Pantry Must Haves🥫

Necessary Items for any pantry

We usually think of our pantry as the place we store what we need for cooking on daily bases. I have come to realize these days, that my pantry should have everything I need to make meals for not just weeks but maybe months.

Believe me I don’t own a large pantry, so no room for a large varieties of food, but I have learned how to make meals that share the same basic ingredients. And with few more from the freezer, voila I have put together a nice meal.

To create a nice meal has always been important to me. I grew up in a household that eating healthy, and eating delicious meals took an entire day to prepare. Chopping vegetables, marinating the meat, making sauces, all were an important component of creating a delicious food, and setting a beautiful table.

So to keep stress out of my life I have grouped my basic pantry items in 4 categories:

1- cooking

2- baking

3- snacking

4- breakfast

For Baking

Always store Salt, peppers, spices, cooking oils in large quantities since they are used in daily cooking. Canned sauces, and tomatoes, canned vegetables, soups, tuna, pickles, olives, and pastas are another must haves, with long expiration dates that are easy to buy for storing.

Take advantage of end of season sales for baking, canned vegetables, and pastas. And remember you can store most ingredients like butter, cooked pastas, cooked rice, and breads, for few weeks in your freezer.

For an entire list on “ Pantry Must Haves” please visit:

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Progresso soup https://amzn.to/34Xv3pt

Spices https://amzn.to/3bwooE1

Hunts tomatoes https://amzn.to/3hSWynG

Barilla pasta https://amzn.to/32P1NOL

Smoothies for a snack 😋😌👍

Who doesn’t like to snack? When taking a refuge at home from the summer heat, it is easy to wonder around the kitchen looking for snacks. I am fan of snacking, and I can spend hours creating cheese trays or snack trays. I mix the chips with the healthy nuts and berries, and balance the bland with salty and spicy. Healthy snacks is what I am all about. Being a vegetarian most of my life my family gets bored with my healthy collection of berries, and nuts, so I give them a break by making smoothies on hot summer afternoons.

With smoothies everything goes. What you add for sweetness is a major part of keeping it healthy. To make smoothies sweet I often add honey, maple syrup, nutella and peanut butter. To make the mix smooth for drinking I add vanilla or chocolate soy, orange juice, or milk. Some cinnamon, vanilla extract with few drops of lemon juice for extra flavor.

Stay cool, and fill the gaps with yummy snacks.😘

Smoothie recipe:

Two bananas

1/2 mango

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blueberries (or other berries)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1cup OJ

1 Tsp Nutella

1Tsp of Honey for sweetness add as needed

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Healthy quick & easy smoothies book. https://amzn.to/39rrqIy

Summer Salad with Watermelon

Best way to eat fruits & vegetables sometimes is to make a nice salad. I have found it to be easier to add flavor and excitement to our food and get our kids to eat more fresh and healthy food.

One summer fruit that I love to serve is watermelon. With 1200 varieties, it is sweet, juicy, full of nutrients, and easy to serve.

Thirst quenching watermelon has many benefits, with 92% water, drinking its juice is an important way to keep our body hydrated.

Low in calories only 46 calories per cup, it is a great recovery beverage after a workout, and packed with vitamins, that help with :

1- Lowering blood pressure

2- high in antioxidants – prevents cell damage

3- helps in preventing cancer

4- helps with inflammation

5- helps with muscle soreness

6- helps with healthy hair & skin

One of my favorite salads in summer is watermelon feta cheese salad. Served with mint, glaze balsamic vinegar, olive oil, is cool and refreshing and everyone’s favorite.

Below is a video on how I made this easy salad. Try it & enjoy it 👍😋🍉

Peaches make Summer bearable😎

Peach cobbler with whipped cream

Grocery shopping is not one of my favorite things on my to do list. But every now and then, it turns out to be a lovely experience.

A few days ago when I was running through isles to pick up some vegetables, I froze when the wonderful sweet smell of peaches hit my senses. To be honest, these are the small things that make summer bearable. Sweet peaches, juicy watermelons, popsicles, grilled corn on the cob, and summer gardening. Yes, they are mostly food related, but any thing else involving the outdoors means facing the heat.

Going back to the sweet peaches, I planned on baking a peach cobbler, a bowl of fruit salad for a cool dessert, grill them as a side dish, and for breakfast mix it with yogurt.

Enjoy the peaches this summer.🍑

Peach cobbler

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Corn starch

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Baking dish

https://amzn.to/3elZDux

Chocolate sauce makes perfect Dessert 😋👍

we decided on what we are cooking for dinner, and for dessert, maybe a cookie, or ice cream, but you can add so much creativity to bunch of everything when you pour, yes pour chocolate sauce on the top.

We can leave our picky eaters to pull their own dessert together but mixing fresh fruits, and nuts or crumbled graham crackers.

Here is a list of our yummy delicious favorites, but this is a chance to get creative:

1- Bananas, peaches, berries..

2- coffee cakes, sponge cake..

3- waffles, pancakes..

4- favorite cereals: graham cereal, mini wheats..

5- walnuts, almonds, raisins…

6- ice cream, whipped cream…

Chocolate sauce recipe:

In a sauce pan

  • Mix 1/2 cup of unsweetened coco with 1 cup sugar until you don’t see any lumps
  • Add 1/8 tsp salt
  • Add 1/2 cup of cold water
  • Bring to boil over medium high, reduce heat let it simmer constantly stir for 40 seconds. Remove, let it cool add 11/2 tsp of vanilla.
  • Enjoy it cold or warm.
  • Just click below to watch the video on how to prepare this chocolaty sauce.
  • https://youtu.be/6_gcUrcVyt8
  • Finding Solace in Food😋

    Cooking and baking has become a necessity now that we all take comfort and safety in staying home. Watching cooking shows has been the most entertaining and age appropriate tv time for my entire family, and has been an easy way for me learn a few new recipes.

    If you have children at home you will relate to my hectic 3 meals a daily schedule. During the week lunch hour changes by the online school schedule, and only on weekends we all enjoy a more relaxed menu around the kitchen table.

    Food brings us together, and sitting together for a meal for me has always been comforting, and I do confess my family is not fussy or limited by food allergies, so I have less stress preparing meals.

    Since quarantine I have used my pasta maker 3 times, for spinach and ricotta ravioli, and fettuccini. Baked tart shells that everyone filled w their favorite fruits, and grilled chicken and burgers just to give myself a menagerie of recipes to prepare for our meals.

    We are all doing our best during the quarantine to keep it together, and I will remember this experience as the time I challenged my family to enjoy my cooking without ketchup.🤣

    Round eclairs stuffed with custard

    Burgers with home baked buns

    Giving up to sweatpants !🤣

    Staying home hasn’t been that stressful, what is stressful for me is keeping my family happy, healthy, focus on school work, and following a workout schedule.

    Since quarantine started, we have also let go of our many daily routines. Getting up at a certain time, shaving, wearing makeup, putting on clothes, socks, grabbing our to go coffee mug.

    To stay happy surrounded by our children and whoever we had to be quarantine with is more work than we are used to.

    We are realizing now that Cleaning, cooking, entertaining, educating, is more work and planning than we have ever done in the past and is simply exhausting, but also very necessary.

    For me making a large bowl of pasta, baking double chocolate brownies, gardening, going on long walks, watching a movie, wearing sweatpants all day long is what I need to do to stay, stress free, hopeful and happy surrounded with family. What I see for now as simply necessary.

    Learned a great lesson !

    A bouquet of herbs from our porch garden

    Quiet corners to relax

    Everybody helped with this delicious mega nacho dish

    I am sure we all have heard it, “everything in moderation” . There should be a balance with everything we do. Eat, exercise, social media, travel, and many other things we think of when treating ourselves. Too much of one thing, we are off balance.

    Considering what our world is going through some activities are difficult to plan, when we are aware of the hardship, people around us are going through.

    Call it guilt, but to feel happy and satisfied just doesn’t feel right. I believe we need balance in our world in order to enjoy a good movie, a good hardy laugh, or a great hug.

    If there is one important lesson in this difficult time to learn, and later teach our children is to be happy with every small thing around us. Turning our home to our sanctuary, cooking a great meal with our family, plant some herbs, go for walks.

    Face time, zoom, sharing photos is fine for now, they allow us to share our time at home with our friends, and family. We are staying in touch with our grandparents, help with home work, take flowers or herbs from our garden to neighbors & send thoughtful messages to our friends via email. It is our way to make others happy, and make our days special and productive.

    We all must Stay positive, stay at home and healthy, until things are back to normal.

    Staying entertained at Home

    Homemade pizza, making the dough was great fun

    I know every entertainment idea is not a good idea for all of us, but a few can make us all busy and happy at the same time.

    Here are a few fun ones :

    Cooking & Baking🥖🍳🍝

    Cleaning🧼🧽🧹

    Organizing🧺🗂

    Watching Movies🎟💽

    Exercising🧘‍♂️🤸‍♂️

    Gardening ( cleaning the yard )🌷

    Quiet time🤫

    Time on social media🤪

    By now we are all aware of the fact that being cut off from all social interactions is necessary in order to stay healthy. The fact that Corona virus can seriously harm people with health issues and the elderly, is a very frightening fact. Every time I hear the number of corona virus victims I am deeply sad for all involved.

    Helping others to keep their positive attitude helps us too. Checking on our elderly relatives, and neighbors, and reminding ourselves this is not forever.

    Didn’t want go to store for burger buns, so we baked some

    We are taking photos when we go for our long walks

    A One of a Kind Farmers Market

    With unique ingredients and organic recipes, the Santa Fe farmers market is one of the most famous markets in the Southwest.

    We start by strolling through the beautiful market’s pastry and bread vendors, enjoying the natural colors of hand died yarns. The fragrance of lavender hand made soaps and moisturizers is very present.

    Take a large shopping bag with you because you won’t go home empty handed.