Have you ever noticed that cupcakes seem to make just about everyone smile with delight? Kids and adults alike can’t seem to resist these tasty treats! That’s probably why there are so many popular bakeries that specialize in cupcakes…like Sprinkles, Magnolia Bakery, Primrose Bakery, and Polkadots. Continue reading
Soup is such a great thing to eat on a cold winter day. Like this Tomato Carrot Soup with Basil. Although, I have to admit, it’s also good in the summer made with fresh tomatoes. But during the winter you can use canned diced tomatoes and I think it tastes just as good.
I’ve been having lots of soup lately, because it is cold and because I’ve been getting over a nasty bout of bronchitis, which I had over most of the holidays. I was disappointed at not being able to post more holiday recipes, but just didn’t have much energy to cook or do much else!
So I thought this would be a good time to post a soup recipe–most people love a good bowl of soup in the winter and this is so good for you. It has a good variety of veggies in it–carrots, celery and onion–all blended to a smooth consistency. Garlic and basil also add to the flavor. It makes a great meal with some crusty bread. Or serve it before a main course for dinner.
TOMATO CARROT SOUP WITH BASIL by NancyC
Makes about 4 servings
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup water
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced (or 2 [14.5-ounce] cans diced tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 Tablespoons dried basil, crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
In large saucepan, cook carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, in olive oil, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of the tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Transfer mixture, in 2 batches, to a blender or food processor and add 1/2 cup water to each batch. Cover and blend until smooth, then return mixture to saucepan.
Stir in the salt, half of the basil, and the remaining tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil and balsamic vinegar and heat an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
If you are a fan of tomato soup, you’ll want to try this sometime! I love trying out new versions of tomato soup. Do you have a favorite tomato soup recipe?
I’ve never heard a quick bread being described as “rustic,” but I think that’s the perfect description for this Granola-Carrot Bread. It’s a real down-to earth quick bread, made with whole wheat flour, grated carrots, granola, light olive oil, and chopped nuts. And it looks kind of rustic, with the texture of the nuts, carrots and granola showing inside and out. It’s a very lightly sweet quick bread, getting it’s sweetness from the brown sugar and bits of granola (I used 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar in my loaf; for a sweeter loaf, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup). Adding raisins is optional, but they would add a little to the sweetness, too.
I first saw this recipe in an old cookbook and, since I’m a big granola fan, thought it was definitely worth trying. I made a few small changes and liked the way it turned out. When I first tasted it, I thought it might not be sweet enough, but by the second slice, I decided I liked the lightly sweet taste of it. I used some of my homemade granola in this recipe, my Apricot-Honey Granola, but you can use any kind of granola, homemade or store-bought. This quick bread is great for breakfast or for a healthy afternoon snack!
GRANOLA-CARROT BREAD by NancyC, adapted from Breads, Quick Breads, and Coffee Cakes
Makes one 9×5″ loaf
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (1/2 cup will give you a lightly sweet loaf)
- 1 1/2 cups of your favorite granola (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
- Optional: 2/3 cup dark or golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.
In large bowl, add the brown sugar, granola, flour, and grated carrots, stirring with a large spoon to combine. Add the oil and blend ingredients together. Then add the baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, eggs, and buttermilk, stirring everything until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the chopped pecans.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350˚F for 42 to 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
I love that this quick bread has carrots in it, because I never eat as many carrots as I should. So this is a tasty way to add some beta-carotene into my diet! 🙂 It’s always nice when you can bake a treat that is good for you too. Have you been baking any healthy goodies lately?
Sharing at Meal Plan Monday.
When I think of Amish food, I think of good, homestyle comfort food. That’s why I was interested in reviewing the recently published Amish Community Cookbook: Simply Delicious Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Homes. I was in the mood for some comfort food and there are lots of comfort food-type recipes in this book…breakfast items, casseroles, main dishes, sides, and desserts. I thought I’d try the Carrot Cake because I really love carrot cake and this one sounded really easy to make.
It was easy, but there are some positives and negatives to this recipe. The positives are that it tastes great, and it has three–yes, three–cups of shredded carrots in it. All those cups of carrots made me feel a little better about eating this cake. The cream cheese icing, which I turned into a thicker frosting, is really good too (but not healthy at all)!
The negative thing about this recipe is that it sunk in the middle when I made it. It was higher at the edges and lower in the middle. I made a batch-and-a-half of frosting to fill in the sunken middle and make the cake appear level. And sprinkled the top with chopped pecans. So it ended up looking fine. I’m not sure if the sunken middle was due to something I did wrong or if it always turns out that way. So if you try this, you’ll have to let me know if your cake sunk or not!
At any rate, everyone I shared this cake with loved it. So I guess that’s the most important thing!
CARROT CAKE adapted from Amish Community Cookbook
Makes a 9×13″ cake
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups (granulated) sugar
- 1 1/2 cups oil (this may be too much oil; just try 1 cup and the cake may not sink in the middle!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- 2 cups (all-purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
CREAM CHEESE ICING
(Note: I made a batch and a half of the frosting to have enough to generously cover the cake and the sunken middle: 3/4 cup butter, 4.5 ounces cream cheese, 3 tsp. vanilla, 6 cups powdered sugar; I also topped the frosting with 1/3 cup chopped pecans. Below is the original icing recipe from the book)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar or more as needed for consistency (I used 4 cups of powdered sugar because I wanted a thicker frosting)
In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add sugar, beat until creamy. Beat in oil and vanilla. Stir in carrots.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to egg/sugar mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour into ungreased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Spread with cream cheese icing. Keep cake refrigerated.
If you’ve looked over this recipe and have any ideas why this cake may have sunken in the middle and how to fix that, be sure to let me know! Even with the sunken middle though, I would make this again because it really does taste good. If you’re a carrot cake fan, I’m sure you will like this! Have you made carrot cake before and do you have a favorite recipe for it?
I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.
Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.
I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!
CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox
The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore
Makes 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of fine sea salt
In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.
Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?