Applesauce Oatmeal Bread

This wholesome quick bread really caught my eye. I made it as a special after school snack for my kids (and me!). They enjoyed it with a glass of fresh apple cider. I thought it was absolutely perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.com. I baked the loaf in a Pullman pan, used freshly ground allspice and freshly grated nutmeg, and substituted pecans for walnuts. Yum!

Yield: One standard or Pullman loaf

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or boiled cider
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling top, optional
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • cream cheese, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. Lightly grease a Pullman loaf pan or a standard 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and soda, and spices.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Mix in the rolled oats, applesauce, and nuts.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle rolled oats over the top, as desired.
  8. Bake the bread for 40 for a Pullman pan or up to 60 minutes in a standard loaf pan, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool completely.
  10. Store cooled bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
  11. Serve with cream cheese, or as desired.

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German Lebkuchen

I love having at least one spice cookie in my Christmas cookie assortment. This year, I selected Lebkuchen because I know my mom is a fan of them. I only made one batch- what a mistake! I should have doubled it (at least)… Next time. 😉

This recipe is from Hannah of the beautiful blog Domestic Gothess. I glazed the finished cookies and omitted dipping them in chocolate. I weighed the dry ingredients and freshly ground the spices in the dough. They were wonderful!

For the Lebkuchen:

  • 150 g (1/2 + 1/3 cup) dark brown soft sugar
  • 150 g (5.3oz) runny honey
  • 50 g (4 T,  1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • finely grated zest of 1 naval orange
  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cups) ground almonds
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs

For the Glaze:

  • 150 g (1 1/2 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 T water

  1. Put the sugar, honey, butter and orange zest in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs into the sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In two or three additions, mix in the flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least half an hour or (ideally) up to overnight.
  6. To Bake: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 (on convection) and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop out portions of the dough using a large cookie scoop (1 1/2″ in diameter) or measuring spoon (about 1 1/2 tbsp at a time), and roll between slightly damp hands into smooth balls.
  8. Place them well spaced apart on the baking sheets and flatten them slightly with your fingers.
  9. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until firm and lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Transfer the Lebkuchen to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  11. To Make the Glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and gradually mix in enough of the water to form a slightly runny icing – not too wet though or it will all run off. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  12. Dip the tops of the Lebkuchen in the glaze, allow the excess to drip off then place them right-side up on the wire rack to set.
  13. Once set, store in an airtight container. The cookies improve over time. An apple placed in the container may keep them more fresh.

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Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices

I cannot tell you how fabulous my house smelled while this soup was cooking! A neighbor stopped by while it was on the stove and commented that our house had wonderful karma. Of course that’s true… but I also think the wonderful spices in the air helped. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used 1 1/2 pounds of cremini mushrooms and increased the amount of spinach. I also removed half of the soup from the pot, puréed the remaining soup, and then returned the solids to incorporate. It was earthy and hearty.

I added the juice of one lime which was absolutely perfect for me- very bright and delicious. My family thought is was a little heavy with lime juice. Next time, I would add the juice of one half of a lime and serve it with additional lime wedges on the side. (for me!)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, chanterelles and shiitake), chopped
  • ½ pound shallots, finely diced (I used a food processor.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice (I used freshly ground.)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces (generous!) baby spinach
  • fresh lime juice, to taste
  • plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and half the shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with the olive oil, mushrooms and shallots.
  2. Return all mushrooms to the pot and stir in tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 5 cups water, the salt and the black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Remove half of the soup from the pot and reserve.
  6. Using an immersion blender or food processor, coarsely purée the remaining soup. Incorporate the unpuréed soup.
  7. Mix in lime juice. Thin with water, as needed.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  9. Serve with dollops of yogurt and/or lime wedges, as desired.

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