Carrot-Zucchini Bread, Two Ways

I purchased the CUTEST cake platter at Goodwill{!} for eight bucks last week. So, naturally, I’ve had to have something in it at all times. When the kids and I made the cake, it perfectly displayed it, but then the cake was gone.

I didn’t want to make another sugar-laden treat, so I decided on the best thing I know how to bake: bread.

During the fall and winter months, we have home made pumpkin bread aplenty, but since it’s summer {and I don’t have gobs of pumpkin puree}, carrot zucchini bread sounded light and refreshing.

Now, I wouldn’t consider this recipe necessarily healthy, rather healthier than it’s original. For breads, I usually swap all purpose flour for whole wheat, reduce the sugar by 1/4 and replace one egg for flax seed. That’s a little better, but the cup of oil and cup + of sugar make this a decadent treat to be had sparingly.

| Zucchini Carrot Bread

makes 2 loaves

3 C whole wheat flour

1 TSP cinnamon

1/2 TSP allspice

3 TSP baking powder

3/4 TSP salt

1 C peeled and grated carrots {about 4 large, whole carrots}

1 C zucchini {about 3/4 one large zucchini, not peeled}

1 C canola oil

3 eggs {or sub 1 egg for 1 TBS flax seed + 3 TBS water}

3/4 C white sugar

1/2 C brown sugar

2 TSP vanilla

Grease two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix well the first 5 ingredients. In another large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Continue beating while you slowly drizzle in the oil. When the eggs and oil are well mixed, continue beating still, and slowly add the sugars, then vanilla. Fold in the veggies.

Mix in the dry ingredients to the wet until well incorporated. When thoroughly mixed, add half of the contents of the bowl to each loaf pan. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes, then check if they’re done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s finished. If it doesn’t, let it cook another five minutes, then check again.

Carrot Zucchini Bread6

Two Ways

Now, I don’t normally {ever} write recipes on using a food two ways, but I often do it in real life as leftovers are a wonderful thing.

When we ran out of eggs, and I asked Husband to get some, he remarked by saying that the reason we are always out of eggs is because “that’s all you make for breakfast.”  {Let me point out that I have made homemade pancakes, peanut butter toast, and even allowed them to have cereal in the last five days}. Hmph. Well, I’ll show him!

I still required eggs for this, but it was different than the norm fried egg with toast that they supposedly “always” have.

| Carrot Zucchini Bread French Toast

serves 4

4 slices of carrot zucchini bread

2 eggs

1/4 C milk

1 TBS sugar

Butter, as you need

In a shallow dish {or pie pan}, beat the eggs with the milk and sugar. Heat a skillet on medium heat and toss in a tablespoon of butter. As the butter is melting, dip the bread in the egg mixture, letting it soak for a couple minutes, then turn it over and repeat. Place the soggy break in the buttered pan and let cook about 1 minute, or until the side is fully golden brown. Flip and repeat with each slice.

Serve with a pat of butter and, if desired, syrup {this is delicious with pumpkin, raisin, or really, any other bread you like}.

Carrot Zucchini Bread3

Enjoy!

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Marriage Mondays: 50’s Housewife

Okay, so first off – if any of you do read – I wanted to apologize for my absence for the last month or so. The boys have been here and I have been too busy to snap photos of any delectable foods I have been making {if I even have – we’ve been eating out… a lot}.

Ever since I was little, I have been enamored by times of the past. It started out as an obsession with ancient Egypt when I was probably 9. As I got a little older, I watched the movie {albeit not historically correct} The Mummy and The Mummy 2 over… and over… and over again.

Then in high school, The Notebook came out. I declare this the downfall for me enjoying the present time. Then, well… let’s not even start on Mad Men…

50s Housewife 2

I have said here about my quest to simplify my life. I have often requested to my husband that we do away with my iPhone – and cell phone altogether. He and I have other means of communicating throughout the day, and we only have text conversations about two times during the work day. On the weekends, I rarely touch my phone {save to scroll down Instagram, which I could live without. But since it’s there, might as well, right?}.

On The Fourth, we went to my grandma’s house, and I asked what she has been up to.

That lady. I do love her.

