Cooking with Kids: Spiced Carrot and Walnut Bread
I promise this isn't the usual (vaguely insulting) case of "Here's how to sneak vegetables into your kids' diet!" I've actually been making this moist, fragrant quick bread for years, and not just because it's virtuous.
I return to the recipe because it's so flavorful—moist and rich from the carrots and toasted walnuts, not too sweet and fantastic with a steaming mug of Earl Gray.
The recipe is particularly appealing now that I have kids because we can stir it together in a flash (good for fleeting toddler attention spans), and my daughter, Flannery, likes helping prepare it as much as she enjoys eating it.
In fact, the recipe helped teach her how to peel (learning to push the peeler down the carrot, away from her little hands). Then the carrots (I always use organic), are sliced and simmered until tender and then mashed by hand ("use your muscles, kids!").
It's fun to explain to the kids that carrots are the "secret ingredient" that helps keep the bread moist. I also like that she sees a "healthy" food transformed into a into a moist, spice-scented breakfast.
A thick slab of this bread is a also an awesome lunch box treat. You could also add grated orange zest or a tablespoon of walnut oil to this recipe.
About the author: Paula Disbrowe is the author of Cowgirl Cuisine and co-author of Real Cajun, winner of the 2010 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, T Style, and Southern Living, among other publications. She is the general manager of Feather Down Farm Days. She lives in Austin, Texas.