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.

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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

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 👍😋🍉

Figs & mozzarella

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Cream filled mozzarella ball (burrata) topped with figs, berries & walnuts

We love mozzarella on our salad or on top of a heaping hot pasta dish, but for breakfast it is light & something fresh.

adding berries and walnuts just adds to this nutritious, easy to make breakfast. We all know about the benefits of berries eating walnuts help with lowering blood pressure, inflammation, helps with weight loss, and supports good brain function.

Healthy Brain diet, for Kids

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We need to Avoid food that contain artificial sweeteners, foods that contain high amounts of sugar, saturated fat or caffeine.

Processed foods like deli meat have been linked to triggering ADHD symptoms in children. Instead choose foods that contain antioxidants, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates that boost brain health.

Fruits & nuts for snacks

Apples

Pears

Oranges

Kiwi

To add Protein to a healthy diet :

beans, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, multi grain cereal. Eggs, milk, goat cheese, and Greek yogurt.

Fish for omega 3 & fatty acid

Salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, sardines, herring.

Making tuna wraps, sandwiches and pasta salads for kids lunches is a great way to add good fat to their diet.

For salads, sandwiches, and wraps use Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. These greens are full of folate and vitamins .

 

 

 

Crumpets are yummy

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Happened to watch Bobby Flay making crumpets for brunch & we had to try it.

Hoping to have them ready for breakfast had to rush through the mixing but needed to let the dough sit for an hour. Before that added more flour to the mix since ours looked too watery & didn’t quite look like a smooth dough.

We let them cool before hvg them with butter & honey & served a couple after dinner toasted with cherry jam, butter & peanut butter. 

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Warm crumpets are delicious. We cut them in triangles & had them with salad & soup for lunch.

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Crumpet with scrambled eggs, turkey bacon side of cherry jam & fruits

 

Grapefruit, not just for breakfast

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If you are having a difficult time to make grapefruit as part of your families regular food, you are not alone. At our home this amazing, beautiful, nutritious fruit makes its way into salads, sides for sandwiches, and mid day snacks.

Benefits:

Skin

Fights skin damage, reduces wrinkles, and gives you an all over healthy look since it  plays a vital role in the formation of collagen. We can even apply the juice directly to skin. 

Heart

Lowers blood pressure, helps with weight control, & lowers blood sugar.

Digestion

High in fiber & water, grapefruit promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

 

 

 

Summer Snacks to satisfy the entire family

On the beach, by the pool, the car trip they all call for snack time.

with the warm temperatures how to keep everything fresh is a problem but to make tasty snacks to satisfy everyone is a bigger problem.

Here is a list of few snacks our family loves.

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Watermelon

Great way to stop your thirst & served with chunks of feta cheese replenishes the salt you need. Easy to transport cold or room temperature still good to eat.

Fruit & veggie bowl with cheese

grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers mixed with chunks of favorite cheese. Mozzarella sticks or cheddar cubes work well together.

Hummus, yogurt  with veggies

hummus with water-rich veggies like baby carrots, celery sticks or sugar snap peas.

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Peanut butter & jelly

with bread or whole wheat crackers, easy to pack & store since you don’t need to worry too much about keeping them cool.

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Oranges, tangelos 

Oranges are hydrating and thirst quenching. they are high in vitamin C, which has been shown it limits the damage of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

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Target cooler

Pack everything in a cooler back pack any spills will be contained.

Be safe & Healthy😎

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snacking before bed, Good or Bad?

Yogurt with drizzle of honey, or toast peanut butter topped with slices of peaches

Good. There is Nothing wrong with having a snack before going to bed to ease the hunger feeling. We all have those long days that keep us awake way after we had dinner & right before bed the hunger feeling Keeps us from falling sleep.

Two important things before we eat.

1- it should be only a snack

2-  a snack that won’t keep you up.

* Snack we pick should be light on the stomach and low on fat content.

* No sugary, caffeinated, or spicy foods.

Any snack with complex carbs and protein will release amino acids into our body that could actually help us sleep better at night.

Here is a list of 10 snacks :

1- Peanut butter

2- Pistachios

3- Greek yogurt

4- Cottage cheese

5- Popcorn

6-  White Meat Turkey

 7- High fiber cereal

8- fruits

9- whole wheat cracker

10- dates & nut butter

 

Persimmons “ The fruit of the gods”

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So sweet and delicious these beautiful fruits originally from China are in season from October to February.

More than 100 varieties we are only familiar with two. The fuyu and hachiya persimmons. The fuyu variety the flat and round shape is full of flavor when they are just soft to the touch, but the acorn shape the hachiya needs to be perfectly rip, very soft to touch before it is sweet and flavorful.

Loaded with vitamins, persimmons are good for our heart, immune system, and are an excellent source of powerful antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids.

Easiest way to enjoy a hachiya persimmon :

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Cut out the top

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Cut in half  lengthwise 

How does Fasting work?

We hear from friends and coworkers that fasting is their choice of regulating their weight during this time of the year.

Does it really work or is it healthy it all depends on how fasting is done!!

When we consume Carbs, sugar and refined grains, they quickly break down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If we are not active we store it in our fat cells as fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there. If we don’t eat between meals our insulin level goes down and fat cells release sugar stored so we can move around and be active.

When we fast our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.

Studies show when we stop eating during the day is a key on losing weight. Eating between 7am to 3 pm, or 10am to 6 pm, and avoiding any snacking between meals is the smart way to regulate our weight .