Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Better Coffee

By Reena Nerbas

Zucchini Bread

Dear Reena,

I make my own zucchini bread and I have one question. Is it important to drain the zucchini before adding it to the batter? Thanks Jess

Dear Jess,

For moist and delicious zucchini bread it is not necessary to drain excess liquid before adding zucchini to the batter; added liquid results in a moister cake. Extra Tip: Liven up zucchini cake by adding a crunch topping to each loaf. For two loaves combine: One quarter cup quick oats, quarter cup brown sugar, eighth cup white flour, eighth cup butter and a pinch of cinnamon. Bake loaves as usual for 15 mins. Remove from oven and add crunchy topping. Return to oven for remaining bake time.

Crystalized Honey

Dear Reena,

What is the best way to heat up crystalized honey? The container of honey that I purchased at a grocery store bears an expiration date; how long does honey actually keep? Nancy

Dear Nancy,

Honey is an expensive product and well worth the money in terms of taste and health properties. Both raw and pasteurized honey should last indefinitely if stored in an air tight container away from heat. Expiration or best before dates are commercial requirements, just as other products such as vinegar and salt may also carry a best before date. To liquefy crystalized honey, place the jar inside a pot of hot water; the honey will return to its liquefied state. If you do run out of honey, substitute corn syrup in its place, the consistency and flavor may be altered a little, but it works in a pinch. Did you know? Honey is a healthier sweetener than table sugar containing many nutrients such as: thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, nicotinic acid, biotin, folic acid, Vitamin C, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium salts, enzymes, proteins and more.

Washing Rayon Clothing

Dear Reena,

Lately my daughter has been purchasing inexpensive rayon dresses and shirts. I already shrank three dresses because I refuse to spend my time handwashing. Is there a way to safely machine wash rayon? Thanks, Rob

Dear Rob,

Your best bet is to wash garments according to the care label instructions. For rayon fabrics if you do not wish to dry clean or wash by hand, machine wash on COLD and hang to dry.

Feedback from Smart Contributor

Re: Watering Plants While Away

Dear Reena,

I am a member of the ‘I Can’t Possibly Remember to Water My Plants Everyday Club’; I also travel a lot and have several clay potted plants. I purchased an outdoor metal bathtub that I line with bricks, which of course are very porous. Before I leave on vacation, I soak each brick and fill the tub with water half way up the bricks. Then I set one plant pot on each brick and water my plants. They stay hydrated for up to two weeks! Submitted By: Daniella

Hints for Better Coffee

Here is my best substitute for cheap and delicious French Vanilla Coffee Creamer. Into a quart mason jar combine: 2 cups sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups whole milk, 2 tsp. vanilla extract. Shake and store in fridge. Submitted By: Alina

I am an expert coffee drinker and have found that most people purchase fresh coffee and store it in the freezer. Here is my advice; purchase a few weeks’ worth of the freshest coffee beans that you have access to. Divide the amount into weekly portions; store the current week’s coffee beans or ground coffee at room temperature and the remainder in the freezer. Submitted By: Carlos

The best cup of coffee ratio is 2 level tbsp. to 6 oz. water. Submitted By: Carlos

When I grind my coffee in the morning, I always grind in some cinnamon with it. Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and tastes great! Submitted By: Laura

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

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