When you switch to a Paleo or grain-free lifestyle, your kitchen essentials will be in need of a big overhaul. Revamping your entire kitchen can be a bit daunting, but if you get organized and do a clean sweep and replace, you’ll have less waste and more ease in your new way of cooking.
• Step 1: Know what you use most and make it visible and accessible.
Pick the things you use the most often to store front and center in glass containers, if possible, so you don’t run the risk of plastic leaching into your foods. Fill them with your main kitchen staples: almond flour (I keep a little at room temperature), coconut flour, raw cacao powder, flaxseed, and my go-to nuts like almonds and cashews. When you cook as often as I do, you actually appreciate being able to just pop off a lid!
• Step 2: Label perishable items with dates and names.
It’s easy to forget that your “real” foods won’t last very long, and you end up having waste. If you get your pantry organized to where you can see everything, and it’s properly labeled with the name and date you purchased or opened the item, you won’t waste so much. Use chalkboard contact paper (on Amazon for $11).
We use nuts a lot in grain-free baking, and they are one ingredient in particular that will go rancid quicker than you would think. They’re actually best stored in the fridge, but if you’re like me and prefer to eat a room temperature nut, follow these guidelines:
Shelled nuts — Pantry, three to four months; Refrigerator, 12 months.
Unshelled nuts — Pantry, five to six months; Refrigerator, 18 to 24 months.
• Step 3: Shop in bulk and online when possible.
If you have the storage space for the excess goods, you will save money shopping in bulk for Paleo foods. They offer even deeper discounts for higher volumes. A lot of sites also frequently offer promotions. Keep an eye out for them, and stock up when you see one.
• Step 4: Take advantage of Amazon.
I have an Amazon store on my website where all of my favorite products are available at the click of a button. We get an Amazon box delivered weekly full of non-perishables that I buy in bulk and store in the garage. Paleo uses so many specialty items, and it is so nice to know I don’t always have to trek to my local health food store to find them. We find we actually spend less money shopping online because I don’t end up buying those impulse items that my hungry stomach insists I throw in the cart!
Amazon also has great promotions that you can take full advantage of. Get a Prime account and receive free two-day shipping all year long. Use Subscribe and Save! You can choose to have things delivered to you automatically on a regular interval of your choice and the price drops significantly. You can cancel your subscription at any time with no charge, or choose to skip a scheduled delivery if you haven’t finished what you currently have. Pair that with Prime shipping, and you’re saving tons!
• Step 5: Create zones in your pantry.
Organize your pantry sections by food type — snacks, baking items, nuts and seeds, etc. Each zone gets its own dedicated shelf or drawer, or if you’re tight on space give each zone a basket. Add an extra level of storage by using removable shelves, or three-tiered shelves.
Happy organizing everyone!
Real-deal chocolate chip cookies
Serves: 1 dozen
1/4 cup palm shortening or grass-fed butter
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
11/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces (just chop up a dark chocolate bar)
1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, cream the palm shortening, coconut sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla for about 15 seconds until smooth and fluffy.
Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed to incorporate all of the flour. Pulse once or twice more.
Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Using another sheet of parchment on top of the dough, flatten them slightly with the palm or your hand or a spatula. The cookies don’t spread much so create the size and thickness you want prior to baking them.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges.
Danielle Walker (www.againstallgrain.com) is the author of the New York Times best selling cookbook “Against all Grain.” After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when she was 22 years old, Danielle realized that she needed to make dietary changes to end her suffering. She removed grains, lactose, and legumes from her diet, and started her blog to help others suffering from similar ailments continue to enjoy food.