What do Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and Emeril Lagasse have in common? Well stocked pantries! A well stocked pantry is the quintessential tool for a well run home kitchen. A stocked pantry will get you and your family through tight budgets, unexpected bad weather, meal boredom and even unexpected guests.
The key to a well stocked pantry is variety, variety, variety. Canned goods, non perishables and staples such as rice and dry or canned beans are pantry essentials. But to really “jazz up” your pantry routine you have to remove yourself from the ordinary. Instead of the same old canned beans try different varieties. Pintos, garbanzos, lentils and others are a nutritious and affordable way to bring variety to the dinner table.
Condiments such as ketchup and yellow mustard don’t have to be replaced but, they can be paired along-side grained mustard, sundried tomatoes, salsas, tapenades and fruit chutneys to reinvent any meal. Salt and pepper are “shaker” staples but, to really “shake things up” try adding sea salt, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to your repertoire.
Long grained white rice may be your family’s favorite but try some Basmati or Jasmine rice to give your meal a new spin. Fruit is no longer excluded from the pantry either. Dried fruits like raisins (dried grapes), Craisins ® (dried cranberries) and prunes (dried plums) are great to keep on hand for snacking by themselves or placed on top of your morning cereal. Even canned fruit is fine, as long as you get varieties that omit sugar and other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.
Storing vegetables inside of the pantry is also fair game. The canning industry is thriving and allows consumers to partake of a myriad of vegetables no matter what the season. The vegetables are picked and canned at the peak of their freshness so take advantage of this technology, especially during their “out of season months”.
Are you looking for a touch of sweetness to add to your next cup of tea or homemade cookies? While white “table” sugar may be the norm, raw sugar, agave nectar, local honey and molasses will add a novel and interesting twist to your next afternoon tea.
Use store sales and coupons to try new and exciting products. Don’t shun the ethnic food/international aisles of the grocery store either. There is always something new and exciting lying around every corner. Keep your pantry well stocked and organized. Think of it as your own little store within your kitchen. Follow these simple tips and the next time bad weather, an unexpected guest(s) or a case of meal boredom strikes, you and your store will be well equipped.
Lisa Leslie-Williams, is a wife and the devoted mother of one active toddler. She quickly realized after the birth of her daughter that she was not only destined to be a mom but that her true passion lies in empowering women to live life at home with finesse and style. Even as a licensed health care professional, Lisa has spent the last 10 years living and fine tuning her “domestic life style lessons” on budgeting, beauty, family health, entertaining and all things in the kitchen. She shares these lessons and other home management tips as a life style consultant, a featured contributor and as the author of her blog, The Domestic Life Stylist. Lisa's blog was voted in the "top three", in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Home Management blog contest where she has also become a featured contributor.
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