Almond Poppy Seed Quick Bread

Quick breads are the best. You can throw all the ingredients together in one or two bowls, pour everything into a pan and leave it in the oven for an hour.  There is no annoying whipping of egg whites, chopping of fruit, boiling of sugar or spooning batter into little cups. So easy! And this recipe makes TWO loaves. So more for sharing. Nom.

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 2

I was really excited about this recipe because the only way I’ve ever eaten poppy seeds is in lemon poppy seed muffins. After this recipe, almond is my new favorite flavor.  Everyone who has tried it has had the same reaction: “OMG. Yum. Can I have another slice?”  I made this bread yesterday and one of the loaves is already gone… so if you are in a pinch and really want to impress your family with treat for Easter, make this!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 4

Almond Poppy Seed Bread
Makes two 9×5″ loaves

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1 1/3 cup canola oil
3 room temperature eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk, your favorite should be fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk  flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and poppy seeds. Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk, and extracts until combined.

Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the well and use the spoon or a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. (Here, if your edges appear to be browning too quickly, top with aluminum foil midway through baking)

When the breads are finished in the oven, make the glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and both juices until smooth and runny. Add the liquid slowly so the glaze doesn’t become too runny.

Run a butter knife along the edges of each pan, then invert the pans and remove the still-warm loaves. Place the loaves, right side up, onto serving plates and drizzle each one with the glaze. Cool completely before slicing.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Almond Poppy Seed Bread 1

Coconut Banana Bread

Coconut Banana Bread 4

I’ve been on a quick bread binge lately! I apologize to the quick bread haters out there (do those people exist?), but this is my third bread recipe in a row.  I’ve been feeling a bit lazy when it comes to baking and I just love how easy it is to just whip up a simple batter and dump it all into one pan.  This week, the thought of frosting a messy cake or spooning cookie dough onto a sheet made me shudder, so this coconut banana bread is the result of a compromise between my winter blah’s and my constant need for baked goods around the house.

Maybe some of you remember the last banana bread I made.  “America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread”… supposedly the best recipe out there? I disagreed. It was a little too plain for me.  I usually need something a bit more special to please my palate– this is the winning recipe right here!  Coconut banana bread is the moistest, most perfect banana bread I’ve had yet.  Yesterday, I tried a slice that was still a bit warm from the oven– it was delightful.  The crunchy outer crust encases a soft, moist and perfectly sweet interior that is laced with bits of sweet coconut flakes.  This morning I couldn’t even stop myself from sneaking half a slice before my breakfast.  Enjoy!

Coconut Banana Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup melted organic virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup yogurt (I used SO Delicious Vanilla-Flavored Coconut Milk Yogurt)
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the coconut oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt, almond extract, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup coconut. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp shredded coconut into the bottom of the greased loaf pan. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 70-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Recipe from Culinary Adventures in the Kitchen

Coconut Banana Bread 3

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread


This bread is the bomb.  Pardon my cheesy word choice (I promise I haven’t said that since middle school, maybe), but I’ve seriously never had such rich, chocolate-y zucchini bread in my life.  I tried two recipes: one from Joy of Baking and the other from Taste of Home… this was the winner.

It’s quick to throw together and even faster to disappear if you have a hungry boyfriend and roommates like I do.  This is the third loaf I’ve made since Christmas… I highly recommend it!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I found that mini chips work best)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray (or grease with butter/shortening).

In a mixer, combine your oil, sugars and vanilla. Mix in your eggs and shredded zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift together your flours, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add this dry mixture into your wet mixture. Beat until combined. Mix in your chocolate chips.

Scrape your batter prepared loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Recipe from Joy of Baking 


Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 1

After all the Christmas treats I thought it was time for a “healthier” snack.  I also needed to get rid of some grossly black bananas and the cranberries that have been sitting in my freezer since October.

I’m proud of this recipe. I usually am not able to combine ingredients in a way that produces edible food– I’m a recipe follower– but this time I remembered some of my mom’s tips about health-i-fying recipes and actually made something tasty.

The best part is, it’s not too bad for you, so you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating it for breakfast.

