Pantry Staples

Welcome to the healthy Pantry Staples page!  Here is an in-depth look of the foods and ingredients I keep in my pantry, fridge, and freezer to live a healthy lifestyle and bake delicious sweet treats!  Just a one stop shop for all my favorite products!

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Because I buy high-quality ingredients, I find it most cost-effective to purchase the majority of my ingredients online and in bulk.  90% of the time, it is cheaper to buy things online rather than grocery stores because physical stores have to raise their prices to pay for their overhead costs (rent, employees, cashiers, etc.).  My favorite sites and stores to shop at include Amazon.comThriveMarket.com, Costco, and Whole Foods.

Let’s get started!

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Fruits & Veggies

Fresh Produce:

  • Fruits–  Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapefruit, Kiwis, Lemons, Oranges, Pineapple, Raspberries, Strawberries
  • Veggies– Beets, Carrots, Spinach

Canned:

  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Sliced Peaches (in 100% juice)
  • Halved Pears (in 100% juice)
  • Pineapple Rings (in 100% juice)
  • 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 100% Fruit Spreads (in Blueberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry)

Dried:  (make sure all your dried fruits have no sugar or preservatives added!)

  • Blueberries, Raisins, Figs, Dates

 

Flours, Grains, & Other Baking Essentials

  • Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • Arrowroot Starch and Corn Starch
  • Active-Dry Yeast
  • Baking Soda and Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • Xanthan Gum

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Nuts & Nut Butters, Seeds & Seed Butters

Nuts and Nut Butters:

  • Almonds, Natural Almond Butter, Cashews, Shredded Coconut, Reduced-Fat Shredded Coconut, and Raw Coconut Butter, Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Natural Peanut Butter, Pecans, Pistachios, Walnuts

Seeds and Seed Butters:

  • Chia Seeds, Ground Flaxseed Meal

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Protein Powders

    • Brown Rice Protein Powder (in both Vanilla/Chocolate)

Vegan Brown Rice Protein Powder

    • Unflavored Soy Protein Powder
    • Egg White Protein Powder (in both Vanilla/Chocolate)
    • Whey Protein Powder (in UnflavoredVanilla/Chocolate)

Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder

    • Unflavored Casein Protein Powder

Unflavored Casein Protein Powder

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Natural Sweeteners

Liquid Sweeteners:

Dry Sweeteners:

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Chocolate

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Extracts & Flavorings

Vanilla:

Extracts/Flavors:

  • Almond Flavor and Almond Extract
  • Fruit Flavor Set (Banana, Blueberry, Cherry, Mango, Raspberry, Strawberry)
  • Butter Flavor
  • Butterscotch Flavor
  • Caramel Flavor
  • Coconut Flavor
  • Hazelnut Extract
  • Lemon Flavor
  • Maple Flavor
  • Mint Extract, Peppermint Extract
  • Orange Flavor

Spices and Seasonings:

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In the Fridge

  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Fat-Free/Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Milk and Nondairy Milks:

  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Soy Milk
  • Skim/Whole Milk

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On the Pantry Shelves

Milk and Nondairy Milks:

    • Canned Light Coconut Milk and Full Fat Coconut Milk

Organic Coconut Milk

Canned Beans:

  • Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Cannellini Beans, Kidney Beans

Oils and Vinegars:

  • Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, White Vinegar

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Tools, Appliances, & Utensils

  • Kitchen Scale:  I use a scale in ALL of my recipes to ensure the same final product each and every time!  I highly suggest getting a kitchen scale of your own.

Kitchen Scale (perfect for baking!)
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  • Electric Stand Mixer:  A quintessential kitchen tool!  Mixes cookie doughs and cake batters, whips frostings and meringues, and can even churn ice cream and juice fruits/vegetables.

And Electric Stand Mixer is a quintessential kitchen tool! Mixes cookie doughs and cake batters, whips frostings and meringues, and can even churn ice cream and juice fruits/vegetables.
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The Best High Speed Blender: Vitamix
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Food Processor
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  • Hand Blender:  I use KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless.

Hand Blender/Stick Blender
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  • Ice Cream Maker:  I use the KitchenAid stand mixer attachment (I used to have a Cuisinart but it died).  I also have a Dessert Bullet (coolest invention ever)!

