There's a new cookbook out, written by the wife of a very famous comedian whose eponymous show dominated Thursday night sitcom T.V. in the 90s**. The book has been plugged by Oprah and Ellen, and truckloads of copies have been sold. The concept? Titled Deceptively Delicious, the cookbook gives you methods for sneaking fruits and vegetables into your children's food so that they can get their nutrients without knowing what they are eating. The book has been the subject of some controversy, as it is very similar in content to a previously published book titled The Sneaky Chef, which was not heavily publicized when it first came out. There is also the argument that these books teach children bad habits--that because they are eating brownies that have carrot puree in them at home, they then will associate brownies with being "healthy."
**In the event that you did not watch T.V. during the 90s, I am referring to Seinfeld here.
I don't have children, and I wasn't a picky eater when I was growing up, so I am by no means an authority on the best way to get your children to eat their fruits and vegetables. I will let you make your own decision as to which (if either) of the two books you prefer. What I do know is that if you want to get your family to eat some more veggies without an argument, then my Sweet Potato Zucchini Bread is a good way to start, and no, you will not need to "disguise" the name because it is so tasty. Packed with 3 full cups of vegetables, this bread is good for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or with a bowl of soup. It is moist and flavorful, and you even have the option to make it lower in fat without compromising the taste by substituting applesauce for most of the oil (see below). The aroma that comes from the kitchen when this bread is baking makes that house smell like the holidays--soon your family will be begging for their vegetables! Here are some recipe tips:
- Instead of making one large loaf with this recipe, I like to make 3-4 mini loaves. This bread freezes really well, so I can store the mini loaves for later use. The smaller sized loaves are also perfect for hostess or homemade holiday gifts. These usually only need to bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- For easiest removal from the pans after baking, I like to line the bottoms of the loaf pans with parchment or waxed paper and then spray the paper. This prevents sticking and makes the process much easier.
- This bread keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for 3-4 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 weeks.
- Make sure that you squeeze as much of the water as you can out of the shredded zucchini or the batter will be too runny. If you have a food processor with a grating blade, this is the easiest and fastest way to grate both of the vegetables. Otherwise, I recommend using a standard box grater.
- For a lower fat version, replace the 3/4 cup safflower oil with 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. You may use canola or vegetable oil in place of the safflower if you do not have it on hand.
Spiced Sweet Potato Zucchini Bread
Makes 1 large loaf
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, water squeezed out
1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9X5X3 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sift the first 8 ingredients into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla to blend. Mix in the grated zucchini and sweet potato. Fold in the dry ingredients and walnuts and stir well.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool bread in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut around the sides of the bread to loosen and turn out onto the rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and let stand at room temperature.
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