Welcome to the Heartland!

I’m Sarah and I’m married to the handsome, T., my college sweetheart.  We’re reformed urbanites who’ve spent the past 13 years in cities across the country; Las Cruces to Houston to Anchorage to San Francisco to Los Angeles and now. . . the greater Omaha area.  After all those years surrounded by people on all sides, we wanted a little breathing home and bought our first home in spring 2010; a century-old farmhouse on a little over 3 acres of land outside of Omaha, Nebraska.

We’re not your average Midwestern farmers.  T. still works downtown while I stay at home with our children. We went from living in a townhouse in LA to our farmhouse in a little over a year, from growing herbs in pots on our concrete patio to now having a vineyard, fruit trees and large organic garden and raising chickens in the backyard.  It boggles the mind some days . . .

A Little More about Sarah . . .

I am the proud mama of three children five and under; two boys and a baby girl. I’m a Christian holistic health coach, writer and speaker and work with women of faith who are seeking balance and health as they grow in their relationship with God.  I’m a cloth-diapering, breast-feeding, yogurt, sourdough and green-juice making mama who focuses on a natural, holistic view of  health and well-being and enjoys (heartily!) cooking and eating nourishing, tasty, real food. I am an INJF, an avid organic gardener, a bibliophile and amateur photographer.  I make my own mayonnaise.

Think you have me pegged?

I also am more preppy than hippie, prefer pearls and polo’s to patchouli and admit to a serious dark chocolate and caffeine addiction. I hate to clean bathrooms. I like a good steak. Bone-in. Ribeye. Medium. Served with a glass of (red) Zinfandel. I make an amazing gratin.

I’m a wanna-be Southern-belle with a gypsy sensibility. I like monograms, old silver, milk glass and artichokes. I collect personalized stationery, heirloom seeds and Sharpie pens.  I am a strong believer in having a tube of red liptick available at all times; sometimes it is just a red lipstick kind of day.  When I’m not wearing big pearl studs, I favor giant, dangly earrings.  My favorite holiday is Christmas.  I’m trying to find a happy medium between being “green” and being frugal and maintaining sanity. I am excellent at buying cards and gifts and very poor at sending them out on time.  Some days, I’m certain I’m going to homeschool. Other days, I think that sending my children to school might do wonders for my sanity.

A little more about T. . . .

T. is a world-class father who grew up on a farm in Nebraska and can’t wait to have his boys experience the same joys.  Though he grew up on a more traditional Midwestern farm in the early 80’s, he is enthusiastic about gardening organically and (perhaps) ultimately raising pastured pork and chickens.  Lately he’s taken over our little vineyard and is hoping to expand it and start pressing our own wine next year.

T. is a master of the grill and smoker.  He hunts.  He fishes.  He mows the lawn.  He loves (and played Division I) football.  He’s determined to convert the basement into a combination beer and wine-making endeavor.  He wants to construct a cold smoker.  He just completed his MBA this past summer while working full time.  He’s an all-around good guy who you’ll be hearing from once in a while.

A disclaimer . . .

We’re not perfect.  Though we’re working toward self-sufficiency and sustainability and local sources for our food and all that good stuff, we’re still card-carrying members of Costco.  So far we haven’t found a local source for bananas, lemons, avocados or coffee, yet you’ll still find them in our home on a regular basis. We don’t apologize for it, and neither should you, just come along for the ride and enjoy life.

About the Blog

You’ll find a little bit of everything here at Heartland Renaissance.  Gardening tips, and disasters.  Lots of recipes.  Pictures of our darling children.  Flowers.  Crayons.  Barbecue.  Wine.  Faith.

And what about that Blog Title?

The blog title is two-fold.  First, not only do we live in the midwest, aka the “Heartland” but I feel that our getting back to and giving back to the land to help feed our family and nourish our lives feeds our hearts and souls as well. And the Renaissance part?  It relates to the concept of a Renaissance man; someone who is interested in and excels at a wide variety of subject areas.  This blog isn’t only a food blog, a faith blog or a home and garden blog.  It’s a little bit of everything.  And that’s just the way we like it.

According to Wikipedia, another term for the concept of a Renaisance man is “polymath” but the “Prarie Polymath” just didn’t quite have the same ring to it. . . .

