Thursday, October 18, 2012

Restocking the fridge and pantry after being away

Despite my serious enjoyment of English supermarkets, there is something nice about returning to one's own, fully equipped kitchen. In the process of returning our kitchen to a fully-stocked state, I thought I'd take the opportunity to talk a bit about my kitchen staples and the sorts of foods we buy and eat on a regular basis.

It probably says something about our approach to food purchases that we could be away for a month and return without the need to buy too much. We share a tendency to stock up on non-perishable foods, me because I am drawn in by specials, and Mr Bite because I think he would shop once a month instead of once a week if it was possible.

These one can't stock up on...

This tendency means that there were some things we didn't need to buy on our first supermarket visit after returning home, because they were already in the pantry or freezer. These included:
  • Pasta (coloured pasta spirals, which are the only sort I have much interest in, plus plain pasta spirals and spaghetti for Mr B)
  • Rice (we have both white and brown, but I'm the only one that eats the brown)
  • Other grains (quinoa, barley, etc.)
  • Tinned crushed tomatoes (generally the sort with herbs already mixed in)
  • Tinned stir fry mix or bamboo shoots
  • (Some) tinned beans / legumes (I like to have lentils, chickpeas, 4-bean mix, butter beans, and kidney beans on hand at all time, preferably in multiple amounts!)
  • Dry beans / legumes (the variety varies; currently I have black eyed peas)
  • Baked beans (for Mr B)
  • Tinned soup (emergency staple)
  • Rolled oats
  • Weetbix and other cereals (I returned to an unopened packet of sultana bran, and opened but still good packets of weetbix, puffed millet and puffed corn)
  • Raw almonds
  • Chocolate (in addition to leaving some at home before we went away, I of course brought a lot back with us...there are always at least two dark blocks in the pantry for me, and at least two semi-dark and sometimes milk blocks in the fridge for Mr B)
  • Frozen vegetables (I generally have peas and green beans at least)
  • Frozen veggie products (we like Fry's vegetarian schnitzels on occasion, and there are a few other brands of veggie burgers that get bought on rotation)
  • (Some) frozen berries (I like to have at least two varieties at all times)
  • Long-life milk (unsweetened almond milk for me, cow's milk for Mr B)
  • Tea / coffee
  • Baking products (flours, sugars, cocoa, coconut butter, rising agents, etc...)
  • Stock, seasonings and standard sauces

In light of this lengthy list, one could be forgiven for thinking that we had never been away at all. I will be in serious trouble if we ever live in a house without a full-sized pantry! We did, of course, still need to buy some things in our first few days back, and they included the following.

Fresh produce from the fruit and vegetable markets:

Vegetable purchases included carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, broccoli  artichoke (don't ask about the artichoke, it has a sad story), red capsicum / pepper, yellow capsicum / pepper, and bok choi and spinach leaves which didn't make it into the above photo. We buy potatoes and onions from the regular supermarket because doing so cuts down on what I need to carry or cycle back from the markets.

Fruit purchases vary enormously with season, but in this case included bananas (Mr B's fruit of choice), oranges (for juicing for Mr B), apples, pears and strawberries. I'm looking forward to summer stone fruit with a great deal of anticipation.

Cold products:

More berries, in the form of blueberries; two packets of firm tofu; Sanitarium veggie burgers (one of a variety I buy for easy microwaving on demand); and soy vanilla ice cream. Mr Bite also gets yoghurts weekly. This section would look bigger if we hadn't been stocked up on other frozen vegetables and products before we went away.

Pantry products:

Remember what I said about wanting lots of tinned legumes? Here is the proof! I also bought tinned artichokes (again, please don't ask about the artichokes), dates, tinned pineapple (we use it on pizza), unhulled tahini, natural crunchy peanut butter, natural almond butter...

...cous cous...

...crackers (the ones pictured are my regulars)...

...and wrap bread. Theoretically I now order Mountain Bread online because I love their range and ordering that way is much cheaper, but when I don't have an order placed I tend to get a variety of options to mix things up. The Australia's Own Organic wraps with rye, oat and linseed were a new to me find, and quite enjoyable as a grain-y wrap option.

