{ My Favorite Ingredients }

My Kitchen Staples  ~~    Here are the items I can't live without in my kitchen, presented in no particular order.   No one compensates me for what I'm posting or any links I might provide ~ these are just the things I like, just because I like them & thought you might be interested in them, too.  This is an ever changing list, because I am always trying out new things.  If you are lucky enough to have access to a Trader Joe's, Penzeys Spices or Whole Foods ~ go & explore all the goodies they have available.  I feel like a kid in a candy shop every time I go to one of those stores.  They make me happy.  :)   I'll add new stuff to the top of the list when I find items to share or when I think to take photos of my favorite things when I am cooking with them...

Godiva Dark Chocolate with Fleur de Sel Sea Salt ~ This chocolate bar is AMAZING!! It's worth every high priced bite!!  I never knew dark chocolate & a hint of sea salt would pair together so perfectly ~ BUT THEY DO!!!  I recently tried this combo at a wine tasting party & became an instant fan ~ it's also wonderful with red wine.  A large bar runs around $4-$5, (ouch!) but it is so good that I don't hesitate to buy it when I feel like pampering myself a little.  :)

PB2 ~ powdered peanut butter & powdered peanut butter with chocolate ~  A visitor to the blog told me about this stuff & I ordered it from Amazon.  This stuff is AMAZING!! I will be tinkering with this product, A LOT.  Of course, I might just make it up in a bowl & just eat it off a spoon, it's that good! (& really low fat/low cal, too)

Coconut Water ~ I LOVE THIS STUFF!!  It has such a rich, coconut flavor ~ while at the same time being light.  Yeah, it has sugar in it, but since I don't do soda, I'm willing to overlook the sugar for an occasional splurge.  It also makes for a REALLY taste component in a tropical cocktail.  :)

Anna's Swedish Cookies ~ these ultra thin, traditional Swedish cookies are amazing!  They come in a variety of flavors & are wonderful!  I'm partial to the Orange Thins.  They have a light, peppery bite of ginger that is addicting.  I get mine in the international section of my local market.  Check out their site here.
Stokes Chile Sauce ~ We became addicted to Stokes Chile Sauce when we lived in Colorado.  They don't sell it this far East, so I have to order it & have it shipped. I order a dozen cans at a time to save on shipping ~ it's worth every penny.  They have a bunch of great flavors & are AWESOME!!!  Try some if you ever get the chance, it really makes a dish taste WONDERFUL!!

Trader Joe's Potstickers ~ They sell the most amazing potstickers & have different flavors to choose from.  J & I like them for a snack or even as a meal. They cook up in about 5 minutes ~ add some veg, rice & a little Bragg's and dinner is served.

Cacao Nibs ~ I get these over at Whole Foods & really like them.  They have a bitter, dark chocolate flavor & are full of good-for-you things.  They sorta remind me of chocolate covered coffee beans, without the sweetness.  Strangely addicting...  ;)

Del Monte Tropical Fruit Salad ~ I just love this brand of canned fruit mix.  I use it in cooking, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts & in smoothies.  Heck, it's great with everything.  It tastes just as good as the 'fresh' expensive glass jar versions that you buy over in the produce section.  I always have some in the fridge , chilled, ready to go.  I keep it in a glass Mason jar ~ looks & tastes just the same & I save a couple of bucks.  Take that - much higher priced jarred fruit!

Yves Vegan Veggie Chorizo ~ Amazing stuff!! Use this for a real Mexican flavor for your recipes that call for chorizo. (I love making scrambled eggs & chorizo & serving in a tortilla - heaven on a plate)  Looks, tastes & cooks like real chorizo ~ but without all the bad stuff & fats. I get mine at Whole Foods.

Soy-Sation Shredded Cheese ~ Great soy cheese, melts & tastes like the real deal.  I get mine at Trader Joe's. 

Trader Joe's Frozen Mango Chunks ~ This is an easy way to always have this wonderful fruit on hand.  J likes to eat it partially frozen as a snack & I love it in smoothies.

Eagle Mills Buttermilk Complete Pancake Mix ~ I LOVE THIS STUFF!!  It is very similar in makeup to Heart Healthy Bisquick & is only about $1 a box! Cheap & cheerful at its best!

Trader Joe's Fondue ~ I love this stuff & it's half the price of other heat & serve fondue.

Oats ~ Quick or Old Fashioned ~ Love this stuff & it's good for your heart, too.

Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges ~ This stuff is awesome! Tastry & on 35 cals per wedge.  I get mine at Sam's Club.

Hellmann's Light Mayo (Best Foods on the West Coast) ~ Only brand I'll use.  Tastes just  like the full fat version.

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray ~ Only brand I'll use & have been using it for years ~ great on veggies.

Brown Sugar Ham ~ Great taste & price, very versatile in recipes & for meals.

Almond Butter ~ I like it better than Peanut Butter because it has a lighter flavor & I can use it in more recipes. I use it instead of Tahini in recipes, as a thickener, whenever a nut butter is called for in a recipe & it's fine for J's school lunches (because of the no peanut rule). It has all the benefits of eating whole almonds.  I always buy the unsalted -  sometimes I get it roasted & sometimes raw.  You can add cocoa powder & some sweetener to make a quick 'Nutella type' spread.  It's my go-to nut butter.

Bragg Liquid Aminos ~ I always use this instead of soy sauce. It tastes JUST like it (it's made from soy beans), it's not fermented, it's lower in sodium than traditional soy sauces, gluten-free & is full of amino acids. I won't ever go back to regular soy sauce. 

