Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

I love zucchini!  I, however, am the minority in my family... The only way my children will eat this wonderful, versatile vegetable is if I hide it in baked goods!  That's ok... I like it that way too.  :)
I have had this recipe for well over 20 years, but I haven't made it in recent years as it called for A LOT of oil and sugar...Not exactly that good for you, regardless of how much veggies are hidden inside, so I decided to revisit this and make it better.... and I did!
This cake is so moist and delicious, not to mention incredibly easy to throw together!  Give it a try.  I am sure you will be glad you did!
I always make this in a bundt pan, because I like how pretty they look, but this recipe would work beautifully as muffins or bread.

To make Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread, you will need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1/4 first press canola oil
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (approx 2 medium)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • *optional- 1 cup raisins and/or nuts, 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips, or 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine all wet ingredients, including zucchini.
Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined, adding in any optional ingredients.
 Do not over mix!
Bake for 40 minutes (bundt pan) Your bread is ready when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I have never used a frosting or glaze on this, I find it does not need one, it is delicious as is!


Monday, 20 April 2015

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I believe moderation is key to any good diet, and moderation includes the occasional splurge.  :)  We have a desert once a week, usually on Friday night, to kick off the weekend.  That means I spend most of Friday in my kitchen, between, making bread for the weekend and pizza as well, my oven is on all afternoon.  Our weather here is finally improving, so, to be honest, I wasn't feeling too much like baking anything more.  One of my daughters mentioned chocolate pudding on the way home from school, and that seemed brilliant to me.  I somehow had forgotten about this recipe!  It is SOOO good, SOOO easy, SOOO chocolatey!  I promise you will never buy another boxed pudding again!!!  Top it with a little fresh whipped cream, and everyone is happy!

To make Chocolate Pudding, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • 2 cups milk I use skim, but use whatever you have on hand
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large, microwave safe bowl.
Slowly whisk in milk and make sure to break up any lumps.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes, then stir.
 Cook in microwave for one minute at a time, stirring in between until pudding thickens and is shiny.

Stir in vanilla, then put plastic wrap directly on the pudding (to avoid skin) and place in refrigerator to cool and set, about 2 hours.
( I used wax paper this time, but wouldn't recommend it, the top stuck to the paper when I tried to remove it)

I doubled the recipe this time, as there are 5 of us.  :)

Oh! any by the way, this recipe makes a killer chocolate pie!!!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Homemade, Whole Wheat Pizza!!!

There are a few things around here that are expected every week.  One of them is pizza, specifically on Friday night.  I am pretty sure if I broke with this tradition things around here would get ugly, fast!
 We cherish our Friday night, wearedoingnothingandgoingnowhere routine.  Pizza kicks that off, possibly with a movie.  life is good on Fridays,  :)
We used to order in but as everyone is well aware, that can add up!  Plus, I was never totally thrilled with the choices out there.  Not to mention, everyone in my home likes different toppings, so after realizing the only way I can please everyone is to make my own, I did what anyone would do... turned to my Mommy for help!  She gave me this recipe for pizza dough that was given to her by her Sicilian Mother in Law.  I tweaked it to use whole wheat instead of white flour, so now, on Friday nights, everyone gets exactly what they like!  Gotta love a win-win.  ;)
This recipe will make 3 large 14" pizzas, however, I use 1/3 of this recipe to make individual pizzas to my daughters to bring to school on "pizza day".  This dough freezes beautifully, I might add!

To make Whole Wheat pizza dough, you will need:

  • 6 cups whole wheat bread flour, spoon and sweep method
  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

In your mixer bowl, add flour ,yeast, wheat gluten, honey salt and oil.

Pour approximately 1 1/2 cups of warm water and mix with the paddle attachment.

 Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook, and slowly add enough water for the form a slightly wet dough,
 The dough should be slightly sticky, but pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
 Knead dough for 4 minutes.  Transfer your dough to a  large greased bowl and turn to coat.
 cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise, 30-45 minutes, until doubled.

 Transfer dough to a greased cutting board and cut into 3 equal pieces.  I cut one of these pieces into 3 to make individual pizzas for school lunches during the week.
Roll out one piece at a time , as round as possible.

 You can now transfer your dough to you greased pizza pan
and simply push the dough into the edges to fit. Allow the dough to rest, about 30 minutes.
 My husband likes a crispy crust, so at this point I bake it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. You can skip this step however and start dressing your pizza, if you prefer.

 Add your toppings and bake to desired doneness.  I turn my oven to broil the last few minutes, so that the cheese and toppings get browned a little (again, hubby's preference)
I hope you love this as much as we do!!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Have you ever had a week where nothing went right?  That was mine last week.  I messed up everything I baked!  I tried a new recipe for carrot cookies, and while my kids loved them, the texture was not quite right to me... they need tweeking.  I thought I would post one of my favorite recipes; a very old recipe in my family that has been passed down for I don't even know how many generations, "gateau chaumard".  I forgot to take pictures as I was making it, then I forgot to turn my oven back to 'bake' from 'broil' and, yep!  I broiled the cake!
The only thing I got right was my bread.  And good thing too!  I make all the bread in our home, so if I messed this up  my children would starve!
 I have a tried quite a few bread recipes and this is by far my favorite.  It is from Robin Hood Flour, and is practically foolproof!  I have even forgotten I was making bread once and let it proof for 2 hours and it STILL produced really good bread!
 This recipe makes 2 9x5 loaves of bread and it freezes beautifully.

To make 100% Whole Wheat Bread, you will need:
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 5 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (I use Robin Hood Best for Bread Four)
Pour 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tsp honey and yeast in a stand mixer bowl.  Let sit 5 minutes to proof yeast.
Meanwhile, measure 3 cups of flour, spoon and sweep method.

 Once yeast is beginning to proof, add remaining warm water, salt, remaining honey, butter and the 3 cups of flour.
 mix with paddle attachment until smooth.
Add 2 more cups of flour, one at a time, Once these 2 cups of flour are incorporated, switch to the bread hook attachment and add last 1/2 cup of flour.
Blend in until dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  It is possible that you may need to add more flour, depending on the humidity levels in your home.  If more flour is needed, add 1 Tbsp at a time.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Your mixer may 'jump' a bit, that's normal.  I tend to rest my arm on the top of my mixer to prevent it from jumping while kneading.
Now, grease a large bowl, (I use canola spray) and place dough in bowl, turning to coat the dough.
Place plastic wrap over bowl and place in a warm place to rise for one hour.
I turn on my oven for 30 seconds @ 350 and let my dough rise in the oven.
 Here is one of my little  "life hacks".  Instead of flouring my counter, I spray a plastic cutting sheet with canola cooking spray and hand knead the dough about 10 times.
Cut the dough in half.
roll out one half at a time to remove any air pockets.
Roll the dough up tightly, folding the end under to fit in pan.
Reheat your oven for another 30 seconds and place both loaves in for a second rise, 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size and filling the pan.
  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake loaves for 20 minutes.
Remove bread from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
Now, enjoy the fruits of your labor!!!
As there are no preservatives in homemade bread, it is recommended that you store your bread in the refrigerator!