Yes! After all that waiting, the holiday season is finally here. Time for joy, laughter, family and let’s be honest…FOOD. Lots of really good food. Now before you go dusting off those recipe books or scrolling through Pinterest, I want to let you in on a little secret. Since the holidays do come around every year, history has shown that certain foods will inevitably be more popular than usual, so be ready.
Since I like you, I am going to share ten pantry staples to make tasty holiday meals and snacks. Might as well stock up now to avoid several trips to the store later. Ready. Set. Go!
Nutmeg can be found in so many holiday recipes. Of course fresh is best but, who are we kidding? Do you really see yourself grating fresh nutmeg (which I love), into your recipes. Buy a small bottle of grated nutmeg and keep it handy. Make sure it’s not too big because it will just go to waste. Most recipes just call for no more than a teaspoon or two anyway. By the way, you’ve got to try this recipe for orange rosemary sweet potatoes. It’s a crowd-pleaser.
2. Vanilla Extract
Spending the cash on vanilla extract, versus vanilla essence is really worth the impact especially during the holidays. Even oatmeal can be jazzed up by using a splash of vanilla extract. If you want to give it try, here’s my recipe for Vanilla Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal. Life is too short to use artificial vanilla.
Ground cinnamon will add pizzazz to any holiday meal, so make sure it’s in your pantry. Not only that, buy some whole cinnamon sticks too. Use the sticks to flavor syrup for pancakes, drinks like coffee and hot chocolate and so much more. To go along with that holiday coffee or hot chocolate, you could have a freshly baked hot cinnamon rolls in the morning. Sounds delicious right? You’ll wonder how you went without it. Get the cinnamon!
4. Baking Powder
Every well stocked holiday pantry has to have baking powder. How else are you going to get those cakes, cookies and breads looking their best?
Besides making homemade cranberry sauce or cranberry bread pudding, how about sitting down to a bowl of orange scented cranberry oatmeal in the morning? To make sure buy dried cranberries to keep this shelf stable.
What are the holidays without eggnog? Actually, besides drinking eggnog, we enjoy Eggnog French Toast with Caramelized Bananas (update: I’m going to have to tweak this recipe to make it gluten free) for breakfast every Christmas. Give it a try and you’ll know why.
Most traditional baking recipes contain some type of flour, so buy at least 2-3 five pound bags and keep them stocked up for the holidays. If you have been following the grocery sales cycle series, then you already know that now is time to stock up on flour anyway to get a great price. By the way, Christmas season is also “cookie” season and the best cookies contain flour. Need I say more? Update: Here’s a good gluten free flour.
Raisins can add sweetness and festivity to even savory holiday dishes and sides. Make sure you have enough.
You just never know when they will come in handy and you won’t regret keeping them in your pantry. I can never think about having Thanksgiving dinner without homemade macaroni and cheese. Although I steer away from that deliciousness the rest of the year, when Thanksgiving comes around, food tradition wins. Update: gluten free breadcrumbs
10. Powdered Sugar
Even if you only keep powdered sugar to makes desserts look like snow dusted mountains, then it’s worth keeping this stuff around during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.
*Bonus: Pumpkin Pie Spice
Just a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice in almost anything, will make your taste buds dance for the holidays. Try it in coffee, pancakes, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and of course good old pumpkin pie. If you are a traditionalist, you may opt to make your own pumpkin pie spice at home with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. But, using pumpkin pie spice is so much easier. (originally published 11/14)