My goal and motto for this year is to "simplify". Yes. It's time to pare down some more, lead a kinder, gentler life. Why do we all have so much "stuff"? When we moved here two years ago this month (where does the time go?) we got rid of so much "stuff." Many, many trips to the Goodwill and Salvation Army, things given to those who could use them, even putting things out on the curb for people to take. And where are we now? Full to overflowing again. How does this happen? So, it's time to simplify, pare down, share what we have, organize and get rid of the unnecessary. This is a process that we must stay on top of! It is not only necessary, but quite enjoyable.
One of my chores yesterday was to clean out all the left overs and odd things that accumulate in the refrigerator. You know that stuff I'm talking about right? You have to get rid of the old, to make room for the new in your life. In the drawer was one lonely, huge zucchini. It was perfectly good and I wanted to use it in some way. So, I decided to make some wonderful zucchini cranberry bread. This is an easy recipe and is soooooo good.
Did you know that zucchini is really a fruit? We tend to use it in savory dishes most of the time and think of it as a vegetable. It's not. It is delicious grilled, sauteed or steamed. There are so many uses for zucchini and it is super nutritious. Zucchini also makes a super sweet, delicious bread.
To add to the flavor, I added some dried cranberries. Do you like cranberries? I happen to love them - that combination of tart and sweetness from the berries is very appealing and yummy to me. Did you know that cranberries are white until they ripen? Most people know they grow in acidic bogs in the Northern part of our country and they are harvested by flooding the bogs which causes the fruit to float to the top so they can be captured. But, did you know they are considered one of the super fruits? Yes they are, absolutely full of anti oxidants. Even better. The more color something has, the better it is for you.
Cranberries are mostly associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they are available all through cool weather and dried cranberries are available year round. They are a wonderful snack and can be an alternative to raisins. If you don't like them, you don't have to add them to the bread.
Here is what you need to make this bread.
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2.5 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini (I used a box grater, grated very fine)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 TBSP vanilla (yes, a tablespoon)
1 cup cranberries - if using fresh, chop the cranberries - I used dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix all the ingredients using a whisk or spoon. Try not to over mix or bread could be tough.
Grease and flour 2 9x5 loaf pans or spray two muffin tins with cooking spray.
Fill each loaf pan 3/4 full. Same for muffin tins if making muffins.
Bake bread for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
If making muffins, bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center muffin comes out clean.
This bread is easy to make and is extra good with a cup of coffee or hot tea. Even the grandsons ate it (just don't tell them it has zucchini in it). After working at the homeless shelter, I feel bad about throwing any usable food away knowing there are so many people who are "food insecure". So, if you find yourself with one large zucchini and don't know what to do with it, try this recipe. It is worth the time and effort! Better yet, share a loaf with a friend, family member or neighbor. They will love you for it.
Things to Remember:
Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.