Ice Cream Maker Attachment
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  • Cooking Spray:  Much better than slathering a stick of butter all over a pan!  Avoid brands that contain hydrogenated oils (also note that cooking sprays contain soy.  If sensitive to soy, use Misto Spray cans)
  • Oven Gloves:  Don’t make my mistake of taking your baked good out of a 400 degree oven with rolled up paper napkins.  I may have dropped a napkin onto the oven coils and a fire also may have started.  Thank God no one was around because I looked like an idiot sticking my hand straight into the oven to grab it and throwing it on the ground to stomp on it.  Yes, I was an amateur baker once…
  • Molds:  Peanut Butter Cup Mold, Chocolate Kiss Mold, Chocolate Bar Mold
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • Mixing Bowls (small, medium, large)
  • Silicone Spatulas and Wire Whisks
  • Fine Mesh Sieve
  • Pastry Roller
  • Pastry Brush
  • Ice Cream Scooper
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Piping Bag + Tips
  • Offset Spatula
  • Can Opener
  • Candy Thermometer and Oven Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth

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Bakeware

  • Mini Loaf Pans
  • 8×5″ and 9×6″ Loaf Pans
  • Standard Cupcake Tin
  • 6″, 8″, and 9″ Cake Pans
  • 6″, 8″, and 9″ Springform Pans
  • Angel Food Cake Pan
  • Bundt Cake Pan
  • Donut Pan
  • 8×8″ and 9×9″ Brownie Pans
  • 9×13″ Rectangle Pan
  • Cookie Sheets and Jelly Roll Pans
  • Wire Cooling Racks

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What You Will NEVER Find in my Pantry and Fridge:

  • Artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Sweet n’ Low, Equal, etc.)
  • Refined sugars (the white granulated stuff, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) and excess added sugars
  • Margarine, hydrogenated shortening, Cool Whip
  • Products containing trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils
The following images are screenshots from a Powerpoint presentation I made for my freshman English102 class in 2010 (just click on the images to enlarge):
Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits
Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits
Dangers of Hydrogenated Oils - Desserts with Benefits

 Gross, right?!?

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Hope you enjoyed this long list of everything I use, love using, and recommend using ☺️

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With love and good eats,

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– Jess

🎂🍴💕

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This page contains affiliate links.  Desserts With Benefits® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites (like this blog!) to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com.

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55 comments on “Pantry Staples

  1. Pingback: Desserts With Benefits

  2. Girl! I totally made a presentation about trans fats for my english class Junior Year of high school. 😛 On the same page or what?!

  3. Ok I like the idea but being a practical college student myself with no crawl space or kitchen and very little money this list is a bit daunting. Especially since I live in a city where everything is more expensive. Is there anyway to work around such high costs for health. Also I have a weakness for gelato is that a no no?

  4. Blake, It’s true, this list runs a little long. I originally made this while I was in school but have been adding a few things here and there ever since… so technically ALL of the foods listed weren’t in my dormroom (or under my bed lol). I too, struggle with buying healthier foods because they cost a little more… I discovered Amazon (it’s cheaper, comes in bulk, and you get free shipping as a student!) and catch all the deals I can from the grocery store. Sometimes eating healthier (which doesn’t necessarily mean organic) can cost about the same as a junky diet. If you cut out the cookies–or gelato ;)–you save money! Don’t worry, I have a major weakness for gelato too, just point that appetite in the right direction. Put Greek yogurt in the freezer for a few hours until it’s thicker and add some 100% fruit jam, or blend a little firm tofu with frozen strawberries and add honey or stevia to taste. It’s really good despite how it sounds. Hope I helped! -Jess

  5. Oh thank goodness I can compromise with that recipe. I never thought about amazon, thank you!

  6. I really like your food containers (for flour, oats, etc). Where did you get them? I’ve been trying to find something like that!

  7. Anonymous, Thanks! I got them at the Container Store (aka, the best store ever!) Beware if you go to their website though, I was on there for hours looking at all their goodies! 🙂
    -Jess

  8. What do you recommend eating when it comes to meat?

  9. Anonymous,
    Fish beats the land animals in my opinion, although variety is always good. I would recommend salmon and chunk lite tuna and meats containing low amounts of fat and cholesterol, like chicken and turkey breast (not the thigh/dark meat). A steak every once in a while is fine unless you have heart problems or high cholesterol.

  10. Reading this has just inspired me to a bit more healthier. Last year, I was better at eating healthier than this year, as my body has been saying ‘it’s okay’ to eat those kind of foods, though I can honestly live without them!

