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RUNNING, RETURNING // ZUCCHINI BREAD BITES

I have been thinking a lot about this sentence: You spend the first half of your life running away from home and the second half trying to get back to home. I’ve been thinking about it because of my propensity to run away from home every summer. But I have a slightly different take on it: I think that the running from home is also a running towards something that brings home into sharper focus.

Going to Glacier every summer has become a ritual. I go there to get back to me at my best, to shed some of the things that burden all of us in life – our fears, our hurts, our anxieties. And I go there to focus, very simply, on the daily act of walking, of observing wilderness at its best, of challenging myself in the most straightforward of ways: can I make it up that 2500 foot climb with a backpack on? God damn it, I can.

I go there to be inspired, to be filled up, to meet interesting and colorful folks, to see grizzly bears and fragile melting glaciers, to hear a loon on a lake at dusk, to not think about food much except in terms of how I can be sated, to be reminded of how unbelievably huge wilderness can be, and how lucky I am to witness it, and walk in it, and be a part of it.

Coming home, I didn’t think that I missed anything yet. But that first night back, I surprised myself: the cool, marine breeze coming through the window was welcome, a thing that I had forgotten I enjoyed. San Francisco’s bright, foggy light – so much a love/hate relationship with me – caught me off guard with its loveliness. Point is, there are comforts in home that are easy to forget when in a place as breathtakingly all-consuming as Glacier. Being pleasantly surprised by how nice those comforts feel on returning is even better.

And these Zucchini Bread Bites, from Sara and Hugh’s stunning, inspired new cookbook (it arrived an hour before I left on my trip – fortuitous timing!) are exactly the kind of cozy comfort I want to return home to, here on the cusp of fall, with summer produce still going strong. Zucchini bread takes me right back to my childhood. And these bring me there too, but with a twist: there is a richness with the addition of cocoa powder, and the quinoa flakes and oat flour are wholesome whole grain goodness at its best. Happy homecoming.

(PS: The title of this post is from a song by Akron/Family.)

ZUCCHINI BREAD BITES
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Yield: 24

1 large egg
1/2 cup maple syrup (I subbed honey here)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soday
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons nonalkalized cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3/4 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the quinoa flakes, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and 1/4 cup of the turbinado sugar.

Squeeze any excess water from the shredded zucchini with your hands (or a cheesecloth), and stir into the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to incorporate. Add the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a mini-muffin pan, as I did). Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out one heaping tablespoon of dough, and roll into a ball if using a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining turbinado sugar.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are browned and the centers have a soft resistance. Allow to cool before serving (though they are incredible warm.)

Store in an airtight container.

  • Erin - I tend to think big and a lot of that thinking has me running away from home but at the same time, I look forward to the day when I’m more stable and have a home to run to. Gorgeous photos and what a gorgeous place to run to during the summer!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - Welcome home! I sometimes get confused when I travel because I end up missing stuff from home, even though I love traveling so much! I think it’s refreshing to return from a trip and feel like you’ve missed something. Those zucchini bread bites look awesome.ReplyCancel

  • melissa - There’s something so peaceful about the mountains and nature, it soothes the soul. Lovely photos and recipe looks delis — making these tonight for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - What a lovely reflection on home… I love traveling and being away from home and people. It definitely builds that connection to it.ReplyCancel

  • Jess - i just returned from GNP myself and can already feel it pulling me back. what a lovely tradition to return annually. your beautiful pictures and words transported me back for a moment!ReplyCancel

  • alison - This is such a beautiful way of looking at traveling and returning home again. I always look forward to our travels each summer, because I just know there is inspiration waiting beyond our city limits. The zucchini bites look wonderful, perfect for this time of year. So ready for fall baking to begin again!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - You are totally freaking my out with your wisdom here, because I have been terribly homesick for Arkansas, where I grew up. I’ve been thinking about how I seem to miss a lot of the things that I complained about (even the swampy heat and humidity!). I like your take on the saying, though. This time I’ve spent as an adult away from home has brought the important things into focus. By the way, the scenery in your photos is absolutely stunning.ReplyCancel

  • michelle - looks good, not sure of some of the ingredients. can regular sugar be used?and cocoa powder
    lovely post!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine Sacks - Your trip looks and sounds amazing – what an incredible tradition! I think of home as wherever is special to you, and this place certainly is! And this recipe feels like home as well, bravo!ReplyCancel

