Monday, June 6, 2016

Organization Gone Wrong


  Things that are supposed to help you get organized can sometimes lead to bigger problems. This is the story of how a bright idea to make more space became a black hole of clutter.


  Ah, organizing... That thing that's supposed to help you find things easier, clean up, and get rid of unneeded items. Right? This isn't that post about how to get organized. It's totally the one about what not to do. Please excuse the blurry photos from my dark bedroom, but believe me, you won't be seeing anything pretty anyways. So, let's just get to the aftermath of what I was left with when I decided to clean out my closet:


organizing, cleaning out the closet


  How did this happen to me? I used to consider myself a clean and organized person, but moving in with a spouse that constantly disrupts that order has caused me to slack off. I can't really pinpoint the exact reason... I think it's either because I'm so busy cleaning up after him that I ignore my own messes, or it's because I'm so focused on taking care of him that I forget to deal with the problems that pile up behind closed doors. Either way, by the time I'm done beating concrete out of clothes, vacuuming it off my floor, and wiping up anything else that needs dusted off, I'm too tired to remember that I have a pile of mending to do.

sweater, organizing, cleaning out the closet

  We've all probably seen thousands of tips and tricks for how to get rid of clutter, save space, and keep things in their place. There's one I saw a long time ago for saving space in the closet. It's simple! You just place soda can tabs (I've seen various other items used) on your hangers, and it adds a space to hang another hanger. Perfect for squeezing more clothes in there! But in my case, it's the worst thing I ever could have done.


  Let me say that we're still using this trick in The Other Half's closet, and it works great for him. The most of what he has in there are his work uniform shirts, then there's a few jackets and dress shirts. That does stay organized, for the most part. The big problem is my closet: The junk space. The mending pile. That evil place that things get tossed in, to never be seen again after being eaten by the notorious Organization Monster.

sweater, organizing, cleaning out the closet

    All of this mess got placed on my "stacked" hangers, and shoved behind the next thing. Then that thing got shoved behind the following thing. Hanging almost to the ground, some of it got knocked off the hangers and ended up piled on the floor. And again: None of it is stuff I wear. Ever. Although I have a closet full of garments that need mending or altering, I don't have many clothes to wear. I think that's what caused me to hoard these items in need of repair. When I realized I never open my closet door except to store something else in there, I decided it was time to clean it out. The plan is to put a hanging organizer... Ha ha, there's that word "organize", oh no! So anyways, I'm going to empty out my closet so I can put an organizer in there, and it's time to evaluate what should stay and what should go.

collar, mending, organizing, cleaning out the closet

  Some of the things in there are beyond repairing, at least with my lack of sewing skills. Ripped collars, broken zippers, and that sweater that I planned on darning are all too much work for me. I don't really have a strong desire to wear any of these things, so it's time for them to go. I got to work and in no time, I had a pile of garments that towered over my collection of wearable items.

hoodie, mending, organizing, cleaning out the closet

  So, here's the plan: I'm going to use the new hanging "organizer" for my sheets, so I can get them out of the cheap plastic drawer cart I have them in, which will also get that out of the way in my bedroom. I have a problem with spiders making their homes behind the cart, and now I've been finding them inside the drawers. Sorry spiders, I don't want to share my drawers -or my bed sheets- with you.

organizing, three-drawer cart, fabric scraps

  Even that cart is messy! The Other Half doesn't bother to pull things out nicely, so it's typical for stuff to be hanging out of drawers after he goes in for a blanket. Plus, there's some sheets in there that don't fit the bed. I think it's time to turn them into rags.


  So this should be simple, right? Just get rid of the stuff I don't need, and make space for the sheets in the closet. Well, some things are easy to throw in the rag pile or the "project" pile, but the thing that really tripped me up was all the hangers. Literally. I had a pile on the bed but they slipped off onto the floor, and I ended up tangled in them. Then they got tangled up in themselves. I untangled them, hung them up, and they fell all over the floor again. So, I got frustrated and took a break (we won't talk about kicking the pile of hangers across the room), which didn't help get it done.

hanging organizer, closet space, cleaning out the closet

  Have you ever stopped mid-project, whatever it is, and then walked back into the situation to realize you're buried deeper than you thought? After sorting, vacuuming spiders, and a few sneezing fits, I was done for the day. I was left with a very small pile of donations, a large pile of junk, and a ton of hangers.


