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My Top 5 Favorite Books to Help Me "Make Stuff"

I use the internet a lot as a place to find recipes and get help "making our own stuff."  However, sometimes, it can really be a pain using the computer to find out how to, say, make my own laundry detergent--usually this involves scouring Google for an hour until I find a decent sounding recipe, waste paper and ink printing it off, make the detergent...and then find that I don't really care for the recipe.  So then I have to do it all over again until I find one I like.

Sometimes, it's just nicer to have some good reference books.  Something sitting on your bookshelf that you can easily grab, check the index, and find what you are looking for--no electricity required.

There are certain books we have in our collection that we go to over and over again.  Their pages are worn, likely stained in spots, dog eared here and there--these books are used heavily.  If one book doesn't have what I want, it is likely that another will.

Here I will share our 5 favorites:

1.  The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery

This book is huge--almost a thousand pages long--and packed full of useful information, recipes, and charming personal stories from the author, Carla Emery.  I absolutely love this book and use it frequently.  It covers everything from gardening, to raising livestock, using herbs, preserving food, making soap--you name it, the book probably tells you how to do it.

 2.   Reader's Digest Homemade

I have found this book to be especially helpful in finding recipes for homemade cleaners, but there are also recipes for pet food, home remedies, health and beauty supplies, and even condiments (it's where we found a homemade ketchup recipe that my husband likes to can).

3.  Reader's Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Yeah, another Reader's Digest book, but I find this one to be very helpful around the house.  It's full of all kinds of tips and tricks for different problems you might run into around your home.  It's especially useful for cleaning and home remedies.

4.  Growing 101 Herbs that Heal, by Tammi Hartung

This book is full of recipes and information on useful herbs.  I mostly use this book to make medicinal preparations, such as salves, tinctures, and infusions.  The book also has herb growing tips and how-to, along with profiles of each featured herb, describing its uses and properties.

5.  Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon

 This book will definitely make you think twice about what you are putting into your mouth!  It may be a hard idea for some to stomach, but the author of this book promotes animal fats and traditional food preparation methods, and provides evidence showing how low-fat diets can actually be harmful.

The author argues that "good" fats, such as butter from grass-fed cows and raw coconut oil, can be very beneficial to our bodies, while hydrogenated vegetable oils (commonly made from soybeans), margarine, and shortening are detrimental to our bodies.  The book also discusses the proper way to prepare grains, which sweeteners you should use, the benefits of raw dairy products, and lots of information on fermenting foods.

Most of the book is dedicated to recipes--there are lots of them.  It is a valuable resource for anyone who enjoys cooking from scratch.

I would recommend checking out some of these books from the library to see if you like them and find them to be useful.  If so, consider purchasing some of these books--that way, you will always have a convenient resource at your fingertips.


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