Corey and I moved into our new house.
It’s the cutest thing out and I am so happy to finally have a little place of our own. After living with the parents for the past 5 months I am starting with a fresh new kitchen but some very empty shelves.
// I need to stock up on a whole heap of things so I want to take you on the journey with me as I fill my shelves with good nutritious foods because I know when I don’t have my fridge and cupboards well stocked with a variety of healthy foods I don’t cook good meals and then I feel like crap and I start to think crap thoughts and I’m no good to anyone. Have you ever noticed a correlation between how you are eating and how you feel emotionally on a day to day basis?
// Quite often when I have a well stocked pantry I find that I come up with really interesting dishes combining whatever I have in the fridge. It allows me to me more spontaneous with my cooking.
Now it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg to stock your pantry well. There are a lot of healthy non-perishable goods that are actually quite in-expensive like grains and legumes.
// In part 1 of the Pantry Overhaul I am going to share my shopping list for go-to items to stock your shelves with then in part 2 I’m going to share with you some tips on how to store your food well so that it lasts and you have less wastage.
// This is quite a comprehensive shopping list but I’m not going to get it all at once. I’m going to add an extra spice or condiment each time I hit the grocery store and I know that in no time I will have my cupboards filled to the brim with everything I need to make delicious meals. The same goes for you if you are looking to overhaul your pantry and replace some of the not so healthy items with better ones. You don’t have to do it all once and outlay a huge sum of money. Making gradual changes will actually ensure you keep to them.
1. Herbs and Spices
When it comes to herbs and spices I love to have a variety to play with. I grow my own fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and parsley because I use so much. Herbs and spices punctuate food with flavor its like adding a big ‘ole exclamation mark to a dish.
- Himalayan rock salt
- Maldon sea salt flakes (they are just the best to cook with)
- black pepper
- white pepper
- dried thyme
- dried basil
- dried oregano
- mixed Italian herbs
- coriander seeds
- ground cumin
- sweet smoked paprika
- bay leaves
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- vanilla pods
- garam marsala
- chilli flakes
- fennel seeds
- ground all spice
- kaffir lime leaves
- Durban curry powder
You need an array of oils to suit the type of cooking you’re doing. If you are frying something up in a pan on high heat then coconut oil is great as it has a high smoking point but if you don’t want the coco-nutty flavor then grapeseed oil is your guy. Obviously EVOO is just awesome over your salads or drizzled at the end of the cooking process and sesame oil gives fantastic flavor to Asian dishes.
These are my top 5 staple oils.
- coconut oil ( I even keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom to use as a make-up remover and moisturizer)
- grapeseed oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- sesame oil
- truffle oil (just because its fricken delicious!!)
I generally try to stay away from gluten containing grains and when I do eat them I have them in their most natural form.
- brown rice
4.Beans and Pulses
Beans and pulses give you so much bang for your buck. I love to add a can of cannellini beans or lentils to salads for their filling properties and high amounts of insoluble fibre. I also always have a couple of cans of chickpeas in the cupboard to whip up some humus. I refuse to buy store bought humus or other dips as they are full of additives and preservatives.
- french lentils
- red kidney beans
- cannellini beans
- Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruits
If you keep a good stash of these in your cupboards you will
A. always have a killer trail mix to snack on and
B. you will have awesome breakfast combinations to whip up at the drop of a hat. Think mixed nuts, seeds with some goji berries, cacao nibs a fresh banana some frozen blueberries and coconut yogurt. Sound pretty good? Check out my latest instagram photo for an example.
- shelled pistachios
- macadamia nuts
- poppy seeds
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- Dried Fruit
- white mulberries
- goji berries
- desiccated coconut
- cacao nibs
I love tomato sauce, barbecue sauce and sweet chilli but I don’t really keep them in the house. If they’re there I’ll use them and there can be up to 3 teaspoons of sugar in just 20ml of each of those and personally I’d rather save those calories for red wine. The food I cook really needs to taste amazing and using condiments is a great way to achieve this. Here are some of the condiments I like to have on hand to flavor up my food.
- balsamic vinegar
- red wine vinegar
- apple cider vinegar ( I use Braggs because its made with the mother)
- rice wine vinegar – champagne and sherry vinegars are lovely to have on hand as well
- soy sauce
- tamari sauce ( Tamari is very similar to soy sauce in color and flavor but it is less salty than soy sauce and because of this it has a much smoother taste)
- fish sauce – a fishy, pungent and salty sauce made from fermented fish ( usually anchovies) Its high in sodium and used as a “salt” in Thai cooking. Because it’s so strong you only ever need to use a few drops. Fish sauce is perfect for soups, stews, marinades and dipping sauces
- tahini- made from ground sesame seeds is an essential ingredient in Middle eastern dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush and halva and can used to make delicious dressings and marinades
- mustard – mustard plant seeds are loaded with antioxidants, anti inflammatory compounds and essential minerals like selenium but watch out for the super processed brands with added preservatives they also tend to be really high in sodium
- unsweetened peanut butter
- almond butter – makes a great afternoon snack with some celery sticks
- passata – perfect for making rich tomato sauces
- sun dried tomatoes
- anchovies – I use anchovies in sauces and dressings for a salty kick
- wholegrain mustard
- Dijon mustard
- hot english mustard
- pickled ginger
- jalapeno chillies
- red cabbage
- curry pastes ( Green Thai and Red Thai Chilli curry pastes)
- harrissa paste
- Stocks -Good quality stocks are non negotiables in my cupboards I love to make my own and I don’t think there is anything in world that compares to homemade stocks but let’s be realistic, I know I don’t always have the time to make my own stocks so I keep a back up ready to go. There are some great stocks that you can buy in the supermarkets ( I love The Stock Merchant for their clean stocks) but try to stay away from the processed stock cubes that are laden with additives and MSG.
- lucuma powder – I like to add this to my smoothies for flavor
- mesquite powder
- acai powder- I add this to my smoothies or blend it up with frozen bananas and top it with nuts and fruit for a healthy “ice-cream”
- coconut cream
- coconut milk
- tomato puree
- diced tomatoes
- tuna – is a great way to get protein and heart healthy omega 3’s
- canned lentils – add canned lentils to soups and stews to bulk them up with
- chick peas
- maple syrup
- rice malt syrup
- rapadura sugar
- coconut sugar
- sugar ( I prefer to use a healthier substitute but sometimes you just need a wee bit in a recipe)
- corn flour
- almond meal
- brown rice flour
- oat bran
- spelt flour
- agar flakes
- Kombu – Kombu is a seaweed traditionally used in Japanese cooking . It is a key ingredient in making dashi (Japanese stock). It provides dishes with minerals and nutrients and when added to the cooking water of beans and legumes, it makes them more digestible.
- bonito flakes ( for making miso soup)
13. In the Freezer
- edemane beans- these make a really great snack. Just steam them and serve with a sprinkle of sea salt
- frozen berries – they cost way less than fresh berries and they are still super nutritious. Pop them in your smoothies or in your porridge
- I will always keep a bag of frozen mixed veggies in the freezer to use in emergencies
- Frozen bananas – when bananas freeze, the sugars stretch and they become super sweet. You can blend them with a tiny bit of coconut water to make a healthy banana ice-cream or use them to sweeten green smoothies.
14. My Go- to produce
- red and yellow onions
- red chillies
15. In the fridge
- organic butter
- organic eggs
- nitrate free bacon
- cheese : feta, parmesan, homemade labne
- greek yogurt
- coconut yogurt
- almond milk
- coconut water – I use this as a base for smoothies