Though I didn’t get around to writing a burger week recap, I’ll come clean. I ate 6 burgers in 7 days. I honestly never thought I’d have the time to get more than three in but I guess the stars were aligned. Though one was vegan, it pretty much squashed my burger/meat cravings for good. I went from obsessing over meat to wanting all things sweet. And don’t even get me started on ice cream. Eating a twist cone in the Costco parking lot during a small snow storm totally happened. (What ever happened to the twist cone anyway?) But despite the cravings, I’ve been good at maintaining my balanced eating for my and the peanut’s sake. Not that there isn’t temptation. For the past month or more, everywhere I go I’m inundated with Easter this and chocolate that. To be honest, I picked up those gigantic 1 kg bags of mini eggs on several occasions. But knowing full well Brent would return home to find me in a sugar coma on the couch having eaten the entire bag, I resisted the urge. Luckily a small piece of 70% dark chocolate can usually satisfy my sweet craving but last weekend with Brent at work and delicious Easter goodies taking over instagram, I knew it woudn’t be enough. Instead of running to the nearest store for my mini egg fix, I opted to get back in the kitchen. It was after all Easter weekend. There really is something special about baking something with your own hands. It’s not that you feel less guilty – though if that’s what it takes for you then great – there’s just something about it. From-scratch baking is nostalgic. It reminds you of your mom’s chocolate chip cookies. It feels like home. It will always be different than simply grabbing any ol’ chocolate bar not to mention the fact that it isn’t full of chemical and synthetic ingredients.
I can’t wait to get baking and cooking with the lil’ peanut. It’s something I plan on doing right away. Forget about a play kitchen; there’s an entire kitchen to play in! So few get any food education now with it all but gone from school curriculum and families being busier than ever. We put so much emphasis on math and science and reading that everything else seems to get cut. What ever happened to equipping future generations with the knowledge and skill to cook for themselves? Or the ability to decipher really food from fake? Wouldn’t this once have been mere survival? I guess that’s what drew me to the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution community in the first place. We’ve lost our connection with food and the effects are devastating. When 42 million children under the age of 5 are overweight or obese worldwide, it’s time for action. If I can do anything to spread the word about the importance of food education, then count me in. So – drumroll please – I’m pleased to announce that you’re looking at the new Food Revolution Ambassador for Dartmouth, NS. While you’ll see a lot more posts in the coming weeks (and some big changes), I’m also planning something for Food Revolution Day this May 15. I’m thinking a free community cooking class or even cooking with a local school. I’m open to suggestions if you have any. But first, this year Jamie Oliver is asking for your help to fight for food education. He has launched a change.org petition to make practical food education compulsory the world over. 600,000 signatures strong in less than two weeks, it’s clear we want change. Whether you have kids or not, we’re all in this together. Listen to the Bump. SIGN IT. SHARE IT! And let’s get cooking shall we?
How about starting with this crazy moist roasted squash dark chocolate loaf. Or is it bread? I’ve heard many folks say they suck at baking but I promise this one you can’t mess up. Mix dry. Mix wet. Combine. Simple. Plus this has super nutritious roasted squash in it. That’s pretty much like having vegetables for dessert. It was the perfect use of that sad little buttercup squash in need of some immediate love but if you have leftover squash purée, it’s even faster. A can of pumpkin purée will do the trick but squash is abundant and mad cheap right now. Roast up a big one and save the extra purée for soup, pasta, pancakes, muffins or dessert. I imagine this would also be a piece of cake (quite literally!) for the munchkins. Measuring, cracking eggs, stirring – these are all tasks suited for kids. You’ll be surprised how excited kids get about helping in the kitchen and how it even effects their willingness to try new foods.
Though this loaf is certainly dessert worthy, it also makes a rich breakfast or afternoon snack alongside a cup of tea or coffee. If you really want to take it over the top, smother it in some dark chocolate sauce and a big dollop of whipped cream. This lasted but a couple days over here so you might as well make two.
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cup puréed roasted squash*
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
- *For the squash, preheat the oven to 400. Slice a small buttercup squash in half and remove the seeds. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet cut side down until very soft, about 30 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and purée in a food processor until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan or line it with parchment.
- Mix together dry ingredients thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Combine the wet and dry, mixing just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes depending on your oven.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips work well too. I imagine you can even use less chocolate with great results but I'm not sure why you'd want to.