Real Food Kitchen Tour: A Real Food Apartment Dweller

A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10

Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week we're featuring Melody Bentfield, author of the Listen to the Song of Your Soul blog.

What's a Real Foodie?

A “real foodie” is someone who cooks “traditional” food. We cook stuff from scratch using real ingredients, like raw milk, grass-fed beef, eggs from chickens that run around outdoors, whole grains, sourdough and yogurt starters, mineral-rich sea salt, and natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup.

We don't use modern foods that are either fake, super-refined, or denatured. This includes modern vegetable oils like Crisco and margarine, soy milk, meat from factory farms, pasteurized milk from cows eating corn and soybeans, refined white flour, factory-made sweeteners like HFCS or even refined white sugar, or commercial yeast.

We believe in eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. So we shop at farmer's markets or buy direct from the farmer, or we grow food in our own backyards.

This Week's Real Food Kitchen Tour: Melody Bentfield, A Real Food Apartment Dweller

I think you'll be inspired this week by Melody's tiny kitchen. It's obvious she's got a LOT going on in there — and the fact that she pulls it all off in such a small space is admirable.

My kitchen

Blog Name: Listen to the Song of Your Soul
Blog Author: Melody Bentfield
How Long Blogging: 3 years or so, off and on
Location: North Denver Metro Area, CO
House or Apartment: Apartment
Size of Kitchen: Uber teeny!
Things You Love About Your Kitchen: The stone tiling, the open countertop that allows me to serve my guests in the dining room, and that all my appliances are black and stainless steel – pretty sexy
Things You Would Change: More space! Our entire apartment is just over 700 square feet, so storage can be a challenge at times. I'd probably also change my counter top to something smooth (it's difficult to knead when the bread gets stuck in the grout!), and change my flat-top stove to a high-end gas stove (still black of course), with a grill feature in the middle. We might just move to solve all of these issues though
Favorite Tools & Gadgets: Danish dough whisk, digital scale, Cuisinart mini food-processor, Cuisinart ice cream maker.
Biggest Challenges Cooking Real Food: Aside from adjusting some recipes for altitude, planning ahead! I don't have a problem making real food as far as putting the effort into it, but sometimes I forget that if I want to make sourdough bread on Thursday, I probably should start with a very small bit of starter on Tuesday and really feed the heck out of it. I make sourdough bread (whole grain, mixed grain, etc.), Water kefir, kombucha tea, grow my own sprouts, container garden on my balcony (tomatoes, peppers, garden salsa peppers, Meyer lemons, a bunch of herbs,) and am currently saving up for a traditional sauerkraut crock. I also make raw grass-fed butter, raw milk ice cream, sometimes villi yogurt, and eventually will begin making raw milk Greek style yogurt as well.
Current Family Favorite Meal: My husband will eat pretty much anything! He's in love with my sourdough bread, and we both absolutely adore my 100% whole spelt sourdough bread. I usually have to make 2-3 loaves at a time, and he'll eat one loaf for dinner slathered in real butter. A close second is homemade sourdough pita bread with freshly made hummus, covered in sprouts!
Favorite Cookbooks: Naturally Nutritious (Healthy and Delicious Recipes using Whole Grains, Coconut Oil, Agave Nectar and Stevia) by Dr. Nicole Kurland, and a few different websites such as Cultures for Health, Breadtopia, and then really, I just searchon-line for what I'm wanting to make! I actually make up a LOT of recipes on my own from scratch, and really do not write them down… but I'm always happy to when people ask me for recipes.

Crazy hall pantry

“The joys and challenges of having little space. It really is somewhat organized… really… (It really is though, which is uber helpful)”

As long as you know where everything is — that's what counts! Sometimes it's easier in a small space because it forces you to be more organized.

Hall mini pantry

I love how you are making use of every square inch!

Long view of full kitchen

“You can see the length of my kitchen here. Closest to the camera are my two easy-sprouter containers with two different seed mixes (we're about to go on a week trip to Idaho so I'm bringing my own sprouts with me!), and then next to it to the right are two jars of Kombucha with peaches and ginger floating inside. I'll strain out the fruit tomorrow. In the distance you can see my sourdough starter that was just fed and then furthest off, two 1/2 gallon mason jars of water kefir brewing.”

