Welcome to my virtual kitchen! Here I will share with you what pantry items I love to have on hand, along with my most important kitchen tools. I almost always buy organic food, and that’s something that it took me years to decide to do, so if that’s not your thing, no problem! If you want to know more about things that have shaped my views on food, visit the explore page!
The following are the foods I would ideally have fully stocked at all times! In the real world, I’m more likely to have a rotation of these things in random combination, because my husband doesn’t think I should spend ALL of our money on groceries (as if there’s anything better to spend money on… bills schmills, I say).
whole wheat pastry OR white whole wheat flour
quinoa (not a grain, but whatevs)
oats, steel cut or old fashioned rolled
oat flour (super easy to DIY)
basmati rice (preferably an Indian brand, because they really aren’t all the same)
multigrain spaghetti (Hodgson Mills Ultragrain is a good one)
soba noodles (check for 100% buckwheat, which is gluten-free)
brown rice noodles
brown rice and quinoa pasta (I like the Trader Joe’s one)
cinnamon sticks or bark
cardamom seeds (also comes as pods with the seeds inside)
saffron (expensive, but a little goes a LONG way)
* An Indian grocery store may be the most cost effective place to find these spices
cinnamon (I like Saigon cinnamon)
virgin coconut oil
almonds (raw, whole/slivered)
pecans/walnuts (raw unsalted)
cashews (raw unsalted)
peanut/almond butter (roasted, salted or unsalted, always unsweetened)
tahini (I haven’t found all brands to be similar. I really like “Once Again” brand)
pepitas/pumpkin seeds (raw unsalted)
sunflower seeds (raw unsalted)
cocoa powder/cacao powder
dark chocolate chips
red lentils (masoor daal)*
French puy lentils
split pigeon peas (toor daal)*
black chickpeas (kala chana)*
black eyed peas*
white beans (northern, navy or cannellini)
* May cost less at an Indian grocery store
extra firm tofu
coconut milk (my one canned item, until I decide to start making it!)
olive oil (for sautéing, so not extra virgin)
apple cider vinegar
apples (I use apple puree in baking)
Having good tools in your kitchen can really make a world of difference. That being said having too many tools/dishes/mismatched tupperware (AHH!) in your kitchen can drive you to insanity. One of the best things that happened to me in terms of kitchen organization was moving to a place with a tiny kitchen. Do I wish I had more counter space and beautiful island… and lived on a beautiful island? Yes, yes I do. But do I love the fact that my kitchen doesn’t contain cabinets full of things that get used somewhere between rarely to never? Definitely. I’m somewhere between the lines of being forced to be a minimalist and actually attempting to be a minimalist and, given that, I’d love to share what I have found to be essential and useful in my cooking journey!
- Wonderful for spreads like hummus, falafel, breaking down nuts/oats. I use the shredder attachment on mine as well, especially for hash browns! The one I have isn’t anything special so I don’t have a recommendation.
high speed blender
- I use a Vitamix blender. I ended up purchasing a smaller blender cup for it as well, because I make a lot of small batches of things. (Snag one during large sales events and look for certified refurbished models to get a major discount).
- Perfect for super smooth smoothies/purees/sauce, making flour (oats, almond, etc), and even works for grinding spices, but that use can stain the blender cup. I learned this when my mom made a garam masala mix in it for me and now I have a permanently brownish blender cup + garam masala, so totally worth it.
- I use an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, which I definitely recommend if you are ready to buy your first pressure cooker. I have used a manual pressure cooker for years, though, so I can answer questions on both!
- Great for cooking up dried beans/lentils and just getting anything super soft quickly (potatoes, cauliflower): see my pressure cooker post for more details
- An immersion blender is excellent for things like not burning yourself trying to put hot things into a blender and having them explode everywhere.
- Doesn’t get things as super smooth as the high speed blender, but definitely worth it for blending up large batches that don’t need to be 100% smooth (like my pinto beans)
mini muffin tray
- Wonderful for making all kinds of toddler sized yummies either baked or snack bars (bars/raw cheesecakes)
- Also wonderful for adult portion control because when you want to eat six muffins it feels much better when they are mini
- Double size trays are great for making extra to freeze
silicone ice cube tray
- Ideal for freezing purees and sauces, and getting ones with lids is nice for stacking!
- If I had known about this device before my daughter was out of the puree phase, I would have 100% bought it.
- It steams, blends and reheats your baby food. Seriously a lifesaver if you are making all your baby food from scratch. Also we avoid microwave use, so being able to reheat in this thing is one of it’s best features.
soy milk maker
- I used to use a SoyaJoy G4 (1.5 L capacity) to make my milks. It can make many different types of milk, from raw milks to ones that require heating (such as soy).
- It is quite bulky (probably 3 liters in size, because you only fill it halfway with liquid) and in my opinion only worth having if you want to make milks that require heating. For raw milks (such and hemp and almond) a large capacity high speed blender would be a better choice.
- Awesome for cooking stews/chilis, because of the heavy lid and heat distribution/retention. Also you can make crusty bread in these! I’m actually not a huge bread fanatic, but I am a crusty bread fanatic… more accurately a crust-of-the-crusty-bread fanatic (like ideally I would scoop out the insides and just eat the crust). Plus making Dutch oven breads require seriously minimal effort and you get to feel like you are super fancy baking gorgeous bread at home.
- An enameled pot would be easier to care for.
- Make your own corn tortillas without weird preservatives that eerily last for way too long in the fridge. I could eat Mexican food every day (especially if avocados are involved, oh, man!), so this one makes sense for me!
smooth bottomed cast iron pan
- Perfect for pancakes, crispy potatoes, and fajita veggies; cast iron = high, even heating