My income is small so I depend on the local food bank to help me get through the month with my expenses. It only is enough to supplement your food needs. You still have to purchase food. I have noticed weight loss in a few of the regulars that I see so some must be trying to survive with very little. I live in a community with many retired single women that do not qualify for SNAP. If you don’t have small children you receive very little. Many of these women have out lived their husbands and savings.
I usually take what ever they offer in produce that I can freeze for later use. The bulk of the produce is donated from local stores and is at the end of their shelf life. Food bank day also become food prep day. I put what I can’t use before it spoils into the freezer to use later in the month. That way there is little waste and make the best use of what is being offered. In other words, it is feast or famine if you don’t. Some times the donations are not enough to meet the needs of the clients or what is usually offered. That is when I am glad I still have frozen foods and can goods left over from the past months. The really hard part is figuring out how to turn the mismatched assortment into meals that the family will eat or for yourself.
My cookbook collection comes in handy. Before there was internet, cookbook and recipe collections were very important item in the kitchen. I have 50 years worth that I have been refusing to down size. There is nothing like a nice picture cookbook to put on your coffee table to enjoy. I still use the internet to research for recipes but cookbooks seem to be more expedient than waiting for pages to load on the computer. I still buy interesting cookbooks from thrift stores for the same price or less than what a magazine cost in the grocery store. I can spend hours looking through a cookbook to entertain myself. I also get new ideas from them. Cookbooks from thrift stores is one of the few little pleasures I allow myself these days.
A couple of months ago I was given more zucchini then what I could use up quickly. The food pantry wanted us to take as many as we could because they were given boxes of them. Of coarse they were at the end of their shelf life. I brought them home and started to look up recipes that I could use them for. I have an old recipe of my mother’s for zucchini bread and got that out. My mother made it all the time because she always had tons of zucchini from her garden. She would also freeze grated zucchini in her freezer to make it during the winter. So I grated the zucchini and measured it out in the amount that was needed for the recipe and froze it in freezer bags for use later. I make the bags flat so they stack nice and defrost faster then a thick chunk. I also sliced some up and placed them in freezer bags to fry or cook as side dishes later.
When using grated frozen zucchini for baking, you only let the package partially defrost. You want it to be still icy but will break apart when you squeeze the package. The reason for this is because the moisture will separate from the zucchini as it thaws. You want all that moisture to be included in the batter. You don’t want to end up with a dry bread. I chose her recipe because I knew it would come out good using the frozen grated zucchini. My mother loved raisins and nuts so she added them to the recipe. Raisins are often handed out at the food pantry so I had some on hand and my nuts I buy during the holidays on sale to freeze and use in special baking through the year. Even Martha Steward does this with her nuts. The freezer is the best place to store them. Baking with zucchini is a good way to get children to eat zucchini. You just don’t tell them.
This recipe makes 2 standard bread loafs. Most older bread recipes makes 2 loafs because families were larger and quick breads were made for special events. The bread also freezes well so you can make it ahead. You can frost the bread if you wish. I don’t because it is already very rich.
Zucchini Raisin and Nut Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 8 inch by 4 inch bread pans with vegetable spray.
In a large mixing bowl using a mixer beat the next 4 ingredients until blended and smooth.
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sift together the next 5 ingredients and slowly add to the wet mixture at slow speed. Continue mixing at medium speed for a minute.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Hand stir into batter.
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
- 2/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Pour into bread pans. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Because the batter is cold from the zucchini it will take a little longer to bake. Depending on your oven. In my oven it took 1 hour and 10 minutes. Your oven may take less time.