Mmm that kombucha looks so yummy!

Main area in kitchen

“To the left of that is my sourdough starter with a scale next to it. I write on the lid of the starter jar with a dry-erase marker the amount fed and what time it was fed, or else I'll forget… by staying on top of it, I find that I can keep it appropriately fed which keeps it from getting too sour.”

Side counter

Tea Rack

“This was once a rack full of tea. Now it has some pre-mixed tea left, but for the most part I make my own tea blends with herbs from scratch (I'm in love with my chai recipe). I've started using it to store extra Grosch bottles, mason jars, and to the right you'll see one of my many 5 gallon buckets (color-coded of course) with bulk food storage. This one has pink Himalayan salt in it. I also have some natural flour and bread flour ones hidden behind some comfy chairs in my living room… always a wonderful conversation piece!”

Check Out the Previous Real Food Kitchen Tour Posts

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Amanda Brown
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Pamela Montazeri
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Cracking an Egg with One Hand
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Yolks, Kefir & Gristle
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Okparaeke Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Kid
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Artistta
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourished & Nurtured
Real Food Kitchen Tour: May All Seasons Be Sweet to Thee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Horting Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Hybrid Rasta Mama
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Granola Mom 4 God
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Devotee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Forager
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Leftover Queen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Health Home & Happiness

Let Us Tour Your Kitchen

Are you a real foodie? Do you have a kitchen that you'd like to see featured on CHEESESLAVE?

Please email me at annmarie AT realfoodmedia dot com. Either send me a link to a Flickr set or email me your photos (minimum of 5, but more is better). Note: Please send me LARGE photos. Minimum 610 width. If they're too small, I can't use them.

Oh, and please send the answers to the above questions (at the very top of this post).

As much as I'd love to include all the photos I receive, I can't guarantee that I will use your photos in the series. I'm looking for creative, good quality photos.

Some ideas for photos:

  • Show us what's in your fridge or what's fermenting on your counter
  • Take some snaps of some of your favorite kitchen gadgets, or show us how you organize your spices
  • Got backyard chickens? Send some pics!
  • How about a lovely herb garden?
  • Kids or pets are always cute!
  • Try to include at least one photo of yourself, ideally in your kitchen

And no, you don't have to have a blog to be included in the tour.

Photo credit: A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10 by Keith Williamson, on Flickr

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the worldโ€™s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.โ€จโ€จ The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

33 thoughts on “Real Food Kitchen Tour: A Real Food Apartment Dweller

  1. Why do you want to get rid of your flat top stove? I live in a small condo and have a gas stove and the kitchen is attached to the living room and with a gas stove EVERYTHING gets gross and greasy. Kitchen cabinet doors, floor, refrigerator, living room walls, is covered in a layer of grease that only happens with gas stoves. I’m constantly cleaning! I’m saving up for a convection flat top stove with electric oven. Convection ranges are faster than both gas and electric ranges. Can’t wait to have an easier stove to clean and one that doesn’t make the whole house dirty.

    1. I love that kitchen! I also cook with all good ingredients (I love my pasture raised meats and raw milk products). I don’t have a nice of a kitchen yet but I dream of building a commercial kitchen on my home one day.

    2. Lol, I have this thing about smooth surfaces. They have to always be shiny. Mine isn’t, when I cook on my stove! I end up using it for kneading, storing things, etc…I forget it is a stove sometimes! Really, I had a gas stove and I never had any icky sticky problems like you’ve experienced and I enjoyed having the ability to adjust the temp quickly. I did however recently purchase a stainless steel cookware that I think encloses cast iron, is stackable and only needs medium heat (keeps the nutrients in better), less water, etc, so we’ll see. I might fall in love with my flat top stove!

  2. So, no kidding, I am totally moving in five days! We’ve lived in this teeny kitchen for about 18 months and my new job is “forcing” me to move (my current job includes my apartment), so we’re moving to a town-home just a few blocks up north. Pros- the kitchen is a *little* bigger (I think it has double the counter space and double the pantry size! Woohoo!). All black appliances (YES!) and for those flat-top stove lovers out there- I get a flat-top stove. Still sexier than some of the stoves in the units I currently rent out to my tenants, gotta give it that. Cons- not too many. Maybe having to get more stuff to fill up the space? Or I could just run around in circles screaming for joy… ๐Ÿ˜› Our space of our new home – just over 2,500 square feet! Seriously, my husband looked at the shelving in one of the storage rooms and said, “Look at all of the things you could ferment down here!” I love that man ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. By the way, I hope that didn’t come off incorrectly about moving, and when I wrote “forcing” it was completely referring to my new employer (which was in jest of course) – I’m excited, it will be a fresh start, and I’ll miss my little kitchen. I finally got it going like a well-oiled machine!

      1. Your description ‘well oiled machine’ is so necessary for small spaces! In small spaces I like to think about ‘cockpit’ efficiency. This experience will likely serve you well in your new place (maybe even room for more than one ‘cockpit’!). Looks like you’ve done a great job here. Pretty cool to see all your real food things, your pantry, and your mini pantry is adorable! Congrats on your new move and bravo for making this kitchen work so well.

    1. Okay…here it is! If you notice in the photos above, the metal spice containers that are magnetized to the side of my fridge, right over the stove- those are purely for making Chai. That way, I can take down each one, place a few of the ingredients in the spice bags, and have it ready in a few minutes without having to open up cupboards for spices (keeps me from hitting my head on the corners, I’m prone to that sometimes!)

      Melody’s Chai tea- (serves 2, can be doubled, tripled, etc) This recipe looks like lots of work, but if you have the spices readily available near the tea kettle, it will go quickly. Also, you could pre-measure these amounts in spice bags…that could work too.

      Ingredients:
      1 inch stick cinnamon *
      12 whole cardamom pods, crushed open *
      4-6 whole cloves *
      1 whole anise star *
      ยผ tsp of fennel seeds *
      Pinch of whole peppercorns (like 7-10 peppercorns if you want to be anal about it) *
      2 cubes of crystalized ginger, chopped up *
      Pinch of ground ginger powder
      1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
      1/8 – ยผ tsp freshly ground black pepper
      1/8-1/4 freshly ground whole nutmeg *
      2 tsp black tea (either 2 black tea bags or 2 tsp loose leaf tea, you can also substitute rooibos tea for this)

      Spice sacks- 2-3, depending on if you’re using loose-leaf tea or tea bags.

      Milk (I used whole raw milk, but any creamy drink is fine, including soy, etc)
      Agave nectar (you can use sugar, stevia, or vanilla flavored agave which is really good).

      1.Put loose ginger and loose spices such as fennel seeds, peppercorns, black and cayenne peppers & nutmeg in a small spice sack. Tie shut, and place all other whole/big spices in the bottom of the kettle/pot (whatever you’re using). Make sure the tea is in something (like a loose leaf tea ball or another spice bag) so that it will be easy to remove after the steep time.
      2.Pour boiling water over the first set of ingredients (everything but milk and sweetener), let steep for 5 minutes. If you steep longer than this, it will get very bitter…beware. Remove tea portion. Leave spices in water (it’s helpful to use a small spice bag for this). Let sit for 24-36 hours, at room temperature. NOTE: You can do this and just let the spices sit for 10 minutes instead, but the flavor will not be as strong as overnight.
      3.After it’s done steeping, take out the spice bag (these are reusable, so just empty the contents and hand wash with dishsoap and water, hang dry), and strain (you can use a coffee filter, or something like that, it helps get any residual spices/tea leaves) into a cup/pitcher that you can store in the refrigerator.
      4.This chai base is good for up to one week (I think, I’ve always been to eager to drink it, so it’s gone much earlier than that). When you are ready to drink, take the mixture and put in a small saucepan. Add about 1.5-2 Tbsp of sweetener of choice (I do about just under 1 Tbsp Agave, with a splash of raw vanillan OR some stevia with vanillan), and then close to ยฝ cup of milk I think, or until it looks creamier- to taste ๐Ÿ™‚
      5.Heat this in the pan on Med-Lo, and cook stirring slowly for about 10 minutes (or you can microwave for a few minutes). You might see a โ€œskinโ€ on top (this is due to the milk), it’s fine. After you’re done, pour and drink!

