Stocking Your Pantry for Success

One of the very first keys to successfully eating as a family and cooking meals on a regular basis is having a good base to start from in your pantry. Having food on hand and available makes this process less stressful and much less work.

Can you imagine if you had to purchase every spice and herb and tablespoon of ingredient in each and every recipe you make every time you make it? The task of shopping just to make one meal could feel a bit overwhelming, much less trying to plan a week’s worth of meals. This is just one reason why having a well-stocked pantry is so important.

Stocking your pantry…

  • helps you steer clear of prepackaged and processed foods.
  • saves you money by allowing you to stock when food items are on sale.
  • keeps food on hand in case of an emergency (remember all those snow days last winter?)
  • helps maintain a healthy diet full of real foods.

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3 Simple Ways to Store Online Recipes

I love poring through cookbooks, especially when they have color photos and richly descriptive text.

But when it comes down to it, about 75 percent of the recipes I use on a regular basis come from the Internet. Betty Crockers of the post-modern world have a plethora of recipes at their disposal, but it’s easily overwhelming.

The Internet is a huge place, so how do you organize all the recipes you want to keep? There are almost as many systems to organizing URLs as there are URLs themselves, so there’s no one right way. But I like using systems I’m using anyway, instead of subscribing to a unique program solely for recipes or menu planning.

Whatever you use, the point is to keep it simple, easy to use, and helpful when you need that exact recipe in that precise moment. It’s such a pain to know you have a recipe somewhere, but aren’t sure where you saved it.

In my opinion, here are some of the most helpful ways to store recipes from the Internet.
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Weekend Reading

Spices 101: Storing Spices (Recipe: Black Pepper Shrimp)

If you’ve been following our Spices 101 series, you may have had some spice myths debunked, and also may have decided to invest in quality spices.  Today, we’ll learn how to store your quality spices properly so that they’ll maintain their maximum freshness and potency.

It may come as a surprise to you, but a decorative spice rack conveniently situated above the stove is not doing your spices any favors. Sure the row of little glass jars are pretty to look at and the rack itself may be a space saver, but with all the heat, steam, gas and fallout from your cooking, your spices are no better off than the Icelandic cattle living in the path of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano spew.

OK, maybe a little better.

Here’s how to store everything from anise to za’atar.

What Your Spices Should Avoid

No sauna’s (or volcanoes) please! When storing spices, your biggest enemies are:

  • Air
  • Light
  • Heat
  • Humidity

What comes to mind? Can you think of someplace that’s airtight, dark, cool and dry? Read on! [Read more…]

Been to a Farm Lately? (Recipe: Asparagus & Cherry Tomato Pizza)

Much can be said about the environmental and economic benefits of eating locally sourced foods. More can be said about the adage that a local food advocate from my town often uses: Eat food you know from people you know.

Every summer my family makes more than a handful of pilgrimages to local farms. These trips are more than just a way to escape the city and another day at the park.  They are a way for us to share with the people who produce our food. And more importantly, a way for us to show our girls that meat does not come on a styrofoam tray and vegetables grow in the dirt.

Oh yeah, and farms are fun. All kids love dirt and animals.

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