She said she has been so busy. “I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and set my hair, then do my exercises {I don’t know what these exercises consist of, but she has a mini trampoline in her basement}. Then, I do the housework and ironing. I don’t iron everything, probably 3-5 items {which is funny considering my mom told me yesterday that when she was a kid, my grandmother ironed the sheets. THE SHEETS, people!}. By noon I’m done because I’m exhausted.” I bet!

This conversation made me curious.

I googled things like, “The Perfect 50s Housewife”, or “How to Live Like the 50s” and the things I found were very interesting.

I came upon several blogs that included this genuine guide to a 50’s Housewives day.

Wow, I thought my house cleaning was hard. After being inspired by this blogger and her 50s Housewife Experiment, I decided I’d give it a try. She didn’t do the old fashioned clothes and hair, but because of my affinity with the old ways, you can imagine how many vintage or vintage inspired dresses I have {one of the main reasons for me disliking winter is that the ability to wear dresses significantly decreases}.

Okay, maybe I wouldn't have a matching umbrella...

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have a matching umbrella…

Unless I am working {which I only do two days a week, which is kind of sort of like being home – so even sometimes if I am working} I wear sweatpants throughout the day to clean or do whatever household tasks may beckon me, and Husband often comes home to a make-up free, sweats-laden wife. How lovely.

A couple days ago, I followed The Guide. Oh. My. Gosh. Being a 50s Housewife really is a job in and of itself. I actually enjoyed the hard work. And making my husband so happy and comfortable after a long day of work. But, my feet KILLED and I set aside the Husband pleasing for a few minutes to ask him to rub my feet after the kids went to bed. I kid you not, I sat down for thirty minutes that day. In total. It was worse than my bank teller days.

Plus, the kids and I made a delicious pink cherry-flavored cake that my grandma would have been proud of. But, making more mess after making my home immaculate was  sort of sadistic.

At the end of the day, when my husband came home and I was clothed in a fit-and-flare dress, with a full face of make up {including pink lipstick} and the whole family enjoying a great dinner {pork chops, roasted root vegetables, a baked potato and split-pea soup}, I saw the pay off of all my hard work. Then, we enjoyed that delicious cake.

I worked so hard – on the house, with the children, to make them all happy {which included picking my battles – I highly suggest that. It saves a lot of stupid arguments}.

I wonder if that’s why marriages lasted much longer back then.

50s Housewife 1

In 1950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 34 per cent of women ages 25-30 were working, and according to the New York Times, 78% of Americans were married. During the 60s, women protested housewifery, and the numbers of working women increased  by almost 4 per cent.

Women protesting the 1969 Miss America Pageant

Women protesting the 1969 Miss America Pageant

Then the whole hippie movement in the 70s increased the percentage of working women again by almost 10 percent compared to the 50s and the number of divorces increased from 1950 to 1975 by over 650 thousand.

Then, between the 1990’s and now, women have made careers their biggest goals.

That’s wonderful for some. I got married at the ripe old age of {barely} 22 and I knew at a young age, I wanted to be a wife and mother {or singer 😉 }. While women {or anyone, for that matter} striving for their dreams is a wonderful thing, I think often times they are only trying to prove something to themselves. We aren’t oppressed anymore, but women are still putting family on hold and starting it out very late in life. I think people who choose not work {even stay at home Dads} should not be so judged by corporate power couples, but rather, everyone should be able to see the positive things about what a person chooses to do with their life.

For me, I’d rather give my rambunctious, high-energy self to the things that really matter to me – the ones I love. Not the money I make. If that means excelling at being a wonderful, vivacious wife and mother and seeing ear-to-ear grins on  my entire families faces, so be it {and having a freakishly clean house is a huge bonus}.

Fennel Seed & Paprika Potato Latkes

I have 2 obsessions {well, to be completely honest… there’s a lot more than 2…}: spices and Russia.

One of my closest friends, Lynne, lent me a book in 2007 called Tatiana & Alexander {PS, never lend me a book. Chances are, you probably won’t get it back} which is one book from a trilogy about Russian lovers during WWII. I devoured the 900+ page book in 12 hours, forgoing sleep in the name of love.