Avocado Oil ~ I love using this oil in some recipes. It has a buttery, almost bacony, flavor.  I like to use it when I make vegetarian 'meat' dishes. It lends a 'meaty' flavor to the food. Great for sauteing mushrooms! It tastes wonderful in salad dressings.

Seasoned Rice Vinegar ~ This sweet vinegar is perfect for using just as it is for a quick, no fat salad dressing.  Or use it instead of regular vinegar for a little sweeter taste. Great for giving that special flavor to Japanese 'sweet sticky rice'.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes ~ My favorite canned tomato.  It gives everything you use it in a flavor boost. The hint of smokiness is subtle, but sooo tasty.  We always add a can when making Campbell's tomato soup.  This is good as a base for making quick salsas. 

Mixed Nuts ~ I always have a variety of nuts in my fridge.  I add them to all sorts of dishes. Sometimes I toast them for added flavor.  Just a sprinkling really takes a recipe up a notch. I think Walnut is the most versatile, I use it in baking, savory dishes, salads, desserts.  If you toast it & use avocado oil to make a salad dressing, it gives a 'bacon' flavor to the finished dressing.

Dannon Yogurt ~ Plain + Nonfat = Lowfat ~ This has the best flavor of all the plain yogurts out there! Not harsh & sour, but very smooth & mellow.  Perfect for eating plain or with fruit.  I always mix them together & get a wonderful Lowfat yogurt. I use it instead of sour cream & often strain it for a thick 'Greek Yogurt' or 'mock' cream cheese.  We even eat it plain, it's that good. I switch the caps when I'm done mixing, so I know they are ready to use.  I won't buy/use anything else.

Walnut Oil ~ This oil has a nice, rich flavor.  I use it sometimes in place of olive oil, for cooking or salad dressings.

Trader Joe's Chicken Sausages ~ These two are my favorites, fully cooked, just heat & serve. The Sun-Dried Tomato is great for using in all recipes/places you need sausages.  I even use them for my English Bangers dinner. Both are lowfat, but full of flavor.  I use the Sweet Apple ones for breakfast.

TP Tips & Ty-phoo Decaf ~ English Tea is the best.  It is the only kind Roy will drink

Bisto Gravy ~ Chicken & Beef ~ I don't even bother to make homemade gravy anymore. I love the convenience of these English gravies. I get them at a local market, in the International Food aisle.  Cost Plus/World Market also carries it. Just add some granules to hot water and there you go, Bob's your Uncle.  Couldn't be quicker & easier. They taste really good, too. So much better than anything we have in the US.

Penzeys Spices ~ I just love their spices! So many to choose from & they taste great.  Get on their mailing list & get one of their catalogs.  They send coupons for a free jar of the featured spice, a few times a year. All those jars in the background are freebies.  I go through a lot of spices, I buy some of my favorites by the bagful & just refill my jars. 

Favorite Sauces ~ Bull's Eye BBQ Sauce & Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara / Spaghetti Sauce.  The only BBQ sauce I'll use & my all-time favorite spaghetti sauce.

Trader Joe's Fat Free Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix ~  This is a great brownie mix, you can make the whole box or just as single-serve brownies. Follow the directions on the box ~ just add mix, yogurt or applesauce, 45 seconds in the microwave & you've got a sweet, chocolate, yummy dessert. We sometimes dress it up with ice cream, whipped cream or walnuts.   It's wonderful naked, too.

Beef Fajitas ~ John Soules Foods, Ready to Eat ~ I get these big bags at Sam's Club.  They also have smaller bags at Walmart. They taste great, are pretty lean/tender & have a great grilled flavor.  It is a versatile product & I use it in all sorts of recipes calling for beef.  It sure makes putting dinner on the table quicker.  It is good in salads & wraps, too. 

Better Than Bouillon Soup Base ~ This stuff is amazing!  It comes in many different flavors.  No need to make from scratch bouillon with this stuff around.  It keeps in the fridge & makes anything taste more rich, great for a quick cup of broth, too.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting some!!

Teriyaki and Sweet & Sour Sauce ~ I always have a few flavors of stirfry sauce in the fridge.  It allows me to get a tasty meal on the table - fast.  From scratch is always better, but sometimes fast is where it's at.  These are also a great way to disguise leftovers & turn them into something a bit exotic.  I like to add canned fruit to my stirfry, too.

Bush's Baked Beans ~ These are my favorite baked beans.  When I used to work at the deli, this was the brand we sold out of our fresh case for $4 a pound.  Save yourself some $$ & just buy it in the can yourself.  Get a couple of cans, put them in a nice serving dish, heat them up & you have an easy potluck dish.  Doctor them up a bit, with bacon & a sprinkling of brown sugar, if you must, but it's really not necessary.

Mostly Memories Soy Candles, Cinnamon Bun ~  I know this is not food, but it makes it smell like I've been baking up a storm.  Sometimes that is the best I can do, & it works for me.  :) These are the best candles & they last forever.  Many different scents to choose from. Hersey's Chocolate is another favorite...they are all favorites.

La Banderita Low Carb Tortillas ~ Great taste, low calorie, low fat & low carb.  We use them for Mexican meals & for wraps. Just LOVE this product.

Healthy Life Whole Wheat High Fiber Bread ~ Only bread I buy. The name says it all & it tastes great!

Cheap Cooking Wines ~ I always keep some wine around for cooking.  These types of wine allow me to keep opened bottles around & just use a splash when I feel like it.  I hate wasting a whole bottle of white if I just need a little bit.

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