Real Food Kitchen Tour: Whole Green Love

. 15 min read
A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10

Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week you are getting a special treat! We’re featuring 2 kitchens! We will be touring the kitchen of Joanna Sheets and Laura Collins, authors of Whole Green Love 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:  Whole Green Love

This week we travel to Milwaukee to tour the kitchen of Laura Collins and Joanna Sheets, the authors of Whole Green Love.

Laura and Joanna are also one of our newest Real Food Media blogger. We’re so excited to have them join the Real Food Media blog network.

My husband Nic, my daughter Lyla, and I live in the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI. I love to cook and work hard at nourishing my family with tasty, wholesome foods and anything made from scratch. I love to garden and if I can’t grow it, I make a point of knowing where our food comes from. There isn’t much time to go to the gym anymore to exercise, but we do a good job of staying active as a family. The best mornings start with a walk or jog with Lyla leading the way in the stroller.

I graduated with a degree in Corporate Health Promotion/Wellness and I’m also certified as a smoking cessation facilitator through the American Lung Association and as an Intrinsic Health Coach. Since graduating from college, I have worked in the field of corporate wellness.

Welcome to my kitchen. For our Real Food Kitchen Tour we decided to focus on one family and one house. We spend a lot of time going between each other’s houses creating real food and DIY masterpieces. — Laura Collins

Blog Name: Whole Green Love
Blog Author: Laura Collins
Location: Milwaukee, WI

How Long Blogging: 2 years

House or Apartment: House
Size of Kitchen: 10 x 18 (includes a small eating area)

Things You Love About Your Kitchen: We don’t have a big kitchen, so we have really tried to make the most of the space. Despite its coziness, there is enough room that my husband and I can cook together and not be up in each other’s space (bonding time for us). I love that it is adjacent to the family room so I can keep an eye on Lyla while she is playing. It’s also great that we have a dishwasher that works well! It makes cooking and making tons of dishes more enjoyable.

Things You Would Change: Our kitchen is the most used room in our house, but was put last on the list of rooms that we updated, since that can be the most expense. When we moved into the house, we painted the cabinets white (love!) and the walls yellow (do not love) and had hardwood floors installed (love love!). I’d like to repaint the walls a lovely grey color and have beautiful backsplash installed. New appliances would be amazing…down the road.

Favorite Tools & Gadgets: Definitely my immersion blender! It’s so versatile. We make a lot of homemade soups, sauces, and smoothies so it’s always being used. Also, lately our crock pot has been out on our counter at least a few days a week. I make yogurt, applesauce, stews, French toast…you can make pretty much anything in one. Using the crock pot reminds me of wintertime, but it doesn’t heat up your kitchen like the oven does so it’s the perfect appliance for summer cooking!

Biggest Challenges Cooking Real Food: Time! We have a 13 month old and while she’s a great companion while I’m cooking in the kitchen, our time is more limited than it used to be. I always do our meal planning a week ahead and go grocery shopping once a week. I run around like a crazy person during Lyla’s nap time and create the most from-scratch meals as possible. Feeding a little, developing body gives me extra motivation to eat and prepare food that I know exactly where it came from. Spending my free time nourishing my family with real food is a top priority for me. Plus, cooking is so relaxing.

Current Family Favorite Meal: This sounds weird, but we rarely make a recipe twice in our house. We pretty much always love any recipe we make, but I love trying new recipes (besides things like weekly batches of yogurt, granola, and preserving foods from our garden like pickles, dilly beans, spaghetti and pizza sauce). Now that it’s getting to be Fall, I’ll start regular batches of crockpot steel cut oats which are always a favorite of ours and make weekday breakfasts quick, easy, and healthy.

Favorite Cookbooks: We have a zillion cookbooks, but to be honest, I’ve been a little addicted to pinterest and real food blogs lately. It’s been a while since I’ve opened a cookbook. Instead, I always have my iPhone close by in the kitchen with a recipe open. If I had to pick, [easyazon-link asin=”0609806440″ locale=”us”]The Whole Foods Market Cookbook[/easyazon-link] is one of my favorites.

Laura, with her handsome husband Nic and beautiful baby Lyla


We just have 2 sides to our kitchen, the sink/dishwasher side and the stove/fridge side. We use our oven a ton for cooking, but I love having a toaster oven for smaller jobs and for heating things up quickly instead of using the microwave. My tea kettle is always out and ready! This is the cleanest my kitchen will ever look. Lyla is usually playing with our food storage containers or pots and pans. Our fridge is covered with wooden animal magnets for her to play with as well.


