The French understand how to use raw ingredients to make the best flavors. French pantries are typically stocked full of raw beans, grains, and a multitude of tools essential for cooking fresh home-made meals.
Americans love to have things quickly, but the time spent on preparing homecooked meals is made up for in the flavor of the food, as well as the joy in sharing this time with friends and family.
Here is a great shopping list for your own French Pantry:
- Black beans (soaked, washed, cooked) with carrots, onions, salt, pepper added, w/sour cream
- Brown Rice (whole, not quick cook, w/ carrots, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper
- Baked Potatoes, smashed and mixed with cheese (not cheese sauce) and steamed broccoli
- Cottage cheese-organic
- Cheese Stix-mozzarella, organic if possible (no orange-those have chemical coloring)
- Cheese slices, natural cheese like Tillamook (costco!)
- Eggs, organic please-more vitamins, especially D! plus cheese, herbs, veggies, etc.
- Whole grain breads, toasts, (no preservative, high fructose corn syrup!) with cream cheese/butter
- Mashed potatoes mixed with ground turkey/beef, cheese, veggies.
- Fresh fruit, veggies-every single day! (Always keep in weekly fresh supply)
- Peanut Butter and Jelly on Whole Grain Bread, Natural peanut better and natural jelly.
- Corn Meal/Corn Bread, muffins, etc. (recipe on back of the bag)
- Spinach-fresh, then steamed, mixed with cheese and butter, salt and pepper-they love it!
- Whole Organic (yes full fat for the kids!) Milk
- Kefir-a high quality yogurt drink with probiotics-strawberry/blueberry-kids go crazy for it!
- Yogurt (not go-gurt!) any type of Greek with flavoring. If no flavor, add 1/4 tsp pure vanilla and just a touch of cane sugar for sweetness. Mix with Granola and fresh fruit. This is our typical bedtime snack!
- Chocolate Milk-Organic, full fat, from Calders or other local farm (check your health food store or Meijer carries it! A little chocolate and sugar is not bad with the benefits of the full fat milk for their heart and brains that need it! Mix with 1/2 organic white milk, if preferred to reduce sugar.
Things to buy and tips for buying food:
- Always keep BAGS of dried beans: black, lentil, white navy, any kind you like that you can use as above. Each week on Sunday, grab a bag, let it soak overnight on counter. Next day, cook the beans (follow pkg directions) and add your veggies to the final 30 mins of cook time. This should give you almost a full week of snacks and side dishes for the kids!
- PLAN 2 LARGE MEALS PER WEEK! Cook ahead, and have leftovers with new side dishes. (Whole grain Spaghetti or Roast Chicken with Steamed New Potatoes and Veggies?)
- If you have left-over bones from your Meat dishes, place bones and meat in freezer bag and throw it in the freezer. (I will show you how to use this in another blog, to make Soups, Stocks, and more!)
- Buy WHOLE MILK for the kids and teens. Kids do not get obese from these dairy products, but instead from fast food, boxed food, greasy restaurant meats, soda pop, etc., And, their bodies NEED these full fats to GROW their brain and vital organs (through the age of 20). You will notice them sleep better at night, and be more calm during the day, if you make the switch to full fat, organic dairy. If you skip dairy altogether, make sure you work with a nutritionist to ensure you are providing replacement foods for your children.
- Try to shop PESTICIDE FREE, ANTIBIOTIC-FREE, PRESERVATIVE-FREE, AND GROWTH HORMONE FREE! Meijer and Costco have great selections or Organics that are equal in price, or not too much higher, than commercial foods. It is worth the few pennies to preserve the health of your babies!