I worked very hard back when C was a beginning eater to make sure he loved his veggies, fruits, and proteins before carbohydrates to keep him from becoming a carboholic like his mommy. And though he does love all foods (really; pretty much everything but potatoes), he can always find room for another piece of homemade bread. So, the focus has become how to make sure he gets healthy carbs. Enter King Arthur Flour‘s White Whole Wheat flour. (And their 100% whole wheat flour when I can get away with it!) For kids who don’t like veggies, I’d pump up the zucchini a bit. Fortunately for me, this is not my kid. Unless K turns out that way. Which we may discover soon… He had his first rice cereal this past week!
Adapted from my mom’s magnificent recipe
- 1 1/2 cups flour (whatever you choose)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar (I will use 2/3 next time)
- 1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini (mine was already grated from a previous recipe, but C will definitely help me grate it next time)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oil (or plain yogurt)
- 1/4 tsp grated lemon peel (also pre-grated)
- (optional) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Unless we’re running short on time (in which case, I make an effort to prep as much during nap as I can), I read the ingredients from the recipe card and fetch them from the proper place so C can transport them to the counter. This way, he hears a practical use of reading (remember, I was a kindergarten teacher), gets to know each of the ingredients, and has an active role in the process from the very start.
Once all of the ingredients are set on the counter, we pull up the step stool and get going. Measuring is a skill that has taken a long time to hone. Like, a year. But C is now very good at scooping in cups and teaspoons to get them full and even tries to shake them off if they’re not level. Ever since he started cooking with me, I’ve drawn his attention to leveling off the measuring cups for accuracy. This is a practice that my own grandma adheres to without fail. And since he could talk, C has said, “Scrape it off like Great Grandma.” Precious.
C helped me measure the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Then he stirred it together, me finishing. We set that bowl aside and brought out the stand mixer into which we measured the sugar, zucchini, and egg. Then it was nap time, as was evidenced by C’s lack of attention and constant grabbing of the ingredients.
After nap, we turned on the mixer to beat the zucchini mixture together. I poured the oil into the measuring cup while C was holding it with my help, then we added it and the lemon peel to the zucchini mixture. This was mixed well. I added the flour mixture by cupfuls while the mixer was on low and the shield was on. C could have added it himself, but his aim isn’t very good sometimes. Fold in the nuts if you choose, after sampling of course.
It’s at this point that C wants to “test” the batter. Actually, at any point that two things are mixed together he wants a taste. I go back and forth on this. On one hand, it is part of the real-life cooking process. On the other, there is something to be said for completing the process first (and also, it’s not very healthy). Usually for me, it depends on the recipe, how delicious the batter/dough is, and whether “we need to make sure we have enough” to fill muffin cups, etc.
I poured the batter into a greased loaf pan (8x4x2, says the recipe, though I’m not sure what mine is!), then baked at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Your house will smell wonderful. mmmm… The bread should be cooled in the pan for about 10 minutes before loosening and turning onto a rack to cool completely. The recipe also says to wrap in plastic wrap and store overnight before slicing. Riiiiight..!