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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
When she announced she was going to be writing a book I was super excited. I knew she would include some of the recipes from her blog, and she did, but there are a ton more in this book that are new, and sound amazing. Erica knows what she is doing and what she is talking about when it comes to cooking and preserving. As a former kitchen professional myself, I can spot a newb a mile away. Erica is for REAL. I have personally made her easy mayo three times in the last three weeks, (divine) I have made the Green Herb and Peanut Pork Meatballs (SO GOOD), and the Grilled Strip Steak with Chimichurri. Wow, chimichurri, why has it taken so long for you to come into my life?! I have also made the Lacto-Fermented Pico de Gallo, also very good, and very easy recipe.
But this book is about more than cooking, it has a ton of information and recipes for personal and home care products. I recently got "into" essential oils, and have always hated using harsh chemical cleaners. I love how Erica explained the science behind what type of cleaner you want for what mess you are cleaning, getting into the ph and acid qualities. LOVED IT. I love how it just all makes sense. I am going to be making up bottles of my own cleaners, as well as shampoo, etc. Next up will be Preserved Lemons so I can make the Moroccan Lamb dish. Heck yeah.
Looking at the sample pages provided in the preview will give you a good idea of what recipes are included. You will see that the book is divided by season, and each season is subdivided by cooking, preserving, home care, and personal care. There is also a year round staples section. I’m focusing this review of a few things that you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at the table of contents.
Normally I skim introductions and just jump into the book, but not only have I read the introduction, but have referenced it several times afterwards. She provides a comprehensive how-to for canning, lacto-fermentation, soap making etc. I was already familiar with canning, but I definitely needed the tutorials for the more advanced techniques!
A few "gems" that I have found in the introduction include her food preservation calendar and a long discussion about developing daily and seasonal cleaning routines. Bets are if you’re researching this book, then you are likely to enjoy these sections as well.
Again, I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of what I would consider bonus items like the essential oil blend recipes, and several recipe charts for salad dressings (20), fruit fillings for crisps or pies (7), and infused vinegars (9). Throughout the book, you will find helpful explanations on why certain things work. For me, I found this really invaluable. It gives more credibility to the recipes when you know that she took into consideration the proper pH level for your scalp/hair when recommending a shampoo and conditioner, or the acidity needed to remove mineral buildup.
I have two reasons for taking off a star. First, the reliance on working with lye for soap and shaving cream. This is certainly one method – but there are other methods as well so it would have been nice to have options that didn’t require proper ventilation, face masks, industrial gloves and the risk of acid burns (again, I live in an apartment, so this is definitely not an option)! To be fair, this method only includes 3 recipes - so I will simply have to look for shaving cream/soap recipes elsewhere. The second reason was the number of recipes that require a pressure canner. As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, this falls into the 25% category that would require a significant investment.
Overall – I would consider this book perfect for a person who has experimented with diy homekeeping and wants to take their skills to the next level.