Also, I feel that there is a resurgence, a Renaissance, if you will, of interest in getting back to our farming roots.  The slow food/local food/farm-to-table movement is growing in the Midwest, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

More questions?  Check out my FAQ or send me an e-mail to sarah(at)sarahwarren(dot)net

Like my headshot and in the Sacramento, California area?  Check out Simply Portraits online.  Image credit to Amanda Weaver, Simply Portraits.

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  33 Responses to “About”

  1. I loved reading this! I feel as if we have so much in common! I just found your blog and can’t wait to read more. I only wished we lived closer!

  2. What a nice balance of life. Life is never, either or. The card carrying Costco reference is refreshing. I found your first blog earlier and now subscribe to this one. Thanks.

  3. Hi Sarah, I just found your blog! I too hope to move from urban life to the country in the next few years, so I hope to learn a thing or two from your experiences!

  4. Just found you and your dilly beans………will definitely try them ! Have been wondering how to make them after receiving a similar gift last Christmas.

    Do you or any of your readers know whether we can put lacto-fermented veggies in the freezer with sucess ? I’m brand new at all this……..and don’t have that much refrig space to spare. I’m assuming we’d kill off the ‘good stuff’ with water bath canner, so am wondering about the freezer ?

  5. Hi,
    Just ran into this site for the 1st time. I’m also semi local. If you want to add some more local sources of good food email me and I’ll be happy to share. Organic beef, organic pork, grains for the chickens, raw milk. Most of these are closer to you than me:) Raw milk in Omaha.

    I would only ask that you consider not posting them with out the permission of the individuals (maybe that’s a rule anyway, I’ve no idea.)

    Happy harvesting!


  6. Hello Sarah!
    I should begin by telling you that I live directly behind your mom and dad. My husband and I and our three little boys have gotten to know them over the course of this growing season! We share our harvest and cultivating tips, and I ask a lot of questions! We have learned so much from them and have come to really enjoy our over the fence talks! Tonight your mom told me about your blog, and I am just thrilled to get to learn a bit about you- I feel like I already know some from the stories I hear!
    I am excited to learn from you too! It sounds like the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and what a blessing!

    I look forward to meeting you in the future,

    • Thanks Amanda!

      We’ll be there in mid-October – and I have two boys who I’m sure would love to play with your three! Maybe we can meet then! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!


  7. Just got the idea to make gluten-free cinnamon rolls from your recipe today. Then checked out other recipes on rye sourdough and saw mention of your father’s pastrami. Any chance he gives out his recipe? I am dying for a pure source of pastrami but don’t have a good recipe to make my own!!!

    Thanks! You are greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Laree!

      Thank you so much! Good luck with the gluten-free rolls; luckily, I don’t have to go gluten-free in our household, but I know it’s a whole new learning process in terms of baking! I’m hoping to get some more meat and charcuterie recipes up this next year on the blog, but in the meantime here’s a recipe and technique very similar to what he uses. My dad used London Broil in the picture on the Polish Cottage Rye post, but is planning on making it from brisket from now on, and he’s got my husband on board to make a batch soon as well . . . I’m a lucky girl! Luckily, I’ve got another rye bread recipe I’ve been dying to make which would go beautifully with pastrami (again.)!


      In addition, I highly recommend checking out the book, “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman. It’s fantastic and so inspiring!

      Good luck!


  8. […] Sourdough Honey Whole Wheat Bread is the perfect sourdough bread for sandwiches and toast according to 4 of 5 in my household. Developed by Sarah Warren of Heartland Renaissance. […]

  9. Hey great to see you are doing well – It has been too long!
    Fred and Kim

  10. Hi, discovered your blog today and I am duly impressed! And more so because your faith isn’t the dominant feature of this blog. Just a nice person wanting good food and good health for your family. Way to go xoxo

  11. Hi Sarah,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your blog, everything from your juicing articles to creating bacon. Both of which my husband and I have tried. Also, many thanks for your inspiration to me as well, an aspiring blog writer. Also, I wanted to let you know that I read your book reviews and what you are reading now in your Daybook, in turn I have checked out those books. One being The Hunger Games trilogy. Which I have loved! In turn my husband is a movie/TV set lighting tech and he has been asked to work on the production of The Hunger Games production starts in a week or so. Locations are Charlotte/Asheville area presumably for District 12, Charlotte The Capitol. We have enjoyed going on IMDB.com looking at who has been cast for what character, we are friends with young Josh cast as Peeta. Due to your “suggestion”, Hunger Games has now a special spot in our life, not for my 9 year old to read yet but for us parents! Many thanks, if we have photos during shooting, we will send them your way. Yes, we used to live in LA, off and on for many years for I am a cameraperson/MOM, currently we reside in Cary, NC, hence the reason of us working in Hunger Gmaes, near home, not LA. We lived off from National and Barrington. Regards, Diane