Ever since reading those books, I have had a mad love affair with Russia. I kid you not, if I meet someone who has an accent even remotely close to Russian, I pick their brain. I even asked my childhood friend who was born in Russia  if I could randomly email her questions I had about the culture. By the way, I hadn’t talked to her in years.

Anyways, Husband and I went to Scottsdale for our first honeymoon {I say first because someday we WILL be going to Hawaii} and in Old Town Scottsdale, there was a random Russian import store, so y0u know I had to go. I got my first set of true Russian handmade Matryoshka {or nesting} dolls. They are so dear to my heart – probably my favorite earthly possession.

Besides homemade Stroganov, I have never made a Russian dish {gasp!}, so I decided on Latkes, or драники {draniki}. Because the poor old potato is so monotonous, it makes a great canvas to experiment with my other obsessions; spices! Probably my favorite spice would be Paprika. But, since experimenting with fennel, I also love the fresh pop that fennel seeds give. That’s where the perfect marriage {like Tatiana and Alexander’s!} begins…

| Fennel Seed & Paprika Potato Latkes

Serves about 6

4 medium-large russet potatoes, peeled and grated

1/4 C chopped onion

2 TBS ground flax seed mixed with 6 TBS water

1/4 C whole wheat flour

1/2-1 TSP fennel seed

1/2 TSP smoky paprika

1/4 TSP salt

1/4 C olive oil {or 1/8 inch deep in your pan}

Ground fennel seed.

Latkes 1

Mix well the potatoes, onion, flax mix, ground fennel seed, paprika, salt and flour.

On medium-high heat {6th notch or so}, drop 2 TBS size flattened balls in the hot oil. In about 2-3 minutes {or until golden-brown}, flip the latkes for an additional 2-3 minutes. Set each cooked latke on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the oil.

Serve with sour cream and chives {or plain soygurt}.

Latkes 3

Enjoy!

Gazpacho and Spring Cleaning

That title is probably totally weird to you, but yesterday I did probably like my 10th spring cleaning of the year so far, and it always feels so great. Once I’m done, anyway. I tackled about 6 loads of laundry, deep cleaned both bathrooms, organized our closet and coat closet among other tasks {we are still going to clean the kids bedrooms out this weekend – they come home in 11 days!}.

All the spring cleaning, plus the 80+ degree weather {finally!} and our extremely well-behaved puppy at the park all made me think of those simple things that remind me of summer; lazing around on a hot summer day at the pool or a park, all the windows wide open letting in fresh air…

But one thing that’s not really my all-time favorite summer activity is cooking. If you recall, last summer I made a handful of different soups, which sounds crazy in hot weather. My logic is that you just throw everything in one pot, cover it and let it sit. No slaving over a hot stove or multiple burners heating up your house.

Something that {I honestly have no idea why or where I got it from} I have been wanting to make for the past week or two is Gazpacho. I did some reading up on this cold soup, and it’s just my kind of dish. I like foods that don’t always have an exact recipe, rather a backbone that you build off of to fit your palette/fridge/budget.

It was so refreshing and surprisingly FILLING. I couldn’t eat my entire bowl {I think maybe because the water content is so high} but I wish I could have. This recipe makes a huge pot and could probably serve 6 comfortably as a side dish. Possibly the best part is that there’s no heat required.

Gazpacho1

| Gazpacho

Serves approx. 6

5 Roma tomatoes

1 red/purple onion

1 large cucumber

1 red bell pepper

4 celery stalks

3 cloves garlic

1/2 jalapeno

a handful of cilantro

3 TBS tomato juice

3 TBS olive oil

3 TBS white wine vinegar

1/2 TSP salt

avocado to garnish {optional}

1/2 TBS agave

Finely dice the first eight ingredients. Put half of all the vegetables in a blender plus the last 4 ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour out the blended mix into a large bowl and set aside. Add the other half of the vegetables to the blender/food processor and pulse until they become minced, but not pureed. Add in the minced vegetables into the blended vegetables and stir well.

It is best if this soup sits in the fridge for 8+ hours.

Garnish with slices of avocado and a couple sprigs of cilantro, if desired.

Gazpacho2

Enjoy on a hot day!

Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

Normally, when I think of salad, I definitely don’t think of warmth on my plate. I think of cool, crisp leaves with sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado and crunchy onions with some sort of a tangy dressing.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup3

But, when April is almost over and it’s still snowing, thinking of a summer salad sort of depresses you. Monday and Tuesday it snowed about 5 inches, but today I am not complaining. Almost all of the snow melted late afternoon yesterday, and with this 50 degree weather today and my 10 day forecast, I believe we’re in the clear {knock on wood, cross my fingers, say a little prayer}.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup4

So when I’m craving a salad, but the weather isn’t cooperating {don’t get me wrong – it’s possible to have a cold salad when the weather’s cold – just doesn’t feel right to me}, a warm salad is the way to go.

I have been eating a lot of cabbage over the last week. For one, it’s cheap as dirt, and two, read this.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup1

|Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

serves 4

1 head white cabbage

2 fennel bulbs

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1/2 TSP minced lemongrass

a TSP olive oil

a pinch of S&P

Cut the fronds off the fennel, then quarter and cut 1/4 inch slices. Begin to saute the fennel and onions in olive oil on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the fennel and onions are cooking, quarter the cabbage and slice into ribbons. When the fennel and onions begin to caramelize, toss in the cabbage and lemongrass with a few TSP water. Cover, raise heat one or two notches, and stir every few minutes for a total of about 10-15, or until cabbage has wilted and begins to brown {add a TBS of water at a time if the veggies are sticking to the pan}.

Remove from heat, add S&P, tossing to coat.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup6

Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

So I have been hearing rave reviews about daikon radishes, but I’m going to be honest with you; this veggie loving girl isn’t as aroused by radishes as one would think. Not raw, anyways.

I find their bite to be overwhelming, so with such an attention-stealing vegetable, I think it’s best to go the simple route.

Daikon Radish

I do have to tell you, I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out, but as the carrots were caramelizing and the radish was browning in the oven, the overwhelming smells of everything melding together truly captured me. The garlic salt is absolutely necessary, and is the period at the end of the sentence for this meal.

I am pleased to say I was very satisfied. Served over some brown rice or quinoa with a pinch of soy sauce, you will find yourself asking for more.

| Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

Serves 1

1 large daikon radish

3/4 C baby carrots

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/4 TSP garlic salt

a pinch of sea salt

1 TBS soy sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the daikon and chop off the ends. Slice into 1/2-1/4 inch rounds. Drizzle the olive oil on a 1 inch deep baking sheet, and toss in the radish slices and baby carrots. Sprinkle in the garlic salt, sea salt and pour the soy sauce over the top. Toss everything to coat, arranging everything in a fairly even layer.

Place the dish in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing the veggies about every 10.

When everything is soft and the edges begin to get fairly crispy, the veggies are done. Serve immediately.

Daikon Radish4

Enjoy!

Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

So, I literally just realized that I am writing another post about sweet potatoes. Seriously? Good thing they are quite versatile.

Sweet Potato 8

And also, kale? Kale is the trend when it comes to health food these days, and I can totally see why. Kale has more iron than beef {that’s awesome news for those with deficiencies}, more calcium than a glass of milk, and significantly more vitamin C than spinach, among many other things.

Purple Kale

Kale, for me, is better cooked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it raw, but I prefer it cooked, and this combination is not only a huge handful of many super foods, but also freakin’ delicious. Plus, it’s a one-pot meal, perfect for those lazier days.

Purple Kale1

| Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

serves 2-3

1 TBS olive oil

1 large sweet potato, chopped into very small pieces

1/4 red onion, chopped

7 oz black beans {half a can} drained and rinsed

3 large Kale leaves, cut into thin ribbons

a dash of salt

a dash of cayene

1/2 TSP smoky paprika

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook in an even layer the sweet potatoes, covering. Stir every couple of minutes for about 15 minutes total.

Add in the chopped onion and continue cooking for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans with the spices, again in an even layer after being well incorporated, and cover for another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.

When everything is nice and somewhat crispy, add in the ribbons of kale, and cook until just wilted.

sweet potato 12

Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

So, this recipe is a little redundant considering it has many of the same main components of the last post, but hey, you work with what ya got.

