Over the years I've observed that I have a well-stocked pantry compared to many people, and I'm often surprised by what's NOT in people's pantry's. Let's chat about a well-stocked kitchen over the next few blog posts and see what all the fuss is about!
Keeping a well-stocked pantry can be the difference between whipping something up for a meal and ordering in (or going out). It's not a big deal if you don't think it is, but if you feel guilt, shame, or regret every time you go out when you would rather not, this is one of those things you can do to take control and find some satisfaction and happiness in your kitchen.
Keeping your pantry stocked enables you to run a more efficient and organized kitchen. It makes your meal planning and grocery shopping easier and quicker, and by keeping everything organized and knowing what you have means less time and money is wasted. It's so important, in fact, that I offer pantry audits as one of my services, because it's one of those places in our homes that seems to encourage chaos. I encourage you to do your own pantry audit before you run out to shop for your staples- you may find things in there you forgot you had!
We'll go over fridge and freezer stocking another time, and at the end of it all we'll put together a list of a few ideas of meals you can throw together with what you have.
Some standard pantry staples:
My stocked pantry includes items most people would probably not consider as basics, but we don't let ourselves run out. These items include all of these above plus:
There are overlaps, of course, between fridge and pantry. If we open the salsa, for example, it lives in the fridge. And we keep our ketchup in the fridge too, though I hear it's shelf-stable and refrigeration isn't required.
Here's a recipe using basic pantry ingredients to create baked beans in the slow cooker- a perfect recipe for the weather we are enjoying today in Fort Saskatchewan!
Have a comment? Want to tell me what I missed (or added) that makes my stocked pantry different than yours? Feel free to leave a note for us here or hop over to my Facebook page and start the conversation there.
Have a great week, friends!
It's almost halfway through December, and that means we're almost done 2017. Although there's nothing overly magical about the turning of the page to a new year, we seem universally to want to "start over" with each new year.
So what's holding you back?
Take a few minutes to think about what you want in the new year, and what you can do to make it happen. As nice as it would be to think that the changes we want will magically appear under the tree on Christmas morning, realistically speaking the changes we need to make are made up of the steps we need to take ourselves.
For example, I would love to wake up on Boxing Day and find out that our house is magically uncluttered and clean. Will that happen? Not overnight. But if we consistently make the effort together as a family to make that a goal for the new year- and take steps to ensure it happens- at some point it will happen. Slow and tedious, yes. Worth it in the end? Oh, yes.
Here are some suggestions to help you get a handle on your kitchens going into the new year. Tedious? Maybe. But if you really want to make the changes, you will make the effort.
1. Issue: Don't know what food you have?
I hope some of these suggestions help fuel your new year thoughts and plans! Any questions please feel free to reach out!
Have a good day, friends!
Have you checked out my Facebook page yet? Come on over to see what interesting conversations and posts we get into each week, and give me your virtual "thumbs up"! I'd love to reach 500 likes this year!
I recently asked this question on The Meals Maven Facebook Page:
"If you could improve just 1 thing about cooking at home and eating in, what would it be?"
There were quite a few different answers, some of them expected, a couple of them not. I picked these ones to talk about today, and the rest will be addressed over the next few blog posts.
"Having all of the ingredients on hand when I decide to make something and not having to run to the store for 1 or 2 things every time I cook." - Laurie H
"Staying organized and planning more." - Robin M
I think these questions go hand in hand with each other. And I have to be honest with you, no matter how much practice I have had meal planning and eating in, sometimes things still fall through the cracks. For example, not too long ago, I was making chili for dinner. I was far enough along in cooking that the spices, onions, garlic, and meat were on the stove, in the pot, and starting to brown. And then I noticed I was out of beans. Yes, it's true. I had to run to the store to buy beans in the middle of making dinner.
Here are a few suggestions to help improve your cooking at home experience! Make your habits work for you!
Are you inspired? I hope this helps ignite a few more ideas on making eating in a lot less stressful and easier to manage.
As always, if you want someone to plan for you, I'm your girl. Shoot me a note and I'll pass you a no-obligations survey. The best parts about my plans? They're based on flavours and foods you like, and you get your grocery list included. Yay!
Have a great weekend, friends!
A few years ago I attended a direct sales "party" - Epicure. As far as parties go, that one was right up my alley. It involved food and drink tastings and cooking demonstrations and I fell in love with the idea that I could cook foods from different parts of the world.
It was such a revelation! There are so many foods common to everyone, but it's how they are prepared- what spices and herbs are used, how they are put together, how they are cooked, how they are served, and what they are served with- these are the differences that make regional cooking "regional". Of course, many foods are region specific. But several cultures make use of foods such as potatoes, rices, and pulses, for example.
I have a stocked cupboard full of Epicure spice blends but also way more individual herbs and spices then most people I know- almost a whole pantry shelf in my pantry is devoted to herbs and spices. I have been spending some time "deconstructing" the flavours I taste in those blends, and coming up with my house version of the same. At first I would make a small amount, adjusting each time until I was happy with the results. I'm at the point now where I can confidently make a big batch of whatever I need- not of everything, but I'm working through my favourites as I go along, so when the Epicure product in the jars get used up it's a simple matter to create my own and keep cooking for whatever mood I'm in.
The key to finding creativity in the kitchen is giving yourself the physical tools (such as slow cookers, milk frothers, veggies spiralizers, and other small appliances and utensils), the physical space- a clean counter is much easier to work on than one covered in clutter (believe me, this I know from years of personal experience!), and a well-stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Over the next few posts I'll be sharing tips on how to stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry. I'll give you ideas, suggestions, photographs, and practical advice on upping your game in the kitchen if you're not satisfied with how it's working now. If you've got any questions or concerns you'd like me to comment on, please leave me a comment or send me a message here or on Facebook. And if you haven't already, please go ahead and "like" my Facebook page! I post there daily!
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It's been a pleasure, friends. Enjoy your week!