English Muffin Bread

I love me a good English muffin. Toasted with a little butter, alongside a runny poached egg and some maple smoked bacon…is there anything more comforting? Plus, in my opinion, it’s the best vehicle for jam and fruit butters ever. Which is why I was so excited when I noticed a recipe for english muffin bread in the back of one of my favorite canning books, Canning For a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. It has all of the qualities of a good English muffin, but with much less work and in loaf form.

If you ended up saving all of your whey from last weeks’ DIY Ricotta project, you are in luck! This recipe calls for a lot of whey, though you can substitute water or milk in certain spots. So even if you didn’t take my advice (told you it would be put to good use) you can still make this lovely loaf. Or you can make some cheese today and bread tomorrow. Then put your homemade cheese on your homemade English muffin bread! Genius, I’m telling you.

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How To Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Cheese making is really not as difficult as you might think. In fact, it’s actually quite simple, and a great project for small-apartment dwellers. Basic cheeses, such as farmer’s cheese and ricotta, don’t even require any special equipment or a large amount of space. All you need is some dairy and an acid to separate the curds from the whey. Plus the quality of the end product is so much better than the store bought stuff that there’s really no comparison.

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10 Questions With Ashley English

image credit: lark crafts

Today I bring you, hot off the press, a new 10 Questions With…. I’m so excited for this one that I can barely contain myself. I had the opportunity to sit-down (via our respective computers) with one of my true blogging inspirations—author and blogger Ashley English.

Ashley lives in a small mountain community in rural Candler, North Carolina, where she blogs about the important little things in life on her site Small-Measure. She has a strong passion for homesteading, which can be seen in her wonderful book series, Homemade Living, published through Lark Crafts. There are currently four titles: Canning & Preserving, Keeping Chickens, Home Dairy, and Keeping Bees (all of which are chockfull of wonderful content, not to mention adorned with extremely cute covers). In addition to her fabulous books and blog, she also writes a weekly column on the popular DIY blog Design*Sponge every Friday. So, simply put, she’s pretty much amazing.

That being said, you can only imagine how excited I was when Ashley agreed to do an interview with me for Handjobs. We began e-mailing in mid April and an instant connection was formed. She’s my one and only lady crush, I swear, and now a dear friend. So without further rambling, I give you 10 Questions With Ashley English.

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Thrifty Tip Tuesday: Sheet Pan Pizza

There are two things in life that I can honestly say I could eat endlessly: pizza and chinese. I’m not ashamed to say it because even though I like to cook with a lot of local, organic produce, it does not by any means mean that I don’t enjoy a sesame chicken combination plate and pepperoni slice from time to time. To be completely honest, I probably get pizza or chinese at least once a week. There, you now know my dirty little secret.

Chinese is too hard to cook at home, contains too many ingredients, and just never tastes as good as the divey  corner place (Flower Drum House, represent). Pizza, on the other hand, is a really simple way to cook with good ingredients, save a couple bucks, AND make something that tastes better than most pizza you can get in your neighborhood. Unless of course you live next to DiFara in Brooklyn, in which case you can stop reading this post and go grab a pie.

The best part about making pizza at home is that you don’t need any fancy pizza making tools, cooking stones, or wood burning ovens–all you need is a sheet pan.

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Cantaloupe Ice Snacks

We’re nearing the end of summer, as back-to-school specials hit store shelves and hints of fall start creeping into farmer’s markets. I already felt some chilly air this morning when Ira and I went for our morning walk around the block. It’s a time of year I both love and hate. Summer’s bounty of fruits and vegetables will soon be coming to a close, which means much less preserving in the fall. But the plus side is that I love fall weather, pumpkin and apple picking are on the horizon, and hosting a dinner party doesn’t include sweating through endless amounts of clothing. Plus my outfits are way cuter in the fall. I live for the first cool days of fall when you can open up all the windows, and let the stagnant air of summer escape, while inviting the smell of oak and crisp leaves in.

But before it gets too chilly and melons go into hibernation, I thought I’d make some cantaloupe ice pops to help you keep cool through the next few weeks. The flavor is hard to beat—sweet and smooth, with the tiniest touch of salt. It’s quickly becoming my new favorite dessert.

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Shrub Syrup Update!

Ok, so remember the Sweet Cherry Balsamic Shrub Syrup I made a couple of weeks back? Well, I’ve given it a little over two weeks to mellow out in the fridge and finally decided to give it a try last night.

Upon opening the jar I noticed that all the sugar did indeed get eaten up by the vinegar. That was a good sign. I took a sniff, and it smelt of sweet balsamic vinegar. Another good sign. So I proceeded to make a shrub cocktail—a jigger of vodka and 3 Tbsp of shrub syrup with some ice, topped off with fizzy seltzer.

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Thirfty Tip Tuesday: Super Flaky Pie Crust

photo credit: wellpreserved.ca

Today’s Thrifty Tip comes from one of my favorite blogs, Well Preserved. If you haven’t heard of it before, take a look. It’s absolutely fantastic. Dana and Joel have built quite the impressive urban homesteader archive, and I look forward to each and every new post.

If you’ve been following the Handjobs (For the Home) on Facebook, you may have noticed this tip yesterday, but I’m going to write about it again because I’m so in love with it.

You see, pie crust doesn’t have to cost upwards of $4 for an unimpressive, too crumbly, store bought rendition. If you have the right ingredients on hand, it doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. And it tastes oh so much better. But it’s important to take all the necessary steps to achieve that brown, buttery, flaky, goodness that is the perfect pie crust. The secret key? Really cold butter.

Well Preserved came up with the most awesome idea, which is to use frozen butter sticks and grate them on a box grater. Not only does this keep the butter cold, but it also helps to evenly distribute it throughout the pie crust. Such a great idea!

To read the full post and get the recipe, head over to Well Preserved right now!

If you have a Thrifty Tip you’d like to share on the blog, e-mail me at Handjobsforthehome@gmail.com


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