Why we’re addicted to Sprouted Kitchen

It’s the ‘go to’ source for those not just with a love of whole foods but a sensible approach to eating.

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With recipes ranging from clean kale omelettes to rather decadent choc peppermint molten cakes, it’s fair to say Sprouted Kitchen is the “everything in moderation” mantra channelled into a blog. It’s a balance that comes from Sara’s admirable attitude towards eating and one who sees it as “… our responsibility to eat well, exercise and take care of ourselves but at a certain point you have to live life and have a cookie or share a pizza with the person you love”.

Sara’s premise is “a tastier take on whole foods” and she uses those nutrient dense ingredients we can all get our hands on. She subsequently make substitution suggestions for those with allergies – an extra step that makes her recipes and content all the more ‘real’ and heightens her appeal (she took home SAVEUR’s award last year for ‘Best Original Recipes’).

You might have seen Sara’s cookbook of the same title in your local shop, and if you’re an enthusiast for produce focused and straightforward vegetarian fare it’s certainly one to add to your collection. The images, shot by her husband Hugh are an intersection of simple yet delicious food that’s been styled and shot with the same approach.

My diet is a balance of… I eat mostly vegetarian with a few seafood options in there. Hugh eats everything and I don’t mind cooking meat for him every now and then but he is also OK with vegetarian meals. I can usually make something and throw some grilled chicken or steak on it for him. I feel better and have more energy the better I eat, and that is motivation enough to take care of myself. I try to keep gluten and dairy to a minimum and find a lot of truth in the anti-inflammatory diet for the sake of long-term wellness. I am pregnant currently, so I’ll admit my eating habits haven’t been quite as clean but I plan to be back on the wagon once I am not starving all day long. With as many vegetables as I eat, I have a nagging sweet tooth. I love ice cream and warm cookies so I suppose it all evens out. I believe it is our responsibility to eat well, exercise and take care of ourselves but at a certain point you have to live life and have a cookie or share a pizza with the person you love. Moderation is the intention, but living life will do more for your well-being than a kale salad will. You just do the best you can.

I approach cooking with… I prefer cooking alone. It’s relaxing for me. I like looking at blogs, books and pinterest for inspiration but then I try to use what I have on hand. I go for color and contrast and texture. I’ve learned a lot through mistakes and trial and error. I’m pretty tidy and I clean as I go – it keeps me organized and also makes less mess in the end. I try to buy fresh, seasonal produce and let their natural flavours do most of the work.

My first kitchen encounter was… My parents weren’t big cooks, but we always had taco nights. I can remember getting the toppings together and my sister and I putting the pitted olives on our fingertips and eating them off before they made it on any taco.

At the end of a meal and faced with the savoury vs. sweet conundrum I’ll go with… Absolutely sweet! Even though it is played out, I love a warm chocolate lava cake with a scoop of gelato on top. I’ll also go for a fruit crisp or something else interesting. But in any case it needs to be a la mode.

When you’re at our table for a dinner party, we’ll be eating our way through courses of… I welcome people with a beautiful cheese plate because I can set it in advance, everyone loves cheese/olives/crackers, it doesn’t have to stay warm and it’s hands off for me once it’s set up. I don’t often do plated courses, it makes far too much work for the chef. It’s like your working for your guests and it makes people uncomfortable. I prefer to serve things family style – likely a giant fresh green salad, a warm vegetable side, garlic bread or roasted potatoes and a main dish of either mixed grill, slow roasted salmon or tri tip if my husband is on the bbq. I really love dessert so that would be a special treat. Maybe I would make a layer cake, because you need a number of people around for an excuse to make a layer cake. Or if we’re chatting and drinking wine outside and I want to keep things easy, I will bake some fresh cookies or have ice cream sandwiches.

In three words, food to me is… Community, giving, nurture

The ultimate breakfast that sets me/us up for a day ahead is… If I have to leave for work early, I do fresh seasonal fruit, plain goat yogurt and muesli or granola. When I have a few more minutes to sit down, I have soft scrambled eggs, lightly dressed greens and a warm brown rice tortilla. I eat that most mornings.

I take my coffee… Hugh is a big coffee dork – as in buys beans fresh, weighs the beans for our pour over, the water is a particular temp…you get the idea. I appreciate the art but would never do it myself so my mornings are better because of his obsession. We get beans at a local shop who roasts on premise called Hidden House or order from Sightglass Coffee Shop in San Francisco.

A flavour combination I’m into, but others find a bit odd (possibly disgusting) is… I put hummus on just about everything. I religiously put it on my morning scrambled eggs and I’m not sure that will ever be taken as a typical pair. Hardly disgusting but not normal! 10. If I could only eat five foods for the rest of life (for some hideous reason), I’d be going with… Local organic strawberries, coconut sorbet, roasted vegetables, chopped kale parmesan salad, and scrambled eggs.

A cookbook I often flick through is… I love the Super Natural series by Heidi Swanson. I appreciate her simple approach to clean food – its creative and straightforward, light while also being far from dietetic.

Three food-focused sites I religiously check are… Happyolks, Not Without Salt, Seven Spoons, 101Cookbooks, SmittenKitchen, My New Roots, The First Mess, My Darling Lemon Thyme…I can’t narrow to three! There are more, so consider that a very short list.

Image credits: Sprouted Kitchen.

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