Food Faves

Here are some of the essentials you’ll almost always find in my kitchen:

Real Butter

I’ve steered clear of margarine for over twenty years. We’re still learning what those trans-fats do to snap our arteries shut.  I don’t use a lot of it – but when I do – it’s the real deal.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

it’s my cooking oil of choice most of the time.  I also have Canola oil for baking and other recipes where I don’t want that olive flavor. Oh, and walnut oil is yummy on green beans with toasted walnuts.

Organic Grade B Maple Syrup

Did you know most syrups for your morning pancakes don’t have any maple in them?  They’re high fructose corn syrup and fake maple flavoring.  Grade B is slightly more intense in flavor than grade A syrup.

Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce

My apologies to any Italians out there who make your sauce from scratch.  I appreciate it – I honestly can’t tell the difference.  So I use this in many different dishes.

Nuts

Currently I have whole lightly salted almonds, cashews, slivered almonds and chopped walnuts on hand.  Great for baking, adds crunch and protein to salads and a good snack.

Bananas

Not a personal fave of mine.  But my husband eats one or two a day.  I think he buys a little more than he can eat on purpose so when they go brown he can beg me to make Banana Nut Bread.

Indian Spices

We got the Tumeric, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Ginger and more from the Indian market. Far less expensive than the grocery store spices. Ernie’s from India and uses a lot of ’em when he makes his amazing Chicken Curry.

Real Parmesan Cheese

Not one of those green cannisters fluffed up with who knows what – but real Parmesan cheese.  It’s flavor is so intense you don’t need a lot and it’s a low-fat cheese, too.

Minced Garlic

Okay, maybe there’s something better about the real clove rather than buying it in a jar. But, I wouldn’t use it as often if I had to peel it and chop it myself every doggone time.  Garlic adds wonderful flavor and contains powerful antioxidants.

Organic Milk

Sometimes it’s two percent, other times fat free.  Depends how noble I feel while I’m at the grocery store. But it’s always organic. When I learned about the hormones and anti-biotics in conventional milk I started buying organic.

Sea Salt

The jury is out whether basic table salt is good or bad, but I’ve gotten in the habit of buying this.  I don’t use nearly as much salt as my Mom. A well-rounded, well-seasoned dish shouldn’t need too much.

Blueberries

Not available year round. But if they’re available I usually get ’em.  Why? Because last year the only significant thing my husband Ernie changed in his diet is he added blueberries and his cholesterol dropped 28 percent.

 

Greek Yogurt

This is a fairly new discovery.  At first I used it as a substitute for sour cream.  Now I know better.  Layered in parfait glasses with berries, nuts and honey it makes a rich dessert. Easy and moderately healthy.

Lemons

Nothing adds zing like a little lemon juice or fresh grated lemon peel.  Or both.  Whether it’s in a sweet recipe or a savory one.  Try a little lemon juice next time you make blueberry pie or cobbler.  Flavors just wake up around lemon.

Pure Vanilla

Whenever we go to Mexico I snap this up.  Last time we went to Playa del Carmen I nabbed two, one liter bottles.  Having vanilla with such abundance I look for opportunities to use it and enjoy it.

Salad Greens in a Bag

I buy the dark Spring Mix or European Mix.  The darker the color the more antioxidants.  Often, it’s not about making a salad – it’s about plopping my protein – grilled chicken or Cajun fish on top. Big time saver.

Organic Salad Dressings

Also homemade.  Typical grocery store dressings contain emulsifiers and weird stuff I’d rather not consume.  We eat it in small amounts so I’d rather have a better quality product.

Organic Cane Sugar

Okay, it’s probably not any better for me – but it’s not any worse. I think spending more on sugar is a constant reminder not to use it up too fast.

Ezekiel Bread – Cinnamon Raisin

This is Ernie’s thing more than mine.  He loves it with scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I’ve used it to make French Toast a few times with great results.

Dried Cranberries

So many ways to use these wrinkly, ruby red jewels.  Great in salads, on top of oatmeal and in quick breads. Oh, and make a snack mix with walnuts and maybe chocolate chips. Just be sure to get them without sulfites or added sugar.

Quaker Oats Weight Control

Its a quick easy breakfast with 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.  I amp it up with a little dried cranberries and chopped nuts on top to make it even better.

Organic Cocoa Powder

I buy it from Trader Joes.  Three tablespoons cocoa powder and a tablespoon of canola oil is equal to a square of unsweetened chocolate.  I’ve made many batches of brownies using this measure.

Tea

Lots of varieties.  Lipton tea is the one we consume most.  Just the basic.  I also have White Peach Tea, Pink Grapefruit Tea, Organic Green Tea, Roobius Tea, Mint Tea, Holiday Spice Tea, Darjeeling Tea and more.


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