Keenly Healthy

As with every new year's what-to-do-with-your-life list, I've resolved to make better plans on cooking, baking, and eating more healthy. Not that I don't do a mildly decent job at it, but like everything else, it could always be better.

So, I'm going to be better.

Try is a word I like to hang high on a pedestal, covering that "operative" stigma with a more influential "on my way there," or "taking it day by day," or my favorite, "beating those old bad habits instead of dead horses."

I'm trying to be better with a lot of things in my personal, professional, and creative life. Personally, I'm going to always try to be a better friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend, version of myself, etc. Professionally I think I'm going to plan on taking steps towards my dream job. Note all those auxiliary verbs. The more I insert in the sentence, the more I believe in it . . . maybe. Or I should take it all out and frankly state: "I'm taking steps towards my dream job." Simple. And achievable. Creatively, I want to write more, read more, bake more, create more. Form words, crafts, dreams from daygazing across stilled water and my wildly imaginative mind that's been tamely whimsical in the past year or so. That will not do. 

So, I'm trying.

With that neat package of enthusiastic attempts at life-making comes the ups and downs. Hit or miss. But you'll never know unless you try. Don't knock it til you try it. I'm full of idioms tonight. Especially with food. Try a new recipe, and it could be a dry crumble of cardboard or a burst of flavors tucked and rolled into a neat little brownie square. I'm an avid believer of trying things at least once.

I found this quinoa carrot loaf online and was intrigued at the addition of one of my favorite grains into one of my favorite go-to all-seasonal loafs. I can just add one ingredient to change the nutritional benefits of something that already tastes so good?! I'm about split halfway when it comes to alternate, healthier versions of things I love to bake. I mostly lean towards the addition of healthy in yummy. I don't think I can ever part with butter.

This recipe was very easy. Add cooked quinoa, ground flaxseed, substitute white flour for wheat, and you've got a loaf that's grainfully perfect for breakfast, but delightfully moist and sweet for dessert.

It makes trying a heck of a lot easier.

quinoa carrot loaf

Quinoa Carrot Loaf 
From Bakeaholic's site, slightly adapted with substitutions and additions

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I did not have whole wheat, so I used 2 cups all purpose)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup shredded coconut *(preferably unsweetened, but sweetened is okay)1 cup cooked quinoa *(instructions on cooking quinoa below)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup sugar (turbinado would be best, but granulated or even brown is fine)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

To cook quinoa:

Quinoa is pretty simple. It's a 1:2 ratio with water, so 1 cup of uncooked quinoa is to 2 cups water. 1/4 uncooked quinoa needs 1/2 cup water to cook.

First, measure out the needed amount of quinoa. Then, put in a fine meshed sieve and rinse and drain well.

rinsing quinoa

Next, toast the quinoa in a saucepan with a splash of oil over medium high heat to dry it off. Stir constantly until golden brown, about 6 minutes. 

toasting quinoa

Add liquid and bring to a boil over medium low heat. Normally, I'd like cooking quinoa with a broth, but since this is used for baking purposes, water is best. Once boiling, simmer and cover until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffed up. You'll see the germ ring popped open -- a great sign.

fluffy quinoa
Now you're ready to put it in a carrot loaf! You can make more quinoa than needed and just reserve the rest for lunch or dinner. 

To make loaf:

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a loaf pan.

Peel and shred carrots.

Sift dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix carrots, eggs, carrot, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and quinoa.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just incorporated.

Spoon batter into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out clean.

Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan and transferring to a cooling rack.


Here's to health!

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