Preparing for winter: knitting, crocheting and comfort foods -gluten-free vegan zucchini bread

by Bella

It’s that time of year again. I personally dread the long cold winters, because I don’t like piling on layers every time you go out nor do I enjoy the treacherous ice. But I do love autumn with the beautiful colors and cool breezes. At this time of year, like most people, I want to cozy up inside and eat hot and hearty foods. I also start to crochet and Bo, our daughter gets out her knitting needles.

At the moment, Bo’s knitting a new winter hat for herself. I’m more into crocheting, and I get into phases where I crank out loads of small items; I don’t have the patience for big projects. I enjoy making amigurumi toys and have spent the last 3 winters making dozens of them. Some I’ve given away. A few I’ve sold on Etsy, but most have just accumulated in a most hated place…..A BOX!  We want to be box free, so that just doesn’t cut it. I found a local shop that will sell them. It’s a little consignment shop that also carries hand-made unique items. Now my little amis are out of the box and on display where they should be. Hopefully, they will find homes where they will be appreciated.

Here are a few of the ami that we’ve made. They’re all crocheted except for the turtle which was knit by Bo.

Ami Frog – crocheted by Bella

Ami owl – crocheted by Bella

Ami squirrel – crocheted by Bella

Ami turtle – knit by Bo

Ami bear – crocheted by Bella

I get most of my amigurumi inspiration from a series of book by Ana Paula Rimoli. She makes the cutest ami. I usually adapt her patterns to my own creative vision. You can visit her blog here where there are links to each of her books.

While at the consignment shop, the owner asked if I’d like to make some small crochet accessories for the shop. Since it’s fall and I’m getting the itch to crochet, I jumped at the chance. At her request, I’m making headbands and boot cuffs and loving it! Not only can I do what I enjoy doing at this time of year, but I feel like there’s a purpose to it, and it’s more than just a hobby. If I can make a little bit of money, that will be a nice bonus.

I’ve got several pieces in the works at the moment. Here are a couple that I’ve finished so far.

Boot cuffs – crocheted by Bella

Periwinkle headband – crocheted by Bella

I may need that extra money for the extra yummy foods we consume in fall and winter. I love raw foods more in warm weather, but when the weather turns, I turn to more cooked foods that ease the chill. I try to use readily available local produce and make lots of chilis, curries, pastas, banana bread, and fruit crumbles. Of course every thing will be vegetarian, gluten-free and organic where possible.

Recently, I made my first  gluten-free vegan zucchini bread of the season with an organic zucchini from a friends garden. It was so soft and warm and comforting just like comfort foods should be.

Gluten-free vegan zucchini bread

Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves)

3 cups gluten-free flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 flax eggs (3 tbsp ground flax w/3 tbsp water)

1 cup coconut oil

2 1/4 cups coconut sugar

3 tsp vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Grease and flour two bread pans (I just used an 8 x 8 cake pan and cut it down the middle like 2 loaves). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift your dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

In a large beat the flax eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together.  Add the sifted, dry ingredients gradually and beat well. Stir in the zucchini and nuts then pour in to prepared pan.s.

Bake for about an hour. I like to cook it until the surface gets a little crispy and cracks. Let cool a little before digging in. It tastes best warm so make sure you’re good and hungry when it’s done. Slice and enjoy alone or topped with your favorite nut butter or some jam.

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