I informed two friends last week that Trader Joe’s opened in Evanston, four miles away from my house. It’s so close that I pass by there on Sunday morning runs, and yet there are still plenty of people nearby who have no idea that this less-expensive-full-of-kosher-food-grocery is right under their noses. So, in their honor, I’ve updated an old post on stocking my pantry.

Half the battle in cooking a new recipe is to already have the ingredients in my house. I don’t care how good your chili, tacos or soup is–if I don’t have the ingredients, I am turning the page. My family’s hungry now!

So here’s a list of our staple foods, categorized by store. I’m sure I’ll forget some, but it’s a start. What you won’t find are many processed foods. We have some, so my kids don’t feel like freaks during school lunch, but I try to buy products with ingredients I recognize and avoid those with hydrogenated oils and soy lecithin.

Happy shopping!

TRADER JOE’S (weekly)
Empire organic chicken (fryers and breasts)
Bread-sprouted for me, regular whole wheat for my kids
Wild Salmon
Tillamook Cheddar and braided mozzarella cheese
Tofu-lots of it!
Organic whole milk
Lots of plain, whole milk yogurt (we mix in our own flavors)
Heavy whipping cream (for whipped cream and salad dressings)
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Cage-free eggs
Steel oats
Lots of nuts: pecans, cashews, almonds, pine nuts
Chocolate chips
Maple Syrup
Peanut butter, almond butter
Whole wheat flour
Pasta sauce
Frozen fruit (organic strawberries and blueberries)
Snacks for school lunches
Tortilla chips
whole wheat flour
Coconut, rice and almond milk
Orange juice
Frozen berries
Granola Bars


2 large squash (butternut, pumpkin, carnival, acorn, etc.)
napa cabbage
organic baby spinach and lettuce
2 bags organic carrots
Grapes (from the US only)
Peppers, if they’re organic and not too expensive (which they never are)
tons of garlic
citrus (in the winter, when it’s in season down south)
tomatoes (only in the summer)
Persian cucumbers
long beans (like string beans, but easier to prepare and delicious)
organic celery
organic potatoes
3 bags of organic apples
Tomatillos–for salsa verde
basil, cilantro and other fresh herbs
dried beans
olive oil
Grapeseed oil

TARGET (weekly. or twice a week. or three times.)
Sesame oil
Canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste
Big canister of Old Fashioned oats
Snacks for lunches
Cream cheese
Orange juice
Corn tortillas
whole wheat flour
corn flour
Baking ingredients

A JEWISH GROCERY (every two months?)
Balsamic vinegar
Grape juice

WHOLE FOODS or JD MILLS (every two-three months)
Whole wheat pastry flour
Braggs Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce but healthier and cheaper)
wheat germ
gluten (for challah)
Bulk grains, popcorn, beans and more. See my post on bulk foods.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s