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Continuing on with pantry lists for diabetics and for frugality, this week’s critique is on one by corporate chef, Food Network chef and Mom, Michele Urvater and her Monday – To – Friday system. I agree with Michele that after working all day, (especially as a chef), it’s hard to come home and be enthusiastic about cooking a healthy meal when you are totally tired. When on wipe-out, this is exactly the time when having an established pantry that you are totally familiar with earns its keep!
Michele’s recipes at Food Network and in her Monday to Friday cookbook utilize this always in readiness fresh and storable pantry. I think her list is mainly aimed at making dinners. That’s why I don’t see other items I’d expect.
You’ll also be able to add items from my post 2 weeks ago – Martha Stewart pantry (see link in Reference section, below) – to flesh out Michele’s pantry, which I also think is way too heavy on grains and carbs.
I also definitely want to see a much wider variety of vegetables. Of the 2 pantries so far, I would say Martha’s is a better base, and add a few items from Michele’s, but then you may not be able to make every recipe in Michele’s cookbook. It’s better to have fewer grains and grain products, but I understand they make “fast” meals — at a health cost, in my opinion.
At least make sure that everything is whole-grain, organic as much as possible and for pastas, only cooked to the first edible, still al dente (not “soft”) texture!). If you cook pasta until “soft”, the glycemic index goes way up and your blood sugars will suffer. On Michele’s list, I would also cut out all the sugars and substitute low-glycemic agave nectar.
Remember to compose your meals as 75% – 80% vegetables (most of which are raw, otherwise frozen or fresh steamed or stir-fried briefly). You need a splash of raw extra-virgin olive oil in most meals, and you need minimal free-range animal protein with organic omega-3 eggs, kefir and yoghurt and wild-caught ocean fish contributing most of it.
This pantry list works for Michele’s quick Italian, Mexican and Oriental meals after she comes home from her corporate chef job, but for diabetics, I think we need much more fresh stuff than she offers, yet this is a useful exercise to jog your mind about other useful items and to meld with Martha’s list, as I said above.
I will continue to critique this list later, if I have time, but these are my biggest criticisms.
Next time, I hope to start to share with you my own pantry list. I hope some of you will send me your lists in an email to the About Me page above.
Here’s Chef Michele Urvater’s List: (comments are mine)
This list needs MANY more vegetables!!!!
5# granulated white sugar – substitute organic agave nectar for almost every sugar use on this list! Have only a tiny amount of “real” sugar around for a few critical recipes which require dry sweetener where liquid agave would ruin a recipe.
1# dark brown sugar – NO
1# confectioners, super-fine sugar – NO
1# honey – unless you have children under 3 years old, use raw honey. If you have young children, do not give them raw honey!
(1) bottle each of: vanilla extract, almond extract
(1) 8 oz package Droste chocolate cocoa powder
(1 box) 26 oz iodized salt – NO, use Celtic sea salt
whole peppercorns, whole or ground nutmeg
bay, caraway seed, cardamom, cayenne pepper, chili powder, Chinese 5 spice powder, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, fennel seeds, garlic powder, ground ginger, dried lemon p[eel, dried mint, dried orange peel, dried oregano, dried red pepper flakes, dried rosemary, dried tarragon, dried thyme – best to get organic, non-irradiated spices
1 oz fried porcini mushrooms – see my last week’s comment on mushrooms!
1 bottle Gomashio (pre-made sesame seed and seaweed mix)
(1) 32 oz bottle olive oil – have this as your extra-virgin one for raw use.
1 pint reduced-calorie Hellman’s (Best Foods) mayonnaise
16 oz maple syrup – must be organic, Grade B is best!
(1) 12 oz jar jam or jelly of choice – get a fruit-only or European jam
(1) 12 oz jar red currant jelly
4 ozs each of: pecans and walnuts – organic
12 oz. peanuts – prefer none
1 pint plain, non-fat yoghurt – prefer kefir; get organic
½ pint cottage cheese – organic, low fat
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese – organic, if can
½ lb. Parmagiana-Reggiano cheese or grated Parmesan cheese – Not a great cheese as your only cheese! It’s VERY salty!