  11. What kind of protein powder do you use? I can’t eat gluten or chocolate, do you have anything that you would recommend for me (i’m also watching my weight)

  12. Maya,
    I use Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder (which is gluten free, sugar free, etc): http://www.amazon.com/Jay-Robb-Enterprises-Vanilla-powder/dp/B0001OP0XW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333286566&sr=8-1 You can also try Optimum Nutrition protein powder (the link says chocolate, but there are 18 flavors you can choose from!): http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Double-Chocolate/dp/B000QSNYGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333286922&sr=8-1 or Optimum Nutrition “naturals” (which contains no sucralose, but instead natural sugar): http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Natural-Vanilla/dp/B000GIURM2/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1333287012&sr=1-1 Adding protein powder to other meals (like oatmeal, smoothies, etc) helps keep you fuller for longer as protein provides satiety. Whey protein has also shown to help decrease abdominal fat along with diet/exercise, where other protein powders like soy didn’t as much. Hopefully this helps!
    -Jess

  13. Hey, I’ve read a lot of controversial information about tofu and soy, and found that I don’t react well with it. Even though some people find it healthy, it isn’t for me. Is there a good substitute for tofu in your recipes? Oh, and I’m a new reader here who also happens to be a fitness-nutrtion junkie. ;)I’m turning 16 this month, and I’m planning on making your Matcha Almond Cake for my birthday, hopefully soy-free. Your creations look AMAZING by the way, and I’m looking forward to trying more recipes! 🙂

  14. Anonymous-
    Tofu and soy can be healthy in moderation for some people, but yes, many people have soy allergies (coincidentally, I just found out I’m allergic a couple weeks ago :/ ). A good substitute for tofu can be eggs, yogurt and flax “eggs.” To replace the tofu in the Matcha Almond Cake, you can try using 1) two whole eggs, 2) one whole egg and 2-3 more tbs of greek yogurt, 3) 2-3 more tbs of greek yogurt and one flax egg (1 tbs ground flaxseed + 2 tbs hot water, let sit until gel forms). Hopefully these work out!
    -Jess
    PS: Happy early birthday! Have a good one 🙂

  15. Thanks so much for answering! 🙂 I never knew that the tofu was used as an egg replacement! Thanks lots!

  16. Hey, I have a question about your protein powders…what brand do you use? I have never tried them before and don’t know where to start… LOVE your blog!

  17. Hey Deb!
    My first protein powder was Optimum Nutrition’s vanilla and chocolate: http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Double-Chocolate/dp/B000QSNYGI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914320&sr=8-1
    I now use Jay Robb’s powders because they use stevia instead of fake sugars: http://www.amazon.com/Jay-Robb-Enterprises-Vanilla-Isolate/dp/B0001OP0RS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914374&sr=8-3
    Both are delicious, but I think the winner is Optimum Nutrition’s natural protein powder (it’s super creamy, sweet and satisfying!). I recommend this to try first: http://www.amazon.com/Optimum-Nutrition-Standard-Natural-Vanilla/dp/B000GIURM2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333914313&sr=8-1
    Hope you like it!
    -Jess

  18. Great post! Where do you get your unsweetened dried fruit? I try to limit processed sugars and I can’t find it anywhere.

  19. Trader Joe’s is great for dried fruit and nuts too. Wonderful blog, I just discovered it yesterday and I’m already obsessed! I’m trying to eat a low glycemic diet and I love dessert, so this is perfect. Thanks for the information and inspiration.

  20. I love the idea of this blog; it fits perfectly with the way I like to cook and eat. Question: can you point me to info on stevia, and its safety and nutritional value? I actually bought some, but it has a chemical taste to me, and so I haven’t used it much. Do you have any info or advice? Also: I don’t eat dairy (whey), and I’m reluctant to buy expensive protein powder blends. For my smoothies, I make a protein powder from soy powder, hemp powder, and ground flax. Do you think that would work to replace the protein powders you use? Thanks!

  21. I’m sorry the stevia you bought had a bad taste, what brand was it? I really like SweetLeaf (http://www.amazon.com/SweetLeaf-SteviaClear-Liquid-4-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B001E5E3JY/ref=pd_ybh_3) and NuNaturals’ alcohol-free stevia (http://www.amazon.com/NuNaturals-Nustevia-Alcohol-Stevia-2-Ounce/dp/B0019LTH3U/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1342355087&sr=1-1&keywords=nunaturals+stevia)

    It’s always best to use stevia in combination with another sweetener to avoid any aftertaste (I think it tastes the best with erythritol). Here are a couple links on stevia:
    1) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-682-STEVIA.aspx?activeIngredientId=682&activeIngredientName=STEVIA
    2) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/artificial-sweeteners/MY00073/NSECTIONGROUP=2

    The best thing to do with these sweeteners–even though they’re natural–is to use them in moderation… just like other foods, supplements, exercise, etc.

