Happy New Year my friends! A few weeks ago, I asked for reader requests to kick off 2011! Well, it’s here now and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it off then to go back to the basics.
When my lovely cousin asked me to do an article about pantry staples, I immediately started writing it in my head. I think it’s important for anyone, no matter what your living situation, to have most of these staples on hand. People often ask me how I have enough time to cook at home so often instead of going out. The answer is a well-stocked pantry. I usually have over half the ingredients a dish requires at home already and I try to use my grocery store trips to get fresh foods and replenish these staples when they run out.
Having a well-stocked pantry also allows you to whip up an easy meal in a hurry if you have no other ideas. I was going to wait until after I go to the grocery store tomorrow, but then I thought wait! if this is about pantry staples…then I should have all this stuff on hand even though I haven’t cooked in my own kitchen in almost 2 weeks!
I vividly remember the first time I really stocked my pantry. I guess I must have done it somewhat during my senior year of college when I lived in an apartment…but I was living with 3 other girls and let’s be honest, I was in college and I didn’t really eat that well. A couple months after we graduated, the hubby and I moved into our first apartment. During the move, I was horribly sick with a high fever and was having an allergic reaction to the medicine the doctor gave me. The whole thing was quite miserable…HOWEVER, not even all of that yuck could detract from my excitement for going to the grocery store the first time. Armed with a list similar to the one I’m about to give you, we headed to Wal-Mart and loaded up. By the time we were done, our cart was practically overflowing and the check-out lady was looking at us as if we were slightly crazy. I quickly explained that we were building a pantry so she would quit judging us!
If the thought of building a pantry from scratch seems daunting, take comfort in the fact that many of you reading this are not going to be starting at the very beginning. You probably already have a lot of these things on hand and after reading the list, you can just fill in the gaps. If you are starting from the beginning, yes it is expensive, yes it takes a while, and yes- it’s almost impossible to find enough cupboard space to store everything….but it’s worth it! If you want to eat healthy, stocking your pantry with healthy foods and time-savers is a great way to get started.
So here we go! I’ve organized this list the way my kitchen is organized because it was the easiest way for me to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I have a cupboard right by my stove, a little area of the counter and a drawer where I store a lot of my spices and condiments. It looks like this:
Then I have a walk-in pantry where I store the rest of the stuff.
And finally, I added a little list of some of my fridge and freezer staples.
Here’s the list! I debated for a while about whether to write little asides about each thing..I feel like some of you will only want the list, while others want to glean as much info as possible…so the list is big and bold, but my thoughts are also included 🙂 I didn’t want to bore you with pictures of every single thing, but I tried to give you the general idea…don’t judge me by my messy cupboards!
So there you go, my friends. Hope this helps get your New Year off to a great (and organized) start!!
I’ll leave you with this image that the hubby noticed in his beer while we were eating dinner today…do you see the bird on the branch?
So tell me…what’s on your pantry staple list that I forgot to mention?!