Pantry Necessities

Part of following a Paleo way of eating is being prepared and thinking ahead for meals.  One way to do that is by keeping a well-stocked pantry. Everyone is differnent.  The is what I always have on hand.

Olive oil.  Olive oil is a staple.  I typically buy the biggest jug of olive oil that I can find.  I use it in recipes as well as to grease pans.  I tossed the Pam spray and bought a Misto sprayer.  I actually found mine at Target.  Love it.

Almonds. Snacking or cooking.  Always delicious.  I like raw almonds as well as lightly salted.  Easy to take along as a quick snack.

Real maple syrup. Although I use it sparingly, this is my primary, go-to sweetener. If something needs a little sweet, I add a little syrup.  Sweet potato, morning shakes/smoothies, mixed with mustard as a marinade for chicken. 

Honey. This is my secondary sweetener.  It’s great because it’s real, natural sugar.  I try to buy as local as I can.  In addition to adding a little somethin to food, it’s also good for my allergies.

Coconut/almond flours. I try to have a bag of each on hand.  I use the coconut flour for my pancakes, and you never know when you need a little flour for a recipe.  Also good to thicken gravy.  Tip: Once opened, keep the flours in the freezer to prevent from going bad.

Dark chocolate. I also keep my chocolate in the freezer. I like dark dark chocolate.  The darker the better.  80-90% is ideal for me.  Great for sweet treat before bed or blended in the food processor with a frozen banana for chocolately banana “ice cream.” 

Almond milk. I typically have almond milk in the fridge, sometimes I’ll switch it up and buy coconut milk.  I tend to buy 2 cartons at a time.  This stuff is great.  Unsweetened…no extra sugars.  I cook with this, drink it plain, use it in smoothies, pour it in coffee.  It has more calcium then cow’s milk as well as a significant amount of other vitamins and minerals. 

Almond butter. Justin’s is my brand of choice.  I like to buy a jar of it as well as little indivual serving packets.  The packets are great to throw in my work bag or in the car for a quick snack.  Easy protein and fats for on the go.  I like almond butter in smoothies, on my paleo pancakes, on sweet potatoes, and on celery with raisins. 

Chicken/beef broth. I always have a carton or 2 of this stuff.  There a million and 2 different ways to use it.  A lot of times, I’ll throw some meat in the crock pot with some stock and vegatables then come back 8 hours later for a delicious dinner. 

Eggs. Always.  Eggs.  I always buy one or two 18 ct cartons at a time.  Many times, I will get eggs from my in-laws who have chickens roaming about their farm. Farm fresh is ideal, pasture raised is next, free range at the bottom.  Know where your eggs come from.  Know how those chickens lived.  My advice, find a farmer who has chickens or scope out your local farmer’s market.

Grass-fed beef. This stuff blows my mind.  Personally, the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed is astounding. Grass-fed is pretty darn tasty.  While we are are talking about meat, have you tried bison meat?  Whoa.  I grew up in North Dakota where the buffalo roam.  If you have the chance to sample bison, do it. 

Coconut oil/butter. This stuff is so versatile.  I bake with it, cook with it, fry with it, put it in my coffee.  The flavor is subtle.  Great way to get your fat.  Coconut butter is great.  I use it with baking or on sweet potatoes. 

Kerrygold Butter. This Grass-fed, Irish butter is probably one of the best things ever.  The flavor… I have been known to eat this with a spoon.  Once.  Well, twice.  I don’t necessarily use this for cooking as much as I use it to boost flavor.  I grease pans with it, put it over vegetables, used it on pancakes, put it in veggie packets for the grill, use it in my coffee.  I find it at Trader Joe’s.  I have recently found it at Target as well.  It’s a little more spendy than your typical sprawl-mart bran butter, but the flavor is unlike any other.

Avocadoes.  Many times, I will slice up an avocado and have it with my meal.  I use it to top my scrambled eggs.  I make guacamole.  Use it in lettuce wraps.  I have also added it to chocolate smoothies for a creamier, mousse-like drink.  It’s flavorless in smoothies.  Try it out!

Dijon mustard. I use this on lettuce wraps and cucumber sandwiches.  I also mix it with real maple syrup for a spin on honey mustard.  Marinade, dipping sauce.  Sometimes I will mix it with some olive oil, s&p, and diced pickles and use it as a dressing of sorts for burgers. 

Sweet potatoes. To be eaten sparingly.  Roasted, baked.  Whole or cubed.  Mashed or chunky.  Sweet or savory.  Tons of clean ways to enjoy these potatoes.

Onions/peppers/garlic. These are my go-to veggies.  Roasted, grilled, crock-pot, sauteed.  They’re great by themselves, great with meat.  I always have a few of each on hand.

Spinach. I always shoot for having at least 2 handfuls of spinach a day.  Huge source of calcium for me. Many days, I will make my eggs over-medium then have them on top of a bed of spinach, allowing the yolk to run, creating an eggy dressing.  Spinach is also delicious with some balsamic, olive oil, and a ton of chopped veggies, bacon crumbles, sliced almond or toasted pecans, and berries. 

These are just a few staples that I have on-hand at all times.  My list could go on and on and on, but really, these are MY necessities.  They’re all fairly versatile. What clean foods do you always have stocked in your pantry?  Any shopping-cart staples?

Happy eating!

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