Lemon Zucchini Bread

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My mom is a fantastic baker and is very generous when it comes to giving it away to others. She is always whipping up some homemade fruit pies, cookies at Christmas time, and all different kinds of fruit loaves and muffins. The one thing she doesn’t make is cake…and that’s a whole other story all together. I’ve been craving her lemon bread recipe recently and was surprised when I realized I’ve never made lemon bread even though it’s my all-time favorite bread recipe of hers. I went through all of my recipes and couldn’t find the one that she uses so I took to the interweb and heavily adapted one from www.lilluna.com.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

For anyone who knows me knows that I can’t just let a recipe be. I always have to adapt it, make substitutions and swap out ingredients. Sometimes it’s because I’m missing some ingredients, sometimes it’s because I want to make a healthier substitution and sometimes it’s just because I want to put my own twist on it. This particular recipe has all of these reasons. I subbed out half of the flour for homemade oat flour. I used half and half ratio of butter and coconut oil for the fat content. I added vanilla because it’s an absolute must for me when baking. I didn’t have buttermilk so I used Greek yogurt instead. With all of these substitutions it still satisfied my craving for my mom’s lemon bread and I happily gave away a few loaves knowing that if left alone I could have devoured the whole recipe. Sorry hubby, I guess a little less than half for you.

Being silly.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Yields 3 mini loaves and one standard loaf

2 cups homemade oat flour (Place whole oats into a food processor and wiz away. Measure the flour after being in the food processor.)
2 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup virgin coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of 3 lemons
2 cups grated zucchini

Lemon glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
Juice and zest of 2 lemons

Preheat your oven to 350C. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, then add the butter, coconut oil, sugars and vanilla and mix well. Add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest and mix well. Fold in the zucchini then slowly add the dry ingredients mixing until just incorporated. Grease your pans and fill 2/3 the way with batter. You can use either a rectangle cake pan, 2 standard loaf pans or 6 mini loaf pans, or any combination. I made 1 standard loaf and 3 mini loaves. Bake the standard loaf for about 45-50 minutes and the mini loaves for about 35-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check with a toothpick, if it comes out clean the loaves are done. If batter sticks to it then bake for a little while longer. Let cool to the touch then place on a wire rack over wax paper or tin foil.

To make the glaze mix the sugar and lemon juice and zest until there aren’t any lumps. Using a skewer poke holes in the loaves while still warm and spoon the glaze over the loaves.

Homemade oat flour.

Homemade oat flour.

Lemon zucchini bread

Lemon zucchini bread

This lemon bread is super moist and tangy from the zucchini and lemon. You can’t even taste the zucchini so it’s a great recipe for picky vegetable eaters. It is sweet enough to be used as a cake and I highly recommend the corner pieces that get slightly crunchy. The oat flour adds a really interesting texture that gives it a bit of bite and you can rest assured knowing that it’s *kind of* good for you. Or at least that’s what I tell myself while I inhale it in the kitchen.

Enjoy!

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Coconut Covered Chocolate Energy Balls

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I used to buy granola bars for my hubby until a girl from my work introduced me to these little snacks last fall. She called them Energy Bites and they were filled with some great ingredients. I tried making a recipe I found off of Pintrest and my hubby loved them. That was the last time I bought granola bars. Now, for anyone that knows me and my style of cooking knows that I can’t just let a recipe lie. I have to make it my own, deviate from the path, and put my own swing on it.

Energy Balls

My first few batches were very crumbly and hard to eat. They tasted good but would literally fall apart when you took the first bite. I wanted to keep these within a reasonable amount of calories so I didn’t want to just keep adding peanut butter and honey to bind it because that would just add to the calorie count. I searched on Pintrest to see what other kind of ingredients people were using and a lot came up that used dates which are very sticky and very sweet.

That lead me to my next failed attempt and a hard lesson learned.

Do not put the dates in last. For the love of God, do not put the dates in last. ESPECIALLY if they are straight out of the pantry. And when your food processor starts to literally jump on the counter, turn it off.  Don’t keep pulsing like I did. If you do it can totally wedge your blade in the food processor, bringing you nearly to tears and requiring the brute strength of your husband and some tools to get it out. Luckily my hubby was able to get the blade out for me and not break any parts of the food processor. I thought I was doomed.

I took a few weeks off trying to make energy bites out of fear of breaking something in my kitchen, or another dry crumbly mess. My mom recently asked me for the recipe and it motivated me to get back into the kitchen making these little guys with some tweaks to the former attempts. Learn from my mistakes if you will.

