Proof that really good things come in very small packages!
This past July, my kids & I bought a home in the sweetest part of our little town. When we moved to Pennsylvania 12.5 years ago, I wanted to live in this charming borough, but I didn’t get the final say. We lived in 3 houses during that time & each time we moved I begged to move into one of these old homes in town. Well good things come to those who wait because here I am finally living exactly where I wanted. It is a quirky little community of gently rolling hills lined with sidewalks, local shops, restaurants, yoga studios (where I work), coffee shops & so many adorable homes. Most of the house are 50+ years old, mine dates back to 1924. It is a tiny little cottage with a terrific English garden out front & is without a doubt the most perfect house ever!!!
We moved from a very modern, larger brand new home where the kitchen was truly the centerpiece. I thought I couldn’t ask for anything more perfect…until we found this little bungalow.
Gone are the days of the 6-eye range, massive refrigerator, 2 ovens & more counter space than I could ever come up with ways to use. Now my kitchen spans about the width of my torso & arms & is only about 10 feet long. I had to seriously scale back my kitchen accessories & supplies to the basics & most favorites. I also had to get very creative with using the space. Both of my kids enjoying cooking & being in the kitchen, so despite have a kitchen about 10% the size of our old one, we all 3 still seem to be in there together all the time. I wouldn’t want it any other way!!
We have very limited cabinet space, no pantry & a smallish fridge. That really cuts down on the processed & packaged food coming in the house! This forced me into a major pantry makeover. I created a list of basic pantry items we needed to keep on hand at all times to ensure a well stocked, well organized & very nourishing cupboard. Oh did I mention that the majority of the cabinets are glass front??? YIKES!!!!!! So below was my solution….
Do you see what I see right away???? The mess that is the top shelf??!! Okay seriously, that shelf is so high you can’t even see it from standing & I need a stool to reach anything up there. Suppose I could have just cropped it, but life isn’t perfect & I am not about to make my kitchen look that why when the reality is isn’t! LOL!
So what is in all those jars? About half of our basic pantry staples.
Lots of dried beans; black, pinto, garbanzo & white navy beans
Red & green lentils
Green split peas & black eyed peas
Quinoa, couscous, brown rice & long grain wild rice
TVP (try to use this sparingly but man is it good with tacos)
Chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds & flax
Raw nuts & some slivered roasted almonds (so good on a smoothie bowl & salad)
Dried fruit (usually dates, cherries and mango slices – look for no sugar or sulfur added)
Always unsweetened coconut flakes
Crystalized ginger (a little treat but so good diced on a smoothie bowl)
Organic, non-GMO popcorn kernals
A lot of nutritional yeast!!!
No pictured & stored in another cabinet is a lot of our baking supplies, stuff like almond flour, coconut flour, whole wheat flour, oats, my homemade instant oatmeal, usually a box of Cheerios, raw cacao, hemp powder, a stray can of tomatoes, coconut milk for treats, coconut oil, ACV, baking soda & powder, pink salt, sesame oil, vegan egg replacement, my teas and all our spices. Well the spices are actually on the cart in the top photo under the mixer….So now you know all about my pantry basics. From these, I can whip up an endless list of meals by just adding some fresh produces & a couple other goodies.
I have found that simplifying what is in my pantry, makes it so much easier & cheaper to grocery shop & meal plan. The glass jars keep me organized & I can easily see what we have on hand. Plus it looks really pretty with those glass front cabinets.
If you have a pantry in desperate need of a makeover, just start slow & tackle it a little at a time until you have swapped out all those processed & packaged food items for whole, clean food basics that you can create all sorts of amazing meals from!