in my life, at some point - i will have a pantry room. you know - the kind with the window and the cupboards as high as the eye can see. maybe even one of those rolling ladders so that i can glide from cabinet to cabinet like belle did in the beasts library.
in the meantime, i'll keep stowing and crunching - closing cabinets quickly before anything falls out.. ;)
some of you have asked about what i keep on hand - so, i've generated a list! pantry making can and probably should be gradually built - all of these things can be pricey, so i suggest slowly adding to. once you do, it's nice - not so much thought has to go into dinner, because you'll have a variety of things at your fingertips. here you are:
fruits: (typically a bag of) lemons, apples, something or quite a few of things that are currently in season.
vegetables: spring mix, cucumbers, celery, carrots, onion, tomato, yellow or red bell peppers (i almost never follow the rule of getting vegetables that i will eat in one week, i should try to get better about that-- and, i try not to buy produce that's already prepped).
herbs: if you like to eat a lot of italian foods and pizza, i suggest keeping basil on hand. you can almost never go wrong with parsley, (add it to eggs, salads, fresh green juices, sammos, and add garnish to your dinner - you'll feel like martha, i promise). mint, and cilantro (always cilantro)! i have found that wrapping the ends with a damp cloth or paper towel and then wrapping the cloth with parchment keeps my herbs just a bit longer than stashing them in the fridge un-tended to. if you have the option to purchase the type you can just stick in your window - do it. but don't forget to water it and keep it getting good sunlight. you can also grab a couple of these, they are a m a z i n g.
healthy crunchy things: (because chips). almonds, cashews, chia seeds, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. (these things can go bad rather quickly, surprisingly - so don't go bulk - or, if you do - stick excess in your fridge or freezer).
grains: (if no link, i generally purchase in bulk from the coOp - check for one in your neck of the woods, they're great!) steel cut oats (you can make a batch for the week - just cover it with parchment paper and stick in the fridge-- they're heartier than rolled oats and reheat without becoming mush. add anything to them - i like blueberries and flax seeds, a tbsp of maple syrup, and a pinch of salt - but if i need chocolate; cocao nibs or dark, dark chocolate - YUM). i also like bob's red mill unbleached flours in wheat and white, whole grain stone ground corn meal, masa, lundberg brown short grain rice, basmati rice, couscous, and quinoa.
butters: unsalted organic butter (optimal - grassfed), tahini, almond or cashew butter.
oil: olive, grapeseed, unrefined coconut.
salts: kosher fine for baking, himalayan pink for cooking, and herbamare for anything savory, really.
spices, vinegars, etc.: dr. braggs 'the mother' apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, dry cooking wine, whole grain mustard, garlic, ginger (can be kept in and used - just grate - while frozen, keeps forever!), vanilla extract (try for alcohol free), sesame seeds, cocao powder, clove powder, cinnamon sticks, black paper, garlic and onion powder, cumin, cayenne, crushed red pepper, turmeric, and curry.
sweeteners: raw sugar for baking, brown sugar, pure dark grade b maple sugar, raw honey, clear agave nectar.
*note-- i try to purchase almost all of my produce organic - there's a list for the dirty dozen (foods you should absolutely purchase organic, and the clean fifteen - foods that you can get away without buying organic) -- if you shop around, start first at the farmers market, second at a coOp, and then last at your neighborhood market - you can monitor what's in season and get the most bang for your buck - generally, the farmers market and coOp will only offer natural options.
happy shopping and stocking! <3