Here is a list of a few items that are always good to have in a well-stocked pantry. With these ingredients at hand, you will be able to make just about anything you wish without having to take a gazillion trips to the health food store. Most of this stuff is either unavailable at the regular supermarket, or it costs too much. But you can get it in bulk either at Native Sun or Whole Foods, and that will save you a lot of money and frustration. A warning to the wise, though: when you do go to those stores, don't be tempted to buy all the "healthy" packaged food they have, as pretty and tantalizing as they may be. You'll end up with a thousand-dollar bill in no time! If you need to take the kids with you, a good day to go is on a Saturday morning, as they always have "samples" then. That way at least you don't have to buy your kids an expensive "treat" for dragging them to the store with you. But remember: buy EVERYTHING organic, always. Because if it is not organic, it WILL contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones and antibiotics. If you buy packaged items, ALWAYS read the labels. I've found that products change all the  time, and even if it is the health food store, you just can't afford to shop blindly. Trust me, I've learned the hard way. Favorite brands get bought up by others, names change, ingredients change... it's always good to keep an eye on it and, if you have any questions, ask the store clerks- after all, you are paying full price for it! As for vegetables, dairy etc... I like to buy from local sources as much as possible. It helps small farms, and keeps the money and jobs in our community.

Bulk Items

Brown rice

(any kind): good for rice/beans combos, salads, stir fries, soups...

Barley (pearled- without the husk): good to have around for soups
Couscous: so easy to make, it's ready in 15 minutes, great to have around in a pinch
Bulghur: same as couscous, plus it's great on salads
Quinoa: same as bulgur/couscous, great for salads as well
Farro: an Italian grain, similar to whole wheat, great for salads
Black beans: great for rice and beans, quesadillas, burrritos, tacos...
Lentils: they are great because they cook in 20 minutes, much faster than black beans
White beans: great for soups, salads...
Chick peas (garbanzo beans): great for stews, soups, salads, hummus...
Oats (rolled, not instant): great for baking, and for granolas as well
Raisins: great for cookies, as a snack, granolas...
Nuts: great snack for kids, for baking, for granolas, salads...
Seeds: also great for snacks, baking, salads, granolas
Pop-corn: great snack for home and school
Stone-ground whole wheat flour
White flour
Brown sugar (Demerara)
Spices of your choice

Note: I don't buy granola in bulk because I think it's too costly. Instead I just make my own.

Produce Section

Red Onion: for salads
Note: these are good to have around for just about any kind of cooking.

General Items 

Baking powder
Baking soda
Yeast for making breads
Corn tortillas
Pasta- whole wheat and white
Sea salt
Olive oil
Honey (local)
Maple syrup
Almond or peanut butter

Tea (also available in bulk)
Now that you have a well-stocked pantry... you will be able to make whatever recipes you chose based on the fresh produce, fruit, dairy and meat that you find every week at the farmer's market, or in the store of your choice.

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