What’s in Your Pantry?

(FYI, this is NOT my pantry, it’s found on GOOGLE search under the term: pantry. BUT, if anyone wants to come to my house and come and help my pantry LOOK like the above picture, let me know!)

So I was chatting with one of my friends and she was saying she sees a recipe on here and looks in her pantry and she doesn’t have any of the ingredients! And, of course, I realize that not everyone shops WITH me! People don’t see what I always keep stocked. People don’t see my meal plans! 🙂

I COULD just go to people’s house and cook for them… because, actually, I’d really like that. How fun would teaching people how to cook and cooking for them be? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d LOVE it! It’s such a passion of mine, to cook, and passing it on to anyone would be a blast!

Moving on…

I decided to list my “staples”. Things that, if I run out, I always try to replace them when I go again. That’s also where the “Out of Milk” app comes in handy, because I quickly add it on there so that I don’t forget next time I shop!

So, here goes:

MUST HAVES in my pantry, fridge and freezer:

1. Zucchini – when in season

2. Frozen veggies – my favorite is corn, broccoli, peas and green beans.

3. Carrots and onions – my favorite is a sweet yellow onion

4. Bread – it’s actually for my kids, but I always have some. It’s a tragedy if I run out before the 2 weeks is over!

5. 1/2 and 1/2 and Heavy Cream – for coffee AND cooking

6. BUTTER!!! A MUST have!

7. Flour, sugar, honey, baking soda, baking powder and flax meal – all of these last a WHILE and I don’t have to replace them very often.

8. At least 1 jar of Organic Pasta Sauce – whether it’s for my little boy’s meatballs, or something else. I make sure I have 1

9. At least 1 type of “pasta”. So, Quinoa, Couscous or a high fiber, Whole Grain Pasta

10. Lettuce (dark and leafy) or baby spinach – for all SORTS of dishes!

11. Greek Yogurt FULL FAT and PLAIN – a must have for a snack (add a little honey to some plain greek yogurt, stir and EAT for a high protein snack!), for cooking, baking and also in place of sour cream it works amazingly!

12. Garlic – I either buy it in a jar with olive oil already minced, or a fresh clove… just depending on how I feel

13. Spices I always have in my cupboard: Oregano, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Italian Seasoning, Cayenne Powder, Dried Basil, Dried Thyme, Dried Parsley, Dill

14. My favorite FRESH herbs: Basil, parsley, cilantro. I don’t always keep these because they go bad quite quickly. I have fresh herbs growing in my garden in my yard during the spring and summer, and then in the fall and winter, I purchase certain herbs (if I feel fresh is worth the cost) for specific recipes.

15. Lemons and Limes- I try to have at least 3 of each

16. Avocado – when they are in season, I usually by 5 or 6 when I shop for the 2 week time period. I buy them when they are still hard and let them sit out on the counter. When they start to get ripe I transfer them to the fridge and they stay good until my 2 week period of time (between shopping trips) is up!

17. Chicken Tenderloins from Trader Joes – these are just… the best. I’ve bought fresh, frozen etc from many other places and nothing quite compares! The frozen Chicken Tenderloins from TJ wins out every time!

18. Fish/Shrimp/Seafood – I’m picky about this. I do NOT always have these. Even if I’ve planned a recipe for any one of these and I go to the store and they don’t have any wild caught at a good price… I do NOT purchase it. I will change my recipe to something more cost effective. I have certain rules. And I don’t like to pay more than $8.99/lb for wild caught shrimp.

19. 1 lb. of ground beef. I like no-hormones, all natural ground beef. If I’m lucky World Market or Earth Fare will have some fancy shmancy grass fed ground beef that I stock up on when it’s on sale! But… if not, I get the highest quality for the best price possible. Sometimes I only buy 1 lb for the 2 week period and make it last. Just depending on the price.

