I used to think cooking cost more than some out-to-dinner meals.  And when I first started cooking regularly, it did.

And that sucked.

But as my cooking became more habitual, my ongoing supply of staples began to pay off.  Soon, recipes became less and less costly as I already had flour, chicken broth, onions, garlic, parmesan, pasta, brown rice, black beans, crushed tomatoes …. on hand.

I’m still not really good at finding that balance of having fresh veggies stocked up. Although, you’ll rarely find me with out a few mushrooms lying around. (This being one of those times, as I recently had to toss a sad baggyof them…)

I’m really curious to hear from foodies what items of food they absolutely must have at all times. What foods do you feel naked without in your pantry?

Last night, DD Girl came by for an impromptu girls’ night. She recently dropped out of the fiance’s D&D group to free up some of her weeknight time. I found it slightly comical that despite her decision, she landed right back at our house, where the boys were about to start their weekly game.

Before the boys arrived, I was rummaging through my pantry to find something to whip up. I had kind of planned on re-heating the amazing Smoky Chiopotle Chicken Tortilla soup I made on Monday night, but DD Girl does not do spicy so I just threw that baby in the freezer for a later day.

“Well, I got starch, starch and more starch.” I told DD Girl.

Lots of pastas, sauces and breads, but very little protein or veggies. Secretly I was angsting over my lack of black beans. I never let my black bean supply dwindle!

Black beans are my super secret single food. You know, that food item you like to make and devour in mass quantities when no one is looking…I simmer them with onions, cumin and crushed red pepper and then douse them with cheese and sour cream. Sometimes I skip a spoon and use tortilla chips to scoop them into my mouth.

Wow, I just shared that. Moving on.

I opened up my freezer and found a bag of frozen spinach.


Onion, garlic, olive oil, white wine,  risotto,  chicken broth spinach and parm…sounded like the makings of a delicious dinner to me.

A Queen of Quirky staple special.

I’m so glad I have conquered my risotto-phobia. Because it’s really easy. And so tasty. It’s amazing how creamy risotto gets even before you add any cheese. Should I ever develop a dairy allergy, I’m going to drown in risotto.

After we gobbled our spinach risotto down, we moved upstairs so the boys could play downstairs. It was so silly to be sitting on my bed, watching TV with a friend. It felt like high school or an elementary school slumber party. (Sans wine.)

It didn’t seem right to leave Gertie on the floor. So up she went.

And she made herself quite at home.

And I might have had a mini twit pic frenzy. 

Just a little over the top.

I stopped there because the doorbell rang (and Gertie had to go check it out.) We were  joined by Roomie who just stopped by to fill us in on her sister’s wedding (Ok, she also brought me her share of the rent check, but I like to think she would have come by anyway to see me.)

 So there we were, all four of us on the bed, (Gertie eventually jumped ship. It got a little crowded.) wine and great conversation.

Later, after everyone left, I thought to myself, it’s really nice to have staples in my life.

But I really need to get some more black beans.

1 Comment

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One response to “Staples

  1. janer

    I get panicky if I don’t have breakfast stuffs in pantry and fridge, which in the current phase include rice farina, raisins, plain unsweetened yoghurt (preferably Strauss), almond milk (not so essential, esp. if fridge contains said yoghurt), warm spices such as cinnamon sticks, allspice, ginger, cardamom, quick-cook quinoa, fruit for stewing (with cloves) and eating hot.

    These days I also get a little distressed if I don’t have raw almonds and/or cashews in the fruit/nuts basket on the counter. (About the rawness: I used to think roasted cashews (pref. w/ salt) were the only kind worth eating, but my fav. local organic grocery/natural foods store currently has raw cashews on sale. I bought some a couple of weeks ago and now I’m hooked! The raw ones have a subtle hot bite to them that is lost or obscured when they’re roasted. At the rate I’m munching them down, I’ll probably end up buying the whole of the sale stock!)

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