TEN THINGS I ALWAYS HAVE IN MY KITCHEN

As I know I've mentioned millions of times before, I'm nosy. I love peeking through other people's medicine cabinets and handbags... via blogs, of course! In real life, I'm not a snoop... I'd be too terrified of getting caught. My mom used to tell me that I'm a terrible liar, and she was right. I'm definitely too honest and blunt for my own good. But I know I get those qualities from her, so I wouldn't trade 'em for the world.

Anywho! Since I'm always interested to read about what others consider must-haves... whether it be items in their vanities or on their desks, I thought it would be fun to share ten things I always have in our kitchen. These days I prepare most of my food at home, and I'm big into eating "breakfast" (eggs, smoothies, etc.) at any time of day, which should explain the assortment below. These aren't necessarily the ten items I eat the most of, but they're the ones I always have around.

Also... sorry about the darkness of this photo. My kitchen was not made for blog photography, I'll tell you that.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

Frozen blueberries. While I like to have fresh blueberries on hand at all times, it's just not possible and so I always have frozen. I am not picky about the brand but I like Simply Balanced from Target that is resealable. Blueberries are a superfood, high in Vitamin C, K - which helps your blood coagulate, and fiber. I use these to throw into my favorite smoothie. (I always prefer to use frozen fruit in my smoothies... I think ice waters down smoothies a bit and also, we don't have an ice maker. So there's that.)

Unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I love this for cereal, smoothies, and for my at-home Nespresso lattes.

Good quality granola. Most granola out there is junky and full of unnecessary sugar, so always check the stats before you buy. I love this Bear Naked variety, and my all-time favorite is Ola No Nut Vanilla (not quite as easy to find). Both have less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Hemp hearts. Hemp hearts are packed with goodness: plant-based protein and omega 3, a disease-fighting superstar. I sprinkle these on Greek yogurt, nut butter-covered bread and my granola bowls.

Nut butter. At any given time you'll find several jars of nut butters in our house. There's always at least one peanut butter and one almond butter in our pantry for smoothies, sandwiches, to drizzle on top of fruit and/or granola, and for homemade sauces and dressings. 

Organic brown eggs. Protein is an important part of any diet, and since I don't eat a ton of meat, I rely on eggs as one of my main sources of protein. I am a big fan of the Organic Valley brand so 9 times out of 10, we'll have a carton just like this in our fridge. I'm very picky about eggs and eating high quality, free-range organic is a priority for me. Not to say that I won't order an omelet at a diner, but I love to eat eggs at home.

Indulgent sweet*. C'mon, you know the Sweet Tooth Queen always has dessert in her kitchen! I am a firm believer in everything in moderation... including moderation. Sugar Bowl Bakery was kind enough to send me these brownie bites to test out and I can't believe how good they are. Even my fiancé, who usually doesn't care for sweets, LOVES these. They're made with high quality ingredients, USDA organic and the tops are slightly crackly and crunchy and the rest is chewy and moist, like a homemade brownie would taste. The individual portions are a plus. I brought a bunch of these to work to share and they were gone in a blink. So. Darn. Good.

Greek yogurt. I love plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries, granola, slivered almonds, honey or any combination thereof - or in a smoothie. It's another great source of protein for me. I'm not picky about the brand but I always go for the nonfat, non-flavored variety. I find that once you veer away from 0% plain, the sugar content skyrockets.

Bananas. I'd venture to say I eat a banana every single day. Yesterday it was sliced up in a bowl with granola, hemp hearts and maple syrup... today it's on top of a slice multigrain bread with peanut butter and hemp hearts. Bananas are the ultimate snack: you can buy them almost anywhere (no need to worry about organic here since the peel acts as a protectant), they're perfectly portable and can be enjoyed so many ways. 

Dried fruit. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a sweet but I don't want to dive head first into a cup of 16 Handles. (I know - it shocks me too.) I love dried cranberries in particular by the handful or sprinkled on top of a savory salad for just the perfect amount of sweetness.

Other items I usually have around...

- Trader Joe's frozen turkey meatballs. They're SO delicious baked in the oven or on the stove top in a good red sauce.

- Smoked salmon. It's another awesome source of omega 3 and I love it on its own or with bread with a little goat or cream cheese.

- Good quality cheese. Usually cheddar, swiss or goat for omelets, sandwiches or to be enjoyed on some sort of charcuterie plate.

- Hummus. For carrots. pretzels or chips.

- Real maple syrup. For protein pancakes, frozen waffles, etc.

What's always in your kitchen?

*No, this post is not sponsored. :) Sugar Bowl Bakery sent me these in hopes I'd enjoy them and spread the word. I did, so I am. :)