A Real Foodie’s Pantry and Cupboards

So I’ve been brainstorming this new series I’ve recently begun, and came to the conclusion that as I talk about starting with the right ingredients, how to shop with nutrition in mind, food groups and balance for a growing family, etc. it only made sense to begin right here. Chez moi.

6a 00e 54f 14494b 883400e 553c 236468833 200wi This week I bring to you an incredibly detailed tour of the innermost workings of my pantry and food cupboards (this is an old picture of my pantry- the contents are similar, but it’s currently much more full than this!). I do this for several reasons:

1) When you don’t know where to start, sometimes it helps to see exactly what someone else is doing. Personally, I loved Heavenly Homemaker’s series on real food, and the glimpse into exactly what she spends her money on. It was helpful to see what was similar to me, and what wasn’t, and how a mom with older and more children (and all boys!) was doing it.

2) It helps to take some of the things I talk about and make them real. Now you’ll know what is really in my kitchen, and if it’s ambiguous or unclear, I’ll try to let you know what it’s for or why I buy it. It may help you to understand exactly what we do and don’t eat (and you’ll even see a few of our weaknesses!).

3) It may help to paint a picture for you of what stocking a kitchen with real, whole foods might look like. Some of you may be very surprised. Some of you may think “hey, that sounds like my pantry!” Many of you may fall somewhere in between.

By no means do I believe my kitchen or style of cooking to be perfect or exemplary in any way (far, far from it!), but we have made a journey over the past 6 years to eating almost entirely whole foods that are homemade, and perhaps this little glimpse it worthwhile for those who are a bit earlier into their own journey of eating healthier!

So, what’s in my pantry?

Bottom shelf– Non-refrigerated produce, dry beans, oil.

  • Bag of organic potatoes, bag of yellow onions (sometimes organic, sometimes not), bag of sweet potatoes (in the winter I would have squash, too)
  • 3 L tin of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Big bag of salted Kettle Chips (see how early the weaknesses come out?)
  • Big bag of organic corn tortilla chips (we really enjoy Mexican food)
  • Large bags and bins of dry beans: chickpeas, black beans, refried bean mix, red adzuki, red lentils, kidney, navy, pinto

Next shelf– Grains/baking

  • Large bin of brown rice
  • Organic steel cut oats (2 lg. bags)
  • Bit of org. oat flakes and spelt flakes, and a small bag of organic oat groats
  • 1 gallon raw wildflower honey (which I use for all my baking)
  • 1 bag unbleached, wheat flour (for the purpose of baking or making meals for others)
  • Tub of bulk rice pasta (Tinkyada brand- our favorite!)
  • Lg. bag of organic spelt berries for grinding into flour (this is my primary baking grain)
  • Lg. bag of organic unhulled buckwheat (the dark kind- I bought this by accident), and one of hulled buckwheat (the light kind- this was on purpose- I mostly use it to sprout and make into granola, or to grind for baking)
  • Large container of dried, shredded coconut
  • Bag of organic quinoa
  • And usually, I have millet, but I need to re-order some

Next shelf– Cans/more pasta/random

  • Box egg replacer (for me- I am trying to avoid eggs, as they seem to exacerbate my eczema- this is incredibly sad, as good quality eggs are such a powerhouse of nutrition!)
  • Box of Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain spaghetti noodles, and a box of Tinkyada rice lasagna noodles
  • Jars of raspberry preserves
  • Large box of croutons, bought nearly a year ago for making lunch for those who helped us move into our house- think they’re still good? Hmmm…
  • Case of cans of tomato paste
  • Bag of homemade sprouted, raw buckwheat granola
  • Cans of wild pacific salmon (alaskan is better, but much pricier)
  • Bottle of Knudsen prune juice (cause you just never know when someone will need it! 🙂
  • Small jars containing: green lentils, lima beans, organic popping corn
  • Bag of pot barley (for soups, stews, etc. though I prefer unhulled barley for baking and pancakes)
  • Small bag of wild rice

Next shelf– Dried fruit/more cans/random

  • Large bag of dried dates (I use these in baking and smoothies, and my kids eat them like candy)
  • Large box of organic raisins
  • Seeds for sprouting: clover and broccoli
  • Last can of a case of organic diced tomatoes
  • Renegade bag (large one, too!) of semi-sweet chocolate chips- now what bad girl bought those and snuck them into my pantry? Or better question yet- who was it that ate a handful of them while making the list of all the healthy foods in her pantry??? Oh wait, that was me! 🙂

Top shelf– Mostly extras

  • Couple cans of club soda that don’t fit in the fridge (one of my hubby’s favorite drinks is concentrated apple juice mixed with club soda- a much healthier alternative to pop!)
  • Extra bottles of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and organic apple cider vinegar
  • Extra baking powder and raw carob powder
  • Extra cod liver oil (mint flavored- yum!)
  • Bag of white pasta for guests or to bring meals to others
  • Bag of organic yellow corn meal (did you notice that all my corn products are organic? This is because corn is most often genetically modified these days, not to mention highly sprayed. Best to eat it organic, or not at all)
  • White sugar (for making kombucha, and baking for others)

Upper cupboards– spices, baking, oils, etc.

