“There are no recipes, only ingredients”
The premises of this blog is that anyone can cook if they have the right ingredients. This means you have to think a bit ahead and have the stuff to make the stuff! Now, don’t get overwhelmed and worried. KEEP READING! Remember…my focus is that everyone can do it! That means YOU!
So, with that let’s talk about a well stocked pantry. It’s a good idea to have a list of things that you usually eat or want to stock. I use the Zenbe Lists app on my iphone since I’m NEVER without my phone and can’t remember a darn thing but you can use whatever list app you’d like or opt for good old pen and paper. The main key is that it’s easy for you to have on hand and use.
How to Stock a Pantry
1. Take a few minutes and make a list of foods you frequently eat (list everything! Pantry items, produce, drinks, snacks, protein bars, frozen…etc)
2. Now think through some easy meals or ingredients that you would like to make or incorporate more (check out my pintrest boards for meal ideas)
3. Put that list somewhere you’ll be able to have it handy (or remember to have it handy!) when you’re shopping
4. Update the list as you expand your cooking/food horizons
Here is our household grocery list to give you a place to start. For my little list-focused mind…the app lists easier since I’m able to stock up the list of staples and simply check/uncheck what we need before heading to the store.
Update: Just found a GREAT article from the kitchn on cooking & baking substitutions. If you haven’t discovered that site yet, be prepared to spend hours exploring!!
Healthy Mindful Eating: Key’s to Cooking and Living Well
- Garbage in, garbage out
- If you can’t pronounce it, don’t ingest it (another rule of thumb, if it won’t rot don’t eat it)
- Eliminate the words “good” and “bad” from your vocabulary. Instead, use beneficial and detrimental. (Ie…”Eating this entire pizza myself alone is BAD” would be replaced with “eating this entire pizza myself is not beneficial”… change of wording helps with change of mindset
- Read labels and know what’s in your food, remember that a shorter ingredients lists win
- Buy local and organic whenever you can
- Planning your meals ahead of time and cooking enough for leftovers makes for great lunch options and helps keep budgeting and healthy living simple
- Try to minimize eating out of boxes, jars, cans and wrappers
- Learn to live without a microwave
- Shop the exterior of the grocery store
- Shop and eat in season, enjoy it while it’s fresh
- If you don’t live alone, stand by the rule “cooks don’t clean”
- Incorporate balance… everything is good in moderation (yes even chocolate, coffee, ice-cream and wine)
- Try new things: having your go-to meals is a very smart idea but remember to mix it up and challenge your pallet and your cooking skills by trying something new. This is not only good for our health but for your mental well-being. Challenging ourselves is a necessary part of living a balanced lifestyle and most people, myself included, stick with what’s comfortable.
- Spices can take any dish from “food” status to “amazing experience” status
- Focus on balance, balanced meals, balanced ingredients, balanced life style
- DON’T cook when you’re angry, the feelings you have while preparing the food truly do express themselves in the foo
- The key to mindful living: not quantity but quality
- Eat more frequently consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
Pay attention to when, how and why you eat. Are you truly hungry or do you just need a glass of water? Are you scarfing down a bagel while you rush to work or eating in front of the TV? Are you eating at balanced intervals throughout the day or are you consuming whatever is handy as an afternoon snack so you’re not “hangry” in that last meeting. (Hangry for those of you who have never heard it is hunger to the point where you’re actually irritable or angry. Feel free to use it…quite descriptive isn’t it!).
Here are some basic kitchen resources that you might find helpful! Chasing Delicious is a website with lovely food photography and kitchen resources. I love their Produce Calendar and their Kitchen 101 and Baking 101 info! They do a GREAT job of explaining the how’s and why’s around the kitchen as well as display and sell some lovely kitchen 101 posters for sale here.
Below are a few measurement templates you might find helpful!