Almond Butter Bread

I love putting almond butter on bread, so why not try putting it in bread, right? I’ve never made a bread like this before, but I think it came out really well and will be particularly delicious with jam…it’s like a pb&j with only half the work!

Almond Butter Bread
*full recipe below

To begin, I combined 2/3 cup creamy almond butter with 1/4 cup sugar:

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In a separate bowl, I combined 1 and 1/4 cups of white whole wheat flour with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Slowly, I alternatively added the flour mixture and almond milk (1.5 cups total) to the almond butter/sugar.

I had some extra dates in my kitchen leftover from hamantashen baking, so I chopped them up and threw them in the batter too. I imagine that almost any type of fruit or chocolate (ESPECIALLY CHOCOLATE) would taste great as well.

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Once the dates were folded in, I poured the batter into a well-buttered bread pan:

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And baked for one hour at 350º and then had…

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Beautiful almond butter bread!

Almond Butter Bread
Ingredients
- 2/3 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup dates, fruit of choice, or chocolate
Method
- Combine the almond butter and sugar in a large bowl
- in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder,
and cinnamon
- alternate adding flour mixture and milk
to the almond butter/sugar, making sure to thoroughly
combine at all stages
- fold fruit or chocolate into the batter
- pour into a buttered bread pan and bake for one hour
at 350º

And, since the oven was hot, I threw in a batch of cottage cheese biscuits for good measure.

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Applesauce Oat Bread and Brunch

I’ve always felt like brunch is an inconvenient creation. I always want breakfast. And I always want lunch. So brunch becomes an awkward middle meal where I never know whether to try to hold out and be starving or eat before and be full….

I’m lucky to have such problems. Alas, this weekend I had a brunch scheduled. It was a fairly late brunch – 11:30 – so I tried to solve the above dilemma by eating  a smaller sized breakfast as soon as I woke up:

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In the mix: yogurt, fiber one, strawberries, banana, and coconut whip (the cream from a can of coconut milk with just a tad of vanilla. See here for a tutorial).

I then hit the gym for some NROLFW and a quick burst on the stairmaster before coming home to make my brunch contribution: applesauce oatmeal bread! The recipe I used was from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, and I made a few minor adjustments. full recipe below

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 1 cup oats:

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Add 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda:

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In a separate bowl, mix together 1 egg, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 cup water:

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix it all up:

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Bake for 55 minutes at 350°.

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Allow to cool before slicing:

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This definitely had the taste of a healthy bread – a little dry and oaty. But I enjoyed and will particularly be looking forward to for breakfast later in the week! Maybe with peanut butter…or hummus…or as french toast. Only time will tell. 🙂

Ingredients
 - 1 cup all-purpose flour
 - 1 cup whole wheat flour
 - 1 cup oats
 - 4 teaspoons baking powder
 - 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
 - 1/2 teaspoon cloves
 - 1 egg
 - 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 brown sugar
- 1/2 water
- 2 tablespoons oil
Method
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, applesauce, brown sugar, water, and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. 
Pour into a greased bread pan at bake at 350° for 55 minutes. 
Allow to cool before slicing.

The rest of brunch was yum-azing. There were homemade caramel pecan rolls:

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Crustless quiche:

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French toast casserole:

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Plus fruit and juice boxes:

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This is my plate with a sampling of everything:

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A chocolate cinnamon roll came out of the oven a little later which I also sampled.

I hold by my original statement that the timing of brunch is monstrously inconvenient, but this meal was so delicious I wasn’t too bothered. 🙂

Rustica

Rustica Bakery is a lovely cafe/bakery tucked into Calhoun Village along W Lake Street.

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I first learned about Rustica when I was searching for a source of good challah in the Twin Cities. A quick ‘best-of’ Google search led me there, and the recommendation did not disappoint. Since then, I’ve returned several times for both challah and other types of bread (Bon Appetit named Rustica one of the 10 best bread bakeries in the US!).

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In addition to bread, Rustica features a drink menu of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks as well as a small food menu of starters, salads, soups, and sandwiches.

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Not to mention a beautiful display case of baked goods:

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On this most recent visit, I had an iced green mint tea. The tea was good, but pretty pricey (nearly $3). Besides buying loaves of bread to take home, the only food I’ve ever gotten at Rustica is a bread and jam plate. You can choose any of their bread varieties, and they’ll serve you two slices with homemade jam and fresh Vermont butter.

Overall, I say that Rustica is a great bakery to buy loaves of bread, but it is a bit pricey for a snack or meal. Having never tried their pastries and desserts, I don’t know if they are worth the splurge too. Either way, I would encourage everyone to stop by for a loaf of their favorite bread (or challah on Fridays!).

Honey Wheat Quick Bread and Birthdays

Depending on what time zone you’re in, either today or tomorrow is my roommate’s birthday. To celebrate, she hosted a potluck at our apartment over the weekend. It was really classy, see?

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What do I wear to such a classy party?

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A black sequined dress, obviously.

