Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


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Stocking a Healthy Pantry

Whenever anybody asks me how to improve their diet, my advice is always the same: you MUST begin to cook your own meals. The ONLY way to know exactly what and how much you’re consuming is to prepare your food yourself.  Period. There is simply no other way to control the intake of salt, sugar, unhealthy fats, dyes, preservatives, etc. And once we commit to cooking, we can improve our chances of success tremendously by making sure that we have a well stocked kitchen.

Having a healthy diet and being able to cook healthy meals begins with having the right things at your fingertips – the essential tools, equipment and appliances as well as a “healthy pantry.” In other words, a kitchen that’s stocked with the healthy and flavorful ingredients you need to make meals that are nutritious and delicious. After all, who wants to eat food that isn’t pleasurable and satisfying?

An added benefit of having a well stocked kitchen is that it makes the entire process of cooking much more enjoyable. I happen to love the time I spend in the kitchen. Not only do I find cooking to be creative and meditative (for me, it’s highly therapeutic!), but being able to prepare healthy and tasty meals for myself and my family is extremely gratifying. And I know that a big part of the reason I enjoy the process so much is that I can keep it fairly simple. I don’t have to go hunting around for the equipment, utensils and ingredients I need. They’re readily available and easy to grab. As long as I’ve got some basic tools, quality ingredients and a willingness to try new things, I can make my time in the kitchen (and the food that’s produced there) pretty magical.

To that end, I’ve created a list of items that comprise a healthy pantry. These are the things I always have on hand and they pretty much ensure that I can whip up a nourishing and great-tasting meal anytime. Of course, this list can (and should) be tailored to your individual tastes and preferences, but I believe that it’s a great starting point. So here goes…

Items to be Included in a Healthy Pantry:

  1. Oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and canola oil are ‘must-have’s’ in my kitchen. I prefer to also keep sesame oil on hand for stir fry’s, marinades and asian dishes.
  2. Nonstick cooking spray (for baking)
  3. Vinegars: Balsamic, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and rice vinegar
  4. Kalamata olives (pitted)
  5. Capers
  6. Dijon mustard
  7. Soy sauce or coconut aminos
  8. Sun -dried tomatoes
  9. Ground Black Pepper/Peppercorns (for a grinder)/Red pepper flakes
  10. Mayonnaise (I prefer mayo that is soy-free so I usually opt for olive oil mayo, canola oil mayo or avocado oil mayo)
  11. Salt: finely ground sea salt for cooking and a finishing salt (for example, fleur du sel)
  12. Broth: low sodium chicken, beef, vegetable
  13. Beans: no-salt-added cannellini, kidney, garbanzo, black beans, lentils, etc.
  14. Tomatoes: no-salt-added diced, whole, tomato sauce, tomato paste
  15. Tuna: chunk light or the imported Italian tuna packed in olive oil (my fave!)
  16. Roasted red peppers, packed in water
  17. Sugars: granulated sugar and brown sugar for baking
  18. Honey
  19. Maple syrup
  20. Cocoa/cacao powder
  21. Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  22. Natural peanut butter (creamy is called for in most recipes)
  23. Almond butter
  24. Low sugar jam/fruit spread
  25. An assortment of shelled, unsalted nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  26. An assortment of dried fruit – apricots, figs, cranberries, cherries, dates, raisins
  27. All purpose flour (gluten free flour, if preferred)
  28. Oats: old fashioned rolled oats (I also like steel cut oats)
  29. Plain or seasoned breadcrumbs (gluten free, if preferred)
  30. Pasta (regular or gluten free) in a variety of shapes
  31. Rice: brown and basmati are my favorites
  32. Quinoa
  33. Couscous, barley and/or farro
  34. Dried spices: garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes, italian seasoning, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, herbes du provence
  35. Pure vanilla extract
  36. Tea/Coffee
  37. A high quality hard cheese, grated (such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Locatelli)
  38. Butter (unsalted)
  39. Lemon(s)
  40. Wine: red and white (and please make sure that you only cook with wine that you would drink. None of those supermarket “cooking wines”, please!)

