Janelle Maiocco


Welcome to my blog. I live in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle on an Urban Farm (w/ five laying hens and a huge garden). I am a trained chef (w/ a certificate in food preservation), taught at a cooking school & like to share 'kitchen hacks' - culinary tips that save time, money & maximize flavor. If that isn't enough, I also run a food+tech startup called Barn2Door.com - a platform to help everyone easily find & buy food directly from farmers, fishers & ranchers (from CSA's to urban farm eggs to 1/2 a grass-fed cow).

I am going to be a ZIPLOC BAG for Halloween.

I am going to be a ZIPLOC BAG for Halloween.

ziploc products
ziploc products

And if for some reason I suffocate myself, well then: body in a bag! Still in theme with Halloween, don't you think? I know: bad humor.

And I know. I shouldn't be talking about Halloween yet... but I have more Halloween boxes---and made-up cocktails---for this holiday than any other. October is knocking at my door and my MUMMY JUICE is in Foodista's Best of Food Blogs Cookbook (release date Oct 19, 2010; Andrews McMeel Publishing). Who wouldn't want a gauze-wrapped rum, ginger and orange drink? I always tease that Mummy Juice translates quite nicely to Mommy Juice the rest of the year. Sippy Cup anyone?

And why am I talking about Ziploc? Not because I am running out of ideas for 'what to be.' (Though Ziploc, cool as they are, did send me some samples). On the contrary, I am just such a big fan of Ziploc Bags I think me dressing up for them on this monumental holiday is a far-from-shy tribute to the mighty bag(s). Think about how often we use bags: for Trick or Treating. That is essential. But also for carrying food, groceries, organizing cabinets, trinkets and drawers. Ziploc bags make daily appearances in our lunches, to save leftovers and due to our home remodel: storing still-wet brushes.

Now not all bags are Ziploc. In fact, I love all the reusable grocery bags---I have quite a stock of them. And I prefer the recycling properties of brown bags. I do. (Maybe I can lace my legs with brown paper bags as an ALL bag tribute). But consider it my not super environmentally friendly vice... I clean and re-use them, does that count? (Ziploc does now have a bag they are market-testing, called Ziploc Evolve. Its manufactured using some wind power, and 25% less plastic. I find it a little funny, since this product IS plastic BUT it is a step in the right direction---it all counts.).

Irregardless of the fact that Ziploc sent me some bags and containers to sample, I have long been a Ziploc loyalist. I have tried other plastic bags and found them wimpy and second rate. I use Ziploc bags constantly... and when I was in Italy for a year and found none (AAAaaaaahhhhh! No Ziplocs?!?!), I had the GAUL to ask visiting family members to bring me a box in their already-too-small suitcase(s). And I made them last---they were a prized possession. I would only use them for very special sauces---and as traveling toiletry bags.

Here are examples of what I habitually use Ziploc bags for (hands down my favorite are the very sturdy, quart size freezer bags):

  • freezing portions of homemade chicken stock (love freezing these 'flat' for maximized storage).
  • fresh-picked, then frozen fruit (summer berries!)
  • freezing portions of red sauce, applesauce, ready-to-go apple filling, bread crumbs and crock pot chili in 1-2 person portions.
  • marinating all sorts of meats and proteins in the fridge.
  • kids lunches (not the freezer bags, but snack size and reusable containers---esp. the Twist 'n Loc containers for soups/chilis).
  • freezing homemade drop cookies---ready to bake.
  • cut and pre-rubbed steak, grill ready.
  • as a stand-in for an icing bag; fill, zip closed and cut little corner off end. Then squeeze to top cupcakes!
  • to cool of stocks or soups quickly: fill freezer bags with ice and cold water and drop in stock.

I also use Ziploc bags for:

  • storing still-wet paintbrushes (the slider bags/Smart Zip Seal rock for this).
  • toiletries for traveling (I like seeing what is in my bag instead of digging through a makeup bag).
  • organizing 'parts' such as light covers, nuts and bolts, keys, locks, etc.
  • organizing my Christmas and Halloween decorations.
  • I use the large flexible totes and XXL bags for my sons' sleepovers/camps: sleeping bag, pillow and clothes.
  • wet swimsuits.

Okay. I probably won't blow a perfectly good Halloween costume opportunity on a set of bags. Lets be honest. But I can guarantee bags will be there: marinating my Halloween party food and when I go to pull out [each in their own separate ziploc] my Halloween lights, spider webs, costume parts and a pile of kiddie prizes from last year's stash. And if you want a pile of other ideas on how to use Ziploc (since my uses are far from exhaustive... though quite creative if you ask me...) check out Ziploc's site (find ideas for uses for camping, crafts, freezing foods and more).

Oh, and if you really want to go Zip-wild organizing your home and kitchen:

  • Check out Taste of Home'sonline recipe guide with more than 20 delicious recipes. You can download the recipe guide from www.TasteofHome.com/ziplocbts, when you enter two Ziploc UPCs.
  • Visit the official Ziploc® Brand Facebook Fan Page to share your zippable moments – how do you use Ziploc? Become a fan: www.facebook.com/Ziploc
PFB: Ancho-seared Swordfish with Ginger-Sweet Potato Mash, seared Escarole and Mango Mojo De Ajo

PFB: Ancho-seared Swordfish with Ginger-Sweet Potato Mash, seared Escarole and Mango Mojo De Ajo

Vote me to the next round!

Vote me to the next round!