Sunday, November 7, 2010

Surprise Me Sunday- A to Z Bread

Okay, so this isn't really a true Surprise Me Sunday recipe. I have been baking A to Z Bread for many, many years. It's a recipe my grandma clipped out of a newspaper and has been handed down to my mom, then me. It's a basic sweet bread recipe where you insert 2 cups of pretty much any fruit or veggie. The surprise part is how much flexibility you have with the recipe. I rarely make it the same way twice.

I'm sure you've heard the expression "Cooking is an art but baking is a science." And that probably holds true for many recipes. When you bake following the recipe exactly tends to be very important. But honestly, you cannot mess up this bread no matter how much you mess with it. (Well, maybe you could ruin it if you completely forgot an ingredient.) I make substitutions ALL THE TIME based on what I have on hand or how healthy I want to be. No white flour? Substitute wheat. No white sugar? Substitute brown. Want to avoid the oil? Substitute yogurt, applesauce, etc. Or make it a combination of the two. Batter too dry? Add some milk or juice. Experiment with additional spices. I've done all of those things to the recipe and while it may alter the texture of the finished product some (especially if you do all yogurt instead of oil), it's still very, very tasty. And easy.

It's called A to Z Bread because the original recipe had fruit/veg suggestions for almost every letter of the alphabet. Here are the ones I commonly use. Feel free to ask for additional letters if you want but you're really only limited by your imagination.

Apples, grated
Bananas, mashed (Isa loves to mash them with her hands for me!)
Carrots, grated
Pears, chopped
Pumpkin, canned
Zuccini, grated

A to Z Bread

3c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1c oil
2c sugar
2c fruit or veg
3 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Grease & flour 2 lg loaf pans OR grease 2 muffin tins.

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.

Beat eggs. Add oil & sugar; cream well.

Add fruit/veg and vanilla to egg/oil/sugar mixture.

Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour batter into pans/tins.

Bake 1 hour for loaves (until knife in center comes out clean) or ~25 min for muffins.

Monday, November 1, 2010


This year for Halloween Isa dressed up as Princess Tiana. My mom made her a costume which looked spectacular, though I am probably a bit biased. I was surprised by how many people had no idea who Tiana was, but I suppose the first African American Disney princess isn't as big a deal to others as it was in our house!

And what "accessory" did Princess Tiana need? Why, a frog prince, of course. We dressed up Papaw as her frog prince, which Isa thought was hilarious. Note the little crown on his hood! (And please excuse the fact that this photo was taken against the messiest wall in my house...)

First we went Trick or Treating down at the shops and restaurants in Columbia City.

Then we had pizza for dinner. I told her she could have 1 piece of candy while we waited and she chose a Tootsie Pop, but then said "all done" after only a few minutes. You can't really tell from this photo, but I'm wearing a Pink Ladies jacket.

After dinner, it was back up the hill and onto Trick or Treating in our neighborhood. Dad and I took Isa around while Mom stayed at our house to pass out candy. Despite horribly rainy conditions on Saturday (and again today), Halloween was totally dry and not too cold. I bought 2 bags of a KitKat/Reese's cup mix (75 pieces per bag) and by 8:00, we were out of candy. Much busier than last year but at least I don't have lots of candy leftover to be munching on. :)