Now, this is a long list (and please note that, although I refer to this as a “healthy pantry,” some of these items are actually refrigerator items). Chances are, you won’t compile everything all at once but the goal is to, over time, create a well-stocked kitchen. Trust me when I tell you that it will add immeasurably to both your ability to prepare beautiful, nutritious meals, and also to your enjoyment of the cooking process.

I wish you many happy hours spent in the kitchen and many healthy and satisfying meals.

Buon Appetit!

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber

I fully admit to being a bit of a germaphobe, especially in the kitchen. And while I make it a point to frequently disinfect cutting boards, appliances, etc., I’m always trying to find non-toxic and environmentally safe ways to do it. This Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Silicone Scrubber has been a great, sanitary and eco-friendly addition to my kitchen.

Unlike traditionally sponges, which can trap moisture and become breeding grounds for bacteria, this sponge dries quickly and thoroughly. It is also dishwasher safe, so if it gets very greasy or dirty, a run through the dishwasher cleans it right up.

While it may not be abrasive enough for extremely dirty pots and pans, I’ve found it useful for just about everything else – dishes utensils, platters, cutting boards, counters, etc. – and I love knowing that I’m not spreading germs around my kitchen (something that most sponges do!)

I hope that this tip serves and that this item might be a useful addition to your kitchen, as well.

Have a wonderful, Wellegant week,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: The French Chef in America (Book)

As a longtime fan of Julia Child, you can imagine how excited I was recently when I opened up my local newspaper and learned that Paul Prudhomme (nephew of Paul Child and co-author of Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France) was going to be speaking and signing his most recent book, The French Chef in America, at my local library.

You see, I had just read My Life in France a couple of months prior and loved it. My Life in France is the memoir of Julia Child, which she insisted on writing with her nephew, Alex Prudhomme, as she was getting on in years and preferred to dictate the stories to Alex and have him do the writing. I absolutely loved it! Not only did he maintain her unique voice, but the book revolves around two great loves of mine – food and France.

Now, Prudhomme was at it again with The French Chef in America. This follow-up book is the story of Julia Child’s career, after she moved back to America and embarked on her career as a cookbook author and one of  America’s first TV chefs. By the time Prudhomme wrote it, both Paul and Julia Child had passed away. He authored the book himself, relying, once again, on the stories recounted to him by Julia in the year or so preceding her death.

I wanted to hear Prudhomme speak and learn more about this incredible woman, so I immediately marked the date on my calendar and contacted my foodie friend, Jen (you might remember her from this interview!). We made a date to go together.

Alex Prudhomme’s talk was fascinating and the book did not disappoint. Once again, he managed to capture Julia’s voice and weave together her many interesting and entertaining stories. The book reveals the opportunities and the challenges Julia Child faced as she revolutionized both the American approach to food and made cooking a form of entertainment. It’s a fun and inspiring read and I highly recommend it.

As summer winds down, there are precious few days to linger over a good book. This one, however, is worth the time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be truly inspired by this authentic, passionate and really funny lady.

(If you’ve read it, I’d love for you to share your comments below.)

Enjoy,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Blistered Shishinto Peppers (GF)

I had never heard of Shishinto peppers until I visited Barcelona, Spain last year. It was a gorgeous day and we decided to lunch at a small, outdoor cafe. We saw the waiter bringing out plate after plate of these little peppers. They were piled high on the platter and still sizzled, having just come out of the pan. They were served with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.

As everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, around us was eating them, we decided to give them a try (“when in Rome” and all…). I was assured by the waiter that they are not hot/spicy, so I was game. When they arrived, we dove in and just about licked the plate clean. They were absolutely delicious and quite easy to eat; they have a little stem that you can hold onto and simply take little (or not so little!) bites of the pepper until you’ve reached the stem (note: the seeds are eaten as well, unlike jalapenos and other hot/spicy varieties.

