Mar 25, 2013

Apple, Walnut & Raisin Quickbread

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Just to give you an idea of what my personal fitness regimen is like these days:

Today I took one of my first post-pregnancy walks (beyond wandering aimlessly around the grocery store, trying to remember what I’m there for besides milk and coffee beans). Rounding a corner, I saw a woman running at a good clip, looking confident and fit. I flashed her the thumbs up. Not for her form, or fly Lululemon ensemble, mind you. No, the first thought I had when I saw that chick running was, “Dang, I wish I had a pelvic floor like that.”

True story.

So at three weeks after birth, we’re dealing in small moves to get back into shape over here, inside and out, in both the exercise and nutrition departments. While I didn’t go all J.Simps on my pregnancy weight gain, nothing can really prepare you for, um, the state of things after you give birth. Let’s just say I won’t be doing a post-baby HOW I GOT THIN! photo session for US Weekly at six weeks post-partum. Getting back into a routine takes time in the real world. I’m trying to be patient with myself about that bit, even though I’m dying to get back into my non-stretchy clothes. And getting a few easy baking recipes into the arsenal that also happen to be what I call Halfsies Healthy really helps things along.

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Halfsies Healthy baked goods are about great flavors and textures and keeping things totally craveworthy, while still packing in some nutrients along the way. I actually developed the recipe for this quickbread a couple months back and have made it several times since, but somehow kept forgetting to tell you about it until right now. It’s got half regular flour, half whole wheat flour, a lot of unsweetened applesauce and a small amount of oil, and not too much sugar (I’m betting you could even swap out the brown and white sugars for raw turbinado or evaporated cane juice if you were so inclined–quickbreads are so flexible like that).

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I’m especially loving this recipe in my Nursing Mom state because it’s hearty and tastes fabulous, and it’s great for an easy breakfast or snack. It also  happens to be the perfect cram-something-in-your-quickbread-hole-fast-before-the baby-starts-crying-again sort of thing. And it’s the perfect recipe to double and gift to people who are in a state where they could really use some love-filled, homemade sustenance. Trust me on this. Having a loaf of this on the countertop and a second loaf in the freezer for emergencies brings the kind of comfort that comes second only to being able to trust that your pelvic floor won’t let you down on a jog.

This is my life now, people. I’m just putting it all out there for you.

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 Apple, Walnut & Raisin Quickbread

Makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I love Vietnamese cinnamon, which adds extra spice and color)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
1 cup peeled, chopped apple (about 1 large, cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins

Position a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper, lightly spraying the parchment, too (I like to have the parchment stick up a couple inches like a little “collar” on the two long sides of the pan to encourage the bread to rise nice and high).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the applesauce, egg, oil, and buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream) until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Stir to blend, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the chopped apple, walnuts, and raisins.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top evenly. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 70 to 80 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the bread from the pan and slicing. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to five days.

6 Comments

  • I have a 10-week-old, and have maxed out on the America’s Test Kitchen Morning Glory muffins after going through a double batch per week for two or three (or four?) weeks. Not only great for middle of the night nursing snack, but I felt bit better about Big Girl and Husband eating boxed and frozen as long as I threw a few “healthy” muffins at them. (The logic of the sleep-deprived) Thank God you’ve offered me an alternative here, because I would have kept making those damned muffins on autopilot for another month at least. I can sympathize, I had the same pelvic-floor jealousy whenever I saw someone sneeze without immediately cursing in those first weeks. OK, months.

  • I love baked goods like this. They’re packed with healthful things but they’re still crave-worthy, as you said. I had two boys and I know how tough it is to maintain healthy eating and exercise when you’re exhausted and you just want to grab the first thing you see and eat it! Luckily, it gets easier quickly. Good luck to you!

  • This recipe looks delicious. Do you know the nutritional values? If you post it on http://www.myrecipemagic.com they will calculate it for you and you can get paid for posting recipes.

  • Hi Shauna
    Congrats on your new arrival :-) If I was in the US or you were in Australia I’d send you a batch of lactation cookies – they have been my go to snack for much of my daughters nearly 9 months on this earth! Since I cannot do that, here is a recipe – it make a lot of cookies, but they keep really well. http://www.bellybelly.com.au/breastfeeding/breastmilk-supply-increase-breastmilk-lactation-cookie-recipe#.UW-McLUwo2M Enjoy :-)
    Wendy

  • This looks really yummy! Thanks for sharing. There is a similar recipe and tea and coffee pairing ideas on sweetlittleluxuries.com

  • Thanks, this is delicious!! I noted as I made it that the cinnamon wasn’t in the method (although maybe it was my oversight thanks to fussing baby and busy 3yo in the background…anyhow, thanks for this, looking forward to another slice when it is officially afternoon tea time!!

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