Spring Clean Your Lifestyle: The Kitchen

Hello lovelies! Today Britney is back with some great tips for spring cleaning your kitchen! xoxo, Stacia

Spring Clean Your Lifestyle: The Kitchen - Paper Swallow Events

Welcome to Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Edition! The weather here is anything but spring-y (actually, we are currently on our 7th snow day in a row), but the robins outside my window are giving me spring fever - and bad! Every year around this time I get the uncontrollable urge to throw everything out and deep clean every nook in our little house. I spend hours throwing things away, going through old filing cabinets, purging the closets, rearranging silverware drawers, and laundering curtains. It’s a bit obsessive-compulsive, but I have done this for so many years that it now feels second nature. Like geese flying back north after a sunny winter in the South. It clears my mind, resets my priorities (do I really need 6 different bottles of shampoo?), and refreshes my passion for life. 

In this series, I am going to break down spring-cleaning your kitchen - and not just the physical kitchen, but the foods you buy and the recipes you prepare. The kitchen is our favorite room in the house - and where we always congregate when guests are over. I love the simplicity of friendship built over a home cooked meal and spending time with my family cooking a healthy meal from nutritious, real foods. Time in the kitchen is time well spent - which is why deep cleaning my kitchen every spring is not only enjoyable, but absolutely crucial to my sanity! I like to do my kitchen spring-cleaning in three parts: ingredients, recipes, and prep ahead. This first article will focus on deep cleaning your pantry, fridge, and freezer - what stays, and what goes. The second article will be recipes I love for spring cleaning my body - super food salads, fresh soups, easy smoothies and juices. The third article will be ideas for restocking your newly emptied and cleaned kitchen - my go-to snacks, freezer dinners, prep ahead lunches, etc. 

Excited yet? Let’s get started!

Pantry

My pantry is fairly small so I learned early on to prioritize what gets prime real estate on those shelves. Anything that is old or expired - throw it out. Anything that you have had for over a year and not touched, toss or donate it. Easy.

Now for the tricky part - if it tempts you, toss it. If I keep Oreos in my pantry, I know I will eat them. Not one or two, but all of them. Get rid of anything that keeps pulling you off track or derailing your motivation to eat better. It will strengthen your reserve and free up space!

Fridge

As with the pantry, toss anything that is old, expired, or moldy. The cleaner your fridge, the more motivated you will be to eat better. There is nothing more off-putting to me than grabbing a jar of spaghetti sauce and realizing it is full of mold! Once you have cleared the old foods out, examine what is left. How do the foods in your fridge fit your goals? 

As a real foods family, we have committed to filling our fridge and pantry with foods that only have 5 ingredients or less. These are the foods that are the least processed and contain the least (if any!) preservatives. If we keep good food in our fridge, we will eat good food. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any foods with an ingredient you can’t pronounce. Don’t forget to wipe down the shelves and drawers in your fridge!

Freezer

Again, toss the old, freezer-burned, or unidentifiable. While foods don’t typically spoil in the freezer, they are best only for about 2-3 months. Labeling freezer meals helps me to see which ones should be eaten first. Make a note of what foods have been forgotten to avoid making and saving foods you know you won’t eat in the future.

But that doesn’t leave me with much!

Ready to restock but not sure what to replace your old foods with? Here is a look at a few of the items we keep in our kitchen for quick, real food meals. (This list is not exhaustive, just a sample of our favorites!) Join me next month for recipes to help spring clean your body! 

Pantry:
Canned beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, white)
Whole grain pasta
Barley (Great for risotto!)
Quinoa
Brown rice
Honey
Nuts
Dried fruit
Chia/Flax/Hemp hearts (Some need to be refrigerated)
Natural peanut butter
Hot sauce
Spices (no salt added is best and adds flavoring to dishes)
Tomato Sauce/various canned tomatoes
Pita Chips (Great for hummus!)
Steel cut oats/quick cook oats
Baking soda/powder
Whole wheat white flour
Organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
Whole grain tortillas
White vinegar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Whole wheat English muffins
Annie’s macaroni and cheese (For rainy days!)
Rice cakes
Balsamic vinegar
Cooking wine

Fridge:
Eggs
Almond milk
Real butter
Sesame oil
Tahini
Grade B maple syrup
Fresh fruits and veggies
Cheddar, parmesan, and feta cheeses
Coconut water
Plain Greek yogurt
Bragg’s Liquid aminos (like soy sauce)
Apple Cider vinegar
Whole grain Dijon mustard
Greens for salad mixes
Fresh herbs
Chicken/Vegetable stock
Sprouts (Have you ever grown your own?)

Freezer:
Chicken breasts
Salmon
Venison (My brothers are big hunters)
Whole wheat pizza dough
Frozen berries
Frozen veggies
Pie Crusts
Cheese rinds (Great for flavoring soups!)
Freezer meals (Stay tuned for our favorite recipes!)
Breads, muffins, quick breads
Bananas (for ice cream or smoothies)

What are some of your kitchen staples?

Britney Ammen is a Real Foods Coach and Meal Planning Consultant. To find out more about the real food classes and motivational fitness groups she offers, visit her facebook page www.facebook.com/Britneylynneammen.