Pantry Must Haves🥫

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

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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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

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Summer plans !🤔

Florida 2019

For most of us summer has started and we are worried and concern about flying and staying in hotel rooms.

As I talk to friends I hear the same concerns and fears related to traveling, interacting with others at the airport, hotels, and beaches. Plans to the beach, softball games, ice skating with friends all activities that would have been planned for summer are on hold indefinitely.

How to entertain ourselves without using electronics? For the time being we are making a list of our most favorite activities, and anything new we like to learn and experience for the first time. We also have a list for things we enjoy doing that are more entertaining and keeps us in touch with classmates, and family members.

Here are 10 items on the list for our teens (created by them):

1- learn to do laundry

2- learn to iron

3- learn to chop vegetables

4- learn a new language

5- practice music

6- yoga

7- workout

9- try cooking new recipes

10- gardening

Hope everyone enjoys a healthy happy summer😎

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

Are you ready to be a Gardener? 🐞🐛

Dahlia

I was surprised to hear that nurseries are running out of tomato plants!? Personally I never had good luck planting them, but I guess with shopping dilemmas and food & vegetables some what been scarce, for some people growing their own food made sense. Or is this just a beginning of a trend?

Creating a garden, is not an easy task. It is extremely time consuming, and expensive. To create a garden and keep it beautiful, and healthy is a daily chore, but a chore that is delightful, gratifying, and heavenly.

I have had vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and flower gardens. Had to make peace with squirrels, bunnies, birds, and yes even lizards, that enjoyed leaving bit marks on tomatoes that were half ripped.

In mid summer when plants are well established and are in full bloom is when I sit back and enjoy as they say the fruit of my labor. But for now, I put on my gardening gloves and start my mornings with pulling weeds, watering and filling the holes that squirrels have left behind.

Gardens don’t just add color to our yards, or food to our tables, they make our homes a haven for birds, bees, and butterflies. They come to our gardens to find food and they pollinate our trees and flowers.

If you are a first time gardener, you will be a gardener for life.

Cilantro, & Thyme

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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

Martha Stewart’s slow cooker

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A new book by Martha Stewart is a collection of 110 recipes for the most favorite appliance in the kitchen. You might have guessed it! The slow cooker. This book has recepies for soups and stews. How to gently poach fish, cook up creamy scalloped potatoes, and bake a perfect cheesecake.

I know it might be too early? But this book can be a nice Christmas gift.

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