I love getting ideas like this one from my readers, so please feel free to add a comment to any of my blogs or recipes. I read each one of them, even if they aren't published.
There are a few things to keep in mind when stocking your kitchen:
- Get rid of the junk so you have room for the good stuff. Check expiration dates and toss the things you know are highly processed, contain ingredients you can't pronounce, and contain tons of sugar, salt and food coloring. Commit to eating healthier. It starts with YOU! If you have it in your kitchen, it will be much harder to convince others not to eat it.
- Organize your pantry and fridge so you have order. When items are jumbled and hard to get to, you are less likely to use them. I have a small pantry, but still have things rather organized: cereals, oats, almond and hemp milks, and teas are on the bottom shelf. On the shelf above, I have 2 pretty bins that contain snack items (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice cakes, granola bars, bean/rice chips). On the shelf above, canned items are on a stair-stepped shelving system I bought at the Container Store. Next to that is a lazy susan that houses all of my vinegars, oils, sweeteners (honey, agave and brown rice syrup), reduced-sodium soy sauce/tamari/shoyu and other sauces. On the shelf above, I have my dried grains, beans, lentils, seaweeds, and rice pastas (all in glass jars). Finally, my top shelf is my baking goods like different flours (all in glass jars).
- When starting from scratch, it may seem expensive because you are replacing many items. But, it will be cheaper in the long run; most of your pantry items are intended for long-term use and buying WHOLE foods in bulk rather than processed foods is generally less expensive than pre-packaged items. Invest in square glass jars (they take up less space than round) that have an air-tight lid. I bought all of mine at The Container Store.
- Try to keep fresh fruits and veggies in their designated drawers in the fridge. These drawers are intended to keep them fresher longer. KEEP THEM FILLED! Veggies are the best thing you can eat, so buy them often and make sure they are fresh.
- Invest in quality knives (and keep them sharpened), glass and/or stainless steel bowls, good blender and/or food processor, and stainless steel and/or cast iron (both regular and enamel coated cast iron) - NO TEFLON!!! The chemicals used on non-stick surfaces have been proven to transfer into the food. When a recent study tested humans, nearly 100% had traces of Teflon in their bloodstreams and breast milk. You can achieve a non-stick surface by using lower heat, and a touch of oil or liquid.
Check out the "Kitchen Staples" page for some foods you should never be without. And let me know if you've tried some of the recipes! I want to hear what you and your family thought!