Nancy’s Pantry – A Well Stocked Kitchen

Healthy Whole Food Meals are Quick, Easy and Delicious!

A whole food diet is the key to a long and healthy life. New recommendations encourage consuming more fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day. If you are like me and most people, you sometimes just get blah about cooking, cleaning, and eating right. If you have the right ingredients,  a well equipped kitchen, and some basic know how about foods and culinary arts, you are free to be the master chef of your own kitchen.

Prosperity Consciousness in the kitchen:

Like most things, buy the best quality you can afford, and keep it honed.  You’ll feel better. You’ll send yourself a message that you deserve good quality – thus good things – thus prosperity. If you are always cheaping out just because you are on a quest to pinch pennies, try looking at things a bit different. I know — it makes a huge difference. Every time I’ve gone cheap, I’ve ended up spending double. And I’ve sent myself a message of inferiority.  Every time I find the way to buy the best I can afford, I feel so much happier inside. I don’t mean go into debt and overspend. I mean if you can afford the nicer set, buy it.  Don’t buy the cheapest just because it’s cheap. I use those tools with love. I use those tools with a different joy. A knife is no longer a knife — it’s an instrument of ongoing happiness as I prepare my meals with an overflowing love.  Practice this in your kitchen and soon you will know what I’m talking about.

Equipment Must Haves:

Knives aren’t all created equal! 

Buy quality knives and we keep them sharp. Having a good knife can turn you into a master chef in your own kitchen. Our knives are professionally sharpened once or twice a year.  They are hand washed to keep them sharp.  Taking proper care of your kitchen tools is essential.  Cooking is such a pleasure when knifes slice through food like butter, when pots and pans heat evenly and non-stick remains non-stick. Cooking is so much fun when you have the right tool for the job! If your knives don’t slice easily, get them sharpened or get new ones. Why is this important? If it’s a breeze to cut your fruits and vegetables, and you get it done faster, you’ll eat more. Food will taste better. You’ll look like a pro!

Good cookware! 

If you are using old, chipped, scratched pots and pans, it’s time for an upgrade. If your pots and pans are sticking and old and ugly, it’s time for an upgrade. We’d been using older pots that were half hand me downs. Sure they did the job, but the day we bought a new set of newly designed pots and pans we started loving to cook again.  For two foodies, it was magic! Suddenly, we were thrilled to prepare stir frys, sautes, sauces, and more. The kitchen came alive, and with it reunited our passion for creating in the kitchen.  It was like a new wardrobe in the kitchen.

Pretty up your table, while you are at it. 

In A Course in Weight Loss, Marianne Williamson suggests that readers buy one new pretty place setting just for them. New Place Mat, silverware and settings. Each time you eat, you are to use this new setting. It fuels the meal with a new energy. Call it spiritual if you will, what I know is that sitting at a beautiful place setting, enjoying everything as you prepare to dine is a big part of embracing your meal as a gift to you. And that! That one thing will be cause for big change.

Spices

Buy fresh applies here too. We buy our spices at a wholesale spice shop near the Pike Place Market. It’s worth the trip, but we buy online if we need to.  The spices are the freshest we’ve found and the assortment is a wonderfully colorful display. The fresher the better. If you don’t have a local spice merchant, at a minimum open your spice jars and do a sniff test. Are they filled with wonderful aroma or are they just blah. Buy new jars, date the jar and don’t keep them more than 1 year. (Okay, 2 if yo must, but no matter what, the spices lose their meaning after they go stale) Make your taste buds jump for joy. Use the right spices and make sure they are fresh.

What’s In Your Pantry? 

I tell my clients to do a pantry inventory. Go through everything. How long has it been there. What is it? What’s in the box or bottle? Yep – the details. Go get your glasses and read the labels. We came home with a pretty jar of marinade. It was a lemony buttery garlic marinade that my hubby wanted for his smoker.  Then I read the label.  Chemicals. HFCS (if you don’t know what that is, you need to call me now!), and I forget what else, but I won’t even open it. It will sit there for a year or two, and then we’ll do another audit and toss everything that isn’t used.  That’s how it goes. You’ve got to read the labels.  Look for sugar content. Look for preservatives.

And if you look at environmental toxins, you’ll soon also realize that the liners in most canned food containers are also bad for you. That’s a whole different topic.

Juicers, Blenders — what’s the fuss?  It’s about getting enough of the right stuff. 

For a Health Conscious person, a juicer  and a powerful blender become a necessity kitchen tool.  There’s a bit of controversy here. I advocate a simpler system that adds tons of fresh goodness, and doesn’t demand absolute strict obsessions. Eat Clean, Not Extreme. That means supplement your diet with some extra power from juice. Make a smoothie when you just don’t have time for a full meal — but eat real food.  I can talk on and on about how much I love my juicer and my morning green juice. The truth is we need food.

I’ve now owned 4 different juicers. Two centrifugal ones were the best I could afford at the time. (One was free and given me when I gave up smoking 20 years ago).  Two are masticating type juicers. I may be the expert on juicers at this point.  Get what you can afford, and make sure it has a great warranty.  I love the Omega Juicers for that very reason. You can buy them via Amazon from the link at the right.  The is the best for greens and is the all time easiest to clean.  Omega 8006

My VITAMIX takes charge.

I love this machine. It whips food into a blenderized state fast and easily. I needed to replace a worn out juicer and saw someone at a health fair touting the famous VitaMix.  That was 10 years ago. I upgraded to the newer 5200 about a year ago.Its even better and it is BPH Free, has 2 smaller containers, and it just works. Price = worth every penny and it’s guaranteed for 7 years. Every lower end blender I’ve purchased died within a year. You do the math! But more importantly, it always works and I trust it. I trust the name. I trust the product.

The Vitamix is not just for smoothies. When we make a delicious soup, we’ll often puree the cooked ingredients for a smooth, rich bowl of goodness.  My latest creation was such a robust bisque that my guests and husband declared it was worthy of any good restaurant. Without the Vitamix and some food basics, that never would have happened. You can do this too.

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