Kiwi's Kitchen Must-Haves

Kiwi’s Kitchen Must-Haves and Favourite Brands *Updated Feb 2018*

I go grocery shopping at least once a week. Usually to pick up a few miscellaneous things I may have forgotten about in my original trip or to find the perfect addition to a new recipe I want to try.

When shopping, try to stay around the perimeter of the store; that’s where the best good-for-you food is located. Shop local when possible or convenient <3 Support your local farmers!

Here’s a fairly comprehensive guide to what I normally have somewhere around my kitchen….

All opinions are my own. I have not been paid, sponsored or endorsed by any companies or brands for this post! These are just my preferences as of 2018. Some reference links are provided for additional education.

PRODUCEI try to get organic or farm fresh whenever possible- but I grew up on canned veggies, so I don’t discriminate (: Any veggies are better than NO veggies at all!

  • Bananas – snacking and baking. Peel and freeze to add to smoothies!
  • Apples – Pink Ladys are my fave! Along with granny smith, braeburn and gala. Best for snacking and baking
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and more! Add them to your cereal, yoghurt or salad for extra colour and flavour or freeze them to add to smoothies.
  • Oranges – great for snacking and making dressings
  • Peaches – when in season
  • Onions – red, yellow and sweet – save the ends for vegetable stock
  • Potatoes – ANY AND ALL. I love potatoes.
  • Tomatoes – sauce, salads and more!
  • Carrots – great for roasting, snacking and making soup!
  • Celery
  • Romaine/spinach/kale or salad mix
  • Broccoli – check out this recipe for broccoli tots
  • Cauliflower – riced cauli, anyone? Or Pizza?
  • Sweet + bell peppers – great for adding bulk to stir frys and for snacking on raw
  • Zucchini – I use these mostly for baking
  • Green beans
  • Spaghetti + Butternut squash – and any other seasonal gourds you enjoy
  • Corn on the cob
  • Lemons + limes

lean protein.pnglook for lean meats without added nitrates, nitrites and artificial flavours. I try to buy meat in bulk and freeze it so I always have something ready to work with

  • ChickenI prefer breast and tenderloins the most, but buy what you prefer. I’ll use thighs for pot pie, and I also use my grinder for meatloaves, tacos, pizza crust and burgers; I’ll rarely get wings or bone-in anything.. coz let’s face it. I don’t want to have to deal with that. Cooking a whole chicken is usually cheaper, but more time consuming so it all depends on what you’re willing to do!
  • Turkey breast
  • Ground beef the lower the fat content the better. I try to get what’s on sale and sometimes I’ll splurge on higher priced grass-fed beef
  • Other beef cuts – I’ll get a roast to mix things up a bit every once in a while for stews or steak, but I usually have ground beef more readily available
  • Pork
  • BACONalways when its on sale
  • Pepperoni – for pizzas and pizza bowls
  • Shrimp + other fish/seafood – especially salmon, cod and scallops; when on sale
  • Natural peanut butter – no added sugar!
  • ^Beans + Legumes – black beans, red, beans, chickpeas, lentils and more! buy dry in the bulk section of your grocers or opt for canned
  • ^Nuts – all varieties
  • Soy/Tofu based products or other meat substitute – I don’t usually have meat substitutes stocked, but I like to experiment with them every now and then

eggs dairy.png

  • Greek yoghurt – I used to buy the individual containers, but now I pick up a couple of large vanilla containers and add some mix-ins to create my own flavours
  • Whole milk – Ryan uses this the most, but I bake with it, too
  • Almond milk – used for baking and as liquid smoothie base
  • CHEESE – I always have a huge assortment of cheese. For me, the more the better. I prefer to shred my own (anti-caking agents are often added to pre-shredded cheese, even when it’s natural)
  • Cream cheeseflavoured, whipped… it’s all good; but always full fat – gluten free pancakes are a great way to use up extra cream cheese!
  • Unsalted butter – never margarine. NEVER. Choose cows over chemicals
  • Eggs – I aim for cage-free, but always buy what you can afford
  • Coffee creamer – I am a coffee fiend. I always have at least three different flavours in my fridge. Yes, yes, some have artificial colours and flavours in them…  sue me!
  • Mayonnaise – full fat all the time

Grains + Pasta.pngfreeze bread and bagels and defrost them as them as needed. I can’t go through bread very quickly so this makes sure that it stays fresh longer!


