Snacks That Pack a Nutritional Punch

With Christmas fast approaching, sometimes meals become snacks and snacks disappear. It's just too easy to get focused on a day that's all about food and manage to forget to feed oneself prior to big events. So this time of the year, I make sure I have healthy items on hand that can be a snack or a meal in a pinch:

Quick bread and muffins are one of my favorite solutions to this type of problem. They are quick to mix, leave your home smelling amazing, and can be frozen if two loaves seem like too much for you and yours to enjoy in short order. That said, with lots of entertaining in store this month, you might want to slice some of this bread and put it on your holiday table along with a little honey butter. Move over, dinner rolls!

I like to use a 2:1 ratio of shredded carrots and apples in this recipe and, if at all possible, I also like to include the best apple cider I have on hand. The result is like carrot cake meeting apple squares and deciding to move in together in a quick bread recipe. My family adores it.

I like to have a slice or two of this bread with coffee and a hard-boiled egg for a quick breakfast when things get busy. It's also simply lovely with tea in the afternoon. I've even been known to spread a little Nutella on it and have a slice for dessert. Let's just say I don't really need to freeze it at my house!

Spiced Carrot Bread

  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. apple cider, apple juice, or skim milk
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. carrots, shredded (or + apple)
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare 2 loaf pans by coating them with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugars, apple cider (or apple juice or skim milk), oil, and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to moisten. Fold in the carrots (or carrots and apples), raisins, and pecans, then spoon the batter into the loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before remove the loaf from the pan.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • Yields: 2 loaves
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes