Revive Your Pantry

What do Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and Emeril Lagasse have in common? Well stocked pantries! A well stocked pantry is the quintessential tool for a well run home kitchen. A stocked pantry will get you and your family through tight budgets, unexpected bad weather, meal boredom and even unexpected guests.
The key to a well stocked pantry is variety, variety, variety. Canned goods, non perishables and staples such as rice and dry or canned beans are pantry essentials. But to really "jazz up" your pantry routine you have to remove yourself from the ordinary. Instead of the same old canned beans try different varieties. Pintos, garbanzos, lentils and others are a nutritious and affordable way to bring variety to the dinner table.
Condiments such as ketchup and yellow mustard don't have to be replaced but, they can be paired along-side grained mustard, sundried tomatoes, salsas, tapenades and fruit chutneys to reinvent any meal. Salt and pepper are "shaker" staples but, really "shake things up" by adding sea salt, kosher salt and cayenne pepper to your repertoire.
Long grained white rice may be your family's favorite but try some Basmati or Jasmine rice to give your meal a new spin. Fruit is no longer a no, no either. Dried fruits like raisins (dried grapes), Craisins (dried cranberries) and prunes (dried plums) are great to keep on hand for snacking by themselves or placed on top of your morning cereal. Even canned fruit is fine, as long as get varieties that omit sugar and other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.
Storing vegetables inside of the pantry is also fair game. The canning industry is thriving and allows consumers to partake of a myriad of vegetables no matter what the season. The vegetables are picked and canned at the peak of their freshness so take advantage of this technology, especially during their "out of season months."
Are you looking for a touch of sweetness to add to your next cup of tea or homemade cookies? While white "table" sugar may be the norm, raw sugar, agave nectar, local honey and molasses will add a novel and interesting twist to your next afternoon tea.
Use store sales and coupons to try new and exciting products. Don't shun the ethnic food/international aisles of the grocery store either. There is always something new and exciting lying around every corner. Keep your pantry well stocked and organized. Think of it as your own little store within your kitchen. Chips, sugary cereals, and cookies are common pantry occupants that can be a nemesis to your waistline. But follow these simple tips and the next time bad weather, an unexpected guest(s) or a case of meal boredom strikes, you will be well equipped.
Lisa is a true learner of life. Although much of her learning came from the scientific arena, she garners her lifestyle management lessons from any setting.
This self proclaimed "Domestic Life Stylist" is passionate about matters concerning the home and takes a multi-faceted approach to the topic from a modern mom's perspective.

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