      Optional: To make it a bit less gingery, omit the ginger powder.

      1. I am so excited about this chai tea recipe! I just stopped drinking my decaf coffee in the morning (in an effort to sleep better at night). I’m going to run to the store and get the the ingredients for this — maybe this afternoon!

        But HUH? Soy milk???? BAD!!!!!

          1. That’s awesome! I made it from a few different chai recipes, talking to some famous tea house owners in Boulder and Louisville, CO, and making sure to capitalize on the health benefits of each ingredient. If you make any tweaks, let me know, I frequently vary the recipe!

            1. I tried it and it came out really great!

              One question… I wasn’t sure how much water to use. I think I used 4 cups — I was going to do 2 cups since you said that’s how much it makes, but then I needed to cover the bag of spices so I added more.

              How much water do you use?

                1. It really is way better than tea bags! I am kind of spoiled now, and slightly gag when a friend serves me chai and says, “I got this and thought of you, I know you will love it!” God bless them, but they last don’t know… It’s not the same! By the way, I actually don’t measure the cups. I usually cover the spices with water… The more you make it, the easier it will be to judge.

        1. I make homemade chai, too. But I don’t use anise and instead of powdered ginger, I use thin slices of fresh ginger.

          Question about the vanillan. Are you really using vanillin or real vanilla extract? Vanillin is artificial vanilla and my son reacts terribly to it, so I use real vanilla extract. Just thought I would let you know in case you were using the artificial stuff and didn’t know it.

          1. I use real vanilla extract (and make my own), but not everybody who reads this blog does, so I gave the option, just in case they find that real vanilla extract is inaccessible to them! You always have to start somewhere ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it up yesterday and got to have it this morning! I have officially found my chai replacement! No more concentrate/boxed chai for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Lol, I agree about the Soy milk. I had copied and pasted the recipe from one I made for a friend who has a propensity toward soy products. We switched to raw milk years ago and haven’t needed it since (I have some lactose sensitivities at times, but not all the time). There’s nothing like chai with whole raw milk….mmmmmm….I might go make some!

      1. That’s what we use! hubby adores his nightly chai with coconut and honey…this recipe looks good, will definitely try it!!

  4. Your family’s favorite meals sound so yummy! Would you share your 100% whole spelt sourdough bread recipe & your sourdough pita bread recipe? I would love to start making sourdough, and I think you just inspired me! Thanks for sharing your kitchen. Good luck with your move!

    1. Love your kitchen! Where did you find your wonderful buckets? I’m also wondering if you found a good place to buy the Himalayan salt in bulk?

      1. Himalayan salt: https://saltworks.us/
        Buckets: I don’t remember actually, I believe my husband bought them online. They are food-grade 5-gallon buckets.
        Gamma Lids: https://www.wheatmontana.com/index.php This is not where I bought them from, but the woman I bought them from (local whole grain dealer) purchased them from the same place as Wheat Montana did. If you live in Colorado, you can check out https://www.familybaker.com/ Nadine is an incredible woman, has a beautiful story, and is local so you’re supporting local business!

    2. You can get all the information for my whole spelt sourdough recipe and pita recipes from www.breadtopia.com –> He has incredible how-to videos, instructions etc on how to make your own sourdough starter, how to feed it (and when), spelt, etc. The 100% whole wheat bread I’ve made lately is the same as the spelt recipe, just with whole white winter wheat (still wheat, just less wheatier tasting).

  5. Wow, and I thought my kitchen was small! LOL Great work making do! Love all your glass bottles…great for kombucha! Hey, what kind of toaster oven are you using? I like the stainless…ours is about dead after 6 years….

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