1 dozen large AA eggs – only free-range, vegetarian fed, Omega-3
1# ground beef in 4 oz patties – try organic, free-range
1# deli meat – try to get no nitrate meats
1# boneless, skinless chicken – if must, get organic, free-range
1# ground turkey (optional) – if must, get organic, free-range
1# fresh fish (then freeze) – wild-caught, ocean — I would use more fish and less land animals; not shellfish; check Monterey Aquarium list for endangered fish to prevent depletion of stocks. No farmed fish!
(1) 10 oz package each of: corn, french-cut string beans, petite peas, lima beans *, chopped spinach, artichoke hearts – add more veggies! * Lima beans are NOT recommended for anyone with Blood Type A!
(1) 12 oz package frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
(2) 10 oz packages raspberries
(2) pints iced dessert – dairy or non-dairy – flavored iced coconut water with agave nectar is best; find in health stores – Coconut Bliss is recommended by me
In Pantry, then Refrigerate after opening:
(1) 12 oz jar jalapeno peppers
(1) 16 oz jar black Greek olives
(1) 14 oz bottle ketchup – organic
(1) 12 oz bottle barbeque sauce
(1) 5 oz jar prepared horseradish
(1) 8 oz jar Dijon mustard – for pH balance , use only in moderation
(1) defrosted yellow bottle Minute Maid 100% lemon juice (NOT sweetened concentrate !!!)
(1) jar non pareil capers – for pH balance, use only in moderation
(1) 16 oz jar kosher dill pickles – for pH balance, use only in moderation; Bubbe’s, a naturally-fermented brand is recommended by me
(1) 10 oz bottle mirin – rice wine
(1) 5 oz bottle sesame oil
(1) 8 oz jar Chinese chili paste with garlic or soybeans
(1) 8 oz. bottle hoisin sauce
(1) 3 oz bottle olive paste (olivada) or link below
(1) 4 oz bottle pesto (fresh basil sauce)
(1) 8 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes
(1) 12 oz package tortillas – organic spelt is best
(1) tub of miso paste – organic
(1) can tahini (sesame paste)
(1) 3 oz jar cocktail onions – for pH, use in moderation
(1) 8 – 16 oz package of 100% buckwheat “soba” noodles (in macrobiotic section or asian section health food store) – substitute for wheat pasta as much as possible
1# elbow macaroni, penne or fusilli – use in great moderation due to allergy, food sensitivity and upseting alkaline pH efforts. Only cook all these pastas to al dente!
1# orzo, or acini de pepe – use in great moderation
1# linguine, spaghetti or fettucine – use in great moderation
1# capellini – use in moderation
1 – 2# long-grain converted rice – use in great moderation; very small portions! (~ 1/4 – 1/3 cup, cooked). Rice is higher glycemic and easier to over-eat.
