Thank you so much to Eliane at http://foodbod.wordpress.com/ for mentioning Two Peas & A Wad in her “Why We Blog” series- she has a fantastic blog herself, which you should all check out! She is really, really great. Thank you again for the honor!!
- stock- I have chicken and vegetable- whatever you use most!
- bouillon – I use Better than Boullion Organic Chicken Base- for when you need just a little stock and don’t want to open a whole box
- pasta- I use 100% whole wheat organic. I sometimes get sprouted pasta from the bulk section at Whole Foods because it’s cheaper than buying boxes of sprouted whole wheat pasta. You can get Gluten Free if you prefer!
- rice- arborio (for risotto), brown, long grain- whatever you like to eat!
- cous cous- a great fast cooking grain, available in many variations
- quinoa- a staple in my kitchen. High in protein, low in fat, and fairly priced when bought in bulk
- tomatoes- check your company to see if they make BPA free cans for tomatoes. If not, go with jarred versions. I have crushed, diced, and tomato sauce. Some brands that make jarred tomatoes are:
- oils- coconut, olive, and a high burning, such as avocado or canola. PLEASE purchase organic oils if you can- vegetable, canola, etc. are usually genetically modified if they’re not certified organic
- vinegars- I have balsamic, red wine, and apple cider vinegar at all times
- canned beans- canellini, kidney, black, garbonzo (aka chick peas)
- dried lentils- I have green and black
- dried beans- cheaper than canned beans, but you need to plan ahead with them. If you make recipes in advance, these are for you!
- sugar (if you bake a lot of recipes that use it)- you can also use date, coconut, or other less refined sugars
- powdered/confectioners sugar (if you make a lot of frostings/icings)
- cacao powder- make sure it’s not COCOA powder! Big difference, but barely noticeable in terms of spelling if you’re not paying attention.
- agave- I use this as a sweetener in healthy versions of recipes. I also use it in my coffee in the mornings!
- honey- local and raw is best
- baking soda- I opt for Bob’s Red Mill over A&H because fewer chemicals are used to make it
- baking powder
- flours- I have organic white, sprouted whole grain, coconut, and quinoa. Sometimes I rotate other Gluten Free flours into the mix if they’re on sale
- vanilla extract- be sure to get pure, NOT imitation- it makes all the difference in the world. I use Simply Organic
- other extracts if you bake a lot (chocolate, almond, etc)
- almond butter/cashew butter (or peanut if you prefer)- I prefer almond over peanut butter in recipes (it’s a little better for you!), and I prefer desserts made with cashew butter over the others
- tahini- sesame paste/butter. I use this in my hummus burgers and many other recipes!
- carton of almond/oat/soy/rice milk (your preference)- you never know when you’re going to forget to pick up milk, run out for coffee/tea or a recipe- I always keep a carton around if one of the above happens. Often the case: someone finishes the milk without telling me and I have a back up!
- bottle of juice (I have organic orange mango)- same as with the milk, you never know when you’re going to run out or not have enough for a spontaneous recipe. I drink plain organic orange juice, but if I run out, my organic orange mango is a great substitute
- nuts- I have walnuts, cashews, almonds, and pine nuts
- herbs and spices- whatever you find yourself using a lot of. I use a lot of different spices and cook with them quite often so my cabinet is FULL
- cornmeal- PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR CORNMEAL IS ORGANIC! Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops in the United States
- dried cranberries- always a good idea to make sure they’re organic too- sugar and corn syrup are used as sweeteners and are genetically modified most of the time
- sustainably caught tuna- if you are vegetarian or vegan, no need for this obviously!
- sustainably caught salmon- same as with the tuna
- coconut milk- I always use the lowest fat, some people use full fat for certain recipes- it’s up to you!
- cups of apple sauce- yes the individual cups cost more than a jar in terms of unit price, but organic apple sauce goes bad before I get the chance to finish a jar- the cups are the perfect amount for recipes.
- canned pineapple- make sure it’s canned in juice. Also a good idea to look for organic.
- ketchup- PLEASE get organic. The price is only a little bit more and the quality of what you’re putting in your body is drastically higher
- mustard- I have stone ground and Dijon
- Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce- I must insist again that you get organic soy sauce for the same reason as the ketchup. Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods in the U.S.
