Pantry Purge - A How To!

You’d think that since I’m a chef my kitchen is pristine; that all my pantry items are put to use in a timely manner (a.k.a. nothing ever goes bad), andthatmy collection of cooking tools, pots and pans are mindfully curated.  That, my friends, is not true.  My kitchen cabinets, like many of my closets, have begun to collect their share of clutter. 

Let me explain:Searching for brown rice flour yesterday, I came across two bags of tapioca starch, 2 bags of all-purpose flour, and 3 bags of opened chocolate chips.  Andthat was just on one shelf.  Get my drift?  

I know it’s time for a pantry purge when there are too many duplicates and a pile ofopened / stale / expired food cluttering up corners of my kitchen.  

Is it time for you to purge?  

Here’s the deal . . . this kind of project can easily fall low onthe totem pole, but if you’re like me, you can’t ignore the top 2 reasons to get it done:

  1. Having a pulse on what’s in your cabinets prioritizes what needs to be used.  Simply put, it reduces waste!  

  2. Shopping from your cabinets first, can usher in huge savings on your next grocery bill!

In coaching clients on meal planning best practices, I insist they get inspired through shopping from their cabinets and fridge first before buying new items.  The minute I saw those chocolate chips and the flour, you know exactly what I was thinking . . . baking cookies with my 3-year old!  I could also see the unopened bottle of tamari useful for my flank marinade, the back-up maple syrup needed for dressing, and the cans of tomatoes I will use for marinara sauce.  Just registering these ingredients in my mind has put in place for me what I want to make for dinner this week.  

So, tackling a purge and reorganization of your kitchen can feel very overwhelming if you don’t a.) set-aside a block of time and b.)  break it down into chunks: 3 specific zones with 4 simple tasks.


Attack your kitchen from 3 zones, and pull out everything Marie Kondo-style to see what you have in your:

  1. Cabinets / Pantry 

  2. Fridge

  3. Freezer


A.   Sort: Identify what is old / stale / expired / unidentifiable / no longer serves your lifestyle.  Toss these items, or collect them to donate to a food pantry.

B.   Clean:  Wipe down your shelves / fridge / freezer top to bottom (you may need to defrost your freezer).

C.   Label: Identify what is what, when it was opened, and when it should be tossed for clear and reliable accountability.

D.   Organize:  Prioritize, categorize, and create systems for what you are putting back. Consider how you and your family use your pantry, who should have easy access to what, and what items should have prime spots in the fridge and freezer.  Consider sorting them by:

  • Items you use every day

  • Items you use less frequently

  • Items designated for specific people, times of day, meals, etc. 

  • Items of a similar category, i.e. proteins vs. veggies vs. fruit vs. dairy vs. condiments vs. prepared food, etc.

Determined to Cook More?

Happy New Year friends!  If you are among the many who are promising to eat better this year, is it your goal to cook more?  So many of us strike out with the best intentions to shift our habits around our health, our spending, our dedication to our hobbies, etc. each new year, and find ourselves quickly dragged down and overwhelmed.  

Over the holidays, I was asked by the health site Well + Good to give the low down on making the goal of "cooking more" a sustainable one.   I shared some juicy, realistic, tangible tips for spending more time in the kitchen and keeping it real.  

Stock Photo / FoodiesFeed

Stock Photo / FoodiesFeed

Please check out my tips at Well + Good and share what resonates for you.   You can find me on Instagram

Be well and keep cooking!  

xo, Nancy



Travel with Dietary Dignity! 5 Strategies for Navigating Food Sensitivities on the Road

It’s that time again!  The holidays are upon us and we are off to join friends and family to celebrate and bring in a New Year.  At the center of every celebration is likely a feast or at least a great cocktail hour.   The question is – can you handle all the food, booze and deserts that come across your palatte? Do you struggle when you travel to keep your diet in line? Here are my top 5 tips for traveling with dietary dignity! 

Save Time & Money with These One-Pot Wonders!

As many of you know, I teach a regularly at the Brooklyn Brainery - a place I love!  Back in March, Mental_Floss reporter Shaunacy Ferro joined the class to wrap her head around the essential meal planning strategies that make eating a nourishing whole-foods diet possible.  Her take-aways were summarized in a feature article on the site.  I'm thrilled share the highlights of her piece, 5 Easy Ideas to Get Yourself to Cook More at Home.   

  1. Making the time to cook,
  2. Develop a list of kitchen "must-haves."
  3. Writing out the week's strategy and an accompanying shopping list.
  4. Dropping the hesitation to cook for more than one meal, and lastly, owning a few one-pot meals.   
  5. Don't be afraid to cook a lot of food! 

You can also get the full story here.

Shaunacy's feature inspired me to share with you several of my one-pot faves.  Check these out and let me know what you think!  (Bonus - they are all gluten free and can easily be dairy free.)

