Stocking the Pantry with the Best Ingredients

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If you want to eat better, start with the best ingredients.






Brands matter, so we list exactly what we used, and why this matters. Different brands of the same product can vary immensely. With some ingredients it will not matter much, but with others, it can mean the difference between success and failure. The following is a list of ingredients where it really matters and an explanation of why. To get the same quality, and the same results you will need to use the brand listed in the recipe. If you are putting in the time to create something, it is worth it to start with the right ingredients.

  • KING ARTHUR FLOUR – King Arthur is an employee-owned company that responsibly sources the wheat for their flours, and it pays off in the taste and quality. They have a “never bleached” guarantee, which means their flours don’t have an off taste or unpredictable results that can be caused by bleaching. They also carefully calibrate the protein content, which means the flour gives you the same results, every time you bake.

GOLD MEDAL UNBLEACHED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR – lower in protein than King Arthur all purpose flour – 10.5 percent protein. This is good for baking cookies and pies, since it makes the baked goods more tender. The protein content is carefully calibrated so you get consistent results.

Horizon milk

HORIZON DAIRY PRODUCTS – milk, cream and butter. We think Horizon products taste better than any other dairy products we have tried. This is probably because the products are organic and from family farming partners. Just as important, Horizon is a certified B corporation that has committed to becoming carbon positive across their entire supply chain by 2025. That’s a big commitment, since it’s only a few years away. Cows are a big contributor to methane production and therefore climate change, so becoming carbon positive is huge. They are reducing emissions through soil health practices and the management of the cows’ diets and manure. And they are helping their family farmer partners boost the energy efficiency of their farms.

WHOLESOME ORGANIC CANE SUGAR – produced from organic sugar cane fields that are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Burning sugar cane fields contributes to air pollution and climate change, and is a major cause of the destruction of the rain forest. Buying sugar from fields that are green cut helps prevent this destruction.
We make our own brown sugar by adding sorgum syrup, and superfine sugar by putting it in a food processor for a minute.

DIAMOND CRYSTAL KOSHER SALT – Salt not only varies greatly in taste and texture, but it measures differently depending on the size and structure of the crystal. It’s very important to use the same brand as the original recipe to achieve the same results.

saf-instant yeast

SAF RED LABEL INSTANT YEAST – I don’t know why. We just have much better results with this yeast.

PECANSHOP PECANS – wild-harvested, Texas native pecans from a sustainable, permaculture three generation family farm.  Pecans in Texas are a viable alternative to raising cattle. We use these instead of nuts grown in California on irrigated land in order to preserve the water for other uses, like fighting forest fires, providing streams for salmon and promoting climate control crops. Pecans are also native to America.

TERRASOUL NUTS – This is an organic food sourcing company that does things differently. They connect directly with producers in order to offer more reasonably priced foods and the best quality ingredients in the most transparent way.

duck eggs from the farmers market

EGGS – When the recipe calls for “fresh” eggs, we get them from the local farmer’s market so we know when they were gathered.


HONEY – we buy honey only from local beekeepers we know, or from farmers markets when we travel where we are buying directly from the beekeeper. Honey is a product that is easily adulterated, so it is important to know the source.

VALRHONA CHOCOLATE – Valrhona produces some of the world’s finest chocolate; unique, artisan quality chocolate with complex, balanced and consistent flavors. Additionally, they are a certified B corporation and are working to limit the environmental impact of chocolate production by becoming carbon neutral by 2025.  Their chocolate is responsibly sourced from growers with whom they have long term partnerships and they have committed to assisting producers, protecting the environment and promoting innovation. Chocolate production is one of the major causes of destruction of the rain forest, and long term partnerships with stable growers is good way of preventing this destruction.

Gordo Beans

No Affiliates Statement

We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.


For many ingredients, there is just nothing better than homemade. With a little planning, it can be easy to keep the pantry stocked with homemade items.



We make up a number of things on the weekend so it’s easy to put together healthy meals during the week.

This might sound like a lot, but each thing only takes a few minutes and then we have meals planned through Thursday. Since we do it on Sunday, we know how long these items have been in the refrigerator. If we need to stock some other items, like toasting nuts or making mayonnaise, we can do these as well.


Then we visit the farmer’s market. We can shop like a chef, buying whatever looks good and is in season without having a list or a plan. We know it will fit in with the weekly meal plan because we have a basic idea of what we are having.