Every plant in the universe seems to want to grow in this part of the world and I think I know why.
Of all the wonders California has to offer, surely the greatest has to be the sun.
I miss the snow. I do. I miss home, my community and my family. I dream about our house in Ottawa and the ash tree in our backyard.
But you take your blessings where you find them and there's just something to be said for stepping out the door on a February afternoon and being surrounded by warmth and light. Having the sun caress every part of your body and watching your dog sparkle in the light. She too comes to life in the sun. Her smile is unmistakable. It transforms me.
So today, I thought I would send you all a little bit of sunshine from the golden state so that you too can take part in the experience.
These photos were taken outside on our little balcony. To me they represent all that surrounds us here in beautiful California including the gorgeous orange trees that continue to produce fruit (seemingly without end).
As for the recipe, I spotted a lovely orange-hued bread over at my friend Charles' the other day that immediately caught my attention (as many of his recipes do).
I was smitten with the idea of the puréed carrot in the loaf but somehow couldn't get the idea of leaving little bits of visible carrot flecks in the loaf out of my head. I knew it would add weight to the bread and transform it into something different but I wanted to see where things might end up. So off I went with three different tries, ending up with something a little different each time. This was a happy experiment, and I have Charles to thank for it.
This is definitely not a soft, light and springy bread. There is texture, density and complexity to this loaf but that is not to say that it's not delicious in it's own right. We especially enjoyed this robust, colourful bread topped with sharp cheese and toasted with a touch of marmalade (for my husband) and hot red pepper relish (for me). The boys like to have their first piece simply with butter. Who can blame them. Next up will be sandwiches.
There are mild sweet notes generated from the orange and the carrot in this bread but they are quite subdued (less than 1.5 grams of sugar per slice). Each serving delivers as much protein as an egg and also packs a good amount of dietary fibre. The seeds, orange and carrots also ring in a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
And here's something else. Did you know that cooking carrots actually boosts their antioxidant content by breaking down cell walls? Studies have shown that eating cooked carrots results in much higher blood levels of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene's antioxidant properties are thought to help reduce our risk of disease. Some of the beta-carotene we consume gets converted to retinol (the active form of vitamin A) which helps support our immune system, vision, cell growth (including skin), teeth and healthy bones.
Be sure to read through the Nutrition and Cooking Notes I prepared for options and best results.
right off the tree (it will never stop amazing me)