Being Mrs. Pierce

Life as a wife, hiker, wanna-be chef, book-lover, traveler, and now, mom-to-be

Zucchini-Walnut Bread August 5, 2014

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 4:36 PM
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Last month I found myself with a few extra zucchini lying around, so I put one of them to use in Ellie Krieger’s Zucchini-Walnut Bread from the breakfast, brunch, & bakery chapter of Comfort Food Fix.

 

I have not had good luck with zucchini bread recipes in the past–they have turned out dry and/or tasteless. Even a zucchini-pineapple bread turned out surprisingly blah. After my last failure, I could not help but ask, Was it me, or was it the recipe?  So I wasn’t expecting the best when I embarked upon this recipe.  I followed the instructions exactly in order to discount for user error; if the recipe failed, at least I could claim it was not my fault!

 

About 30 minutes into the baking time, however, my kitchen was filled with the warm scent of cinnamon, and I began anticipating my first bite. I baked the loaf for an hour, as the oven in my new kitchen runs cooler than my previous one.

 

The recipe instructs you to wait until the bread is completely cool before slicing, but my growling tummy disagreed–it was ready for breakfast. I therefore cut into the loaf while it was still a little warm, to no ill effect. The zucchini-walnut bread was tasty (and not too dry), but it lacked oomph. In the end, both John and I rated it as an average, 3-star recipe. My hunt for the best zucchini bread recipe ever continues.

 

Comfort Food Fix recipes made: 24
Comfort Food Fix recipes still to make: 129

 

Zucchini-Walnut Bread

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 small zucchini (6 oz), coarsely grated (about 1¼ cups)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, and eggs. Stir in the zucchini. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine. Stir in the walnuts.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: one 1-inch-thick slice). Per serving, 7 PointsPlus.

 

Corn Bread with Sweet Corn Kernels February 22, 2014

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 10:55 AM
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During my initial perusal of Ellie’s Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix cookbook, I was excited to find a recipe for corn bread among its pages. Corn bread is one of my favorite side dishes, especially when it’s slightly sweet and still warm from the oven. For several years now, Eating Well’s Wholesome Cornbread has been my go-to corn bread recipe. I was eager to try Ellie’s recipe, however, due to its inclusion of whole corn kernels in the ingredients.

 

I made a double batch of the recipe two weekends ago when my in-laws were in town. For dinner that Saturday night, I served ham, baked sweet potatoes with warm black bean salad (sounds odd, I know, but they are rather amazing), Brussels sprouts, and Ellie’s Corn Bread with Sweet Corn Kernels. To make the corn bread, I used whole-wheat pastry flour and baby yellow & white corn kernels, both of which I already had on hand. Then I simply divided the doubled batch between two loaf pans and baked as directed.

 

We all loved the corn bread, and between five adults and two toddlers, most of one entire loaf was gone by the end of the dinner. The corn bread was slightly sweet thanks to the honey and wonderfully moist thanks to the buttermilk and bit of canola oil. The corn kernels were a nice touch both in looks and taste. This cornbread easily earned 4.5 stars! I now have a second solid corn bread recipe in my repertoire.

 

Comfort Food Fix recipes made: 13
Comfort Food Fix recipes still to make: 140

 

Corn Bread with Sweet Corn Kernels

Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1¼ cups low-fat buttermilk
3 TB honey
3 TB canola oil
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels

1. Move the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, buttermilk, honey, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine them. Stir in the corn.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with crumbs, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: one 1-inch-thick slice). Per serving, 6 PointsPlus. [If loaf is divided into 10 slices, each serving is 5 PointsPlus; if 12 slices, each serving is 4 PointsPlus.]

 

Pumpkin Bread (New Recipe #98) December 7, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 6:05 PM
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Without realizing it, I have apparently embarked upon a quest to make every pumpkin recipe that crosses my path. Just when I think that I have satisfied my pumpkin-baking urge for the year, I come across a new recipe and before I know it, I am in the kitchen making it. Such was the case with the Hungry Girl’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread.

