Saturday, April 10, 2010
I am not a big fan of store bought baked goods. Most of the times, the ingredients in them sound more like some factory chemicals than anything edible. But because both Pratik and I are baked food junkies, not buying such ready-made cakes and desserts simply means creating them in our own kitchen. This is no doubt the best way to know exactly what goes in to the food that we eat!
Moreover, now that Myra has started demanding a piece of everything she sees on our plates, I knew it was time to start making healthier food with whole-grains and low-fat ingredients. While I found it relatively easy to incorporate nutritive options for her lunch and dinner, making baked snacks was where it was a little more challenging. While I am sure there are plenty of healthful options and recipes out there, my first option is always to tweak my tried and tested recipes in order to cut down the sugar and the butter, replace the regular non-nutritious flour with a higher food value alternative.
This whole wheat banana walnut bread is a result of one such tweaking experiment. The bread baked perfectly to give the desired texture and moistness. The walnuts provided a nice crunch in the background. But what really gives a kick is the sweet aroma from the bananas that fills the house while the bread is being baked. It teases you right from when those bananas ripen perfectly to be used in the bread, to watching the baked bread cool in the pan. But I can assure you, the end result if absolutely worth the wait!
Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Bread
Makes 1 loaf (about 10 slices)
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 extra large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups of banana, mashed (approximately 3 large bananas)
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted & roughly chopped (pecans can be substituted for walnuts)
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Dip a pastry brush in the melted butter and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan & flour it.
Sift the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Add the sugar, apple sauce and vanilla extract to the melted butter and whisk until well mixed. Add the egg and whisk until well combined. Now add the bananas, flour mixture and walnuts one by one and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated. It is important at this stage to not over mix the batter as this will result in a rubbery end product.
Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the loaf pan with a foil tent if the top starts to turn dark before the bread has completed baking.
Let the bread cool in the pan before cutting. Remove on a cutting board and cut slices of desired thickness.
This bread tastes even better the next day with the aroma of the banana completely infusing the bread and giving it the desired body and moistness.
Serve as a healthy light afternoon snack or have a slice with your hot coffee for breakfast. Munch on this at a picnic or neatly wrap a slice in a plastic wrap and eat your snack on the go!
Cover in plastic wrap or air tight containers at room temperature for about 2 days or in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wow! I cannot believe that Myra is already 10 months old. Now that was fast...wasn't I pregnant until last week?? Hmm...
In these past months, we have had our share of easy and tough days but never have we had a dull day. Thanks to the abundant activities we have around here in Albuquerque. Weekdays are full of musical activity classes, mom n baby yoga, toy library time and a few play dates. We are indeed having a ball. These activities are well designed and are definitely helping Myra grow into an affectionate, social and caring individual.
I feel good about being at home to give her the most deserved attention. There is a lot of work to do but with the amount of help and support that Pratik offers, even a regular day turns out to be very special. Like last Friday, Pratik got back home from work and surprised me with these flavorful enchiladas loaded with tons of healthy vegetables and decked up with a spicy salsa. Pratik's vegetarian enchiladas did a great job of taking the edge off from the weekly routine.
These enchiladas have five plus points.
Plus Point No.1 ...they are made of whole wheat tortillas.
Plus Point No.2 ...they are loaded with vegetables.
Plus Point No.3...they are a nice change from the regular bean and cheese version.
Plus Point No.4 ...they be easily made for two, four or a crowd alike.
Plus Point No.5 ...they come and go off the table like a breeze!
Pratik's Vegetarian Enchiladas
Serves 2 (as a complete meal)
4 medium sized whole wheat tortillas
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 red onion, cubed
1 1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup spicy salsa, any good store bought variety
Salt & Pepper
Drizzle some olive oil in a non stick skillet. Turn the heat to medium high. Once the skillet is hot, drop the vegetables and saute until they are tender and start to caramelize. Add the cumin- coriander powder, salt & pepper and cook for another minute. Turn the heat off.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg F. Coat the bottom of an 8X8 baking pan with some olive oil. Arrange the four tortillas on the kitchen counter and coat the top side with some salsa. Stuff the tortillas with the vegetable and some sprinkling of cheese. Roll and arrange in the baking pan with the seam side down. Cover the tortillas with the remaining salsa and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream.