Hard Root Beer Bread

Hard Root Beer Bread 2

I bought some hard root beer not too long ago and wasn’t crazy about it. I still had some left over and didn’t want it to go to waste. I had success making a quick bread with hard apple cider, so I thought I would give making bread with the hard root beer a try. It turned out great! It smelled and tasted just like root beer and didn’t have the funky beer aftertaste. It was a big hit with the family.

Root Beer Bread

Hard Root Beer Bread

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1  12 oz. bottle hard root beer (I used Not Your Father’s Root Beer) at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the hard root beer and stir until just combined.

Spray a bread loaf pan with cooking spray, then pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes. Cool completely before removing the loaf from the bread pan to slice.

Hard Root Beer Bread 3

Advertisements

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

These muffins are sooo good. They turn out light and moist. They are packed with zucchini so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating what is essentially breakfast cupcakes. The kids will love them too.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 firmly packed cups of shredded zucchini
1 – 3 tablespoons of milk (if necessary)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line muffin tins with baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and shredded zucchini. Pour the zucchini mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. If the batter is dry and crumbly, add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth. The zucchini will release moisture while the muffins are baking, so you don’t want to add any more milk than necessary.

Divide the batter between 18 muffin cups. You want them to be about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Yellow Squash Cornbread

Yellow Squash Cornbread

The amount of yellow squash (well, squash in general) I have gotten in the past several weeks in my CSA boxes is almost overwhelming. I’m not complaining. I love squash and have been happily using all of it. There has just been a lot. I have sautéed it, put it on savory tarts, made quick breads with it, added it to veggie enchiladas, fried it, put it in soups, made casseroles with it, and  tossed it with pasta. It seems that no matter how much squash I use in recipes, I continue to find more of it tucked away in the veggie crisper. I’ve been wondering if it is multiplying overnight in the fridge.

Tonight I added mashed yellow squash to a basic cornbread recipe. I was super happy with the results. The gluten-free cornbread was moist and the flavor was not overpowered by the squash. I really liked the idea of the added nutrition the squash brings to the cornbread.  I will definitely be making this again. I served the yellow squash cornbread with black-eyed peas and fried cabbage. Southern comfort food.

Update: I made a cornbread dressing with leftover yellow squash cornbread and half a loaf of French bread. Turned out well and you could not tell there was squash in it at all. Good stuff.

Yellow Squash Cornbread

4 yellow squash, ends trimmed, sliced
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola (or corn) oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a cast iron skillet with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring the sliced yellow squash and enough water to cover to a boil. Cook until the squash is tender. Drain well in a colander. Mash the drained squash (I use a potato masher) and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, oil, and eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Add the mashed squash and mix until well combined. Pour into the prepared cast iron skillet and bake at 400° F. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 – 40 minutes.

 


Spelt Biscuits

Spelt Biscuits

Spelt is an ancient type of wheat. It contains gluten, but it’s gluten is a little different in that it is water soluble and easier to digest. Those with Celiac Disease should not eat spelt, but people with wheat allergies, intolerances, or who are specifically avoiding wheat  may be able to eat it with no problems.

I have been on a wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free (except for butter), soy-free, alcohol-free, fun-free diet since mid-September. I’m trying this diet to help me get my thyroid disease under control (and weight loss would be an added bonus). I feel a tiny bit better since being on the diet and I have less of that hypothyroidism puffiness, but I have not lost any weight (curse you thyroid!). I’m struggling a little right now because the benefits of this diet are not outweighing the suckiness of the diet. I intend to stay on the diet until at least my next doctor’s appointment in November, but all I really want to do is consume crusty bread, goat cheese, and red wine.

I have been thinking of biscuits and gravy lately. I set out to make a wheat-free and dairy-free version. These biscuits actually turned out well. My 13 year old even liked them, which is saying something since he is the pickiest eater in the world. The biggest surprise was the gravy I made using unsweetened almond milk and spelt flour. It was fantastic! I didn’t use exact measurements for the gravy. I just made a roux with a little butter and spelt flour (about 1 tablespoon each) and added almond milk (maybe 1/2 a cup?), a little at a time, and cooked until a gravy came together. The gravy wasn’t pretty, but tasted fine on the spelt biscuits and satisfied my craving.

