I can go into someone's kitchen who is not dairy free and not be able to eat a single thing they have- except for fresh fruits and veggies. That is because so many items contain hidden dairy- breads and rolls, crackers, chips, cookies, soups,rice mixes, pre-made meals. Yet my kitchen is pretty much overstocked- and mostly with completely dairy free items! So I have been asked to show what I keep on hand and what basic brands I buy.
We have been converting to more organic products recently, as well as getting our animal products from local and/or organic farms- Chicken and eggs from Drury Lane Farm, beef from a private farmer in West Virginia, and our pork from an organic farm in Michigan but will soon be getting that from Drury Lane as well. Our veggies come from the Clayhill Farms CSA starting in May and going until October. During the off season we get our veggies from Trader Joe's or BJ's, and we try to buy mostly those veggies that are in season.
Here's a peak into my (mostly) dairy free kitchen. I do have to keep a few things on hand for the kids: Greek Yogurt for my oldest daughter, cheese sticks for my middle daughter, and organic milk for their cereal in the morning.
Here's what my fridge looks like:
I keep 2 kinds of soy milk on hand- I like Vanilla for my coffee, pancakes and my overnight oats, and use plain my cooking.
We also have plenty of fruit preserves, fresh veggies, eggs, and two kinds of juice- always have Simply Orange or Trader Joes orange juice, and Northland cranberry pomegranate juice.
I also keep tofu on hand- makes a quick and easy lunch. I don't have a brand preference at this time.
As for condiments: I use a lot of Asian sauces- toasted and spicy sesame oil, MSG free soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, Hoisin sauce. I also keep several vinegars on hand for making dressings with :rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Apple Cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar.
for sandwiches we have mayo, French's mustard, dijon mustard, ketchup, All Gold Tomato sauce (South African ketchup-it tastes different than ours), Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (The BEST BBQ sauce there is!), Nando's Peri Peri sauces for chicken (I have garlic, medium, and herb), Salsa- we eat lots of salsa. Our favorite brand is Chi Chis but I will buy Tostitos or Trader Joes.
We also have Mrs. Balls Chutney: it's a South African chutney and can be found at World Market. It's delicious on red meat, in lasagna (that special recipe is for another day), in Bobotie, with lamb, with curry... the possibilities are endless.
I also keep lime and lemon juice on hand.
Butter- yes I use small amounts of regular butter. But VERY small amounts. There isn't that much lactose in pure butter so I can tolerate it in small amounts. However, I also use lactose free margarine, especially when I need to use a large amount.
Produce drawer- I always have peppers- usually red, yellow, orange, and green,- lemons, limes, tomatoes, carrots, apples, onions, garlic, shallots, red potatoes, white potatoes, sweet potatoes ( We like potatoes, can you tell?), fresh ginger, jalapenos, scallions, celery. In the summer I have more thanks to the CSA and the huge variety from them. I didn't take pictures of all 3 produce drawers, but trust me- it's all there.
Here's a trick I learned a long time ago:
Line your produce drawers with paper towels- it keeps the drawer clean, absorbs extra moisture, and ever week or two you can change out the paper towels to ensure that your drawers and your veggies stay clean.
One side is frozen fruits and veggies: I love the Trader Joes brand of frozen veggies. I love that I can get frozen organic fruits and veggies for such a fair price. We always have green beans, broccoli, potatoes, strawberries- for smoothies, mango- for the baby, edamame, spinach. I also make my own baby food so I put my freezer trays in there- in the trays in the picture I was freezing pureed cinnamon apples, mango, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
The meat side: beef from our beef share- I brought some in from our deep freezer so I would know what I had on hand. Fresh chicken from Drury Lane Farm, Harvest Land boneless skinless chicken breast pack and thigh pack, bacon, and of course the chicken strips for the kids. I do buy the Purdue or Tyson chicken tenders for the kids. They are dairy free too- but be careful because not all chicken fingers are dairy free. These happen to be and they make a decent quick meal on nights we have a lot going on.They are also good in wraps for lunch, or on top of salads.
All the breads in this picture are dairy free! And the Apple Strudel from TJ's is Vegan and soooo good! Just like my Mom's actually!
