thaaat?

Becky

The soup was amazing even without the croutons, especially with a garnish of Rachel’s homemade Cowboy Caviar and tortilla chips.

Cowboy Caviar. This tangy black-eyed pea, avocado, corn relish is a staple at potlucks in the South.

Sweet & Spicy Butternut Soup garnished with vegan sour cream, cilantro, and tortilla chips

What occurred in the kitchen that day is a small window into the dynamics of our Mother-Daughter relationship. I have what a brain doctor called “Inattentive ADD.”  Which means I’m not particularly hyper, but I’m ditzy, easily distracted and over-optimistic about things like time, limits, and reality.

Rach has always enjoyed rules and order and minimalist décor with the same enthusiasm that I enjoy flying-by-the-seat-of-my pants, ignoring messes, and filling every space with vintage clutter. My daughter owns a kitchen timer and actually knows where it is and how to use it. This astounds me.

Rachel’s
Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

This rustic soup is just enough sweet and just enough spice to warm you up on a chilly winter day or to eat around the fire pit on a cool summer night. You could even simmer it over the fire in a dutch oven and serve it up in over-sized mugs if you want a really rustic presentation and experience.

Ingredients

Drizzle of Olive Oil
½ red onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
½ cup baked sweet potato, mashed
2 cups of baked butternut squash, mashed
4 tbs white wine (divided)
2 cups veggie stock
1-3 cups water
Salt to taste
2 pieces of candied ginger (optional)
Garnish suggestions: croutons, tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream (regular or non-dairy)

Directions

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan). Sweat the onion and peppers in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until soft, add garlic and sweat for two more minutes. Add two tablespoons of the white wine and stir. Add the veggie stock, 1 cup of water, squash, sweet potato, and candied ginger (leave whole). Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer on med-low for 20 minutes. Remove ginger (unless you like the flavor a lot—I prefer small traces of it). Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer soup back to your pot and add more water if you would like a thinner consistency. Finish with remaining white wine and salt to taste. Garnish with your choice of toppings.

Notes: I happened to have leftover baked sweet potato and squash from making baby food when I first made this. As a quicker alternative, I’m sure you could chop up peeled sweet potato and squash and just simmer with the soup until they are soft all the way through. Though I think baking or roasting root vegetables brings out their best flavors.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Hello Mother, Hello Daughter
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/hello-mother-hello-daughter/
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