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!


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

pot pie

Chicken. Pot. Pie.

Three of my favourite things.


You can top this with whatever biscuit recipes tickles your fancy, but I ended up using the 3-ingredient biscuits from The Big Mans World and it. Was. AWESOME.

Kiwi's Chicken Pot Pie

You can top this with whatever biscuit recipes tickles your fancy, but I ended up using the 3-ingredient biscuits from The Big Mans World and it. Was. AWESOME.

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken rubbed with salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour see notes
  • veggies of choice; I used red and yellow onions, carrots, and celery diced
  • 1/2-1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • seasonings of choice I added salt, pepper, turmeric and thyme


  • 1 cup self rising flour see note
  • 1 cup cheese of choice I love using a mix of cheddar and mozzerella
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • seasonings of choice I love using an Italian blend or chili powder


  1. Melt your butter in a large pan over medium heat and add your veggies, cooking until slightly soft; around 5 minutes. Season to taste.

  2. Add your chicken to the pan and cook 3-4minutes on each side; its ok if its not cooked through. It’ll finish cooking in the oven!

  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

  4. You can add a little more butter to your pan if you need to and then add the flour. This will thicken up your mixture to a stiff paste. You made a roux! Congrats! DON’T BURN IT.

  5. Let the mixture darken slightly; around a minute, just keep a close watch on it and then slowly add the broth. You’ll notice the roux will almost immediately seize, but keep adding the broth while stirring and it’ll loosen right up again. Continue adding broth until it has reached your desired consistency (depending on the amount of veggies, chicken, whatever, you may need more or less liquid) There’s your filling!

  6. Turn down the heat and bring your filling to a simmer and while its going, cut up the chicken you set aside into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the pan and give it a stir. Turn off the heat and cover it while you make the biscuits to go on top!

To make the biscuits

  1. combine all biscuit ingredients and allow to set for 2 minutes before scooping on top of pot pie


  1. Use what you have available, take an oven safe bowl, ramekin or casserole dish and add the desired amount of filling (single serve or a whole crowd pleaser!)

  2. top with raw biscuit dough and bake in the oven at 325F for ~25 minutes (depending on what you use!! So if you’re using canned biscuits, follow those instructions instead!)

Recipe Notes

You might be able to use arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken the sauce instead of making a roux, but I haven’t tried! Let me know if you have!

If you don't have self rising flour, make it yourself by mixing together 1 cup all purpose flour + 2t baking powder +1/4t salt

Seriously so easy, I can’t believe I haven’t tried it sooner.

I really hope you like this take on chicken pot pie! Let me know if you’ve tried it and how you might do it differently! I love hearing from you guys <3


DITL of Kiwi; Saturday September 3, 2016

You would think that Saturday, being the weekend, would be one of my favourite days of the week.b359b17a-7cca-477b-8ca6-e3eca9d89e93.gif

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.


I go into work earlier than normal on Saturday. Granted, its only an hour, but when you have an hour-long commute in, shifting your schedule can take a little bit of work.

Most Saturdays I end up doing some yoga or a short run, but this time I decided to try something a little different. However, this is… more or less my every day routine.

0345 alarm goes off… press snooze.
0355 second alarm goes off… I’m up, I’m up.

0400-0430 up and at ’em! Dressed, stretch and waiting for my pre-workout to kick in!

0445 Getting my BCAA prepped 2 scoops/24oz water


0450-0530 3.05 mile run with my favourite partner

0540-0610 30-minute FitStar workout in the park

0615-0630 get ready for work!

0630-0700 make breakfast and prep food for the day I plan my meals at least one day in advance 😉


0700-0800 the long commute to work; but at least I have breakfast


0814 don’t ask – 1015 work work work!

1015 shake break!

1030 didn’t plan on having any of this… BUT. It was delicious and I had a small corner of both 😡


1030-1230 work work work

1230-1315 LUNCHTIMEIMG_4780
1315-1600 more work… but took a little break while photographing some inventory to pose with my new favourite pre-owned vehicle on the lot <3


1645 yoghurt break

1800-1900 long commutes home call for a selfie



1930-2030 relax and vegging out after a long day

2030 midnight snack before bed <3


2100 I lied… one more


2115 time for bed!

Even though Sundays are my day off, I enjoy going to bed early and keeping my routine somewhat consistent. I tend to wake up around 5 or 6 on Sundays I have to sleep in sometime, right? and I looooove having those early morning hours to myself. The quiet and stillness of the world while everyone else is sleeping is something I’ve come to truly enjoy and cherish as part of my daily ritual.

That’s my day in a nutshell..


Most days are about the same.. sometimes I eat better… some days are worse. But our journey to wellness will be a life-long experiment. #noperfectionallowed

Enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed a little look into my daily routine!

A Brief Introduction; Scratching the Surface

Hi, there. I’m Karen.


Some of you might know me by my instagram handle @kiwithetattooedlady. Some of you might not know me at all. That’s OK, too. So for everyone… a genuine welcome. Forgive the lack of balloons and confetti.. I don’t want to clean that shit up.

A couple quick facts: (I promise, eventually you will know waaaaaay too much about me.)
I’m 30! (1 June in case you wanted to send me something nice)
I live in Portland, OR with my amazing husband!
I have two rescue dogs
I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy on 16 June, 2014
HW: ~280lbs SW: 266lbs LW: 134lbs GW: 150lbs CW: 174lbs
I’m a huge nerd and I love everything that has to do with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, tattoos, body modification, vintage fashion, weird music and deepening my yoga practice (that I’ve been slacking with…)
I sing and do stuff

Some personal, not too widely known, though sometimes vaguley mentioned tidbits:
I struggle with binge eating disorder (BED), depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
^^I do NOT let the above mentioned “disorders” define me.^^ They are only a small portion of the amazing grandness that is myself.

So now that’s out of the way…

I’ve decided to start my own blog to document my weight loss journey in an  attempt to help others on their own paths to wellness. However you may be finding it! Having such a huge community of people to share my story with has been a great part of my overall success and I think this blog-slash-journal-slash-whatever you want to call it will allow me to expand on my crazy insta-rants and maybe help to expand my reach… ::insert maniacal laughter here::

Don’t get crazy, I’m not looking to become some internet rockstar… or am I…? But seriously, you never know who you might be helping by starting up some cheesy blog and ranting or raving about some new recipe you’ve tried… or some outfit you just scored an epic deal on.. or some money saving gift idea… or just the random feeeeeels that this journey makes us have. And also meet cool people! Because I hate assholes!

OK, OK.. I hate everyone, but thats not the point.

Finding balance in your life is hard. I’m just trying to make sense of it all.

I plan to include lots of things on this page, aside from documenting my weight loss progress; healthy recipes that I’ve tried and love, tips for mindful (tr)eating, ootd braggings, DIY craft projects and other art/music projects and whatever else I feel like throwing at you that day. Its going to be great. I promise.



I am in no way, shape or form paid, sponsored, endorsed or otherwise compensated for any mention of ANY of the products, companies or services that I may use in my food/clothing/general craziness experiments (I mean, unless someone wanted to pay me to be crazy.. but then I would tell you otherwise!)