Thursday, April 23, 2009

organic kitchen staples

For my final installment for Earth Week I thought I would share with you some organic items I always have in my kitchen. Organic foods are better for the environment and healthier for our bodies. Me and the carnivore buy organic for the health benefits, including higher nutrient levels and lower pesticide residue, but they also help the planet. Organic agriculture enhances soil structures, conserves water, mitigates climate change, and ensures sustained biodiversity. Here are some organic staples we keep and use in many of our recipes:Eggs - I use Eggland's Best organic cage free vegetarian fed hen brown eggs. That's a mouthful! While the carnivore may complain occasionally about how much more expensive these eggs are, he never complains about the taste. And I feel better knowing that I am putting a healthier egg on his plate. (Did I mention the carton is recyclable too?)

Butter - I have tried a few different brands, but I keep coming back to Whole Foods' 365 unsalted sticks. They are creamy and sweet. They are also reasonably priced. And since I am southern, I use a lot of butter during the week. This is a great organic staple to have on hand.

Milk - I like Horizon's 2% milk. It is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides. Plus, the cows eat only organic feed and have access to clean water, fresh air, an organic pasture and exercise according to their website. Neither me nor the carnivore are big milk drinkers, but when a recipe calls for it, this is the brand we turn to. The carnivore also uses their creamer in his coffee.

Cheese - I am a fan of Organic Valley's cheese, especially the shredded variety. Although, I am now seeing a generic brand at my local Kroger. In either case, I like having cheddar cheese, without all those additives that make it fluorescent orange, ready to put in my scrambled eggs or in enchiladas.

Canned Beans - This a is a quick way for me to get protein so I keep a couple of cans in my pantry at all times. I like Healthy Valley's version, but my local grocery store (Kroger) has a great generic organic brand too. It is hard to mess up canned beans, so pretty much anything you find should be fine.

Sugar - Domino makes an organic sugar that you can find next to the normal kind. It is a bit more expensive, but there are usually coupons in the Sunday paper to help offset this. I use it in all my baking.

Fruits and Veggies - It goes without saying that I buy and use organic fresh fruits and vegetables. But, I have also been known to buy frozen organic ones. Frozen berries are great in lots of recipes and they now come in organic varieties. I also buy this huge bag of frozen green beans at Costco. It contains smaller bags that can be tossed in the wok and ready in minutes.

Meat - After reading about all the scary things they put in meat I always purchase the carnivore organic meats, whether it it be chicken or beef. There is just no way I am putting all those hormones in my hubby.

So, what is your favorite organic staple? What brands do you like best? I would love to know what products you all like to use to keep your family healthy and help the planet at the same time!


  1. What a great post - thanks for sharing this!!

  2. Stumbled across your blog recently, I love it, great post!

    For Eggs I am part of a group that buys eggs from a local farm - because we buy in big orders we get decent prices (less than $3/dozen) for farm fresh, never refrigerated eggs!

    The same group also buys raw milk in bulk from Horizons Organic - so when I buy milk, that's what I get.

    For butter I buy "Earth Balance" - I found that Trader Joe's has the best price.

    For beans, our house has been trying dried... it's been a lot more work, but really worth it! Also, dried quinoa, wheatberrys, barley, etc, etc.

    Agave and honey seem to be our sugar staple. Shamefully, we go through a lot!

    Veggies - we get a weekly CSA box from South Central Farmer's in LA - it's been the best addition to our food. It's a challenge to eat the whole box each week, but I definitely getting my vegetable needs now.


  3. Great post! For eggs, I like to buy them at the farmers' market from a farmer who sings to the chickens every morning. :) He told me that when I was telling him I really loved the eggs, they were so good.
    For milk, I like trader joe's organic milk.
    I try to buy bulk organic pantry items like grains and beans.

  4. i wish i had a trader joes - and a farmer who sings to his chickens! that is so cute.

  5. Great post. I love that stores like Kroger have store brand organic products that are great quality. We use the same eggs, but I'd love to find local.
    I live in a fairly rural area and my favorite place to buy fruit and veggies are from the "stands" that pop up at stop signs around here. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and watermelons from the back of a pick up truck - cheap and delicious - the redneck farmer's market!
    Another product that I insist on buying organic is peanut butter. My 5yo eats peanut butter everyday and I like knowing that there is no added sugar. The ingredient list is peanuts, salt, and a little palm oil. My favorite brand is MaraNatha.

  6. Great Post. I always keep Muir Glen Organic Canned Tomatoes in different varieties, Organic Flour (Kroger has a good generic organic), Organic canned vegetables and frozen, Organic frozen berries, Organic Yogurt, Organic Cake and Brownie Mix in case or emergency!

  7. I'm so glad you are touting organics! Thanks for linking in with simple lives thursday!

  8. What a wonderful post, thanks so much for sharing this with us.


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