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Our Supermarket Picks

The Best of the Basics

The supermarket can be a daunting place. So many choices! We tend to purchase from a safe but boring shopping list, buying the same old same old. I make it a point to try one new item every time I grocery shop. Often I'm disappointed, but sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised

Here's a list of favorites - items that have found a versatile life in my kitchen and recipes. Visit again for new additions.

Suggestions? Email shoppinglist@foodies.com

Basic foods and canned goods

College Inn Chicken Broth
I'm still searching for something better, but this will do. I always have it on hand, especially if I can find it in the big cans.

Simply Jif Peanut Butter
A third less sugar - that's only 1 gram per serving, but I'm always looking for ways to reduce my child's sugar intake. I prefer it, too - it tastes less sweet.

Tropicana Original Orange Juice (in the six-pack)
Perfect for lunchboxes or people on the go. Mini straws included. Since so little oxygen comes in contact with the juice in the little containers, the flavor is as close to fresh squeezed as possible. Expensive, but still half the price of soda from a machine. Think about that.

Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans
Tasty beans with some texture left to them. Low in sugar and fat free, but watch the sodium count.

Muir Glen Organic canned tomatoes
Very fresh tasting, especially the whole tomatoes. Nice "soup" - never watery or pasty. And yes, I'm all for organic.

Del Monte Fresh Cut diced tomatoes
Get the unseasoned ones. The small can is great to have on hand. In the winter, I've been known to drain them and toss them in a salad - they beat the "square" tomatoes hands down.

If you've jumped on the olive oil bandwagon and want a spreadable marg, this ain't bad. Of course, the label "olive oil" is a come on - it's actually made from canola, too, another "good" oil. The ratio of olive to canola is left up to our imaginations. Like most margarines, and especially whipped ones, the high water content will make hot toast soggy. Wish they'd fix that!

Mazola Corn Oil Margarine (sticks)
Low water content (see above), and very good behavior in baked recipes. This product has a rich taste all its own - buttery, but not artificially so. I even eat it on toast (if I've run out of butter).

Kosher salt
Buy a box and find out why all the pros use it. It tastes better. It dissolves faster. Food, especially vegetables, will taste fresher - don't ask me why! Start by using less than you would regular table salt until you get used to its flavor.

Trader Joe's Mayonnaise
Like homemade mayonnaise, they skipped the sugar, fructose, corn syrup. Amen to that!

In the freezer section

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
The source of endless quick pies, both savory and sweet, to make on a cookie sheet. Seal and brush with an egg wash before baking.

Oronoque Orchard Deep Dish All Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust
My running favorite for quiche in a hurry

Kitchen necessities

Reynolds Plastic Wrap
Beats Saran hands down. I am not paid to say this.

If you can find it:
NOT ultra high pasteurized heavy cream
Some supermarkets carry bottled cream from local dairies - if you haven't tried it, do! Sure you'll pay a premium, but if you're paying $3.99 for a half pint of raspberries...

Hormone-free, organic milk, butter, cream...
Try your local brands. Some will return you to your grandfather's farm...

Eggs from free-range or uncaged, hormone-free, happy go clucky chickens!
Our local brand is from The Country Hen, the first with high Omega-3 eggs. Try the ones in your region - most will stand up in the pan - no whites running away from you, no yolks going flat the minute they're released. And the taste? Like a memory from your childhood.

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