Where To Find Pantry Staples You May Not Have Thought About


Where can you go to find pantry staples besides the big box stores like Walmart and Sam’s? I have a secret you may not have heard…some department stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s have got you covered!

When I first started using coconut oil about 3 or 4 years ago (maybe longer), I was surprised to find it at these great department stores. The first one I saw it in was Ross, in the back of the store where the home goods are.

They have all kinds of gourmet foods, specialty teas, coconut oils, spices, and more. I have found Himalayan Pink salt there, as well. Not everything is Keto or Paleo, you have to read labels and kind of know what you normally stock in your pantry.

Photo credit: Iyul Kamazur for Envato Elements

TJ Max and Marshall’s have these items too, most of the time. In fact, according to an article I recently read from Bon Appetit Magazine “T.J. Maxx, sadly, guards their sourcing like a trade secret and declined to comment for this story.”

I don’t care where they get it, just keep it coming! It is usually at an awesome price, they stock unusual brands of your favorite products, and you get the feeling you need to buy now or it will be gone tomorrow. That’s ok for the occasional splurge.

Say you’re out of peppercorns, you may find a huge bottle of them at one of these retailers for $3.99! I’ve found pretty good deals on coconut oil too, but I have to admit, I get a better deal now at Walmart.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Anyway, I just thought I would clue you unsuspecting folks out there to a few new places you can find quality pantry staples like these:

  • coconut oil
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • peppercorns
  • marinara
  • gourmet popcorn
  • quality spices (like Hungarian smoked paprika)
  • herbs
  • imported meats (like tuna)

You get the idea. Next time you find yourself in one of these three dept. stores, go to the back and peruse the shelves. You might be surprised at what you find!

Want A Great Keto Summer Salad Recipe?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Check my disclosure.

For those of you who have never seen my version of Spicy Sweet Broccoli Salad, either on the blog or on my Pinterest page, you are missing out on one delicious summer salad staple.

Ever since I started making this salad, it is what everyone wants me to bring to get togethers now. Pool parties, Bunco nights, you name it! It’s sweet, it’s slightly spicy, crunchy, I could go on and on.

What I did was take the salad I found on someone else’s Pinterest page and modified it to my tastes (as usual) because admittedly, I’m no cook. Yet, I know what I like, the textures I want, the fresh ingredients, and that’s how I made it my own.

What the salad looks like before adding the mayo, cheese, etc.

If you’ve ever gone out to some place like Chili’s or McAlister’s and had one of their seasonal salads, with the fruit and nuts mixed in? You know the taste and texture I’m talking about.

This salad has all that and more, comes together easy (the hardest part is separating the broccoli florets from the head), and is a super tasty side to grilled meats, picnic food, or any summer get together.

First things first, you start with seasoned nuts. I used a combo of pecans, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. I normally have these on hand for quick snacks anyway.  I followed this recipe to spice them up:

Makes 4 Cups of Spiced Nuts

1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper, 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 4 cups mixed nuts (any but I used mostly pecans), 1/3 cup Kerrygold butter

Mix all ingredients except nuts together, pour over nuts, bake on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 20-22 minutes, stirring halfway through so they don’t burn. Let em cool for about 30 minutes.

Once you make the salad, mix in about a cup of the spiced nuts and voila! You have the perfect Keto Summer Salad, in my humble opinion. Plus, this salad has bacon in it, you can’t go wrong with bacon!

Keto Broccoli Salad


  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 med. red bell pepper diced
  • 1 small Jalapeno pepper diced
  • 6 slices pre-cooked bacon chopped
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T Pyure Brand Stevia (seriously yall, my favorite sweetener)


Toss veggies, bacon, and cheese together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients plus 1 cup of the spiced nuts. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Salad nutrition: 330 calories 33g fat 2g net carbs 7g protein

Nutrition values change with addition of nuts, depending on the type of nuts used. Try a handy app like My Fitness Pal or Stupid Simple Keto to figure out the macros for your version of the salad.


*Disclosure: Mentions of associated products, services, or businesses within the content of this blog may or may not be noted as an affiliate in every reference. I only choose to promote products, services, or businesses that I have used and or trust.

Top Ten Keto Veggies Plus A Recipe For Broccoli Rabe

*This post may contain affiliate links, while no cost to you, may earn me a small commission. See my disclosure.

Are you even the least bit curious about what the top ten keto veggies are? Are you tired of the same old sides and salads, need to switch things up?

Photo credit: Unsplash

Then you’ve come to the right place, not only for the top ten keto veggies, but also a recipe for tasty broccoli rabe, one that I can’t wait to make for my hubby this week.

See, on keto, you may be missing some of the veggies you used to eat, now that they are no longer “allowed” due to their high carb count. Veggies like sweet potatoes and squash. (although zucchini is ok)

Photo credit: Unsplash

That’s where this list will come in handy. You can refer back to it, save it for later, and come up with all kinds of salads, and side dishes to add variety to your meal plan.

My recipe I got from Skinny Taste and I will get to that after the list of top ten veggies. So, without further ado:

  1. Spinach
  2. Lettuce
  3. Asparagus
  4. Avocados
  5. Broccoli
  6. Kale
  7. Broccoli Rabe
  8. Bok Choy
  9. Celery
  10. Cauliflower

This list may not sound like all that, yet I know zillions of recipes for cauliflower-it is soooo versatile and customizable! Avocados too! Besides eating them alone, they can be added to smoothies, salads, even made into ice cream!

Bok Choy
Photo credit: Unsplash

Experiment with some of these veggies, google recipes, or look on Pinterest (a gold mine) and tell me something new you’ve found. I love new ideas too!

Ok, on to the recipe. I had not heard much about broccoli rabe, so honestly, I had to do a little research myself and this is what I learned. The longer you cook it, the better it turns out.