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Since it was a potluck I couldn’t just show up empty handed, so I made a quick bread. I found inspiration from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book (copyright date: 1985), but I ended up making my own recipe.

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I like this cookbook because
1) the recipes are good and,
2) I think it’s slightly comical that it’s advertised as a special high-carbohydrate cookbook.

High-carb, of course, to maximize health. Here is a quote from the back cover:
Jane Brody’s nutrition book…demonstrated the dramatic health benefits of a diet that relies on complex carbohydrates – foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, beans and bread.

In case you didn’t notice, those are EXACTLY the foods that are most vilified in mainstream diet culture today. I think it’s a great illustration of how ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods are more a product of diet fads and marketing rather than a reflection of what is actually best for our bodies.

Anyway…I made some quick bread inspired by Brody’s honey health bread (p. 590 if you have the book). My recipe was as follows:

Ingredients
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups coconut creamer
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Method
Mix all dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. 
Combine the wet and dry and stir until one consistency. 
Pour into a 9x5x3 bread pan and cook at 325° for one hour.

Tada!

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The bread was thick, chewy, and had a mild flavor. Since the whole loaf didn’t get eaten at the party, I decided to be creative and make french toast for breakfast in the morning! For the batter, I combined one egg with a few shakes of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and a generous splash of coconut milk. That amount of batter was enough for two full slices (which would be four of the half-slices pictured above), plus a little extra. On the skillet:

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I’m a lot better at flipping french toast than I am at flipping pancakes. Go figure.

All done – plated and topped with walnut butter, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and a banana:

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Yum. This sort of french toast is so much more satisfying than the white bread kind at most restaurants.

 

Cottage Cheese Biscuits

I stumbled across a recipe for cottage cheese biscuits on the Healthy Recipes Blog (I recently discovered this site and fell immediately in love). I thought the biscuits looked interesting, and I happened to have cottage cheese in the fridge, so I decided to give it a whirl. I modified the original recipe slightly, and you can see my full recipe below.

First, mix flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a large bowl:

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Add cottage cheese and milk:

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I started to mix everything together in the bowl, but that wasn’t working very well, so I poured the whole mix onto a lightly floured board and got to work with my hands:

before using hands - very crumbly!

before using hands – very crumbly!

My hands were just what the dough needed, and it got perfectly sticky without any additional liquid. Once the dough seemed shapeable, I divided it into 6 segments, formed them vaguely like biscuits, and arranged on a lightly greased baking tray:

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Cook for 15 minutes at 450°.

beautifully golden!

beautifully golden!

Cottage Cheese Biscuits

makes 6 biscuits
Ingredients
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk
Method
Mix together flour, sugar, and baking powder and a large bowl. 
Once combined, add in cottage cheese and milk. 
Stir or knead with hands until a shapeable dough forms. 
Divide into 6 biscuits, arrange on a lightly greased baking tray, 
and bake at 450° for 15 minutes until the tops are golden.

I try to have three components to my meals: starch, vegetable, and protein. (Breakfast is exempt from this policy) With the biscuits as this week’s starch, I decided to roast up some brussel sprouts to go with.

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I tossed the brussel sprouts with a little coconut oil, arranged on a baking tray, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and thyme. I cooked for 30 minutes at 400°. I always struggle to determine how long and at what temperature to roast vegetables. This timing/temp combination worked very well and I will definitely be using again.

Autumn Vegetable Bread Soup

I have a wonderful friend who has a wonderful soup addiction. Naturally, she follows the blog Soup Addict. When we had a dinner date this past weekend, the obvious menu choice: soup! We were inspired by Soup Addict’s Roasted Winter Vegetable Bread Soup recipe, but changed the recipe around a bit to include more of our favorite vegetables and use what we had on hand. (full recipe listed below)

First, chop up one onion, one sweet potato, three small carrots, and a couple stalks of celery. Toss the vegetables with a little bit of olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 425°.

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When the veggies finish, add some olive oil to a pot, transfer the roasted veggies there, and add white wine, flour, vegetable stock and water. Once the soup is lightly boiling, add red lentils and quinoa and cook for 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, chop some kale:

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Add to the mix and cook for another 10 minutes:

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Cut slices of bread and fry eggs for the number of people you are serving.

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Ladle soup on top of bread…

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where did the bread go?!

…and top with a fried egg.

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enjoy!

Winter Bread Soup
makes 4 servings
Ingredients
- olive oil as needed
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 onion
- 3 small carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1/3 cup black quinoa
- 1 bunch kale
- 4 thick slices of bread
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
Method
Cube sweet potato, onion, carrots, and celery, toss with olive oil and 
roast in dish for 30 minutes at 450°
When the roasting is finished, heat olive oil in a pot, add vegetables, 
white wine, and flour - stir to coat.
Add stock and water, bring to a boil. 
Once boiling, add lentils and quinoa, keeping at a low boil for ten minutes.
Add chopped kale and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve soup over thick slices of bread and topped with a fried egg.