Book Review – The Hands-On Home

Today’s post is a review of a great book on keeping a natural, healthy home. I’ve already bought 3 copies of it – for myself, my mom, and my sister, and wanted to give you a peak into the book!

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The Hands-On Home is written by Erica Strauss, the author of my favourite blog – NW Edible Life. If you love food preservation, growing food, or eating food and are not reading this blog, you are missing out. Erica writes about all sorts of gardening, food preservation, and urban homesteading topics, and is always my go-to resource for when to plant my garden (she’s just north of me in Seattle), and she’s always good for a fun cocktail recipe too. I love the blog because her posts are not only educational, but she injects humour, and I feel like we would get along if I knew her in “real life.” Her book is extra special to me because I heard about it long before it came out, and tested some of her recipes in the early stages of book writing. I actually managed to get my name in the acknowledgements for the tiny bit of work I did! Fun! So I may be a bit biased in my love for this book, but here is my take, and a little bit more about what I like about the book.

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The Hands-On Home is organized by season, and by topics within each season. Within a season it features seasonal recipes for cooking, preservation, home care, and personal care. It also features some great year-round information like recipes that are great for all seasons, cleaning techniques and recipes for natural cleaners, food preparation and preservation techniques.  I like the seasonal organization of the book, because I can flip to winter, and make a dish that features ingredients that are actually in season in the winter, or get an idea of a food preservation idea for the winter. The personal care products are nicely organized by season as well, like a summer after-sun gel, or a winter lip balm, although many are also great across seasons.

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The contents for the summer preserving section.

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The Hands-On Home is also very well illustrated. The pictures are gorgeous and will leave you wanting to make every recipe in the book. So far all the recipes I’ve made have been delicious! From a Kamut salad with delicata squash and dried cherries, to homemade granola, or oven-roasted herb confit tomatoes, this book has recipes for everyone.

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One of the recipes I actually tested in the early stages that ended up in the book was this delicious shrimp dish with a fresh basil, corn, black beans, and avocado salad. So good!

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I’ve also been really into homemade personal care products lately, and I’ve enjoyed making many of the home and personal care recipes. So far I’ve made Erica’s lip balm, bath bombs, bath salts, laundry detergent, and bar soap. See my bars below! I’ve actually been making a lot of soap recently, and this was one of the favourites when my family tested my bars.

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So if you are looking for a great book with everything from DIY hair-styling wax to recipes for preserved mustard or lacto-fermented pico de gallo, you’ll love this book. I can’t wait until canning season rolls back around to try some more of the canning recipes!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review – The Hands-On Home

  1. I’m a fan of Erica’s too! I bought the book when it came out and bought second one for my daughter. So many good recipes and good ideas! I was already making my own laundry and dishwasher detergent but she has given me the confidence to try more homemade skin care products. It’s a lovely book. 🙂

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