That Goes Where?

I’ve never poisoned anyone with my cooking (that I am aware of), but I just found out that I have been storing some food items in places they aren’t supposed to be stored.

  • Apples:   They stay crisper in the refrigerator and last longer without spoiling.  Hmmm, ok.  Good thing to know, but I usually don’t buy more than a few apples at a time and keep them on the counter.  My house is always cool and I like them visible, making me more likely to eat one than grab a cookie or chips…I’m going to call this one a toss up.
  • Brown Sugar:  WOO HOO!  I’m storing this one right.  It belongs in the cupboard in a well sealed bag or container, not in the refrigerator.  I also saw a tip that it will stay softer/fresher longer if you put a couple of big marshmallows in the same container.
  • Coffee:  Beans will keep in an airtight container, open bag or can at room temperature for a week.  My Mom always kept her cans of coffee in the refrigerator.  Apparently that was wrong as moisture can kill the flavor making the coffee taste weak.  I keep my beans in the freezer, which is recommended for long term storage.  Yes!!!  Another staple I’m not screwing up!
  • Spices:  I am guilty of keeping spices much longer than I should, but at least I am storing them right. They belong in a cupboard away from heat ( so not one above the refrigerator or oven), light, and moisture to keep the oils from breaking down.  Exceptions are sesame seeds and poppy seeds, which need the moisture of the refrigerator to maintain their freshness. Toasted or plain sesame oil should be stored in the refrigerator as well.
  • Hot Sauce:  No need to keep them in the refrigerator.  They will stay good (and potent) for up to 3 years in the cupboard at room temperature.  Cool, I get to free up some refrigerator space.
  • Maple Syrup:  The expensive pure stuff needs to go in the refrigerator, the Aunt Jemima  (and other artificial Maple flavored syrups) is the cupboard.  Guess I have a new resident for those recently vacated refrigerator shelves!
  • Nuts:  Oops, I’ve been storing these wrong.  Almonds, walnuts and pecans are only good (once jar or bag is opened) at room temperature for two weeks.  To maintain the freshness of the oils within them, store in refrigerator up to 9 months and freezer up to 2 years.
  • Onions, Shallots, Garlic:  Don’t do as my mom did and store them in the refrigerator.  These need to be stored in a mesh bag or basket in a dry place with plenty of room for air to circulate.
  • Tomatoes:  Yep, I’ve been doing these a disservice too!  Tomatoes do not belong in the refrigerator, they’ll get mushy.  Put them on the cool counter.

Who knew?  Certainly not this girl!

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Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

banzucminisI love a moist piece of banana bread slathered with soft cream cheese.  The only problem I have is, with the number of bananas I buy each week, using the overripe ones for plain banana bread every week or two is getting boring.

My grandma was one of those 1970’s women who broke out of her 1950’s homemaker role and became a more modern woman.  She was different from my friends’ grandmas to say the least:  She played tennis, loved fitness, drove a flashy sports car, loved vacationing and baking herself to a golden tan in the sunshine, had a job outside the home, and pretty much spoiled my brother, sister and I rotten.  My modern grandma made her own yogurt, dried her own fruit, and tried her hardest to get us to eat more vegetables. I’m pretty sure she is why I am so fearless and experimental in the kitchen – I’d eat anything new or different that she fed me.

My Grandma Skip used to make a wonderful, sweet, moist zucchini bread every summer.  It was one of my favorites, even if it did have walnuts in it!  I wonder how bananas would taste with zucchini.  And, as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I wonder if I can make it gluten free so I can share it with my friends who have issues with gluten.  Looks like another experiment!!  Off to the kitchen!

Gluten Free Zucnana Bread

  • Shred 2 medium zucchini in your food processor, Vitamix or using a hand grater.
  • Let sit in a colander in the sink so any moisture released can drain off.
  • Grease your 9×5 inch standard or 5.75 x 3 inch mini loaf pans with baking spray (I use coconut oil spray).
  • Preheat oven to 325° F

In medium mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 & 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 & 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)

In same bowl add:

  • 1/4 Cup Agave Syrup
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Eggs (Room temperature is ideal)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (Room temperature/melted)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Medium Bananas Mashed (not overripe, but with browning skins)

Using a large wooden spoon, stir in each addition until well combined.  Batter will be thick.

  • Stir shredded zucchini in by hand (using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon)
  • Pour into greased loaf pan (s)
  • Bake on center rack in oven for 55 – 65 minutes (9×5 inch pan), or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Like most ovens, my temperature is sometimes a few degrees off, so I start checking for doneness at about 55 minutes.

When finished baking remove pan (s) to a wire rack to cool about 30 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on the wire racks.  When cooled, wrap loaf (s) in foil then put into a zip bag and store in the refrigerator.  These loaves freeze well – wrap first in waxed paper (seal all edges), then foil and finally a securely zipped freezer bag.  Enjoy within 3 months.

I serve with whipped cream cheese, although you can make a simple glaze to drizzle over while the loaf (s) while still warm.

  • 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 2-3 Tsp Milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar.  Add more or less milk as needed

TIP 1:  I normally use 1 Cup of Sugar in my Banana Bread.  When substituting Agave Syrup or Pure Maple Syrup (or a combination of both) for granulated sugar, make sure that you decrease the water (juice or other liquid component) by 3 TBLS (per 1 C equivalent/ sugar), add 1/8 tsp of baking soda (per 1/2 C equivalent sugar), and reduce your baking temperature by 25° F.  I have already made those adjustments above.  There is a really handy chart for sugar substitutions here.

Tip 2:  When using mini loaf pans instead of a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan, reduce the baking time by 25% (so in this case the baking time would be 43 – 53 Minutes – I start checking loaves for doneness at about 45 minutes).

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: