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Weekly Staples

July 7, 2012

Lots of people have asked me what are the staples we have in our home and what we do for meal planning. I have to confess…my situation might be a little different from most other people because my husband likes to cook dinner and therefore he goes to the grocery store every evening to choose what he’s going to make for dinner. Yes, Orlando goes to the grocery store almost every single day. THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!!!!! This has it’s benefits because we tend to eat fresh foods instead of frozen foods, and because I can always have Orlando pick up something we need, but this doesn’t work for everyone…I, for example, would NOT go to a grocery store every day!

This being said…we do have staples in our home, and as time has gone by, we have started planning our meals much more than we used to in the past. Plus, the daily grocery visits only have to do with dinner. We buy at BJ’s, Costco, or any other grocery store for the week food for our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.

STAPLES FOR YOUR KITCHEN

SPICES- One of the things Dr. Sanchez has told me is the importance of consuming different spices. Spices and herbs are supposed to have incredible healing powers and its really so easy to add them to your meals while cooking.

  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger root
  • Garlic cloves

TURMERIC, CORIANDER, & CUMIN: These spices are relatively new to our diet. I had never even heard of Turmeric until I met an Indian nurse who told me about it. I had always heard that Indian food was medicinal. This nurse told me that Indians season their meats in the United States with Turmeric to kill the pesticides. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I researched the benefits of Turmeric and found tons of literature. We incorporate spices such as Turmeric and coriander to most of our meals now, including our soups, our chicken, and anywhere else we can sneak it in. And we ALWAYS have it at the house ready to use. You can google the health benefits of any of these spices and take a look for yourself. Here are some articles I found interesting.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/turmeric-health-have-a-happy-new-year_b_798328.html

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-coriander.html

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-cumin.html

Ginger -I love having these 2 staples in our home because they add a delicious taste and are also so good for you. Ginger is supposed to help with headaches, swelling, digestion, common colds, etc. I put a little ginger in our smoothies in the morning. I don’t juice very often but I LOVE juicing carrots, ginger, and oranges. IT is delicious!!!!

CAVEAT: A little ginger goes a LONG way. I tend to buy a small root so it doesn’t go to waste. You only need put a little bit like half an inch when you’re incorporating it into your meals or smoothies. Otherwise it will overpower your meal and you will hate it! So make sure you err on the side of caution and start very small. Then you can add more and see what your palette and your family’s can tolerate.

Fresh Garlic – we love to roast our Garlic. It squeezes out like butter and has a sweetness to it. Its absolutely delicious in recipes. We used it when we tried our red beet soup and started incorporating it into other meals. We also chop up the raw garlic and use it as a base for soups, stir fries, chicken, etc.

The more herbs and spices you can cook with, the better. We are just giving you some we always have at the house.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES- In this department we go crazy because most of our daily diet consists of fruits and Vegetables. Since we order from a coop, Annie’s Buying Club, we get a box of fruits and vegetables every 2 weeks that forces us to cook vegetables that we’re not really familiar with. Our cabbage soup, which is now a weekly meal in our home, came from getting a head of cabbage in this box that we didn’t know what to do with. We’ve also discovered other jewels like eggplant lasagna, and beet soup.

But the weeks we don’t have that box, we stick to a few basics that we know we love.

FRUITS-

  • bananas
  • organic apples
  • pears
  • organic grapes
  • organic strawberries
  • organic blueberries
  • organic  raspberries
  • melon – watermelon or cantaloupe
  • mango
  • tomatoes – some think this is a vegetable but its a fruit. I like to add it to my salads or for with balsamic vinegar for snack.
  • kiwi
  • peaches
  • oranges
  • Pineapples
  • frozen organic berries
  • any other frozen fruits
I don’t necessarily have all of these fruits in my house at one time. I tend to buy a big pack of organic apples at BJ’s because they don’t spoil quickly. I love putting apples in our morning smoothies, and chopping them up in our salads. I also use a cheese grater to make apple sauce for my 1 year old and he loves it. I do the same thing with Pears. I usually buy what’s in season so when mangoes are in season, we eat a lot of mango. When berries are in season, we eat a lot of berries. Fruits do not last in my home. Every morning I chop up pieces of whatever fruits I have at the house and let my kids pick at them until their smoothies are ready. I also have fruits available for snacks.
For my smoothies- I use the frozen fruits because its cheaper and the smoothies come out colder.

 VEGETABLES-

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Green beans
  • Organic Girl Greens
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • avocados
  • kale

AGAIN, we don’t necessarily have all these at the house at the exact same time. The food we eat is perishable and therefore we buy with caution. We don’t buy more than we know we can consume. The week we get our box we eat the veggies in the box and sometimes buy some additional veggies if a recipe calls for it. The week we don’t have our box we usually make cabbage soup one night a week (recipe in prior post) which requires a lot of veggies, asparagus and leeks (a combination we love) once a week. Steamed broccoli once a week. Sweet potato once a week (this serves as our carb and we have another green vegetable on the plate like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, etc.)

We also like to make a vegetable stir fry once a week where we add a ton of veggies and no animal protein (recipe to follow in another post).

Raw veggies and Leftovers – I tend to use as much of our veggies as I can in our daily salads. I usually break a couple of pieces of broccoli from and toss in the salads. I use a peeler to peel the carrots. Instead of baby carrots or pre-cut carrots, I like the thin strips of carrots that I get with the peeler in our salads. I switch up the greens from Organic Girl. They have a super greens box which I like a lot. other times I get the 50/50 mix and sometimes I get just Spinach. They’re all good and I try different ones simply for variety. If I have leftover stir fry from the evening before or red beets that we roasted, I pack it up in a separate container. Then at lunch time I heat it up and sprinkle on top of my salad. I like adding hot food to my salads once in a while and the veggies are a nice mix.

FOR MY SMOOTHIES-  I always have kale, collard greens, or watercress for my smoothies. I love adding other ingredients which I will discuss in other posts but I have those as staples. When I run out of these, I can always grab some greens from my organic girl box and use that instead.

MEAT AND FISH-

  • Organic chicken
  • Wild caught Salmon
  • Turkey picadillo

I find organic chicken at Costco. I usually buy dark meat for the boys because it is softer and easier to eat. And I buy boneless chicken breast for us.
I buy wild salmon at Whole foods. I wait for the sale, sometimes they have it at $9.99 per pound and they’ve even gone as low as $7.99. When they have this sale, I buy tons of it. and store it in my freezer. Then I leave it out to defrost and eat it for dinner once a week.

We usually eat chicken, salmon, and turkey picadillo each once a week and the other nights eat soup or stir fry and try to go without animal protein or fish. But from time to time, Orlando goes to Captain’s tavern (a fish market by our home) and buys a nice sea bass, or shrimp for us. And once in a while we have a new york strip. We have red meat maybe once a month and its usually on a Friday as a treat for us.

NUTS AND SEEDS-

Nuts and seeds are a great snack because they are portable. Its probably one of the only things we have that we can put in a ziplock baggie and take with us anywhere, or keep at our desks.

  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • raw almonds
  • raw pecans
  • walnuts
  • sliced almonds
  • raw cashews
  • macadamian nuts
  • pistachios

I always have nuts in my bag in case i’m starving and i’m driving home or at my desk and ran out of food. I don’t spend all day snacking on nuts by any means, but I do probably eat them once a day.

I try to incorporate these into our salads as well as for snacks. I usually put walnuts, sliced almonds, and pecans in our salads. Sometimes I put the sunflower seeds in our salads also. I love adding crunch to our salads!

Dairy-

  • almond milk
  • grassfed cow’s milk
  • oikos yogurt
  • cage free eggs
  • organic unsalted butter

I personally don’t eat yogurt. Its a texture issue for me. But my kids love it so I give them a yogurt every day. Orly drinks one cup of cow’s milk in the morning usually and I have one cup of the milk to make my cafe con leche. That’s it for our milk consumption. Justin doesn’t drink cow’s milk because he’s allergic to it so I give him almond milk, goat’s milk, or rice milk.

I use almond milk with my oatmeal.

I always have eggs in our house because I make hard boiled eggs in batches. Then I put them in our salads, with avocados (Recipe in prior post) or by themselves.

Grains and Beans – Grains and beans are really the only items we buy that have a longer shelf life and don’t have to be consumed within the week. I go to whole foods and buy grains and beans such as

  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Germinated brown rice
  • steel cut oats.
  • black beans
  • red beans
  • lentils.

I keep these in containers at the house. Then we have them in case we need them. Sometimes I make a batch of quinoa and use it for dinner one night,and for lunch for the boys the next day, etc. I do the same thing with all the other grains. We do not eat grains every day. We make lentil soup once every week or two weeks. And we always make enough to have leftovers.

I love making steel cut oats and storing it for breakfast for the boys. I sweeten it up with some vanilla extract and cinnamon.

CAVEAT: Sometimes we need to be practical. As much as I love steel cut oats, I always keep the little microwaveable oatmeal packets at my office or at home. I love these little packets because again they are portable and if I’m in a pinch in the office, I make myself a little oatmeal packet. And of course sometimes my kids want oatmeal in the mornings and I don’t have any more of my steel cut oats batch so I make them a quick packet with almond milk.

My motto is I try my best to eat as healthy as possible, but we have to always be prepared for when we are in a rush and eat as best we can in those situations also.

Other staples-

  • liquid stevia
  • natural peanut butter
  • a good jelly made of pure fruit and with no preservatives
  • ezekiel bread
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • coconut oil

We try to cook with coconut oil as frequently as possible to avoid altering the olive oil properties. I use olive oil for salads and to drizzle on other foods.

I think this is a pretty comprehensive list of the items we keep in our home. We use to have things like wheat crackers and deli meats, and slices of processed cheese. We have eliminated those foods from our diet. But as I’ve said before, we buy what we eat. We don’t typically have food sitting in our shelves, fridge or freezer for long periods of time. Sometimes I buy something different like Mint. And then I spend the whole week making different recipes with mint. I will post about all those things along the way, but at least this is a good starting guide for what to look for in your grocery stores.

Please let me know via comments or email if you have questions, suggestions, or if this is a helpful list for you.

HAPPY SHOPPING!!!! 

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3 Comments
  1. frances permalink

    Great blog… I have a question about Kale…what’s the benefits in eating Kale vs another vegetable?

    Also I would like to give a shot out to Truvia since my company Cargill makes it!! Its made by stevia. Is there a reason for using one vs the other?

    • Thanks French. All vegetables provide different benefits. The reason I like Kale so much is because I put it raw in my smoothies. From what I understand, eating raw vegetables is the best way to absorb all of the vegetable’s nutrients. One cup of kale provides about 5% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber, 9% of calcium, 9% of potassium, 10% of copper, 26% of manganese, 684% of vitamin K, 9% of vitamin B6, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and only 2% calories and carbohydrate.

      If you go to whole foods, produce section, at the top there is a chart with the most nutritious greens. The top 3 leafy vegetables are kale, watercress, and collard greens (not necessarily in this order). So I switch it up. Once week I buy Kale, another week I buy watercress, etc. I also use mint, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets. I’ve also used Mustard Greens- but proceed with caution…mustard greens are super spicy and taste almost like you added Wasabi to your smoothie. It was too much for us to handle so I stopped using it. So basically I’m just trying my best to get as many raw veggies in my diet as possible and I have found these to be beneficial and work well in smoothies. And since I make my smoothies in the blender instead of a juicer, these happen to blend well and I can get all the fiber from the vegetable without the consistency being intolerable. I’ve cooked with kale in the past, but I tend not to do that since I already have it in my smoothie and there are so many other vegetables to get benefits from that we cook with.

      As for Truvia. I honestly don’t know the difference. It might be the same exact product. Let me do a little research on it and I’ll get back to you on it. And if it is the same thing, I will totally promote it!!!!!

  2. Patti permalink

    Amazing- you are!

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