20. “Fancy Beef” – steak, ribs, short ribs, beef tips, sirloin, roast. I don’t make these often. I try to plan it ahead of time if my budget allows, or when it’s on sale. I will sometimes put a meal plan on the list for a roast, etc just in case there’s a good price on it when I’m shopping. If there isn’t, I don’t make it for that time period, but I save it on my pinterest board for when it does! Or… if my husband and I have an at home date night.

21. Carrots! I like to buy the large 2 lb. bag of full size organic carrots. My kids even like it because they act like bunnies! 🙂

22. Potatoes – I buy either Yukon Gold or Sweet potatoes. Whichever is on sale or what I’ve planned for that time period.

23. Cheese – Parmesan Cheese, cheddar, shredded, block, cottage cheese, etc. I try to have at least 1 on hand. Also… depending on price. Sometimes cheese is BOGO!

24. Canned tomatoes or salsa. I like the off-brand of Ro-Tel (fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis). You can do A LOT with salsa or canned tomatoes! No joke!

25. Beans – canned. Like, black beans, Pinto Beans, cannelini beans. You can put them in soup, chili, salad, make refried beans on your own… the options are HIGH! And… they are cheap! There are times I can get them for under $0.50/can!

26. Tomato Paste – You saw my tube of tomato paste in a previous post. You can do so much with so little of it! Tortilla soup, enchiladas, chili, pizza or spaghetti sauce, etc. A little can go a long way!

27. Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth… SOMETIMES Beef Broth – because I make a lot of my own sauces instead of buying them, these are essential. I can use this in a soup, chili, baked dish, sauteed dish, quick or baked, oven or crock pot… I try to keep 2 in my pantry. I don’t always use them, but I’m always glad I have them in my pantry! They keep for a long time too!

28. Things for my kids to snack on: hummus, cucumber, apples, grapes, strawberries (depending on when in season/on sale) raspberries, crackers, chips, pita chips, etc. I don’t always get ALL of these, but usually 2 or 3 of them.

29. Sunflower Seed Butter and Jelly and Preserves (I use this in place of any “nut” butter) – for sandwiches and cooking and snacking

30. Organic Old Fashioned Oats – for breakfast or baking!

31. Last, but not least OLIVE OIL Organic Olive Oil. I use it daily!

If I have all of these “essentials” as I call them, I can make a meal pretty easily! I can mix up the ingredients, or buy a few “odds and ends” and make something new and fancy! Seems like a long list when I put it all down, but I don’t have to buy these every time I go shopping, so that helps with cost. Healthy and whole ingredients and an endless amount of meals you can make with these ingredients! I do buy a few different things for my kids like chicken nuggets, etc… (if I don’t make them that week)… but overall these are my must-haves.

What are your go-tos? Anything that you MUST have in your fridge or pantry?

Let me know!

And now, for the quote of the day:

You need to release the load that God never meant for you to carry and focus on what He has called you to do.

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What Kind of Food is Healthy and Why??

My  husband and I had a chat the other day about how different we eat now than when we first got married. When we first got married I didn’t do much thinking about what kind of food we were putting into our bodies. I bought pre-packaged easy to make quick meals. I worked full time and so did my husband. When a recipe had more than 3 ingredients it felt really overwhelming.

Fast forward to having my son… he is allergic to … well.. A LOT. I had to learn to make everything from scratch. I had to learn to read EVERY label. I had to figure out thing like…

Autolyzed Yeast = MSG
Whey Protein = Dairy
Red #40 and Blue Lake dye is NO GOOD
Hydroxytoluene (BHT) = a product also used in jet fuel and embalming fluid
Yellow #5 = derived from coal tar and may contain up tp 10ppm of lead and arsenic
Propylene glycol alginate (E405) = derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol.
Polysorbate 60 = Made of made of corn, palm oil and petroleum, this gooey mix can’t spoil, so it often replaces dairy products in baked goods and other liquid products.
Textured soy protein concentrate, carrageenan, maltodextrin, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, modified cornstarch = All of these are basically different names to hide ingredients that either contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or form MSG during processing

A little scary huh? All of these things are hidden in ALL KINDS of food! Cereal, salad dressing, protein bars… things we THINK are healthy… and these are IN them! And how easy is it to make our own dressing?? EASY! SOO EASY!

