What is it about cold weather that makes a person want to bake?
Is it that having the oven on warms the kitchen and the rest of the house?
Is it the delightful aroma that floats in the air that draws everyone to the kitchen?
Is it that there’s something so satisfying about creating something from scratch and it’s finished in a short amount of time?
I guess it’s all of those things. I do know that today I’m baking Strawberry Bread and making a strawberry cream cheese spread that pairs beautifully with it.
The bonus is that strawberries make me think of summertime and warmer weather on this cold, rainy winter day. (My heart goes out to all of you stuck in the terrible snow storm that hit up north. Wish I could ship you some of this delicious warm bread.)
My mom made a strawberry layer cake that was also delicious, but that’s a recipe for a summer day. Hopefully, I can remember to post that in May.
(1) Set out a block of cream cheese to come to soften and come to room temperature. You’ll need 4 ounces.
(2) Set out frozen unsweetened strawberries. I buy the frozen sliced ones as shown on Amazon Fresh, but you can find them in any supermarket. I just posted this so you can see the package. You’ll need 10 ounces.
(3) If you plan to use butter instead of cooking oil, set out 1 stick of butter.
Now, if you’re like me—usually impulsive and a last minute prepper—you can soften the cream cheese and butter in the microwave, but don’t liquefy or cook it. Defrost the strawberries the same way and save the liquid resulting from the defrosting.
STRAWBERRY BREAD WITH STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or cooking oil
2 eggs, well beaten
10 ounces sliced frozen strawberries, thawed (1/4 cup liquid from thawing saved)
(1) Grease and flour a 4×8 loaf pan or a Bundt should also work well.
(2) Preheat oven to 350.
(3) Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix well.
(4) Mix the beaten eggs, the fat (melted butter or cooking oil), and the strawberries in a separate bowl or large measuring cup.
(5) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour all the liquid ingredients into it and mix well. Slow speed on mixer or by hand.
(6) Pour batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
(7) When done, remove from oven, and turn upside down on a cooling rack.
STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
While the bread bakes, mix up the spread. You’ll need:
1/4 cup of liquid from the strawberries (You can even add a couple of mushed up strawberries if you want a stronger strawberry flavor.)
4 ounces soft cream cheese
2-4 teaspoons of powdered sugar, but white granulated sugar will work too.
I’ll ‘fess up. I always make a double batch of the spread because my guy really likes it.
(1) Blend the cream cheese and strawberry “juice” until smooth.
(2) Add the sugar and mix well.
When the bread is still a bit warm, slice and serve with a dollop of the spread.
To store the bread, slice all of it and wrap securely in foil or in a glass container and store in the fridge. For the spread, I scoop it into a small glass jar, cover, and store in the fridge. (You can use plastic containers if that’s what you prefer.)
FOOD STORAGE NOTE
This year, I started eliminating plastic storage containers. That’s my choice. I just don’t think plastic storage is as healthy as glass. I had some small Pyrex containers with lids that belonged to my mom. I started using those and began saving glass jars that I’d normally put in the recycle bin.
I found a Laura Scudder Peanut Butter jar with a lid contianing a rubber seal is perfect for storing leftover soups, stews, and other “moist” kinds of foods.
Then I invested in some glass food storage containers with locking lids that can go from freezer to microwave or oven.
I hope you enjoy this Strawberry Bread and Strawberry Spread. If you do, drop me a note in comments. Have a great weekend.
Joan Reeves aka SlingWords: The Word Slinging Adventures of Joan Reeves
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