Sometimes Healthy Kitchen Staples

When I first moved to the country from the city, every grocery shopping experience was an exciting adventure.

Finally, I was in stores with room in the aisles to roam around, and I didn’t need to go to 8 different stores to find everything on my list (as I had done in the city).

But, eventually the shiny new experience of shopping at a suburban grocery store wore off just a bit, and then was when I noticed I had a problem…a food shopping problem. Yep, some women spend their hard-earned dough on shoes and purses, but not me. I spend mine on Goldfish and coffee creamers.

To curb my “addiction,” I try to hit up the grocery store with a list and stick to it. The problems arise when I decide to make something for dinner and notice that I don’t have all the ingredients. This gives me another excuse to go to the grocery store, and while there, I usually do a great job of convincing myself there are a couple of extra items that I need.

There are certain items, however, that I allow myself to purchase at any time. These are my kitchen staples, and since each product generally gets a lot of usage, it never feel like a waste when I purchase them.

Kitchen Staples

You never know what you’re going to find in a Sometimes Healthy Kitchen, but I guarantee you each of these items will be there.

1. Quinoa:

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Super-food indeed

 

Once I discovered quinoa years ago, I never looked at rice the same way again. The nutritional value of quinoa is off the charts, yet it still tastes like on of those yummy carbs that I know and love. I keep it in my kitchen at all times, because there are a million ways to use it.

Here are a just a few different ways to use quinoa:

 

Quinoa for Breakfast?

Quinoa for Breakfast?

 

You can also purchase red quinoa, but I find the traditional to be much more versatile.

2. Squash:

IMG_5277

Squash me!

No matter what the time of year is, there is always fresh seasonal squash available at our local grocery store. During the summer, I simply roast up or grill summer squash with cheese and spices. But, year-round, especially during fall and winter, that’s when butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash take over. I always have at least one in my  fridge. And sometimes, if I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll buy the squash peeled and cut, because it’s a pain in the a** to chop. Here are just a few things I do with it:

Heaven for a french-fry loving Sometimes Healthy Girl

Heaven for a french-fry loving Sometimes Healthy Girl

3. Coffee Creamers:

 

The best part of waking up...is sweet coffee creamer in my cup.

The best part of waking up…is sweet coffee creamer in my cup.

If you’re new to the blog, then you probably already have noticed some things that I talk about frequently. I am a huge fan of coffee creamers, because I like the creamy, real-tasting flavor that they deliver. Sometimes flavored coffee tastes artificial, and I’m just not a fan. Current favorites are Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice and Girl Scout Thin Mint (back on the shelves, phew), and my all-time favorite is International Delight Peppermint Patty. Please tell my BF that it’s normal to have 3 coffee creamers in the fridge at all times.

4. Greek Yogurt:

I need a fridge solely for Chobani

I need a fridge solely for Chobani

I feel like it is almost sacrilegious to be a healthy living blogger and not eat greek yogurt. Again, like quinoa, the nutritional value is just too important to ignore. Thankfully, I love the taste. I always have a few different flavors of Chobani, Chobani Bites AND Chobani Flips in my fridge, but I also keep a big tub of Fage or Chobani as well. I use it for so many different things including:

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Secret Ingredient = Greek Yogurt

5. Avocados:

SUCH a power-packed food

SUCH a power-packed food

As nearly the entire world knows by now, the avocado has a whole lot to offer in the nutrition department including that “Gooood fat” and a bunch of vitamins and minerals. I once based my entire WIAW on baking and cooking items with avocados. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Smoothies – Frozen banana + half avocado + almond milk + cinnamon/honey = creamy, delicious, nutrients-packed breakfast
  • Baked Stuffed Avocados
  • Avocado Quinoa Pancakes
  • Substitution for butter in baking (check out my recipe from Friday)
  • Salad topping (I’m not a huge meat eater, so sometimes, I’ll just pack my salads with avocados and cheese)
Lean, green smoothie machine!

