Book Giveaway: The Suburban Micro-Farm

The Suburban Micro Farm book

 

This month I’m excited to give away a brand new copy of Amy Stross’s terrific book, The Suburban Micro-Farm: Modern Solutions for Busy People ( Twisted Creek Press, $24.95). Amy blogs over at TenthAcreFarm, where she writes about permaculture gardening and urban homesteading from her tenth-acre yard in the suburbs of Cincinnati.

For those of us who are stretched for time but still would love to yield abundant harvests in our gardens, Amy’s 344-page book is full of great ideas, practical advice, helpful illustrations, charts, photos, and resources.

She begins with a good section on managing expectations, and shares her own strategies for planning and scheduling gardening tasks — many in 15-minute increments. Next, she provides tips on how to improve suburban soil. From there, she covers a variety of helpful topics like getting organized and sketching out your garden, starting plants from seed, growing your own fruits and vegetables, extending seasons with cold frames, growing herbs, incorporating edible plants into a suburban landscape, and a great section on permaculture and micro-farming.

I was especially inspired by the last chapter, where Amy covers ideas and tips for generating income with your suburban farm, from growing cut flowers to making your own maple syrup. Reading this book made me look at our yard with a new point of view, wondering how I might transform some of the unproductive spaces into gardens that would produce good food — or even a little extra income.

This book would be a worthy addition to any gardener’s library. If you’d like to enter to win your own copy, just leave a comment on this page and reply to this question:

What’s one new thing you’d like to grow in your garden?

(After reading Amy’s book, I’m inspired to grow black raspberries.) The giveaway is open to anyone with a U.S. shipping address, and will run through Friday, April 21 at midnight MST.

BIG thanks to Amy Stross for providing the book for this giveaway, and good luck to all of you!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Free Cookbook Giveaway – Pumpkin It Up!

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

My newest cookbook, Pumpkin It Up!, has just been released by Gibbs Smith. I had so much fun developing and testing recipes that highlight the mild, earthy, slightly sweet flavor of pumpkin, and the result is a 128 page, four-color book that retails for $16.99. This month I’m giving away a free signed copy to one lucky, pumpkin-loving reader.

Pumpkin It Up! has 75 recipes that feature pumpkin in both sweet and savory ways.

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

It begins with a section about preparing pumpkins for cooking, with basic recipes for homemade pumpkin puree and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

It has recipes for breakfast treats like Pumpkin Cheesecake Crescents:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

…and soups like Pumpkin, Corn and Shrimp Bisque:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

It features pumpkin in side dishes like Maple-Roasted Pumpkin and Brussels Sprouts:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

…and dinners like soul-soothing Pumpkin Risotto:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

Pumpkin stars in desserts like Creamy Pumpkin Tiramisu:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

…and an old-fashioned Pumpkin Roll:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

…in sweets like Pumpkin Cream Chocolate Cups:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

and in treats like these pretty Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies:

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

You’ll even find a recipe for homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte in this book. #PSL!

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza Cross

 

To enter the drawing to win your own signed copy of Pumpkin It Up!, just answer this question in the Comments section at the bottom of this post:

What do you love best about autumn?

I can’t wait to read your answers. Be sure to include your e-mail address on the form when you post your comment (it won’t show to anyone but me). The giveaway is open to anyone with a shipping address in the U.S. and Canada, and you can enter between now and midnight MST on Friday, October 14.

Hugs and happy October!

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Be sure to check out yesterday’s post featuring the recipe for Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls.

The beautiful photos shown in Pumpkin It Up! are by Susan Barnson Hayward for Gibbs Smith.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Happy Simple Living Celebrates 10 Years with Memories and a Giveaway

Happy Simple Living blog birthday cake 10 years

 

Let’s eat cake! Happy Simple Living is 10 years old today.

It’s hard to believe that a decade ago today, I wrote my first post for this blog. Here’s how it looked back then:

 

Urban-Homesteader

Baby Steps” was a scintillating retelling of my replacing the lightbulbs in the garage door opener fixture with CFLs to save energy and money. Back then CFLs were relatively new and rather expensive, and the bulbs often gave off light that was both flickery and fluorescent (“It feels like a cheap motel,” my son famously said when I installed them in the hallway).

I first named this blog “Urban Homesteader,” with a goal of turning our suburban house and yard into a sort of mini farm. However, some other urban homesteaders trademarked the phrase and started taking legal action against people who used it.

Fortunately, this happened at exactly the same time I realized I was too lazy to raise chickens.

So I reframed the blog’s focus to better fit my heart and goals, and changed the name to Happy Simple Living.

Since then, I’ve posted about hundreds of topics ranging from Bindweed to Pine Mouth.