Pushing the Reset Button: 2015 Fall Cleanse

For the last two years, I have had the honor of collaborating with my friend and the acupuncturist badass Serra Chase, founder of Brooklyn Acupuncture Project (BAP).  On a biannual basis, we collaborate to offer Spring and Fall seasonal, 3-week, whole-food cleanses.  Bringing together an intimate group of people, we support them through our respective expertise to take a brief departure from the kinds of foods that may be sidelining their health goals, triggering symptoms and their cravings.  And the results are amazing!  

I was in a rut. Eating whatever was available quickly to fill the void for calories. Lots of carbs and not a lot of vegetables (even though I dont really eat meat). It was like a bread diet with pasta and tomatoes.
— Penny W., Spring Cleanse 2015

Participants have reduced their cravings for sugar, curbed their emotional eating, lost 10 pounds, improved their digestion, suppressed their dependence on coffee, lifted their mood and brain fog, and saw reductions in anxiety.   Participants from each cleanse cycle also repeatedly note how much our support and guidance has changed the way they approach their diet and ultimately how they nourish themselves.  

We will be kick-starting a new cleanse for the fall on Sunday, September 27th with an exciting new offering.  This season, those of you who may want to dive in without a long commitment can now choose between a 1-week / 7-day cleanse or a 3-week / 21-day cleanse.  Each comes with:

  • group and private support,
  • a comprehensive guide with recipes,
  • a private nutrition consult, and acupuncture treatment(s).  

The 3-week cleanse participants also benefit from a massage and admission to the knife skills and meal planning workshop Sunday, September 20 at BAP.

Check-out the descriptions for each cleanse below.  I hope to see you rocking your way to a healthier and more energetic fall!  

I woke up feeling much better! Not tired, even when I did not get a full night’s sleep. I also did not feel stiff in the AM and had lots of energy all day.
— Sandy G., Spring Cleanse 2015


The structure of this 7-day cleanse invites a brief departure from the kinds of foods that may be sidelining your health goals and triggering symptoms and cravings. One-week can be all that you have time or the attention span for, which is important to recognize. It can also be the first step in a life-changing shift in your diet.

In 7-days, you can lift the brain fog of the summer and set yourself up for a healthier winter. You can shift your relationship to sugar and caffeine. And, as one participant described, you can also push the restart button on your energy and sleep patterns, “I woke up feeling much better! Not tired, even when I did not get a full night's sleep. I also did not feel stiff in the AM and had lots of energy all day.”

The 7-day cleanse package overlaps with the first week of the 21-day cleanse. You will join the group of cleansers and benefit from their questions, encouragement and Sarah and Nancy’s guidance throughout the week. The cleanse is strategically designed to be streamlined for a busy New Yorker, and it offers you a very clear and simple diet through the process of eliminating the major allergens, inflammatory foods and chemicals in your diet. These include sugar, dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, caffeine, nicotine, peanuts, eggs, and all processed foods.

The 1-week cleanse package includes:

  • An abbreviated cleanse guide with recipes;
  • 1 acupuncture treatment by any BAP practitioner;
  • 1 private, 30-minute nutrition phone consult;
  • 1 cleanse kick-off group call on 9/26;
  • 1 check-in group call on ;
  • 24/7 group support and encouragement on a private Facebook page;
  • Option to continue with the 3-week cleanse for the difference in cost.

Cost: $175
Early Bird Discount until 9/18 @ 15% off = $149*
Past Cleanser Discount until 9/26 @ 20% off = $140**






The BAP Fall Cleanse is a three-week commitment to a comprehensive detox plan that involves roughly 10 days of “eating down” to one-day of eating very minimally, followed by a slow re-integration into healthy and well-balanced foods. This is an excellent opportunity to go much deeper in your pursuit of your health goals.

Perhaps you are seeking an ideal diet that will support easeful digestion? Do you need to push the restart button and get a boost in energy? Do you want to begin the process of loosing weight? Could it be time to really nail down if you are allergic or sensitive to specific foods? Are you determined not to get sick again this winter?

Over the course of 3-weeks, you will receive one-on-one nutritional and logistical guidance, the bodywork to propel the detox deeper, and the support to address moving forward once the 21-days are over. This process is easeful, coordinated, and offers, in advance, a meal planning and culinary support workshop to get you prepped and ready to go. A recent participant described her experience as, “Before the cleanse I was in a rut. Eating whatever was available quickly to fill the void for calories. After the cleanse, I have a lot more awareness of what I am eating and when. VERY LITTLE snacking which is probably the biggest win.”