  The good thing about the junk pile is that it won't go to waste. I love to cut up material for crocheting things like bags and rugs, and the yarn from that sweater could be salvaged. The problem with that is, none of the "junk" leaves my house. I got the closet cleaned out, the sheets in their organizer, and got rid of most of those hangers. But now I'm left with a laundry basket of "potential crochet material" that's really just more potential clutter. Will I find time to recycle it, or will it only end up taking the place of the cheap plastic cart in my bedroom? In hopes of saving it, I'm hanging on to it for now. I have a feeling that this mission to get reorganized could turn into a never-ending saga.


To be continued...



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Layered Pineapple Upside-down Cake






  Every year on his birthday, the Other Half gets a pineapple upside-down cake - His favorite. But I mean, c'mon! It's a birthday cake! Shouldn't it be a little more special than just your average pineapple upside-down cake? So for his birthday last month, I had two missions: Make it more special, but also try to make it a little less bad-for-you. I succeeded at one of those goals... I fell a little short of the other one.









  But, it's still just a tiny little bit less-bad! Usually, I make an entire 9 x 13 pan of this cake, but I can only fit one can of pineapple in it. Plus, all that sugary, buttery topping that pineapple upside-down is famous for! I'm worried about the hubby developing diabetes because his father had it. And now that he's getting older, gaining weight, and still hasn't done anything to change his diet, I'm even more worried about it. His favorite thing for his birthday could very well become his death sentence!




  Last year, I tried to change the cake. That was a bust. The less-butter, less-sugar cake I made was tasteless and dry. No amount of gooey topping could change it. This year, I went back to the classic cake (see the recipe for how I already make that a-little-healthier!), and worked to change that topping instead. By baking the cake in two smaller round pans, I was able to fit two cans of pineapple in the cake. More fruit = good, right? (Well, kinda...) And then I reduced the amount of butter and sugar for the topping, so there will be just a kiss of that caramel-y goodness.




  It's a hit! The cake was moist without being drenched in butter/sugar sauce, the extra fruit added a ton of flavor, and he ate half the cake in under two days. If only I could get him to understand that cake does not equal "good for you" just because it has fruit in it. So much for trying to get him to eat healthier! Let's get to that recipe:








For the prep work:
One 8" and one 9" round cake pans
*I used spring-form pans, because that's all I have right now! I tried two 8" round pans, but the batter was almost overflowing. If you don't have/want two different sizes, use two 9" pans.
Non-stick spray
Flour for dusting
Electric stand or handheld mixer


For the topping:
2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons brown sugar
(2) 20 oz. cans pineapple - in juice, not syrup - minus about 1/2 can
*You'll need some of that juice for the cake! Make sure to reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid, and reserve about 1/2 can of fruit for cake


For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 - 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 - 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 - 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 1/2 can pineapple reserved from topping, plus flour for dusting

Used as garnish (optional):
Dried pineapple pieces and dried sweetened cranberries





Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350°F.



While the oven preheats, prepare the pans. Spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour.

I got quite a bit of over-spray on the bottoms of my pans, resulting in much of the base being floured, too. The little extra flour just adds some glossiness to the topping, and I don't worry about cleaning it up unless there's big clumps.





There's just one tablespoon of butter -sliced thin- for the topping in each pan - plus or minus a little. Since one pan is bigger, I take one from the small pan and divide it in the larger pan.





Pop the pans in the preheating oven for a minute to melt the butter.





Only a minute to melt that thinly sliced butter! Now, to add the sugar: As for the butter, I take a bit from the two tablespoons of sugar in the small pan and add it to the two tablespoons in the larger pan.





Place the pineapple rings in each pan as close to each other as possible, but don't crush them together.



Now, for the cake!

  This classic yellow cake is moist and buttery... And not exactly a healthy option. In my opinion, you just can't have yellow cake - or cake at all - without butter. To make this cake without butter is like making frosting without sugar. It might look like cake, but it will have a taste and texture more like something from the local sawmill. Use butter, or don't make the cake.

  Where we get to make it a little healthier is with the milk - Go ahead and use non-fat if you want to. Or, use whole milk if you want. Either way, we're going to take a little of the milk out of the classic butter cake, and add that reserved pineapple juice.