The other thing is that it may be slightly bitter, however, it provides many vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A, C and K, potassium, and calcium as well. Blanching before roasting reduces the bitterness and garlic disguises the taste.

This would make a great side to steak, chicken, or sausage, alongside a bit of pasta alfredo made with miracle noodles.

Roasted Broccoli Rabe With Garlic


  • 1 lg bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini), tough stems removed
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 400*
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil
  3. When boiling, add broccoli rabe and blanch for one minute
  4. Remove from water and drain well in a colander
  5. Add to a baking dish and mix with garlic, oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes
  6. Roast 15-20 minutes

Nutrition Info: 4 servings Total fat 7g Carbs 1.7g Protein 1.2 g


*Disclosure: Mentions of associated products, services, or businesses within the content of this blog, may or may not be noted as an affiliate in every reference. I only chose to promote products, services, or businesses that I have used and trust.

How to Make Crispy, Crunchy, Keto Crackers

*This post may contain affiliate links, while no cost to you, may earn me a small commission. See my disclosure.

How To Make Crispy, Crunchy, Keto Crackers

My crackers close up

So, I have been trying to figure out how to adjust my macros so that not only are they right, but my calories stay around 1500 a day because my weight loss has stalled.

I had the perfect breakfast which I will include when I come up with my 21-day meal plan. So for lunch, I wanted something light to pair with the delicious strawberry frappe smoothie from A Sweet Life, who is on my Pinterest board. Click the link for her recipe, you won’t regret it! A low-carb treat!

My thought was ‘I’d love some crackers to go with some cheese and sliced Cajun roasted turkey’ but I tried to make crackers before and failed.

This time was a huge success, and the whole meal was tasty, filling, and under 500 calories! It felt more like a snack, which would be great for all you folks who have to eat lunch at your desks.

The crackers themselves are also on my Pinterest board, slightly modified from Eating Bird Food and hers only have three ingredients. I added a couple more, one being Nutritional Yeast Flakes and Slap Ya Mama spice on top for extra flavor.

To make them you will need parchment paper, a cookie sheet, a pizza wheel and your ingredients in a mixing bowl. It’s so easy

1 Cup of almond flour (not meal)

1T ground flax (I use Badia brand)

1/2 t of fine sea salt

3T water

Mix all of that until you form a dough. I added about a teaspoon of the nutritional yeast flakes to that, they add a bit of a cheesy taste.

Transfer the dough to your parchment paper and put a second piece of paper on top, press down with your hands until flat, then use a rolling pin ( or if you’re like me a straight plastic glass) to get it to about 1/8 inch.

Transfer that to your cookie sheet and cut into small squares (about 1 inch) and sprinkle your salt and spice on top. Use your hands to press the salt into the crackers and place into a 350 degree oven.

My oven cooks faster than most people’s evidently, cause my crackers only took about 15 minutes, not 20-25 like what was suggested. (Or mine were thinner)

Here they are finished.

The ground flax must help them brown

I put my turkey and cheese on a cutting board and cut those with the pizza wheel as well. Then I stacked everything together for a yummy mouthful of crunchy, spicy, flavor.

According to my keto app, my combined macros for breakfast and lunch are: 896 calories, 18.1 carbs, 82.6 fat, and 20 protein.  That leaves me quite a bit of wiggle room for dinner, and I don’t feel deprived at all.

The smoothie is very decadent and filling, I made it slightly sweet with my Stevia to go liquid sweetener.

Now, I try to keep it under 25 g of carbs in a day, yet that is hard to do. I don’t always make it, but I get pretty close. Friday nights are a free for all around here, so I’ll have to get creative for dinner. (probably a salad w/chicken)

So now you know how to make crackers that have a crunch, taste great, and hold up to toppings! Try them out yourself and tell me what you thought! Oh, my keto app is Stupid Simple Keto I think. Here’s a screenshot.


*Disclosure: Mentions of associated products, services, or businesses within the content of this blog may or may not be noted as an affiliate in every reference. I choose only to promote products, services, or businesses that I have used and/or trust.


Informal Poll Results So Far

Thank you to the two bloggers who responded to my little informal poll and the MANY well meaning bloggers who are now following me with tips and tricks of IM. This gives me much studying and research to do!

I will work on a plan for bringing you the types of content you want, interspersed with tips, tricks, and recipes to keep all of us on track!

I am a recipe follower, not creator.

Let me just be honest here and say that I make recipes I find elsewhere and tweak them to meet my needs. My Pinterest board is full of tasty, keto recipes and links to other bloggers that sell great meal plans, keto products, and more.

Someday, I will cook well enough to write my own recipes, but for now, this will have to do. I can still do enough research to devise these things that SusieShy and MwsR asked for:

  • recipes
  • 21 day keto plan
  • budget keto recipes
  • good shops to buy keto products/foods inexpensively
  • discuss the value of buying MCT oil, collagen, etc.
  • ask for topics to debate

and more, as I think of things myself.  I will make a list of the products I love and use and tell you all about them too!

Let me just address those bloggers already established in the world of affiliate and internet marketing for a minute. While I appreciate the follows, I will stick to the course I already paid for and learn what I need from that.

If I tried to implement everything each one of you wants me too, I would have information overload and spend all my time taking courses instead of blogging, but thanks for your advice!

I may take some of it at a later date.

I can’t wait to get the blog in better shape, implement all these ideas, and get down to the business of helping you:

  1. Lose weight, gain energy, ditch your medications, and whatever else you want to achieve with the keto lifestyle
  2. Not become frustrated and quit
  3. Provide easy, budget friendly recipes to help you stay the course
  4. Be the healthiest you, the happiest you, you can be!

For now, I’m off to study, however I will be back soon with a new post that answers one or more of your needs! Thanks again, bye!