  • Beans – refried beans, black beans and chickpeas, especially
  • Tuna
  • Coconut milk – for vegan recipes or substituting heavy cream
  • Tomatoes – for big batch sauces or a quick fix
  • Pumpkinbecause you know your girl is basic
  • Veggies – just in case
  • Tomatoes + chilis – like Rotel

Snacks.pngWhen I’m not making my own treats, sometimes a packaged snack hits the spot. Be sure to read those ingredients!

  • Jerky – Krave black-cherry bbq is my fave!
  • Smartfood popcorn – tried and true favourite
  • Kettle brand potato chips – local (Salem, OR) and delicious
  • Triscuitsbest with cheese!
  • Wheat Thinsmore cheese, please!
  • Pretzels – what… you don’t like cheese? I use these in lieu of breadcrumbs sometimes, too.

baking MISC.png

  • Oil – for cooking and baking, EVOO, coconut, avocado.. Whatever you prefer; just stay away from hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils!
  • ^Spices – stock up, you’re going to need them.. The more the better!
  • ^Flours – whole wheat, white whole wheat, almond, coconut and oat flours, depending on the recipe
  • ^Baking soda
  • ^Baking powder
  • ^Cocoa powder
  • ^Cinnamon
  • ^Sugars – light/dark brown, coconut sugar and sometimes white granulated sugar. I NEVER use artificial sweeteners when I’m baking
  • ^Chia seeds
  • ^Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • ^Chocolate chips
  • Salsa – taco night is always better with salsa
  • Honey
  • Mustard – I make a bomb honey mustard sauce. I named it Stoopid Sauce coz its stoopid good
  • Maple Syrup – real, natural maple syrup; no sugar-free substitutes in this house
  • Marie’s salad dressingsrecently obsessed
  • Sour cream or plain greek yoghurt
  • Assorted jams/jelly/preserves – watch for fake or added sugar
  • Minced garlic – the refrigerated kind in a jar. I can never go through fresh garlic fast enough

I’m working on getting some additional brand/personal equipment information, too…. come back soon!

Items marked with “^” indicates an item I usually buy from the bulk section of most markets. Check your local market for availability!


Corn and Veggie Chow-DUH

OK, OK, OK while this isn’t traditional chowder (I only use ~1.5 cups of milk compared to most recipes with 4+cups of milk PLUS heavy cream), but you can recreate the creaminess of it by using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder. I used so many different types of vegetables, which is what I had on hand. But the more the better! Use what you love!

Be sure to cut them all up about the same size; I did about twice the size of the corn kernels to make everything look all pretty and symmetrical. It’s so easy, you’ll wish it was soup weather all year round.


Corn and Veggie Chow....DUH!

While this isn’t traditional chowder (I only use ~1.5 cups of milk compared to most recipes with 4+cups of milk PLUS heavy cream), but you can recreate the creaminess of it by using flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder.

Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 sllices bacon diced; optional for topping
  • cheese optional; for topping
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1-2 cup corn I used two ears of corn and cut them off the cob, but use what you have; fresh, canned or frozen
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 potatoes; with or without the skin diced
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • salt, pepper, thyme, basil, paprika, red pepper flakes to taste; add any additional seasonings you want
  • 3 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp flour


  1. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or stock pot until crispy and set aside on some paper towels to drain excess fat; we’ll use this as a topping! The bacon I used didn’t produce much fat, but drain all but 1T of fat to cook the onions over medium heat until translucent; about 5 minutes; add garlic and stir until fragrant; about 30 seconds.

  2. Add the rest of your veggies, water (or broth), seasonings and stir to combine. Whisk together the milk and flour, then add the mixture to the soup. This will help thicken the soup without adding more milk or heavy cream.

