Tag Archives | Ashley English

Giveaway: Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English

handmade gatherings cover

I have long been of the believe that when it comes to entertaining, people break down into just two groups. There are the dinner party people and potluck people. The dinner party folk like to have a certain amount of control over the menu and flow of the evening, whereas potluck people are fully content to put out a stack of plates and just see what happens.

handmade gatherings interior

However, with her new book, Handmade Gatherings, Ashley English offers up a middle way. With 16 seasonal gatherings, including recipes and crafts, these festive events give the dinner party people some structure while encouraging them to involve their guests in the process. For the potluck people among us, the book serves as encouragement to up the game ever so slightly.

handmade gatherings cake walk

Ashley opens the book with a little peek into her own entertaining history and then offers some insight about how to communicate with your guests, how to pick a location, and how to plan so that no one goes hungry (always have a back-up plan!). She also offers useful instruction on how to be a good guest, including a most helpful reminder to bring a serving utensil with your dish.

handmade gatherings canning

Because the parties are seasonally grounded, you’ll find things like egg-centric events, canning afternoons, ice cream socials, and even cookie swaps. The recipes, activities, and crafts are delicious, engaging, and fun (and manage never to cross the line into overly cutesy territory).

handmade gatherings morocco

What I find so nice about this book is that it is written so that every reader can take what they need from it. Some folks will recreate Ashley’s parties down to the very last dish, while others will use it for the inspiration it has to offer. I do like an entertaining book that adapts to the reader.

handmade gatherings spine

Thanks to Ashley and the team at Roost Books, I have one copy of Handmade Gatherings to give away. Here’s how to enter!

  • Leave a comment on this post and share a tale of a favorite party or potluck
  • Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 13, 2014
  • Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  • One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review and photography purposes. All opinions remain entirely my own. 

Links: Mincemeat, Harvest Crackers, and a Winner

Roasting garlic for a batch of mashed potatoes (my family's t-giving meal is today!).

I hope that everyone out there had a lovely Thanksgiving! Scott and I spent the actual holiday with his mom in Northern Virginia and then came back up to Philadelphia for a second celebratory meal with my extended family on Saturday night. My cousins sent me home with both turkey carcasses and I’ve been a machine for the last 24 hours, picking them apart, making stock, and running quart jars of finished stock through the pressure canner. It’s such satisfying preserving, because it is such a useful thing to have in the pantry.

Now, links!

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy pre-Thanksgiving days last week to enter the Ashley English Homemade Living series giveaway! The winner is #18, Chip in SC. He said, “I am thankful for my family and friends!” Chip, I feel the very same way.

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Giveaway: Ashley English’s Homemade Living Series

Homemade Living with Ashley English

I am sure that most of you are knee-deep in Thanksgiving lists and travel coordination this week, so I’m going to keep this giveaway post short and sweet. Thanks to Ashley English and the kind folks at Lark Crafts, I have one set of Ashley’s Homemade Living books to give away. This series includes Canning & Preserving, Home Dairy, Keeping Bees, Keeping Chickens.

These books are the perfect resource for those folks who want to delve deeper into an array of homestead-y arts. If you’re limited by space (like me) and can only dream about having property enough for a flock of chickens or a personal beehive, they also make excellent aspirational reading.

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Because Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, let’s focus on gratitude in the comments. I’ll go first. This year, I am exceedingly grateful for my family. I am deeply grateful for the amount of love in my life. And I am outrageously grateful for all of you who take the time to read these blog posts and make my recipes. Giant thanks to you all.

And now, in more organized fashion, the giveaway instructions.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share something for which you are grateful.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 30, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents (apologies to my more far-flung readers).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: The nice people at Lark Crafts are providing the books for this giveaway. My opinions remain my own and I received no compensation for this post. It’s here because I like Ashley and her work. 

Cookbooks: A Year of Pies

I did not grow up in a household where dessert was a regular thing. More often than not, when we asked about a sweet treat after dinner, we were pointed to the fruit bowl or a jar of applesauce. However, once or twice a year, there would be pie.

The pie happened on no particular schedule. My mom baked in response to her own cravings and could not be hurried or begging into producing pie. We learned early that it was better to leave her alone and accept the serendipitous pie than try to wheedle it into being. And accept it, we did. Her pies were always sturdy, not-too-sweet creations that piled mountains of fruit into a nutty, half whole wheat crust. My favorite thing was being allowed a slice for breakfast the next day.

