Essentials to a Good Pantry

Everyone has certain items they keep in their pantry/refrigerator to prepare meals for their families.  I am no exception.

These are the items you consider necessary to prepare any and all meals, to make those meals special.

Here’s my list:

Fresh Vegetables:

1. Potatoes – a versatile vegetable used in many recipes and as a side dish. Can be prepared numerous ways.

2.  Carrots – another versatile vegetable

3.  Celery – again, versatile in its uses

4.  Onion – used in almost everything I prepare

5.  Parsley (fresh) – 1/4 cup  curly leafed parsley (leaves only)  can make a dish pop with flavor

Canned items:

1.  Diced tomatoes – great in stews, soups, chili, marinara sauce

2.  Tomato paste/sauce – a must have for Italian and Mexican dishes

3.  Salsa – not just for Mexican dishes

4.  Creamed soups – cream of celery, chicken, mushroom, etc., make delectable gravies

5.  and of course, all canned veggies

Packaged items:

1. Rice

2. Quinoa

3.  beans/peas

4. pastas

Spices (used most frequently:

1.  Garlic powder

2. Chili powder

3. Cayenne powder

4. Onion powder

5. Paprika

6. Salt and Pepper

7. Hamburger seasoning (recipe can be found on

8.  Bay leaves

These are just some of the items I make sure I have stocked well in order to create enticing dishes for my family.

What are some of your must have pantry items?







Jump Starting the Weight Loss

Since Thanksgiving (2012) I have gained a lot of weight. Some I previously lost and extra. Not a good thing at my age. I also quit smoking and have found that I tend to munch on snacks absentmindedly. Also not a good thing.

Well I decided to try a smoothie type diet. I read up on smoothies and liquid diets. There is all kinds of information out there, pro and con. One of the main things is that it is difficult to get enough protein and nutrients with some of the smoothie diet plans out there.

So this is what I have done:

For breakfast I have a protein smoothie consisting of soy protein powder mixed in water, a fruit (usually a banana), a raw egg white and a low cal sweetener, like stevia. Then I serve over crushed ice.

For lunch I have a protein veggie smoothie. Again, I use the protein powder, multiple vegetables (cooked or raw), and sweetener, all well mixed in the blender. Served over crushed ice.

For dinner, I have a regular meal, trying to be sensible in the portions and calorie counts.

In the last 4 days I’ve lost 9 pounds. That’s a great jump start. But I don’t want to continue losing 2 or 3 pounds a day. I want to ease that back down to maybe 1-2 pounds a week. Rapid weight loss of 10-20 pounds initially is ok, but to continue this rapid weight loss for any longer would be a severe health risk. I’m trying to be healthy not become anorexic.

So how do you jump start your weight loss?

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