Real Food Baby Step: Homemade Pantry Staples
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Real Food Baby Step: Homemade Pantry Staples

Easy. Homemade.

Guest post written by Mandi Ehman

This week I’m excited to release my brand new ebook, Easy Homemade: Homemade Pantry Staples for the Busy Modern Family, which is on sale for just $0.99!

When I first shared my new cookbook with Stephanie, I described it as “real food-lite.” It’s a bridging-the-gap cookbook for families, like mine, who want to eat healthier and eliminate questionable ingredients from their kitchens but aren’t quite ready to make their own kefir and kombucha or to soak grains.

This cookbook is full of common pantry staples and easy-to-follow recipes so that you can make your own from scratch.

The easy-to-follow part of that is key because I’ve never been a great cook, and my eyes tend to glaze over when a recipe has more than 5-7 ingredients or a long list of steps to follow.

But making homemade pantry staples has been an important part of our family’s real food journey, not only because we’re better able to control what we’re eating but also because it’s empowered me in the kitchen. I have more confidence today – knowing that I can take a list of basic ingredients and turn them into a variety of kitchen staples and truly cook from scratch – and I enjoy my time in the kitchen more than ever.

If, like me, your family is moving from a standard American diet to a whole foods diet, condiments and pantry staples may be low on your priority list, but here are some of the reasons homemade is better:

Sugar, sugar, sugar

During our family’s Break the Sugar Habit Challenge, I was shocked to realize how much sugar is added to food that really doesn’t need it. It’s added to sauces, condiments and more, teaching our taste buds to crave that sweet taste and making our bodies crave even more.

When we make homemade pantry staples, I’m able to a) eliminate the sugar altogether, b) reduce the sugar, sometimes drastically or c) choose an alternative sweetner that’s not as refined.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Even worse than the sugar content in many staples is the presence of HFCS. Although you can often find HFCS-free versions of many staples, they’re often more expensive and they still have high sugar contents.


Sadly, MSG is found in many, many pantry staples as a flavor enhancer, despite the fact that it can trigger headaches, heart palpitations and more in some people.


Our family’s not afraid of salt; in fact, we love it. But we use Real Salt because it’s unprocessed, doesn’t contain any fillers and still has more than 60 naturally occurring trace minerals. The sodium content in processed and packaged foods is often very, very high and doesn’t offer any of those same health benefits.


And finally, store-bought pantry staples often contain food dyes that have been banned in other countries. These offer no health or nutrition benefit whatsoever other than to make food brighter and bolder, which ultimately tricks us into thinking this is the way food is supposed to look, when it’s really not!

Our oldest daughter has a fairly strong reaction to red food dye – becoming emotional and irrational when she consumes it – which is a good enough reason for our family to avoid as much food dye as we can!

Easy. Homemade.

Easy. Homemade.

Discover more than 60 recipes for homemade kitchen staples in Easy Homemade, which is available for your Kindle or a full-color PDF to read on your computer for just $0.99 this week only!

PLUS, the first 100 readers to use coupon code KEEPER100 will get a FREE PDF copy of the ebook (all gone). But even if you miss that code, you can pick up your copy – including several great bonuses – for just $0.99!

Click here to get your copy today.

You’ll also find me sharing more about the what, why and how of homemade pantry staples at these great blogs:

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  1. hehe…at first glance, I thought you were making your own HFCS here. 🙂 Glad I read it. Looks like a neat book!!!

  2. I just downloaded my copy. I can’t wait to try these out. I have avoided some of these staples because of how hard I “thought” it would be to make them. Not so now. Thanks for keeping us updated!

  3. Mandi- I just wanted to say that I love how I love how your e-book’s cover goes horizontally instead of vertically. It really adds a great element of “difference” that I haven’t seen on most other ebooks. 🙂

  4. Thumbs up, Mandi!

    I just want to encourage real food “newbies” that baby step by baby step, you can transform your family’s food intake and reduce or eliminate processed foods. Decide that you won’t get overwhelmed in the process and you are doing the best you can with the knowledge that you have.

    For each baby step, I just stopped buying certain foods (i.e. crackers, candy, etc.). Eventually, my kids got used to not having those things in the house. It was helpful if I could find a healthy replacement before I stopped buying a certain item.

    1. Katie, the posts go up at various times over the next couple of days. You should be able to visit them at the times listed at the end of each one.


  5. Thank you so much for making this available – super excited to implement more real food into our pantry/diets!

  6. Thanks so much for all you do! My family is also trying to go as natural as possible with foods, as well as cleaning products and body products. I can’t wait to make the ketchup! The ebook is great! The recipes are all easy enough that I’m not afraid of trying them! 🙂

  7. I’m so excited for this. It’s just what I need. I think the first 100 people already claimed their book because the code didn’t work.

  8. I just bought your e-book. When I tried to download it I got a messae telling me I have to purchase WinZip to open it. It this the case or do I need to do something different?

    1. Dixie, I didn’t see your comment on Wednesday, but I’m emailing you the individual files now in case this still isn’t working for you! Thanks!

  9. Congrats on the new book launch, Mandi! I, too, have been on a quest to learn how to make everything from scratch the past few years. I’m so excited for you!

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