Tag Archives: zucchini bread

Healthy Desserts for Kids

Chocolate, banana, spinach smoothie!

Awhile ago, during the summer (those days seem far away!), I had the opportunity to join Katherine Lee of about.com in her kitchen for a fun afternoon of cooking and filming!

Katherine has a wonderful parenting blog on about.com, and she invited me to contribute some healthy dessert ideas for kids.  We made everything in her kitchen and the lovely Meredith filmed us.  It was a blast and such a different experience from what I am usually doing during the day in my studio!  She treated us to a fabulous sushi lunch, and we munched on the desserts we made throughout the day.  🙂

My favorite Double Chocolate Zucchini, Banana Bread with Secret Ingredient is one of the recipes featured.

Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?

Check out the video on how to make it here.
Other super easy, practically-not-cooking recipes are:
Peanut Butter Truffles!  Remember this post?
Video is here.
Frozen Yogurt Grapes:
I never did a post about it, but the recipe is in the video.
Banana Soft Serve (minus the Magic Shell!):

All natural goodness — just bananas and a splash of milk!

Chocolate version seen here in the video.

And last, but not least:  Chocolate, Banana, Spinach Smoothie  

This the one video I never want Jamie to see, because he drinks this all the time!  It is a great after school snack.  The spinach has absolutely no flavor in the smoothie, and he has no idea I sneak it in. I sometimes use frozen spinach which adds to the creaminess of the smoothie along with the frozen banana!

Video and recipe are here.

Hope you enjoy these recipes — they are all really easy to make and are pretty healthy considering they are desserts!

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Filed under Breakfast, Children, Desserts, Snack, Vegetarian

Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret Ingredient

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!)

Non-stick spray

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

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment and spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder until evenly mixed.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour batter into lined loaf pan and dot the top with remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  6. 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).
  7. Let cool, cut and serve.

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Filed under Children, Desserts, Snack, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Calvados Infused Apple Zucchini Bread

October is apple month!  So I decided to make up a recipe around fall’s bounty and visit our neighborhood farmer’s market with Jamie and pick up some different varieties of these beauties.

There are always so many kinds to choose from.

Golden Delicious looks good!

Luckily they have samples out for us to taste and decide.  My favorite is Honey Crisp, but they were sold out. 😦  Jamie chose some Golden Delicious and Jona Gold apples after a taste test.

mini apple cider doughnut

And we couldn’t resist procuring some apple cider (with no added sugar!) and a mini apple cider doughnut as well.

I love making zucchini bread (it’s always fun to sneak in some extra vegetable into a snack or dessert!), so I thought I’d try making apple zucchini bread.  I’d made Nigella Lawson’s fabulous banana bread in the past and was inspired by the  inclusion of rum infused raisins, so I did a twist on that and added Calvados infused apple to my apple zucchini bread.  It was a successful experiment!  The bread is moist and rich with autumnal spices.  And you get little bits of sweet apple in every bite. 🙂


Calvados Infused Apple Zucchini Bread

1/3 cup (75ml) Calvados or other apple brandy

1 cup chopped apple

nonstick spray or butter

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons oil

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup applesauce

2/3 cup shredded zucchini

  1. Place Calvados and chopped apples in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes.  Remove from heat and let soak for an hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Beat together the oil and sugar in a large bowl.  Beat in egg.  Stir in applesauce and vanilla.  Add the shredded zucchini and Calvados infused apples to the mix.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Bread is done when I toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  I start checking after about an hour of baking.  Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack, then remove and cool completely on rack.  Slice and serve.

Makes one loaf.


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Filed under Children, Desserts