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zucchini bread for liars

I suspect that vegetables are a relatively boring topic for anyone who 1) doesn’t have kids, or 2) has kids who eat vegetables (I hate you), and for that I apologize. For me, the only time I stop thinking about how to get my kids to eat more vegetables is every couple months when my brain shorts out and forgets to think about the topic out of sheer exhaustion.

We all know an adult who will only eat hamburger meat and chicken nuggets. My older kid, Finn, is like three Happy Meals away from becoming that societal freak. If he turns into that guy, I will kill myself. I really will.

Last week I asked Finn, as I do every few weeks, if he was enjoying the carrots in his lunch. Yes Mommy, he nodded, as usual. But that day, I don’t know—maybe he looked away a beat too long—something made me ask again. Finn squirmed in his seat and began staring at the far wall. Then things went all to hell.

“You have been eating your carrots, right?,” I said, thinking of the 500 or so baby carrots I’d packed in his lunch over the past six months.

(Long pause). “Wellll. Sometimes I don’t eat my carrots,” Finn said.

(Longer pause). “Sometimes?,” I asked, nibbling a nail. “Or all the time?”

Finn looked like he was going to cry. “All the time, mommy,” he said.

Man. Secretly I think I always knew he wasn’t eating those damn carrots. There were signs that I chose to ignore. Like the one morning I casually handed him a baby carrot at breakfast while I was packing more carrots in his lunch and he took ten minutes to choke the carrot down, which he then promptly regurgitated. “But you eat these all the time at lunch!,” I said. Like an idiot.

Looking back, I clearly chose to turn a blind eye. Lying is no good, but my grown-up behavior was arguably worse. Finn probably felt that he needed to lie about eating the carrots in order to protect my emotional well-being. When I asked Finn’s lovely teacher for advice, as I always do when the going gets tough, she suggested, gently, that I stop packing the carrots for the time being. So no more carrots.

Anyway. A part of me is glad that’s all worked out and the sham is over and now I can go back to hiding vegetables in Finn’s food.

Zucchini bread is a passion of mine. I like mine moist, zucchini-heavy, and not too sweet. After many dozen loaves, I’ve worked out my standby recipe. It’s low on sugar, part whole wheat, yadda yadda, but here’s the best part–you can mix all the contents by hand. My stand mixer is a beast that weighs approximately 75 pounds. Increasingly I find myself looking for ways to avoid using it.

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If you have a food processor with a shredder blade, you can get this whole thing in the oven in 15 minutes. As part of his ongoing campaign to do harm in the kitchen in order to avoid being asked to cook, Tom accidentally lit my food processor on fire about a year ago and it still manages to get the job done with the zucchini, even though I have to stick my hand in the feed tube to get the motor to work. Just think how easy it will be with your fully operational Cuisinart.

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Zucchini Bread

Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ingredients:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour (spooned in to the measuring cup, not packed in)

1/2 cup + 3.5 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/2 liquid cup vegetable, safflower, or canola oil

1/2 cup sugar (add more for sweeter bread–Beranbaum’s original recipe calls for 1 cup)

3 cups shredded or grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts (or omit)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move rack to rung below middle of oven.

2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

4. Whisk together eggs, oil, and sugar until incorporated in large bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Batter will be a little stiff.

5. Add zucchini, mix to incorporate with wooden spoon. The batter will begin to loosen as the moisture from the zucchini incorporates into the batter. Fold in walnuts, if using.

6. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan. Or cheat and spray the pan with Baker’s Joy like I do.

7. Bake in oven for 55 minutes. Check with toothpick, if batter still moist, bake for another five minutes. Do not overbake.

8. Cool in pan for ten minutes. Run knife along outside edges to loosen, remove from pan and set on cooling rack.

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41 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh the vegetable battle. I wish all I read was that it got easier.

    August 16, 2013
  2. As soon as I get some zucchini, I am trying your recipe. My husband is forbidden to plant even one plant this year in our garden. I do not want to be inundated again. I have a sour cream zucchini chocolate cake recipe that is amazing. But I think I still have some grated zucchini in the bottom of our chest freezer in the garage from to years ago. Ugh!
    Our kids were all pretty good about veggies, until they became teens. Now they are all futzy about some things. The girl will not eat peas, ever. This is odd because they were her favorite as a little one. One son loves green beans. Another won’t try anything exotic, as long as it is typical, he will be fine, but don’t get him to try anything like brussels sprouts or cooked spinach. I used to bribe the boys to eat baby carrots with ranch dressing and even would send it in their lunches in little tiny Tupperware with ice packed around it in ziplocks so it would not go bad. They asked me to stop, apparently they were embarrassed by the melted ice water in the baggie. They will all eat salad if it is drowning in ranch dressing. Oddly enough, all of them love cauliflower with cheese on top and like a soup I make with it. Ditto with brocolli. I have stopped trying to obsess about how many vegetables they eat since they are all healthy young adults, even the daughter that has Type I diabetes.
    I lost it laughting when I read about your husband setting the Cuisinart on fire and the picture. Never a dull moment at your house! ๐Ÿ™‚ That is like my kids gluing a piece of pottery back together (badly) and assuming we would not see any difference. Ha!

