Carrot and Peach smoothie

Lately I have been using carrots a lot adding in everything I bake and cook. Probably, my mind would be fixated on that. But, smoothie was never in the picture. I really wanted to try it in a smoothie by blending few ingredients and bending few rules :).  Then came a perfect day, a darn dull and dreary snowy day nudging me to bring some soothing contrast.

In fact, since I’m a December soul, I love snowy and rainy days. But, I need something exciting and contrasting at the same time to brighten up and make it lively inside the home. Something like experimenting a new recipe would be the best fit. Sometimes, I divert my attention purely on some crazy new things mostly food 🙂 And I just pursued it wholeheartedly.

So while it was heavily snowing in Atlantic Canada, I managed to blend a glass of delicious smoothie 🙂

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1 cup mashed carrots

1/2 cup peach slices

1/2 cup yogurt

1 ½ cup of filtered water

Hint of vanilla

Few ice cubes

Sweetener of your choice

Pinch of salt [Optional]

 

In a blender, add all of the ingredients. Don’t add the whole amount of water in the beginning. Start with little amount of water. Once everything blends well and in smooth puree form, add the rest of the water (if desired) and extend the consistency.  Enjoy,

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No fuss carrot cookie – cake bars

It’s a delicious combination of three different layers. The middle layer is mashed carrots sandwiched between cookie and cake. Between the layers the orange color gives a nice contrast whilst hiding the true –carrot- identity. Prior to this, I had tried to prepare a pie version of it by adding Graham crumbs as the base. But it was not appealing for some reason (I haven’t given up on that yet…I will be trying one more time :). Here the cookie dough as the base did a fantastic job by absorbing liquid content and kept the mixture intact between the layers while maintaining the consistency and taste throughout.

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It’s a great treat and comforting as well since it has vegetable as a one of the main ingredient :).  If your family has that one little fella who hates vegetable addition – it would easily mask that initial impression of vegetable added to it. In fact, soothing orange color in the middle does the ruse to do the appealing job! In the end, decorate with little whipping cream and chocolate glaze on top turns it into a decadent treat! Actually, caramel glaze goes far better than chocolate glaze. Unfortunately, I tried the chocolate version first and was hasty to capture the images. The next day when I tried it with caramel glaze, it tasted amazingly great! So I would recommend the caramel sauce 🙂

To get the firm yet soft base I used the cookie dough, over the cookie dough spread a layer of plain mashed carrots with a hint of pureed apple, and the final top layer is simple cake – a basic cake recipe would elegantly cover the top layer. It’s a very versatile no fuss cake or bar. When you bake it in a loaf pan, it’s easy to cut as bars. These bars are so great with coffee or tea. Or after meal, anytime!!

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For the bottom layer cookie dough
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the below dry ingredients and mix well.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
In a medium bowl, add the below ingredients and mix well until well blended.
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Add 1 egg to it and beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Combine everything well.
For the mashed carrots
Simply boil few carrots in a pressure cooker with less water; probably a 1/4 cup of water plus steam would be enough. Or simply drain any excess water off, if there is any. As you mash it, add a tablespoon of apple puree. Honey or sugar for the sweetness, if desired and ya, if you’re more of a sweet gal/guy 🙂 Blend it well and mash it to a roughly smooth paste. Now, spread the mashed carrot mixture over the cookie dough, may be 1 inch thickness. It reduces to half as it bakes as the cookie dough absorbs the water content.
For the top layer cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.
Grease a loaf pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer - cookie dough and level it evenly. Do not press hard! Then, over the cookie dough, layer the mashed carrot mixture about 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the carrot mixture for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath. Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Blueberry carrot mini loaves

It occurred to me that freedom to eat is the best thing that ever happened. We are free to eat anything that belongs to any nation or race. Isn’t it wonderful for such a blessing and the vast variety of food choices for our enjoyment and nourishment. Sure a different feeling for each one of us.

Now that the ideas are awash to prepare something fancy, delectable and sweet to satisfy our cravings, let’s stock up the pantry, get some gadgets and get into cooking. Prepare something for everyone; remember to stash some of nature’s own ailment in whatever you cook or bake. The happy feeling when you enjoy the delicious whiff of just baked goodies in the air is all worth in the end.

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Blueberry carrot mini loaves

Cute, plump and purple blueberries taste excellent when you add them in the baking saga. Given that I’m quite good at incorporating and accomplishing my baking missions, I reduced buying bakery items as I used to. I had been a huge fan of store bought baked goodies like blueberry muffins. I used to buy them regularly every weekend. But the nudge to prepping and popping in the comfort of my kitchen took the toll. As always with a hint of contrast – is something I can’t resist. See what happened next.

Blueberry carrot mini loaves

Blueberry carrot mini loaves

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Blueberry carrot mini loaves

Ingredients

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt

3 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 full cup of frozen blueberries
3/4 cup of grated carrots

Grease the mini loaves pan with cooking spray. Cut the parchment paper in small rectangles and line it in each mold. That will avoid the dreary tendency to stick half portion of the loaves at the bottom of the mold. Or you could use the liner for mini loaves.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat eggs adding vanilla to it.

Add the frozen blueberries in half portion of the flour mixture and dredge them well. You could do the same method with the carrots as well.

Add the cream mixture and the flour mixture. Gently incorporate everything with a wooden spatula. Fill ¾ cups full. Bake in 325°oven for about 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the loaves comes out clean.