Lean, green smoothie machine!

6. Almond Milk:

Milk is so last season

Milk is so last season

I’m not lactose intolerant, nor do I hate the taste of milk. But, Silk Almond Milk is just so much better. With just 30 calories per cup (for unsweetened vanilla), it has more calcium and Vitamin E than regular ol’ milk. And I can use it everywhere I would ever think to use milk.

Mmmm..OOIAJ (Overnight Oats in a Jar for those non-healthy living bloggers not familiar with these weird acronyms)

Mmmm..OOIAJ (Overnight Oats in a Jar for those non-healthy living bloggers not familiar with these weird acronyms)

7. Goldfish:

Yes, I keep all of these in my pantry.

Yes, I keep all of these in my pantry.

Okay, I don’t need to try to convince you of the nutritional value in Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. I will let the packaging try to convince you instead. “MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN” and “NO ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES.” Totally convinced right? Regardless of their nutritional prowess, we’ve been feeding these babies (typically the cheddar flavor) to our children for 30 years, and I am shocked that so many people have missed the innovation in the flavor department from Pepperidge Farm. Vanilla Cupcake, French Toast, Fudge Brownie, S’mores and more. The best part is that they are tiny, so you can eat a few without feeling so guilty.

Whenever I feel a Sometimes Healthy Sweets craving coming on, I just grab a handful of Goldfish, and I’m satisfied. Here a couple of other things you can do with your Goldfish:

  • Ice Cream Topping
  • Trail Mix with Popcorn
  • Dip in Frosting (Dunkaroos!)
A typical Sometimes Healthy Sundae

A typical Sometimes Healthy Sundae

8. Pumpkin:

IMG_5286

I hope there is never ever a shortage again

I keep at least one can of pumpkin in my kitchen year-round, but that number definitely increases to 2 or 3 during the fall/winter time.  I remember a few years ago when there was a Libby’s pumpkin shortage, and I was running around to different stores in NYC stocking up. Pure pumpkin is again another food that is extremely versatile, so if you love the flavor of pumpkin it makes sense to keep this can in your pantry. Here are my favorite uses for it:

  • Soup: Simply combine 1 – 2 cups of chicken stock with a can of pumpkin, stir, season with salt and pepper, heat up on the stove or in the microwave, and you have a quick and easy pumpkin soup
  • Two Ingredient Baking: Spice Cake + 1 Can of Pumpkin = Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes; Brownie Mix + 1 Can of Pumpkin = Fudgey Healthified Brownies 
Pumpkin Shaped Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Shaped Pumpkin Cupcakes

9. Fiber One 80 Calorie Wraps:

Doesn't taste low-cal to me!

Doesn’t taste low-cal to me!

I discovered these wraps right when they came out. There was a big sale on them, and of course, the ol’ “2 for $5″ got me again. I eat these for breakfast almost every day with peanut butter or honey. They also make great breakfast wraps! They taste much more substantial than 80 calories, and of course, being that they are Fiber One, they have a lot of extra fiber. They’re not too high in the carbs department either, plus the BF loves them.

Cheesy lunch wrap? Comin' right up! Perfect for breakfast, lunch OR dinner.

Cheesy lunch wrap? Comin’ right up! Perfect for breakfast, lunch OR dinner.

10. Sweet Potatoes:

You say potato...I say SWEET potato.

You say potato…I say SWEET potato.

Since these  things take forever to spoil, I always keep one on-hand for a rainy day. All I have to do is pop one in the oven, top with cottage cheese and salsa, and I’ve got a healthy, tasty meal. I also like to roast/grill them in foil packs with spices or simply cut them up to make sweet potato fries. Finally, they’re a great addition to any crockpot meal!

