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Friday, September 7, 2012

Quinoa bread with fresh figs, zucchini and sweet potato

   With the fall season just around the corner the bounty of the Canadian farming season is in full swing.  It is the best time of year here for using fresh, seasonal ingredients.  
Summer can end fairly abruptly here so my mind quickly turns to comfort foods to take the chill out of the air.  I was in the mood for a warm treat that I could have with a nice hot coffee or tea so I decided to bake ( which doesn't happen often).
   Tired of the same old cakes and muffins I decided to use the most recent seasonal ingredients to come to market to create a semi sweet treat that was healthy, satisfying and comforting.  This loaf is quick and easy to prepare and healthy enough that you don't have to worry about having a second helping.  
2 cups Quinoa flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use real vanilla bean if you have it)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup peeled, grated sweet potato
1/2 cup chopped fresh figs
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts


Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl.
Beat sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. 
Add grated zucchini, sweet potato and chopped figs to wet ingredients and mix well.
 Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined . Do not over mix.

Add chopped walnuts to batter and mix well.
Pour mixture into a greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan and place in a pre heated 350f oven.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes until golden brown and firm ( test with a toothpick in the center).  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes . Cut loaf around the outer edges of the pan then turn it out onto a rack to cool slightly before cutting.
This treat can be prepared the day before, wrapped and stored at room temperature.
The natural sugars in the zucchini, sweet potato and figs really come out to infuse this wonderful bread into a wonderful accompaniment for coffee or tea or even a nice cold glass of milk.
The best part about this loaf is that it is kid and adult friendly and everyone will want to come back for more.
The quinoa flour can be replaced with regular all purpose flour if you don't need a gluten free alternative. You can also add or replace ingredients such as carrots, corn or whatever you like. Enjoy!


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