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Keeping a Happy and Healthy Pantry


By: Candice Kumai

Once we leave our mother’s arms, we all must say good-bye to free flowing dinners, that fully stocked fridge, and the unlimited access to good ‘ol home cooking. Some of us are completely lost! I hear it all the time: “I don’t know how to cook,” “Can you teach me how to make lasagna?,” “How do you cook a proper steak?,” “Dude, isn’t my Frozen meal fine?” It seems that many of us have forgotten the essentials we learned about in our Home Ec class, and we have lost touch with food, cooking, and the brilliance of a wholesome, home-cooked meal.

So with life after Mom, you should learn to keep a few basics in your pantry and fridge for everyday cooking, and especially those great dates!

The ingredients below are all basic and inexpensive, and everyone should utilize them in their kitchen.

Keep these on hand and I will teach you how to create your own kitchen magic…


-Quality Extra Virgin olive oil

-Sea salt- not the iodized kind

-Balsamic vinegar

-Rice wine vinegar

-Dijon mustard


-Organic, natural, no-sugar peanut butter

-Sesame oil

-Chicken stock

-Worchester sauce

-Tomato paste

-Canned tomatoes- whole, peeled

-Canned garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas!)

-Ground ginger

-Garlic powder

-Dried basil

-Chili flakes





-Cocoa powder

-Raw almonds

-Raw walnuts

PS: Throw away your old, nasty, rotting herbs from 1997, they are as out as lipstick from the 1996 prom and the blue eye shadow circa 1998. Dump the old flour, rice, grains and baking soda/powders. After 6-12 months they are useless.




-Parmesan cheese

-Gruyere cheese

-Feta cheese

-Lowfat yogurt


– Unsweetened almond milk

-Orange juice

-Soy sauce

-Fresh garlic

-Fresh onions

-Fresh spinach

-Fresh romaine

-Fresh Roma tomatoes


-Frozen berries

-Frozen fish


– 0% Greek yogurt

– Fresh basil

– Truffle oil

– White vino to cook with

-Red vino to drink!

– Smoked paprika


-Roasted red peppers


-Blue Stilton cheese

Take this list to the local store, stock up and get to cookin’! It’s important that you keep your pantry happy and healthy. You are a reflection of your cupboard, my friend! So if you have a pantry full of cheesy poofs, potato chips, and pork rinds, what does that make you? hmmm?  xx ck

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