  • Food coloring (only for playdoh, never for food! I use fruit/veggie juices to color instead), and birthday cake candles
  • Baking powder (aluminum free)
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Bag of Orgeon Spice Ranch Buttermllk Dressing powder (one of my few convenience foods- I love to use this to mix up a quick veggie dip with yogurt or sour cream)
  • Remnants of a bottle of organic Sunflower Oil (used for making homemade mayo)
  • Bag of Redmond’s RealSalt (sea salt from Utah)
  • Extra bottle of liquid Stevia, and a box of Stevia packets
  • Raw carob powder (I use this in place of cocoa)
  • Bag of kelp powder, and a container of nutritional yeast flakes (though I’d group together two of the weirdest items, just for fun- sounds strange, but we love the yeast flakes on popcorn!)
  • Spices galore! Interesting whole foods cooking is best with lots of variation in spices!
  • Organic virgin coconut oil (for frying and baking)

Was that detailed enough for you? Phew! 🙂 Questions? Comments?

For those who feel that they have a lot to purge and a long ways to go towards having healthy foods stocked up in their kitchen, what are some of the first items that you think need to go or be added? What sounds most feasible to you?(And remember, my pantry is not the ideal- it is just an example. This will look a bit different for everyone!)

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  1. Thank you so much for posting that!!! I don’t know how many times I’ve just been so overwhelmed in my desire to lead a healthier lifestyle and just not known where to start or what to buy. I’ve often thought that if someone else could just mentor me, in a way, that I would stand a better chance at actually making permanent changes.

  2. Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for this post! I love this because I don’t know any “real” people who are doing this, so it’s so great to get a glimpse into someone else’s pantry. 🙂 Happily (scarily?), my pantry is getting very close to looking a lot like yours! I still have a ways to go in my baking cupboard. For financial reasons, I plan to use up what we currently have before replacing things with healthier alternatives. I’m almost out of regular baking powder, and will be happy when I can replace it with the aluminum-free variety! I’m also excited about adding nutritional yeast to our pantry soon. We are vegetarian, and I’ve heard that nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B12. Nearly everything in our house is now organic, which feels great. I love knowing that I’m feeding my children the healthiest foods possible.

    Thanks for this post!

  3. The first things I added were vigin coconut oil and whole grains.

    The first things I got rid of were anything with MSG, “natural” or “artificial” flavors, and anything with sugar or sugar substiture in it.

    Can Tinkyada be bought in bulk? That is our favorite brand also, it cooks up so nicely.

  4. My husbands favorite food is cereal, so we always have it in the cupboard. There are some decent organic brands, but does anyone have any good basic cereal recipes like granola w/out tons of sugar?

  5. Hi Stephanie!

    Have you ever heard of Living Without magazine? It’s a food allergy support magazine that I saw in the Whole Foods Market near me. I was looking through it, and one of the things they suggested for replacing eggs was 1/4 of a banana. Now, I doubt that would work with something where you want egg flavor (such as a quiche or omelette or the like), but it would work for baking cakes, pancakes, and quick breads. HTH!


  6. Hannah and Alissa, you’re welcome! Glad it’s helpful!

    Trying traditional, I buy my Tinkyada in bulk from Azure Standard. I’m not sure where else it’s available in bulk- does anyone else know?

    Faith, it is a struggle to find good cereals. Nourishing Traditions actually says most cereals are not okay due to the high temperature processing,and the difficulty of digesting even the whole grains they use. However, a homemade soaked granola recipe would be perfect, and you could adjust the sweetener level as you like. I believe I saw one at Passionate Homemaking… ah yes, here it is:
    I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m planning to, as it looks great!

    Judy, thanks for the tip- I’ve never tried using banana as a substitute!

  7. Thank you for this and the other posts you do. The time and effort you put into posts like this amaze me! They are so helpful for someone like me who is just starting a Nourishing Traditions lifestyle, but has no real world examples to follow–thank you.

    On to my question: One of the first things I added to my pantry was coconut oil. How important, in your opinion, would it be to have Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as compared to just a plain coconut oil? The difference in price in my area is about $4. Thanks for your help and time in answering my question. Keep up the great work!

  8. My pantry looks fairly similar, only not in such a nice spot! Wow you have a nice spot for your pantry! Mine is partly in one tiny cupboard in my small kitchen, and the rest is down two levels in the basement on shelves! 🙂 Thanks for posting the granola recipe, I will have to try that! Not sure I could ever convince DH to give up commercial cereal though. 🙂

  9. I forgot to add that in case you don’t know, flax seed makes a great egg replacement. I can’t remember what it was right now, but you make a sort of “gell” with a bit of water…I am sure you can google it if you don’t know about it already. Although I can eat eggs, I have used it when I don’t have any in the house and get the same results.

  10. What a great tour, Stephanie. That would be a really interesting carnival if others were as brave to post! =)

  11. Hi. This is my first time to your blog, I clicked through from Passionate Homemaking. I love this post! I would be embarrassed to post my pantry items next to yours. Thank you for giving an in-depth look at a pantry of someone who has been doing this for a while. i am just getting started with grains, and other healthier fare, and truth be told, don’t even know what some of the items in your pantry are! In my house there is a lot of cheerios, pasta and bread – they have always been staples in my home, and it’s hard to steer away from it. Thanks again for the insight, I will be looking for some of these items at the store soon!

  12. Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing! I would be WAY to embarrassed to post my pantry list. I am from Northeast Georgia. Many of the items you listed,I have never heard of. May I ask where you get your items,especially the “exotic” ones? Where I live,our only options are Ingles,and if we don’t mind driving 30 miles,Aldi. I do grow alot of my own produce in the summer,and can or freeze as much as possible. I have several chickens and get fresh,organic eggs daily. I am a family of 5,with 3 growing,PICKY children. I will admit that my oldest daughter is literally addicted to junk food,so I would dearly love to make the switch to real,wholesome food. Are there any tips or advice you can give on this? Thank you so much for all the help you provide and for this wonderful site. You are amazing!!

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