• Theresa Gentile

What’s the happy medium between fresh baked goods and a quick breakfast? Quick breads.

I have always been a fan of quick bread batter breakfasts. Banana breads, zucchini bread, beer bread…so when I heard of strawberry bread, this was the first thing that came to my mind.

I love me a good quick bread because it’s just that – quick and bread. It’s the kind of quick breakfast you can throw together the night before and assemble in a snap during a harried morning. Just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. In the morning, combine them and bake.

Or, you can bake a bread (or muffin) and freeze for another time. Simply let the bread cool completely, wrap or place in a zip lock bag and place in the freezer for up to 6 months. To thaw, remove to the counter or refrigerator and loosen the wrapper a bit. It’s perfect for company.

My theory is, if I’m going to go through the trouble of assembling one bread, I may as well make two. I mean, I already have the ingredients out. So, I get a workshop going in my kitchen and I freeze the second bread.

Cook once, eat twice.

Quick breads are not leavened with yeast, but baking soda or baking powder. This is why they can rise quickly. They generally start with the same basic ingredients and other additions can be added as desired.

Quick breads all start with:



-eggs (or flax eggs)

-a fat (oil, butter, margarine, applesauce, plain yogurt or combination of these) and

-a liquid (usually milk).

Then the fun part comes in where you can add a variety of fresh or dried fruits, vegetables, cheeses, nuts, herbs and spices.

It’s strawberry season and a pint of strawberries costs about $1.00 - $1.50 now in NYC, so it’s a good time to stock up on them. I usually buy several pints and, if I can reserve some before they’re all eaten up, I slice and freeze them. I’ll then use the strawberries in smoothies or throw them in plain yogurt, chia seed pudding or oatmeal.

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To up the health factor of my quick breads, I use a combination of whole wheat flour and different fats. By substituting up to 1/3 of the white flour for whole wheat flour and mixing very minimally, this bread can be healthy and moist.

And, because I still had quite a few pints of strawberries left, I whipped up some strawberry cream cheese to top the strawberry bread. I used sliced strawberries that had been frozen, as they thaw with some nice juice. Then, I mixed the berries with some softened cream cheese.

Strawberry Bread

10-12 servings

Ingredients, Dry:

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients, Wet:

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or defrosted if frozen


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Whisk dry ingredients thoroughly in one bowl. Whisk wet ingredients thoroughly through lemon zest. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. When the mixture is almost completely moistened, fold in the strawberries. Don't overmix. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before reverting pan to unmold and cooling completely.

I think strawberry bread is my new favorite! Try it and let me know what you think!

Want to make this strawberry quickbread another time? Pin it for later!

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  • Theresa Gentile

You know you should be eating more fish, but what about your kids? Is there such a thing as eating too much fish?

With only 100-200 calories per serving, seafood is considered a low-calorie, high-protein food source. Fish also has B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin A, zinc, selenium, iron and iodine. Seafood is low in total fat and saturated fat. Even the fattiest fish have no more than 15% total fat. Most cuts of fish are also low in cholesterol (a little less than chicken and beef - shellfish is the exception.). And a large portion of that fat – oh, here’s the good part – is that heart-loving’ polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acid fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that your body cannot produce. They are found in all fish, but primarily in fatty fish.

Good sources of #omega-3’s: salmon, trout, sardines, herring, canned mackerel, canned light tuna, and oysters.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

-Helps reduce risk of sudden heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms and stroke. Also lowers blood pressure.

-Maintains healthy brain and vision development during pregnancy

-May decrease risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

-Has anti-inflammatory effects that may decrease the risk of arthritis

Benefits to pregnant women: helps nervous system development of fetus

Ok, so those are the reasons why you SHOULD eat fish…are there reasons why you shouldn’t??

Well, there are contaminants, mercury and water pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (#PCBs) and dioxins. Although mercury is a naturally occurring metal, it is converted into more dangerous methylmercury by bacteria in water. Methylmercury is found more in larger fish, since those fish eat other fish and live longer. If you eat too much of these fish, it could damage your nervous system. PCB concentrations have decreased in waters, but there are still areas where there is concern.

Those at the most risk?

Women of child bearing age, pregnant women and kids.

Since contaminants can build up in your body over time and it could take up to 5 years to rid your body of these dangerous substances, it’s best to limit your intake of certain fish. Remember, infants and children are more susceptible to these harmful effects because their nervous systems are still developing and contaminants can be passed on to a fetus from mom.

For Kids: Fish is a nutritious food that helps their bodies grow. But, remember their portion size does not look like an adults’.

Generally, allow 1 ounce of fish for every 20 pounds of body weight. So, a 40 pound child, should have 2 ounces of fish.

