Monday, March 03, 2008

New Blog to Read and 10 Staples of my Pantry (esp. before Lent)

Check out a new blog by my friend Carrie. It's called The Thrifty Oreganic. It promises to provide some great hints on being organic, but in an economical way:) She currently has a list of her top ten staples of her kitchen and asks if people could post their top ten in her comments. As I am preparing my family kitchen for Lent, I came up with a list of our Lenten staples (I actually wrote out this list last week because while I was writing up my shopping list... because there are certain foods that I buy in bulk but only during fasting periods).

1. Beans (esp. lentils and garbanzos)- we eat tons of lentils. I love lentils because I can make a lentil soup in about an hour if we are having a really busy day. We also eat a lot of hummus during lent. I make my own because sometimes you find in stores hummus that has lots of extra things added. Since DH has been diagnosed with Celiac's, I am much more wary of buying things that say "natural flavor" because you just don't know where that "natural flavor came from". And, anyway, I have a very easy hummus recipe:)

2. Nuts- but esp. raw almonds and pistachios. Big P, who is an extremely picky eater, loves pistachios. I like to encourage him to eat them. This year, though, I am going to buy a good nutcracker and a variety pack of different nuts because one of the "work" that Big P does at school (and loves to do) is cracking nuts! He also loves washing windows so if you need your windows washed, we can work up a contract to have him come over (JK... about the contract part). Is this the place to include peanut butter? We only eat natural peanut butter. Yes, it's a bit annoying to have to mix the oil back into the peanut butter, but it is sooo good. Big P only eats peanut butter and jelly (homemade jelly by yiayia) sandwiches. For lunch. Everyday. Even when it is not lent:)

3. Vegetable broth makings (carrots, celery, onions and garlic cloves)- again, back to DH having celiac's, I make our broth. And the veggies are used in soups. And I cut them up to eat with the hummus.

4. Fruit- esp. pineapple, bananas, frozen berries, apples, oranges, dried fruit. Esp. fruit to make smoothies.

5. Diced tomatoes (with no added spices) and tomato paste- a lot of our soups are tomato based.

6. Rice- Brown rice- we use a lot more of this since DH has had Celiac's. I substitute cooked brown rice for pasta, barley, bulgur wheat in some recipes. We are also branching out into the world of quinoa (our favorite GF pasta is a quinoa pasta).

7. Juice- fasting periods are really the only time of year that I will drink juice. We have juice always on hand because DH is type 1 diabetic and it is great for raising his blood sugar.

8. Oats for kids and I and Creamy Buckwheat cereal for DH (it's GF). Esp. during Lent (and Nativity Fast) hot cereal is the way to go. Sometimes a make a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator to heat up in the morning.

9. Snacks: popcorn (we have a whirley pop popcorn maker which is fun to use) and corn tortilla chips and salsa.

10. And, for the kids, Trader Joe's hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, milk, eggs, and cheese (mostly mozarella) to make pita pizzas.

For us, a lot of the fake foods are out (fake meats and cheeses) because they are not all gluten free. And this lent I am going to see if I can make GF falafel (did I spell that correctly?!?!?) because I used to make them ahead of time and freeze them to pull out whenever. That's only if I'm really ambitious or we are really getting bored with our food (maybe mid-point of lent). This year I am also going to do what I did for Nativity fast... plan out our entire lent menu from day one. That way I don't even have to think about what we are going to eat, it's already listed out. And that makes shopping a lot easier.

Boy, this post is longer than I wanted it to be:) What are your top lenten staples?


Carrie T said...

Hi Christina! Thanks for the blog reference!

My dear friend, Katy, also has a GF diet. She came over during the Nativity Fast and brought the makings for some GF falafel (made with Fava Beans!). They were delicious...I'll have to get you her recipe.

My top 10 Lenten Staples:

1)Coconut milk--NOT LITE-- is an amazing cream substitution in soups, puddings, muffins,etc. A blend of bananas, honey, and coconut milk in the FP makes a great treat for kids and adults alike! A great ice cream sub.

2) Coconut oil-- Depending upon your "rule"...if oil's in, this one's a must have

3) Lots of veggies-- sauteing in the above mentioned oil, raw, pureed into soups with #1...

4) Lentils of course! Who can live without Greek Lentil Soup? I also like honey-baked lentils from

5) Dates--If a wholesome lenten treat is what you need, there's nothing better than a whirl of chopped dates and almonds with cinnamon and vanilla rolled into balls.

6) Frozen Jumbo Shrimp from costco-- I use it to make Brazillian Shrimp Stew-- a totally Lenten dish that tastes like clam chowder!

7) Brown rice (our family is functionally GF....I try to limit our gluten intake to about 4-5 servings per week)

8) Tomato paste

9) Lipton tea and white sugar for making homemade Kombucha--the most refreshing beverage on the planet!

10) Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios--the answer I give DH when he complains that there are no Doritos in the house....(we only had them in the house recently b/c my brother gave them to Karl for a Christmas gift!)


Mimi said...

Awesome! Thanks!