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The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping Hardcover – September 29, 2015
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"A lifestyle guide for eco-conscious consumers."
"This title enables an easy start down the path to a homemade, fun, environmentally responsible lifestyle. Home cooks will discover fresh recipes and adopt techniques the author shared from her professional kitchen experience."
"The definitive homekeeping guide for the 21st century. Like a modern Mrs. Beeton’s, it’s the perfect book for anyone wanting to reduce their consumption, eat better, and live more sustainably and seasonably."
—Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars
"Seattleite Strauss offers tips for sustainability-minded modern homemaking. With recipes and instructions for 'urban homesteading,' this book explores reducing consumption and living healthfully."
—Alaska Beyond, Alaska Airlines magazine
"Strauss chronicles her homemade life in The Hands-On Home. The beginner-friendly book features 77 food recipes (think green herb lamb chops with preserved lemon oil) and 38 home and body-care recipes."
"Perfect for: People who love to make their own ingredients / Friends who are new to canning, preserving and homesteading / DIYers / Those passionate about nontoxic home and personal care, reducing consumerism and trying something new in the kitchen."
"Buy this book! Far beyond the realm of mere pickles and jam, Erica Strauss provides expert insight into everything we should have learned from our wise great-grandmothers. I am edified to learn that the sweat equity and creativity behind body soap, laundry soap, and a whole panoply of personal and home care products is just as important as the food we grow and eat. Season by season, room by room, Strauss is your skilled guide to a more holistic and healthy way to celebrate domestic bliss."
—Karen Solomon, author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Asian Pickles
"[Erica Strauss is] something like a one-woman Sunset magazine for home cooks and gardeners in the Seattle region. In this "seasonal guide to cooking, preserving, and natural home keeping" she relays recipes and advice for making your kitchen and home as DIY as you like, from making your own tortillas to making your own toothpaste. It’s an attractively photographed, empowering doorstop of a book, whether readers want to learn canning or want to change their lives."
—The Seattle Times
"Strauss offers a kitchen-smart and eco-conscious guide for economical and creative home care that anyone will love. A great gift for just-married's, new home owners, or the DIY enthusiast in your life."
—Amy Pennington, author of Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening
"The book is separated by season, offering simple tips and tricks for the quiet, cozy activism of taking back your home, from seasonal recipes and preserving tips to guides to making your own Bronners-style Castile soap, DIY oven cleaner, and lip balm."
"Hands-On Home is the book that every household needs! It contains incredibly valuable wisdom that can help us minimize our consumerism and produce more of what we need, right in our own homes. Well-organized with simple tips and recipes, Erica's engaging and witty tone will surely make the experience fun for anyone who wants to have a healthier and more abundant life!"
—Jessi Bloom, author of Free-Range Chicken Gardens
"Get your hands on this detailed guide to turning your home into a center of production. Erica Strauss is one of the foremost practitioners of the new home economics."
—Erik Knutzen, co author with Kelly Coyne, of The Urban Homestead
"Reading Strauss’ handbook of modern homemaking is like having a very wise and funny friend at your elbow guiding the way towards a cleaner house, a healthier table, and a tastier pantry. With recipes for making everything from beeswax candles to divine homemade yogurt and tips on cleaning everything from soil stained gardener hands to a greasy stove, Strauss proves that the road to a happy life is paved by taking pleasure in making and using simple things."
—Willi Galloway, author of Grow Cook Eat
"Strauss makes a great argument against artificially colored, lavishly scented, and disturbingly toxic commercial lotions and potions. She advocates instead for some basic housekeeping tools and effective homemade cleaners. She also gives a thoughtful presentation on how to customize your daily housekeeping routines, your regular weekly maintenance, and your seasonal deep cleaning in a way that is workable for you. The Hands-On Home encourages DIY wannabes to give this stuff a try, and provides justification and good instructions for doing so."
"Erica Strauss will help you graduate from macaroni picture frames, and create natural lip balm, bath bombs, and body scrub."
"The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss is a practical primer for modern, natural homesteading with advice on cooking, preserving, cleaning, and personal care. Organized by season, it offers a years’ worth of do-able projects for DIY living, plus enticing recipes like Swiss Chard Gratin and Short Ribs in Red Wine."
"Erica Strauss acts as your seasonal guide to cooking, cleaning and caring for yourself and your family in a more active way, and making your house truly feel like a home."
"This book tells you how to live a more beautiful, delicious, and clean life with items you probably already have...It's fun and approachable."
"[The] bath bombs are fun to make and the reward for your efforts is a long soak in a heavenly scented bath. Kids love them and if you can bear to give them away, they make great gifts."
—The Simple Things
"[The Hands-On Home] includes creative, money-saving tips covering just about every aspect of homekeeping."
"Pinterest-perfect craft[s] that are as useful as they are cute."
—Mother Earth News
“Chock-full of inspirational ideas for keeping a cozy, cheery home.”
—New Jersey Monthly
About the Author
Erica Strauss is the founder of Northwest Edible Life, one of the most popular and well-respected urban-homesteading and gardening blogs in the country. A professionally trained chef, she shares her fun and punchy perspective on garden-to-table eating and living a slower life though her writings. Erica was featured in Best Food Writing 2013 and regularly writes for national cooking and gardening magazines.
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Top customer reviews
What truly inspires me about Erica is that she's constantly experimenting, trying to figure out the best way to get things done and she's not afraid to make a few mistakes along the way. This book is not only a list of recipes for food, cleaners, and lotions based on her successful experiments, but a guidebook on how to conduct your own experiments. When you are canning, what will cause you to die of botulism and what can you experiment with? How can you get creative when trying to keep yogurt at 110 degrees for several hours during the yogurt-making process? What cleaners are the easiest to make? How do you avoid the frizzies when making your own shampoo?
Even better, Erica goes at her experiments with her characteristic humility and humor. It's easy to be intimidated by all her knowledge until she tells the stories of the first time she canned a Costco pineapple or bought chemical cleaners by the truckload. She wasn't always an urban homesteading diva. There's hope for all of us.
The presentation is seasonal, plus a sort of “basics for all seasons” section at the beginning. This organization is convenient as a reference and helps break up the vast quantity of information into easily approachable chunks. And the information contained here IS vast! But with the author’s conversational and personal tone, it is also approachable and memorably illustrated with anecdotes from her prior career as a professional chef and current life as a modern homesteader.
Is The Hands-On Home a cookbook? Yes. Is it a preserving book? Yes. Is it a DIY home care handbook? Yes. Is it an inspirational lifestyle guidebook? Yes. It is all of these things and much more for weaving them into such an engaging and comprehensive reference.
The book is well organized, and refreshingly realistic. Rather than some author telling me "you should clean your home this ONE way and if you don't do it this way then you will fail and you are not as good as I am," Erica Strauss delivers options, and realistically acknowledges that we all may fall off the band wagon... and that it's okay. Just get back on when you're ready. Her advice is easy to implement. The recipes are easy to follow. There was the occasional direction that made me wonder: How do you do that? And guess what- she always had the answer. This means if you're a newbie to anything in the kitchen, Strauss has you covered.
Lastly, she's down to earth and funny. Buy this book.