Wednesday, March 7, 2012

10 Foods I Always Have on Hand

1. Frozen Brown Rice
We don't rarely eat white rice anymore. The kids don't notice a difference eating brown rice, and it's so much healthier. I buy it frozen from Trader Joes. Although I can cook white rice perfectly, I've tried cooking brown and it comes out like mush. Plus, it takes almost an hour to cook...I don't always prepare that far in advance (or have the time to). This is a staple for dinner.

2. Fresh Berries
Usually strawberries because they are the least expensive berries. I would love to have raspberries and blueberries all the time, but that depends on the price. I only buy them when they are on sale. These are a great snack for the kids, and I usually eat them with breakfast or lunch also.

3. Oatmeal
I LOVE oatmeal. Seriously. I've said this before, but the kids love it, and I love it, and it's so tasty and good for you! I have about 4 different kinds of oatmeal in the pantry: quick oats, Coach's Oats (steel cut quick oats), rolled oats, and my new favorite European Hot Cereal. The European Hot Cereal is just rolled oats with chopped dates, raisins, and almonds. It is really good. I eat it as a late night snack with 2 packets of stevia. I love how the raisins plump up, and the almonds give it a little texture. Yum Yum YUM! I feel a lot less guilty about late night snacking when I'm eating this.

4. Baby Carrots
The kids love these. They are a veggie that they get excited about having for dinner. I cook them in chicken broth, and they are super tender and delicious. I eat them raw as a snack during the day.

5. Organic Apples
I don't buy all organic produce because of cost, but I ALWAYS buy organic apples. The kids eat them whole, meaning they eat the peel, and I know it's one of the top foods that you should buy organic because of residual pesticides. I buy the smallest ones I can find because they usually won't eat the whole apple, so I get more for my buck. Apples are also my secret to keeping the kids calm when I just need 5 (or 15) more minutes to finish whatever I'm doing. If we are at the store, and they are both fussing, I just pull two apples out of my purse and they both jump for joy with excitement, and are occupied for quite some time. You'd think I was giving them candy!

6. Frozen Bananas
Buy. Peel. Chop up. Freeze. Smoothies are my second secret to happy kids.

7. Cooked, Shredded Chicken
There's almost always a tupperware in my fridge with cooked chicken. I use it for other recipes, salads, or eating plain. I'm not a fan of cooking lunch. I prefer to heat up leftovers, and chop up some fruits and veggies. Cook once, eat twice (or three or four times...). I used to always cook boneless, skinless, thighs or breasts, but thanks to Virginia, I'm cooking 1-2 whole chickens a week!

8. Unsweetened Almond Milk
I'm lactose-intolerant (and I don't even like milk anyways), so I use this for cooking in any most recipes that call for milk. I also put a splash in my oatmeal or smoothie, or eat with granola. Isabel loves it, and calls is "chocolate" milk. Even though it's not sweetened....or chocolate. Maybe it tastes sweeter to her than cow's milk. I've thought about just giving the kids this instead of cow's milk, but haven't quite decided for sure yet. I'm also trying to shy away from as many animal products as I can. I just can't quite get rid of them all together, especially since I've found how tasty a whole cooked chicken is. 

9. Fresh Garlic
Far superior to the diced stuff in the jar (which I ALWAYS used to buy). I put it in any savory recipe, even if it doesn't call for garlic. I'm determined for my fingers to permanently smell like garlic. If you don't know the easiest trick to peeling a clove of garlic, (which Adrian didn't know and was pretty excited once I showed him) let me tell you! 1. Set clove on cutting board. 2. Place a large knife on it's side on top of the garlic. (Not like you're slicing, just on the side.) 3. Press down. 4. Flip clove over and repeat. Should peel itself for you! 

10. Sweet Onions
I only buy sweet onions. Regular onions are pretty flavorless to me. Plus, sweet onions (if refrigerated prior to chopping), don't make me cry. If a recipe calls for onion, I usually double it.

Oh, and check out the progress on my herbs! Everything has sprouted except the rosemary and lavender.
I 'm hoping to get the rain gutters finished this weekend, and plant them! The plan for the gutters has changed slightly, and I can't wait to see the finished product.

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