    May 15, 2013
    • please share your sour cream zucchini chocolate cake recipe. it sounds incredibly delicious. and yes, never a dull moment. he actually put it back on the shelf and didn’t tell me about it. because i clearly would never notice

      May 22, 2013
  3. how do I repost or save this please? Something I used to d0 when my son was small was blend vegetables into a gravy and use it for cooking sauce, he loves gravy and sauce. You can use any vegetables you have in the kitchen and especially good for ready to throw out stuff. My son swears he doesnt eat tomatoes but what he means is plain raw tomato lol. he loves it mixed into cooked food in the sauce and he knows its there. The only veg he will eat raw is cucumber and cooked plain are carrots corn and broccoli. Everything else goes in the food hahahaha

    May 6, 2013
    • that sounds like a handy idea. my kids won’t touch gravy with a ten foot pole but maybe I can go back to mixing veggie purรฉes in their pasta, forgot about that

      May 6, 2013
  4. I will definitely need to try making this bread. Great video at the end! He’s adorable.

    May 6, 2013
  5. Meg #

    I adapted this a bit – didn’t have any whole wheat flour and added some sugar – and it was a huge success. The nanny share kids, who seem to find any junk food in our house, demolished it. And my nine year old said it was the best bread I’ve ever made.

    May 3, 2013
    • Ah, this makes me happy. Thank you for giving it a shot!

      May 3, 2013
  6. I will definitely have to try this! If you add less sugar does it affect the texture? Also, do you sift the flour? I don’t remember ever having zucchini bread, but LO loves bread, maybe it’s a way to get more veggies!

    April 29, 2013
    • I don’t sift the flour but I spoon it in or fluff the container before putting my scoop in. The amount of sugar I use still results in a moist, dark loaf if you don’t overbake! Good luck!

      April 29, 2013
      • Oh, thank you for the info! I will try to fluff it!

        April 29, 2013
  7. Every time my mom was in charge of lunches, I got carrots. Every time my dad was in charge, I got a fat stack of E.L. Fudge cookies and a butter-and-sugar sandwich. But no one won here – neither of them batted an eye when I was caught eating Nestle Quik powder out of the canister.

    (I didn’t have the nerve to tell my mom I threw those carrots away every day until I was 26. It came tumbling out when I was airing my angst-ridden adolescent grievances.)

    April 28, 2013
    • oh man i missed this comment somehow but i love it. butter and sugar sandwiches!! sounds like the fried rice my grandpa used to make me using butter and soy sauce. so unhealthy. so good.

      May 22, 2013
  8. You could easily substitute the zucchini for carrots or if you want pink cake beetroot is awesome, I love how you gloss over the burned out food processor.

    April 25, 2013
  9. Yummy! I can wait to try this. I’m constantly looking for healthy yet kid friendly recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    April 23, 2013
  10. Men… ya gotta love ’em. My Prince used to have a frustrating habit of tossing or selling anything he thought I didn’t use… so I’d reach for something… and it wasn’t there. Argh.

    I have also had success hiding other veggies in the “zucchini” bread… including those dreaded carrots. Somewhere I have a fabulous recipe for a “veggie loaf” which is actually zucchini, carrots and applesauce (instead of sugar)… somewhere… hmmmm….. I’ll get back to ya on that.

    And, LOVE the video at the end.

    :>

    April 23, 2013
  11. i’ll take “Zucchini Bread for Liars” for $1000 alex!

    (great title!)

    anyway…seems like you are winning to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    April 22, 2013
    • one step forward two steps back. that is my life in all aspects

      April 23, 2013
  12. Good job! I like vegetables but to get more in my diet I hide them in most of my meals. I don’t have children yet and all of my sisters like their veg but in that chance that my children don’t like their veggies I will be hiding them in their food. Love your post stop by and say hi ๐Ÿ™‚

    April 22, 2013
  13. I am in a regular struggle with the vegetable eating debate as well. I love zucchini bread. This recipe looks yummy. I’m going to try it this weekend! I’ve been told by a friend of mine that cauliflower mixes well with banana.. !? Thanks for sharing.

    April 22, 2013
    • that annoying jessica seinfeld’s recipes incorporate a lot of pureed cauliflower. i made mark bittman’s cauliflower mac and cheese which was a miserable and humiliating failure with my husband and kids, although i loved it

      April 22, 2013
      • Have you tried it as a mashed potato? Cauliflower that is… Hubby isn’t a fan of veggies unless its corn… But he tolerates mashed cauliflower.

        April 23, 2013
  14. Don’t know why I don’t even think about zucchini bread this time of year. I usually only make it when I get a 1000 of them as gifts from friends who grow too many of them. Kids love it the first few times, but start pelting me with them after a few days. But think I’ll make it soon… Someone once made cookies out of zucchini with chocolate chips and it wasn’t bad. I’ve never been able to replicate it though…

    April 22, 2013
    • i have a chocolate zucchini cupcake recipe that is quite good. i need to find it. my cousin is headed off to the architecture grad program at michigan! i’ll have to forward her your blog…

      April 22, 2013
      • Thx!! Best o luck to her. And I have had choco zucchini cupcakes and they are good.

        April 22, 2013
  15. I’m not tricking any kids (maybe a boyfriend…), but that looks delicious!

    April 22, 2013
    • it’s a good snack. doesn’t feel too unhealthy

      April 22, 2013
  16. Never tried zucchini bread specifically, but my mom used to make zucchini muffins that look similar. They’re yummy! I hope your kids eat the bread!

    April 22, 2013
  17. Super cute video at the end!! I will be trying out your recipe! But really… I wanna know how Tom set your Cuisenart on fire!?

    April 22, 2013
    • he turned on a gas burner while the cuisinart was adjacent. the best part is he didn’t tell me because he thought i wouldn’t notice

      April 22, 2013

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