I’m buzzing. (No, I did not have one too many glasses of wine this evening.) I feel like I’ve awakened from a very deep sleep, refreshed, energized and ready to take on the world. And, in a sense, I have…
I’ve just returned from a weekend in the mountains of southern California where I chatted with some amazing food bloggers (not an understatement – trust me, you’d be amazed). As a seasoned writer, but brand-spankin’ new blogger, I had the opportunity at Camp Blogaway to pick the brains of the creative people behind some of my favorite blogs.
Every conversation had something new to offer my neophyte-blogger mind, from Erika at In Erika’s Kitchen and Andrew at Eating Rules with their SEO tips and tricks to Cheryl at 5 Second Rule with her incredible ability to write without wasting a single word to Lynn at Bijouxs with her breathtaking photography. Each person I met gave me a little insight into a different facet of blogging.
I realized that this conference is kind of like stocking a pantry. You collect the items that are your go-to staples, the ones that fly off the shelves at a moment’s notice. Then you collect the things that are interesting, intriguing and exotic, but that you might not need on a daily basis, so you shelve them until they’re needed. The information I collected at Camp Blogaway is just like that: all valuable, some saved for later and some used immediately. I’m compiling a list of go-to blogging staples, playing with the “recipes” of blogging and finding out what works for me. (And the new, wonderful friends I’ve made are good stock for my blogging “pantry!” I’m whole-heartedly grateful to each and every one of you.)
All this pantry stock talk makes me think I should actually discuss it… So, here are a few things I ALWAYS have on hand:
Whole grains/dry pastas – These make great, quick weeknight meals (something of which I’m getting all too familiar with).
Chicken stock (low sodium) – I would cook anything in chicken stock… for real.
Baking needs (all-purpose and gluten-free flours, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, etc.) – I never know when I’m going to crave a biscuit… Oh, man! And there it is…
Canned tomatoes – If you can find jarred, that’s a bit better. The acidity of the tomatoes can potentially cause the metals of the can to leach into your food.
Canned or dried beans – Sometimes I just don’t feel like eating meat, so beans are a great substitute, in my opinion.
Honey – LOVE this stuff. I use it in salad dressings, marinades, baked good, etc.
Oils & vinegars – These complex flavors add a lot of depth to a dish without a lot of work. I’m a fan.
Spices & dried herbs – We’ve discussed my obsession with nutmeg. But in all honesty, it doesn’t stop there – not even close.
That’s typically what’s in my pantry (that, and a lot of other random things). What do you always keep on hand? Any must-have additions for this list? Leave a comment and let me know.