Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Perfect Zucchini Bread

So, I've been trying to follow a gluten-free diet lately. I've never been diagnosed with Celiac, but I definitely have a gluten sensitivity that makes eating super gluten-y food pretty uncomfortable. I love to bake, and before I stopped eating gluten, whole-wheat bread was my favorite thing to make. There is just nothing that compares to the smell of baking bread! I've been experimenting with gluten-free baking, and I think I've come up with a pretty good, simple zucchini bread recipe. I've healthy-ed it up a little, too!

Perfect Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread

1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup Truvia baking blend
Almost 1/2 cup applesauce, + enough vegetable oil to bring it to 1/2 cup
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 Cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I prefer Glutino brand for sweet recipes like this, as it contains no bean flours)
1/4 Cup gluten-free oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
Generous sprinkle of cinnamon, smaller sprinkles of ginger, cloves, and nutmeg

1 Cup grated zucchini
1/2 Cup of coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease one loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, Truvia, applesauce, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and spices. Fold dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Fold in zucchini and nut.

And of course, I couldn't do
much without my trusty
kitchen supervisor!
Place in prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface. This bread won't spread or rise too much, so make sure it's even in the pan! Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan for ~10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. It helps to run a knife along the edges of the pan to get it out in one piece!

Enjoy immediately! I love spreading a little butter on a slice (gotta cancel out all that healthiness somehow, right?) and eating it for breakfast, dessert, afternoon snack, dinner.... This bread doesn't last long in my apartment!

Let me know if you make it and enjoy it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A list, a song, and some cat drama. Normal day.

You know those songs that you just have to listen to, on repeat, for weeks? Music just gets into my blood and into my bones, sometimes, and I have to let it run its course till it's done with me. This song, Night of the Dancing Flame by Róisín Murphy is that song for me right now:

So good! Just Halloween-y and spooky enough to make me a little excited about Fall, but definitely still steamy enough for summer.

Things I am looking forward to in the next week:

1.) An all-day training tomorrow at work. Weird, maybe, that I'm looking forward to something that's usually so tedious, but I'm actually pretty excited; I'm the only part-timer at my work who will be attending this particular training with the rest of the full-timers, so I'm hoping this means that someone higher up is expecting a lot from me. And that's a good thing.

2.) Going home to the Bay Area this weekend with my man! He's going to meet my dog, hang out with my parents, see the place where I grew up... So exciting!

3.) Starting my new programs on Tuesday! I'm most looking forward to running a Harry Potter book club- does this generation of kids even know Harry Potter? They will soon!

Less awesome thing of the week: crazy sister ran away, again. But that's a story for another day. So, I'll end with my favorite part of the day: Steve Frisbee, the neighbor cat, flirting with my Little through the glass door this morning. They just can't quit each other, those crazy cats!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New around here.

So, I am beginning this blog. It's a good time to start something new; it's almost September, which has always felt more like the beginning of a new year to me than January. When does one grow out of that school-kid mindset?

It's also the beginning of a new phase at work, which is what made me decide to begin this blog. I work at a national non-profit, which runs an after school program throughout the school year, and a summer camp program in the summer months. We are revving up for our school year program to begin on Tuesday, just next week! I'll be starting a new position as the Learning Center Teacher, which makes me so excited and happy. Walking into my new room and seeing my desk and bulletin board is so strange, since I've always resisted being a teacher. And yet, here I am; I never went to Teacher School, officially, but here I am, running all of my own academic programs, serving hundreds kids every week. And I love it.

I'm most excited about starting up a Girls Group for our 6-8 little girls. I've worked with elementary-aged kids for awhile now, and I've noticed that even the littlest girls are starting to worry about makeup, boys, clothes, hair... So much stuff I didn't even think about till I was at least in middle school. I feel like such an old lady, sometimes, but even being just 23 has given me such a different perspective on girls' relationships to themselves and to the world. I'm looking forward to helping a bunch of little ones go out into the world a little stronger, and a little more sure of themselves, and a little braver! Something I certainly could have stood to learn as a child.

I'm hoping this blog will give me a place to talk about my new work life- hilarious kid things, the challenges of being a not-quite-teacher, the advantages of working for a non-profit. I think I'll probably also just write about my life- living in Portland, DIYing my tiny little apartment, co-existing with a grumpy cat, cooking lots of yummy food. I'll hopefully get some pictures going soon, too. For now, though, I'll end with a Portland sunset, and some sunflowers on my balcony. This is beauty!