11. Laughing Cow Cheese:

Gotta love the Laughing Cow Wheel of Fortune

Gotta love the Laughing Cow Wheel of Fortune

At first, I wasn’t sold on these little cheese wedges, but now, I can’t imagine a kitchen without them. Here are just a few of the things I do with my Laughing Cow Cheeses:

So, there you have it. No matter what sort of mess you see when you enter my Sometimes Healthy Kitchen, you can always rest-assured that each of these items will be there…as well as many more, but we’ll save those for Volume 2.

Mayo vs. Miracle Whip 

"It's NOT mayonnaise!" he says....

“It’s NOT mayonnaise!” he says….

Before I close, I must quickly share a funny “issue” that this house experienced during football Sunday yesterday. The BF wanted wings, so being the generous Sometimes Healthy girl that I am, I offered to go pick up the ingredients for his wings and blue cheese dip. A couple hours later as he emptied the ingredients, he stared at the Miracle Whip with disdain. Here’s what was said:

  • Him: What is THIS?
  • Me: Um, it’s mayonnaise. It was on the list.
  • Him: No, this isn’t mayonnaise. It’s Miracle Whip. It tastes completely different.
  • Me: What? What is the difference?
  • Him: It is NOT mayonnaise. The taste is different. It’s not mayonnaise.
  • Me: Grrr, you are so ungrateful. Sorry for trying to give you a healthy alternative (insert over-dramatic eye-roll)

Anyway, in the end, he bought the mayo and truth be told, I did notice that the taste was indeed very different. I couldn’t help but think first of the brilliant ad campaign by Miracle Whip a couple years ago where they demonstrated the “polarizing effect” of Miracle Whip. Then, I remembered an episode from Friends, “The One that Could Have Been” where Joey is talking about his hate for pulp in OJ and states, “Uh, I just I hate pulp! Y’know? I mean, y’know how Monica feels about low fat mayonnaise?” Then “Fat Monica” states, “It’s NOT mayonnaise.”

I tried to find the clip but could only find this image from the episode. Fat Monica still makes me laugh.every.single.time.

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Anyway, I promised him I would settle this debate once and for all on the blog. So, today, dear readers, help me out:

1. Miracle Whip: Healthy substitution or “wanna be” mayo

2. Share with me one of your kitchen staples! Perhaps I can add to my collection :-)

14 Thoughts on “Sometimes Healthy Kitchen Staples

  1. Great staples! I love the Fiber One wraps. I also have to have some type of protein bar around for emergencies!
    Heather Murphy recently posted…How to NOT feel like a stiff- legged robot after an intense workoutMy Profile

  2. Great list. I too like to have protein bars in the cupboard. I have an addiction to peanut butter and would be very sad if it wasn’t in the house….and Frank’s hot sauce!

    For the record: I vote for miracle whip.
    Holli recently posted…PBM: Chintz This!My Profile

  3. Love this list! I’m obsessed with avocados..I think we put them on almost anything we can, they’re SO good for you! And I still haven’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon but I need to..everything I’ve heard about it makes it sound fantastic! And also, miracle whip is disgusting hahaha girl..I can’t even handle it!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…Running Gear Essentials – My Wish ListMy Profile

    • Yes, you must try quinoa. You MUST!

      Okay, apparently I was out of the loop on this Miracle Whip thing. I’ve learned my lesson. I HATE that the BF was right.

  4. One time, I ordered a burger at a restaurant and I got a side of mayo (because go big or go home, right?). Anyway, I slathered the mayo onto my burger and took a big juicy bite, only to be met with the disgusting, somewhat sweet taste of Miracle Whip. The two DO NOT taste the same. Not even close. I asked the waitress about it and she swore it was mayo, she even took a picture of the container with her phone and showed me to prove it. I don’t care what she says…it tasted like Miracle Whip, and it was disgusting.
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…I Did Some Yoga and I Liked ItMy Profile

  5. Ole wraps are also really good and have a lot of fiber.

    I tell myself the same thing about Whole Grain Goldfish!

    Some of my staples include: Triscuits, Kashi Crunchy Granola Bars, Hummus, carrots, apples, string cheese, & PEANUT BUTTER!

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