Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?
*Quick note, I forgot to add earlier — after almost two years, I FINALLY figured out how to post my book, SOUP DAY, on the sidebar just days ago! Yes, I’m kind of technically challenged (or intimidated, shall we say?) Anyway, if you haven’t already, please check it out — I have almost reached my goal of selling enough copies for the sequel (another cooking related theme)– it’s a fun book for budding cooks! *
OK, back to the regular scheduled blog post:
Yesterday Jamie had a special play date with two friends. I took the three of them into the city to visit the Lego store at Rockefeller Center where there is a monthly model build every first Tuesday.
Approaching Radio City Music Hall near Times Square. Such city kids.
Each month is a different theme, and each child gets to build the model and keep the original kit (while supplies last). For the month of May, it was a tulip.
The staff there is incredibly nice and actually let the boys build their own construction using pieces in the bins for sale while waiting for the model build to begin!
Plants v.s. Zombies Zen Garden
If you are ever in the area, the Lego store is a fun visit. There are giant structures as well as fun miniature city scenes all built out of Lego, including Rockefeller Center. I didn’t take any photos because I had to save our spot in the line.
I wanted to bring a portable snack for the boys to eat on the subway on route, so I made a Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread loaf beforehand. I cut each slice into cubes and brought it in containers.
This bread is SO moist and full of chocolate flavor, you would never guess it is actually full of nutrients. It’s also lower in sugar and fat than traditional zucchini bread, because I use applesauce in place of a lot of oil.
Can you guess the secret ingredient yet? Yep, spinach. The chocolate masks the flavor completely. I’ve actually seen chocolate baked goods made with cooked kale, but I haven’t attempted this yet… Kale has a much stronger flavor than spinach, so I am a bit hesitant to try it out. The spinach, however, works perfectly, I promise.
This bread is an excellent after school snack. It’s actually good enough in my book to serve for breakfast. 🙂
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (with special ingredient!)
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (23 g)
1 cup frozen spinach, or ½ cup cooked spinach
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini or ½ medium one)
1 ripe banana, mashed
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder until evenly mixed.
- Microwave frozen spinach for about 1 minute on high. Squeeze out extra water and drain. Process in a food processor with oil until finely pureed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Into spinach mixture, add zucchini, banana, applesauce, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. Then add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Then stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into lined loaf pan and dot the top with remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
- Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick or skewer to see if done. Let cool in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes. Cut around edges with a knife and carefully lift out onto cooling rack (don’t invert or the chocolate chips will get smashed).
- Let cool, cut and serve.