Wood Treasures.

I haven’t written a manifesto about my quest to have the loving.link household live as plastic free of a life as possible, yet but I will get to it. We’ve already committed to using cloth diapers and soon we will be using cloth wipes, but a few weeks ago I went on a raid through our house and ridded us of many plastic items. Especially, in the kitchen. Now, I will be the first to admit it will be a very long process.

I have a soft spot in my heart for thrifting-if any of you know me personally you know I would much rather spend $25 on someone’s donated treasures than buying one item at a household store for full retail price. It’s not only better for the environment saving space in landfills, but I think it’s super cool to imagine the story behind my treasures.

So… I used going plastic free as an excuse to pick up a few of these BEAUTIFUL wood kitchen items during my last trip to our local thrift store.

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I always check while I’m at the store on my phone to make sure I can’t get the same item on ebay or Etsy for cheaper. This happens to be a vintage ice bucket (an excuse to throw a dinner party this summer? Hey-O!) made in California and is worth about $50. I paid $3 for it. You can also see I did grocery shopping the same day. I love my veggies 🙂 hehe.

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I am trying to imagine this treasure being brought to the states by a world traveler from some African country or something. Its beautiful, and hand-woven. Another excuse to throw a dinner party I think? Yep.

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These bowls have been well-loved, have cracks, but are most definitely my favorite purchase of this shopping trip. They have replaced our plastic bowls the boys eat out of. The wood grain is BEAUTIFUL and I am so excited to feed my boys on something organic and natural.

I can’t wait to share my other wood purchases on my recent Vermont trip with my husband.

Coconut, Rice, & Mushroom Thai Curry Soup

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Do you ever commit to something and then realize, “Oh CRAP! I don’t have time to make soup and bread for my lunch date today”? Enter this amazing soup. I’m not normally one to “create” my own recipes because honestly, I just don’t have the guts to whip something up out of thin air and hope it turns out, but a few weeks ago I had a lunch date at a friends and couldn’t get to the store, and didn’t want to show up with something store bought. So I took a chance and gathered up some random ingredients and just decided to make this gem of a soup.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of vegetable broth (I used Edward & Songs Garden Veggie- My father in law gave it to me, but I think you can find something similar at your local health food store)
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 C chopped baby carrots
  • 1-1 1/2 C Mushrooms-Chopped
  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 2 tsp taste of thai red curry paste (more to taste)
  • 4 ounces of Coconut Cream or 8 ounces of Coconut Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a rice cooker or on your stovetop cook your brown rice. (1 cup brown rice to 2 cups water)
  2. Prepare your vegetable stock if you aren’t using homemade.
  3. Saute’ your onions until translucent and add to chicken stock.
  4. Chop carrots and add to chicken stock.
  5. Add coconut milk/cream and add red curry paste. Salt and Pepper to taste. Also feel free to add more curry paste if you want it spicier.
  6. Add mushrooms and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. When rice is done add to pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes. At this point I do some sampling to make sure I’ve added enough salt and pepper.
  8. Serve and Enjoy or store in Fridge until ready to eat.
  9. I sometimes add a little drizzle of red chile oil to the soup when serving.

 

 

Now I just needed to make some bread. This recipe is a pretty hearty recipe found, I believe from Cooks Illustrated. Although I just received it from a friend on a piece of paper.

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Whole Wheat, Rye, and Wheat Germ Sandwich Bread:

Makes two 9 inch loaves.

  • 2 1/3 C Warm Water (110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Instant Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 4 TBSP (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Toasted Wheat Germ
  • 1/4 C (7/8 of an ounce) Rye Flour
  • 3 C (16.5 ounces) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 2 3/4 C (13.75 ounces) Unbleached All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting.

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  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix water, yeast, honey, butter, and salt with a silicone spatula. Mix in the Rye flour, wheat germ, and 1 cup each of the whole wheat and all-purpose flours.
  2. Add the remaining whole wheat and all purpose flours, attach the dough hook, and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic-about 8 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead just long enough to make sure the dough is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough has doubled in volume, about one hour. I use my microwave to do this proofing. Leaving the door open a little so the light is on.
  4. Heat the oven to 375 degree. Gently Press down the dough and divide into two equal parts. Gently press each into a rectangle about one inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With the long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing down to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place each loaf seam-side down in a lightly oiled 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. pressing the dough gently so it touches all 4 sides of the pan. Cover the shaped dough; let it rise until almost doubled in size. About 20-30 minutes.
  5. Bake until and instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim reads 205 degrees, about 35-45 minutes.
  6. Transfer to cooling racks immediately, cool to room temp before eating.