  3. Bring to a rapid boil, turn down the heat and allow to come to a low boil for 10-15 minute or until the potatoes are cooked through; it will start to thicken, but you can also add a little more corn starch or arrowroot powder to thicken it up more to suit your tastes. In the last few minutes, I took about 1-2cups of soup, blended it up until smooth and creamy and added it back to the pot… this will add even MORE creamy goodness!

  4. At this point, you can go wild, add some cheese, more seasonings, chopped up chicken, BACOOOOOOON. Whatever you want, man. Just enjoy it.


Our Diet vs The Diet Industry

“We need to be vigilant about the messaging to the women in our country. We need more empowerment and less ‘not good enough yet.’ And we won’t get there unless we genuinely, and transparently, face up to the ramifications of diet culture and talk about it. So here we are, talking.” –Hannah Meier

Someone on Instagram recently asked what it means when I say I am “anti diet-culture.” It sparked a great conversation and I figured I would elaborate here for anyone who may be interested in getting a deeper understanding of my values.

Diet-definition.jpg Read More

chocolate mocha smoothie

Chocolate Mocha Protein Shake!

If you saw on my Insta-story (it’s gone now sorry), I made a protein shake using some cold brew coffee cubes! It was amazing.

Really, you can take any leftover brewed coffee, pour it into an ice tray and pop it in the freezer! Take it out when you want an extra boost to your iced coffee or blend it up like I did!

Depending on your choice of ingredients, the nutrition facts will vary! Check out MyFitnessPal and use their handy recipe creator to calculate your meals

Chocolate Mocha Protein Shake

Really, you can take any leftover brewed coffee, pour it into an ice tray and pop it in the freezer! Take it out when you want an extra boost to your iced coffee or blend it up like I did!

Course Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 175 kcal


  • coffee ice cubes the number will vary depending on desired consistency
  • 1 cup milk of choice I usually use unsweeted almond milk; sometimes vanilla, sometimes plain
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice
  • 4 g sugar free cheesecake pudding mix optional, I added it to make it thicker


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth! ENJOY!



Pizza Bowl – Bariatric Friendly!

This recipe is great for those who are looking to cut carbs OR have had weight loss surgery and reeeeeeally need a pizza fix.

Well, just because you’ve had bariatric surgery, doesn’t mean you’ll NEVER have pizza again. While it may take a while for you to be able to handle “real” pizza with “real” crust, fret not.

This pizza bowl, depending on how you dress it, can be great for your soft foods stage! I know by the time I was halfway through my liquid and full liquid stages, all I wanted to do was chew something!! If you need something that isn’t soup or yoghurt, get our your pizza sauce and get to getting.

Bariatric Friendly Pizza Bowl

This recipe is great for those who are looking to cut carbs OR have had weight loss surgery and need a pizza fix. Depending on how you dress it, can be great for your soft foods stage! I know by the time I was halfway through my liquid and full liquid stages, all I wanted to do was chew something!! If you need something that isn’t soup or yoghurt, get out your pizza sauce and get to getting.

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato sauce make your own for extra creativity points!
  • 2-4 Tbsp shredded mozzerella
  • sprinkle Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2-1 slice provolone cheese

Keep it at sauce/cheese for your soft food stage!

  • toppings of choice keep it lean! turkey pepperoni or meatballs, some cut up chicken or whatever else you want!


  1. layer your ingredients into an oven safe or microwave safe bowl and microwave until bubbly. You can also throw it in the oven or toaster oven on 350 for about 15-20 minutes until hot a bubbly.

Green Eggs Breakfast (sorry, no ham this time)

Not everything turns out the way you’d like them to. Due to some rather obnoxious circumstances at my apartment, I was left without gas for a total of two weeks. In that time, I was eager to try and find some alternative methods of cooking; breakfast especially. I tried making an egg with cheese, veggies and the like in the toaster oven and it was…. awful. Just.. inedible. Luckily, for things other than breakfast, I was able to enjoy the usage of my slow cooker. Because really… crock pots are a gift from the heavens when it comes to… just about everything.

But, alas, this post is not about a crock pot. Though, I have recently upgraded from my mom’s teenie-tiny vintage crock that I remember from my childhood to a magnificent, programmable and timed behemoth that does nothing but produce the most delectable and AMAZING creations.