 

Pine Mouth | Happy Simple Living blog

(Note: If you get Pine Mouth from eating bad Chinese pine nuts, your face will look similar to the graphic above for 7 to 10 days.)

The most popular post, by a landslide, is a recipe I shared for homemade Greek yogurt.

 

Make your own Greek yogurt | Happy Simple Living blog

I never could have anticipated the hundreds of questions and comments this post would generate, and it’s still the most-visited page on the site five years later.

We’ve even had controversy here! Surprisingly, both posts had to do with my dishwasher.

 

Spot-free dishes at Happy Simple Living

When I wrote about substituting vinegar for rinse aid, one reader accused me of being a conspiracy theorist.

Then I wrote a bad, bad, bad post about how I arranged silverware in the dishwasher. This post generated a hateful discussion on Reddit, which still makes me feel oddly proud. I have since repented and now fling my silverware in the basket with reckless abandon.

Seven years ago, I decided to start the new year by taking a 30-day break from spending and the annual January Money Diet was born.

 

January Money Diet | Happy simple Living blog

 

Since then, thousands of people from all over the world have participated in the money diet. Our annual financial fast has even been featured on television and by publications like Forbes and U.S. News and World Report.

Through it all, the thing I love best about blogging is connecting with YOU. Your comments and ideas and thoughts make writing this blog one of the most fun, fulfilling things I do. You truly put the “happy” in Happy Simple Living.

To celebrate a decade of fun, I’m giving away a signed copy of my new, hot-off-the-press cookbook, 101 Things To Do With Beer. 

 

101 Things To Do With Beer cookbook

 

This book will help you add some “hoppiness” to every meal, with recipes for appetizers, breads, soups, main courses, sides, desserts, and sweets. Beer adds amazing depth and flavor to so many recipes, from Beer Battered Apple Fritters to Beer-Simmered Chicken Tacos, Garlic Parmesan Onion Rings and Chocolate Stout Ice Cream. Many of the recipes can also be made with nonalcoholic beer.

This spiral-bound cookbook won’t be available in stores until September 6, but one lucky reader will receive an early copy.

To enter, simply answer this question:

What does happy simple living mean to you?

Whether you share a tip, or a story, or your philosophy, or an idea, or your goals, or how much a beer cookbook will enhance your life, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Simple leave a comment at the bottom of this page and you’ll be automatically entered to win a signed copy of 101 Things To Do With Beer.

Even if you live in Antarctica, please enter because this drawing is open to every reader around the world. It will run through midnight MST on Monday, August 1, 2016, and I’ll announce the lucky winner on August 2.

Thank you for these ten years of exploring how to live simply and happily. You make the journey 101 times more fun!

With hugs and gratitude,

The signature for Eliza Cross

UPDATE: Congratulations to Julie, who won the cookbook. Keep reading for more giveaways in the future!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Win a Copy of the New Book 1001 Ways to Live WILD

1001 Ways to Live Wild | Happy Simple Living blog

 

This week, I’m giving away a brand new hardback copy of Barbara Ann Kipfer‘s latest book, 1,001 Ways to Live WILD. Barbara is the author of sixty books, including the mega-bestseller 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. 

1001 Ways to Live Wild pages | Happy Simple Living blogThis 384-page book ($19.95, published by National Geographic) is a feast for the senses, from its pretty cover to the colorful borders to its delicate, nature-inspired illustrations. The pages are filled with a trove of creative ideas to help us experience more adventure in our everyday lives.

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely stand to get a little more WILD.

Some of Barbara’s suggestions are fun and whimsical:

159. Tour an airplane factory.

508. Learn how to spin a basketball on your finger.

766. Hug a tree and a person today.

Some of her ideas might require a little more planning:

234. Take a ride in a vintage biplane.

451. Sleep in a castle for a night.

852. Lounge around a thermal pool under the midnight sun in Iceland.

Some of her tips are challenging and thought-provoking:

315. Leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.

664. Live and act from the understanding that all things change.

930. Watching wildlife can reawaken senses dulled by the man-made world.

Woven among the tips are inspirational quotes (“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” – Scandinavian proverb) and short lists like “Natural Phenomena to Go Wild For” (Aurora borealis and volcanic lightning, for example).

If you open a random page of this book, you can’t help but be inspired to try something new and bring a little adventure into your life. This pretty volume would make a wonderful gift for just about anyone, from a newlywed couple to a recent retiree to a graduating senior.

To enter the drawing to win your own copy of 1,001 Ways to Live WILD, just answer this question in the Comments section of this post:

What’s one wild thing you’ve always wanted to do?