  12. I just found your blog and instantly in LOVE. We have a lot in common in terms of sensibilities, but some differences in where we each are in the cycle – you’re way ahead, I’m still in the wishing stage. I can’t wait to read some of your recipes, I found you through a link to your salsa recipe that you posted on a GF site. Thanks for the intro, very interesting. I’ll be reading :-))

  13. Sarah give us a call or email it has been toooooo long. things are going well on this side of the cold world (AK). Been spending a lot of time in New Zealand filming. When you get a chance check out my latest film ‘Memoirs of a Vampire’
    http://www.wetafilms.com Just click on ‘Memoirs of a Vampire’ and this will take you to that home page that has the movie poster, soundtrack, visual effects, photos behind the scene and film clips. If you click on the photo of the young girl being carried by the Maori Warrior that will take you to the page that has some film clips on it. There is one scene that takes place in the far future (3998 A.D.) and the next scene takes you to the far past (1769 A.D.). We came a long way since we all worked together on the ‘Poker Game’ and ‘Ghost Town’ films. Kim says hello and said you better drop us a note LOL Anyway our love to you guys,

    Fred and Kim

  14. Sarah,

    I just stumbled across your blog while researching new cracker recipes, an endeavor I undertook when our boys were young but quit when they got older as they quickly ate all my hard work in one sitting, each and every time! ha ha! With summer rapidly ending and the school year quickly approaching (tomorrow) I decided it was time to start again.

    Alaska, huh? We lived in the interior for almost 5 years having only returned to the lower 48 18 months ago. Omaha, also… wow you are bringing back lots of memories! Our eldest two were both born at the military hospital at Offutt. In fact we bought our very first house 6 months after we got married in Plattsmouth!! I love the area there and have fond memories especially of taking organic gardening/horticulture classes at MCC. Omaha is where I met my husband, had our first two children, learned to can, and had my first little garden! It brings back many fond memories!!

    It was nice meeting you and I am looking forward to spending more time at your blog!

  15. Hi –
    just found your website through Kitchen Stewardship. Reading an article on making homemade yogurt, which is scary slightly to me, and there was a link for crockpot yogurt. Which brought me here to Heartland Renaissance.

    I must say, I love your website. And guess what? I live in Omaha, and try to practice what you are preaching. I also love gardening, canning, soaking grains, would like to try making my own sourdough starter, and love chickens!

    We raised 2 this summer through an embryology class offered through the extension office in Omaha. We sent our beloved rooster and hen on to a good cause, an inner city garden non-profit group that raises produce to donate to the disadvantaged in our community. They can even tend their own ‘plot’ of land and get fresh produce for their family. So it is a good cause. This group just added chickens to their healthy organic offerings and so we sent our chickens to a place where they can run and eat organic produce.

    We miss them terribly and do visit them.

    I do know a raw milk farmer if you need this info. But I won’t publish his name here for obvious reasons.

    If you like, you can email back. My husband also works downtown, next to the river! I hope I get to hear back, don’t hesitate to email me.

    Paula in Omaha, NE

  16. Hi Sara, I found your blog sarahs musings from kitchen stewardship. There Katie had a link to your recipe for sourdough foccacia. When i click on the link it briefly opens your sarahs musings page then redirects me to blogspot and i cant access your sight. I am really interested in this recipe as well as a few others there as well. Is there anyway i can access the recipes on that sight or will you be posting those same recipes on this sight?

    Thanks alot for all of your hard work.

  17. Hi Sarah, Glad to see you are doing well – drop us a line sometime. Fred

  18. Hey Sarah~
    How is life on the farm? Sounds great. I grew up on a farm in Arkansas with the chickens, cows, pigs, gardens and water from a well. My grandmother got indoor plumbing well after I was born and she never tired of exclaiming, “How handy is that!”

