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Strawberry Quick Bread is full of spring flavor and the perfect way to say thank you through food

Columnist Sarah Nasello recommends giving this bread to your child's teacher or anyone who deserves thanks.

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Loaded with fresh strawberries and a thick layer of strawberry glaze, Sarah's Extra-Special Strawberry Bread is full of spring flavor and the perfect way to say thank you through food.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

FARGO — Food is a love language for me and my favorite way to show appreciation for others. So, I was delighted last fall when the Shanley High School's parent teacher organization invited parents to sign up to bring treats each week for the teachers and staff as a way for us to say thank you throughout the year. I love this new tradition and hope it continues, as I have enjoyed this opportunity to show the teachers and staff how much we care about them, through food.

This week is the last time I will be bringing treats (as a parent), and I wanted to make something extra special to celebrate the end of an amazing year. This Extra-Special Strawberry Bread is a new addition to my repertoire, and it hits all the right notes. Beautiful and easy to make, with a moist and tender crumb, loads of fresh strawberries and a thick layer of strawberry glaze — this bread is oh, so delicious, and the perfect way to say thank you.

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Sarah's Extra-Special Strawberry Bread can be prepared quickly by hand in a series of simple steps, starting by mixing the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another, then combining them together and adding the strawberries.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

My son graduates from Shanley High School next week, and our recent days have been filled with a flurry of activities — end-of-year school events, graduation parties, home improvements, reminiscing with old photos, planning, shopping, laughing, crying — it is a most marvelous, and hectic, time in our family. Suffice it to say, I have all the feelings happening at once, but the one I feel most strongly today is gratitude.

Gratitude for the amazing teachers and staff in the JPII Catholic Schools system, who embody the mission to “inspire excellence by teaching the total person and fostering the following of Christ, as taught by the Catholic Church.” While the graduating seniors may be the focus right now, the teachers and staff are the unsung heroes who have helped make this moment possible.

To those humble servants, as you work your way through the box of goodies I left for you in the faculty lounge today, I hope you will take some time to reflect on the past year and celebrate your success. You have devoted countless hours to helping your students make it across the finish line, not just as teachers, administrators, nurses, food service directors or bus drivers, but as advisers and coaches for clubs and activities, chaperones for social events, spiritual advisers, mentors and guides.

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Tossing the diced strawberries in flour before adding them to the batter will keep them from sinking as the bread bakes, so that they are evenly distributed from top to bottom.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

My husband, Tony, and I have witnessed your care and dedication firsthand as you have helped us raise our son over the past 12 years. He would not be attending the college of his dreams without your steadfast commitment to excellence and faith, and your dedication to serving the whole student.

You have exceeded our expectations, and we can send our son forth knowing that he is well-prepared, academically and spiritually, to be a force for good in the world. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Please enjoy your Extra-Special Strawberry Bread today and bask in the glow of a job well done.

No matter how busy our lives may be, there is always time to show gratitude and say thank you. How do I know this? Because I am an alumna of the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools system. Bravo, teachers and staff. God bless you and best wishes for a wonderful and well-deserved summer break.

Extra-Special Strawberry Bread

Makes: 1 loaf, about 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

½ cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, diced

For the glaze:

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3 tablespoons fresh strawberries, finely chopped
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon whole milk
½ teaspoon lemon juice

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When baking quick breads, fill the loaf pan only 2/3 full for even baking.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with baking spray — you may also grease it with butter followed by a light dusting of flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, milk, oil, egg and vanilla until well combined. In another medium bowl, combine 2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir just until combined.

In the empty flour bowl, gently toss the diced strawberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour until they are evenly coated. This step prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the bread as it bakes. Next, fold the strawberries into the batter until they are evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and use an offset spatula or knife to smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes.

Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the glaze:

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Place the finely chopped strawberries in a small bowl and use a wooden spoon or fork to mash them. Add the powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Once the bread has cooled completely, pour the glaze over the top, using it all. Let the glaze set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Sarah's Extra-Special Strawberry Bread has a wonderfully moist and tender crumb that comes from the addition of milk and vegetable oil in the batter.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

To store:

Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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