  • sara - i love your thoughts and the reasons why you leave..to go and refresh. you inspire me to do the same. to get away from everything that pulls on you. thanks for sharing these, your look gorgeous as expected. a pleasure to see you last weekend. so glad to know you, sweet girl.ReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon - Beautiful, beautiful photos, Kimberly! And gosh, these were going to be second up on my Sprouted Kitchen quest and you’ve just confirmed that needs to be so. Would be fun to make them with carrots! Hope all is well and you’re settling back in. xx from Seattle, mgReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I would certainly run to Glacier if I lived nearby too! What a beautiful place!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - Beautiful photos! What a place, and what thoughtful reflections on your going and your return. Muffins look warm and tasty and perfect for the seasonal transition! I wouldn’t have gravitated to them but now they are one more from the book I’ll be sure to try … thanks :)ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Really lovely, Kimberley. I think you’re entirely right — that going away reminds us of why we love home. Having just moved from an old home to a new one, I’m not entirely sure what that means for me right now, but surely it has something to do with gratitude.

    And: I have been eying this recipe myself! Happy to know it’s a delicious one. Welcome home!! xoReplyCancel

  • Sasha - I am just towards the end of Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild’ and your pictures and words have convinced me that I need to get far out of the city and feel just how big mountains and trees can be.

    That and I need to make these zucchini bread bites. I, too, associate zucchini bread with my childhood and more so than banana bread or cookies or any other homemade treat. And I love that with just a recipe we can go back to that feeling of home.ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - This is so lovely, Kimberley. I think your escape to Montana every summer is a brilliant idea. Just seeing your photos, I feel so small. You’re a busy woman and your trip sounds like a wonderful way to find balance. Zucchini bread bites! Tiny bits of comfort, I’m sure.ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - Kimberley, your photos are stunning. Could I please live in the first one? So idyllic and serene. As for running away, I always ran away from home and now that I’ve made a new home on my own terms, I agree that trips bring back a new perspective to home and how life is lived. This is a lovely post, zucchini bread bites included.ReplyCancel

  • phi - There’s an akron/family song for each lovely and sad moment of my life… Your photos are just simply amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - Hi Michelle! To answer your question: I am a big fan of improvising and can only imagine that regular sugar would be fine. Though dark brown sugar might be better for its richer flavor. As for the cocoa powder, Sara explained in the book that non-alkalized cocoa powder reacts with baking soda to help baked goods rise – a good thing when using non-gluten flour. So I think that’s the reason for that choice. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Laura {gourmettenyc} - What gorgeous photos, Kimberley! Your getaway looks idyllic. I too just got The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook and cannot wait to cook from it.ReplyCancel

  • Carla - Hi! I love your blog and all the photos. ReplyCancel

  • Kristopher - Raleigh Weddings - Yum, Yum, thank you. My son refuses to eat veggies, I can’t wait to give him one of these.ReplyCancel

  • nicole - Yes.

    So exactly how I feel whenever I return from a backpacking trip – being out there is so good, but home is, too, just in a different way.

    These look delectable.ReplyCancel

  • more than ready | Delightful Crumb - […] am here today to join the multitudes commenting on the loveliness that is The Sprouted Kitchen, a new cookbook written by Sara Forte and […]ReplyCancel

  • charlotte au chocolat - I’m between homes right now, between continents. So interesting to notice the different things that pull us in one direction or the other. I’m reflecting on all of this in the tiniest village in the South of France, where I’m surrounded by nature. I love what you said about “be[ing] reminded of how unbelievably huge wilderness can be, and how lucky I am to witness it, and walk in it, and be a part of it.” Your images of Glacier are gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - One of the things that I’ve realised about growing up is that you gain a new appreciation for the things that make you feel at home (and that those things don’t actually have to be your home). Love Sara’s book and this recipe has been calling my name for a while now.ReplyCancel

  • Riley - These zucchini bites look so yummy!ReplyCancel

  • Sally - Do you think I could substitute rolled oats for quinoa flakes? I live in a teeny remote Alaska town with no quinoa flakes within a thousand miles.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - @Sally! That’s a great question. Rolled oats are larger than quinoa flakes, so it won’t be the same, but I think it’s worth a try! Fingers crossed for great results!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Wow. Absolutely stunning photos and love the bite sized recipe! I always leave your blog feeling inspired in both food + photography!ReplyCancel

  • Michael - Perspective is a very powerful thing. Like relieving a strained muscle that has been flexed for what may seem like hours, returning home can feel so refreshing and relaxing. Montana has a power like few other places and Glacier reigns supreme over all of its beauty. It has rightfully earned the name “The Crown of the Continent”. John Steinbeck said it best: “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”

    Great work Kimberly.ReplyCancel

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