I’ve been a big fan of the blog Nourished Kitchen for a long time and I’ve always been tremendously impressed by Jenny McGruther’s work ethic. Not only does she share incredible recipes on her blog (many of which I have cooked), over the years she’s created online cooking classes and meal plans, as well. Now she’s also written her first book for print, and I am so excited to share it with you.

nourished kitchen

The Nourished Kitchen cookbook is a love letter to traditional foods. In Jenny’s words, traditional foods are the foods of our great-great grandmothers-the foods of gardens and farms. Indeed the book begins with a chapter called from the garden; subsequent chapters focus on the pasture, the range, the waters, the fields, the wild, the orchard, and the larder. This is an innovative way to organize a cookbook, and I adore it.

book open

The central tenet of Jenny’s approach is that nourishing foods meet the following criteria: they are sustainable, balanced, traditional, and involve community. Jenny is deeply committed to these principles; they inform how she puts meals on her family’s table and how she lives her life. But while she is passionately devoted to traditional foods, something I appreciate very much about her blog and this book is that her writing lacks the dogmatic tone I sometimes see from folks involved in the “real foods” movement. Also, I also often see elitism in conversations about food quality (stuff like: “if you are not eating like us, you are eating wrong”), but there is no elitism in this book. Quite the opposite, in fact: Jenny is all about sharing, and thus reviving, the beautiful, delicious, and honestly pretty simple, food traditions of our past.

I love that this book is very much about balance. There are recipes for grains/breads and beans, fruits and vegetables, fish, muscle and organ meats, dairy, eggs, traditional fats and sweets. Foods are featured in their raw, cooked, and fermented states…and everything looks glorious: Jenny’s photos are absolutely stunning. (In this post are photos I took of a few of the recipes I’ve been making from the book).

sourdough starter_

Sourdough starter in process…the recipe is in the book

bonny clabber

Bonny Clabber (“soured”/strained raw milk sweetened with molasses) in process…the recipe is in the book

Having read Nourishing Traditions years ago, I have been familiar with the Weston Price nutritional philosophy for a long time. It has very much inspired both my cooking and my nutrition/health knowledge (as is evidenced on this blog and in my book One Simple Change). Jenny’s recipes pay homage to the philosophy, yet her take is somehow fresh and hers alone (I don’t know anyone besides Jenny who can make a food like broiled kidneys sound quite so appealing!).

Because of the wonderful recipes, the incredible photographs, and all of the health-promoting wisdom contained within the narrative of the book, I know I will be turning to The Nourished Kitchen frequently in the future. I hope that you will buy the book, too, so you can enjoy all it has to offer. You will not be disappointed, I promise you that.

strawberries in syrup

Strawberries in Vanilla Honey Syrup in process..a riff on Jenny’s Strawberries in Minted Honey Syrup

More reviews of, and recipes from, the Nourished Kitchen cookbook:
Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad with Spiced Kombucha Vinaigrette/My Humble Kitchen
Spring Vegetable Stew/Mommypotamous
Potato and Spinach Soup with Jalapeno/Tasty Yummies
Bone Marrow Custard/Healthy Home Economist
Red Fruit Custard Cake/Food Loves Writing

It’s Friday and today I’m going to try something new. Here’s a list of things I’m into this week…things I want to share with you. (I’m hoping that maybe this will “stick” and I’ll keep doing it on Fridays going forward.) Happy reading and enjoy your weekend!

Friday Shares

Recipes I want to make:

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Strawberries (The Tomato Tart)
Tea Smoked Shrimp Salad (Eat the Love)
25 Recipes Featuring Edible Spring Flowers (The View From Great Island)
Spaghetti Carbonara (Damn Delicious)
Boozy Green Lemonade (With Food and Love)
Homemade Marshmallow Peeps (Molly Yeh for Food52)

Books I am currently reading:

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – the Health Food Eating Disorder

Cookbooks I am currently cooking from:

The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle (I’ll be reviewing this one soon!)
The DIY Pantry: 30 Minutes to Healthy, Homemade Food(I’ll be reviewing this one, too!)
Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously

Giveaways of my book going on right now:

Gourmande in the Kitchen
Oh My Veggies

Miscellaneous (lifestyle-related):

Are You Programmed to Enjoy Exercise? (New York Times)
Calorie Denialism: Why It’s Hurting Your Fat Loss Efforts (Tom Venuto)

Thanks for checking out my Friday shares. If you’ve got something you want to share with me, please tell me about it in the comments!

Disclosure: Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. When you make a purchase via one of my links, I make a small commission. This helps me support my blogging activities…thanks in advance.

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

As I mentioned in a recent post, we purchased our home because of the property: we were so excited by the gardening potential of our sunny lot. As we got going in our gardening endeavors, however, we quickly learned that the soil here isn't great… it contains so much heavy clay. So we built raised beds and we've trucked in a heck of a lot of good quality soil that we've amended in many different ways over the years. We've learned first hand that the success of a garden depends so very much on the quality of the soil.

In a future post, I will definitely talk more about how we amend the soil in our raised beds. But since not everyone has the space or inclination to garden in raised beds, today I want to focus on another form of gardening that's potentially more "do-able": organic container gardening.

Organic container gardening is great because the only thing you really need to get started is a bit of outdoor space (in the city, this could be a balcony or rooftop) and some sun (6-8 hours/day). Many people are accustomed to growing flowers and maybe herbs in containers, but you can absolutely grow organic vegetables in containers, too. The vegetables that do particularly well with organic container gardening include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and zucchini (ratatouille, anyone?). Many types of greens including lettuce varieties and Swiss chard should also do well in containers.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

-Because plants such as tomato and eggplant can get quite large, look for varieties that are meant to go in containers. The names connote smaller stature such as "patio", "pixie", "dwarf", and "compact".

-Most herbs will be successful in containers, but I’ve read that dill and tarragon are two that prefer to be in-ground (unless you are able to use a very deep pot).

Choosing a Container

You can go with a standard plastic or terra-cotta pots for organic container gardening, or use your imagination: take your pick from gorgeous ceramic urns to food-grade plastic pails and buckets. I have heard of opening up a bag of potting soil and planting vegetables directly into it- you can't get much simpler or less expensive than that. And I've seen some fantastic vertical container gardens made with upcycled pallets: I took this photo at a Sustainable Living Fair recently. (This pallet garden was made by a local company called Earth Designs and features flowers, succulents, herbs, and greens.) 

pallet garden | healthy green kitchen

Make sure you have holes at the bottom of your container for adequate water drainage; if you don't, the roots of your plants may rot. It is often suggested that you line the bottom of your pots with something such as small pebbles to keep your potting soil from from escaping and to promote good drainage.

Note that tomatoes and eggplants need to be in large containers- figure about 5 gallons per plant. If you plant them in a smaller container, they may not be very happy. It is very tempting when the plants are small to want to put more than one plant into each pot, but for the most successful organic container gardening, refrain from doing this- your plants won't do well if they are crowded.

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