Call me nosy, but I just love seeing the inside of someones pantry or fridge, the items in their makeup bag or their carry on for a trip. I love hearing about someones experience at a new restaurant or their opinion of a product. It is amazing to learn from others and its a bonus if it helps to save time or money!
I love trying new things, but I am absolutely a creature of habit! I tend to stick with a few items and only venture outside of them occasionally. Thought I would share my top 5 items in a few categories – some have been trial and error or a fluke find. Some I have learned about family or friends or some from other bloggers. Others are alternatives or deals, personal preferences or most used!
My Top 5 – Baking
There are so many ingredients I love for baking – Flour alternatives (spelt, almond, buckwheat etc.) Oils (avocado, coconut or olive) Quinoa (cooked, uncooked, flakes & puffed) not to mention Dark Chocolate and all the Nut Butters! But these would be the items I use daily in a variety of ways, use for a healthier option or would be lost if weren’t on hand!
It is a rare day the bag oats does not get pulled out of our cupboard. We eat them warm, soaked for overnight oats, baked oats or in flour form for baking! We use a combo of quick, large flake and steel cut depending on the recipe. We buy at least one a big bag of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut at Costco per month. The quality is top notch and there is no beating the price! I also use this bag to grind into Oat Flour. I use our magic bullet to pulse and grind the oats into flour for baking and pancakes. It takes a few extra minutes but I find it is worth it to save the money!
2. Apple Sauce
Normally recipes will use apple sauce to cut back on the oil/fat. Although this is great and works great, I use it for a whole different reason! I use it to cut back on the sugar/sweetener. For me personally that is where I like to see quantity cut back for myself and my family. It adds a great amount of sweeteness, the fiber and vitamins from apples and allows other sweeteners to be cut in half in most cases! Win, Win, Win!
3. Hemp, Chia, Flax
Yes, that is 3 things – but this trifecta is pretty much 1 ingredient my baking! I add these to everything! Sometimes as a flax or chia egg and sometimes just a few tablespoons for the added nutrition! I could go on and on about the benefits of these super seeds – protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals – the list goes on! They dissolve well into most recipes & sometimes help a recipe for binding or absorption.
Cinnamon is the most used spice in our home! We add it to our shakes, matcha, coffee, baking and some cooking! I love this spice for the same reason I love apple sauce, it happens to create sweetness without the use of extra sweeteners! It is rich in minerals and vitamins – found to be an antioxidant and an aid in inflammation. And with more and more research coming out about all the benefits of this spice to our overall health there is no reason not to add it in!
5. Maple Syrup
Canada, eh?! In the spring I took the kids to the Sugar Bush. They saw the tapped trees, tasted the sap, saw the process of boiling the sap down and had pancakes with fresh syrup at the shack! During their breakfast my son proclaimed “Mom, maple syrup is so sweet! I bet this is all you need to make cookies sweet!” There you go folks, outta the mouths of babes! Although I do use honey, coconut sugar or on the rare occasion (birthday cakes!) powdered sugar, 100% pure maple syrup is really all I use. I love the sweetness it adds without any overpowering taste. Perfect!