    I write to you today because I began a sourdough starter this week. When I got to day 5 and was instructed to split the starter and throw half out, I COULDN’T do it. I googled sourdough biscuits and after a good perusal, I selected your recipe. The one you say is from your grandmother. I have to say, that influenced me greatly in my choice. They baked up GREAT! I posted the results and your recipe on The Fresh Loaf site. And yes, I gave you credit and hope other TFLers will visit your site.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. My blog is at http://www.lisaslovinloaves.blogspot.com
    I have much to learn about the blog routine, however. Plan to post sourdough biscuits there soon.

  19. Thanks for the recipes and links. As usual our first freeze is coming and I have tons of tomatos, peppers etc… to harvest or cover so I am looking for more raw/lacto recipes. Just got cellulose blown in walls of our 100+ yr farmhouse so now back to focusing on harvest and planting trees. I have not bought mayo for over a year and belong to Costco as well but seem to spend more time at Trader Joes. Located outside of Plattsmouth, south of Omaha on 7 acres. Congrats on having the gumption to do chickens. Maybe someday. Have fun with that family of yours and maybe we will meet someday. Take care. Vicki

  20. I was just sent a link to your page today, and had a question for you. I am extremely allergic to cinnamon in all forms, and wonder if the Thieves Oil would still work without the Cassia bark?

    Also I noticed that you are now eating gluten free. I am not, however my boyfriend’s mother does. The best gluten free flour I have found for making goodies for her is betterbatter.org.

    Thank you,

    • Thanks Karen!

      The Thieves Oil would be just fine without the Cinnamon Oil (minus the lovely smell) if you’re allergic to cinnamon. If you want to replace it with something, I’d probably recommend either lavender or geranium oils as they have similar qualities to cassia bark oil (antiseptic, antiviral, etc.) but are still gentle enough to use regularly and they have a nice scent. I haven’t tried it myself so I’m not sure how the scent would mix with the others, but it’s worth a try! Good luck and let me know how it works!

      Thank you also for the recommendation to gluten-free baking blogs!


  21. Hi Sarah – Great website.
    I am a stay at home Mum also (2 preschoolers) and have been attempting a major habit change in our household in the last year and have been using the Nourishing Traditions book to help me along.
    Its great to read about someone giving it a go also (even though I have been mainly looking through your old blog).
    Very interested in your gardening trials & victories. All the best – you must be super woman to do all you do AND full time mum also!

    Katy H
    Auckland, New Zealand

  22. Hey Sarah,
    Just wanted to let you I adapted (read: stole) your sourdough biscuit recipe for my own blog. Quite good, and I’m with you on the lard!

    – Wm. Alexander
    Author, “52 Loaves: A Half-Baked Adventure”

  23. Sarah,
    First, I just want to say welcome to Omaha! LOL I’m from a big city myself! I married a military man, lived all over God’s green earth and “retired” here almost a decade ago! Time flies! We too love the Omaha area! My “baby boy” just applied to be a Husker!!!

    Second, I would like to thank you for your Creole Sauce recipe! This years drought really hurt my garden. Fortunately some friends from church, yes we’re Catholic too, asked us to clean out their garden when the big freeze hit. I found myself with 4 bushels of tomatoes! Luckily I’m an avid canner, but needed some variety for my pantry. And that “baby boy” is a big eater! He’s already putting dibs on my canning for college life next year so I’m currently making spicier dishs than his little sisters would like. We like this too because Louisiana is one of the many places we settled for a while, and we missed all that good food! Your recipe reminded me of it! I got a little under 6 quarts! Looking forward to some shrimp creole this winter!

    I noticed your comment/trepidation about the pressure cooker/canner. I am blessed to have my Grandmother’s passed down to me. Every year I take it out i read her note to me and send a prayer up to Heaven for her. I’ve been canning for almost 30 years so if you ever want help with or to tackle pressure canning I would be more than happy to help or give advice.

    I too like to live off my own resources, as much as I can(we have a Sam’s Card). Our little area is not allowed chickens :-(. But I am always on the look out for resources. Just found where to pick free wild plums this summer! So if you ever want to contact me, feel free. I might not have the answer, but I may know someone who does!

    Enjoy the much needed rain!

  24. Love your blog. We have much in common. I found you through Frugal Days and Sustainable Ways.
    Big Hugs to you for being REAL. Be Well and God Bless You and your family. Karen (a fellow Heartlander in Western Missouri)

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