As you may have noticed in the About Me section, I love food! Food literally keeps us alive. I believe that food can either nourish us or slowly pollute our bodies. Over the past two years I’ve made a conscience decision to put better, high-quality food into my body and onto my table. I have been trying to limit pre-packaged food and the preservatives that go along with them. So, you’ll find that most of the food I make is completely from scratch. However, some things are not worth taking the time to replicate so, I’ll make exceptions now and again.

Now, I’m not someone who simply believes that food is fuel. Obviously, it is but, I think it can be so much more than that…and should be. We only live once, right?! With that said, putting high quality, preservative free ingredients into your meals will keep you and your family healthy while feeding your soul, too!

Here are some of my pantry staples:

Celtic Sea Salt
Wheat Montana Natural White Flour (for everyday use)
Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (for baking)
Zulka Morena Pure Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
Long Grain Brown Rice
Brown Rice Pasta and Good Quality Durum Wheat Semolina Flour Pasta
Whole Oats
Whole Unsalted Nuts
Maple Syrup

Herbs & Spices
I grow herbs in my garden each year. I usually grow tons of basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint. I’ve preserved some fresh herbs in oil and frozen them for future use. Otherwise, I’ll just buy the fresh stuff from the grocery store.

Most of my spices are stand-alone, not pre-mixed; there’s a lot of filler in those pre-made packets! I tend to make my own spice blends for Italian Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, Ranch Dressing, etc.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salted and Unsalted Real Butter
Coconut Oil

Whole Milk
All-Natural, Farm-Fresh, Free-Range Eggs (from my dad’s chickens)
Whole Fat block cheeses, not shredded (check out the ingredients on the pre-shredded kind – cellulose?!)
Cream Cheese
Daisy Brand Sour Cream
Fage Full Fat Greek Yogurt

Fruits & Veggies
I buy most of my fruits and veggies fresh, on a weekly basis. I usually buy what is on sale and integrate them into my meals for the week. A few of my fresh veggie staples are: mushrooms, spinach, and kale.

I buy meat as it goes on sale and store it in my deep freezer. I’ve, also, split a half of a beef or a whole hog with my dad before from a farmer he knows in the Paola area. I don’t pay for the more expensive ‘organic’ or ‘grass fed’ meat in the grocery stores…if I get any, I go to:

The Local Pig
This is a local butcher in downtown Kansas City that sources all of its food from local farms. Their bacon is nearly 1/4-inch thick and delicious!!! I’ve never been disappointed with any of their products…

I don’t usually keep a loaf of bread in the pantry; my husband and I just won’t eat it. But, when I do buy bread I buy the one with the simplest ingredient list. Bread in its most simple form only requires flour, water, yeast, and salt. Sometimes there is sugar or honey and a fat like butter or milk. But, if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I don’t buy it! The following brands are really good:

Farm to Market Bread Co.
This is a bakery in Kansas City that sells to some of the local grocery stores and several restaurants in town. I usually buy Grains Galore bread for sandwiches and their baguettes are really tasty!

IBIS Bakery
This is a local artisan bread bakery in Lenexa that sells their amazing bread just blocks from my house. They have several flavors from a simple country boule to coconut white chocolate. I’ll buy their bread for a special occasion!

Canned Goods
Kitchen Basics Brand Unsalted Chicken Stock (this one has good ingredients)
On The Border Medium Salsa (I haven’t found another jar salsa that is preservative-free that tastes this good)
Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water
Canned Tomatoes
Canned Beans

I don’t really like canned vegetables but, I’ll use them when a recipe calls for them. I just don’t keep them hanging out in my pantry.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Homemade Pesto
Veggies: corn, onions, peppers, etc.
Meat (see more above)

Since I’ve started eating whole, preservative-free foods, I’ve noticed that now when I eat processed foods, my whole body rejects them. I’ll be miserable until it’s all out of my system. However, I’m not perfect and I’m not going to turn my nose up to someone else’s cooking. I just try to structure my plate to eat the most whole parts of the meal.

So, have you checked out your pantry lately? Have you read your ingredient labels? Do you know what’s in your food?


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