Fridge Essentials: No Science Projects Here!

Fridge Essentials

                It’s time for another exciting installment of Simply Playful Fare!  So, it’s a crazy busy week here at the house.  Crystal and I are getting married today.  Because of that, I’ve decided that we are going to simplify the blog a little this week.  I decided to tackle fridge basics.  Your fridge has two main purposes: keeping beer cold, and delaying spoiling.  Beer is fantastic.  It will be content just hanging out and being cold until you are ready for it.   Fresh food, on the other hand, is a tricky beast.  Once it has been removed from its natural abode (the ground, a cow, a chicken’s butt, etc…) the timer is set.  You are now playing a game if chicken with all sorts of nasty bugs.  I’m thinking the best way to approach this simply to let you know what we like to have in the fridge.  You can be responsible for your own spoilage.  How do I know this?  Well, if you’ve made it this far, I know that you are capable of reading.  I appreciate your ability to read.  If you can read, you can read the expiration date on your products.  Congratulations.  Anyway, here’s some of the stuff we like to keep in the fridge.

1.)     Condiments:  Condiments is going to get its own post one of these days.  I love condiments, especially hot sauces.  We always keep around a few varieties of mustard, too.  It’s super versatile stuff.  Mayonnaise is another thing you want to have around, but you don’t want to use it too often.  We like the kind made with olive oil.  For being whipped fat, it’s actually not horrible for you.  Just use it sparingly.  We also keep soy sauce around for all sorts of things.  Remember, it’s super high in sodium, so don’t go nuts.  I’ll do another post on hot sauces in the near future, because they are just the deserving.

2.)    Milk:  Unless you’re lactose intolerant, milk is something you need to have around.  You don’t need it around to drink, necessarily, but you do need it for cooking.  Buy the skim kind, the soy kind, or even the almond kind.  Whatever you buy, be sure to taste it so you know what it’s going to do for your recipe.  You can buy it in small amounts, also, to help prevent wasting.

3.)    Eggs:  Eggs are a high quality source of protein, and are used in countless recipes.  We usually have at least a dozen around.  Eggs are something that you want to keep around at all times.  There are few other things that you can keep in the fridge that can almost make a meal entirely on their own.  Interesting info about eggs, don’t keep them in the door.  The things you keep in the door should be the items that are least prone to spoiling.  Eggs do not fall in this category.  They fall more in the tasty things that deal with poultry category.

4.)    Fruits and Vegetables:  You need to have fruits and vegetables in your fridge.  That’s all there is to it.  Keep around the ones you like the most, and every now and then, throw in something exotic, like the mysterious kiwi.  If you have fruits and vegetables around, you’ll be more apt to eat them.  This goes for all healthy things.

5.)    Garlic:  Garlic is a staple of tasty eating, and is also a fat burner.  I don’t doubt that some people will say this is sacrilege, but I like to keep the already chopped garlic around.  It’s just so damn convenient.  Also, a six-month’s supply is about four bucks at Costco.  You’ll find yourself using the garlic more when it’s not a process to use it.  I hate the feeling that garlic leaves on my fingers when I peel it.  I just feel dirty, and not the good dirty, the sticky dirty.  Anyway, always keep garlic around.

6.)    Yogurt:  After doing a very restrictive diet recently, Crystal and I have found that yogurt is really versatile stuff.  Do yourself a favor, and buy the Greek stuff.  It’s higher in tummy-filling protein, and thicker.  We buy 0% plain Greek yogurt.  You can do so many things with it.  Mix it with a little lime juice, chili powder, and cumin and you’ve got a taco topping that will make you forget about sour cream.  It’s great for smoothies, and can even be used in place of mayo in a recipe (although I like to go half mayo, half yogurt).  Eating it plain isn’t really my thing, but add in a little fruit and honey, and now we can kick it.

7.)    Cheese:  Cheese is good, and can be good for you.  Feta cheese is something that should be in every fridge because of all the things you can do with it.  Also, it’s healthy for you and it’s a fat burner.  Low sodium Jarlsberg (very similar to Swiss) is another nice one to keep around.  It makes a mean grilled cheese when you want to spoil yourself.  We also like Laughing Cow spreadable cheeses.  They are nice for a snack, and easy to take with you anywhere.

8.)    Juices:  Juices are generally a bad idea.  “But Jeff!” you ask, “Why would you say that juices should be a fridge staple if they are bad for you?”  Ok, you didn’t let me finish before you interrupted me.  That was rude of you.  You don’t want juices around to drink.  If you are craving orange juice, eating an orange is a much healthier option.  Lemon and lime juice, however, should totally be in your fridge.  They offer a high acid flavor that can take the place of sodium in some cases.  I also love mixing them with seltzer water for a tasty drink.

This is just a start to building a healthy fridge.  I would love to go into greater detail, and provide a more comprehensive list, but I think that you all agree that I might have better things to do today.  Keep an eye on the site in weeks to come for healthy recipes made entirely from our pantry and fridge basics, plus one or two ingredients.  I hope you all have a great week.  As for me, I’m off to get married, and then I think I’ll have myself a beer.

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