After returning from our trip, I began to see these little gems in Whole Foods. The truth is, I had probably walked by them before, mistakenly assuming that they were hot peppers. Now that I knew better, I began buying them whenever I saw them and preparing them the same way that they were prepared in Spain – blistered in a (very) hot pan with olive oil and salt.

Like most peppers, Shishinto peppers are in season during the summer months, so right now is the perfect time to make this recipe. Truly, it is SO simple and, as we know, simple preparations are often best way to highlight the natural flavors of fruits and veggies that are in season and at their peak.

Buon Appetit!

Karen

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Blistered Shishinto Peppers

Ingredients

  • Shishinto peppers no particular amount - as many as you desire or will fit in your pan
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and additional oil for drizzling
  • Coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat a saute pan over high heat until the pan is very hot.
  2. Add the olive oil and the peppers. Saute the peppers, keeping a close watch on them. As soon as the skin on one side of the pepper becomes browned and blistered, turn it. Do this until all sides are nicely blistered (see photo above).
  3. Remove peppers from the heat and drizzle additional olive oil over them. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and enjoy!

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Snarky Teas

How would you like to start your day with a hot cup of tea? Oh, not just any cup of tea…I’m talking about a steaming cup of “Wake the Fck Up” or “Fierce Btch”. Or maybe we need some tough love and opt, instead, for some “Get Your Sh*t Together”. Quite a way to start the day, right?

You can imagine my delight (and hysteria!?) when I was recently gifted with a big box of Snarky Teas. The special person who sent these to me knew that I was going through a stressful time and needed a little “Calm the F*ck Down” tea and, maybe a nightly cup of “Get Your *ss in Bed.” I don’t know how she found these teas but they absolutely hit the spot (the flavor blends are really nice!) and brought just the comic relief I needed. I promptly ordered a bunch so that I could gift a few friends with some and pass on the love. Keep in mind that you can purchase a “bouquet” of teas (an assortment that includes the teas described above) or individual teas, each in their own pretty tin)

We all know the comfort that a cup of tea brings. Now, imagine comfort AND deep belly laughs with close friends. In my opinion, the Snarky Tea Company is absolutely genius (and extremely Wellegant)!

Enjoy, my friends,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Balsamic Glaze

For me, the presentation of the food I’m eating is almost as important as the taste. I get excited about food that looks beautiful on the plate (and despite a total lack of scientific proof, I maintain that it actually does make the food taste better!?). Presentation can be enhanced in a number of ways – lovely plates/serving pieces, garnishes, and my personal favorite…the balsamic glaze.

You know when you’re in a restaurant and the outside of the dinner plate is drizzled with a dark syrup? That’s a balsamic glaze, which is nothing more than balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced down to a syrup. It’s sweet and tangy and lends just the right pop of flavor to the dish. Not to mention, it looks SO pretty!

In the summertime, I love to drizzle a balsamic glaze over grilled meats, veggies and even fruit (it’s especially divine with strawberries and peaches!). There are several brands that can usually be found in the vinegar section of the supermarket. If all else fails, Amazon stocks it, as well. Here’s one that I like a lot. I hope you enjoy!

 

Buon Appetit,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: NARS Copacabana Illuminator

One of the things that characterizes youthful skin is a dewy glow. Yet, we all have those days when, despite our best efforts to eat well, drink lots of water and moisturize our skin, it remains a bit lackluster. That’s when a highlighter or illuminator comes in very handy.

They generally come is liquid or powder form, however, I find that powder tends to settle in fine lines and dry out my skin, so I prefer the liquid variety. I recently found this Copacabana Illuminator by NARS and it’s quickly become one of my favorite beauty products.

A little goes a long way and I use it as follows: I put a tiny dab on my forefinger then rub my fingers together. I then pat my fingers over the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and the center of my forehead. I even press a bit into the inner corner of my eyelids (very eye-opening!). Then, I take a big fluffy brush and go over my entire face to blend it in and voila…that youthful, dewy glow!

Have a lovely week, my Wellegant ladies!

xo,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

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