The First Step: Bigger Than We Thought!

Who could have imagined that Sarah’s first step toward cooking at college this fall would be such a huge one? I can think of a gazillion quotes to illustrate, from the lips of ancient Chinese philosophers to American motivational speakers, psychiatrists and authors.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu, 6th century BCE, Chinese philosopher.
I first began talking to Sarah in mid June about thinking what her go-to pantry goods and recipes would be. I wanted her to practice planning, grocery shopping and then cooking while she was still at home. Call it a trial run. Not much happened.

“The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist,” Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar, 1926-2012, American author and motivational speaker.
After asking her a bunch of times when she would try this, I went on strike. No more grocery shopping or cooking by me. (We will starve!) So Sarah started making random runs to the grocery store in early August buying green grapes, Applegate lunch meat, gf pretzels, Uti’s bread, m&m’s, salad makings and sugar free popsickles.
Okay, we were making progress.

“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want,” Ben Stein, born 1944, American writer, lawyer, actor and commentator.

Finally Sarah said, “Okay, these are the recipes I want to cook: lasagna, turkey burgers, turkey meat balls, chicken burgers and chicken noodle soup.”
“Great, “ I said. “What is your first step?”
“To read the recipe,” she said.
“Yep,” I said, “Top to bottom. Then what?”
“Make a grocery list she said.” So she wrote down every ingredient from the recipe.
“Next, “ I said, “Check your pantry to see what ingredients you already have. Then you go shopping.”

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance,” Nathaniel Branden,” 1930-2014, Canadian-American psychotherapist.

After she shopped and began to cook, I checked in on her, but I stepped out of the kitchen so she wouldn’t fall back on me to take over. At the end of the day and completion of the first recipe she said, “Wow! Mom, this is a lot of work.”
Yes, it is. But we continued to make enough food and freeze it in stackable portion containers to last her for the first 30 days of college.


Here is Sarah’s first grocery list/pantry. I’m sure it will change once we reach college, go to the grocery stores and identify items we missed. But it is surely a great big first step!

Shelf Stable Pantry:
(Some items require refrigeration once opened)
Long and short gf pasta
Gf bread crumbs
Gf crackers
Gf pretzels
GF oatmeal
GF instant oatmeal individual servings
White minute rice
Quinoa & wild rice minute rice mix
Cape Cod Chips
1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Dark brown sugar
Granulated white sugar
Confectioner’s sugar
Dried basil
Dried dill
Smoked paprika
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Pumpkin pie spice
Dried parsley
Baking soda
Baking powder
Vanilla extract
Low-sodium Tamari
Olive oil
Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil cooking spray
Balsamic vinegar
GF salad dressing
Dijon mustard
Almond milk
Peanut butter
Brown rice tortillas
Groceries for refrigeration/freezer:
Earth Balance
Egg whites
Daiya brand cheese alternatives: mozzarella, pepperjack, cheddar
Parmesan cheese alternative
Bell peppers: red, yellow, orange and green
Romaine lettuce
Frozen mixed vegetables
Frozen green beans
Applegate brand lunch meats
Tyson brand precooked chicken strips
Ground turkey.

                        The College Kitchen





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