We all get in ruts of stocking our pantries with the same ole stuff, week in and week out. My husband and I have had a lot of good laughs over his repeat shopping purchases that make absolutely no sense to me. One day, I pulled him into the kitchen and opened the pantry door. I pointed to the top shelf and said, “You are no longer allowed to buy boxes of crackers.” We had at least 7 unopened boxes of the exact type crackers. I don’t eat crackers and the kids did not like this particular type. Yet, for some reason, whenever I had sent Chris to the store, he came home with more boxes.
In our family, I shop VERY different from my husband. We are so different that our kids have told us on several occasions that they “like mom’s driving and dad’s shopping.” He’s the one who buys sugar cereal, flavored drinks, and apparently... boxes of crackers. On the other hand, I am always on the hunt for the healthiest options for our family. (And I AM the better driver.)
Through my searches, I have come across a couple really cool items that have now become a regular part of my pantry. I can’t imagine NOT having them stocked at all times. Though they are all new to my cooking repertoire, they are rather crucial. I wanted to share 4 of these new items with you. If they are unfamiliar to you, my hope is that your curiosity will be sparked and you will venture out into new terrain and bring variety to your pantry.
1. Avocado oil
If you follow me on social media, you will have noticed my excitement for this oil. Since going paleo with my diet, I have thrown out all oils that are horrible for your health, such as vegetable, canola, safflower, and corn oil. I primarily use coconut oil for most of these replacements. Yet, recently, I have fallen in love with avocado oil. The two primary uses I have for it are.... 1. In replacement of olive oil for high heat cooking. Olive oil is great for salads or coating veggies after they are cooked, but it’s not great for roasting, frying or stir frying. Olive oil breaks down at too high of heat and cause problems in your body and with your health. Avocado oil, however, holds together for temperatures up to 500 degrees. It’s a much better option. 2. Avocado oil has a very mild flavor. This particular brand is my favorite. It comes from Costco. Because of the mild flavor, I choose to use it in the making of my homemade mayonnaise. It’s also a nice flavor on your roasted veggies. All in all, if you are looking for some variation in your pantry oil section, give avocado oil a chance.
2. Red Boat Fish Sauce
Yeah.. I know... sounds gross. Fish sauce? Who would want to add that to food? Well... I do! As you can see from my picture, I use it a lot and am about to put my order in through Amazon. This brand is the best on the market. It’s made on Phu Quoc Island and is minimally processed. It also only has two ingredient.... fresh, wild caught black anchovies and sea salt. But why would you want to add fish sauce to a dish? It adds the amazing taste of umami. (the 5th taste, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is the savory flavor you get from certain foods.... like tomatoes, cabbage and mushrooms.) I add it to stews, soups, bone broth, and even a splash on my eggs occasionally. So, if you are looking for that extra “Zang” for your dishes, try some fish sauce on for size.
3. Kelp Granules
Kelp is basically seaweed that lives deep in the ocean. Just like other sea vegetables, kelp offers super amazing benefits to your health. Since I live in land-locked Ohio, sea vegetables are not regularly stocked at the local Kroger. Therefore, I had to search for other means to gain the benefits I needed. For me, I wanted to add kelp to my diet because it is so high in iodine. Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid function. Since I have hypothyroidism, I get pretty obsessed with finding ways to bring health back to that malfunctioning area of my life. Kelp flakes seemed the easiest way. As the bottle says, kelp can be considered a salt substitute. I don’t use it as that. I add it to my dishes along with salt. I sprinkle it on anything I add salt and pepper to... eggs, soups, stews, vegetables, and even salads. I notice no taste at all. I bought several bottles of this brand on Amazon. One bottle sits on the top of my stove and the others rest in the pantry until I need them. Again, I’m into finding simple ways to improve my health. It can’t get more simple than this.
4. Unflavored Gelatin
No.. I’m not talking about Jello. Plain gelatin has a bunch of other uses other than making giggly, artificially colored desserts. I’m still learning about all the uses of gelatin and I hope to add it more into my diet and daily routine; however, I have found a few ways to use this powdery supplement. I have made homemade fruit gummies for the kids. I have used it as a thickener for sauces. And I have added it to smoothies. In all these cases, I have not noticed any obvious taste. The health benefits of adding gelatin to your day are pretty extensive. For me, I primarily concern myself with gut health and joint health. I am sure, though, that I will continue to find more reasons for adding it to my diet. Even though I stock this brand of gelatin in my pantry, I work to make my own gelatin. Properly prepared bone broth is an excellent and yummy source of gelatin. Drinking a warm mug of bone broth with my lunch is the best way I can add this supplement to my life.
So, now it’s time to get brave and decide which new pantry item you are going to try. Let me know which you decide.
March 23, 2015