Whether you long to dye your hair purple or yodel from the top of the Swiss Alps or learn how to play the electric guitar, we all want to hear your wild bucket list ideas!

The drawing is open to readers in the U.S. who reply between now and Thursday, May 5 at midnight MST. I’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner the following day.

Grateful thanks to Barbara Ann Kipfer, TLC Book Tours and National Geographic Partners for providing the book for this giveaway.

As for me, I’m going to try practicing Barbara’s tip #394 today:

“Live in a simple, direct way, without cluttering your mind with hatred, judgment, worry, doubt, or want. Choose the experience of genuine happiness.”

Hugs and happy simple living,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Win a Copy of the New Book How To Be Alive

howtobealive

This week, I’m giving away a brand new copy of Colin Beavan’s new book, How to Be Alive:  A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World. Colin gained notoriety when he wrote No Impact Man, a book about his year-long experiment to lead a zero net-impact existence in the middle of New York City.

If you’re reading this blog, I know you’re going to love How to Be Alive. Colin has a very friendly, engaging writing style, and I quickly connected with his premise. He challenges each one of us to figure out how to live truly happy and fulfilling lives, so we don’t leave this planet with deathbed regrets.

Beyond figuring out our own true needs and desires, he encourages us to find our calling and consider what we might do to improve things around us. He explores many spiritual concepts throughout the book, without ever being the teensiest bit preachy or judgmental—an approach I found so refreshing.

Author Colin Beavan

Colin Beavan

I loved reading Colin’s personal experiences woven throughout the chapters, like the story of when he decided to buy a boat and how boat ownership was so different from his original bliss of being out on the water on a friend’s boat. Haven’t we all experienced disappointment about a possession we bought thinking it would bring us joy?

This is a book that covers many deep topics, and yet at its heart it’s a surprisingly practical guidebook to help us figure out and map some of life’s big decisions. In fact, one of my favorite sections of the book is “Bootstrapping Your Way to Where You Want to Be” about small, low-risk steps we can take now to move us closer to thriving and crafting more meaning in our lives.

As a writer, I loved the exercises throughout the pages that challenged me to consider my life’s trajectory. What would I save in a fire, and why? What could I do to be more self-reliant? What is the gift that I want to give my community, town, state, or country?

If you’d like to win a hardback copy of this wonderful book, just answer this question on the Comments section of this page:

What is one improvement you would like to make in your life?

The drawing is open to readers in the U.S. who reply between now and Thursday, February 18 at midnight MST. I’ll do a random drawing and announce the winner the following day.

Grateful thanks to Colin Beavan, TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins Dey Street Books for providing the book for this giveaway.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Colin has a great blog, too. For a laugh and some excellent advice, you might enjoy starting with his post “No Impact Man Gets a Colonoscopy.”

 

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Win a Copy of My Favorite Book About Romance

Colorado Romance at Happy Simple Living blog

My dear friend Gail Riley and her husband Tom Statzell own a wonderful inn here in Colorado, Highland Haven Creekside Inn. In the charming town of Evergreen (about an hour’s drive from Denver) along the banks of Bear Creek, Gail and Tom have created a magical retreat with luxurious private cabins, suites, rooms and their latest labor of love, the TreeHouse.

Highland Haven at Happy Simple Living blog

A peek inside the TreeHouse

Highland Haven has been the setting for many marriage proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries, so it’s fitting that Gail wrote a book about romance.

Colorado Romance: Love Notes and Recipes for Happiness is filled with Gail’s sumptuous recipes and menus, photos, memories, and plenty of ideas for celebrating and fostering romance. She also shares a selection of writings from the guest journals that are in each room, and I can never read these tender thoughts about love and relationships without getting choked up.

This gorgeous, 152-page book retails for $35.00, and you could win your very own copy. In honor of Valentine’s Day, Gail has generously donated a hardback edition to give away to one lucky reader.

To enter, simply leave a comment below answering this question:

What does romance mean to you?

Share a memory, a bit of wisdom, your personal experience, your hopes, a quote, or whatever your thoughts are about this love-ly topic.

Gail and I will choose one winner from all the comments received by midnight MST this Friday, February 12. (Just a note – the book can be shipped to U.S. addresses only.) Good luck, and we all look forward to your comments!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Joy, who won the book giveaway. Check back for more giveaways soon.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

A Present for You – Block Island Organics Cleanser Giveaway

Block-Island-Cleanser

If you’re concerned about the chemicals used in skin care products as I am, you’ve probably tried to find safe, quality, non-toxic alternatives. It’s not always easy to find products that contain non-harmful ingredients and also perform well.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I rarely feature product reviews. However, when the nice folks at Block Island Organics asked if I’d like to try a sample of their Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser I didn’t hesitate to accept. Last year I tried the company’s natural mineral sunscreen, and loved it.