On to the cabinets:
We like the Cascadian Farms Granola, and Kashi cinnamon shredded wheat for Dairy Free cereal options. The girls eat Rice Krispies, and regular and Honey Nut Cheerios- all Dairy Free as well. I find that buying those in bulk saves a ton of money too!
I always keep pasta on hand- I don't shy away from Carbs since I can't eat dairy. I normally keep penne, shells, bowtie pasta on hand, along with Linguine, Angel Hair, and Spaghetti.
Peanut butter is a staple as well, but the kids will not eat organic peanut butter. It's too thick and salty. So we compromised and buy the Natural.
You will see the large quantity of Mac and cheese- that is for the kids of course!
Panko bread crumbs are dairy free and a definite staple in a DF kitchen! Other brands may contain dairy.
We keep rice- basmati and brown on hand, chicken stock ( I much prefer the Pacific brand to any others)
You'll also see the TJ's brownie mix and a box of Cinnamon Hot Roll mix- both Dairy Free!
My canned good cabinet: I always have tons of canned tomatoes on hand- sauce, paste, diced, stewed, crushed... you can create so many meals using them and we go through A LOT of canned tomatoes!
The canned veggies are for the kids. I don't particularly like canned veggies, but on those nights when we need a quick meal, or when Daddy and I are going out, they help round out a meal.
Other items you will always find in my cabinets:
Black Beans, Red Kidney Beans, coconut milk, tuna, crab...
Baking cabinet basics:
White flour, whole wheat flour, sugar: granulated, brown, powdered, Turbinado
Vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, corn syrups, Molasses, Honey, baking cups and decorating items (this doesn't even scratch the surface of my cake making items. I have the huge Wilton Box too)
Cooking sprays, olive oil, canola oil.
My Spice Cabinet... always adding to it. Here's a list of what I keep on hand:
Basil, oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Curry Powder, Garlic Salt, Dried Garlic, Powdered Ginger, Onion Powder, Chipotle Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Season Salt, All Spice- whole and crushed, Pumpkin Pie Spice,Apple Pie Spice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cream of Tartar, Ground Marjoram, Yellow Mustard Seed, Ground Mustard, Dill, Turmeric, White Pepper, Chicken Bouillon, Dark Chili Powder, Bay Leaves, table salt, sea salt, peppercorns, Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix, Lipton Dry Onion Soup Mix.
My Snack Cabinet:
You will see the bag of Goldfish Crackers- yes they contain dairy. Those are for the kids. I also keep nuts, air pop popcorn ( as most microwave popcorn contains dairy, as does movie theatre popcorn- learned that one the hard way during the last Batman movie- YIKES!), plain potato chips- Lays are my preferred brand, soda water, Triscuits, Animal Cracker, and juice boxes for school lunch.
Our deep freezer with our meat from our beef share- it's a little low but in a week or two we'll be getting more:-)We also have some pork, venison, and frozen veggies from last year's share.
This is what my husband calls the beer fridge, however it currently only has 2 beers in it.:-) It's also overflow for milk, juice, and our eggs (I buy 6 dozen at a time since I order once a month) In the summer it will also be storage for our extra CSA Veggies.
And last but not least, our frozen leftovers. We have South African Beef Soup, Lamb Stew, and Ox Tail Stew being stored in here currently.
So there you have it! I know, it looks like we keep a ton of food- and we do! We have to since we cook/eat 3 meals a day at home. Very seldom do we eat out. Very little of this goes to waste too. Every 2 weeks I write a very detailed bi weekly menu and a detailed shopping list to go with it. Surprisingly, this is all not that expensive. Since we don't buy a lot of dairy we save money there. Premade meals are overpriced so we save there as well. You will also notice there are no cheese or dairy replacement products in my kitchen. I seldom buy them. I will use them in recipes if I need to, but they are not staples in our kitchen.
I do still have to read the labels on some items, especially new items. And occaisonally I will come across something that I think will be DF but will end up having dairy. For example: Cape Cod Salt and Vinegar chips have dry nonfat milk in them. Who knew?! Luckily,Lays do not.
The contents of our cabinets and fridge does change somewhat, but this is generally what we keep on hand. One thing not pictured- our sandwich bread is Nature's Own Honey Wheat or Whole Wheat. And yes, it's dairy free!