Preparing My Winter Pantry
With baby due to arrive any day now I’ve spent the past couple of weeks stocking up my winter pantry. I know I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the blissful infant fog over the next few weeks so I am making sure all of my go-to staples are filled to the brim to help me avoid daily dashes for food. Last week I spent some time flipping through my cookbook and jotting down ideas for easy healthy meals I want to focus on this winter. For the first few weeks with baby I’ll be sticking exclusively to lean proteins and vegetables. Not only to lose the baby weight, but because they will give me the energy I need to get through each day (and night) while still keeping up with my preschooler. I also plan to focus on a low-salt and low-sugar diet to relieve the end-of-pregnancy swelling I am currently experiencing.
Luckily, in addition to my own preparations, I have lots of help and support from my husband and family. My mother has already been making and freezing some of my favorite soups and casseroles and plans to bring them with her when she comes to stay for a week. My husband is an excellent cook and has promised to make some of my favorite lean meals including roasted salmon and vegetables in parchment, and Tomato Quinoa Soup. I am sure I’ll end up filling in with some of my own favorite dishes. Mostly because I find cooking relaxing and I’ll likely enjoy handing off the baby now and then in favor of lazily stirring a pot or two!
For breakfast foods I’ve stocked our cabinet with a fresh jar of Homemade Pancake Mix. I plan to add oatmeal to it and make Oatmeal Almond Pancakes for my daughter and I at least once a week this winter. Not only is this a hearty breakfast, but it will help me ensure we still get our happy morning time together. I also have been experimenting with the homemade pancake mix, substituting some whole wheat flour for the white flour and thinning out the batter to make whole wheat crepes. I plan fill them with fruit and maybe a low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese for a healthy start to the day.
For my very necessary morning caffeine hit I have a few cans of coconut milk on hand along with two fresh boxes of my favorite Stash Chai Tea bags. I’ll undoubtedly be enjoying Coconut Chai Lattes each morning. I plan to use coconut milk instead of cows milk at least half the time since I like the flavor and don’t want to overdo my dairy intake. I also picked up a fresh bag of coffee beans from our local roaster so I can make my occasional afternoon lattes with my new milk frother!
Since I adore having leftovers for lunch I’ve stocked up on a few more of my favorite BPA-free locktop containers from OXO. I know I’ll be using these to keep dinner leftovers fresh and ready for the next day. I always swear that the last cup of soup we don’t eat at dinner makes the absolute best lunch a day later. I also bought and froze two extra loaves of my favorite rustic country bread from Trader Joe’s. I’ll thaw slices as needed to make Poached Eggs on Pesto Cheese Toast or classic Egg ‘n’ Soldiers for lunch.
For dinner I’ve stocked up on grains, sauces, and spices. All of these can be combined with fresh poultry, vegetables, or on their own to make complete healthy meals. Currently I have full-to-the-brim mason jars of brown lentils, quinoa, dry couscous, dry pastas, dry polenta, brown rice, jasmine rice, and bouillon cubes. I also have a few boxes of my favorite Pomi tomatoes, jars of Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles, and one last jar of pickled jalapenos for Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup. With these on hand I only have to the hit the farmer’s market on Saturday and the grocery store once a week to fill in the necessary veggies and meats to pull meals together.
I’ll be staying away from heavy sweets for a while so I only have a modest stock of our usual baking supplies. I know my daughter and I will be making our favorite Coconut Chocolate Chip drop cookies now and then. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner I am sure we’ll get involved with a few baking projects for her friends. Other than that I am ruling out sweets and am sticking with naturally sweet treats like Broiled Clementines with Raw Sugar while I focus my goal of fitting into my pre-maternity jeans by late spring.
I am leaving my freezer partially open for the meals my parents and friends plan to bring me. Currently I have one small shelf full of frozen herbs from last summer, and a second shelf with a tray of frozen pesto cubes, two loaves of frozen bread, a bag of frozen waffles, and our Zoku popsicle maker.
All in all I feel mostly prepared for baby and am excited to share the news with you in the near future. Stay tuned and thanks for your support and readership!