Included in the 3-week cleanse package is:

  • A day-to-day cleanse guide with recipes and tips;
  • 4 acupuncture treatments by any BAP practitioner;
  • 1 massage by a BAP practitioner;
  • Admission to Knife Skills & Meal Planning 101, taught by Nancy Campbell on Sept. 20, 5:30-7:30 pm at BAP;
  • 1 private, 50-minute nutrition consult in person or over the phone;
  • 24/7 group support and encouragement through a private Facebook page;
  • One-on-one support through a kick-off call and 4 group calls, including an allergen testing “how-to” call.

Cost: $435
Early Bird Discount until 9/18 @15% off = $370*
Past Cleanser Discount until 9/26 @ 20% off = $348**


Really a wonderful experience all the way around. So many people who knew I was on a cleanse said there was no way they could have done it. I told them I had wonderful support - truly the sounding board and ideas on a daily basis are what made it a reality for me. Thank you!
— Penny W., Spring Cleanse 2015

Join us!  
By shifting the way we eat, we shift the way we feel.  
By shifting the way we feel, we shift the way we show up in the world!

You can contact BAP with payment questions or any additional questions at: or 718-369-0123.  

7 Strategies for Meal Planning + Recipes!

Getting meals own the table day-in and day-out isn't easy.  We are busy.  We are tired.  We are overwhelmed by the thought of cooking every night.   Changing your habits around cooking is easier than you think, and the solution is held in two sweet little words: "Meal Planning."

9 Tips for Hormone Balance

Hormones are baffling for so many of us.  What about their daily impact on our mood, our sleep patterns, our energy and our metabolism?  I assure you you don't need a PhD in biochemistry to make simple changes to your lifestyle and diet that can shift and support how your endocrine system works for you.  

A Guide to Buying a Knife You Love

Besides groceries, cooking requires three primary things: time, a cutting board, and a sharp knife.   If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my Knife Skills: Slicing Through the Basics workshops, there’s nothing more speed enhancing and confidence building than getting your hands on a sharp knife that feels good in your hand.  The trick is finding the right one.  Not all are made equal, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good one.  These are some of the basic guidelines to buying a knife you love  . . . 

The Essentials

You really only need two knives – a chef’s knife and a pairing knife.  A third – a serrated bread knife - maybe the third essential for you bread lovers, but that’s it!

A chef’s knife can be anywhere in size between 6 and 10 inches long, and they are offered in a wide range of styles and prices.  More on that below.  A pairing knife is really a throw away knife for professional chefs.  It’s great for small, detailed jobs like removing the tops of strawberries and citrus supremes.  It should range between 3 and 5 inches long, should fit snugly in your hand, and should not be expensive. 

Again, the serrated bread knife is meant for those who regularly enjoy slicing into whole loaves of bread.  For you, a good bread knife is indispensable.  For all the rest of you, you may also appreciate a small serrated knife to get into soft fleshy fruit like tomatoes, but, honestly, this is evidence of a dull chef’s knife.   

Knife Set or No Knife Set?

I often get asked if you need to buy a large knife set to really be covered.  The answer is definitively no.  Sets are full of knives the average cook doesn’t need and they take up valuable drawer, wall or countertop space.  These “extras” are useful to advanced cooks who enjoy breaking down fowl, fish, game or other mammals.  For example, many sets come with a filet and boning knives for cleaning a whole fish or breaking down large fowl that are so often purchased precut or cleaned.  And as my Knife Skills 2.0 students find out - you can break down a chicken with the swift maneuvers of a chef's knife.

On the other hand, small sets are on the rise, and they can save you some money on some very valuable tools.  Small sets like these Wüsthoff 5-piece or 7-piece sets offer exactly what you need in a block.  You can also go a little more minimal with a 3-piece like this Henckels set without a block that is an excellent starter’s kit and even comes with that tomato knife I mentioned.  ; )

The Right Chef’s Knife

Perhaps you are just in the market for a decent chef’s knife and have the rest covered?  That’s great!  Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Most people start off with an 8-inch chef’s knife because it’s manageable for most hand sizes.  If you have small hands or want to buy a knife for a kid or teen, I encourage you to consider a 6”.  They are versatile, and offer someone who’s more petite as much power as a larger knife, but potentially more control. 

When you invest in a chef’s knife you are both paying for brand and the quality and blend of steels in the blade.  The quality distinction between a higher-end knife and one that’s cheaper is the quality of steel.   A good quality knife will generally be made with a higher quality blend of steel and will, therefore, hold its edge much longer.  Less expensive knives, on the other hand, aren’t generally going to fall apart or not cut well.  They will simply need to be sharpened more often.

There are a number of good quality brands for top-quality knives, like Wusthof, Trident, and Henckels.  But most of the differences between these high-end brands come down to feel and weight distribution.  Research has limited usefulness; it’s better to just go into a store like Sur La Table where you can test and handle a variety of knives before you purchase.  This is akin to buying a pair of shoes – keep trying them on until you find the best fit!