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose or whole wheat, but the texture will be slightly different)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, mix cranberries in flour, oats, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light-colored and fluffy.  Add applesauce and blend.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in mashed banana.  Add cranberry/flour mixture to shortening/sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared pan

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

**TIP: Any berry can be subbed in here! I imagine apple, peaches and mango would be great too.  Let me know in the comments how your experiments go.**

My recipe, inspired by Allrecipes

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 3

America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread

I saw this on Tastespotting.  They got it from a book that claims this to be the best banana bread recipe out there.

Obviously, I had to try it.

It ended up being normal banana bread.

There is nothing wrong with it at all– it’s perfectly moist, chewy (but still tender), a tad sweet and could please even the most selective palates.  With that said, baking “normal” things is not really part of my routine; I would have much preferred to throw a handful of cranberries into the batter and drizzle the top with an earl grey icing or almond streusel.

But a learning student must always start with the basics, right?  Right.   So for now, here is a great recipe for those who prefer to play things on the safe side … but for everyone else, I promise the next recipe will have a little more pizzazz.

America’s Test Kitchen Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1½ cups)
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse (optional, I excluded these)

Adjust a rack to the lower-middle position of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.

Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla together with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Fold in the walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with the spatula.

Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

Banana Crumb Snack Cake

I can’t stop baking. My housemate had overripe bananas… so he asked me if I wanted them for baking.  How could I say no?  Food should never be wasted.

Instead of the usual loaf bread I wanted to try something a little bit different… this may be my favorite way to use up old bananas yet!  There is plenty of sugar and butter to outshine the healthy addition of the banana, but that aside this is a must try recipe.  My house devoured a whole pan in just a few hours… so you might want to double this one!

Banana Crumb Snack Cake
Makes 1 8×8 square cake

6 TBSP all-purpose flour
6 TBSP firmly packed brown sugar
3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg

1 1/3 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
3 very ripe/overripe bananas (about 1 c.)
3 TBSP buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg

To make the streusel, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg with your fingertips until the mixture resembles lumpy sand.  Refrigerate until needed.

Place a rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour an 8×8 pan or line with parchment and spray.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Add in buttermilk and canilla and stir to combine.  Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream together butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.   Add the egg and beat until thoroughly completely incorporated.  Add the banana mixture (The batter may appear curdled for a moment, but will come back together with the dry ingredients.) and beat to combine.  Reduce the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture in two additions, beating just until incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top.  Bake the cake until it springs back when gently pressed in the center and a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-38 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan completely before cutting and serving.  Will keep, tightly covered on the counter or in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.  Serves 9.
Recipe from Apple A Day

Zucchini Banana Bread

After all the cupcakes and cookies these past few weeks, I thought it was time for something a little lighter.  I was very happy with this simple bread- it could easily be eaten for breakfast, but it is sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth as a dessert too! You can make this healthier by substituting a half of the oil with applesauce and a quarter of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Zucchini Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

1 medium zucchini, shredded, moisture squeezed out
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 c sugar (depending on how sweet you like your bread)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large or 2 small overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and line with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs and oil and beat on high speed with a handheld until creamy and light.  Mix in mashed bananas and vanilla and beat until combined.  Stir in dry ingredients until incorporated and then stir in zucchini.  Pour batter into pan and bake for about one hour.

Recipe from Mehan’s Kitchen

Apple Pie Bread

This bread was the product of my attempt to use up all of my perishable foods before going to Singapore for the next three weeks!  I modified the original recipe a bit in order to cram the maximum amount of apples into it and omitted the nuts and raisins completely.  The end result was a moist, chunky loaf of bread with a crunchy, nutty streusel over the top.  This recipe will surely make another appearance in my kitchen come fall.

Today was a great day.  My other best friend, Shannon, came back from studying abroad in the Netherlands last night at 5 pm.  Since my exam ended today at 10 am, we all got together and I finally got to have a girls day with my friends from high school!  We hung around outside, made coconut margaritas and caught up on each other’s lives.  Too bad I have to leave so soon after our reunion!

Don’t worry though, I will not be neglecting PITK during my travels, so expect a post about food in Singapore very soon!

Apple Pie Bread
Makes 1 9×5 in loaf

1/2  cup butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2  cup packed brown sugar
1/3  cup buttermilk (for DF use 1/3 c non-dairy milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar)
2  teaspoons baking powder
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  cups all purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  cups peeled apples, diced
streusel – nut topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour, apple pie spice and salt; then, you guessed it, beat until combined.

Toss the apples and in a bit of flour before adding to the batter. Stir in apples by hand. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Prepare the streusel topping and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (Or you know, eat it as soon as it’s cool enough like I did).