You can also refer to this chart for guidance on portion size of fish for kids:

Serving size of fish for children

Pregnant women and women of child bearing age: should consume 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of fish per week, and of fish that is lower in mercury content.

What Are The Safest and Most Nutritious Fish to Eat?

Use this chart as a guide:

Can you prepare fish in a way that decreases PCBs, dioxins or mercury?

You cannot cook away mercury, but contaminants like PCBs accumulate in the fat of the fish, so remove skin and visible fat before cooking, let fat drip off fish before eating it, and never make sauce/gravies from fat drippings.

Not sure how to cook fish? Check out some healthy way to prepare fish here.

For a great picture of how to cut fat away from fish, see:


How will you add fish to your rotation this week?




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  • Theresa Gentile

Are you intimidated by cooking fish? Not sure how to make sure it’s healthy and tasty? You’re not alone.

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

I hear it alllll the time. “I know eating fish is healthy, but I don’t make it because I don't know how to make it right."

I was there once, too.

But once you see how quick and easy it is, you’ll wonder how you thought cooking fish was harder than chicken. (Chicken, by the way, is one thing I find intimidating to cook…and so labor intensive. All the fat-trimming, counter/sink Cloroxing and overcooking because I’m scared I’ll poison my family with salmonella…just too much for me.)

Let me remind you just how and why fish should star as your entrée at least two nights per week. With only 100-200 calories per serving, seafood is considered a low-calorie, high-protein food source. Seafood is also low in total fat and saturated fat. Even the fattiest fish have no more than 15% total fat. Most cuts of fish are also low in cholesterol (a little less than chicken and beef - shellfish is the exception).

And a large portion of that fat – oh, here’s the good part – is that heart-loving’ polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acid fat. Yup, the good stuff that decreases your risk of heart disease by making your platelets less sticks and improving your cholesterol numbers. Those omega-3s also help brain and vision development in infants. See more about all the good and bad about nutrition and fish here.

The fish with the most omega-3s are: salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines.

Did you know fish also has B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin A? Also, zinc, selenium, iron and iodine. Lots of good stuff.

So, what are some easy ways to cook fish?

Sautéing Fish

The fact that it takes barely 10 minutes to bang out a healthy weeknight dinner should be an automatic selling point here. You can flop a white fish or salmon filet on a non-stick pan and have dinner in a few minutes. A cast iron skillet will get you a slightly crispy touch (which I do like), but you’ll need a little grease for the pan. Try a little olive oil and / or butter.

The key to perfect sautéed fish: don’t crowd the pan and don’t mess with it.

Cook on medium, skin side down. The fat under the skin starts to melt and moisten the whole piece while the outer layer gets crunchy. Flip at the last few minutes for a little crunch on the outside and moist yumminess inside. Cook 5-7 minutes for 5 ounces of fish on the skin side (or until almost completely cooked) then flip it over for another minute or so.

Poaching Fish

A method that often gets overlooked, this can be an easy way to cook fish. It produces moist fish, but takes a little longer than other methods. In a pot, boil water/stock/wine with some herbs. Then reduce heat so the water is barely simmering. Then, lower the fish into your simmering liquid and poach until it’s cooked through until it’s opaque.


So easy! For pieces of fish (like fillets and steaks; not a whole fish), arrange in a single layer on a greased baking pan.

Lean white fish: dries out easily, so add a liquid over the fish and in the pan. Use water, wine, lemon juice, orange juice or stock. You can also brush it with a little olive oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with a little salt/pepper, if you’d like. You can also add herbs in the oven or after, as well as onions, tomatoes or other vegetables.

OR bake lean fish in foil. This creates some nice steam so your fish stays moist and clean-up is a cinch. You can add liquid/seasonings inside the foil pouch or grease the base of the foil before placing fish in it.

OR protect fish by coating it in flour or breadcrumbs before baking.

Fattier fish (like salmon, herring, mackerel): do not require extra liquid or fat, but you can always add some. Bake uncovered. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees F until fish is no longer translucent. (Allow 6-9 minutes per ½ pound of fish.) or until an instant read thermometer reaches 125 degrees F.

Grilling Fish

Warm a grill, then place fish skin side down diagonally on the grill. On medium heat, cook for 2-4 minutes until skin is crispy. If you can lift the fish off the grill with tongs, then you can flip. (Otherwise, don’t mess with it – fish is delicate and easily falls apart.) Then close the lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Frying fish, by the way, decreases the amount of omega-3 fatty acids. So, eating fried fish doesn’t provide you with a battered version of heart healthy fats. Sorry.

What are some of your favorite ways to cook fish?

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