Friday, August 28, 2009

My Top Ten Reasons to Bake From Scratch

Hope's Top Ten Reasons to Bake From Scratch

10. The aroma of rising yeast and baking chocolate!
9. The warmth of the oven. (When you are done baking, crack your oven and heat your home for "free!")
8. It's cheaper than buying from the store, duh...
7. You can teach your kids science (bread rising), math (measurements), and reading (cookbooks.)
6. You control what goes in (controls allergies, preservatives, fiber) - what, there are chickpeas in the brownies?
5. You can freeze (aka. "Freezer Bake") for quick breakfasts and snacks.
4. You can use up the garden's bounty - waste not, want not. (Zucchini bread, anyone?)
3. Home-baked goodies make wonderful, economical gifts. Add a ribbon and a dollar-store wooden spoon or whisk tied on and you are set!
2. Your kids may not remember their toys when they grow up, but they will remember their favorite pie, cookie, cake that Mom made. (Mine were these soft sugar cookies made with sour milk...mmmmm!)
1. Baking is a LOST ART! Have the courage to recapture it and make memories that will last for generations to come.

Baking feeds your body, fuels creativity, and is a natural relaxer. I believe it is truly good for the soul.

My favorite recipe (and a BIG seller at my Farmer's Market):

Cranberry Zucchini Bread

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini or yellow squash
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Add baking soda and salt and mix in. Add the flour, a little at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  • Divide the batter equally between 2 greased loaf pans, or 4 mini loaf pans.
  • Bake for 1 hour for large loaves, 30 minutes for mini loaves. Test with a toothpick.
  • Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 regular loaves or 4 mini loaves.


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