  Now, I learned the hard way that this makes a little extra work... You already have to alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, but you can't just add the milk to the pineapple juice, so you'll have to alternate three things. The first time I tried this recipe I dumped the pineapple juice into the milk right before I started creaming the first ingredients, and the milk was cottage cheese by the time I needed to add it. So, don't skip that step. I know it's more work, but it's worth it. Something about the juice - maybe the acidity? - makes the cake even softer and fluffier than your average yellow cake.




The first thing to do is cream the butter and sugar together. Beat on medium to high until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy.




Add the eggs one at a time while mixing, and then the vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and golden yellow.


The remaining steps are too difficult for me to do while taking pictures, but you'll be okay from here: Sift together the dry ingredients, and measure out the milk and pineapple juice. Usually, you would alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk in thirds, but you'll need to stretch those dry ingredients a little farther.

While mixing on medium speed, add less than a cup of the dry ingredients. Mixing until incorporated between each: About a fourth of the milk, then another scant cup of flour mixture. Add half of the pineapple juice, more flour, another fourth of milk, flour again, and the other half of the juice. Alternate the remaining flour and milk until completely incorporated.






Split the batter between the pans, adding about a cup extra to the larger pan, if using two sizes. Sprinkle the remaining pineapple slices with flour, place on top of the batter in the larger pan (or whichever will be the bottom layer).





Even if you're using two pans that are the same size, your bottom layer with the extra fruit may need up to 10 minutes of additional cooking time. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Find a spot without fruit to check it!)





Allow the cakes to rest on a wire rack just until cool enough to handle.

Now, fun! Invert the larger or bottom layer onto a plate. Place the plate on top of the cake, hold the plate and cake pan firmly together, and flip!





Here's the "dirty" part: You have one shot here. Once the sticky top touches the bottom cake, it stays there. You're not moving it. You'll probably have to touch the cake a little, unless you have magic powers. But that's okay, since this doesn't have all that runny, gooey topping! You might get a little sticky. The top layer is more difficult to flip onto the existing cake. Line up the edge where you want it, hold it in place with a (clean) hand as you gently invert the pan, and hold your breath as you slide it off.





Many people like to add maraschino cherries, but The Other Half prefers his pineapple upside-down cake with strawberries. Of course at the time, strawberries weren't available. I stuck to just pineapple this time, and chose to garnish it with some crushed dried pineapple.

As you can see in the first display photo, I added some dried cranberries to pretty it up with a bit of color. I thought about baking them into the cake to replace the strawberries, and I'm sooo glad I didn't. I liked it. A lot. But The Other Half took one bite with the cranberries and pushed the rest of the garnish to the side. Oh well. At least he still says it's the best pineapple upside-down cake he's ever had, and he doesn't even notice that I cut the sugary topping in half, added more fruit, and replaced a bit of the fat.




Happy Baking!





Friday, November 13, 2015

Paper Craft - Tea Box Roses






  Okay... So, here's my confession: This die-hard coffee lover is a tea lover, too. Unlike coffee, tea can be made from countless varieties of herbs and spices; leaving you with almost endless flavor possibilities. I like going through the trouble of brewing up a pot using a tea ball and loose leaves, but I also keep a stock of blended herbal teabags.



  Those blends often come in beautifully printed cardboard boxes. Some are just colorful, and some have amazing artwork on them. I hate throwing any of them away. After finishing off a box of lemon-ginger blend, the idea struck me that the colors are perfect for fall. And since I recently learned how to make quilled paper roses, I thought I'd give it a try with cardboard. This works just a bit differently than quilling, but I think it's even less work without the tools. Follow along and I'll show you how I did it!



Paper craft, roses, recycling, upcycle




glue, cardboard, cutter


  • I use a rotary cutter and mat, but scissors will work if you're good at cutting a straight line. So... I'll use that rotary cutter. And hey - Just so you know, you don't have to recycle a tea box for this craft! Just use any cardboard box (like from cereal or crackers) printed with pretty colors. The bigger the box, the more roses you can make!

