Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pantry in a bind?

We try to eat a good variety of non-to-minimally-processed foods. I try not to worry too much about "organic," although I would love to be able to buy all organic- it's just not feasible/reasonable for us (for foods that we eat on a regular or daily basis, I will try to buy organic.) More than anything, I try to offer our family a good variety of "whole" foods while allowing small "indulgences" here & there.

Here are some of our main staples:

milk (whole & 1%)
yogurt (either vanilla greek or Stoneyfield organic vanilla) I buy vanilla because it has the lowest sugar other thank plain yogurt, and you can add whatever fruit, nuts, granola, etc. to make it the flavor that you want.
REAL butter
shredded mozzarella, sharp cheddar & parmesan cheeses (We LOVE cheese!)
chopped walnuts & sliced almonds (They stay good longer in the refrigerator.) for yogurt, oatmeal & baking
salsa (Frontera is our favorite. We also like Garden Fresh Gourmet)
whole Wheat tortillas (for quesadillas, tacos, burritos, etc.)
apples (I rotate in pears & grapes some too.)
matchstick carrots
organic baby spinach (My MAIN staple- I put it in everything!)
red bell pepper (I cook a lot of Rachael Ray recipes, and this is a popular ingredient with her.)
whatever meat I may cook in a week
variety of salad dressings (I try to make a hearty & healthy salad to go with my lunch every day.)

Freezer (other than my freezer meals):
Alexia brand sweet potato fries
Alexia mixed vegetable varieties
32 oz. bags freshly frozen vegetables (mainly corn & mixed veggies for soups)
frozen chopped spinach (the cheapest health food out there, in my opinion)
Perdue lightly breaded chicken tenders for lunch in a pinch
any variety of soup for lunch in a pinch
some kind of ice cream
fresh no sugar-added berries

whole wheat pastas
instant brown rice
dried beans (mainly red)
ground flax seed (I refrigerate it once it's opened.)
whole wheat noodles
organic chicken broth for sauces, soups, casseroles, etc.
canned black beans (One of our MAIN staples.)
variety of canned, no salt added tomatoes (diced, sauce, crushed)
canned tuna
extra virgin olive oil
peanut butter
old fashioned oats or steel cut oats (one of our MAIN staples)
whole wheat or grainy variety bread (one of our MAIN staples)
wheat English muffins or waffles
variety of cereals (usually a granola-type... we don't eat much cereal, but we always keep it for  breakfast in a pinch.)
bananas (one of our MAIN staples)
raisins (one of our MAIN staples)
Blue Diamond almonds (we buy the BIG bags) (one of our MAIN staples)

I have found it hard to completely eliminate processed foods when it comes to snacks. Some of our favorite processed (guilty-pleasure) snacks are:

Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers
Cheese-Its Crackers
"Granola"/ Cereal Bars (I want to start making ours and freezing them, but haven't made the time yet... I'm thinking that will be a good winter project. I've been pinning some homemade recipes on Pinterest.)
Dole fruit cups (oranges, pears & pineapple are Rush's favorites) packed in 100% fruit juice,
applesauce of many varieties but always with no sugar added (Rush's favorite is Materne squeezable apple-cinnamon
Pirate's Booty Cheese Puffs (we like the white cheddar)
tortilla chips
Nesquik Chocolate Syrup (no HCS, unlike Hershey)

I would like to share some of our quick/staple-ingredient meals about once a month in hopes that some of you will share yours with me. Here is one of my new creations from my staple ingredients:

Super Simple & Satisfying Southwest Salad

desired amount of baby spinach
1/4-1/2 cup black beans (always drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1.4 cup matchstick carrots
chopped red bell pepper (if you have the time) optional
chopped broccoli (if you have the time) optional
sprinkling of shredded sharp (or mild) cheddar
drizzle of your favorite salsa (I like Herdez Green Tomatillo.)
1-2 crushed tortilla chips
fresh sliced avocado (if you have time) optional
fresh tomato (if you have it on hand)

Build your salad as you like.
Drizzle on the salsa & top with the tortilla chips.
Oh my- it's AMAZING!

We want to start juicing to add in some "zing!" to our diets. We are watching Craigslist closely for a really good quality juicer. Do you have a favorite machine or recipe that you could share with us?

1 comment:

  1. Looks really yummy! I try to eat salad for lunch or with dinner (or both) I can tell I feel better when I do. I also think salsa tastes great on salad. It's hard for me to find low-fat salad dressings that are tasty and a good price. Adding salsa and some flavored vinegar helps me not need as much dressing. Thanks for your great blog posts! Missed you last night, hope he is feeling better! Thanks for your vision for our project, it was very meaningful. And I love your Sunday school classroom btw, so cute and homey.