 

For the dried fruit, I picked raisins over cranberries since I had very recently made the Cranberry Pumpkin Bars. I plumped my raisins before stirring them into the batter. The rest of the recipe I made according to the directions, although my bread needed only 40 minutes in the oven rather than 50.

 

Unfortunately, the Perfect Pumpkin Bread did not turn out so perfectly.  The taste of the bread was very disappointing — rather blah and barely sweet.  On the positive side, each serving of this bread was a generously-sized slice.  However, the large portion size was not enough to make up for the lack of taste; this bread earned only 2 stars.  I do not expect that I will make this recipe again.

 

Perfect Pumpkin Bread

1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)
2¼ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1/3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
½ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries or raisins, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix both types of flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

3. In another large bowl, whisk pumpkin, egg substitute, and vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the large bowl and stir until just blended.

4. Stir in chopped cranberries or raisins. Transfer batter to the loaf pan and smooth out the surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings. Per serving, 4 PointsPlus.

 

Pumpkin Oat Bread (New Recipe #85) November 12, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 10:03 PM
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Each fall, pumpkin seems to take over the grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants just a little bit more than the year before. While I normally would roll my eyes at such a runaway trend, I have to grant an exception for pumpkin. I eat a ridiculous amount of pumpkin treats throughout October and November, and e-mail alerts with the word “pumpkin” in them set my heart to racing. One such e-mail from WeightWatchers a few weeks ago had not one but SIX pumpkin recipes! My printer got a workout that day as I immediately perused and printed every single one. The first of the recipes I tried was this Pumpkin Oat Bread. The online reviews were promising, and I was wanting a baked treat to send to work with John for his UIL Lit Crit team meeting.

 

I made two slight alterations to the recipe. Instead of the walnut halves, I sprinkled finely chopped walnuts across the top of the entire pan. And I only had 1 can of pumpkin on hand, which is a little shy of 2 cups, so I added a little bit of unsweetened applesauce to make up the difference.

 

Upon my first bite, I knew this recipe was a keeper. The bread was incredibly moist, and it did not taste like a diet-friendly recipe thanks to the inclusion of regular butter in the ingredients list. Both John and I rated the recipe a strong 4 stars! The bread works as a dessert, an afternoon snack, and a breakfast baked good. I will be making this Pumpkin Oat Bread at least once every fall, even when the pumpkin trend has fallen away and I have to dig to the back of the grocery shelves to find a can of pumpkin.

 

Pumpkin Oat Bread

1 spray cooking spray, flour-variety recommended
½ cup regular butter, softened
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups canned pumpkin
¼ tsp table salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or more to taste
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups uncooked quick oats
2½ tsp baking soda
24 half walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 10- X 15-inch baking dish with cooking spray. (I used a 9 X 13.)

2. Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and pumpkin; beat well. Add salt, pumpkin pie spice, flour, oats, and baking soda; mix thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and place walnut halves on top so there will be 1 walnut in the center of each piece of cake. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Cool in pan and cut into 24 pieces.

Yield: 24 servings. Per serving, 4 PointsPlus.

 

Sweet and Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding (New Recipe #83) October 27, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:07 PM
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The words “bread pudding” are dangerous ones. Not dangerous in the sense of my physical safety. Dangerous in the sense of my waistline. Hearing or seeing bread pudding is all but guaranteed to whittle my willpower into oblivion. My husband has learned that if a restaurant has bread pudding listed on the dessert menu, we are probably going to order it.  Bread pudding is my ultimate guilty pleasure.

 

So while perusing The Hungry Girl’s 300 Under 300 cookbook, my eyes–of course–lingered on the title of this breakfast recipe: Sweet and Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding Bowl. Bread pudding for breakfast? Sign me up.

 

Despite my love of bread pudding, my expectations for this recipe were not the highest. After all, the ingredients list screams, “Diet food! Diet food!” Yet I just had to give it a try.

 

I used a MorningStar Farms veggie breakfast patty for the “savory.” The first time I made this, I tried to crumble the patty with the back of a fork, which was mildly successful. Since then, I have cut it up with a fork and knife.