- brown sugar- I keep it in the fridge so it doesn’t harden as much- my father-in-law showed me this and it really helps!
- real maple syrup- the kind in a glass jar, or big plastic jug from Vermont- not the fake kind that many use for pancakes
- hot sauce- if you like to spice things up sometimes!
- jelly/jam/preserves- I use organic superfruit spreads- each is from a different continent, North America (Blue), Europe (Green), South America (Orange), Asia (Yellow)
- chia seeds
- bread crumbs (plain and seasoned)- keeping them in the freezer keeps them fresher longer!
6 years ago I told him the only thing I wanted for Valentine’s Day was chocolate covered strawberries. I told him this around Christmas when the fruit came up somehow, but the two months between the two holidays led to him forgetting unfortunately.
The next year, I reminded him in February- still no berries come the 14th! This went on for TWO MORE YEARS!!! For whatever reason, my very considerate/loving/attentive husband could not remember to bring me chocolate covered strawberries even when I reminded him in February!!! He’s truly the most amazing husband I could have ever imagined, it was honestly mind boggling that he couldn’t master Valentine’s Day = Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
I had to wonder if he were doing it on purpose- how could a person forget year after year?! He even put it in his Google calendar a few years ago and reminded himself in time to order them, but it magically didn’t happen again. Instead of being angry, it just made me laugh- I honestly could not believe it. He would give wonderful cards (one year it was hand made!) and thoughtful gifts. But alas, no berries. Last year HE REMEMBERED (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and we enjoyed them as we laughed.
This year I was going to give HIM some chocolate and strawberries- I made DINNER (not dessert!) using organic chocolate and strawberries. I bet you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about. With a little creativity and imagination, ANYTHING, including Valentine’s Day dinner, can happen!
- 2 organic sweet potatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or more)
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or more)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more)
- 1 tablespoon organic chocolate syrup
- 1 egg white (or you can use a teaspoon or two of almond or cashew butter to make these vegan)
- 1 3/4 cups organic flour (I used sprouted whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (use closer to 3/4 cup if you like your pasta saucier)
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
- 1 teaspoon chopped dried rosemary (if using fresh remember to use about half!)
- 6 organic frozen strawberries
- 3 pieces organic turkey bacon (optional)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup for candying the bacon, if using
Taste the mixture at this point (before adding the egg!) to assess the spice/saltiness. Sweet potatoes vary in size and water content so each batch can be different. If you want more spice, add a little of each until you think it tastes just right! I DO NOT recommend adding extra salt because you will be boiling them in salted water which will add saltiness. Do remember though, that you will be adding a lot of flower and cocoa powder which don’t have spice in them so make sure the potatoes have good flavor.
Thaw the strawberries in a bowl or help them by placing frozen with a teaspoon of water in a small pot and heat over low heat. Set aside.
Heat a larger sautee pan with a little olive oil.
Salt a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 3 batches once the water is boiling- they will cook in 30 seconds or less. Don’t wait for them to float to the top- they may be done already. After a few seconds, take one with a fork and taste it- if it’s heated through and doesn’t taste like raw flour, you’re good to go. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi and place them in the sautee pan.
Stack the bacon slices if using and cut into small pieces.
Plate desired amount of gnocchi on a plate. Drizzle with the balsamic and top with bacon and peas. Top with the whole strawberries. Enjoy!!
I knew the storm was coming, so I figured I’d head to the store on my way home yesterday (along with everyone else in the entire state!) Once I got there, it was clear- I would be relying on my own pantry and fridge again to make food- the shelves were EMPTY. And I mean EMPTY. There was barely any fresh produce. Here are some pictures of the onion bins and parsley baskets (notice the ONE bag of carrots left under the parsley)
- 15 ounces (an ounce more or less wont matter) of low-sodium organic tomato soup- one can or half a 32 ounce box will work just fine!
- half an organic onion
- 1 can organic diced tomatoes
- 1 can organic beans, any kind will do (I had dark red kidney beans, so that’s what I used!)
