Monday, 6 January 2014

Feeding Our Families: Welcome and Sprouting

I am happy to start the new year with the first of a series of posts on the subject of "feeding our families". I will be posting a different topic related to this subject on the first Monday of every month throughout the year. I was very enthusiastic when Renee from Heirloom Seasons invited me, along with some other Mama bloggers, to link up and share ideas about this. You can find the list of the other participating bloggers at the end of this post. I encourage you to visit them (these ladies are all so inspiring!).

To start, I would first like to welcome you into my kitchen, because this is the place where most of the planning, preparing, cooking, baking, organizing and preserving that goes into feeding my family happens. So please pour yourself a cup of tea and take a moment to step inside...

Our kitchen is covered from floor to ceiling with open shelving. Our shelves were built with the help of a friend. I really love them, they help to keep this space (as) tidy and well organized (as possible). Each thing has it's place. 

I will write about my many cookbooks in another post

We have a cupboard where we keep our jars of home canned goods: applesauce, jam (strawberry, lingonberry, cranberry, apple butter and marmalade), dill pickles (cukes from our garden), dilly beans (also from our garden), green tomato ketchup and dried wild mushrooms.

my soup pots, mixing bowls and baking supplies

I have lots of artwork on the walls. I spend so much time in this room, I like to surround myself with things that inspire me...

my Pheobe Wahl wall and our handmade beeswax candles hanging on a branch hook from Tonya's shop

Nikki McClure poster

artwork from the children here, there and everywhere

Kitchen Prayer from May All Be Fed

Our pantry…

I have a small old electric stove. My favourite kitchen instrument is my cast iron skillet.

Not technically in the kitchen, but just outside of it and in the middle of our house and living space, is our wood stove cooker. On most days, you will find a pot of soup simmering on it. You will also find clean diapers and wet mittens drying next to it and children or cats snuggled in front of it. It truly is the heart of our home.

a learning tower lent to us by a friend
Now that you have an idea of our space, let me share with you some of the foods that we are preparing these days… As well as lots of warming soups, I love to have fresh sprouts at this time of year. It's a very easy and economical way to get some fresh and crisp homegrown vitamins in the middle of winter. Vegetable seeds (radish, broccoli, kale, to name only a few...), legumes (lentils, peas…) and grains (quinoa, kamut berries…) can be sprouted. They make a great crunchy addition to any sandwich or salad.  

alfalfa, brown lentils and mung
For those of you that have never tried sprouting, it's very simple. You only need a spoonful or two of seeds (perhaps more for bigger legumes or grains).

First soak your seeds (or legumes or grains) in water overnight. I put mine in a large jar and cover it with a piece of mesh or cheese cloth held by a screw top or elastic band. 

The next morning, drain then rinse and drain again and lay the jar on it's side. You can prop it up a little so that it continues to drain.

Cover it lightly (the opening must breathe) with a kitchen towel to block the light. 

Continue to rinse every morning and night until you see sprouts. You may then leave your jars uncovered in the window for a day or so (for chlorophyll). When you are satisfied with your sprouts (this should only take a few days, shorter for legumes), cover and keep in the refrigerator. Children love to watch things grow, so it can be fun to involve them in the process.

To use your sprouts, here is a delicious recipe that my friend Annie shared with me a few years ago and that we make on a regular basis. It is really (seriously!) delicious and keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.

Sprouted lentil and quinoa salad

for the salad:

1 1/2 cups of sprouted (or cooked) lentils

1 1/2 cups of sprouted (or cooked) quinoa (could use cooked rice)

1 sweet pepper chopped

1 small red onion chopped

for the dressing:

3 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp curry powder

a sprinkle of turmeric

1 tsp of ground cumin or coriander

2 tablespoons of tamari (or soy sauce)

Mix everything together and let it marinate at least 30 minutes before serving. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I leave you with the list of other blogs linked to "Feeding Our Families".




