Spring doesn’t officially start for another month. But there are signs everywhere!
The days are lengthening, the snows are melting and the tiny fig tree I bought to raise indoors has sprouted five new leaves! (It immediately lost its two baby leaves when it arrived last fall, and I feared it was dead.) Soon new growth will be inching up through the soil and longer days will bring higher energy and new aspirations. I’m excited!
And I’m starting to plan!
So to help me get started, I’ve collected some of the best books offered to me (books were received free for purposes of a review) and am diving in for ideas and motivation.
Cupcake Handbook by Sue McMahon
The first book I looked at was Cupcake Handbook, because well, who doesn’t like a cupcake? Whether you are making trays of them to send off to school or a smaller batch for personal use or gatherings, cupcakes are always fun!
Now today’s cupcakes can go super fancy and one of the things I like about the Cupcake Handbook is that the cupcakes tend to be cute AND doable. I love pretty foods but am (seriously) klutzy in the kitchen. Here is a book that gives me hope (see the cute cupcake in the picture above–don’t you think you could do that)!
The book has over 80 recipes covering cupcakes, icing and decorating techniques. And at 12.99 retail would make a nice hostess gift or addition to a gift basket. Think Easter and Mother’s Day parties (for baking or giving)!
Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond by Alex Lewin & Raquel Guajardo
Fermenting has been around for ages — and lucky for us, it’s now becoming super popular! Between the health value of probiotics and the delightful natural flavors of homemade soda, etc., there is good reason for all the hype.
Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond packs a ton of information and recipes into its 200 pages. It focuses on beverages, so you won’t find kimchi in here (though vinegar, yogurt & kimchi soda are included), but you will be amazed at the variety of fermented beverages that exist.
This book covers fermenting basics & health benefits, along with recipes for many different fermented beverages (sodas, wines, milk & water kefir, and things I’d never heard of). I can tell it’s is going to be a mainstay in my kitchen!
Container Gardening Complete by Jessica Walliser
Whether you have a large yard or a tiny apartment balcony, container gardening is fun and trendy. Container Gardening Complete is a detailed resource, covering container basics, design, routine care, troubleshooting and more. And as a bonus, it gives information on both ornamental and edible plants.
Gardeners will appreciate the how-to tips on pest identification, fertilization, dead-heading, etc. as well as the great design advice. The book even includes more advanced projects like making a self-watering container, different ways to trellis and crafting a water garden.
I can’t wait to try the self-watering tips for when we go on vacation next summer. Yup, show me a piece of concrete and I’ll put a pot on it!
Garden Builder by Joann Moser
For someone who wants to take the garden project idea to the next level, another reading option is Garden Builder. The book includes plans and instructions for 35 projects including a cabinet greenhouse, kids potting bench and wooden garden obelisk.
All projects have material & tools lists, along with instructions and detailed pictures. Admittedly, some of the projects may be of rather narrow appeal (I never personally wanted to own a copper pipe bottle leaf sculpture), but others are darling. Yes, I’d totally like a couple wooden harvest boxes for summer produce storage and a mason jar bird or butterfly feeder!
With all the help in here, maybe I could become a real DIY-er after all!
- Harvest Brown Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries
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