1# basmati or texmati brown rice – use in moderation (max of 1/2 cup, cooked)
1# short-grain brown rice – use in moderation
8 oz arborio rice – use in great moderation (max of 1/3 cup)
2# yellow cornmeal – NO — almost nutritionally worthless
13 oz. kasha (roasted buckwheat groats)
1# pearl barley – for pH balnce , can only use in moderation
1# lentils – – use in moderation; get organic
1# split green peas – – use in moderation; get organic
(Em: add more varieties and include black-eye peas (they are a different botanical family)
12 oz. raisins – use sparingly and infrequently; all dried fruit is very calorie dense and high glycemic load if much is eaten at any one time; all cooked fruit becomes acidic pH too, disrupting your biochemical goal for alkalinity
10 oz. currants – use sparingly and infrequently
12 ozs. dried apricots – use sparingly and infrequently
8 – 10 ozs pitted prunes – use sparingly and infrequently
(1) 16 – 19 oz can, each of: black beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, white cannelini beans – kidney beans (including canellini) are not suitable for most Blood Types
small pink and / or white beans (optional)
3 cans (16 oz each) whole, peeled tomatoes – low salt
28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes – low salt
2 cans (14 ½ oz each) stewed tomatoes – low salt
2 cans ” Italian stewed tomatoes – low salt
1 tube (4 ½ oz) tomato paste – low salt
(1) 16 oz jar of pickled beets, or canned beets (14 ½ oz) – better to get those just canned in water, rather than pickled
(1) can 8 oz. each of: apricots or peaches, canned crushed pineapple or pears — all in natural juice
(2) 1 # bottles spaghetti sauce – low salt, no sugar
(1) 16 oz. jar applesauce – organic
(2) 4 – 6 oz jars each of baby fruit puree: apple, peach or pear
(2) 14 ½ oz cans no salt chicken broth
(2) 8 oz. bottles clam juice
(1) 16oz can tomato juice – organic is best
(2) bottles dry white wine – all alcohol makes your body more acidic pH; use sparingly
(2) bottles dry red wine
(1) bottle Cognac or brandy
(1) bottle port or madeira sherry
(1) 16 oz can mackerel – bone in (crush bones well as a calcium source); use more of this fish
(2) 3 ½ oz cans salmon – bone in (crush bones well as a calcium source)
(2) 6 oz cans tuna in water — too much (only 2 cans a month due to high mercury content!!!)
(2) 6 ½ oz. cans tuna in oil — NO. Substitute mackerel, other cooked then flaked fish (or canned herring once a week, max).
(2) 4 oz cans clams – infrequently as bottom-feeder, but good source of iron; use no other shellfish on a regular basis. They pick-up the pollution around them as they are “filter feeders” and they are fished by means that destroy much other sea-life which is then discarded in the catch!
(2) 3 ½ oz cans sardines – best canned fish source as low on food chain, but as it’s a high purine food, not good if you have damaged kidneys already or have gout.
(2) 12 oz cans unsweetened evaporated low-fat or skim milk
(2) 8 oz packages butter cookies or shortbread – NO – substitiute whole, fresh fruit (no juices) for all these baked goods or make agave sweetened flans, custards etc.
8 oz plain chocolate cookies – NO
16 oz pound cake – NO
(1 – 2) 1# loaves whole-grain bread – use sensibly
(1) 8 oz loaf sourdough bread – use sensibly- better choice for pH reasons
(1) package 6 whole-grain pita breads – use sensibly
(1) box of 12 taco shells – NO. Cooked usually in less optimal oils and gets rancid easily
(1) 12 oz bottle each of: red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar (NOT white vinegar !!!), balsamic vinegar, tarragon vinegar, brown rice vinegar – use sparingly, due to effect on body’s pH — substitute Bragg’s or Spectrum’s apple cider vinegar (with the mother-of-vinegar) for all of these; although a vinegar, it leaves an alkaline pH residue! Do not buy a commercial “apple cider vinegar” (like Heinz) (they are NOT made the same way and are incredibly destructive with their very acidic pH).
(1) 8 oz bottle champagne vinegar or raspberry vinegar – same as above
(1) 2 oz bottle Tabasco sauce
(1) 5 oz bottle Worcestershire sauce
(2) 4 oz cans chopped green chilis
(1) bottle soy sauce (tamari — may need refrigeration after opening) – low sodium, organic tamari is better; use sparingly
(1) 8 oz can water chestnuts
(1) 15 oz can whole chestnuts
This was not meant to be a budget list, so you may find it is still too expensive, but you can reduce expense by house-brands etc.. The only reason I chose Michele’s list to include is that there is already a whole system of recipes utilizing it; get her cook-book and check out her Food Network recipes.
Best to all — Em
Monday To Friday Cookbook by Michele Urvater, Workman Publishing, NYC
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