Over the years, I’ve learned to be creative in the kitchen with the staples I keep on hand, combined with farm-fresh produce (from 10 steps away in the field on our farm!) to make delicious, nourishing meals. As an organic farmer, using all I can from our own produce is obviously important to me. We grow organic salad mix even in the winter, so salads with that fresh, crunchy, buttery goodness are a staple, and a good homemade salad dressing (recipe below) is a must!
I would call my personal cooking style “rustic farm-to-table.” It’s simple, flexible, and seasonal. While our Kindred Dinners are special experiences where my chef husband, Steven, uses more elevated ingredients and unique flavor combos to create multi-course communal feasts, we keep things pretty simple on an everyday basis.
You should also know I’m not much of a recipe girl unless you’re talking baked goods, which I follow by the book.
The basic formula I use for throwing together a meal using my pantry & fridge staples is:
Meat + Veggies + (Sometimes) Grains or Beans + Sauce/Dip
Brown rice bowls with chicken sausage + roasted veggies (squash, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes) + sriracha sauce…which is what we had for dinner last night.
I think even the simplest meat (or other protein if vegetarian) and veggies can be taken to the next level with a sauce or dip, like a homemade mayo or aioli, sriracha mayo, honey mustard, hummus, perfect pesto, or chimichurri.
Here are simple food guidelines I follow:
1. Focus on SIMPLY EATING REAL FOOD, trying to get the best sources possible, adding as many colors as possible into our meals. Enjoy all the beautiful sustenance in creation, and play a part in that by growing much of it in our own backyard.
2. During the week, our family takes a break from dairy, gluten, and sugar. We then freely enjoy some treats on weekends. Not only does this give our bodies a break; it simplifies the weekly routine having a clear plan of what we’re eating and what we’re not.
3. I no longer take up valuable space in the pantry or fridge with things we simply don’t eat! Sounds obvious, but how many of us have random cans of black olives stuffed in the back of our pantries for years? (Just an example…nothing against black olives, I love ‘em!) We actually eat through our pantry, fridge, and freezer often and continue to restock with just the things we love and know we can make actual meals with.
Although the full list would be way too long for this post, I thought I’d also share a few highlights of staples I always have in my pantry, fridge, freezer, and spice cabinet. Maybe this will spark some ideas for you!
Sea salt, black pepper in a grinder, garlic powder, cumin, dried basil & sage from last summer’s garden. You could actually make a spice mix with this and sprinkle it on almost anything, like a huge pan of roasted seasonal veggies.
It’s soy sauce without the gluten. It’s also Korean-husband-approved and a great choice for adding to rice or seasoning any Asian dish that would use regular soy sauce.
Pamela’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix
A favorite for years! We always have the large bag of this in our pantry. Our girls (now 6 and 10) love the freedom of using this mix to bake and make pancakes on their own. Every Sunday morning, they make the fluffiest GF pancakes with this mix, and my husband and I don’t have to do a single thing. Glorious.
I wait until they’re super ripe, peel them, and lay them on a dish in the freezer so they’re ready for smoothies. My girls have a smoothie most mornings, and we often have a green peppermint smoothie to replenish ourselves when we’ve been outside working in the intense heat. Frozen bananas are always ready to make any smoothie perfectly creamy and ice-cream-like.
Homemade bone broth
I make some whenever I have a whole chicken on hand and store it in quart containers (freezes well) for a nourishing base for homemade rustic soups.
ALLLLLL the sauces and dips, please. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds that’s used in the cuisine of several different cultures and in pretty much any hummus recipe. Try my Beet Hummus recipe and then use it to make “beetza.”
Or “cheesy flakes” as we like to call it, because it really does taste like cheese without the dairy. Sprinkle this on eggs, avocados, toast, and popcorn.
Organic or non-GMO popping corn
Always have a quick snack on hand if you have unexpected guests or just really hungry people in your house. I make popcorn in a large pot with coconut oil. Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt and nutritional yeast at the end, and toss it all together.
My favorite is Whole Foods 365 brand canned coconut milk because it has the perfect consistency. I froth this up for coffee and matcha or yerba maté lattés and keep some on hand for curry sauces. Transfer to a mason jar and it stays fresh for several days in the fridge.
Apple cider vinegar
This is my go-to vinegar for salad dressing. I’ve also added a splash of this to the pan with Dijon mustard when sautéeing hearty greens like kale or Swiss chard.
Local raw honey
Make honey mustard sauce, drizzle it on pancakes instead of maple syrup, naturally sweeten muffins or baked goods, and even eat a spoonful everyday to stave away allergies and soothe sore throats. Or try Steven’s secret weapon and lightly drizzle it on pizza. Suh good.
Mainly so I can make Rosemary Almond Meal Biscuits, a gluten-free, grain-free staple in our kitchen for many years. If you’re craving biscuits, these are a great nutrient-dense option, and they take minutes to whip up.
One more recipe to share with you:
Basic Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe
This is the formula I use every single time:
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp acid of some sort (apple cider/red wine/balsamic/sherry wine vinegar or fresh lemon/lime/orange juice)
- Big squeeze or a scoop of Dijon mustard
- Sea salt & pepper
- Optional add-ins: fresh or dried herbs, 1 tsp local raw honey
Shake it up really well in a jar and drizzle over salad. Don’t drown it—less is more!