Pantry Staples

Pantry Staples are the items that I ALWAYS keep on hand and always go on the grocery list the moment I run low.

My recipe cards for meal planning have a Shopping List on the front of each card.  The Shopping List consists of items that are not Pantry Staples– so it’s just the things I wouldn’t normally have on hand.  When I line the cards up for the week, it gives me a nice list without having to read through all of the ingredients.

Your Pantry Staples list may vary from mine, depending on what you cook… But here’s a look at what I keep stocked in my home:


olive oil
coconut oil
avocado oil
sesame oil
non-stick cooking spray

apple cider vinegar
red wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
distilled white vinegar
balsamic vinegar
rice wine vinegar

baking soda
baking powder
cream of tartar
cocoa powder
chocolate chips
corn meal
white sugar
brown sugar
evaporated milk
vanilla extract

Canned Goods:
tomato sauce
tomato paste
diced tomatoes
stewed tomatoes
tomato soup
green chilies

bay leaves
black pepper
cayenne pepper
chili powder
curry powder
mustard powder
paprika: sweet and smoked
red pepper flakes

white rice (Jasmine)
wild rice
egg noodles

Snacks and cereals:
breakfast cereals
rolled oats
apple sauce


Dijon mustard
yellow mustard
BBQ sauce
soy sauce
chicken stock
beef stock


green beans
ground beef
Italian sausage

Splitting my Transferware Set. Interested?

After years of collecting, I’ve passed the 500 piece mark for my ironstone transferware collection.  Some may say it has gotten….. out of hand.

Anyway….. I have decided to split it and part with a few pieces (but only the ones I have doubles of!!!!)

If you’re interested in starting your own collection (I’m warning you: It’s addictive….) this would be a beautiful start!

Keto BLTAE meal plan

***I’ll make this post pretty later***

I’ll get around to making awesome meal planning card printables (like these: sooner or later.  Promise!  🙂

But for now, I figured I could get a few meal plans in your hands before you get TOO sick of having bacon, avocados and eggs with every meal.  I figure the easiest way is to post meals as I plan and make them for my own family.

Here’s what we had for dinner last night:

BLTAE sandwiches on keto bread, “potato” salad,

and a garden salad

KETO BREAD (SUPER easy, and 5-8 ingredients!!!)

Keto bread is not the super yummy bread you’ll want to eat alone.  Do yourself a favor, and use thin slices for your sandwiches. 😉

The ingredients are all keto pantry staples, so stock up on:

  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour
  • Keto-friendly sweetners (I use a blend of Erythritol, stevia and monk fruit)
  • Gluten-free baking powder
  • Xanthan gum


Stock up on cauliflower, and keep it in the freezer- It’s your new potato 😉  You’ll need florets for some recipes and riced for others.  Costco again here….
And bacon…. definitely add bacon…
Try frying your steamed cauliflower in bacon grease with a little sweetener and salt before using it… because bacon grease is the best thing about keto, and cauliflower is not super-yummy and needs a little correcting IMHO. 🙂
Also, cooked cauliflower smells NASTY, NASTY, NASTY!  Do everyone a favor, and cook it when no-one else is home.  Do yourself a favor and open all of the doors and windows, turn on all the fans, light candles, burn incense, call in an exorcist, and cool down the cauliflower as quickly as possible after cooking it.  I suggest using it in recipes that are served cold.

Shopping list:

  • Make sure your spice cabinet is STOCKED!
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Dill pickles
  • Celery
  • Red onions


No need for a recipe here, just get some greens and fats into a garden salad.  Stay stocked up with greens and avocados.  Add some bacon and egg if you like, use a keto-friendly, high fat dressing.  Sub Parmesan crisps (from Costco again) for croutons… but don’t go overboard… cheese has more carbs than you would suspect. 😉


Again, no need for a recipe here.  Make your BLT using some super yummy avacado mayo… and go a little light on the tomatoes- because, carbs…  Fry your eggs in bacon grease (DUH!!!) to over-medium.  You want the yolks soft… but certainly not making a mess all over the place.  Add a few slices of avocado for the “A”…. and if you want to be extra fancy, fry the bread in some butter first.


I’ll have to dig up the recipe I wrote for lemon bars, but this will have to do for now.  A note for shortbread crusts: Mixing in some hazelnut meal instead of just using almond flour or coconut flour makes a HUGE improvement on taste and texture. 🙂

More Keto Pantry Staples:

  • Coconut oil
  • Monkfruit
  • Coconut flour
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest



The Thief of Peace

I woke up at 4:00 a.m…. worried.  It eclipsed the peace and quiet of the pre-dawn.  In fact, after a little reflection, I believe that worry may be the perfect opposite of peace.

This morning, when I think about creating a peaceful home…. I wonder what I can do to make my home worry-free.  There is obviously more to it than just resolving not to worry….  A lot can be accomplished by not creating things to worry about in the first place.

I’m as guilty as anyone of creating volatility in my life.  We’re all supremely good at deluding ourselves, and once we’ve deluded ourselves, a little confidence is all it takes to spread that delusion to those you love.  Going after the birds in the bush makes all the sense in the world when someone tells us that their wings are broken.  So we abandon what IS true for what we BELIEVE to be true.  And we will find every fact, study and piece of evidence available to cement our certainty.  Don’t get me wrong…. Certainty serves us well.  Without it, we would never make a turn, never change anything, never go anywhere.  But….

Looking back, most of the troubles I face today are troubles that I put here….. by counting on tomorrow.  I may call it “leveraging myself”.  I may call it “investing in my business” or “investing in my future”.  It sounds responsible.  But more often than not, that certainty is an illusion.  We are always up against the unknown, and believing anything more is a lie.

Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow… that each day has enough trouble of it’s own.

