Do you ever stare into an empty pantry, hoping some delicious food will magically materialize? Or how about the fridge?
I found myself staring glassy-eyed into the cold, well-lit empty shelves of my refrigerator today hoping if I stared long enough lunch would just appear. I gave up on that hope and concluded I need to restock my kitchen!
My kitchen is pretty little, so I don’t have the room to store a ton of pantry-staples at one time, but having a well-stocked pantry and fridge saves a lot of time, trouble, and money. When there’s a well-stocked pantry, I don’t have to run to Whole Foods every day for a missing ingredient, and I’m not as tempted to throw up my hands and pop over to Chick-Fil-A (which I’m known to do from time to time).
In A Nutshell
I realize that my pantry may not look the same as yours, but I thought I would share my game plan anyway.
As a family, we try to eat real food and for us, that means we eat lots of vegetables and fruits (usually seasonal, organic, local produce from our CSA), a little pastured meat, lots of pastured eggs and a little dairy (yogurt, butter and raw cheese mostly–Ezra has a slight milk allergy, but he tolerates ghee). We try to avoid preservatives and processed foods and try to include lots of healthy fats, and sometimes we include properly prepared grains and legumes.
Bean and Lentils
I like to have organically grown Red Lentils, Green Lentils, Navy Beans and Black Beans on hand.
Tip: Beans are inexpensive and filling, but they contain antinutrients. By soaking the beans first before eating them, anti-nutrients are neutralized and digestion of the beans becomes much easier!
I like to have white jasmine rice (you can read about why I eat white rice here) on hand. Although coconut flour isn’t technically a grain, I keep it on hand for my berry shortcake and our Saturday morning pancakes!
Tip: Grains also have antinutrients and enzyme inhibitors, which make for difficult digestion. Grains therefore, should be fermented. Grains should be kept in airtight containers away from light and moisture. Sprouted flour can be kept in the refrigerator to retain freshness.
It’s nice to have a treat occasionally for some sort of celebration. I prefer not to eat sweets every day, but when I do make a dessert, I like to use natural sweeteners like raw, local honey, Maple Syrup, whole unrefined cane sugar (Rapadura or Sucanat).
Tip: Store sweeteners at room temperature in an air tight container. Honey can be substituted for sugar in a recipe at a 3:4 ratio. Maple syrup is very strong and I rarely substitute it unless I want my treat to take on a maple-y flavor. I usually just use it to sweeten coconut flour pancakes. Personally, if I am making a treat for company, I use rapadura because I think it has the best flavor.
Salt and spices can turn a ho-hum meal into something fabulous! My favorite dried spices to have on hand are Chili Powder, Cumin, Curry, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, Black Peppercorns, Bay Leaves and Turmeric. I prefer to grow my own Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Dill and Sage.
Tip: Mixed spices can often have fillers, gluten, preservatives and MSG. Be sure to check the labels! Also, spices should be replaced after six months because they can lose flavor or get moldy. Buying whole spices and grinding them yourself is a good alternative to that. I’m just not there yet. Unrefined sea salt is the best choice of salt because it retains minerals that are processed out of table salt. Kelp contains iodine and when added to foods helps replace the iodine that you aren’t getting because of avoidance of table salt. Himalayan pink sea salt also has trace amounts of iodine.
Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and pastured butter are the fats I use most frequently these days. When living in Europe, I had access to fresh goose fat and used that quite frequently. I miss being able to get it from our butcher! I also like to have sesame seed oil on hand. It tastes wonderful on stir-fry! I just add a dash once the dish is finished cooking.
Tip: Coconut oil is great for cooking because it is heat stable. We use expeller-pressed when I don’t want our food to taste coconut-y. EVOO is delicious on salads and in my homemade mayonnaise. I only use it cold and never heat it.
Sauerkraut, cortido, Moroccan Preserved Lemons and Fermented Garlic are always on hand. I love to bake chicken with the lemons, add the garlic to sauteed vegetables, top beans with cortido and use sauerkraut as a side.
Tip: Fermented foods are easy to make and store for quite some time! They introduce lots of healthy probiotics to your system and make a delicious condiment.
We don’t have too many condiments on hand, but I always have fish sauce for stir-fry. I love having different types of vinegar on hand: raw apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar and Ume Plum Vinegar (I add it to sauteed veggies with lime juice and sesame oil–YUM).
Tip: I like to make my own salad dressing with herbs, olive oil and a splash of lemon juice or champagne vinegar. Homemade mayonnaise is a great alternative to the store-bought version that is full of unwanted ingredients. Many common condiments have lots of nasty additives, so organic, or homemade versions are better. Label reading is super important here. Here are recipes for ketchup and barbecue sauce.
After roasting a chicken, I will make a big batch of bone broth (chicken stock).
Tip: I use broth for soups, when making rice, and sauteeing vegetables. Store-bought stock is usually full of wheat and other additives. Homemade bone broth is nourishing, delicious and full of healthy minerals and gelatin!
Well, that’s my pantry in a nutshell…or at least it will be when I’m finished stocking it! Along with meal planning, having a stocked pantry is a set up for success. Here’s to fewer days of blankly staring into an empty pantry!
*Also, check out Nourished Kitchen’s tips for stocking a pantry. When I was first stocking mine, I loved hers as a reference!PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.