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Easy, Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:50pm
Today was my last day of boot camp, for this first four-week session. The instructor Sara brought us homemade healthy bran and cranberry muffins for a post-workout breakfast, yum! At the end of our session, she took our measurements, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I lost 1/2 inch from my arm, 1/4 inch from my chest, 1 1/4 inches off my waist (down to 26 inches now!), and 1 inch off my hips (to 33 inches!). I went up an inch on my thigh, but Sara said it's probably muscle (I'll take what I can get:)). I've already signed up for the next boot camp which starts in June, and I am most excited about it. Apparently it will involve more military-style workouts. Am so very much looking forward to improving my strength further.

To keep you all updated on my super amazing pull up progress, since the failed attempt last Friday, I succeeded in doing 1 complete pull up on Tuesday! I tried again this morning but could only do 1/2 of a pull up. But I am still quite pleased with having now successfully performed 2 pull ups.

All of this excellent exercising means I require a lot of fuel, so the recipe searching continues. I discovered a recipe for pumpkin bread on the Internet and, as usual, felt the need to heavily adapt it to make it really healthy. Sorry about the lack of photos- I was in a hurry when I made it, and then it didn't cook all the way through so the bottom was a bit raw, and then I was really hungry so I finished the loaf. Seriously, when I bake bread, you have to take a slice now or it'll literally be gone by tomorrow. (I likes me my carbs).

Here is my recipe; it needs a bit of work- I'm thinking maybe doubling up on all of the spices?- but it tasted great. This bread doesn't have an extraordinary amount of flavour so the extra spices would be good; perhaps adding a little more pumpkin would also help. It's deliciously moist and would also be good with some butter smeared on it (although I like mine plain). This is very similar to my banana bread recipe which I will post sometime soon, and really, using it as a very basic recipe I'm sure you could substitute the pumpkin with many different items if you change up the types of spices and the amounts of ingredients just with a little tweaking. Get creative! If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. I am, after all, a bread fanatic and am always eager to experiment with new recipes.

Yummy Baked Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
slightly less than 3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
1 1/3 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk (I made mine with using 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and then filling up the rest of the 1/2 cup with skim milk- just let it sit for a few minutes and then its ready to use!)
1/4 cup Simply Egg Whites (the equivalent of 2 egg whites, or 1 egg, if you'd prefer to use a whole egg)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients (the first five ingredients listed) in a big bowl. Then mix together the wet ingredients (the last five ingredients listed) in a smaller bowl and add them to the dry ingredients; stir them together until they're just combined. Pour the mixture into the pan.
3. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean; about 1 hr 15 minutes. I only baked mine for about 65 minutes and it turned out a touch raw on the bottom. I'm thinking an extra 10 minutes would be just about perfect.

Makes 12 slices.

The nutrition information per slice, courtesy of the wonderful Recipe Analyzer:
Calories (kcal)85.5Folate (μg)18.4
Fat (g)0.5Vitamin B 6 (mg)0.1
Protein (g)3.8Vitamin B 12 (μg)0.1
Carbohydrate (g)17.8Calcium (mg)45
Sugar (g)4.4Iron (mg)1.2
Fibre (g)3.2Sodium (mg)298.9
Vitamin A (μg)236.6Potassium (mg)185.1
Vitamin C (mg)3.7
Vitamin D (μg)0.2
Vitamin E (mg)0.5
Thiamin (mg)0.1
Riboflavin (mg)0.1
Niacin (ne)2.1

I'm trying to understand the science of baking to improve my cooking skills and allow me to really experiment a lot with making my own recipes. However I'm very much a novice and about the only thing I understand is that yeast makes bread rise. And that if you don't combine room temperature water with that yeast then the chemical reaction will not follow through (it took me many a ruined loaf of bread to learn that one!). My question for you is, what's the point of salt in baking? The original recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt, and I used between 1/2 tsp and 3/4 tsp of salt- I don't know what the difference would have been had I used the full 1 tsp. The Bag Lady explained to me that salt is needed in butter to help keep it preserved for longer. Does it have the same effect in baking or is it needed for the taste factor or an entirely different reason? Please enlighten me!

I have been lucky with applesauce because a friend made us a big batch of it and I have since then been using it in all of my baking in the place of sugar and butter. However, I used up the very last of it in this pumpkin bread recipe! You know what that means. My next cooking experiment will have to be large quantities of applesauce.

Speaking of which, this weeks cooking experiment was making my very own hummus. Attention to all: trying to mix chickpeas in a blender is futile. More to come (including pictures!) when I *hopefully* succeed in mixing up said hummus properly in a food processor.
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