 

The bread pudding bowl tastes much like its name implies – it is both sweet and savory. It does taste a bit like “diet food,” but I still give it 3 stars. I’ve made it multiple times since first trying the recipe out in August. I’ve found that it’s a great way to use up leftover egg substitute from other recipes. Mostly, though, it’s a way for me to enjoy “bread pudding” with none of the guilt.

 

Sweet and Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding Bowl

1 frozen meatless or turkey sausage patty with about 80 calories
2 slices light bread, lightly toasted
½ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon, or more for topping
¼ cup sugar-free pancake syrup, divided
½ tsp powdered sugar

1. Prepare patty on the stove or microwave according to package instructions. Once cool enough to handle, crumble or chop and set aside.

2. Spray a microwave-safe bowl with nonstick spray. Tear toasted bread into bite-sized pieces and place in the bowl. Add crumbled sausage and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine egg substitute, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and 2 TB pancake syrup. Mix well. Pour mixture over the bread pieces and crumbled sausage. If needed, gently stir to ensure bread in thoroughly soaked.

4. Microwave for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, or until bread pudding is set. (It will puff up once set.)

5. Top with remaining 2 TB syrup, powdered sugar, and, if desired, an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

Yield: 1 serving. Per serving, 6 PointsPlus.

 

Easy Rolls (New Recipe #77) August 24, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 4:32 PM
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In addition to cooking Creole Pasta and Sautéed Swiss Chard for our end-of-summer celebratory dinner, John and I also enjoyed these quick-and-easy rolls. My mother-in-law gave me the recipe, which she originally obtained at a WeightWatchers meeting long ago. I liked that they had “easy” in the title, especially as we would have several dishes in progress at once.

 

I did not have any self-rising flour on hand, so I used the self-rising flour substitute that my mother had once given me in connection with her buttermilk biscuit recipe. The substitution did not appear to affect the rolls in any way. The batter was very, very sticky, though, and would not spread out in the bottom of the muffin tins. Instead, a blob of batter sat rather oddly in each one. Yet as the rolls baked, the batter did fill out in the tins as the rolls rose. Each roll still ended up being on the small side, but this was perfect for this meal, considering the heaviness of the pasta. John and I both enjoyed the rolls, which had a slight biscuit-y texture. We rated them 3.5 stars.

 

Easy Rolls

Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 cup self-rising flour*
½ cup fat-free milk
1½ TB plain nonfat yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 8 tins of a muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Stir flour, milk, and yogurt together. Place batter in tins, and put water in any unused tins to prevent rolls from burning.

3. Spray top of rolls with cooking spray. Bake 10-13 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 roll).  Per serving, 2 PointsPlus.

*1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt

 

Banana-Pecan Bread (New Recipe #64) August 7, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 4:07 PM
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Banana nut bread is a food weakness for me, and unfortunately, it is often loaded with calories and fat. I therefore was thrilled to find a banana nut bread recipe in Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix cookbook. Ellie often can be counted on to provide healthy-yet-delicious recipes. Considering that I’ve been slightly obsessed with the Comfort Food Fix cookbook for the past week, it was inevitable that I would make a loaf of this bread.

 

I had already started the recipe when I realized that I only had 3 medium, rather than large, bananas, so I had less than the called-for 1½ cups of mashed banana. This may or may not have had an impact on the final result, in which the bread was slightly dry. I did overcook the bread a smidge. I checked the loaf 45 minutes into its baking time, but I should have done so sooner. The top was a little too brown for my taste, and the edges of the bread were a little harder than I would have liked. However, the inside was still delicious. John, who enjoyed his slices toasted with butter, awarded the recipe 4 stars. I, who ate my slice plain, gave it 3 stars, but I am open to upping my rating in the future when I use the correct amount of banana and do not leave it too long in the oven.

 

Banana-Pecan Bread

Nonstick cooking spray
1/3 cup pecan pieces
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 very ripe, large bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1½ cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in the bananas. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine them. Stir in the toasted pecans.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: one 1-inch-thick slice). Per serving, 8 PointsPlus.

(If loaf is divided into 10 servings, the PointsPlus value drops to 6 per serving.)