Energy Balls

In my quest to perfect the Energy Bite (or Energy Balls we call them in our house cause we’re immature like that) I have had some big fails and some “not-quite-rights”, then finally a big success last night. I’ve tried about 6 different variations of these little buggers and finally came up with one that I’m proud enough to plop onto my blog to share with you. Some awesome ingredients you can add in or swap out are chia seeds, wheat germ, flax seeds, hemp hearts, dried fruit, coco nibs, unsweetened coconut, nuts, local honey, bee pollen and natural nut butters. Not everything goes into each attempt, depending on what I have on hand and what flavor I’m going for. These particular ones are chocolatey and kind of a chewy texture, with a surprise chocolate center and tropical coconut coating.

Instagram @mangokidblog

Instagram @mangokidblog

Coconut Covered Chocolate Energy Balls

2 cups dates

¾ cup almonds

¾ cup old fashioned oats

½ cup all natural peanut butter

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons coco powder

1 tablespoon bee pollen

1 teaspoon vanilla

Drizzle local honey

3 chocolate chips per ball

Soak the dates in hot water in a bowl and put aside while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. In a food processor pulse the oats and almonds until they are of the same consistency. Add the chia seeds, coco powder and bee pollen and pulse a few times to mix. Put the mixture into a separate bowl and put aside. Strain the dates (they should have softened up a bit) and put into the food processor. Pulse into a paste, then add the peanut butter, vanilla and honey and pulse again until mixed. Add the dry ingedients and pulse until mixed. Take a heaping spoonful of the mixture and put 3 chocolate chips into the middle and roll into a ball. It should be about the size of a ping pong ball. Roll into the coconut and then place into an air tight container and keep in the fridge. Makes about 22 balls.

xo

Friendship Bread

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Classic and simple Boom bread. Just the basics.

Classic and simple Boom bread. Just the basics.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on baking bread.

Well, to be honest it’s been a while since I’ve made any post but that’s ok! Life happens!

On my days off I love baking bread, especially if we are having dinner with family and friends. My lovely friend Christina deemed it ‘Boom Bread’ which has really stuck. I’ve also been calling it ‘Friendship Bread’ as it seems to keep people wanting to be friends with us 🙂 just kidding…or am I? Either way I feel like I’ve really come to know this particular method of making bread. I’ve gotten to know the process. I’ve learned to listen to the dough. It speaks to me, tells me all of its dirty little secrets. Working with yeast is kind of fun too. You neeeeever reeeaally know how the bread is going to turn out depending on a number of factors like the weather, ratio of flours, what extras you add in to the dough etc. I’ve had a few flops but that’s all part of the process. My hubby always says you can’t always bat a thousand.

I usually bake this bread in a Dutch oven but have also baked it in a standard loaf pan and it has turned out really well. Like a regular loaf of bread but with a nice crusty exterior and an aroma filled soft inside. It makes it easier to slice into proper portions if you’re planning on making sandwiches. There is something special about using the Dutch oven though (not that kind of Dutch oven, sickos). The crust you get is unbeatable. Especially with butter, lots and lots of butter.

This one kicks it up a notch with chili flakes.

This one kicks it up a notch with chili flakes.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups multi-grain bread flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/3 cup warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 packet) of active dry yeast

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sea salt

Olive oil for coating

Method

Mix the water, yeast and honey until the yeast dissolves. Let stand for about 5 minutes, or when the yeast has created froth and bubbles on the top of the liquid.

In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment mix the flours and salt*. Add the water mixture to the dry ingredients and stir, gradually increasing the speed to a low-medium. You’ll need to let the dough and mixer do its thing for about 8-10 minutes. It will go through a bit of a process in the bowl. It will rise up the sides and seem like it might jump right out of the bowl! If it seems too dry add a tiny bit of warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Alternately if it seems too moist add flour a sprinkle at a time. The dough shouldn’t be sticking to the sides too much. When the dough changes and drops lower into the bowl mix it for about 2 more minutes then stop. The dough should be sticky and have an elastic quality to it.

Take the dough out of the bowl and put it into an olive oil lined bowl, one big enough to let the dough rise to 2 times its size. I usually just use the mixing bowl from the stand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for about 2 hours. After it has doubled its size punch it down. This is my favorite part. Get your aggression out! Cover again and let it rise for another 2 hours. At this point just form it into a ball with your hands, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and place into a parchment paper lined dutch oven or a loaf pan**. Cut a few shallow slices into the top and pop into a preheated oven at 400F for 15 minutes. Remove the lid if using a Dutch oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Sometimes with the loaf pan I have to bake it for 5 minutes longer to get a nice golden crust on it.

* If you want to add any dry herbs or spices to the bread add it to the dry ingredients. Sometimes I sprinkle the seasoning on the top of the loaf before baking.

** If using a loaf pan allow the dough to rise in the loaf pan for about 20-30 minutes before putting in the oven.

Baked in a standard loaf pan and sprinkled with sea salt before baking.