Streusel – Nut Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3  tablespoons flour
2  tablespoons butter, softened
1/3  cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Using a pastry blender or fork cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts or pecans.

Adapted from BHG 

Maple Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe on, and it looked so great that I actually Google searched the recipe so I could make it for myself.  I love cooking with maple syrup– it has such a unique flavor and makes desserts taste rich and sophisticated.  The good part is, this bread is just as good as it looked in the pictures! The bad part is that I made the mistake of leaving it out on the kitchen table after Emily helped me take pictures of it.  I left it pre-cut on the cutting board, with the knife right next to… and then I went upstairs and took a nap.  I’m sure you all can see where this is heading…. I have 4 other college-aged housemates… so yeah it was completely gone by the next time I came into the kitchen.  And I’d only had one slice! Grrrrr….

But I guess it isn’t the worst thing in the world… it saves me the calories from the 5 slices I would have eaten otherwise.  And, I still enough ingredients left to make another loaf!

Maple Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup vegan butter substitute, chilled
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Butter a 9 inch loaf pan then fit a piece of parchment paper inside the pan with a little overhang to grasp easily. Set it aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, egg and oil. Add the dry ingredients and blend until it’s just combined.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and pumpkin pie spice then cut in the vegan butter substitute with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles pea sized chunks. Toss it with the chopped pecans.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top.

Bake it for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 – 10 minutes before lifting it out using the parchment paper overhang to cool completely on a rack. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Believing Boldly

Pictures by Emily- check out her portfolio!

Kale Bagels with Cashew Cream Cheese

This past summer, I borrowed the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday cookbook from the library and spent every day of the next month making recipes from that book.  That book is the sole reason I became interested in vegan cooking.  With any regular cookbook, I have to filter through the pages and ignore some recipes completely.  Enchiladas, for example, are usually just not a possibility for my lactose-intolerant self.  Cheesecake? Nuh-uh. The same goes for any sort of casserole, creme brulee and anything “au gratin”. Poor me.

Anyway, my parents bought me the Skinny Bitch cookbook this past Christmas, and I fell in love with vegan cooking all over again.  In particular, I’ve developed a love for kale and all of it’s nutritious goodness (Steamed Kale with Peanut Sauce, mmmm, my favorite from that book!).  When I found these bagels, I was overjoyed to have another way to incorporate my favorite vegetable into regular baked goods.  These taste great toasted and with a thick layer of cashew cream cheese and glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Kale Bagels
Makes 8 bagels

One bunch kale, about 8 ounces, stems and ribs removed, torn into small pieces, thoroughly cleaned
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups bread flour, more as needed while kneading

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, cook on medium-high heat until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Transfer and pack down really tight (with a spoon) into a glass measure, and cover with water until reaching the 2-cup mark. Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer to a countertop blender.
Check that the temperature is at about 100°F , and stir in yeast. Set aside for a couple of minutes.

In a large bowl, add salt and flour. Combine kale/water mixture with salt and flour mixture. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Shape into a ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with about 1 teaspoon of any oil, turn dough around to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 60 to 90 minutes. Punch down dough. Divide it into 8 equal portions, shape into balls by pulling at the dough from the sides onto the bottom, to cloak. If the dough retracts when you try to shape it, give it 5 minutes to rest until it cooperates. Insert your thumb in the center of each dough ball, and twirl dough around it until the hole reaches about 1 1/2 inches in size. Let rest for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper (I always try to fit all the bagels on one sheet, but whatever works best for you!). Once the bagels have rested, place 4 bagels at a time in the saucepan, and let boil for 1 minute in all, flipping them over after 30 seconds: try to avoid having them get too close to one another. Scoop out bagels with a slotted spoon. Place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled. Bake for about 24 minutes, one sheet at a time, until the bagels are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Let cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel

Cashew Cream Cheese

2 cups of raw cashews, soaked for a minimum of 4 hours or over-night, then drained
A little less than 1/2 cup rice milk (you can substitute with oat-, almond- or soy milk)
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted for 4-5 minutes in a non-stick pan
1-2 teaspoon salt (I used 2 teaspoons, way too much! I would stick with 1)
pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Season it to your taste. Serve with crackers, vegetables or toasted bread.

Recipe from Zizi’s Adventures

Picture by me!