You may remember that I wrote about my environmental concerns with Aveeno Positively Radiant skin cleanser. The packaging seems green, but the ingredients list reads otherwise and contains polluting plastic microbeads.

The Block Island Organics cleanser, on the other hand, is fresh and light. Its ingredients list includes organic additives like rosehip, chamomile, sunflower, avocado and olive. The clear gel feels really nice going on, and after rinsing it off your skin feels soft and smooth, and not dry at all.

So that you can try it, too, Block Island Organics has reserved a full-sized bottle of cleanser for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this page and answer this question:

What simple pleasure are you enjoying during this holiday season?

Whatever brings you comfort and joy during this busy month of December, share it in a comment and you’ll be automatically entered. The giveaway is open for readers living in the United States, now through Thursday, December 24, at midnight MST.

You can also save 25% on any product from the Block Island Organics site between now and Thursday, Dec. 24 by entering this special discount code: elizac. (The code may not be combined with other codes.)

Thanks so much to Block Island Organics for sponsoring this giveaway, and enjoy this holiday week!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Karin, who won the Block Island Organics facial cleanser. Thanks to everyone who participated!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Win a Signed Copy of 101 Things To Do With Pumpkin

101 Things To Do With Pumpkin cookbook

My newest cookbook has just been released by Gibbs Smith, and I’m so excited to share it with you. 101 Things To Do With Pumpkin is filled with easy recipes featuring one of autumn’s most wonderful treats (did you guess already?) — the pumpkin.

 

Pumpkin patch | Happy Simple Living

This book was so much fun to write and test, and in addition to testing six different pies for the Desserts chapter I enjoyed developing new treats like Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, dinners like Pumpkin Apple Pecan Chicken, and desserts like Decadent Pumpkin Butter Cake

If you’d like to win a signed copy of 101 Things To Do With Pumpkin for yourself or your favorite pumpkin lover, just leave a comment at the end of this post and answer this question:

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?

Do you like pumpkin spice lattes or your mom’s just-baked pumpkin pies? Pumpkin risotto or pumpkin cheesecake? Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win one of 2 free copies.

Be sure to include your e-mail address when you post your comment (it won’t show to anyone but me) so I can contact you if you win. The drawing is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada, and the giveaway will end at midnight MST on Monday, October 26.

Hugs and happy autumn!

The signature for Eliza Cross

Thanks to Liz West for the use of her lovely pumpkin patch photo.

 

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Win a Signed Copy of 101 Things To Do With a Pickle

101 Things To Do With a Pickle cookbook by Eliza Cross

My newest cookbook has just been released by Gibbs Smith, and it’s all about things to do with crispy, crunchy pickles. You probably figured that out from looking at the cute cover.

 

Pickling cucumbers

Photo: Chiot’s Run

If you’re harvesting the last of your pickling cucumbers, you’ll find a whole chapter of recipes for homemade pickles, from easy Icebox Dill Pickle Spears to Grandma’s 7-Day Pickles.

Pickle Pastrami Roll-Ups

Pickle Pastrami Roll-Ups – recipe coming soon!

You’ll also find appetizers like Batter-Fried Pickle Spears and Pickle Pastrami Roll-Ups, and salads like Old-Fashioned Potato Salad and Danish Cobb Salad.

The Dinners chapter features easy recipes like Slow Cooker Pickle Pork and Creamy Dill Pickle Chicken. You’ll find offbeat recipes like Dill Pickle Soup and Neon State Fair Pickles, too.

You might not think of sweet pickles as a dessert ingredient, but you’ll be surprised at how delicious they taste in Pickle Cupcakes with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting and Sweet Pickle Ice Cream (especially favored by pregnant women). I’m not kidding!

If you’d like to win a signed copy of 101 Things To Do With a Pickle for yourself or your favorite pickle-lover, just leave a comment below and answer this question:

What type of pickles do you like best?

The Real Dill pickles

The Real Dill artisan pickles

Do you like your pickles sour or sweet? Are you a fan of garlicky Kosher pickle spears, or do you favor dill pickle slices? Do you like old-fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles, sweet gherkins, or do you prefer tiny French cornichons? Just shout out your answer before midnight MST on Monday, October 13 and you’ll be automatically entered.

Also, if you’ll be in Denver on Friday, October 24, I’d love to meet you at the official launch party for the book. It’ll be held at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs (home of Denver’s best fried pickles!) at 2148 Larimer Street from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. with free fried pickles for all, an artisan pickle tasting from The Real Dill, pickle shots, pickle dogs, discounted drinks and more. I’d love to see you there!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.