I digress.


I love breakfast. I could eat breakfast foods all day, every day. In the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with eggs. Omelettes, fried, scrambled, over easy, poached… about the only way I refuse to eat them is hard-boiled or deviled… the consistency of them when they are prepared in that way is horrible to me. I’ve tried a lot of different things after surgery in order to branch out and re-try things that I would have otherwise stuck my nose up to.

Oatmeal was one of those things that I HATED.. until after surgery. I started screwing around with the ratio to find my perfect balance for the right texture and now I can’t get enough.

I’m getting side-tracked a lot today… what’s up with that? Get to the point, Karen. Anyway..

I’m also trying to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. I know I’m not eating enough. So, I’ve found that the best way for me to try and up my veggie intake is to add them to things I already eat. Like protein shakes… and eggs! So I made some green eggs no ham for breakfast!

Fry up some onions I like my pieces big, but cut them the way you like them!
Add in any other veggies you might like then set aside.. I sometimes add bell peppers and tomatoes, too!
Then take a handful of spinach or kale; whatever and put it in a blender or food processor with your eggs.
Blend it up and then make your omelette!
Add in your cooked veggies, cheese I used goat cheese here, flip and enjoy!


It takes some practice to get a good technique down for making a pretty-looking omelette. The BIGGEST help I’ve found is a reeeeally good non-stick pan. I bought a set of an 8-inch and a 10-inch non-stick pan from Calphalon when it was on sale at JCPenney and let me tell you, it was the best decision I’ve made in the kitchen in a while.

Luckily, when our gas was turned off for a second time, I was able to use my parent’s propane camping stove. It was only a single burner, so it wasn’t the most convenient, obviously, but hey.. at least I could do something.

Everything was turned back on yesterday and I’m hoping to get a few more posts up this weekend. This whole situation at the apartment has set me back by a couple of posts and I’d like to try and make up for it sooner rather than later! Cheesecake, tarts… ALL OF THE THINGS.

I hope you guys enjoy the changing seasons and embrace all that it has to offer!



Easy, Low-Carb, Two Ingredient Pancakes

That’s right. You’re not imagining things.

Pancakes. With only two (primary) ingredients.


I’ve tried a couple of different variations on alternative pancakes, but I think this is my all-time favourite. I’ll definitely post some other pancake recipes I’ve tried, too. So stay tuned for those!

By using an immersion blender instead of a fork or whisk, you can get a better mixture of the ingredients to ensure that you are getting actual pancake batter… and not just some egg-y.. cheesey… goop. I’ve encountered this several times before.. Learn from my mistakes. I got mine at the Christmas Tree Shop for about $20. I use it especially for pureeing soups, sauces and dressings, too.


Blend together –

  • 28g softened cream cheese (light, plain, flavoured, whatever you want. I’ve used the whipped cream cheese, too, but they don’t seem to come out quite the same)
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: Flavourings of your choice. I like to add in cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice with vanilla extract the best, but you can omit completely or try different flavour combinations. Cocoa powder, sugar, other extracts like almond, butter, coconut or caramel; nuts, peanut butter, chocolate chips, fruit… the only limit is your imagination!

Heat up an oiled flat top, skillet or griddle and pour on your mixture.

PHOTO to come

The pancake mix is very thin and can be difficult to flip at times, so be patient and experiment with your cooking times! Flip it over once the top is bubbly and the edges start to brown. Cook for another minute or so until the batter is cooked all the way through; I press down on the pancake with my spatula to make sure nothing oozes out to make sure it’s done.

Top it however you want and enjoy! Use powdered peanut butter, chocolate chips, your favourite fruit, coconut… anything!


Nutrition pancakes only; depending on the brand/type of cream cheese used (makes 1 serving):
Cal: 130
Carbs: 2g
Protein: 8g
Fat: 10g


I try really hard to get you an accurate depiction of nutritional facts but this is using the particular brands/ingredients I prefer; please make sure that any substitutions you may use are taken into consideration when you make these recipes for yourself. MyFitnessPal is a great tool to create different foods and calculate nutritional information… USE IT! (: