I love the concept of a hope chest. It’s old-fashioned but also anticipatory and optimistic. Store up some well-loved, handmade goods and wait until the time is right to set off on a new (married) life. I have my own married-lady version of a hope chest–a natural reading collection that I use to inspire fun and useful projects!
My eyes are always bigger than my stomach when it comes to learning new things. But I always say “you don’t dream, you don’t get…” Photoshop (which I use almost daily now) was on my list for years!
The Complete Art & Science of Sausage Making by Tonia Reinhard, MS, RD, Brendan Reinhard and Brent Mitchell is a detailed guide for making sausage of all types. It’s especially timely now because charcuterie (sausage) plates are seriously trendy–and perfect for a classy appetizer or a special light dinner!
But there is that old saying about not wanting to know what goes into sausage making—and as a natural food advocate, this has always concerned me. So has the seriously expensive price of a lot of finer sausages.
The Complete Art & Science of Sausage Making can help provide a solution with 150 Healthy Homemade Recipes and a whole lot more. Full of information from the science of sausage… to sausage making equipment/ingredients … to a comprehensive collection of recipes (vegan sausage?!), this book is a great resource for anyone interested in trying their hand at homemade sausage.
The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book by Sue Becker covers another area that I’ve been mulling for years. Can you believe I’ve owned a flour mill for ages (it came super discounted with my stand mixer) and never tried it! Did you know that ground flour has a (significantly) shorter shelf life than whole grain? That you can make flour from dried chickpeas (which I always have on hand) or other legumes? If not, then this is just the book to expand your baking horizons.
The book covers (many) different types of flours, milling instruction, essential baking ingredients and whole-grain nutrition. It also has a large collection of recipes including Homemade Graham Crackers, Cream of Wheat and Sweet Rice Bread. With the wide range of flours covered, it would be an asset for those on a gluten free diet—or anyone who wants to get out of a plain flour baking rut!
The final book is Heirloom Plants: A Complete Compendium of Heritage Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs & Flower by Thomas Etty & Lorraine Harrison. Heirloom plants are historical, open-pollinated varieties that are often neglected by commercial growers but can provide an amazing bounty of flavor and variety to home gardeners. They are increasing in popularity with the growing interest in natural gardening and biodiversity.
Heirloom Plants is not only informative but attractive with illustrations based on British heritage seed merchant Thomas Etty’s catalogs. Besides providing information on a lot of heirloom varieties, there is an herb guide, companion planting information, tool information and much more. If you are ready to take your gardening beyond grabbing a handy package of seeds as you pass through Home Depot, this may be your ticket!
And now for the giveaway for a copy of Heirloom Plants, a $29.99 retail value. This is open to mailing addresses in the US and Canada and closes on Monday May 30 at midnight CST. To enter, leave a comment below telling me about a fun project that you have on your to do list. For a second entry, like Art of Natural Living on Facebook and leave a second comment letting me know you have done this. The winner will be picked randomly, contacted by email and have 24 hours to get back to me with mailing information or a new winner will be chosen.