Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the love of Cooking - Foods I Always have in my Pantry



To add protein, flavor, fiber to my foods, I keep the following in my pantry to make my last min meals, a lot easier to make. When I cook my goal is flavor, nutritional value, and enjoyment, not in that order but all smushed together. Lets go! I usually use at least 1 of each section in my meals. Hope this helps.


FOODS IN MY PANTRY




Flour (white, wheat, rice, and buckwheat, all you really need is all purpose)
Sugar
Baking soda
Baking powder (aluminium free)
Spices/Herbs


WHY
For things like crusts, doughs, baked goods it is essential to have the above. I use them regularly I would even say weekly. Sauces often times need a thickening agent, you have your flour. It's a basic that I insist be in your pantry.

Spices and Herbs- see my For the Love of Cooking - Spices and Herbs

Be sure to Store your fours and sugars in an airtight package to be sure there are no moths or odd bugs that find their home in your flour. It happens if you don't use it often. I know in Arizona the heat makes abundant weird little bugs. Here in Quebec our biggest problem is salt and sugars absorbing moisture and becoming one big rock (note if that is your problem, add some rice to your salt and it will sacrifice itself for the rest!)







Vanilla (bean, extract, flavouring, whatever floats your boat)
Chia seeds
Chocolate Chips
Honey
Maple Syrup (because we are in Quebec)
Nutella


WHY

As far as honey, I am careful because kids under 2 cannot have honey, but Maple syrup and honey are great natrual sweetners. I use them in everything from fruit salads to yogurt parfaits for breakfast.

Chocolate chips, my hubby loves in his cereals as well as his cookies so need that on hand. They also make for great eyes, noses or mouths on kid's sandwiches and is quite exciting for them.

Chia seeds really for 2 reasons - 1) you can sprinkle it on your yogurt, cereal, anything, and it ads a bunch of fiber and omegas to your daily nutritional intake. 2) Because I use chia as a butter/oil replacement in my baked goods. You read that right, in the place of butter/oil. And it works!

HINT basically use 1 table spoon of chia for every half cup of oil/butter you need in your cakes. It keeps it moist and high in nutritional value! Kind of like when I was a kid and we use to use apple sauce instead of oil in the ready made cake mixes! :)

Nutella becuase it can become a filler, a topper, breakfast, a snack, motivation or just a break in your day. A must have in our house for sure!





Couscous
Quinoa
Brown/White Rice
Pasta (a few shapes)

WHY
I love the variety. I need the variety. I go crazy if we end up having rice with something for a whole week. Honestly I alternate daily and it helps me not get sick of it all.





Tomato paste
Diced tomatoes
Corn
Lentils (dry and in a can)
Yellow Split Peas
Black beans
Chick peas
Coconut milk (in a can)


WHY
These are my "thickening agents" or "bases" to my meals. I add beans to my salads and rices often. Corn for me is an easy flavor and color adder to my meals. I also like corn so.. winner for us!



White Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Olive Oil
Canola Oil

WHY
Vinegars are great for marinades and salads and cold sauces. Oils, well for cooking as well as marinades and almost anything else - so a must.

NOTE
I use my Olive oil as much as I can at the end of a meal to keep its authenticity in providing me with Omegas and being healthy. Once Olive oil is heated, it becomes less "good for you".


Extras- 
I also have added a new member to my pantry basics. They are not NEEDS but perhaps more of a luxury. Coconut Butter/oil it's super healthy. Tahini, Almond butter, or Peanut butter in my pantry/fridge. All of which I eat with honey and bread. My daughter loves it. I add sprinkles and/or hemp seeds that I call sprinkles and she thinks she is having such an amazing treat/meal.



ENJOY!

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