 

paper craft, roses, cardboard


  • I wanted to get the longest length of material possible, so I opened the ends of the box to flatten it out. I really wanted to cut across the lettering, but that will leave me with short pieces. Using larger boxes will give you more options for cutting.





paper craft, roses, cardboard


  • I cut the tops, bottoms, and sides from the box, which left the center section as a loop of material.





paper craft, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • I cut the center section into 3/8" (0.95 cm) wide strips. (See later why thinner might be better!) The plan was to cut one side of the "loops" open, but then I realized that they aren't one continuous strip.




paper craft, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • So, the loops got cut into twice as many strips. I lost a bit of length by cutting the glue lines away, but was still left with strips that were 8" (20 cm) long. 





paper craft, fail, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • When using quilling strips, you would use a quilling tool. But when using cardboard, I just use my fingers. At first, I started by rolling the strip over itself a few times before making a fold. But... Keep reading, and we'll skip ahead to where I went wrong.





paper craft, glue, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • What will work: Gluing the end of the strip once the rose is complete. With the smaller roses you'll see later, I didn't need the glue. I did glue some of them, and others I let open up a little. Play around and see what works best for you!





paper craft, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • What won't work: This rose didn't turn out the best. With the thicker roll at the beginning, a lot of the cardboard shows in the middle. And the wider strips I cut were more difficult to fold and roll. I tried to make them a little more pliable by dipping the finished roses in a mixture of glue and water. (I thought by mixing the water with glue, they would harden and stay put after I worked the petals into shape.) The cardboard didn't look as pretty afterwards, and they didn't stay put anyways. 





paper craft, roses, cardboard, recycled


  • After some practice, I think I got it right! Although the thicker strips do work, I think the smaller roses made from the thinner strips (cut from the lid) are prettier and stay formed with less glue. Here's how I did it:



paper craft, roses, recycled, cardboard


  • With the thinner strips of cardboard, I began with a small fold instead of a thick roll. After pinching the material into shape, I made the first fold. Fold the material at a right angle to the beginning fold.





paper craft, roses, recycled, cardboard


  • Roll over the fold until the rose is perpendicular to the edge of the strip. Usually when quilling a rose, you would continue to fold in the same direction. Because the cardboard is only printed on one side, the ugly brown side will show if you do this. Fold the material under so that the printed side will show after the roll.




paper craft, roses, recycled, cardboard


  • Continue rolling and folding to the end of the strip, alternating the direction of each fold. The closer you make the fold to the roll, the less cardboard will be visible. Because I want autumn colors of yellow and brown, I don't mind if a little shows. I kinda like the rustic look of it. 


  So now the question is: What to do with these tiny cardboard flowers? Decorate a gift? Make an ornament? I think the choice is up to you! I was only inspired by the colors of the box; I don't actually have a plan for my flowers yet. Although I thought they'd be pretty as part of a candle holder, I'm a little wary of combining paper and fire. What would you do with them?




Happy Crafting!
 




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baking with Cuplettes







 I recently had the awesome opportunity to work with new Cuplettes baking trays. I'll admit that I was skeptical at first, until I started cooking. It seems like every kitchen tool out there promises to easily cook, chop, or slice your food, but none of them ever work as “easily” as they advertise. Here is a product that claims to help you make fillable confections. The last time I tried to fill a baked item, I made exploding jelly doughnuts. This could be dangerous… Or at least, really messy.




Cuplettes, baking, recipes, brownies





 But, the design of Cuplettes actually does create perfect cups of almost whatever you want to bake! Cakes, breads and pastries can all be turned into amazing little cups waiting to be filled with frosting, filling, or whatever you can think of. The flexible silicone material makes it super-easy to pop your cakes and confections out of the trays. And they're amazingly easy to clean in case of sticking, as I did experience.




 I could have tested this product the easy way, but I wanted to push Cuplettes to their full potential. Although I didn’t use paper liners for my cakes and pastries, all of them came out of the trays with minimal sticking. A few of my non-cake experiments didn’t work so well, and left me with a horrible mess. Even though it looked like a disaster, just a few minutes of cleaning returned Cuplettes to their original condition!



meringue, recipes, Cuplettes



 I had a really great recipe idea requiring cups of meringue, which is already difficult enough to make in humid Florida heat. I was worried that the meringue would deflate when installing the Cuplettes inserts into the trays. With a chilled bowl for mixing, and gentle movements while assembling the trays, I succeeded in creating the meringue, filling the trays, and snapping in the inserts without disaster.




