I’ve previously shared what I prepped for the freezer for post-baby meals in these posts here and here. Since then I have added several jars of bone broth and a few packages of Applegate sausages. Last thing to add is frozen veggies. Today I’m following up the freezer posts with how I stocked my pantry. It’s usually pretty well stocked, but I went a little overboard to make sure we can live through the first few weeks of baby. Or the apocalypse. You decide.
These are the staples I use all the time to throw together meals when it feels like there is nothing in the house to eat. This post is on the long side, but I’ve had several people ask me what I stock in my pantry that is considered ‘real food’, so I’m going for it. If you have zero interest in my dry goods, definitely stop reading now and save yourself the time.
Our pantry is six shelves tall, plus the floor, and in our our hallway outside of the kitchen. Gotta love houses built in the early 1900s. There is also very limited light in the hallway so please excuse the grainy photos.
Top Shelf: Oils and vinegars. And the dog’s dry food.
- I always have EVOO along with light tasting olive oil that I use for homemade mayo.
- My vinegar collection currently includes apple cider (local to Seattle), balsamic, red wine, white wine (three bottles for some reason), and coconut.
- If you’re curious, this is the dog’s dry food. He’s been eating it for two plus years and we’re happy with it. He’s dairy-free by necessity and grain-free (with the exclusion of a non grain-free treat on rare occasion) by my choice. One 50 lb. bag lasts us about four months.
Second Shelf: Sauces. And the dog’s wet food.
- We are big hot sauce fans and loyal to Horsetooth Hot Sauce in Colorado. I haven’t found it locally so I order it in bulk to save on shipping. We love all of the varieties which means we have half a shelf in a six shelf pantry dedicated to hot sauce.
- I also have coconut aminos* on this shelf. Soy makes my eyes puffy and coconut aminos taste very, very similar to soy sauce. Much to Greg’s embarrassment, I bring my bottle when we go out for sushi. Oh sushi, you are so close I can taste you.
- The dog eats a variety of Merrick wet foods that I purchase through Amazon’s subscribe and save. Because he’s our baby (for the next few weeks at least), we rotate through four or so flavors to ensure he doesn’t get “bored”. Should I be admitting this kind of thing to the internet? He eats half a can per day.
- I’ve gone through many coconut milk brands and lately I’m pretty loyal to Natural Value as they are BPA-free, organic, and arrive on my doorstep with the click of a button. I think I bought the non-organic one last time as they don’t always have it available on Amazon.
- I also have a jar of coconut cream that I’ve yet to use and some tetrapaks of coconut milk. I find these hard to use unless I’m making a Thai soup because they are large and go bad before I use it all. I should probably check the date on these, they’ve been in here for a while. How’s the for a glowing recommendation?
- Tomato products are one of the easiest ways to create a quick meal. I have several jars of Rao’s Marinara* and Arrabiata* sauces. Add a pound of ground meat and either spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles and dinner is done.
- I’ve changed from canned tomato products to using the Pomi packs. Each one is roughly equivalent to two 14 oz cans (they are 26 ounces). I keep the strained tomatoes in stock for when I need tomato sauce and the chopped for when I need diced. I usually stock up on a few of each when they go on sale at Whole Foods.
- Other random tomato products currently include sun dried (no idea why, not something I ever use) and paste (love the tubes for when I just need a tablespoon or two, then I throw in the freezer).
Fourth Shelf. Fish and a few random things I like to keep in stock.
- Homemade mayo + canned (quality) fish makes the easiest quick meal. Not to mention all the good nutrients that come with fish. I keep Wild Planet tuna* and Loki Fish Company salmon (local to Seattle, but shipped anywhere) stocked. For the salmon, I buy the 7.5 oz pink can (a full steak of salmon with skin, bones, and sea salt).
- Sardines are ridiculously good for you and I tolerate them on top of salads with lots of dressing. I’ve picked up a few brands at Whole Foods, but mostly I stick with Wild Planet in olive oil*.
