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  • Writer's pictureHeather Marie

About My Pantry

In order to keep Healthy Without Hassle sustainable I try to cook a wide variety of foods. Nothing can derail a clean eating goal faster than having the same list of 5-10 bland meals to choose from for weeks on end. There was a time in my life when I couldn't cook anything that didn't come in a box. If the instructions didn't include boil water and pour in contents I was guaranteed to mess it up, which I did often! I had two main notions in my mind that stopped me from cooking and eating better. First, that eating clean meant eating bland. How many times can you eat baked chicken and broccoli before you just turn back to chicken strips and fries? Second, that cooking healthy food that tasted good was hard or took a long time. I was such a novice that if it included more than boiling water or browning hamburger I was completely intimidated. Little did I know then how far those two skills could take me.

At that time my spice cabinet included four ingredients--salt, pepper, Johnny's Seasoning and garlic salt; end of list. Now my spice cabinet includes one whole drawer, the cabinet above the microwave, and a four sided stand on the counter. This is all for one reason, flavor! Flavor is so important to making food, and it is so easy to manipulate. I will spend a long time on a recipe figuring out the perfect combination of spices before I deem it "my recipe." However, once it's perfected I will share it with the world!

My favorite area to tinker with spices is quite possibly spice mixes. It is very easy to head to the store and grab a packet of mix for one thing or another, but have you looked at the ingredients? MSG, fillers, artificial thickeners, other preservatives, I say no thank you. Or on other side of the argument, you get all of your meat, veggies and other fixings together to realize as you forgot to grab the packet of taco seasoning while you were at the store; ack! What if I told you it was just as easy to make some of your favorite seasonings at home, from scratch, with just a few basic spices? What if I told you these spice combinations are actually better than what you would find in the store, PLUS you get more for your money? I know I'm sounding a little like Morpheus giving you the option between the red and blue pill(Matrix reference for those not so inclined to my Sci-Fi nerdisms), but this is because it is really this simple. If you can shift your thinking from the grab-and-go culture we have become, to investing in a few key ingredients used in our everyday foods then we move from a, "I can buy that," mindset to, "I can make that." And bonus, when you make it, you have control over what's in it. You can say goodbye to fillers, preservatives and artificial flavor enhancers and get back to food the way it should be.

With this in mind I bring you My Pantry. Here I will bring recipes for spices I have perfected, and for someone starting out just as I did years ago, recommendations for the easiest things to stock in your pantry to make clean eating an everyday sustainable reality. I hope you enjoy it! Allons-y!

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