  1. Sarah, Your home is so familiar to me...there are echoes here that make me smile. I love your Phoebe Wahl...very inspiring (and similar to my own, though it is just the calendar). I look forward to your sprouted nutritious and packed with protein. Yum.
    xo Jules

  2. Sarah, I love your home, and your kitchen!! So warm and beautiful!
    I love sprouts, and I am eager to try this salad Thank you for sharing!
    Hugs, Melanie

  3. What a lovely kitchen! I love the generous stove and all the care you have taken with your pantry.

  4. Hi.. Loved your post. I am glad I happened to find this tonight. Along with the fact that I would love to visit your islands someday.. I do a lot of sprouting this time of year and will enjoy trying your recipe..
    Thank you...

    1. Hello Faye, I'm glad you found your way here. I see that we are almost neighbours!

  5. Just discovered your blog. Your kitchen looks so homey, well loved, and user friendly! I have the black and white Gather print in my kitchen as well - we have started displaying the beautiful artwork from Taproot in our home also. The open shelving is a great idea and I always like the "cottage" look, but with a house full of pets and the ash from the woodstove, my dishes would be filthy in no time! For a while, my husband and I were buying sprouted grain flour, but it is pretty expensive. I might have to try making your sprouted salad - I try to use quinoa as much as possible.

    1. Hello Katie, thank you for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed my kitchen tour! Starting sprouts at home is definitely cheaper than buying sprouted products.

  6. Dear Sarah, This is so lovely and thoughtful. I loved the little kitchen tour!
    You have inspired me to get some sprouts going and I definitely want to try your sprouted salad! (We eat lots of quinoa here!)
    Also dreaming of a wood cookstove… (Lucky you and Jules!)
    Thank you so much joining me with this project, I look forward to all you have to share!
    Renee <3

  7. So fun to see your kitchen! It is so well organized and practical (and gorgeous!).

  8. Sarah,
    I love seeing your kitchen. Thank you so much for sharing all and the fence around the woodstove is great.
    Sprouting is something on my definite list of future new projects to attempt. Thank you for the instructions.
    Love, Tonya

    1. Hello Tonya, a friend made the fence for us and your right, it's great! It really is necessary with a one year old playing beside the stove. I wish you success with sprouting!

  9. This is a great kitchen. I am impressed.
    I can't believe I have gone this long without coming across your blog! Absolutely lovely. I added it to my blog list so I can visit again (: Thanks for reminding me about sprouts! I am going to start some right now!

    Take care!

    1. Hello and thank you! I'm so glad you found your way here. Your comment warms my heart. I'm on my way to visit your space asap!

  10. Love that your kitchen is so open and so organized. We built our own house and didn't put in enough kitchen storage space, so I'm always on the look out for ideas.
    We do sprouts, when I remember, which unfortunately is not that often - will go and start some now - thanks for the reminder! I'm sure the chickens would appreciate some too.
    Keep warm.

    1. Hello Emma, good idea about giving some to the chickens!

  11. You have such a wonderfully decorated kitchen! You're inspiring me to decorate a little bit! I love all the open shelves. I'm impressed too, when my guys were toddlers I couldn't handle clutter (even though I love little knick knacks) so I just simplified. Now that my youngest is nearly four I think I can bring it back! Very lovely post! Thank you!

  12. Thanks for this post (series). I have been in a major kitchen slump the last few months, am in dire need of some rethinking and rekindling of my kitchen mojo. I will certainly be following along! Love your open shelving and all your home-made preserves (and your amazing mug collection!)

    1. Hello Tara, thank you! Writing this series and reading what the others are writing is inspiring to me as well. I'm glad that you are interested in following us along!

  13. Enjoyed this post and looking forward to this series! We also have handmade open shelves, like yours, and our cast iron skillets are my favorites as well. :) I have never sprouted lentils or quinoa--will have to try!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the sprouted quinoa and lentils.

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  15. I love this post, Sarah! What a beautiful kitchen and pantry you have! We always used to sprout, but have fallen out of the habit- this is inspiring me to start again. And that boy of yours! He is so big! and so beautiful!
    hugs, Taisa

  16. Oh wow! Such an information-rich post. Thank you for sharing your hard work. It's inspiring!