- 1 tablespoon salt-free organic seasoning blend
- 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon organic coriander
- pinch of organic cinnamon
- pinch of organic red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 pieces Ezekiel bread, thawed (I use Ezekiel because it is sprouted and really healthy- you can use whatever bread you have on hand)
- organic cheddar cheese (however much you like- I prefer less cheese, many prefer it oozing out of their bread!)
- 3 pieces of organic turkey bacon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons organic vegan buttery spread (you can use butter if you have it instead). You may want to use more, I chose to use as little fat as possible
- 2 tablespoons organic olive oil (again, you may want more!)
- 1/2 teaspoon organic basil
- 1/2 teaspoon organic oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon organic parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon organic garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon organic onion powder
This meal cost around $5.00 to make- even if you have to purchase items to make it, you will not use all of each item- meaning, you will not use the full package of cheese, you will not use the whole loaf of bread, the whole tub of buttery spread, etc. It costs out to about $5.00 to make using the amounts stated above AND I even have enough soup leftover to have for lunch tomorrow! Eating organically doesn’t have to cost as much as you think!
Before I started brainstorming on Monday night, I asked my other half if there were something in particular he wanted. His request: “lettuce wraps, if you can.” Challenge, extended! I browsed the contents of our shelves and found that this was totally doable- he had previously purchased a head of organic iceberg lettuce for his lunch sandwiches, I had a container of organic non-GMO tofu that I was planning on using in a different recipe later in the week, and I had leftover raw cauliflower. Done!
I love having leftover ingredients- especially when they were inexpensive to start with. A few days before, I bought a head of organic cauliflower for $3.99 (conventional was $3.49- only 50 cents less!)
I used 1/5 of the head for my vegan cauliflower “meat” balls and now had 4/5 left in my fridge- how exciting! The cauliflower would definitely be going in these lettuce wraps, along with the lettuce and tofu mentioned above.
As for the sauce, I have a go-to Asian sauce that is so simple to make and can be made with basic staples in your kitchen. A well stocked pantry is the key to successful re-purposing of ingredients- I will be making a post about what I keep in my pantry in the very near future. All you need for my simple Asian sauce is organic soy sauce (PLEASE go for organic if you can- there is not a huge difference in price, but the quality of what you’re putting in your body is night and day- soy is one of the most genetically modified crops in the United States), some sort if citrus juice, and your favorite nut butter of choice.
I had some almond butter I wanted to use up, but you can use peanut, cashew, or even tahini (sesame seed butter). I didn’t have any limes, my preferred citrus for this sauce, but I did have orange juice- a perfect substitute.
Asian Lettuce Wraps
- 1/2 package extra firm organic non-GMO tofu (found in the refrigerated section)
- 1 chicken breast (if you are going vegetarian/vegan, simply omit the chicken and make the full package of tofu!)
- 1/2 head of organic cauliflower
- pinch of ground mustard
- pinch of ground ginger
- pinch of ground allspice
- Asian seasoning blend (you can use the same three spices above with a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder and add sesame seeds if you’d like)
- 2 tablespoons organic almond butter (or other nut butter of choice)
- 1 tablespoon organic orange juice (more if you like a thinner sauce)
- 1-2 teaspoons of organic soy sauce, depending on desired flavor/saltiness
- 1 tablespoon of orange marmalade or mango chutney (I used mango chutney because I had an open jar)
- coconut oil for cooking
- 6-8 leaves of lettuce for wrapping (iceberg is recommended for crunch, but any lettuce can be used)
- 1 organic scallion, chopped
- organic peanuts or almonds
- organic pickled radishes/cucumbers/ginger
Move the cauliflower to one side of the pan, add the tofu (and chicken if applicable) to the pan in separate sections so that all components can reheat separately without having to heat three pans.
- 1/4-1/5 of an organic cauliflower, depending on size (if it’s small, use more, if the head is big, use less of it). Include both the florets AND the stems.
- 5 organic baby portobello (crimini) or white button mushrooms, caps and stems
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) sliced organic almonds (any nut will work here, I just had almonds on hand)
- 1 cup (about 10 regular sized gnocchi) leftover previously cooked gnocchi, with as much sauce removed as possible (you can cook 10 frozen gnocchi just for this recipe or use 3/4 cup (about 200-250 grams, depending on ingredients) of mashed potatoes mixed with your flour of choice until the mixture is thick).
