a gift from a friend

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chocolate zucchini bread

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Sometimes I just want a slice of something, a little treat, but don’t want all the fat and calories, and this zucchini bread does it for me. Not only is it chocolaty, which right there has my vote, it is on the healthier side too! I use unsweetened applesauce instead of butter and mashed banana in place of oil. How yum is that!! Pretty yum I’d say, considering there’s about 482 calories in a 1/4 cup of oil as opposed to 50 calories in a 1/4 cup mashed banana. That’s quite a difference. The subs may cut way back on the calories here, but they sure don’t compromise the taste and moist texture at all. Oh! And another thing…it smells delicious when baking!

What you will need:

2 cups zucchini, shredded (about 1 large or 2 small)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2  cup cocoa
1 1/2  teaspoons baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup banana, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and lightly flour. Set aside.

With a paper towel, lightly press down on the shredded zucchini to absorb some of the moisture. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a whisk combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar, eggs, mashed banana, applesauce, and the vanilla. With a wooden spoon, mix ingredients together to combine. Stir in zucchini. Fold in your chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Before removing the bread from the pan let it cool for at least 30 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If the bread is sliced before it is completely cool, it may appear underdone.

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carrot applesauce trail mix cake

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This is a delicious homemade carrot cake. It’s moist not mushy, low in refined sugar and loaded with carrots, applesauce and spices. And with all the flecks of orange popping through, there’s no denying it’s a pretty cake too. I hope you like it as much as I do.

What you need:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup trail mix (peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds)
2-3 medium size carrots, shredded
Cooking spray

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray (I use a spring form pan).

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

In a small bowl add butter, honey, egg, vanilla, and applesauce. Mix until just incorporated.

Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture. Stir together until just combined.

Fold in shredded carrots and trail mix. Try not to over mix as it will cause your cake to be dense.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

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whole wheat oatmeal applesauce banana bread

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Oh how I love a good healthy banana bread, so when I came across this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, of course I had to bake it up. No butter, no oil, no sugar, and I think that’s awesome! …just full of good ingredients! It’s great at breakfast time or served as a snack. Either way, we can hardly wait for it to cool before slicing into it!

What you need:

Cooking  spray
1 heaping cup banana, mashed
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim milk, coconut milk, etc.)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine mashed banana, applesauce, honey, egg, almond milk, vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are well combined and creamy.

In a separate medium bowl, using a whisk, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle oats over top if you like, and bake for 60-70 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean from centre of loaf. It’s okay to have a few crumbs attached to toothpick.

Place on wire rack to cool. When loaf has cooled completely, slice and enjoy! Wrap loaf tightly so it stays nice and fresh (should keep for about 3 days).

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Recipe courtesy: Ambitious Kitchen

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so good chocolate cake

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This chocolate cake is perfect! It’s definitely very chocolate-y but not too sweet, and literally takes just a few minutes to make.  It’s quite moist too- must be because of the added coffee.  So good!

What you need:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan (I used a bundt pan lightly coated with cooking spray).

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  Add flour mixture, alternating with coffee. Now beat just until incorporated.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

Suggestions for frosting: chocolate or coffee icing. I like it sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from: allrecipes (J. Miller)

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starbucks inspired pumpkin scones

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Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year for baking and I think it’s because I love pumpkin so much. My daughter Julia absolutely loves it too, so she came up with the idea that the two of us should bake a pumpkin inspired recipe once a week through the fall season. I jumped on board real quick. Now, I know it’s not officially fall yet but we couldn’t resist getting started! Here’s our first choice Starbucks Inspired Pumpkin Scones.  

(recipe adapted from Bespangled)

What you need:

Makes 24 delicious mini scones, or 12 as equally delicious large scones.

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe to follow if you wish to make your own)
3/4 stick of butter (6 tablespoons, melted)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
3 tablespoons half-and-half

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Makes 8 tablespoons

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice

Simple Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze

1 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

What you do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well. If you have a sieve then sift ingredients into the bowl, otherwise you can use your hands to mix and break up clumps in the mixture. I used a rubber spatula and everything mixed together well.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients and fold in. If clumps have formed larger than a pea size, use your hands to break them up.

In a separate bowl using a whisk, combine together pumpkin puree, egg, and half-and-half.

Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon to form a dough. Make sure all the dry ingredients are moistened well.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and form into a log. Use a rolling pin or your hands to flatten into a rectangle, approximately 12”long by 4”wide and about 1” thick.

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Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into three equal parts, then cut diagonally from corner to corner of each of the individual sections. Cut diagonally the other way to make an “X” in each one of the three sections of the dough. For large scones stop cutting here. Remember they will need an extra minute or two of baking time. I made large scones so my photo does not show the next cutting step.

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Cut down the centre, lengthwise, and again vertically through the middle of the three original sections of dough. You should have about 24, give or take, equal triangles of dough.

Place the dough triangles onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Scones will rise a little during baking but they don’t spread out much so you can place them pretty close together.

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As you can see our rectangle could have used some more shaping, so our scones are all different sizes 🙂

While your yummy pumpkin scones are baking go ahead and prepare the glazes. In a bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir with a spoon. This is your simple white glaze. Mix well as to not have any clumps.

In another bowl, mix 1 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice. Stir well with a spoon. Transfer this spiced pumpkin glaze to a small Ziploc bag or a small-tipped squeeze bottle.

When scones come out of the oven, place them on wire rack to cool completely. They will smell and look delicious- no eating yet!

Once scones have cooled completely, using a basting brush, brush the simple white glaze over the top of the scones. Allow the glaze to set.

Now, using the spiced glaze from the Ziploc bag, with a tiny hole cut in the corner, or with the squeeze bottle, decorate the top of the scones with a zigzag pattern.

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So delicious… Enjoy every bite!!