Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Made-from-Scratch Life

The Made-from-Scratch Life: The Charm of Home

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing popular blogger Melissa K. Norris' book, The Made-from-Scratch-Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home.  Melissa is a homesteader in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. She tackles frugal tips, canning, organic gardening and pest control, cooking from scratch, making jams and jellies like a pro, raising livestock and much much more.   Melissa writes inspirational stories tying her lessons back to faith and scripture in an endearing way that made her tips as fun to read as they were useful.  

The Made-from-Scratch Life: The Charm of Home

Melissa describes herself as living with "her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains." (back cover)  I; more than a few times, noticed her descriptions reminding me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series.  I really enjoyed Melissa's stories about her trials.  She would share a story of how a specific scripture applied to her personally. Such a great testimony of how God touches us each if we are paying attention.  

The Made-from-Scratch Life: The Charm of Home

I enjoyed the scripture woven into her stories it proved the homesteading lifestyle to be one that personally brought her closer to God. My favorite chapter in the book was the last one titled; "Traditions." (181)  She opens the chapter with a quote of scripture that happens to be one of my favorites.  
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."   (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
She goes on to share her families Christmas tradition of hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.  Her descriptive writing was delightfully entertaining. An example: "There is just something about Christmas and peppermint.  They go together like freshly fallen snow and a moonlight night." (191)  

Easy Chocolate Ganache: The Charm of Home

She is especially effective at weaving the stories of the bible into her practical homesteading wisdom.  In this chapter while describing being a good hostess she ties in the story of Jesus and the miracle of the loaves and fishes. (Luke 9:16)  I loved her take on this story.  Melissa K. Norris wrote,"Jesus took what he had. He didn't whine about not having enough. He didn't throw up his hands and say,"well, there's not enough so it's pointless to try."  
He gave thanks.
He gave thanks before the food was multiplied......before the miracle had taken place. This is a tradition of both thanks and faith." (193) 
I thought that was an impressive way to make an example of the traditions of thanks and faith.  Melissa has many wonderful narratives like this in the book full of old-fashioned practical wisdom. 

The Made-from-Scratch Life: The Charm of Home

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I cleaned with baking soda; which I have never tried before, with pretty good results.  I also made her Grandmother's Chocolate Mayo Cake and frosted it with the Easy Chocolate Ganache.  The cake and ganache were amazing.  The ganache was perfect in its application and appearance.   I will share that recipe.  I also had every ingredient for the cake and icing on hand without a trip to the store.  I LOVE recipes like that.

Easy Chocolate Ganache: The Charm of Home

Easy Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate chopped

Place chocolate chips or chunks in a heatproof bowl and set aside.  Over medium heat, bring cream to just barely a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth and incorporated.  Allow ganache to cool a touch until it's still warm, but not hot, and then pour over your cake.

Note: Chill the cake before making the ganache, as it will adhere better to a cold cake. (186)

I highly recommend this book.  It was a delight to read and full wisdom  of practical recipes and tips.  I took my time reading it and found myself highlighting it.  I like when a book is that full of info.  

The Made-from-Scratch Life: The Charm of Home

Melissa has a fabulous blog with podcasts and many resources.  She has a series of podcasts discussing the Great Depression Era which I really liked.  I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Depression Era cooking.   
Find Melissa's podcasts, blog, and more recipes here: MelissaK.Norris.com   
Order her book here:  The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home  

Thank you to Anita and Melissa for providing me with a copy of this book for review.  The review and opinions were entirely my own.  


I will link this to:
There Is No Place Like Home at Rose Chintz Cottage 
Home & Garden Thursdayat A Delightsome Life
Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups 
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House 
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Vintage Charm at Charm Bracelet Diva
The Homemaking Party at Classical Homemaking
Thoughts of Home at Decor to Adore
Rooted in Thyme Simple and Sweet Fridays
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen 
Five Star Frou-Frou at A Tray of Bliss
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home
Welcome Home Wednesday at Suburban Simplicity

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations
Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life
Foodie Friends Friday at Walking on Sunshine


Pura Vida said...

lovely...I like the honey in such a cute little jar...I will have to try that!

Bernideen said...

Dear Sherry:
What is it about women loving chocolate - I sure do! This cake looks very professional and delicious. I think her cookbook sounds divine. I was at Barnes and Nobles earlier today and talked myself out of more cookbooks. Thanks for sharing and linking.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

This sounds like an extraordinary read, Sherry! I adore a book filled with simple truths and stories related back to scripture. I have always loved the writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder so I know I would enjoy this book. Your cake looks amazing, by the way. Thank you for this lovely post on homemaking and faith. It was a pleasure to read.


Margie said...

The chocolate cake looks amazing. YUM! YUM! YUM!

handmade by amalia said...

Sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for sharing.

Liz SimpleDecoratingTips said...

Sherry, this book sounds like something I'd like to read, thanks for sharing so well about it! My sister and her husband and kids actually were homesteaders in Alaska. I think I may just get this book for her to enjoy too. Liz

Poppy @ With a Dash of Color said...

Sounds like a wonderful read, Sherry! And that chocolate mayo cake looks divine!
Hugs, Poppy

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

The cake looks scrumptious and the book sounds lovely. I've never come across a cook book with biblical references. I'm sure it makes a great read. Thank for sharing over at Vintage Charm. Hope to see you there again tomorrow! xo Kathleen

Melissa K Norris said...


Can you believe I"ve never paired the ganache with my grandma's cake? Oh my goodness, this is now Easter dessert!
Your photos are beautiful and I"m so thrilled you enjoyed the book.


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