 But… I failed to think about the science behind meringue. It dehydrates while cooking at a low temperature, more than it actually bakes. After leaving the trays in the oven for the usual cooking time, I tried to remove an insert. The top of the cup came out with it, exposing what looked like raw meringue inside. I returned them to the oven at a higher temperature, assuming that they would need a longer cooking time in the silicone trays. When the house smelled like toasted marshmallows and the edges of the cups were a beautiful golden-brown, I set them on a rack to cool.




 I removed another insert, only to see sticky meringue after the top came off again. Knowing I couldn’t bake them much longer without burning them, I sacrificed the top layer of all of them. Once returned to the oven without the inserts, the meringue hardened in twenty minutes. But what were beautiful cups before, now looked like deflated disks. Much of the meringue was left stuck to the trays, and I threw them in a sink of soapy hot water in disgust. Defeated, I took the dog for a walk to think about what I would do next.




 I feared the mess I had to face when I returned. How surprised I was to come back to beautifully clean Cuplettes! Every bit of the meringue was released from the trays and was left floating in the water. In just a few minutes, I had my Cuplettes clean and dry; ready for another experiment. I attempted a few more batches of meringue at different cooking times and temperatures, but never succeeded in making anything other than a mess. The neighbors enjoyed my deflated meringue “cookies”, and I abandoned the recipe.



Cuplettes, cleaning



 Cuplettes gave me another surprise when I tested them with angel food cake. Forget all the work of making the batter - I skipped that and used a boxed mix. But, angel food can still be tricky because you have to turn the pan upside-down, without touching a surface. Many choose to turn a Bundt pan over a bottle, or prop square pans on their sides. At first, I was disappointed because the three trays of Cuplettes would take up more room while cooling. Then I realized: The inserts keep the trays elevated from the surface, so you can turn them upside down on a cooling rack with no trouble! This was the easiest angel food cake I’ve ever made.



Cuplettes, cooling, baking



 I can admit that I made a few mistakes along the way, and made a couple of messes. But in the end, I’m still excited to try more recipes in Cuplettes. Now that I know the silicone trays and inserts are so easy to clean, I won’t fear a disaster. What can we make fillable next? Meatloaf cups? Stuffable dinner rolls? Ooo, what about fudge? From sweet to savory, the possibilities are almost endless. Almost. Those meringue cups still need improvement.



https://www.guidecentr.al/make-southwestern-egg-and-cheese-cups
https://www.guidecentr.al/make-southwestern-egg-and-cheese-cups



 There are too many reasons to list why Cuplettes are so great! You can make fancy appetizer bites for entertaining. Get kids to eat more fruits and veggies by making “surprise” cups. Impress the family with your amazing creations. Bake red and green Christmas cupcakes, or spooky creations for Halloween! And best of all, you can get 10% off of your order of Cuplettes by using the coupon code GUIDECENTRAL at checkout (US residents). Just go to www.cuplettes.com to order yours, and you’ll be making awesome sweet and savory filled cups in no time!




https://www.guidecentr.al/make-strawberry-custard-filled-cupcakes
https://www.guidecentr.al/make-strawberry-custard-filled-cupcakes




Happy Cooking!

   


Head on over to Guidecentral to check out the recipes I've created with Cuplettes! Keep your eye out for more coming soon!

https://www.guidecentr.al/bake-peanut-butter-stuffed-brownie-cups
Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Brownie Cups (Brownie cups filled with easy no-bake cheesecake filling; topped with a peanut butter glaze)


Make Strawberry Custard Filled Cupcakes (Angel food cupcakes filled with strawberry preserves and stirred custard; topped with an optional chocolate glaze)


Make Southwestern Egg and Cheese Cups (Phyllo dough cups filled with re-fried beans, picante sauce, egg and cheese)



 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Recipe: Fried Banana Bites






  Let's call this an "upcycle recipe". Nothing gets wasted around here - not even brown, mushy bananas! If they're not bad enough to be compost-worthy, they usually become banana bread or muffins. But, c'mon... We have leftover bananas almost every week. How much banana bread can you eat? Although this recipe isn't terribly different from banana bread and it's certainly not health food, at least it's a change.