- 1/2 cup (40-50 grams) breadcrumbs (I used 100% whole wheat panko)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt-free all purpose seasoning (any organic blend of spices you like!
- Olive oil for cooking
The leftover gnocchi I used were organic frozen that I made the a few nights back. I used about 75 cents worth of gnocchi for this recipe, along with 70 cents of cauliflower, $1.00 of nuts, $1.00 of mushrooms, and the remaining balance of the $5.00 for breadcrumbs, spices, oil, and kale.
Of course, you can make this meal for a little bit less if you choose conventional ingredients instead of organic. I made this meal for two for about $5.00 using 100% organic ingredients. Why not give it a try if you can- eating organic doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to stretch your dollars (as this recipe does!) Enjoy!
“Yeah, but I wash and/or peel my conventional produce, so it’s fine.”
This could not be more false. The chemicals penetrate the skins of fruits and veggies and get into the flesh itself. If it’s in the food, it ends up in YOU.
Some produce carries little risk of carrying pesticides/herbicides, as few are needed when crowing these crops. These include thicker skinned fruits like mangoes, avocados, cantaloupe, pineapple, and papaya, as well as heartier vegetables like cabbage, asparagus, and onions. Other conventional produce that use fewer pesticides include peas, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, kiwi, grapefruit, and eggplant (please note that even though they contain fewer pesticides, this does not mean they are not genetically modified.)
Unfortunately, the above are the rare exception. Also unfortunate is the price you have to pay to avoid chemicals being sprayed (and then absorbed) on your food. Organic produce is on average 40-50% more than their equivalent conventional alternatives.
The biggest problem is the fact that it is nearly impossible to avoid non-organic produce unless you only only eat the organic versions you buy for yourself every single time you eat fruits or vegetables- conventional crops are literally everywhere we go. In an ideal world, this would never be an issue, but the reality in the United States is that eating organically for every meal every single day is not an option, unless you NEVER go out to eat, never go to a party, a friend’s house, or on vacation. Like I said- conventional produce is EVERYWHERE!
- Apples. The dirtiest of the bunch. Ninety-nine percent of apples contained at least one pesticide.
- Sweet Bell Peppers. One of these was as contaminated as a single grape.
- Celery. At worst, a single sample revealed 13 pesticides.
- Cherry Tomatoes. Similar to celery, one sample also contained the residue of 13 different pesticides.
- Cucumbers. The third most contaminated vegetable, these should always be peeled and rinsed before eating.
- Grapes. “A single grape tested positive for 15 pesticides.”
- Hot Peppers. Previously not on the list, recent tests showed these contain the seventh greatest amount of pesticide residues.
- Nectarines (Imported). Every imported nectarine tested was shown to contain pesticide residue.
- Peaches. Contained the fourth highest amount of pesticides among all fruits tested.
- Potatoes. “The average potato had much higher total weight of pesticides than any other food crop.”
- Spinach. After celery, the second most contaminated conventional vegetable.
- Strawberries. Ranked as the second dirtiest conventionally grown fruit on the market.
GMO Note: The most genetically modified (GMO) crops used for produce in the U.S. are corn, soy, zucchini, yellow summer squash, and papaya (specifically Hawaiian grown). To avoid GMOs, purchase these items strictly in their organic forms.
Tip to being able to afford more organic produce: Give up something small in your everyday life that you don’t NEED. If you go get a daily cup of coffee on the go, maybe cut it down to every other day and use the dollars you save to put towards purchasing organic produce. Or if you like to go out to eat twice a week, make it once, and put what you saved towards your grocery bill. There are many little swaps we can all do to help us afford these (if not all) organic fruits and veggies.
To sum it up, I’ve taken the following paragraph from the same maximizedliving.com article as was used before:
“A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that eating organic produce can significantly reduce bodily toxicity. The study provided five consecutive days’ worth of organic food to children who typically ate a non-organic, conventional diet. After just five days, almost all pesticides had disappeared from the subjects’ urine samples. ‘This shows there definitely is a beneficial effect of eating organic produce,’ said study leader Dr. Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology.”
Now you have all the facts- it’s time to decide for yourself!