Thanks to this early conditioning, pie will be forever feel like a way create a special occasion out of a Wednesday evening. It’s one of the things I hope to do with my kids someday (of course, I have to have them first).

You may be asking yourself, why is Marisa waxing poetic about her childhood pie memories? I recently got a review copy of Ashley English’s new book, A Year of Pies and now I can’t stop thinking about tucking food, both sweet and savory, between layers of crust.

Some of you probably know Ashley from her blog, Small Measure, or from her other four (!) books on all manner homesteady topics like Bee Keeping and Food Preservation. This book is similar in organization to her previous ones in that it offers an extensive section towards the front of the book that walks you through the equipment, the different kinds of crusts (and what each is best for), tips on rolling and the various techniques you can employ to achieve gorgeous crusts, before moving on to the recipes.

Once through that grounding section, the rest of the book is arranged by season, proving unequivocally that pie isn’t just a summer and fall dessert. Any winter day would be made better by the Maple Orange Walnut Pie on page 55 on the Carrot Pie on page 77.

The book contains sweet pies, savory pies (like the homey Chicken Pot Pie pictured below), tarts, galettes, crostada and hand pies. There are both bake and no-bake options and even a pie version of Polish-style stuffed cabbage. Ashley also invited a few of her blogging friends to contribute recipes, including a Gluten-Free Streusel Apple Pie from Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne.

For those of us who are working our way through baskets of berries and armloads of peaches this time of year, I think it’s important to put a little of that fruit aside and make something that allows us to enjoy the bounty now, as well as later. Pie is on my to-do list for later this week.

Thanks to Ashley and her publisher, Lark Crafts, I have a copy of this lovely pie book to share with one of you. If you want a chance to win a copy, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post, sharing a pie story. It can be your favorite kind of pie, a memorable slice you once ate or anything other pie fact you’d like to mention. .
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 3. Winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Saturday, August 4, 2012.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Lark Crafts gave me two copies of this book, one for review purposes and one to giveaway. However, my opinions remain, as always, entirely my own. 

Homemade Living with Ashley English Winner

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Goodness. There sure were a lot of you hoping to win Ashley English’s Homemade Living series! Deservedly too, as these books are truly excellent resources. Sadly, I have but one set to give away and random.org has selected #927. That’s the comment left by Shelagh, who said,

“I am in the process of transforming green beans (purchased from a friend’s tiny  organic farm) into dilly beans, which will get us through the long, cold Maine winter. “Canning and Preserving” would be welcome reading material as I plan next year’s garden.”

Shelagh, here’s hoping that these books help you plan your plot for 2012! For the rest of you, I do encourage you to seek out Ashley’s books going forward. Whether you were interested in Canning & Preserving, Keeping Chickens, Home Dairy and Keeping Bees, treat yourself to a copy or request one from the local library. They are most definitely worth reading!

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Giveaway: Homemade Living with Ashley English

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Ashley English is one of the hardest working women in the homemade movement that I know. In the last two years, she had published a series of four books (having only managed to write one in the same period of time, I am entirely gobsmacked by this accomplishment) with another one in the works. She also maintains her blog and contributes to Design*Sponge. And did I mention that she also had a baby during that same period. Truly, she is a marvel.

Homemade Living with Ashley English

More than a month ago now, Ashley sent me an email to ask if I’d be interested in giving away a collection of her four Homemade Living books, Canning & Preserving, Keeping Chickens, Home Dairy and Keeping Bees. Delighted (and more than a little starstruck), I said yes because I think her books are great.

I’ve used recipes from both Canning & Preserving and Home Dairy to really good result. The writing is appealing and approachable and the recipes just work.  And while I don’t have the ability to keep either chickens or bees, I must confess to occasionally flipping through those books. Aspirational reading, if you will.

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Now, to the giveaway. Here are the details…

  1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and share which book you’re most excited about.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Wednesday, September 7, 2011.
  3. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (apologies to my more far-flung readers).
  4. One entry/comment per person, please.

Disclosure: Ashley’s publisher sent me copies of three of these books (I already owned the canning & preserving book having bought it when it first came out) and are provided the set of four for the giveaway. However, despite the books and my unconcealed admiration for Ashley and her homemade living empire, my opinions are still all my own.