Christmas Recap

It is so hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or holidays) filled with family, friends, and lots of delicious vegan food!

With a Christmas tree upstairs, I don’t do a tree in my place, but I did do a bit of decorating for the first time.ย 

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So glad I remembered where I’d tucked away these snowflakes that my late Grandma made years ago! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m officially done one third of my Natural Nutrition program and enjoying a nice break from my studies. Which gave me time to sneak in a couple days of baking before Christmas Day. The week before, I’d made these Peppermint Bark Raw Brownies to share at work.

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Monday, Jem and I had our annual Christmas Baking Day. We like to turn on some Christmas music and make a few different goodies at once, mostly to share with family and friends over the holidays. Since I made the switch to vegan, Jem is lovely enough to let all our choices be vegan. This year we choose to make Thin Mint Cookies, Pumpkin Blondies, ย Chocolate Chai Shortbread, and Coconut Sugar Cookies (from Vegan Food Gifts). (The links will take you to the original recipe, but I did make some changes, which I will share with you in later posts.)

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(Please ignore the non-vegan red sprinkles on Jem’s cookies.)

And Christmas Eve I baked a Cranberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (this one, but with fresh cranberries added), and Christmas morning I baked fresh Herb Drop Biscuits. These were my contribution to my family’s Christmas brunch.

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I’m feeling completely spoiled from Christmas! This is all the vegan/cooking/baking-related stuff I was lucky enough to receive.

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Can you detect any themes? Seems as though my family has figured out that if I get kitchen stuff and Lush stuff, I will be a super happy camper!

Not sure if I’ll have another post for you before the end of 2013, so just in case I miss it: have a very Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

P.S. – I am so excited about my new Crockpot, but have never used one before. Does anyone have any favourite or tried-and-true vegan slow-cooker recipes they’d like to share?

Also, I’d love to hear about your favourite moment or favourite gift from this year’s holidays!

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Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread

Yes. Another zucchini bread recipe. I know there are a gazillion flooding blogs these days, and during every zucchini season. But one thing I have not seen is a quick healthy vegan Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread.

Despite hot summer weather I still find myself wanting warm, cozy, spiced bake goods. So, instead of relying on something apple or pumpkin based (as I did all winter) I decided to try something with zucchini, by adapting a couple different zucchini bread recipes together and then adding chai spices. I’m all for loading my baked goods with lots of fruit and veggies, especially when they are in season locally and really cheap!

This is not strongly spiced bread. The flavour is subtle at first, but it builds up. This moist bread is great on its own, or with a bit of vegan margarine (Earth Balance or Becel). It also freezes really well. And yes, as with most zucchini bread, you can see the zucchini (especially if you don’t peel it) but you will NOT taste it. Promise.

Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread
Makes 1 large loaf.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sorghum flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups shredded zucchini (you don’t have to peel it)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup water or unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar) [depending on how sweet you would like it]
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ยฐ and lightly grease a large loaf pan. In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a smaller bowl stir together the zucchini, oil, apple sauce, water or milk, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.

Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients, along with walnuts (if using). Stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes. Enjoy!

Notes:
Both the white sorghum flour and the chickpea flour could be replaced with all purpose flour or a different flour of your choice. The idea is to use a lighter flour that will balance the heavier whole wheat flour.
There are a lot of spices in this recipe. Leaving out one or two of these spices won’t result in the same chai flavour, but would most likely still taste really good. Use your own discretion.

Nutritional Info for 1/12 of this recipe (with 1/2 cup coconut sugar, and walnuts): 215 calories, 19g carbs, 11g fat, 5g protein, 8g sugar, 260mg sodium.

This recipe has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #10.

the veggie nook

Questions
Are you scared of zucchini bread like I used to be?
Of course, when I was younger I thought the idea of putting shredded zucchini in a bread or muffin was crazy. And gross. So I avoided it for a long time. Then a couple of years ago, in the spirit of healthy baking, I tried making a zucchini bread and it really didn’t work! I don’t know what quite went wrong but it was dense and just really not good. So I once again avoided it until this summer, when I tried my hand at this Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Loaf and fell in love! I use whole grain flours and don’t add chopped chocolate but other than that the recipe is perfect as is! It’s very moist and chocolatey, tasting really bad for you, but actually not too bad at all!

Do you have a great zucchini bread recipe you’d like to share?

Do you have a great tea-inspired (chai or otherwise) recipe you’d like to share?