We have a formal dining room (not included in this kitchen tour), which I love but we don’t eat in there quite as often as we eat in this kitchenette area. It’s the perfect sized table for the three of us. We don’t have a traditional high chair for Lyla because I like that this one gets her right up to the table. I want Lyla to grow up knowing that meal time, cooking and trying new foods, and sharing details about our day together is important.
There is always something going on in our kitchen. I’ve come to the realization that the kitchen is only clean when we are sleeping (and even then, sometimes we have things brewing on the counters overnight). Right now on the counter there is spaghetti sauce that we just canned, basil pesto defrosting for dinner, and an apple yogurt cake cooling to celebrate my sister’s birthday.


Close up view of our current stash of produce. We love anything with onions and garlic, so I always keep plenty on hand. The taller stand has organic apples (can’t wait until our own trees start producing apples!) and bananas, and the basket contains food from our garden: Beefsteak and San Marzano tomatoes, green and banana peppers, and carrots. And of course, our kitchen compost bucket.


Woa, our yellow walls are screaming out at me right now from this picture. Must get on that painting project. This is my favorite spot in the kitchen, where I keep all of my tea. Right now I’m on a Rishi Tea kick, but I love all kinds. We are sticklers on using cloth napkins in our house to reduce waste, so I always have a big stack of clean napkins in different colors and patterns, because it’s more fun that way.


Our fridge is a little scary and unorganized right now, so I will only allow you to see a couple of shelves. I spy leftover honey and balsamic glazed carrots, chopped up green pepper and broccoli for Lyla’s snack, dilly beans, jalapeno hot sauce, pepper relish, garlic dill pickles, a little bacon grease (yum), and I see a couple cartons of eggs peaking through below.


Our compost bin is conveniently almost right outside of our kitchen door. We are not food wasters, so I’m always stunned at how many kitchen scraps we go through just from preparing food. It makes me happy that it’s not going to waste in our compost bins. I’m feeding our precious and productive worms and our garden gets a beautiful dose of compost each year.


Technically, this is not a picture of our kitchen. I had to include this because our garden dictates much of what goes on in our kitchen. During the summer, our meals are planned around what is ripening that week and during the winter I am constantly checking out what is left from what we have preserved to incorporate into our meals.


Can’t wait for these babies to ripen!


Lyla sure does know her real food!


About Joanna

My husband Ryan and I live with our two pooches, Denali and Kaiyuh, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have always had a fascination for recipes with fresh, wholesome, and real food. The closer I can get to vine ripened the better. The more we have gotten to know the community we live in, we’ve found access to local produce, dairy, and meats that have been healthily and humanly raised. You can’t beat that! Ryan and I love the outdoors, so in our free time we’re always looking to get out in the sunshine.

I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in Community Health Promotion and Wellness. This past May I finished my masters
program at Marquette University. I am a Certified Nurse Midwife and work at a hospital in the heart of Milwaukee. I love women’s health and enjoy working with
women to improve their own wellness. — Joanna Sheets

Blog Name: Whole Green Love
Blog Author: Joanna Sheets
Location: Milwaukee, WI
How Long Blogging: 2 years
House or Apartment: House
Size of Kitchen: Our kitchen is about 10ft x 11ft, but there is a    breakfast area attached for more storage and seating.
Things You Love About Your Kitchen: I love that my kitchen is open and spacious with lots of storage. It’s perfect for all my kitchen gadgets and serving dishes. The appliances are newer so they look nice, but most importantly they work well. There is also enough room for a couple people to work on some real food masterpieces without getting in the way of each other…always a bonus.
Things You Would Change: I’m glad to have a nice functioning kitchen, but if I could change a few things I would definitely change the colors and appearance of our kitchen. We have rented our house a little over 2 years, so we obviously aren’t looking to invest money into countertops and backsplashes. Ultimately, I would love a simple and earthy looking kitchen with lots of natural light. A larger and more accessible pantry would also be an added bonus. Oh, I almost forgot! I need a range hood. Not that I don’t like the smell of bacon, but I could really do without the smell 3 days later.
Favorite Tools & Gadgets: I have a few favorites that I just couldn’t live without. My immersion blender, juicer, blender, KitchenAid mixer, and salad spinner are my kitchen loves. They make food easier and more creative. I couldn’t eat what I do without them.
Biggest Challenges Cooking Real Food: I know many people would agree…time! Life can be very busy, but with a plan and preparation you can make real food happen. Plus, some of the best meals are the simplest ones! Since we don’t have a garden at our house we’ve invested in a farm share. It’s the next best thing! We get lovely organic produce every week with beautiful eggs every other week. It’s a perfect alternative to growing it yourself.
Current Family Favorite Meal: Ryan and I have been on a fall salad kick. Nothing beats a mix of fresh greens, apples, sharp cheddar cheese, almonds, and crispy bacon. Did I mention I serve it up with a cider vinaigrette? Yum!
Favorite Cookbooks: I tend to rotate through cookbooks. I have so many of them that I will only keep a few out on my counter at one time. I love getting ideas for recipes online and in magazines, but my favorite cookbooks right now are: [easyazon-link asin=”0061825948″ locale=”us”]Earth to Table[/easyazon-link] and [easyazon-link asin=”0761156348″ locale=”us”]The Earth-Bound Cook[/easyazon-link]. They both have great recipes and lovely food photos. I like to see what I’m going to be making.