  The result is a chewy, doughnut-like bite that is mildly sweet - Which makes it perfect for a dipping sauce of your choice. Caramel? Chocolate? Maple syrup! Or, just dust them with powdered sugar. Personally, I like them plain, with a cup of coffee on the side. The choice is yours! :)



recipes, cooking, banana





  The inspiration for these bites came from a simple drop biscuit recipe. I replaced the fat with the fruit, so I suppose that makes them a bit healthier... But then they're fried in oil, so you can probably throw that out the door. I tried to bake them for a low-fat option, but the dough has to be thickened first, which makes them drier. Without the fat in the recipe, they come out like sawdust. Without thickening the dough, the baked ones come out like cookie-crackers. Perhaps I'll perfect it in time, but for now, at least they're fried in "healthy" oil.




  This recipe might come out a little different depending on the ripeness and amount of bananas you use. Plus - Depending on if you use nuts or not, your yield may vary. I'll give you tips for getting it right no matter what, and show you where I went wrong... Actually, the Other Half did that... Oh well - Just follow along!




Ingredients:
2 cups flour (You can use whole wheat, but you will need to increase the amount of liquid.)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
Milk (Amount will vary - I generally use less than 1/2 cup, and sometimes none at all, as you will see later.)
Bananas - At least two. Four is better. (Six was too many, lol.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc. (*Optional - See explanation after recipe)




Directions:



  • Since parts of this recipe may vary for you, let's start with the one thing that will remain the same: The dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

  • The Other Half helped me by mashing the bananas for this batch. That's where I had to improvise. The bananas should be slightly mashed, with bits of whole fruit remaining. He got heavy-handed with the potato masher, and completely liquefied all six of these bananas - When I only needed four. Whoops! I could have removed some of the fruit, but I decided to see what would happen if we used it all for this batch. 



recipe, cooking, dry ingredients, bananas



  • I usually mix the vanilla extract in with the milk, but since there was no adding milk this time, I added it to the banana puree.



recipe, banana bites



  • If your fruit is still partly whole, then you should mix it in as you would cut in shortening for biscuits. Since mine was pureed, it made the batter the perfect consistency without adding milk. If your batter is more like a stiff dough, then start stirring in some milk. The final result should drop easily from a spoon, but hold its shape for a few seconds.



recipe, batter, banana



  • I suppose you could deep fry these like doughnuts, but I do them in a pan on the stove with less oil, and flip them halfway through. I use a blend of canola and grape seed oil for frying. I find that the cooking temperature varies with the batter. When I add milk to the recipe, I heat the oil on medium-high, and they take about a minute per side to cook - Just enough time to fill the pan before flipping the batch. When I fried this batch with no milk in the batter, they cooked in under 30 seconds a side and started to burn! I had to reduce the temperature to medium. Test a spoonful of yours before cooking up a whole pan.


  So, besides the bananas, how is this an "upcyle recipe"? I go on a cupboard-cleaning mission whenever I make a batch of these bites. Sometimes, I dice up an apple to add to the batter, or toss in that handful of chocolate chips that have been forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. This time, I added the remainder of this bag of walnuts:



recipe, banana bites, walnuts




  We went a little nuts (no pun intended, but ha!) over these honey-roasted walnuts. Once we tried one bag, we started buying one or two a week. At first, they were snacked on alone. Then we started making trail mix. And finally, we were burned out on eating them. What's left in this bag has been sitting in the cabinet for over a month. This recipe was perfect for using them up! Next time, maybe I'll add the rest of those cranberries from the trail mix. :)



  Changing what's added to the batter keeps this recipe from getting old when I make two batches back-to-back. I just made some a few days before I made these, but the week's bananas gave me a surprise. They didn't look that bad, but when I picked up the bunch, the tops split:



recipe, banana



  Oops! They were still green under those brown spots, and the fruit inside was firm. Since I already have a few bananas in the freezer from the last time this happened, I didn't want to put more in there. And it seemed a waste to throw them in the compost.



  Do you have trouble keeping bananas fresh? What do you do with the mushy ones? If I make any more banana bread with them, I'm going to go bananas. I already have those bananas in the freezer waiting to be... Oh no! I froze those for banana bread! Help!



bananas, Wal-Mart produce





Happy Cooking!