My little garden is showing more and more shoots every time I look at it! That reminds me, I should probably attempt to possum-proof it tomorrow. The possums around here have a particular taste for my gardens usually, so I have some chicken wire somewhere I will attempt to fence off the area perhaps.
For the first time in a long time, it was sunny all day today. It meant that I could finally get to the markets again. Last year, my friends and I would meet at the markets virtually every Saturday morning for a coffee and chat (and breakfast sometimes!). It was a lovely tradition, but the rain has really kept us away. So this morning I spent the morning hanging at the markets, buying some fresh produce and having a coffee/juice with a couple of friends. I went straight to Body Balance afterwards, which is always a lovely start to the weekend. This afternoon, I decided to take my bike out for a ride. I’ve been wanting to go out for a while, but a) rain, b) my tyres were flat and c) my tyre pump didn’t work! Today, the stars aligned. It wasn’t raining, I had bought a new pump in preparation and so I had full tyres. I wanted to just go for a little ride, because it’s been awhile and it was also 4.30pm by the time I left. I rode into South Bank and I ended up riding side by side with a French lady whilst trying to dodge all the Saturday-afternoon-frolickers. We then struck up a conversation (to be truthful, she did most of the talking!) and rode together through to Kangaroo Point, across the Storey Bridge through the City Botanical Gardens and back home. It was nice to have company, it reminded me of the few rides I did with a friend last year. But, it did make my ride significantly longer than I had intended and I suspect I will be paying for it tomorrow. The ride was about 24km and took me about 2 hours. I also suspect that my blood sugar levels are going to drop significantly shortly.
Starting a whole foods diet can be daunting. I remember going in to the health food shop for the first time and being a bit overwhelmed (but also excited) by the sheer range of products. There was a whole aisle of bulk food items, an aisle of different flours, an aisle of canned goods, a full two sets of shelves dedicated to different types of pastas and noodles and don’t even get me started on the supplements and personal care products!
Over time, I think I have just about perfected the pantry staples. A lot of the time now when I see or think of a recipe I want to try, I almost always have the appropriate ingredients on hand. Sure, you could get really fancy and buy 10 different sorts of flours and every sort of nuts under the sun, but there isn’t really any need until you come across a specific recipe that requires it.
Without further ado, here is my list of pantry staples:
- Non-Dairy Milk – We prefer oat milk, however I also buy almond milk occasionally. Make sure you buy milk that doesn’t have any crazy ingredients in it or oil.
- Quinoa – There are a number of different colours of quinoa, I don’t know what the difference is really, but the one my health food shops sells a tri-colour one, so that’s what I buy.
- Brown Rice – Brown rice is far more nutritious than white rice as it hasn’t been as processed
- Millet – I love the taste of millet (it’s actually one of the main ingredients in birdseed). It is gluten free and is a good source of fibre.
- Rolled Oats – so so nutritious, and a must for breakfasts and baking
- Breadcrumbs – or rice crumbs. Good quality breadcrumbs only! Don’t buy ones that have preservatives in them.
- Spelt Flour (wholemeal and white) – spelt is a less processed version of wheat.
- Gluten Flour – this is a protein that is used in bread doughs, it’s really important when making bread
- No-Egg – A vegan, egg replacement. It is made out of potato starch and tapioca flour
- Wraps – great for lunches and quick dinners
- Rice Noodles
- Pasta – whichever type you prefer really. I tend to keep a couple of different ones in the cupboard. At the moment, there is some wholemeal spirals and some spinach udon noodles
- Dried Mushrooms – Sam and I last year discovered dried shitake mushrooms, they are great in soups!
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned sweet corn
- Canned legumes – kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans (alternatively, you can use dried legumes and soak them overnight. They are supposedly better for you, I keep some but most of the time I just forget to soak them!)
- Dried Red Lentils
- Baking Powder
- Stock – good quality. We use chicken stock a bit, for flavour (and most chicken stock powders won’t have any animal product in them)
- Spices and Dried Herbs
- Vanilla Essence
- Honey – I know this one is debatable for vegans, some eat it some don’t. We use it in baking a bit
- Agave Syrup – a great sweetener alternative to sugar in baking recipes! I never use sugar anymore
- Maple Syrup – same as Agave Syrup. Also, it’s yummy.
- Xylitol – on the rare occasion I need sugar (and it’s not replaceable in a recipe) I will use xylitol, but only ever in very small amounts.
- Cocoa Powder – a good quality cocoa powder is a must alternatively, you can use
- Cacao Powder – the original form of cocoa. It can be bitter, which is why such things as cocoa powder exist
- Coconut Oil – this stuff is amazing, and everyone must have some! I am planning a post on the amazing-ness that is coconut oil
- Dates – the perfect sweetener in baking, they are also great in smoothies
- Nuts – you can keep any on hand, we use walnuts and almonds the most. I love pecans, but they are so expensive so they are only a treat
- Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are so nutrient dense – fibre, omega 3, protein, 8 essential amino acids, calcium, vitamin C, iron, potassium, anti-oxidants – who wouldn’t want all of that? They are also work well as an egg replacement.
Of course, my pantry has about twice as much food in it as that, even some weird things like kelp powder, however these are my absolute staples!