Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread

Call me crazy, but I turned my oven on again. I’ve been baking in the early mornings to keep myself less hot and can’t say I regret it. I NEED a new breakfast in my life.

I chose this bread because it was quick and full of good stuff. Good stuff being sweet potatoes, zucchini and walnuts. Yum! I feel like I’m existing off of cheese and chocolate and I sometimes have chocolate cereal for breakfast! Hellllppppp! So, I made this quick bread to put some green and orange in my life. Also, this bread is moist and super tasty. It tastes like carrot cake actually, which makes me feel like I’m eating cake for breakfast. This makes me happy. Let’s get baking!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3- inch loaf pan and set aside. Sift the first 7 ingredients into a medium sized bowl.

Then, grate your sweet potato.

grate your zucchini…

and chop your walnuts.

In a separate, large bowl, mix the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract.

Beat them together well.

Mix in the zucchini and sweet potato. Mmm it’s looking good now.

Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the nuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread with a butter knife and turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe taken from Joy the Baker
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cup peeled and grated sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts
(optional) you could also add 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to add some fruit if you’d like!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3- inch loaf pan and set aside.

Sift the first 7 ingredients into a medium sized bowl.

In a separate, large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in the zucchini and sweet potato. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the nuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread with a butter knife and turn out on a rack to cool completely.

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Homemade White Chocolate Peanut Butter

I have now been in Switzerland for a week running around like crazy, and trying to get organized. My work day is from 8 to 5:30, but with marathon training and morning exercises in between I find it hard to get anything done. This weekend I had some time to myself so I went to the grocery store only to find that it didn’t have peanut butter. I was confused, but upon asking a local (in my very bad French) I learned that the Swiss don’t really eat peanut butter. You can get it in some specialty stores, but it’s not common at all. WEIRD!

In North America people go crazy for it, and when they can’t have it they go nuts for peanut butter substitutes like sunbutter or almond butter (which are both amazing as well). I am one of those typical North American’s that also love the stuff. Before leaving for Switzerland I made my own peanut butter often, and tried this white chocolate variation from How Sweet It Is. It’s a must try!

To begin, grab some high quality dry roasted peanuts.

Add peanuts to a food processor and blend until a thick nut butter forms. Stream in oil and vanilla with the processor on, continuing to run it until the mixture is smooth (about 3-4 minutes). You can add more oil if needed, but in small increments. Turn off processor, add melted chocolate, and turn processor back on. Blend until smooth.

Try it out on some yummy whole wheat toast, and enjoy! I miss this stuff.

Homemade White Chocolate Peanut Butter
Recipe from How Sweet It Is
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dry, roasted peanuts (I used salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup white chocolate chips/chunks/bars, melted

Directions:
1. Add peanuts to a food processor and blend until a thick nut butter forms. Stream in oil and vanilla with the processor on, continuing to run it until the mixture is smooth (takes about 3-4 minutes). You can add more oil if needed, just do it in small increments.
2. Turn off processor, add melted chocolate, and turn processor back on. Blend until smooth.

You can keep this peanut butter at room temperature for a week, but refrigerate it if you want to keep it for a few weeks.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Aren’t cookies awesome? I absolutely adore the little mounds of sugar and butter. When I was in high school I used to love walking up to Subway at lunch and getting two chocolate chip cookies with my six-inch roasted chicken sub. My taste buds have changed a lot since then. I have given up meat for one thing, but also I like to try different kinds of cookies. I will pretty much try anything. Recently I tried re-creating the Subway white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and not to be self-centered or anything buuuuut I nailed it! This recipe dishes out thin, soft, chewy cookies, that linger in your mouth. I’m happy.

To begin, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly blended in another medium bowl.

Chop some white chocolate chunks. Also, chop some macadamia nuts.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in the white chocolate and nuts.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on greased, prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat the little beauties!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
This recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces (12 squares) white chocolate, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease three baking sheets with baking spray or butter. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stirring until thoroughly blended. Stir in the white chocolate and nuts.
3. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marathon Cookies

I’m currently training for the Ottawa half marathon on May 30th. What is a half marathon? It is a 21.1 km (13.2 mile) run that requires intense training. Luckily, I love running and also LOVE the training that goes along with it. Maybe it’s because of the “runners high” I get during, and after every long run. The runners high is the effect of endorphins that are released during long, continuous workouts. Gotta love natural drugs!

Because I run so often, and for so long, I constantly need to be re-fueling my body with essential nutrients and sugars. Not chocolate bar sugars, but natural sugars such as fruit. Check out these dates!

My boyfriend’s aunt had us over for dinner recently and afterwards came out with a giant plate of amazing tasting baked goods. One of the many cookie-types to choose from on the platter was a cookie she called energy cookies. I totally understand why. These cookies were chalked full (and I mean FULL) of dried fruits and nuts. So clearly I asked her for the recipe.

The base of the cookie is so scrumptious, and the nuts and fruit are perfect to fill your body with energy after a long run, walk, or hike. I also brought these cookies camping recently, and they were perfect.

Why did I change the name to “Marathon Cookies”? Because I’ve been eating them after my long training days, and will certainly be eating them after my big day. The cookies freeze perfectly. Wish me luck!

Ingredients:
1 lb dates, chopped
1/2 lb dried apricots, chopped
1/2 lb dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 lb raisons
1/2 lb dried pineapple
1/2 lb almonds, chopped
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix together dates, apricots, cranberries, raisons, pineapple, and almonds.
2. In a separate large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time.
3. In another separate medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
4. Mix together creamed mixture with flour mixture until well combined. Add in dried fruit and almonds. The mixture will be very “chunky” and this is A-OK. You want it this way.


5. Spoon by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie tray.


6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Pecan Pie Bars

Even though I recently made buttertarts, I needed to bring back that sweet, gooey texture to my mouth. I didn’t want to make the EXACT same recipe though. So I thought of pie. Pecan pie to be exact. And then I thought “if I make bars, I could eat the whole ‘pie’ and not feel bad”. So that’s what I did. I made pie-bars.

Also, I made this recipe at Christmas and the bars got completely eaten up. So, I made two batches to give away to a friend of mine who is having a birthday. One tray for her and her family, one tray for me and my stomach. Sounds fair to me.

This recipe makes 16 beautiful 2-inch squares. It is a family favorite, and I found it written on an old cue-card. I miss the old way of recording recipes! I find it amazing how my Nanny remembers where all the scrap pieces of paper are. She always does though. When I ask “Nan, where’s the butterscotch pie recipe”, she’ll reply “it’s not in the book, it’s above the microwave under the tortilla dip card”….uh ok! Sweet.

Ingredients:
Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Topping
2 large eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups pecan halves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. To make the crust, combine flour, icing sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the ingredients just begin to come together in clumps. Sprinkle the mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake the crust until the edges are just golden (about 18 to 20 minutes). When crust comes out of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, to make the topping, whisk together the eggs, butter, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in the pecans.


4. Pour the filling over the hot crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.


5. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares.

NOTE: Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. But you know they won’t last that long :P