1.24.2014

pantry basics





A lot of you have expressed interest in the contents of this little pantry, so here you go...
And just in case you have nothing better to do, I have talked about it in the past here, and you can see right here what it used to look like.  Oh and why not throw in a look at my kitchen drawers? Riveting stuff.


Top Shelf -  I keep a variety of vinegars in the house.  Balsamic, red wine, rice wine, apple cider and plain white.  I usually have a plain salad oil like sunflower and always extra virgin olive oil.

The canned foods I keep are usually 2 or 3 cans of diced tomatoes, a couple of cans of beans, coconut milk, tomato soup.  I look at canned foods as my lazy night alternatives to scratch cooking.

I always, always have jarred jalepenos, they add so much flavor and heat to everything.  Plus agave, Braggs liquid aminos and liquid smoke, which I use in place of anything that needs a smoky flavor to it.  Also nutritional yeast, but I keep that in the refrigerator.

I also like to keep a box of Knorr vegetable broth cubes around.  They are a great stand-in for fresh.  Not as healthy but in a pinch they do the trick.  Every kitchen I ever worked in used knorr instant bouillon.

2nd Shelf.  I always have a variety of dried beans and lentils and also white and brown rice on hand.

3rd Shelf.  I keep my flours and sugars in those sealed tubs.

On the back shelf you can see a tub that I can seal shut that keeps the nuts fresh.  I always have walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds on hand.

Next to the Le Creuset dutch oven you can see another little tub that holds my baking things.  It has the vanilla extract, baking spices, baking soda, baking powder and yeast in it.  I like keeping these corralled into one little box that I can easily grab.






Opposite side of pantry above toaster and coffee pot.  This is what I call our breakfast station.  Our coffee, teas and oatmeal are kept here.  Also pastas, quinoa, etc.

I also always have potatoes, onions, celery and carrots in the house.  They, along with the rest of what you see are the backbone of my kitchen.  With a few fresh ingredients there is hardly anything I can't make from scratch.

So what are your pantry basics?  Am I missing something you think I should have?  Fill me in.


61 comments:

  1. It looks wonderful. So clean and organized. No chaos.

    How do you manage your spices? Mine are an out of control mess and I'd love some tips.

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    1. I used to have my spices on a shelf and it was a nightmare every time I needed to find something. I finally got smart and placed them all in a deep drawer next to where I cook. I put labels on the top of each jar/tin that didn't already come that way. When I get really ambitious I straighten and alphabetize them, which makes it even easier to find them. This has made my life so much easier.

      Vada

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  2. Looking at your pantry makes me happy, so neatly organized and free from clutter. I don't think you need to add anything else to that. You already have everything you need! I also keep instant bouillon cubes in my pantry and that makes cooking so much easier and food tastier. And that Le Creuset dutch oven. I want one. Do you have a regular large pot for soups etc. besides that?

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  3. Such a lovely simple system. I too find vinegars to be the secret ingredient. Have you ever tried Chinese black vinegar? Liberal use of that and pepper is what gives hot and sour soup its flavor.

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  4. I keep very few things in my pantry, hmm, nuts because I live on them and what else, ooh almond butter (surprise) that's about it, nothing in the freezer, nop that's it, we shop twice a week, buy what we need and scoff the lot.

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  5. Omg you would faint if you saw my pantry. Somehow you really do have it all there! Like the first comment, I have a major issue with spices.

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    1. ok. for all of you with spice issues, i just added a link in there with my kitchen drawers. :))))

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  6. I have serious pantry envy....would love to have one! Yours is so bright and airy and well organized.
    I like thick balsamic crema as I dress steamed veggies with it. You might enjoy it too as you like vinegars.

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  7. Your pantry is so lovely and I think you have great staples! The only thing I miss is quinoa. I eat it several times a week and it is so tasty and filling, really perfect to serve with vegan or vegetarian food.

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    1. I reread your entry and just saw that you do have quinoa, sorry!

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  8. Hi, I'm a new reader and found you through your olive oil beauty post. I enjoyed reading every comment! I'm in Israel and we walk on olives they are so common here. I'm going to try your oil as lotion suggestion.

