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Weather Forecast Calls for 20 Minutes in Grocery Line

January 15th, 2011 - By Lari Robling

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It seems for every inch of snow predicted, it means five minutes standing in the supermarket checkout. Learn how to stock your pantry so you don’t have to fight those lines or sacrifice health and taste.


Photo by Flicker user tshein / CC BY-NC 2.0

MORE: Check out Lari Robling’s list of pantry items you should have to avoid store storm madness.

Nothing sends us to the supermarket faster than a stormy weather prediction. This impulse to stock up makes sense, and hey it might even be a nod to our hunter gatherer ancestors. But while you are buying, if you just reach for the heavy comfort foods and snacks that can be a prescription for trouble.

“What you’re going to do is go in to your pantry and pick up something that you don’t want to use,” says Bonnie Sanders Polin, contributor to the “Cleveland Clinic Healthy Heart Lifestyle Guide and Cookbook.” What’s on her shopping list? “You need all kinds of beans. To be honest with you sometimes I use dried beans if I have a lot of time but I take canned beans and I drain them very, very well. We use an awful lot of no-salt and low salt tomato products, also I buy tuna packed in water and that makes a very quick meal.”

Violet glass storage jar

OK, that’s common sense, but what about something a little different? I turn to dried herbs and spices. Sure, there are the usual suspects basil, rosemary, and thyme, but don’t overlook adding some international flare with a French herbs d’provence, a Middle Eastern zahtar, or even a spicy Indian curry. Buy them in small quantities and throw them out as soon as they lose their pungency. How to keep them fresh in the pantry longer? Nadia Vesci, Fante’s cookware store buyer says the newest storage idea actually comes from our past, “what’s new is violet glass which blocks a large percentage of UV light so if you are storing them out on your counter keeping them out of the sunlight will actually preserve the flavor. Historically in accent times they used to store medicines and herbs and rare spices in violet jars.”

And dried herbs beg the question, does EVERYTHING have to be fresh? Real Food Has Curves authors, Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, say there’s a middle road. Take, for example, marinara sauce, “if you make it yourself, with fresh tomatoes good olive oil, that’s absolutely real food. Let’s go to the other extreme there are some things that are not real food there are jarred products and so many are made with cornstarch and fillers. And that’s not real food. But there’s something in between. What’s in between are the products that use the same things you would but someone just did it for you. That’s convenience and convenience should never be overlooked, just examined.”

So what does Bruce Weinstein like to keep on hand for a wintery flavor burst? A little avocado oil, “take a fennel bulb cut the top off and slice it in half inch slices and grill it outside or on a grill pan. It’s as simple as that. Take these warm grilled fennel slices and drizzle it with avocado oil deep green oil tastes likes olive oil grass trees just the smallest drizzle will be one of the most satisfying lunches you’ll ever had.”

Now, that’s the way to sit out bad weather!

“grocery store” photo by Flicker user betsyxallen / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Photo by Flicker user Chiot's Run / CC BY-NC 2.0

Move Over, Kale Chips! Kale Buds Are Here

By Lari Robling - April 18th, 2012

High Tunnel farming caught my eye because its extended growing season adds to the amount of local produce we get. While farm manager Aviva Asher was tidying up the winter crop to make way for spring, I discovered another benefit of local growing: use what you’ve got.

December 2014
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