The question then becomes, “How do we get the most out of each day without gambling away our tomorrow?”  I’m not just talking about money here.  I’m talking about our time, our relationships and every other resource we’re blessed with.  Yes, it might make sense to spend a dollar today to save $5 tomorrow.  But how do we know the difference between a gamble and a trade? Between a waste and an investment? What happens if the $5 tomorrow never comes, and instead you just owe another dollar tomorrow?

The difference is acting on things we are most certain of… versus acting certain on most things.  Wisdom. Discernment. I am certain that nothing happens outside of God’s sight, and I am also certain that He expects us to learn, grow, think, do and become as we lean on Him.

Just some food for thought.  As for me, when I consider “leveraging myself” or “investing in my future” I intend to ask myself, “What potential worry may I be placing on tomorrow?”, ask God for wisdom and discernment, and then step into contentment with today.

Don’t Drink Your Calories- Favorite Options

I can’t say I watch my calories… but I’m careful not to drink them either.  Plus, who needs the extra sugar that accompany those calories?  I look for alternatives with no artificial sweeteners, artificial dyes and no artificial flavorings.

I can’t say I watch my calories… but I’m careful not to drink them either.  Plus, who needs the extra sugar that accompanies those calories?  I look for alternatives with no artificial… anything.  Here are some of my favorite go-tos.  What are some of your favorites?

1) True Citrus drink mixes.  Flavorful, stevia-sweetened flavor packets with all natural ingredients. I love these!

true citrus.jpg


2) Crystal Light “Pure” drink mixes.  Add to your variety of flavors with all-natural, stevia sweetened Crystal Light “Pure” drink mixes.  Watch out for the “Pure Energy” variety… still stevia sweetend, but the energy drinks do have added sugar.

crystal light pure

3) Tea!  Tea comes in so many varieties and flavors.  I love a fruit flavored hot tea with a couple drops of vanilla flavored stevia.  Or make iced tea using my natural sugar free sweetener blend.  (My kids are cleaning the kitchen, singing Journey at the top of their lungs…. I’m gonna have to finish this later….)




Clutter Free Mind- Managing Stress

What causes stress?

The stress you feel in your life is a direct result of LOOSE ENDS. Things you’ve started and haven’t finished will bog down your spirit and you can quickly become stressed out and overwhelmed… and it can stop you from accomplishing much of anything.
We start 100 things at once and think we’re great multi-taskers… but our attention gets so split that what we’re really doing is just creating stress for ourselves.
So let’s start cutting back on the stress before we get too far into our weeks!

1) Make a quick list of everything you’re in the middle of- started but not finished- incomplete “cycles of action”.
2) I bet their are a few things on there that you should just say “no” to… Unnecessary clutter in your life. Delete them! Don’t let them hang over your head and your heart.
3) Identify the things you can quickly wrap up, and get them done NOW.
4) Schedule time today or later this week to give 100% of your attention to each of the other things on your list so that you can put them out of your mind for now, knowing when and how they will get handled and off.
5) Delegate! Anything on the list someone else can do for you? Delegate it! And put a time on your calendar to follow up and make sure you can cross it off your list.
6) Start a habit of handling everything as it comes at you instead of adding it to a daunting “to-do list”. Keep your to-do list as short as possible. When life throws something your way, handle it immediately. If you can’t do it yourself right away, then delegate and schedule a time to follow up…. or schedule a time for you to handle it as soon as possible.

Going back and looking at things several times takes so much of our time. Whether it’s looking at a sink full of dishes half a dozen times before you finally load the dishwasher… or if it’s thinking over and over again about a call you need to make to a client….. the only way to get rid of the stress is to get it off your list. 

Here’s to tying up loose ends and handling life more proactively!


I’ll be writing more blog posts on specific ideas to close cycles, tie up loose ends, be pro-active and create peace of mind under the blog category “Clutter Free Mind”.

Practical Collections

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I long ago gave up on bothering to keep matching sets of anything…. because pieces inevitably get lost and broken.  For me, it’s part of having an “uncluttered mind” because it allows me to not just tolerate, but embrace imperfection. It makes me easier to live with, and is one less thing for me to get upset about.

Never again will I host a dinner party with eight guests having matching silverware and four of them using plastic (because someone left a fork in the car, took another to their dad’s house, thew one away by accident, and one ended up in the laundry….).  Things like that used to make my eye twitch and make my head feel like it was going to explode.  Aesthetics are important to me.  Beautiful things bring me joy, and I like to create pleasing environments. It brings a smile to my face.

I would buy a wonderful set of a dozen matching glasses, and I’d be lucky if I wasn’t down to 11 by the time I make it home.

Then come five children….

Now try a dinner party:  I can find 5 nice glasses from my set of 12.  I can easily locate a red Elmo cup.  Now do I take the lids off of sippy cups?  Or buy a new set of glasses?  You see the insanity.  A serving dish left at a friend’s house, a coffee mug used for a pencil holder… I don’t see how anyone could possibly keep a complete set of anything for more than a week.  I have a theory that complete, matching sets are created to simply drive mothers to insanity.

ENTER COLLECTIONS.  Oh my!  An answer to prayer, food for my soul, a creative outlet, a fulfilling hobby, and the cheapest shopping therapy you’ll find: all wrapped up in one little solution.

My everyday dinnerware?  Blue ironstone, mostly floral and pastoral…. but I have a few Japanese pieces in there to fill out the collection for now.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s old or new, as long as I love it.  It coordinates if I say it does.

My fine china?  A mix of whatever odd pieces I find and love at thrift shops.

Champagne flutes, water goblets, silverware… Heck, even my wardrobe doesn’t match.  They all just coordinate.

I love having collections that aren’t clutter.  Home feels a little more cozy.  I can let go of just a little bit more and let my mind be at ease.

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