Monday, 7 April 2014

Feeding Our Families: Some Staples

This month for Feeding Our Families, I thought I would share with you some of our staple foods. These are foods that we eat regularly and that I always like to have handy.


We love chickpeas! I buy them dried and in bulk. I soak them overnight and cook them in my pressure cooker. I always put some some aside for the freezer, ready to use when I need them. To thaw them I just rinse them in hot water.

I add chickpeas to soups, pasta sauces, currys, salads, etc. I always have one or two containers of hummus in the refrigerator. Our absolute favourite way to eat them (everyone in the family agrees) is roasted.

Roasted Chickpeas

Preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees.

On a baking pan lined with parchment paper place the following:

-1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (if it's in hard clumps, don't worry, you can stir it around once it starts to melt in the oven).

-4 cups of cooked chickpeas (you can used canned)

-1 tsp agave syrup

-juice of one lemon

-1 tbsp tamari

-1 pinch sea salt

- sprinkle of paprika (to taste, I sometimes use curry powder instead)

Place in hot oven and stir once the coconut oil begins to melt. Keep checking and stirring every five to ten minutes until done. You will know when they're done when they start to look crispy golden and slightly charred (be careful not to let them burn).

They make a great topping on any dish (we like them on top of salads, pasta or roasted veggies) or just nibbled plain for a snack.

roasted chickpeas on pasta

inspired by Renee, one of our new family favourites is roasted chickpeas on roasted cabbage and potatoes

Nutritional Yeast

Another ingredient in our pantry that we eat a lot of is nutritional yeast. We sprinkle it in and on just about anything and everything. One of our favourite recipes is this sauce/salad dressing that a friend shared with me a few years ago. It makes a large amount and keeps well in the refrigerator. I always have a jar of it ready. We eat it daily on our salads and vegetables. 

Nuts and Seeds

I buy bags of nuts and seeds in bulk. I keep them in the freezer and use them in many recipes. Although  nuts are expensive, a little can go a long way. I love to prepare my own almond milk. I also like to have jars of cashew cheese ready to use in sandwiches, on crackers, on pizza or to stuff pasta shells or lasagna. It freezes well so I like to make a double batch. Here is my recipe:

Cashew cheese

2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)

juice of one lemon

1 heaping tablespoon of miso

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (there it is again!)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small clove of garlic

sea salt and pepper to taste

a few tablespoons or more of water (to right consistency)

optional: fresh or dried herbs, sun dried tomatoes

Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree. This cheese/spread is great plain, but you can also add herbs and/or sun dried tomatoes.

cashew cheese and homemade crackers


Kale is my favourite green. I could eat it every day. I love it raw or cooked. Unfortunately, my children don't all share my enthusiasm for it. However, they do enjoy it dried into kale chips or blended into smoothies. This is a green smoothie that my kiddos often enjoy for a snack.

Green Smoothie

1 banana

1 1/2 cups chopped frozen mango

1 fruit of choice (pear, apple, peeled orange or 1 cup pineapple work well)

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or strawberries

kale leaves (as much as you like, roughly 3 to 4 cups)

1 or 2 cups of water

I sometimes I  throw in half of an avocado

Blend and enjoy! This will also keep well in a jar in the refrigerator for up to three days.


Applesauce is a favourite dessert in this household. Some like it plain, some like it sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins. We also have it with porridge, yoghurt or vanilla ice cream for a treat. We bake with it (in muffins and cakes). We can our own in the fall and try to make enough to last all year round.


Bread baking is part of our routine and part of many of our meals. Most of the time I use the no-knead bread method from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

There are many other staple foods in our kitchen, but I will save some more for another time. What are some of your staples? Please join in and share your ideas about Feeding Our Families by leaving a comment. You will find other Feeding Our Families posts on these wonderful blogs:

Melanie from Our Ash Grove

Jules from A Little Crafty Nest

Melody from Bespoke

Tonya from Joyful Living

Taisa from Small Wonders

Heather from Shivaya Naturals

Renee from Heirloom Seasons


  1. Enjoyed reading this post - your kitchen is similar to mine, but a smidge healthier! My husband is always trying to get me to eat more kale, and when I was pregnant, he made me a lot of smoothies with kale snuck in! We also love hummus - I make a great sweet potato and a beet hummus. We have never roasted them - your pasta dish looks really good with them! And I just heard about cashew cheese for the first time - thought it sounded good. We tend to eat a lot of cheese here, even though we know we should not. And we can't always afford to buy organic cheese. The cashew "cheese" might be a good substitute for some dishes.

    1. Mmm! Sweet potato and beet hummus sounds yummy!

  2. Sarah, all of this sounds so so tasty to me!!!!! I plan on trying those roated chickpeas, too. My husband has an aversion to any bean so these last several years, I have made bean-ish meals less and less. But you know, he is away an awful lot so I'm inspired to do more cooking with beans when he is away...and I'll start with this recipe...thank you! Your bread also looks so so good and since my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago, we went gluten-free. I do so miss kneading bread (though yours is not that kind!). What a wonderfully grounding activity that was. For us, some staples include canned peaches and applesauce, sauerkraut, roasted tamari sunflower seeds and almonds, and goat yogurt. Love your post,
    xo Jules

    1. Sauerkraut and roasted tamari sunflower seeds and almonds could also have gone onto my list. I hope you enjoy the roasted chickpeas...

  3. All sounds so delicious. Never heard of cashew cheese - will definitely be trying that. We always have hummus in the fridge and often have chick peas with pasta but haven't had them roasted - I bet they are delicious. Your bread looks wonderful - I've gotten out of the habit of making my own - my husband is french and eats a huge amount of bread with every meal that it seems like no sooner have I made some, than it's all gone again!!
    Do you sterilize your jars of apple sauce? Hope I have more success with Kale in my garden this year so I can make some of these smoothies.
    Loved hearing all about your healthy staples.

    1. Hi Emma, you probably have access to some wonderful bakery bread where you live… To answer your question, yes, I do sterilize my jars before filling them and then I process them again for 20 minutes in a hot water bath.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Sorry for the deleted comment! There's so much loveliness here. The bread looks divine. But as I originally said in my comment, too much kale is actually bad for your health. In my haste, I linked to an article which turned out to be satirical, but I have read quite a lot which points to kale being thyroid-suppressing if you eat too much of it (eg, a smoothie a day).

    1. Hi Sarah, I thank you for your concern but although I say I could eat kale every day, I don't really do and we don't have kale smoothies every day either. I do try to vary our greens and our diet in general. The foods listed above are just some of the things that we eat regularly and that we particularly enjoy eating. They are also easy to prepare foods (or to have ready) when we are busy. I have also heard and read a bit about the controversy surrounding too much kale and/or too many green smoothies. I remain convinced that eating a lot of greens is good, but there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing" which is why I think we should be careful to avoid excessive amounts of anything.

  6. Sarah, your staples are very much like ours! I am going to try that roasted chickpea recipe- it looks so good to put on top of salad!