    I like your vinegar selection. I use all those plus sherry vinegar. It shines in a homemade dressing. I haven't looked at your spice link yet. I have to store spices in the freezer due to heat and bugs. They are lined up in the door shelf. Keeps them fresh...and no clutter :-)

    I have a dutch oven as well and use it to death! It's my soup/pasta/rice/bread cooker. I hardly need another big pot, just a couple of smaller ones. The best investment I ever made.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts here. Thanks for sharing and caring!
    Debi

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  9. Your pantry is wonderful. I love reading any of your home keeping entries! I am just fascinated by how others keep house.

    Isabella

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    1. Me too Isabella, I love things like this, so much to learn.

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  10. Well, first of all, you know I think your pantry is fricking adorable! I'm not a big cook, so I'm always more interested in the cuteness :)

    I do love to bake though, so you've given me a great tip....putting all the baking goodies in a bin....brilliant! Thanks :)

    Have a great weekend Janet! xo

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  11. I just peeked through your kitchen drawers and I'm shocked by how little you manage with. Shocked in a good way. I think it's great. I feel like I'm drowning in things, things, things. Don't get me wrong, they're all neatly put away but I often wonder why I feel like I need so many kitchen gadgets. I'm hoping to do a cleanse soon. It'll be the second cleanse in 11 years. I guess I didn't learn from the first one. Sigh.

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  12. Enjoyed this post, Janet. You're so inspiring - thank you for taking the time.
    Please don't go anywhere : )

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  13. Thank you, Janet for proving that we don't need so many "things". I have been purging like a mad woman and it's getting pretty addictive (in a good way). I feel so much better with less! I'm at the point where I will give to anyone, just to get it out of my home. By letting go of things that didn't matter, I can focus on the things that do. You are such an inspiration to me, and I thank you!

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  14. Janet - we are very similar! I may do a similar post as now I am curious! Liquid smoke? Never heard of it and am intrigued!

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  15. Janet, You are such an inspiration! Thank you! I love your minimal pantry and drawers. It must be so peaceful to cook in your kitchen. I have started purging my closets and now I can't wait to do my kitchen. Is the drawer you store your spices in a deeper drawer and what do you have them stored on so that they are easy to see? Have a wonderful weekend! :)

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  16. I'm challenged in this area and simply can't take all this in one post (I also referred to the other posts you conveniently mentioned to 'click' on). You put me to shame. I was once an organized person. The part I can't get over is how you get by on such a small amount of stuff, although I know you have to keep it small because the kitchen and house are small. This is the way it was in the 20s when my grandpa had a produce truck/fresh-veggie/fruit/nuts distributorship in L.A. His clients were the wealthy...the maid would come out at the servants' entrance of the big houses and only buy for the day; refrigeration, of course, was a problem. Don't the French do this as well...buying only for the day's consumption. I think what SoCal people get caught up in is the need to shelter-in-place for earthquakes, which we're constantly warned about and of course what we've also endured, so be sure to stock up and be pepared to fend for yourself with food and water (even for pets)...for like three weeks. My husband is a volunteer emergency responder and this is also drilled into me, regularly. But if you don't have a McMansion, where the heck are you going to put everything and ARE you going to remember to rotate the stock? I usually waste a lot of things because I am unorganized and they expire, even the ones which had a longer shelf-life. Also, in the past, with my husband and I being so busy with outside jobs, we got in the habit of major-league stocking up so that we could make less grocery shopping trips when there just wasn't time. It's hard to break the habit, and it's also costly. I have a lot of pets...big ones...and the gigantic sacks of 30-lb (and larger) dry dog food, cat food (and jugs/tubs of cat litter) and birdseed...oy...I need a shed just for all of that...and I also am just mesmerized, as were others in previous posts/comments, how you get by on such little paper products; kudos to you for being environmentally-conscientious (I use too many paper towels...paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex ALL takes up a lot of shelf space). You've learned to live a 'spare' life but a complete one; this takes forethought, planning, change, action.

    I can remember in the 1960s when baby boomers' parents were scared of the 'bomb' and some were putting in bomb shelters and apparently the government was suggesting(??!!) to put away food? Mom converted a half of a bedroom closet to just that...boxes of food...and I remember feeling so scared about it. That if we ever had to go that food to eat, something really bad would have had to have happened. Little kids...stuff we mix up in our minds, you know. And yet she was from The Great Depression years and never usually bought to excess; I can remember when we were really poor and Dad was between jobs, there was one can one soup in the pantry. But she made do; it's what they did then and what we should be doing now.

