Earlier this week, I took you on a tour of my simple kitchen. The purpose of that post was to show you one example of what a clutter-free kitchen can look like, as well as to give you a little peek inside my world! Aside from the fact that I like to line things up and keep them in order, my kitchen hasn’t always been that organized. Just look at how messy the top drawer in my kitchen was three years ago! (And here’s the follow-up from a few months after my initial declutter and purge in 2014.)
Now that you’ve seen the shelves and know what tools and utensils I use on a regular basis, I thought I would talk more about the actual food I buy and store in my kitchen. If there’s one thing I’m proud of in regards to food it’s the fact that I’ve never wasted much of it. Even thinking back to when I first moved out at age 18, I have never been someone who stored a lot of food in her pantry or felt the need to stock up just because something was on sale. Instead, I shop 2-3 times a week and buy what I need when I need it.
As a result, I buy – and use up! – a lot of whole foods and fresh ingredients, rather than rely on what could be filling up my cupboards. But it does also mean that things look pretty empty. ;)
Here’s an overall look at the contents of my fridge and freezer. I took this picture on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t until doing so that I realized there was still blue tape stuck to the freezer door and on that yellow sign near the back! Oh boy, if that’s not proof of how little I use my freezer, haha. Typically, the only two things I keep in there are frozen berries for smoothies and ice packs that I bought for pain management after my car accident (and still use to this day).
These are all the condiments I currently own, though I wouldn’t call them all staples. I do have salsa, hot sauce and soy sauce available at all times! (And plan to make more homemade salsa when I finally buy a food processor – thanks again for all of your great suggestions.) I also like to have rice vinegar for salad dressings, etc. But the peanut sauce and salad dressing you see here were sort of “testers”. I make a really good spicy peanut sauce of my own but wanted to try this one out. And the salad dressing is from the Okanagan and is vegan and sugar-free, so I thought I’d try it too.
Also, I <3 Hemp Hearts and I only drink almond milk (original unsweetened).
You probably saw this stuff sitting on the counter in my last post. It all lives in the corner where I make my coffee, tea and smoothies every day! So, it might be obvious but I add Vega and chia to my smoothies. I also add chia to “cereal” – aka a bowl of granola, berries and milk. I keep decaf black tea stocked at all times. And, of course, coffee. I know some people prefer to grind their coffee fresh daily, but I typically grind up a week’s worth at a time. I don’t have one favourite blend, but instead like to try dark roasts from local roasters and also buy Kicking Horse at the grocery store when it’s on sale. This is Grizzly Claw (dark roast).
Fun fact: Vega is a Vancouver company, as is Earth’s Own (the almond milk), Kicking Horse is in BC, the Hemp Hearts above are from Manitoba and Prana (chia) is based in Quebec!
Onto the “pantry” – although I don’t really know if you can call one shelf a pantry? There are literally only 12 things on this shelf right now. The staples in this picture are: brown rice, rice noodles, coconut milk and natural peanut butter (no sugar added, only peanuts). Beans are also a staple for me, but I don’t usually buy them in cans anymore. Instead, I buy bulk and soak them overnight. These are leftovers I bought when I was in the middle of moving and wanted some easy meals. I’ll probably make a plan to eat them both up in the next week or so, then go back to bulk. (I also buy bulk rice but they were out of brown!?)
My one deliciously guilty pleasure, these days, is granola. I think I’m super late to the party on this one. Have you guys been enjoying granola for years? Why did it take me so long to try it? I don’t buy it all the time, but I do love this stuff from Nature’s Path. It’s organic and vegan, and coconut and cashews are the way to my heart (and stomach). And NP is another company based out of BC! Next to the granola, I have some flour and baking powder for baking sugar-free muffins (another new obsession). And finally, I have white wine vinegar and sesame oil for dressings and sauces. There’s also coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil next to the stove.
That’s it for the food, but I do have a separate cupboard full of spices! The ones you see in the mason jars were all bought in bulk. The shakers were ones I couldn’t find in bulk at the time. I also have a refillable pepper grinder. And the Himalayan pink salt is new for me. Honestly, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even own salt! I don’t like to add it to my food but it is included in a lot of recipes (especially when it comes to baking). Rather than use table salt, I figured I’d finally buy a pink salt grinder and test it out. So far, so good.
All-in-all, my pantry looks kind of empty and minimal – because it is! In my experience, the idea of only buying “stuff” when you need it should also apply to food. By buying food when you need it, not only will your fridge and pantry be filled with less clutter, you’ll potentially reduce your food waste which will save you money. As a side rant, I have to say that groceries are more expensive than ever now, which is why it’s even more important to cut costs and save where you can!
One of the things that helps me save both time and money is buying most of the same stuff every week. If you’re curious, this is what my typical grocery list includes.
My Weekly Grocery List
- 2-3 apples
- 4-5 bananas
- berries (both fresh for snacks and frozen for smoothies)
- a lemon and a lime
- kale and/or spinach
- red peppers
- almond milk
- rice noodles
- granola (a bag usually lasts two weeks)
- whatever I need in bulk (including nuts/trail mix)
- sometimes a fake meat product (like veggie ground or sausage)
- and then anything else for specific recipes I’m trying*
*As an example, this week I think I’ll use up those black beans by making black bean quesadillas, so I’ll buy some Daiya cheese and wraps! That means I can also use up the rest of the cilantro in my fridge. :)
In showing you all of these pictures this week, I want to make sure I leave you with one thought: you don’t need to be “as minimalist” as I am. If you feel overwhelmed by how much work you would have to do to overhaul your kitchen and/or your pantry, slow down and ask yourself what ONE thing you could work on instead.
There are still so many things I want to change about what you see here! I’d love to eventually have a zero waste kitchen, but I’m not quite there yet and that’s ok. It’s a work in progress because I am a work in progress. And by making these changes slowly, all of these new things I’m trying (like cooking more and making my own salad dressings) have the potential to become lifelong habits. <– that’s the goal. Attaining a certain level of minimalism is not.
So, what’s the one thing you’d like to change about your kitchen/pantry/grocery shopping habits?
Also, do you have any links/recommendations for where I can source reusable bulk and produce bags? xo!