We mentioned a month or so ago that we had been hit by a big storm, which knocked out our power for a week and left 30+ giant trees down just in and around our immediate property. Now, we’re busy cleaning up the mess Alfrida (as she was named) created, which involves a lot of schlepping, pushing, lifting, dragging, moving, hauling and chopping, as well as a decent amount of grunting – but that’s of course just for show. We had a neighbor help us sort out the situation initially, when the scene looked quite treacherous – some trees were fallen but resting on others still (sort of caught halfway), some had roots attached, holding a dangerous amount of tension. And some were simply too wide for our chainsaw to work through, so these trunks we got help sawing up into the 30 cm/1 ft pieces (or round blocks) we’ll eventually chop into firewood. Needless to say, the amount of stuff we have to take care of is… mind-blowing (at least for just two people). In order to not get overwhelmed, we’re tapping into “a little bit at a time”-mode. Yes, we’re all like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” out there, as we’re moving the blocks, one by one, and creating a giant brush pile with all the branches. By glancing at the pile of blocks we’ve currently moved into one and the same place though… we have firewood for 15 years to come.
At this point, you might be wondering if you clicked the right link – hey, wasn’t this supposed to be a recipe for something sweet and delicious sounding? You’re absolutely right, so hang in there. When you’ve been doing this kind of yard work for a few hours (or heck, a whole day) and your work gloves are soaked, you’re dirty from top to bottom, you smell like campfire, your back is aching and your muscles are trembling, then nothing – NOTHING – beats coming inside, taking off all the clothes, slipping into comfy wear… and having something hot to drink and something scrumptious to eat. Maybe not the kind of treat that would send your blood sugar skyrocketing, but something that has some substance as well. Enter, this bread. Whether exhausted from a day of outdoor work, out on a long hike, a little tired and in the need of a boost come mid-afternoon, a slice (or two) of this flavorful, moist butternut squash bread will have you bounce right back.
When I first moved to America, I thought it was funny how the term “bread” was used for baked goods that were clearly not breads at all, but sweet treats. To a Scandinavian, bread is… well, bread. It didn’t take long before I was throwing around “banana bread”, “zucchini bread” and “pumpkin bread” as if no big deal, though, and I’ve come to like the naming over the years. And while both butternut squash and pumpkin are more associated with fall cooking and baking, these are among the most storage friendly vegetables there are, and available aplenty come both late winter and early spring. Hence us wanting to encourage you to make this now, in February! Also, the olive oil lends the bread the most beautiful moistness and non-crumbly-ness, making this a perfect snack on the go.
We normally don’t include nutritional information for sweet treats, but this one is an exception. We wanted to make it quite rich in protein (which turned out well), so for those interested in macro nutrients, just scroll to the bottom of the recipe. For plant-based athletes, especially, a snack higher in protein every now and then is a good idea, and we’re not the ones to argue if that means an extra slice of this goodness. The walnuts provide not only protein, but also precious omega-3, which goes for the flax seeds as well. All in all, a plant-based powerhouse!
För recept på svenska, klicka här: Enkelt sötbröd med squash och nötter
Makes one bread
3/4 dl olive oil
1/2 dl oat milk
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 5 tbsp water – see step 1)
1 1/2 dl light muscovado sugar
3 dl butternut squash puree*
4 dl flour (we like 50/50 rye and wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp hemp protein powder (can be omitted, substitute equal amount flour)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 dl toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- Set the oven to 175ºC. Then, stir together flax seeds and water in a small bowl or glass, and let sit for 5 min.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, oat milk, sugar and butternut squash puree. Add in the flax eggs, once thickened, and stir.
- In a separate bowl, stir together all the remaining ingredients. Grease a standard sized loaf pan and set aside.
- Mix in the dry ingredients with the wet, a little at a time, and stir until perfectly smooth. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake in the middle of the oven for approx. 65 min, or until a toothpick comes out more or less dry. Allow to cool before cutting. The bread will stay moist in an airtight bag for at least 4-5 days at room temperature. Freezes well.
*To make the puree, we peel, de-seed and cube half a butternut squash, and then roast the cubes at 200ºC for approx. 30 min, or until very soft (no oil or salt). Then, we blend until smooth using a hand mixer. Depending on the size of the squash, you may or may not end up with leftover puree. If you do, fear not! With some seasoning, this puree can be eaten as is – or it can be mixed into mashed potatoes, stirred into pancake batter, added to virtually any sauce, turned into “hummus” together with some beans or lentils… or (which is what I did yesterday) it can be blitzed with tons of garlic, tahini and lemon juice and used as a kale salad dressing.