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.

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.

Watch the video on how I made this easy salad. Try it & enjoy it 👍😋🍉

Healthy hair for a youthful look 👍

Healthy looking hair is important at any age. It is true as we get older our skin, and hair can change drastically, and not because we are getting older, but because of poor diet and the side effects of certain medications that we are forced to take.

Changing to a healthier diet can be the easiest solution, and eliminating stress and anxiety maybe the most difficult to achieve.

To start with the easiest changes, we need to wash our hair often to get rid of the oil that can weaken the hair follicles. And with daily brushing we are giving our scalp a message and moving oil from our roots keeping our scalp.

Healthy diet with good sleep habits are also important for healthy hair growth.

Using miniral oils while messaging can help too. Here are 3 DIY recipes :

1- One tablespoon of almond oil, three to four drops of rosemary essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Mix them together and rub it into your scalp to stimulate hair growth.

2- Message your scalp every morning with a mix of three ounces of cayenne pepper and 1/5 of vodka. Rub a small amount to your scalp once every morning to help stimulate hair follicles by helping blood circulation.

3- Use castor oil, mix one ounce of castor oil with four drops of rosemary essential oil and massaging it into your scalp. Rinse out after 30 to 45 minutes. Caster oil Is rich in Omega-9 fatty acids and vitamin E that helps with hair growth.

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Rosemary oil

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Peppermint oil

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Almond oil

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Castro oil

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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

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

Healthy, Delicious & fast

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It is time to eat, and  it is not just you starving but your loved ones are looking at you as if you had already planned the next meal and are ready to present them with a new and delicious spread that will please everyone’s taste buds.

I experience this more than a few times a week and since I constantly preach healthy eating, I can not bring myself to frozen meals or ordering in. So my weapon of pleasing is preparing salads with everyone’s favorite ingredients.

Salads served hot or cold With or without meat with loads of everyone’s favorite veggies, fruits ( dried or fresh) nuts, and simple dressings like olive oil with lemon and salt, oil and vinegar.

To keep my salads exciting I often use left over salmon, chicken or beef. For vegetables & fruits : beets, turnips, celery, mango, pomegranate seeds to give it an exotic twist.

Last nights dinner was salad served hot with chicken, farfalle Pasta, corn, peas, broccoli, asparagus, mozzarella chunks drizzled with glazed vinger, salted sunflower seeds, wild rice with a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. It was a winner and the leftovers will be great too.

To the next meal💪🏻👍

Wild rice https://amzn.to/2Twvdxb

Ronzoni pasta https://amzn.to/2TwvGiV

Sunflower seeds https://amzn.to/37ClPQC

Salmon https://amzn.to/3jpx694

 

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Honeydew smoothie

8F780F6F-E776-48A0-80D0-6BA01D33FF3EAnother hot humid day, no sign of relief.

So a perfect time for a cold sweet smoothie. We usually make one when we buy a honeydew that is not sweet or just not flavorful, but this one was sweet as honey, so no need for honey or maple syrup.

our  ingredients :

slices of honeydew

strawberry

banana

orange juice

cup of crushed ice

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