    For those of us who don't have a walk-in pantry, or room for a free-standing cupboard, I guess it's a matter of rethinking the kitchen cabinets and what can be appropriately dedicated to that space separately from dishes and the inevitable packaged foods/snacks. I just need to get creative and quit bemoaning it. So, thanks for the inspiration, as always. I actually think it IS riveting, in my quest to live better and more mindfully/sensibly!! I'm a train-wreck...

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  17. Most spice jars have black lids so I use a Bic Wite-Out pen to write the name of the spice on the lid - all spices are in a plastic box on a shelf - alphabetized, of course!

    Speaking of efficiency, one morning, while flipping round pancakes on a griddle while my family sat at the table enjoying witty conversation as they ate them, I asked myself "Where is it written that they must be round and flipped and I be banished to the stove? From then on, I poured my pancake batter into a jellyroll pan or two and baked them for 18 - 20 min. in a 400 degree oven, cut them into rectangles and sat down WITH my family and enjoyed them.

    LOVE your pantry, Janet. So vinegar does not have to be refrigerated? - Jan-Leanne

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  18. I'm in awe! Seriously, this is inspiring. I think I could eat out of my pantry for many, many weeks. There's much too much in there. I need a serious clean out. If I could only get my husband to stop picking up "a few things!

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  19. Your pantry is so minimalist! And beautiful.

    I have wire shelving in my pantry and absolutely hate it. My next project is changing them out with wood shelves.
    Problem is, I have an overload of food to move :/

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  20. since I really didn't feel like going out in the frigid cold your post inspired me to begin organizing my cabinets and I cleaned out my fridge. also made some lentil soup with the odds and ends I discovered. actually it turned out pretty good and now i look forward to having it for dinner. I really must do something about the spices!
    Darby

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  21. I am in awe too. It is so simple. You do not want to see my pantry. So much stuff. But I do have two teenage boys at home too. They need chips sometimes:)

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  22. Gorgeous pantry! I am not a kitchen minimalist ( understatement there) so I have a lot more stuff. You have all the essentials and then some. If you eat a lot of lentils, would add some sherry vinegar; I made a French blue-green lentil salad tonight with chopped veg and a sherry vinegar dressing with a bit of Dijon mustard ( OK, was not vegan as I added some fresh smoked mozzarella).

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  23. I have chocolate in my pantry. Where do you keep your chocolate???

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  24. But I didn't see where you keep your chips! Ha ha. Seriously, I love how simply you have your kitchen and try as I might, I just can't pare mine down. Don't you use muffin tins? Cake pans? Pie plates? Bread pans? You don't feel the need to have extra food on hand in case of an emergency/disaster?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing...maybe they got eaten. Those Granny Goose chips are the best, not as salty tasting as most others.

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    2. granny goose are my absolute favorites!!!

      i consider the bag i buy to be a single serving bag. :)

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    3. anon, all my muffin tins, cake pans, etc. are in the basket on top of my refrigerator.
      i think i have enough food in the house for at least a week or maybe even more. i suppose that's not enough for a serious emergency but i guess i feel safe with what i've got.

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  25. It looks Stunning! Love how organised you are! I always have pasta and ready made curry paste and different oils. And pine nuts. And jars of cornichons and roast peppers for salads! x

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  26. Your pantry is cute and so organized!!
    I'm surprised you don't keep the rice and flour in the refrigerator. Don't you get weavols (sp) in the flour?
    What type quinoa do you buy? Have you tried the red? A peak into your refrigerator could be next......
    Thanks for being real and sharing......

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    1. Oh, wow, refrigerators. I don't think I can take it...

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    2. no never have had any problems keeping my flour in the pantry.
      i have tried the red quinoa and like it. i get mine from trader joes.

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    3. FYI: The regular quoina is a lot cheaper at Costco;

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    4. good to know but i don't have a costco membership.

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  27. So funny that you thought you had nothing to say and now you have so much. Wonderful!!

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  28. I think for many it is much easier to "see" someone else's ideas (pantry) and go - AH! What a great idea for XYZ (like baking items in one bin) - rather than read an article that lists what they should be doing, too generic and smarty-pants-ish and "already done." Your pantry may be mundane to you, but fun for us to have that A-HA moment! You, your blog, and your calm cottage are our visual treasure hunt!

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  29. Not gonna lie....I just clicked on your kitchen drawers pics from a few years ago, and I have no clue why you have a box of white chalk in your misc cooking utensils drawer.

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    1. there is a chalkboard right across from that drawer so it's handy to keep it there. :)

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    2. Haha....I don't cook. I was totally thinking I had missed out on the "secret chalk seasoning" fad everyone was using! Phew - I was doubting your palate for a minute! <3

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  30. 'LOL! Janet, I was just going to answer this, "For the chalkboard, of course!" Love that chalkboard! ;-)

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  31. LOL I don't have the pretty pantry in my little house but my kitchen holds almost exactly the same :) (with the exception of that paragraph with the liquid smoke etc....!!!??) Those are the same basics I work with - plus fresh Swiss and mostly organic fruit, veg (& meat and dairy in the fridge).

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  32. Like others have said, I am amazed that you get by with such little stock. I, on the other hand, have way too much. It must mean I am insecure or something, as I always feel I have to "stock up" and buy several of everything. This will be something for me to work on in 2014 because I would like my pantry to be less cluttered like yours and just contain things that I frequently use. I wonder if I can apply the 333 philosophy to my pantry! Of course my daughter and grandson live in the house too so that will make it more challenging but I'm up for it. Thanks for letting us snoop!

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  33. I have many of the same items, just a lot MORE of them, in my pantry. I don't know why, but I like having a lot of food stuff on the shelves. Boxes of veggie broth, cans of all sorts of beans, boxes of various shapes of pasta, dried lentils, quinoa ... the list goes on!
    Claudia

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  34. To me, there's something so comforting about a well stocked pantry. And I love they way yours looks. I use Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar and nutritional yeast, but have never tried their liquid Amino's. What do you use that in? I usually have some sort of jarred Salsa on hand. And always lots of canned beans. And BBQ sauce. I can't make everything from scratch all the time.

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  35. I really have no words. I am absolutely amazed by your total organization. Thanks for sharing your tips.

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  36. Dear Janet, by no means would I want to clutter your pantry, buuuuut: sesame oil. It works like magic. In case you don't know it: a few drops after cooking, before serving can transform any dish. Plus it is healthy. :)

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    1. paula i have a bottle of sesame oil and walnut oil in my refrigerator. :)

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  37. I don't have a walk in pantry like you do (jealous) but my cabinets/cupboard are stuffed to the gills. Since I make such a variety of things, I have oodles of grains/rice, flours, nuts, vinegars and oils. I keep the less used oils (like walnut and hazelnut) and some vinegars in the fridge too.

    You are so organized, a reminder that I really need to re do my cupboards!

    Linda
    xo

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  38. Thank you sooo much for posting this!!! Do you think that if you were not vegan that you'd still be able to pare down like this or you'd have more because of eating non-vegan? You really are so inspirational!!!! Any time I get to see inside your home it's a good day! :). Thanks again Janet and happy Monday!

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    1. i'm not sure jennifer. i'm somewhat minimal in all areas of my life so i suppose this wouldn't be any different. it's hard to say though. thank you!

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  39. I also don't have a beautiful walk in pantry, my pantry the various drawers under the kitchen island - but the content is very similar - I cook a lot of asian inspired dishes, so I also keep a few more asian ingredients on hand, like some curry paste. I used to keep most things in their original bags in the cupboards, but this made it very difficult to find things - last year I invested in some glass jars from IKEA in different sizes for all dried goods and spices - they are see-through from the top as well so when I pull open the drawers everything is easy to find.

    Thanks for making the effort and sharing!

    xo
    Mireille

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  40. I could live in your pantry....
    love
    olives
    truffle oil drizzled on ricotta cheese on lovely toasted bread....
    pve

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  41. Can I ask what paint color white you use in your house? Your pantry paint looks so bright but also soft. It's really a very beautiful backdrop. Thanks, Elizabeth

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    1. hi, yes of course. it's benjamin moore simply white. the walls and trim are the same.

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kindness is never out of style.