Baked in a standard loaf pan and sprinkled with sea salt before baking.

Mmm. Sandwich.

Mmm. Sandwich.

This is the method that works for me pretty consistently now. I’ve added lots of details that I’ve noticed along the learning curve so I hope it helps you as making bread can be quite finicky. I’ve had flops like I mentioned before but that’s all part of the journey. I just love making bread on my days off from work, it’s kind of therapeutic. I probably sound crazy right now but just ask my friends about the bread 😉 they’ll tell you.

Movember Mini Nut Pies

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Mini nut pies

I don’t know what it is about following a recipe that really goes against my being. I look at different recipes every day yet when it comes to making a dish I rarely follow a recipe to a tee. Maybe it’s because my dad always said that recipes are just guidelines and that you can put your own spin on things. I’ve always been the type of person to shy away from the norm. I’m quirky. Definitely a weirdo. I’m not your typical girl-next-door.

Visit my Movember page to make a donation http://mosista.co/Tehani

Visit my Movember page to make a donation http://mosista.co/Tehani

Maybe that’s why after scouring the internet for a Pecan Pie Tart recipe I decided just to wing it. How bad could they turn out? As I’m writing this I haven’t even MADE the tarts yet. Just the dough and it is having a wee rest in the fridge at the moment. It’s hard work being dough.

Last week we had dinner with some friends and I was in a baking mood and made my first ever pecan-style pie, adapted and inspired by this recipe by Handle the Heat. I say “style” because it doesn’t have any pecans in it. I had hazelnuts and walnuts at home so that’s what I used. I was also drawn to this particular recipe because it had whiskey in it. Because hell, it’s always time for a whiskey in my books. It turned out surprisingly well for my first one and I thought for tonight’s’ Movember fundraising efforts at work that mini versions would be nice.

Mini nut pies

Mini Nut Pies

Start with the pie dough since it will need to rest before rolling out. In a medium bowl stir 2 cups all purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup of COLD cubed butter. Cut with a pastry cutter or fork until it forms into pea sized bits. In a separate bowl beat 1 egg, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of COLD water. The cold ingredients will make for a flakier crust. Add the wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture and mix with a fork until just combined. Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

Filling:

1 cup chopped hazelnuts and walnuts

12 spoon fulls of chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 shot rye whiskey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ between 2 sheets of wax paper. Make sure you use lots of flour dusted on the dough to make for easier rolling. You can use a circle cookie cutter (or coffee mug like I used) to cut out 12 circles. You might have to re-roll some of the trimmings to make enough for the tarts. They should be slightly bigger than each of the muffin spots so you have a bit of crust. Press the dough into the muffin pan and use a fork to make some holes in each little pie crust. Fill 3/4 of each pie with the nuts and chocolate chips. In a bowl whisk the sugars, corn syrup, eggs, rye, sea salt and vanilla. Fill each mini pie with the mixture until almost full. Pop into the oven for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

Roll it, [poke it, fill it up yoooo.

Roll it, poke it, fill it up yoooo.

I literally just took these babies out of the oven and they look pretty good to me. Hopefully my staff enjoy them tonight! Every dollar helps us get closer to our goal!

http://mosista.co/Tehani 

Mini nut pies

xo

Movember Cookies

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MovemberTimeline

It’s finally here. It is Movember, the most beautiful time of the year. Those who know me know my admiration for a nice tall man with facial hair who can clean up well in a suit (aka: my handsome hubby). This time of year it gets a bit more refined. Even the most junior of mustaches is welcomed. And ladies…lets not forget about you!! So many lovely ladies show off their mustache pride and for that I thank you fellow Mo Sistas! This is my 4th year raising money towards the fight against men’s cancers and mental health and this year my goal is to try and raise $500. It is always overwhelming how generous my friends and family are, especially our staff at our work.

Mustached ladies in Vegas.

Mustached ladies in Vegas.

Our mustached themed wedding. Swoon....

Our mustached themed wedding. Swoon….

My twin and I bringing the mo's to Annik & Rob's wedding. Nobody was surprised.

My twin and I bringing the mo’s to Annik & Rob’s wedding. Nobody was surprised.

Please visit my Movember page here and make a donation today and make your contribution! http://mosista.co/Tehani or http://moteam.co/the-guildford-fuzzy-lips

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. Cause all dem bitches want em.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. Cause all dem bitches want em.

At this particular location everyone seems to have a sweet tooth so baking sales go over swimmingly. Last week I brought in some Berry Crumble. Yesterday it was Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. Tonight it’s Walnut Chocolate Cookies.

