As part of the #NOWWellness Influencer Program, I received product samples and compensation from NOW® to thank me for my participation, but the product selection and all opinions are genuinely my own.
My Plant-Based Pantry Staples from NOW
I’ve never been so thankful for having a well-stocked pantry as I am right now. At times, having a couple of extra boxes of this and that felt a bit excessive, especially since our family started transitioning into minimalism and mindful consumption. However, since our state lockdown began, it became increasingly difficult to get groceries in a timely manner. Last time I had to wait 10 days for my order to be delivered – isn’t that something?
Currently, we refill our pantry staples online, and order fresh fruit, veggies, and proteins through sustainable weekly “imperfect” produce subscription or meal kits. This worked out really well for us so far! Once you have a well-stocked pantry, it’s much easier to whip up wholesome, nutritious meals at home. Today I want to share with you a full list of my current NOW® pantry staples that my family enjoys, and they all happen to be plant-based.
NOW® offers an impressive variety of cooking oils, but there are two, in particular, we use most often these days. I love using Ellyndale® Naturals Avocado Oil for stir-frying and baking because of its high smoke point of 520° F and mild flavor. And my pantry would never feel complete without a bottle of the flavorful & nutty Ellyndale® Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which we use for sauteeing, homemade dressings, and marinades. These oils come in protective tinted rectangular bottles that look very neat on the shelf if you put them side by side. I keep mine in a closed cabinet to further hide the precious contents from heat and light, but every time I reach for one, just seeing those pretty bottles makes me smile.
Depending on your lifestyle, grains may or may not be part of your daily diet, but we enjoy them and eat at least one or two servings per day. NOW® carries many different varieties of grains, including ancient grains that have been consumed by our ancestors for generations. It’s a lot more fun to alternate grains than it is to stick with the same one all the time, isn’t it? I like to keep the following in my pantry:
NOW Real Food® Sprouted Brown Rice – This incredibly delicious brown rice is very popular and sells out often, so grab it when you have the chance if you want to try it. NOW® sprouted brown rice is made with young grains that have been lightly sprouted to make it even more nutritious. Sprouted brown rice also has a sweeter flavor than regular brown rice, making it taste more like white rice but without losing the benefits of being a whole grain.
NOW Real Food® Steel Cut Oats with some fruit, yogurt, or honey is a wonderful way to start the day. If I have extra time in the morning, I always make them fresh, low and slow on the stovetop, but you can meal prep them in advance, too. Just cook up a big batch and divide it into single servings, then freeze for up to 2 months. Frozen cooked steel-cut oats are very easy to reheat in a microwave so you can have a hearty breakfast ready in minutes.
We also like to keep NOW Real Food® Organic Rolled Oats on hand because they offer that yummy oat flavor with a slightly different texture. I like adding a handful of rolled oats to smoothies and also make my own dry oatmeal mix with dry fruit, nuts, and spices. It’s perfect for busy – or lazy! – mornings. I add a big scoop to a bowl, top it with some water or dairy-free milk, and microwave for a couple of minutes to make it nice and hot. Sometimes I eat it just like that, but you could also add fresh berries, fruit, honey, jam, more nuts and seeds, yogurt, whipped cream, coconut milk – the choices are endless!
Did you know that NOW Real Food® Organic Wild Rice is not actually rice, but more of a grass? We love this wholesome, nutritious grain for its great texture and a rich, nutty flavor that works so well as a side for savory dishes, in salads, and in grain bowls. Because wild rice is such a delicacy, we usually eat it only a few times a month, but I still make sure to keep at least one bag in my pantry so it’s always on hand.
Speaking of grains, if you would like to try some bomb gluten-free pasta, I can’t recommend NOW® enough. I don’t like oversharing about my health issues, but I have been diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and try to avoid gluten-rich foods when I can. Maybe that’s just me, but, I swear, a lot of gluten-free pastas taste like cardboard, haha! Living Now® Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta has a mild, sweet flavor and to me it tastes even better than regular semolina pasta.
NUTS & SEEDS:
Nuts & seeds play an important part in my diet – they make perfect snacks and salad toppers, I use them for homemade milk, in smoothies, and even in soups and curries. I tried every single nut and seed NOW® has to offer, but found myself always reaching for the same ones. I guess, we all have our favorites! 🙂
NOW Real Food® Organic Flax Seeds, NOW Real Food® Organic Raw Pine Nuts, and NOW Real Food® Raw Pumpkin Seeds are my go-to salad toppers. I also use them in their own special ways, too: pumpkin seeds add flavor and crunch when sprinkled over cream soups, flax seeds work really well in smoothies and yogurts, and pine nuts are key to making the perfect pesto.
Also, have you guys tried making chia jam? It’s so quick and easy and can help you make use of any leftover fruit and berries that are sitting in the fridge. We usually make chia jam with raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, but sometimes use strawberries during the strawberry season. NOW Real Food® Organic Black Chia Seeds make a nice, smooth jam and have a pleasant nutty flavor. Need some inspo? I shared this chia pudding recipe a while back, and we still enjoy it!
I pretty much like all of the nuts from NOW®, but we definitely go through several bags of NOW Real Food® Organic Whole Unsalted Cashews before we finish any other varieties. It’s because I use them as an ingredient in soups & curries, smoothies, creamy vegan sauces, and to make dairy-free cashew milk. The best part about cashew milk is that it doesn’t need to be strained, so you just add water, nuts, any seasonings, and blend away!
Who doesn’t like sweets? Even people who swear they don’t, still love a slice of cake or an ice cream cone once in a while. I confess, I’m a sweet tooth and can eat an entire cake or a pint of ice cream in one sitting if you let me. That’s why I keep a variety of sweet treats in my pantry to satisfy those cravings, and a lot of them are from NOW®.
I recently shared photos of my giant gluten-free chocolate chip cookies on IG stories, and you guys went wild in DMs! Gluten-free cookies can be so expensive, while you could just make them at home using Living Now® Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, which is what I do. You can also tweak the recipe and make them vegetarian by substituting egg and butter with applesauce and canola oil. My husband loves these cookies too and says they taste just as good as those fancy artisanal chocolate chip cookies from our local farmer’s market. That’s major praise coming from him!
We also make muffins and pancakes for some breakfast variety, and I always use Living Now® Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix. It’s really easy to customize with additional flavors, too. For instance, you can add bananas or blueberries to the batter to make yummy pancakes, or some apples, cinnamon, pecans, and a sprinkle of sugar for the most scrumptious muffins. And don’t forget to drizzle them with some NOW Real Food® Organic Maple Syrup for an extra special treat!
We are big fans of hot cocoa over here and often make it with our homemade cashew milk and NOW Real Food® Organic Cocoa Powder. Sometimes if I have coconut milk left over from making curry, I’ll add that too to make the drink richer and give it a more tropical flavor. I also use cocoa powder for baking and making pancakes. It’s so versatile!
NOW® also carries various dried fruit varieties, including my favorite NOW Real Food® Dried Papaya Spears and my husband’s choice NOW Real Food® Mango Slices. They just as sweet and indulgent as traditional candy, and so satisfying, too! We enjoy them almost every day with some tea, in the afternoon or in the evening.
Find out more about these products at nowfoods.com, and don’t forget to use the coupon GLAMNOW10 for $10 off your $40+ purchase if you decide to pick up a few things. This is an exclusive coupon for my readers to thank you for choosing NOW®, not an affiliate code. 🙂
I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe!