When going through the cupboards every week, I always check to see what is close to the end of its days. As I was meal planning this week, I noticed we had quite a bit of zucchini that we hadn’t eaten (they were starting to look a little sketchy on the ends), some vegetable oil that really needed to get used (we don’t go through this very quickly and it should be freshened up), and six eggs that were reaching their expiration date (we were passed the “sell by” date by a few days).
I happened to have almost everything that this recipe called for to clean out those last few odds and ends (albeit with a few liberties taken). What I didn’t have on hand was enough vegetable oil (subbed the rest with olive oil), cinnamon, or walnuts. For cinnamon, it called for an awful lot, so I took a gamble and subbed the cinnamon for about 1/2 of what the recipe called for with All Spice (I was most nervous about this substitution – and also… who doesn’t have cinnamon?). The All Spice seemed like it was in the same family-ish, and ultimately, I couldn’t tell a difference in the final product. I had the exact amount of pecans that were also coming close to their end of days, so that sub gave the bread the crunch it needed. The ingredients I had, and subbed with, never seem to get picked up in the planning process of meals (I either bought too much of something, or had some leftover from a different meal). The doubled recipe ended up making a bundt cake loaf and two additional bread loaf pans. After quality checking the breads (they are delicious!) we cut them up, froze two of them, and now have breakfasts and desserts in a hurry. This third one isn’t going to make it long in our house… Don’t be fooled though, the zucchini bread is “bread” in name alone, it really is like a moist cake that is not a health food, but the Moes love this special treat.
I do the same for bananas. However, I never have an entire batch go black at once. And, really, you need quite a few bananas to make an awesome banana bread happen – the mushier the better. I will never buy bananas just for the intent of banana bread (unless they are in the sale bin of the grocery store). So, throughout the year, I have a large Ziploc in the fridge that I throw dying bananas in. When the bag is full, I make banana bread, and the family rejoices. I can typically make the banana bread in a healthier way (which everyone likes a lot) by following one of the cooking light recipes. By using ingredients I already had, which were close to being thrown away, I was able to make about 30 desserts/breakfasts for our family.