A "real food" pantry...
As promised...I finally got around to taking some quick pics of our pantry.See we are kindof a freak show when it comes to pantries. Most open up a pantry and plan to see the normal US fare of processed boxes, cans of condensed soups and tons of processed food snacks. Ours...ya we don't have those things. Just about everything around here is made from scratch...with the corn intolerance it really isn't a choice. We truly do want to avoid things like GMO's, chemical preservatives and food dyes.... So what does that look like?
How does one live like this? Most look in our pantry and go "where is the food?!" Which I always find a little funny...because there is a ton of food in there! Everything from breakfast to snacks and meals. Right there. You just have to know how to really cook I suppose? Let me share how I have it organized and that might help a bit. Top left...these great slide out bins from Target or Walmart (can't remember which it was) The bins are full of dried beans, rice, couscous, Quinoa, and pasta's. We have lots of garden beans in mason jars as well. For beans you just soak them over night, rinse the next morning and use them how you need them.
The right side of this shelf is loaded with all of my medicinal herb tinctures that are still brewing and need a good shake up everyday before I strain them off. Once they are finished brewing I strain them off and they go into the medicine bottles, get labeled and into the medicine cabinet. There are also some vinegars and oils brewing as well. I use the vinegars and oils in cooking, healing salves and lip balms.
And there are tons of nuts, seeds and dried fruit in that corner as well... The shelf above is full of dried herbs for teas and cooking to the right... Ok and yes...what I lovingly refer to as the "mommy moonshine" is over there as well ;-)
All the baking flours (Not just regular flour but tons of gluten free flours), honey, coconut oils, Vanilla beans, Olive oil and sugar sit beside the breakfast foods (like steel cut oats, rolled oats, granola, cereals etc...).
Onto the bottom shelf....in my opinion the most important. Why? Because this is the "kid level". The place where kids go for a snack. It's important to have lots of healthier options sitting right there...front and center. The kids know that they can have free reign over fruits and nuts. It's important to have them easily available.
As you can tell I should own stock in Mason Jars. Here is my tip on finding them cheap...yard sales. I can't tell you how many people have all but handed me boxes of them for free. I prefer them well over tupperware or plastic baggies. The glass allows me not only a chemical free storage option but I can take one glance in the pantry and visually see the options. Plus I do a ton of canning...lots of jams, can beans and tomatoes etc... I have one thing that I am working on right now that will be changing up in the coming month. Labels...these jars need labels! All jars need labels! I will post as I get them all organized and pretty.
Now here is the confession. I have another, smaller, pantry to the left of the kitchen. This one is not as full but it is where any food that is not on the list of things that are not on the healthy side. Typically things I can't eat. The great thing about this? No one ever uses this pantry. It's like that whole " Out of sight out of mind" thing. I have more storage shelves out in the garage. Canning and preserving takes up lots of space ;-)
This was just the best and easiest way for us to stick with whole food living... Because if you buy the crap food...you will eat the crap food. This much I know.
Last note on this... If you go down the whole food living path expect that there are plenty of folks who will look at your 2 year old happily eating broccoli for his snack and think you are being abusive. That somehow your "poor kids" are "missing out" by not eating a bowl of Goldfish instead. I will never understand how feeding my kiddos healthy food makes me the irresponsible, silly parent...but it often does to some folks. I am cool with that. Actually I don't have a problem with folks feeding their kids what they feed them... I am a "live and let live" kindof gal. How I parent is not how I expect anyone else too. My kids now prefer real food...well except Adam. He will always be my challenge because he was the oldest when we started. The older a child is when you start the more of a challenge it will be to get them over to healthy eating. But eventually they come around. Once they get used to it they chose it on their own. Haley went to camp for a week this Summer. She came home saying she couldn't eat the food because it tasted like a box/crap...except dinner. They had a salad bar at night. She made herself a salad every single day of camp for dinner...her choice.
You do something long enough and it just becomes your "normal". And we all cheat once in a while. I never claim to be perfect at this...just taking it day by day.