Other products:

There always seem to be some products that aren't at the supermarket we visit for our main shop. I am not sure if others have this problem - we find that Coles carries some brands, Woolworths others, and some items need smaller independent stores or to be tracked down at health food stores. I expect a certain amount of the last point, but do wish Coles and Woolworths would carry products more consistently.

Since returning home, I have bought edamame beans (for sushi salad) at a local Asian supermarket, dried cherries from a small independent supermarket, and am still trying to find tinned black beans.

So there we have it - our stocking up process, and our standard foods. What sorts of things would always be in your kitchen?!

This post is part of my Vegan Month of Food contributions for October 2012. 


  1. Replies
    1. I have a bit of an obsession with wraps :)

  2. Every week I buy fresh veggies, fruit and meat. Sometimes if I have time on Sunday I will make a bunch of meals and freeze them for future dinners & lunches.

    1. The freezing is something I wish I do more of!

  3. Apart from the meat products I buy, that looks stunningly similar to my pantry stock :)

  4. Just discovered your blog after seeing you on Hotly Spiced. We just moved into a new house and I had to start the kitchen from scratch. I would love to see what kind of pizzas you make with pineapple:)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Doing a new kitchen from scratch sounds daunting indeed - I hope you're getting settled. Pineapple on veggie pizzas is something we love :)

  5. Our kitchen would be fairly similar, although probably a few less legumes and the addition of meat. We like to do a market shop for fresh veggies once a week but it really is only about once a month that we have to stock up on stuff for the pantry.
    I do love that having such a well stocked pantry means I can randomly decide to make something (like the steamed pudding I made last Friday) and I have everything I need on hand. Love it!

    1. That is brilliant - frustratingly, we still don't always have *exactly* what I want on short demand!

  6. Thanks for sharing, we definitely stock up on a lot of similar pantry items. Our cupboards and freezer are generally stuffed, a power outage would be disastrous! I see that the Woolworths tinned beans and lentils are "no salt added", that is nice that you can find a store brand that carries such a line. Like you, we also have to source our goods from a number of different stores and via the internet; it certainly gets tiring sometimes, but I suppose the hunt can also be part of the fun of it all.

    1. That's true - one shop might leave me bored :P No salt added beans is a relatively recent option and one I'm really grateful for.

  7. I try to do market shopping but have done it less lately - have been feeling quite time poor :-( But we do seem to shop from a variety of places - especially as there are so many food stores around our critical mass of three supermarkets. I know what you mean about coles and woolworths stocking different products - seems to be a recent thing (or maybe I have changed what I buy).

    Nothing like fresh fruit and veg upon returning from holidays and I love peeking into your kitchen and seeing what you buy and what resonates with me - Sylvia has had a love of seaweed rice crackers recently (don't know where she gets her salt addiction). I love lots of tinned legumes but am not so good on the dried ones, we usually have tofu and veggie sausages but don't buy veggie burgers much - I think I make them often enough

    1. We used to have veggie sausages quite regularly but have gone off them a bit of late...I'm sure we'll cycle back to them though. They are great for a short on time weeknight!

      I do think Coles and Woolworths have changed their stocking approach lately...I'm getting a bit annoyed with their power!

  8. Looks similar to mine expect I rarely buy tinned beans and legumes. I'm still loving Ryvitas, always have frozen blueberries in the freezer for smoothies as well as the Fry's schnitzels for an occasional lazy meal. I don't buy veggie sausages or burgers as I've never found any that I like. Now that Coles and Woolworths are pushing more of their own labels they keep dropping off other brands which is annoying, I have to stop in at both supermarkets to get what I want.

    1. The own labels are a serious frustration when they push out other ones!

      Do you have Eatwell burgers around you? They're not pictured here but I really like them, except unfortunately the protein content is low.

  9. check u out u're better stocked than my local grocery store!! :) love all the color in those fruits and veggies too. for me, staples are carrots, apples, frozen broccoli/cauliflower in that dept. i STINK at cooking so sadly the rest is are not things to brag home about, just quick/healthy fare. i do have loads of eggbeaters tho and eat english muffins by the sleeves. :P

    1. I love English muffins too actually :) They usually get bought at least 2 times a month!

  10. You are well stocked!!
    A lot of the items you picked up look similar to what I would get!!
    Peanut butter, beans, nuts, and eggs are usually always in my kitchen. And tons of produce!

    1. Tons of produce can only be a good thing :)

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