Spelt Biscuits 2

Spelt Biscuits

2 cups of spelt flour (can be found in bulk bins at natural food stores)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, work the shortening into the spelt flour mixture until it looks like crumbs. Add the almond milk and stir until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky. At this point, you may have to add additional spelt flour if the dough is too wet to get the dough to a state that is easy enough to handle.

Pour the dough out onto a (spelt) floured surface and sprinkle with little more spelt flour. Fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times and then press it out until it’s about an inch thick. Cut out the biscuits and place them on a baking sheet. Reform remaining dough and cut out more biscuits and place them on the baking sheet.

Place the biscuits in the oven and bake until done and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12 biscuits.


Strawberry Bread

Strawberry Bread(640x422)

I bake quick breads and muffins often because my boys, who are very picky eaters, will eat them. I feel like quick breads and muffins are vehicles to get extra fruit (or vegetables) into my children. Plus, they are delicious. I usually have frozen strawberries in the freezer, so I can make this strawberry bread without having to plan ahead too much. My sons really like this strawberry bread (although they prefer it without the pecans).

Strawberry Bread

1 10 oz. package frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini bread pans) with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine strawberries, eggs and oil. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and pecans. Add the strawberry mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 1 hour (35 to 40 minutes for mini loaves), or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet Potato Muffins

I have a confession to make…I don’t really like sweet potatoes. I should. They are super nutritious and so good for you. They are high in vitamins and minerals. They have powerful antioxidants that have anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. Sweet potatoes are relatively low on the glycemic index and help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Indigenous tribes in New Guinea subside on a diet almost made up entirely of sweet potatoes. Despite all of this, I still don’t like the taste of them.

This was the first week of the fall season for my CSA. This week’s box from Pinckney’s Produce contained a bunch of sweet potatoes. More sweet potatoes than I have probably consumed in my entire life. Oh great. Well, yesterday, I cooked half of the sweet potatoes in the crockpot until they were tender. Once cooked, I peeled and mashed the sweet potatoes for use in a couple of recipes. This morning I used some of the mashed sweet potatoes to make muffins. They were actually a big hit. My family really liked them. They were mild and tender. My 3 year old must have eaten 6 of them all by himself. I have to admit, I don’t have a problem eating sweet potatoes in muffin form. These muffins are delicious.

Sweet Potato Muffins

Makes 18 regular sized muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners/baking cups.

In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Next mix in the mashed sweet potatoes and then the milk.

Gradually blend the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake the muffins in a 375° F oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.


Blueberry Loaf

IMG_1810 (640x410)

I have five blueberry bushes in my yard. I planted three of them the year we moved to this house. I didn’t realize there were already two mature bushes until the next summer. What a nice surprise. The three bushes I planted are still small and not yet producing much, but the other two have quite a few berries on them. For the past week or so, blueberries have been ripening on one of the mature bushes and I have already gotten at least 3 quarts of  beautiful berries off of it.

Pictures 2393 (640x480)

With the mild spring and plenty of rain, the conditions have been ideal for an abundant amount of sweet blueberries. I am just thrilled. Last year I wasn’t so lucky because the mockingbirds and squirrels were relentless and ate almost all of the meager yield of berries.

photo (16) (580x640)

This blueberry loaf is wonderful. It’s cake-like, but not too sweet. My oldest son and I agree that a slice of this blueberry loaf would be a perfect base for strawberries and whipped cream. It would be an excellent 4th of July treat.

Pictures 2400 (640x347)

Blueberry Loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to defrost the frozen berries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of the flour and set aside. This helps to keep the blueberries to sinking to the bottom of the batter. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, with electric mixers, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Let blueberry loaf cool completely on a wire rack.