Tag Archives | Homemade Living

Cookbooks: The Essential Book of Homesteading

Before she was writing books about picnics, parties, and beverages, Ashley English wrote a series of books about homestead. Published in 2010 and 2011, these books focused on food preservation, chicken keeping, bee keeping, and the art of home dairy.

It was an endlessly useful quartet of books that I’ve had on my shelf for years and referenced with some regularity (though admittedly, I didn’t have quite as much use for the volumes on bees and chickens as I did for those on canning and dairy).

A year or so ago, I noticed that Ashley’s series was getting harder to come by and I was sad to see such a useful resource drop out of print. Happily, I learned a few months back that my concerns were entirely unfounded. Her four books have instead been gathered together into a single edition.

Called The Essential Book of Homesteading, this edition is now one of the most thorough reference points for 21st century homesteader. It opens with a section on chickens and then marches through canning and preserving, bees, and home dairy.

The photography is vivid, useful and in full color. The recipes are approachable and the instructional details are clear and easy to follow. If you’ve been meaning to add a homesteading-themed book to your library, the release of this one could not be more well-timed!

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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. 

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.

A Good Book For the Can Jam (or anytime!)

Canning & Preserving with Ashley English

Goodness, the time has been flying lately. It’s been nearly a week since I posted (although, I’m firmly of the belief that the Pear Cake deserved every moment of its time in the spotlight) and this fresh, new month is a full seven days old. That also means that the deadline for this month’s Can Jam is rapidly approaching (just two more weeks)! If you’re still stumped for ideas as to how to incorporate herbs into a canning recipe, I’ve got the perfect book for you!

Canning & Preserving with Ashley English

Canner, chicken keeper, cheesemaker and all-around homesteading renaissance woman Ashley English has written a beautiful book devoted to the art of canning called (of all things) Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English. It contains all you need to know to transform you from an absolute canning novice into a someone deeply comfortable with the many aspects of food preservation.

Canning & Preserving with Ashley English

What’s more (and this is where the Can Jam comes in), many of her recipes tweak the old classics with the addition of fresh or dried herbs. That Meyer Lemon and Lemon Verbena Curd sounds pretty spectacular (please excuse the blur, I was speedily trying to photograph the book before the last afternoon sunlight slipped away).

Canning & Preserving with Ashley English

For the pucker fans in the crowd, this Herbed Pickled Asparagus sounds pretty delightful. She’s even included many herbs in her basic pickling brine recipe, which means you could take it as a starting place and head off in any number of directions. Personally, I’m thinking of swapping in rhubarb in her Peach and Lavender Butter.

If you can’t swing a new book purchase right now, make sure to check out Ashley’s blog, Small Measure, as well as her weekly column over on Design*Sponge.

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