food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: March 2015 (page 2 of 3)

Friday Feast – Zucchini Bread

This bread.

Let me just tell you something about this bread.

When my siblings and I were growing up, our Mom used to make this AMAZING zucchini bread. To-die-for. Meltingly moist. It’s almost as if it just never occurred to us that it was chock full of grated zucchini. That’s a vegetable, by the way.

Healthy and Delicious Zucchini Bread -

Healthy and Delicious Zucchini Bread -

Looking back, I get this happy nostalgic feeling when I think about that zucchini bread. That’s because my brother and I (Kara was likely too young to remember this) had a very specific way of eating our slices. Mom would cut a generous slice from the zucchini loaf, put it on a plate (or paper towel), and then allow us to slather on some good old-fashioned Country Crock buttery spread. We didn’t stop there, though. We’d then cut our respective slices into 5 or six smaller pieces — think chunky “matchsticks”. Next, we’d throw those buttery matchsticks into the microwave for about 10 seconds. Each bite was heavenly.

As an ADULT (sad, I know), I’m always searching for ways to “healthify” such moist and buttery baked goods. For this bread, I’ve swapped the sugar for Truvia Baking Blend, substituted some of the canola oil for applesauce, and a third of the flour is now whole wheat flour. These simple swaps have worked wonders on the nutritional content of this bread! Check out the health stats following the recipe below.

Healthy and Hearty Zucchini Bread // reinvented family recipe

Yields 2 loaves (16 slices)

1 cup Truvia Baking Blend
3 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (1 storebought 4oz cup works perfectly)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic)
2 cups grated raw zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle position. Spritz 2 loaf pans with Baker’s Joy (or oil and then dust with flour). In a very large bowl or stand mixer, combine Truvia Baking Blend, eggs, oil, applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

To the egg mixture, add both flour varieties and the grated zucchini. Mix until any flour lumps are incorporated. At this point, you can mix in 1/2 cup of chopped nuts if you so desire. Pour into the prepped loaf pans.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean.

Healthy and Delicious Zucchini Bread -

Assuming you end up with a total of 16 servings (8 slices per loaf), I was able to cut the original recipe down by 202 calories per serving! Below you’ll see the stats for average zucchini bread on the left and our literally-just-as-good-revamped-version on the right.

Amazing, right?

And yes, I’m sitting at my desk happily enjoying a slice, matchstick-style.

Healthy and Delicious Zucchini Bread -

xo Cassie

Welcoming Sweet Springtime

The windows are open and the kitties are loving it! I’m doing some laundry (yay for these colorful new pieces for my spring wardrobe from Apex Outfitter & Board Co.) and tidying up around the house today, so I wanted to pop in with a quick update to share some signs of spring.

Kitty basking in the sun.

Belle at the Jones House in Cary, NC.

Lunch at Belle at the Jones House in Cary, NC.

Downtown Cary, NC.

Patio rug from World Market.

Also, Krystal featured our wedding on her gorgeous photography blog! I am still completely in love with these photos that she captured of our special day.

Richard has been working like a dog, and tonight we finally get a night out together! We’re thinking Full Moon Oyster Bar in Morrisville for some cold pints and tasty seafood. Mmm…

xo Cassie

Friday Feast – Cheddar Biscuits with Dill & Pepitas

Oh hey there, Friday.

Wow, you sure arrived quickly.

Not sure how you managed that one.

Ahem, let’s get straight to the point…

Friday, I love you.

Truly! I love you so much that I made you these biscuits. I must admit, they are quite tasty. Oh hush, it was nothing! Seriously, you deserve it. They were super simple to make, too! Perfect for us to share this weekend now that you’re here.

Friday Feast: Cheddar Biscuits with Dill & Pepitas  //

Morning Biscuits with Cheddar, Dill, and Pumpkin Seeds // slightly adapted from Sweet Paul Eat & Make by Paul Lowe

Yields 10 biscuits

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 1/4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (I used store-bought roasted and salted)

Heat oven to 375°F, with a rack in the middle position. Spritz 10 cups of a muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Work the diced butter into flour mixture with your fingers; the consistency should be grainy, with varying large/small lumps of butter. Add cheddar cheese, scallions, dill, and milk. Mix well. (Don’t worry if the dough feels sticky and wet — that’s okay.) Divide batter among the 10 muffin cups. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top of each.

Bake until biscuits are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday Feast: Cheddar Biscuits with Dill & Pepitas  //

Friday Feast: Cheddar Biscuits with Dill & Pepitas  //

Friday Feast: Cheddar Biscuits with Dill & Pepitas  //

xo Cassie

Rainy Day Blues

It’s just one of those days.

– Richard worked until 3am, so we both got terrible sleep last night.
– My dentist appointment was at 7:50am.
– My doctor’s appointment was at 11:30am.
– Did I mention that it’s utterly disgusting outside?

Okay, so maybe that’s not enough to truly complain about, but I felt like being a baby about it anyway.

"Tea: A Hug in a Cup" doodle artwork for a rainy day!

I did some doodling. An email from a friend today said, “It’s a rainy day, good for sitting in bed and drinking tea!” I haven’t had any tea today, but Rich and I did enjoy our French-pressed coffee in bed this morning. Don’t fret, the coffee was consumed in between appointments. I wouldn’t feel quite right drinking coffee BEFORE a dentist appointment, even if I did brush my teeth afterwards!

And now Rich is back at work for another potentially late evening. I’ve rented Woody Allen’s latest film, Magic in the Moonlight, even though it looks kind of atrocious. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Woody Allen flicks, but this one… meh, we’ll see.

It does star Colin Firth, who I think is devastatingly handsome.


That’s my plan for tonight: red wine, movie, and HOPEFULLY I can convince Merlin to cuddle up with me on the couch. I may need to bribe him with treats…

xo Cassie

Organize with Style

Sigh, yet another dreary winter day. More clouds, more rain, and more fog. It was most certainly a stay-indoors-at-all-costs kind of day.

I spent the afternoon sifting through a few old “junk boxes” that I’d come across during last week’s office closet overhaul. It was actually quite fun to find homes for what turned out NOT to be junk. Oil paints and brushes, beautiful stationary leftover from our wedding, fabric swatches from my college fibers course, gift bags and tags, various rolls of tape, spray paint, etc.

In an effort to “beautify” my craft stuff, I organized things using beautiful canvas-wrapped boxes with lids from Target. Threshold brand, I believe. The boxes (along with a vintage hat box) are stacked nicely next to my desk in our newly-designed office. A fun hexagonal box now houses dozens of oil paints — patiently awaiting that surge of inspiration that I’m hoping for!

Organize in style with these fabric boxes from Target!

Organize with style with these fabric boxes from Target!

Organize with style with fun cardboard boxes!

In other news, our first produce box from Papa Spud’s just arrived, so I’m headed downstairs to check out what goodies we’ve received!

xo Cassie

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