It’s no secret. I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to be in my kitchen. Shoot, I love to be in the grocery store dreaming of what I’m going to cook and bake. After cooking for a while, I’ve realized there are some things I must keep in my pantry, and here are a few of those things…

1. Olive Oil- I use it daily for sauteing veggies, making pizza crust, dips and roasting veggies. Definitely extra virgin (I feel like I should break into Madonna’s song… no? yeah, you’re right. I’ll pass) but get a good quality. I am super frugal, but I don’t skimp on olive oil.

2. Honey- I use honey to sweeten everything from my morning parfait made with Greek yogurt, frozen, organic blueberries and homemade granola to my cup of hot tea that I drink during bath time each night while reading (er… rereading) Coastal Living for the 18th time.

3. Oats- Used to make the aforementioned homemade granola (I’ve been dying to use the word “aforementioned”-ok, I’m over it now) and granola bars or oatmeal butterscotch cookies (a Matt favorite).

4. Whole Wheat Flour- An easy way to increase fiber and make lots of dishes healthier. I just substitute it for white flour in many of my recipes. Warning: If you are making this molten chocolate cake, do not use whole wheat flour. You are making a dessert with cocoa, a cup of butter and sugar-it’s pointless. Just enjoy the decadence… and run the next day! ha!

5. Whole Wheat Pasta- I love pasta. It’s easy, yummy, inexpensive and fast. This makes it better for you.

6. Kosher Salt- If you are using salt from the can with the little girl in the rain on it, please throw it away and switch to kosher salt. It is approximately 189% better. I promise. I keep mine in a little bowl that my sister Gracie made me when she was eight. When I get to the bottom of the bowl, my heart smiles because it says, “Elissa, I love you.”

7. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes- I love spices, and my current fave is crushed red pepper. I love to sprinkle douse it on everything!

Some other time, I’ll tell you about my fridge staples. Now, I’m off to the grocery store!

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