The list could go on and on and on. I read labels of everything I purchase. The less I recognize the ingredients, the more I will put it back on the shelf and figure out how to make it on my own. The cool thing is that I have learned that cooking isn’t overwhelming… it’s FUN! I can make my own BBQ sauce, Teriyaki sauce, bread, chicken nuggets, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, smoothies… I can do copycat recipes too! Basically what I see in the store and I don’t like the ingredients used to “preserve” or “keep freshness” (like BHT!!) I go home and try to make it on my own. There have been quite a few FAILS… hahaha, but a lot of WINS!

I have learned alot having a son who has food allergies. What’s in your food? What do you have for breakfast? How are you feeding your body? Did you know that if you work out 2 hours a day EVERY DAY and still eat junk all day long… you are NOT healthy?

Once again, I’m going to mention Dietitian Cassie: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/

I have learned a lot just reading her blog! She talks a lot about REAL food!

From http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/about/realfood

Real Food is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth.  It is a food system–from seed to plate–that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.

Some people call it “local,” “green,” “slow,” or “fair.”  We use “Real Food” as a holistic term to bring together many of these diverse ideas people have about a values-based food economy (see our Real Food Wheel).

This is about more than supermarket labels. The Real Food Challenge has developed an innovative Real Food Calculator, which provides in-depth definitions of “real food” and a tracking system for institutional purchasing.  With this tool, “real food” is broken down into four core categories: local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Click here to learn more about the Real Food Calculator

Also this blog: http://www.foodrenegade.com/the-basics/real-food/

Back in the 1920s, a dentist named Weston A. Price grew dismayed by the rapidly declining health of his patients. Suspecting that the introduction and acceptance of newfangled industrial dietary changes were at the root of this turn for the worse, he traveled the world in search of healthy populations.

He found them.

These people didn’t eat refined sugar or white flour, didn’t cook with vegetable oils, and didn’t eat food canned with modern methods. They also didn’t have heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.

They did eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, animal fats (including butter), and organ meats. And, roughly 60-80% of their diet was enzyme-rich — either fermented or raw. Plus, they prepared their foods according to centuries old traditions.

They ate real food.

We need to be re-educated. We need to think about what’s in our food and what we are putting into our body. They came out with Splenda to get all of us to stop using aspartame… did you know that Splenda is made with chlorine?! I am becoming more and more of the firm believe that the closer my food is to it’s natural form the better. I personally do not want to do the RAW food diet… I like cooked foods… fancier, etc. But I’m not afraid of butter and oil. I’ve stopped counting calories and focused more on REAL and healthy foods.

What happens when I eat too many veggies? If I fill up on a large bowl of fresh vegetables? I am full. I am full of real food and I don’t have guilt.

Now, I am not opposed to grains… and I am going to try and see how I can replace my pastas… cuz those are my favorites! But I am working on using more real foods. I’m going to try to also use the non-refined and white/bleached flours and THINK about what I put into my body. My body is God’s temple, I am going to take care of it the best I can!

Healthy Replacements for White Flour Snacks

It has fortunately become quite easy to replace enriched flour with healthy alternatives, especially with whole wheat flour. But don’t forget that there are other options that can add variety to your meals such as rye, quinoa, millet, and brown rice flour and sprouted grain products.

I like to snack on alkalizing fruits, whether dried or fresh, and sometimes add a few nuts such as almonds or walnuts and some sesame seeds that are naturally high in calcium. Dried fruits mixed with nuts are easy to carry around so you can have a bone-healthy snack anytime of the day.

Check out those blogs! Let me know what you think!