Over the past several months I have been mildly… wait, no… over-the-top-obsessed with sweet potatoes. I probably eat one about 5 times a week. I have been eating them plain with the teeniest amount of sea salt, and can’t get enough.

After I saw this sweet lady’s post about her obsession with the root and how she’s been eating them, I decided to try some new things. This recipe was just what I felt like adding at the time, but if you make these, you should add whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever sounds good to you. Garbanzos, turnip greens, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, kidney beans… you get the picture.

Stuffed Sweet Potato5

| Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 1

1 medium sweet potato

a handful of kale, torn into bits

a handful of baby spinach

a couple TBS black beans

a couple TBS white beans

nonstick spray

a pinch of sea salt

Bake your sweet potato for one hour in a 350 degree oven.

A few minutes before the sweet potato is finished, saute the greens on medium heat with nonstick spray until wilted. When the potato is finished and slightly cooled, cut it open lengthwise. Stuff it with the greens, and top it off with the beans. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and lunch is served!

Stuffed Sweet Potato

Enjoy!

Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Over the last few years, I have really stayed away from carbohydrates. Even getting as far as being overly obsessive about not eating fruit or even veggies that had over a few grams in them before my wedding. I thought this was “healthy” because, yeah, I lost a lot of weight. But I gained it all back pretty much immediately after our honeymoon. I hadn’t even introduced carbs back into my diet yet, but I made up for it because when I had a cheat day, I really had a cheat day.

I have discovered over countless diets and trial and error that all your body really needs is balance. If it doesn’t get this balance, your body gets cravings and sooner or later you will indulge those cravings. I have only recently {like 2 weeks ago} come to terms with the fact that eating carbs not on the weekend is actually okay {gasp!}. And I don’t mean white sugar and white flour. I mean whole grain seed carbohydrates {notice I didn’t say whole wheat}. Carbs are still a little scary to me, but I have read The Kind Diet before and recently picked it up again, and it details so well why we need these little seedlings in our life and what they do for our insides and overall well-being.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans

So here’s to carbs! {Wow, never thought I’d say that}

 

| Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Serves 2

1 C quinoa

1 TSP oil {I used coconut}

4 or 5 baby bella mushrooms

1/2 C chopped onion

1 C spinach

1 C kale, torn into pieces

1 TSP soy sauce

1/2 C canned great northern beans, or any white bean

Cook the quinoa as package directs {you will have extra}.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, lightly saute the mushrooms and onions in coconut oil until soft. Add the kale and spinach plus soy sauce and 1 TSP water. Cover and stir every few minutes until the greens have wilted.

Start your plate with about a quarter of the quinoa in the pan {or however much you want}, then make a little bed of half of the vegetables and sprinkle 1/2 the beans over the top.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans1

Enjoy!

Roasted Fennel and Carrots

I have a love/hate relationship with meat. I love the way it tastes {like, love. Mmmm…. bacon} but every once in awhile, my tender heart gets rocked when I think about what I’m eating and how it got on my plate.

That being said, this is not a political post whatsoever, just a little announcement that I’m not eating meat at the moment. Or longer, I’m hoping. But don’t freak! Husband is still a caveman, so I will post what I make him, and you will have to go by his word whether or not it’s delicious {and lucky for you, he’s particular}.

So here’s a little veggie dish that is just delightful. Yep, I said it. Delightful. It causes you to be full of delight. Plus, it really is light. I’ve talked about fennel before, but it is such a uniquely flavored plant that goes extremely well with the sweetness of carrots. Add in a burst of extra flavor from the fennel seeds, and you have yourself a masterpiece of a meal.

Roasted Fennel and Carrots2

| Roasted Fennel and Carrots

12 large carrots

3 fennel bulbs

2 TSP olive oil

1 TSP lemon juice

1/2 TSP fennel seeds

1/8 TSP salt

a dash of cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Peel the outer layer of the carrots, and cut them in half. Cut off the greens from the fennel bulbs and wash. Slice the fennel bulb in 1/2 inch slices, then in half again going the opposite directions. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds, salt and cayenne. Drizzle the mixture over the carrots and fennel in a large baking dish and toss to coat.

Pop the dish in the oven for 35 minutes or so, stirring about every 10 to 15. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Roasted Fennel and Carrots1

Enjoy!