- Great Lakes Gelatin* for making gummy snacks and other gelatin needs. The red or orange canisters will gel, the green will not.
- Lemon juice for making mayo. I try to use fresh lemons for other cooking needs, but it’s always nice to have a back-up.
- Trader Joe’s salsa verde. TJs hasn’t been in my regular shopping rotation in a really long time (though after seeing Holly’s latest Whole30 haul, I’m reconsidering this decision), but I still stop in to stock up on their salsa verde.
Fifth Shelf. Snacks.
- This is the most rotating shelf as I like to try new items I hear about on podcasts and blogs. Right now it’s well stocked with protein bars and jerky as I’m expecting to snack a lot while getting the hang of how much I need to eat to successfully breastfeed Martian.
- Rx Bars in Apple Cinnamon and Coffee Cacao. These are awesome protein bars and feel like you ate a full meal. I don’t advocate eating protein bas when you can eat real food, but when you need something for on the go (or the fifth meal of the day), they totally work and are super clean.
- EXO cricket protein bars* in a variety of flavors. Funny story: My friend Amanda put together a nursing supply box for a shower present and asked Greg about my favorite protein bars. I’m sure she wasn’t expecting to hear cricket protein, but she is a good friend and got them for me anyway. I like to embrace being the weird eater. I’m particularly excited to try the peanut butter and jelly ones.
- Chomps grass fed beef sticks (the original). These are the perfect snack when you need some quick protein but not a full meal. I might by them by the 250 count case, which would be the big white box with easy access. Surprisingly, we’re actually bigger fans of the original flavor than the jalapeño.
- Primal Pacs for more on the go meal options. I’ve been eating these for three or four years, the first paleo snacks I found. And they are locally made in Seattle, which is a bonus. I buy the small and they are particularly good for traveling. I keep them in my bag and in the car for emergencies. Greg even keeps a bag or two in his backpack for when he’s on the road and can’t get a meal.
- Lemon Larabars*, which really are a treat versus a protein bar. I don’t typically love Larabars (they are super sweet) but the lemon flavor has a nice tang.
- Seasnax* are ‘strangely addictive’ as they advertise. Full disclosure, you either love these or hate these. I have yet to meet someone who thinks they are just all right. Usually I have quite a few more but with all my protein bars and jerky I’m low on storage space so haven’t ordered any in a while. I prefer the original over the onion and wasabi flavors. These are also vegan.
- Yawp bars are like granola bars but grain-free. I have a sack of each flavor (two are hidden in the picture). They are delicious with coffee and are more of a snack than a meal replacement. I enjoy all three flavors, but the Cafe Mocha ones make me really thirsty. Like the Seasnax, these are also vegan.
- Other snacks very, such as chocolate, dried fruit, nut butters, etc. Lately I’ve been obsessed with dried mango but it never lasts very long on the shelf.
Sixth Shelf. Baking goods.
- This shelf has all sorts of flours, sweeteners, and other baking goods. None of it gets used very often as I don’t enjoy baking nor do I have much of a sweet tooth.
- Extra jars of coconut oil, a large jug of apple cider vinegar (I use it to refill the smaller bottle), and anything else that I might have an extra of at the time.
*I linked to products where I could and tried to use the link to the place I most often purchase the item. The one exception is everything with an asterisk. I recently found Thrive Market (save 15% using this link) and did a large purchase through them when restocking my pantry. This is basically an online Costco for real food. Yes. I can’t directly link to the products because you need to be a member to view them. I was impressed with their prices – they beat Amazon on everything I purchased that was available on both that day (it’s hard to say that is always the case since Amazon’s prices fluctuate so much). There is an annual fee (I think around $50), but after my first purchase and continuing to look at more of what they have I will definitely become a member when my trial expires this month. You rarely find real food at a discount (without stalking social media for time sensitive codes), so this is pretty awesome.
Amazon links are affiliates. Thrive Market offers 15% off using my code; if you were to join as a paying member I get a small reward.