With a new baby arriving any day now my thoughts are turning to those first few weeks of complete and utter chaos as the fam adjusts to the new regime. With both our girls I prepared for the exhaustion by cooking like a woman possessed during those blessed weeks of nesting. I seriously went crazy. I would cook from 9am until 1am and then cry about the dishes. I've been so busy this go around though that I haven't had a chance. Instead I'm stocking my pantry with all the staples so that making dinner will be easy and fast without needing to run to the grocery store cause I'm missing 1 or 2 things for a recipe, annoying!
I try to keep a well stocked pantry year round regardless of the state of my womb. Inspiration hits me often and I don't like to wait to try out a new recipe or invent something on the fly. I buy a lot of items on sale and really stock up, like when the grocery store has pasta on for 99¢ a bag or cases of soup for 1/2 price (Canada doesn't have the amazing coupon deals the US has, I be jealous), this saves a ton of money in the long run.
With school about to start up again this is also a great way to prepare for that big readjustment. School and activities can leave a lot of parents struggling with what to make for dinner in the 15 minutes before they have to race out the door again, having everything at your fingertips can ease the strain a bit!
I've compiled a list of items I always keep on hand for anyone who would like to keep their kitchen well stocked:
Extra virgin olive oil
Chicken, Beef and Veggie broth in tetra packs
Canned Tomato Sauce
Canned soups (Cream of Mushroom, Tomato & Cream of Celery)
Dried pasta (in many shapes)
Dried Herbs and Spices
Whole wheat flour
Chocolate (Chips, Squares, Chunks)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Pure Vanilla Extract
Fat Free Pudding Mix
In the Fridge
Low fat milk
Half & Half
In the Freezer
Frozen veggies (peas, corn, broccoli, etc.)
Frozen fruits (berries, pineapple, mango, etc.)
Frozen Pizza Dough Balls
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (I get mine at M&M Meatshops, cheap!)
Peppers (of every colour)
Cinnamon Sugar Mix
*The Breakfast Drawer
I mentioned my Breakfast Drawer on Twitter a while back and got a lot of response on it. Everyone wanted to know WHAT it was. The Breakfast Drawer is a pot drawer in my kitchen island that has everything related to breakfast in it. I keep the bread, toaster, peanut butter, Nutella, honey, cereal, oatmeal, etc... in there. Why? Well, I have this great wish that when my kids are old enough to wake up on Saturday mornings and come down without waking us up, they can easily get themselves a bowl of cereal or some toast cause everything is all together and completely accessible to them (I keep their plastic plates and cutlery in the drawer right above the Breakfast Drawer). I like having the toaster in there cause it keeps it off the counter freeing up space and keeping the kitchen less cluttered looking. It sits on a cookie sheet to catch crumbs making it easier to keep the drawer neat and clean.