The base of this cookie recipe is the first recipe I ever mastered when I was a teenager and it’s the Original Nestle Toll House Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I have vivid memories hanging out with my friend Emily as teens and making this recipe, purely so that we could eat half the cookie dough while watching Disney movies and laughing our asses off. I’ve tweeked the recipe juuuuust slightly by adding vanilla and then I swap out the nuts and chocolate chips all the time with whatever I feel like.

For tonight’s fundraising efforts I’m kicking it old school and kicking it up a notch at the same time by topping them in chocolate. Because who can resist MORE chocolate?

Dem cookies.

For the cookies (adapted from Nestle Toll House):

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups roasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugars, butter, egg and vanilla in a bowl. Stir in all the dry ingredients and then add the nuts and chocolate chips. Make soup spoon sized rounds and bake on a cookie sheet, 12 per sheet, for 10 minutes. Makes about 36 cookies. Let them cool completely before dipping them in chocolate.

Topping them is definitely optional but these are to help raise money so I want to dress them up as much as possible! I did some research on the interweb and it recommended a bunch of techniques and which kind of chocolate to use. Mainly DO NOT use chocolate chips buuuuuuuut of course I only had chocolate chips and was far too lazy to go to the store. I also didn’t have any whipping cream so I tried to thin it out a bit with the butter and espresso. They turned out pretty good still! The chocolate definitely wasn’t as liquid as I wanted for dipping so I spread it on top instead. I only made enough chocolate to cover 2 dozen cookies so I kept the undressed ones at home for the hubby *cough cough* and me too *cough…

**Melt 1 cup chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons espresso and 1 tablespoon butter in a double boiler. Once melted top the cookies with the chocolate then place a whole roasted walnut on top. Let set completely before serving.**

** I HIGHLY recommend finding a recipe with a tried and true chocolate dipping method…and then send it my way! I’ve always had troubles with chocolate. And mac n’ cheese but that’s a WHOLE other story.

I hope our staff enjoy these cookies tonight. Maybe their sweet tooth is directly connected to their wallets and hearts? Please donate today!

xo

Arroz Caldo

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Everyone has a special comfort food dish that they crave when they are feeling under the weather. Some like grandma’s chicken noodle soup, others like beef stew. For my sister and myself we like Arroz Caldo, a traditional Filipino chicken and rice dish. Similar to risotto but flavored with ginger, garlic and lemon. My dad taught me how to make Arroz Caldo when I was moving out, along with a handfull of my favourite Filipino dishes like squash and beans, pancit bihon, lumpia and chicken tinola.

Aromatics.

I’ve been trying to battle a cold for the last couple of weeks and yesterday my immune system finally threw in the white towel. Runny nose, headache, sneezing, sore throat…you know all the usual suspects. Luckily I had a rare early work day that allowed me to be home for dinner and I was craving Arroz Caldo all day (along with some Netflix and cuddles). It would have been even better if my dad made it but alas, a big girl living on her own has to fend for herself sometimes. My hubby is a huge fan of Filipino food, especially the comfort dishes so I knew he would be all in. I stopped at our local T&T Asian Supermarket on the way home from work and picked up some lemongrass, baby ginger and lemons. My dad doesn’t put lemongrass in his but I thought the fragrant flavor would be a welcomed addition. We already had the chicken, rice, and onion at home. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Literally.

Arroz Caldo (the non-traditional edition)

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 cups basmati rice
3-4 cups water
1 large white onion, diced
2-3 stalks of lemon grass
3-4 inches baby ginger (or regular ginger), peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 head of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium while you prepare the aromatics. With the back of a knife whack the lemon grass to break it a bit and release the flavors. There is no need to cut the lemongrass as you will be removing it from the dish later on. Add the onion, lemongrass, onion and garlic to the pot and stir until the onions have softened and the aroma fills your kitchen. Add the chicken and brown on all sides and cook through, about 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, rice and water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer to cook the rice through, stirring occasionally. It should resemble a porridge or risotto like consistency. You can add more water if needed. Remove the lemongrass stalks. Season with salt and pepper throughout the cooking process. Squeeze as many lemon wedges as you like right before eating. I like a lot of lemon on my Arroz Caldo so I suggest leaving the lemon out for each person to garnish themselves.

Instagram @mangokidblog

Instagram @mangokidblog

I love the flavor of ginger but don’t enjoy eating it so much unless it’s on sushi so I leave it in large enough chunks that it can easily be picked out while eating. If you like eating ginger slice it thinly and leave it in the dish.

Besides the wonderful comfort factor of this dish it’s packed full of natural medical qualities from the ginger, garlic and lemon. It’s good for ya, even if you’re not sick. As you all probably have noticed cold season is here with the changing of the seasons so help prevent sickness in your family by whipping up this easy Filipino meal.

xo