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There you have it. Soup and Bread!

 

Bread Bowls with Coconut Curried Lentil Soup

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I need to remember to start taking photos with my camera, INSTEAD of my iPhone. The quality is not quite the same as my RebelXL. Sigh. I guess after I get the delicious dinner on the table, I just get so excited to eat it I can hardly even get ONE photo before their are bites out of it.

The amazing thing about this soup, even my two-year-old eats it. As you can see from the blurry Melissa & Doug Fire Truck place mat and almost empty bowl of soup on top of it 🙂

I first discovered this recipe at a friends house. But she found it here. My soup isn’t quite as vibrant as Mel’s, but I can imagine its just as scrumptious. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here, so you can use the recipe with the link above, the only thing I did differently was I used Coconut cream instead of the milk. It’s what I had on hand. Since then, I have made it with the coconut milk and it tasted just as yummy.

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I also made some bread bowls I found here. These are quite possibly one of the yummiest bread bowls I have EVER had. Enjoy!

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Vegetable Beef

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Little Oliver is slowly looking and acting like a big boy 🙂 Its so sad how fast it goes! He’s almost 6, yes, SIX months old! Just thought I’d share dinner time tonight! Organic Vegetable Beef medley of some sort. YUMMY!

Sushi Night

Lots of photos, lots of Sushi, and lots of fun!

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That was just the first plate.

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Can you tell I’m excited?

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Our second plate.

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And Third.

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We actually had a few more but got sick of taking photos.

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Green Tea Ice Cream wasn’t very good…

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Red Bean Ice Cream, however, super delish!

my christmas pillows

Oh, how I love love love the Holidays! Yesterday I decided the loving.link household needed to get just a little more festive for the Holiday season. I (again) wasn’t thinking about this blog when I was doing my project, so photos are lacking. But I have TONS of after photos.

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I decided to sew 4 new pillow covers for the couch cushions.

What you’ll need:

  • a pillow form (mine are from IKEA and world market)
  • Heat ‘n Bond (local fabric store)
  • a solid fabric (I got 1 1/2 yards)
  • a patterned fabric (I got 1 1/2 yards)
  • 18-22 inch coordinating zipper
  • matching thread
  • printer
  • printer paper and tracing paper
  • scissors
  • iron and ironing board
  • sewing machine

Directions For the Shape:

  1. Select the type of shape you want for your pillow ( I used this Deer and this Polar Bear)
  2. Print
  3. Following the Heat ‘N Bond directions iron on the HnB to the patterned fabric (I just did two 8.5 x 11 inch sections)
  4. Using the tracing paper, trace the printed object onto the paper side of the Heat ‘N Bond Fabric.
  5. Cut out your shape(s) and set them aside
  6. Using the sizing listed in the video below, cut out two pieces of fabric for your pillow. I had a 19 inch pillow so I cut mine 17 x 17. The video below gives a good break-down.
  7. Then take your shape and peel off the other side of the HnB and place it on the fabric square that will be used for your pillow.
  8. Iron until it sticks. ( I used flannel which didn’t work the best, so I had to iron it a little longer)
  9. Then this step is optional depending on how well the bond paper worked for you. I always stitch around the edge of the shape just so that its VERY sturdy and can be washed in the machine, plus it looks more professional.
  10. Proceed to making your covers.

Directions for the Zippered pillow:

  1. I used this youtube video. I’ve been using this same video for the past three years. Its easy to understand-even though it’s not the most “hip” video.
  2. I used white for both front and back with the animals on it, and a white back and flannel front for the ones without the animals.

I like it when I don’t have to type out a million steps 🙂

ENJOY! If you have questions please feel free to ask away!

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Thats my kitty Sammy 🙂 He loves the new covers.

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our tv hutch

So all great things come from small beginnings, right. Take a look at this.

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$35 dollars at the local Denver Goodwill (don’t even get me started on the Goodwill selection here in Rochester..GRRRR!!!)

With a lot of sanding, stain (classic grey), sealer, knobs, a few new screws… and BAM!

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We had to do a little baby-proofing for the side with the electronics…even though Aiden still seems to think he’s going to turn on the TV.

Oh, same knobs as my desk, I just LOVE them.