This is a close up of one counter area in my kitchen. As you can see it gets lots of action in the juicing department. The cabinets above hold all of my tea products & supplies, so a lot of tea brewing occurs in this space as well. I love succulents! You’ll see them in any area of my house that gets decent sun exposure. These little plants are my absolute favorite to grow and admire.


This is the other side of my main workspace and counter. I like keeping my blender and mixer out, so they are easily accessible. We make lots of fun smoothies in our house, so I like to keep my blender at arms reach! The cabinet above my mixer holds most of my baking ingredients, which is nice so that I don’t have to run all over the kitchen grabbing a pinch of this and a dabble of that! I like having a colander out so I can clean fruits and veggies on the go if needed. If you haven’t noticed Ryan and I like to have things ready to go for time-savings. While I was finishing up my masters program extra time was sparse, but now with both of us starting new careers we are still looking for time-saving help in our kitchen. Cooking has always been a passion and favorite activity for me, so I know I will always make time for real food. I’m looking forward to learning how to ferment foods and explore some new recipes!


Here is my packed freezer. We keep lots of fruits and veggies ready for quick meal add-ins. The top shelf has mostly fruit on it, but it does have a giant jar of pesto that I made recently. Yum! The lower shelf has a bunch of greens from my farm share. Most of this is fresh spinach that I have individually packaged, so I can easily add it to smoothies or toss it into whatever I am whipping up on the stove.


Here is a glimpse into our fridge. We have some fresh veggies, herbs, maple syrup, and eggs from our farm share. There are a few apples that we picked at a local orchard this past weekend. We always have some form of pickles and sauerkraut in our fridge. This is my first batch of baby dill pickles. I was so excited to make them! There is also a wedge of raw aged cheddar cheese. Divine. Our fridge will be packed again on Friday after we pick up our farm share. We have to keep our fridge stocked with only the basics, so we have room for all of our produce we get on Fridays.


Our tea cabinet is my little piece of heaven in our kitchen. I love nothing more than a delicious cup of tea to relax and rejuvenate. This cabinet helped me keep my sanity while finishing school.


This is the bonus counter top and cabinet space in our breakfast nook area. I like keeping a few of my favorite cookbooks out on it, so I can easily peruse for a new recipe to try. It’s also great if I am making a large meal for a group and need extra counter space while I am preparing everything.


This shows most of my kitchen space. I like that it’s open and has windows on two walls. I have a thing for natural light, so I’m thankful for having a few windows to bring a little sunshine in. View out from our breakfast nook area. I like that you can enter and exit from two different doorways. Even though there is a wall it still feels pretty open and accessible.


Here is a picture of me with my pups! Denali is our German shepherd and Kaiyuh is our rambunctious Yorkshire terrier. Even my dogs like to get in on a little yoga action. Kaiyuh jumps right in, but Denali has her reservations…she usually snuggles next to us, so she feels in on the action! Ha. They enjoy my cooking as well…they race to clean up my “food oops” that I drop on the floor.


This is a picture of Ryan and I last weekend picking some apples at an orchard near us. I LOVE nothing more than Fall weather and all of the lovely harvest events that go with it.


Check Out the Previous Real Food Kitchen Tour Posts

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Homemade Mommy
Real Food Kitchen Tour: McKenzie McCarty
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Dimes2Vines
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Gutsy
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Wannabe Homesteader
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourishing Our Children
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life Is A Melody
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Too Many Jars in My Kitchen!
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Natural Health at Home
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Promise Land Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Mama and Baby Love
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Healthy Habit Coach
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life From Scratch
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Our Nourishing Roots
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Jody Brantley
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Eating My Vegetables
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Well Fed Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Unmistakably Food
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Health
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Prairie Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Bubbling Brook Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Taste is Trump
Real Food Kitchen Tour: CHEESESLAVE
Real Food Kitchen Tour: GAPS Diet Kitchen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Mom
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Radically Natural Living
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 cheeseslave 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 and photos by Memories by Michelle