I've been traveling on and off for the past several weeks. When I returned Monday morning I went grocery shopping—stocking my kitchen with most of the basics I need to cook is a surefire way for me to feel at home.

A homecoming shopping trip...fresh produce, dairy, grains and beans.

A homecoming shopping trip...fresh produce, dairy, grains and beans.

I already have some other essentials on hand (I'll post about those another time). So the foods I needed to get me started on a week of cooking and eating ended up being:

Fruit: Bananas, oranges, tangerines and frozen raspberries (late winter selection...this varies based on season and what I'm in the mood for).

• Vegetables: Kale and broccoli (need green!...I'm thinking kale salad, pasta with beans and greens), onions and garlic (essentials for almost any dish), radishes (for shaving into salad), mushrooms, cilantro and red cabbage. I already had carrots, sweet potatoes and white potatoes at home.

• Dry Goods: Black beans and fire-roasted tomatoes (planning to make a black bean soup or chili with mushrooms, carrots, onions and canned tomatoes), millet (wanted to try a new whole grain), toasted buckwheat (a blogger I follow has been sprinkling it on yogurt and salads), nuts (cashews, almonds and hazelnuts...some for eating, some for adding to a batch of granola), dried cherries and coconut flakes (also for granola).

Dairy: 1% milk (I usually buy a 1/2 gallon of 1% and a 1/2 gallon of whole milk, which I use for coffee, and go through them at about an equal rate), plain yogurt (I'm not a fan of Greek yogurt, so this Maple Hill Creamery yogurt is one of the only ones at City Market that had the texture I liked, was local-ish, and was from 100% grass-fed cows. It is a whole-milk yogurt, but I don't get a ton of saturated fat from other sources, so I'm okay with that), butter (I always like having butter on hand for baking).

As I go through the grocery store, I try to think of what meals I'm planning to make this week...I inevitably end up augmenting with other trips to the store later on. For this trip, I was thinking I needed food for breakfast (milk, fruit, yogurt and ingredients to make granola...already had rolled oats at home), wanted to make a black bean soup, and planned to make a kale salad.

Community Question: What are your grocery store essentials?

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