    As for the protein powder, I find that soy/hemp/flax absorb a lot of liquid due to the fiber content, so if you use that mix make sure to keep an eye on the moisture level… most likely you will need to use more. I wouldn’t recommend using that mix in the baked goods, but in the no-bake items it should work. I would test it out first in the Peanut Butter Protein Balls recipe (http://chockohlawtay.blogspot.com/2011/06/peanut-butter-protein-balls.html), since it’s a small recipe and takes 5 minutes to prepare. Hope that mix works out, it sounds really nutritious! 🙂

  22. Hey, Your recipes look great, I was just wondering where you got 100% fruit spreads. I’ve looked everywhere, but the first ingredient is always sugar!

  23. Hey!!! I have a question… why don’t you have Splenda, is it really bad??

  24. Splenda is a manmade sweetener which is processed with chemicals and mixed with starches. It is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) so a healthy body can tolerate small amounts of it. However, if you are like me and put 8-10 packets worth of sweetener into a venti coffee (insanity, I know) then Splenda probably isn’t our best bet! 1 or 2 packets every now and then will most likely not hurt, but when compared to stevia/erythritol/unrefined sweeteners, I really don’t see the need (or wanting) to use Splenda.

    Here are some helpful links you may want to check out:
    http://www.splendaexposed.com/articles/2005/11/the_hidden_chem.html
    http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20050216/dietitians-say-splenda-not-same-as-sugar?page=2
    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20050216/sweetener-in-the-spotlight-is-splenda-safe

  25. Hi Jessica,
    After recently making the miraculous discovery of your heavenly blog, I’ve been hooked on it day after day. It’s so amazing. The photos are mouthwatering, the posts are entertaining to read, and the layout is very pretty. What I really want to do is MAKE YOUR RECIPES! BUT I can’t seem to find things like quinoa flour, brown rice flour, butter extract etc. In Taiwan (where I live) :'( I’ve already dragged my mom back and forth between numerous stores and markets, but no good :[. Being a high school freshman, I can’t really afford shipping fee if I were to shop on Amazon either. So sad. So so so sad. Can you help me? A suggestion, maybe? so desperate, I am.
    -Renee

  26. Hi Renee,
    I’m so sorry you are having trouble finding these ingredients. Unfortunately, products vary from country to country. My suggestion would be to shop at online stores, order items in bulk (a larger amount usually comes cheaper), and order in one large order to avoid excessive shipping costs. I don’t know much about shipping costs for other countries, but for me, these are my favorite online shopping websites right now:

    amazon.com
    iherb.com
    nuts.com

    You can also google how to make certain ingredients at home, such as quinoa flour and brown rice flour. Butter extract is not a necessity, however if you want that traditional butter taste like typical unhealthy baked goods, I think it is definitely worth searching for. Also, you can try meeting with grocery store owners near you to start selling certain products. I know my sister filled out a form at Whole Foods to start selling Amande yogurt and some other foods and they did. Anyways, I hope you find the perfect solution!

  27. Thank you for replying so *very* considerately! I’ll be embarking on my journey to healthy baking!

  28. Hi Jessica,
    I really enjoy your blog. I’m pretty aware about healthy eating and fitness so this place is beyond awesome for me. I find many of your recipes contain xanthan gum which is very hard for me to find in my area. Do you think I can omit it or substitute with other ingredients?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Nicci, depending on the recipe you might be able to omit it. For example, my Lemony Peach Blondies could probably survive without it, but in cookies or cupcakes, I would recommend not changing a thing as the end product will crumble like sand between your fingers 🙁
      You can try ordering the xanthan gum online, that’s what I do, because it’s cheaper than in stores. I buy mine here:
      http://astore.amazon.com/chockohlawtay-20/detail/B0013JJZWG
      I like using oat flour in gluten-free baked goods because it has a high fiber content and “binds” the batter well, so if you do omit the xanthan gum, it should be in a recipe with oat flour. Also, if the end product ends up crumbly (like cupcakes), just make cake pops! 🙂

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