Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eating "Healthy"

As Jonathan noted in a recent post, I am the bearer of a modified version of his pumpkin bread. This modified version is what I like to call "healthy." I'll explain the special definition of "healthy" momentarily, but first it is important to note that this blog, while gooey with homemade-ice cream and greasy with homemade mayonnaise, is actually a pretty healthy, self-contained little universe. Most of my own recipes (you'll see plenty of them soon) are whole-grain, chock full of vegetables, or otherwise nutritious. So, that is why you'll see so many "healthy" treats, starting, of course, with pumpkin bread.

One should note that "healthy" is not the same as healthy. Steamed broccoli is healthy. Reduced-fat muffins are "healthy." Oat bran is healthy. Whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies are "healthy." Get the idea? Now, to make things even more complicated, some "healthy" recipes really are quite nutritious, while others aren't quite as nutritious, but are improvements over other, really unhealthy things. I think that you can decide for yourself whether "healthy" is close to healthy or to unhealthy. However, I am here to guide you taste-wise. If a "healthy" recipe really tastes quite different from the original, you will be amply notified.

Many of my recipes are "healthy" because I have a raging sweet tooth, and couldn't possibly live without delicious treats like pumpkin bread, gelato, and brownies. Especially brownies. When I crave something sweet and home-baked, but haven't necessarily earned the right to indulge myself, "healthy" recipes save the day. I fully advocate the occasional and utter indulgence, but perhaps not every day. Or at least not at every meal.

If you are still skeptical of the idea of "healthy" recipes, and would prefer to just have the honest-to-goodness stuff less frequently, consider this: how incredibly awesome it is to have something home-baked that can serve both as tasty dessert and as hearty breakfast. If this doesn't make the case for "healthy," I don't know what does.

Now, enough of that intellectualized "healthy" crap, and on to the recipe for "healthy" pumpkin bread:
"Healthy" Pumpkin Bread

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 eggs
1 c. + 3 tbs. solid-pack pumpkin puree
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients (not sugar) and mix remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Mix wet into dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min., or until tester inserted comes out clean.

Jonathan will be quick to tell you about the time when I made this pumpkin bread way too "healthy." It was basically healthy at that point. It was also rather...spongy? This recipe is the happy medium, and you will hardly be able to tell the difference between it and the original, unless you do a side-by-side taste test. I'll admit that the original is better for dessert. But this is pretty damn good.

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