Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh, to be Vegan!

you read right. the family and i are half-way through our 6-week vegan fast, testing out theories that cutting out dairy can improve your health and overall well-being. being vegetarian, we were already half way there. so what're we all suffering from now? well, i'm out my yogurt (and all my cereals and granola bars that had honey). not to mention every single baked thing i've ever made. sheila and ma are missing their cheese. dad's surely missing his ice cream. we've all got our dairy vices, but we are trekking onward!

it hasn't been aaas hard as i initially thought, but i do miss my granola bars. and my yogurt (though replacing it with almond milk has been awesome - that stuff is delicious, made me realize how all these years of skim milk really was unfair to the palate). okay so it is kinda hard. but being in greensboro for my peds rotation has actually been a nice coincidence. this town is surprisingly vegan friendly (moreso than carrboro even!) and i've had fun being a rookie vegan foodie and trying spots all over town. i'll probably blog about a few of the bakeries i've found that sell delish vegan cupcakes, breads, even tofu lemon bars! yes - tofu lemon bars. holy moly, those were good.

okay so now that i'm salivating, time to write about my first vegan baking venture. actually that's not totally accurate, i've tried eggless recipes before for my grandparents (recall the pb&j cupcakes made with soda). but this is something different - this bread is from SCRATCH. therefore the recipe is inherently a little more difficult than what you're used to on this blog. throw in weird ingredients like flax seed (weird to "lay people," anyway), and this recipe is not for the faint of heart. THEN, throw this in - in an effort to go low-sugar for my diabetic grandmother and uncle, i attempted to replace the original 2 cups of brown sugar called for in this recipe with some pure, potent stevia. if you haven't heard, stevia is all the rage now as an all-natural sugar replacer that doesn't raise your blood sugar. hello diabetic dream!

to conclude the preface to this recipe, i'll answer the obvious question: why zucchini bread?

well, when i graduated from college, a bunch of friends and i went to the beach. someone (his name is jolly) found a bi-lo grocery store recipe booklet and shoved the recipe for zucchini bread into my face, saying, "make this!" so a few weeks later, i did. and it was divine. my family has since become a fan of the moist, tasty bi-lo version of this bread, and it only made sense to veganize it for my one weekend back home. voila!

sugar-free vegan zucchini bread (makes 2 loaves) 
(adapted from an original recipe by hell yeah its vegan!)
  • 6 tbsp ground flax seeds, whisked into 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure stevia (i use the trader joe's pure extract)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups grated zucchini, packed (about 3 medium-sized zucchinis)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (had none, so i skipped this)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
combine the flax seed mixture, oil, applesauce, stevia, and vanilla. mix thoroughly, then add the grated zucchini and stir till combined. in a separate bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. add the mix to the wet ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. divide the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 350F for 40-50min. allow the bread to completely cool before slicing. then die a slow, sugar-free, vegan death as you sink your teeth into this moist, slightly sweet, guilt-free dish. 

my take on the stevia replacing the brown sugar? definitely something missing. and that something - was brown sugar. however, for a diabetic or anyone trying to re-route their palate to adapt to things less sweet and more healthy, this is where it starts. i could make 22 slices from 2 loaves, each at 120 calories with less than 1.5g of sugar. most of the calories came from the canola oil, which can easily be replaced with more apple sauce. i think if you're more of a sweet tooth, i'd go with bananas instead of more apple sauce. oh my - applesauce, zucchini, AND bananas?! 

i think i like this experimental healthy food thing. i'm ready to make my next loaf...

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