Best of the Season : Spring 2015

At the end of each season, we take a look back and highlight our favorite posts. See previous Seasonal Bests here.

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Wow, spring felt like such a long season for us. We think it’s because it was a season filled with so many special events for us, most importantly the birth of Luc. We’re each hoping to fill the next three months with enough special moments that summer feels never-ending too. Wish us luck! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy clicking back through our favorite posts of winter. If you had a fave we didn’t mention, we would love to hear in the comments!

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Notes about Macarons

Nuts are our ingredient of the season. We’ve been using them for sweetsdrinkssnack bars and savory condiments!

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We decided to end our season of nuts with the fanciest and fussiest of all nutty desserts, the macaron. We’re talking French macarons here, the kind made with egg whites and ground almonds, not the double-o macaroons made with coconut. But a funny thing about this food post : we don’t include a recipe! As the title suggests, we’re sharing our baking notes about this fickle treat, because while they may cause us to get flustered while baking, we’re not going to stop trying to perfect our technique any time soon!

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I have to admit, I don’t remember where I had my first macaron, but what I do remember is the perfectly light and delicious almond flavor and the cookie’s combination of crunchy exterior and soft and chewy interior. Something I’ve been trying to recreate ever since.

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Dino DIY Terrarium

Hey there! Hopefully I met you today at the Anthracite Heritage Festival 🙂

Here’s how to assemble the Dino DIY Terrarium:

  1. Find a glass vessel.
  2. Line the bottom with stones.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of charcoal on top.
  4. Add a few inches of potting soil.
  5. Tuck small plants into the soil.
  6. Add moss and decorations.
  7. Keep the terrarium in indirect sunlight and mist when soil is dry.

Cheers!

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Red Cabbage and Apple Salad with Tahini-Ginger Dressing {Vegan + Gluten Free}

liveseasoned_sp15_cabbagesalad-3During a hectic week (like this one), I prepare a few cold salads to satisfy my lunch and snack cravings.  I’m not very good at taking breaks once I get into the groove of photo editing. Instead of starving, rely on a few quick and nutritious salads made ahead of time, like this Red Cabbage and Apple Salad with Tahini-Ginger Dressing.

Our friend Nicole sent me home with a big batch of red cabbage and apple salad a couple months ago.  I knew I had to share it on Seasoned after I devoured the entire container in less than six hours.  The Tahini-Ginger Dressing is SO tasty that I drank a bit of it. Yup. Right from the jar. It’s that good.

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Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Nuts are our ingredient of the season. We’ve been using them for sweetsdrinkssnack bars and savory condiments!

With summer approaching I began fantasizing about the hiking, camping, and other outside fun that we’re going to have. I also started thinking about snack ideas for those adventures, and having nuts on hand are a great, healthy option, but to keep things interesting, I like to swap out basic roasted nuts for this sweet and spicy option. A bag of roasted or spiced nuts holds up much better than our favorite fruit and nut snack bars, when stuffed into a pack, but those snack bars do make a great fast breakfast when you’re running out the door to get an early start on that hike!

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Thank You!

We wanted to say THANK YOU to those who have served, those currently serving and all the loved ones who died while serving. We appreciate you today and everyday.  Many thanks to those who are fighting for peace, justice and a more humane world in all spheres and workspaces as well.  We need you and we’re grateful for your work.

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This photograph is of our dear friend Nicole’s family during her husband’s promotion to Brigadier General.
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Weekend Recipe Roundup

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Hey there! A few friends are visiting this weekend and I found myself looking up old favorites in the archives of Live Seasoned.  I thought I’d share my picks with you 🙂

Best snack EVER. Today we made a vegan version with coconut oil, nutritional yeast (instead of parmesan) and garlic.

Lemonade all the way. This lemongrass tea is exceptional too!

We love making these honey and brie crackers as a party snack.

Remember this meal? I grill up those pork skewers all the time.

Quick pickles and spinach dip are my new summer party staples.

I picked up a mixed six pack of Carolina beers and a sixer of Saranac Prism White Ale tonight.

I’ll probably make an adapted batch of these scones tomorrow for my gluten-free, vegan friend.

Oooo and some of these creamy avocado popsicles or maybe these toasted coconut ones.

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend! I’m out!

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Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday! It’s the start of a long weekend, and we hope you’ll find some time to step outside, breath deep, and explore your backyard (whether that’s an actual yard, a forest, a city park, or the salt marsh). Take some time to enjoy nature and give her a bit of thanks. Oh, and the country’s been experiencing some crazy weather these days (caused by us? quite possibly), but don’t let it stand in your way!

These pictures were taken on a little evening hike with my guys yesterday. So glad I took the camera to capture this moment in our life. xoxo

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Walnut Oil Wood Balm

Nuts are our ingredient of the season. We’ve been using them for sweetsdrinkssnack bars and savory condiments! Today we’re finally getting crafty (sort of)!

***ETA : We now have 2 and 4 oz jars of walnut oil wood balm available in our shop.***

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All of us have at least a few wooden items in our kitchen, likely a couple of spoons and a cutting board. Maybe you also have a wooden salad bowl? How about some fancy wood-handled serving pieces? All of these items could use some moisture to keep them looking and functioning at their best. If your spoons are looking dull and your cutting board is starting to crack, then this post is for you!

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At a bare minimum, you could rub some olive oil into your wood pieces. I used to do this, but I found that that technique never lasted that long, especially for the cooking spoons and cutting boards that I’m using every day. Then, about four years ago I came across 3191’s post about spoon oil. What is spoon oil? It’s really more of a balm and is made by mixing melted beeswax with a food-safe oil. Once the mixture cools, it turns from a liquid state into the balm.

I used the mineral oil-based spoon oil for years now, and it worked well, but I still felt like my wooden pieces needed it sooner than I would have expected. Well, after a bit of research, I learned why! When applied, the mineral oil keeps the spoon oil in a soft state, which is good and bad. This is great for wooden counter tops and butcher blocks that you wipe down, but don’t wash with soap and water every day. The liquid state of the mineral oil allows the compound to soak deeper into the wood, especially with each new application. But, the soft nature of the mineral oil means that it’s easier to wash off and doesn’t hold up as well on the items that you wash nearly every day.

What’s the solution? Walnut oil!

After walnut oil soaks into the wood, due to a reaction with the air, it hardens, making it more resistant to repeated washings. You could use walnut oil on its own (many people do!), but I like using it in the balm as the beeswax adds another layer of protection to the wood. The curing of the walnut oil also stops it from turning rancid, which can be an issue with other kitchen oils.

Making the wood balm is super easy: just follow a 1:4 ratio of beeswax to oil. For example, to make this batch I used 2 ounces of beeswax and 8 ounces of walnut oil. Make an improvised double boiler by placing a mason jar or a glass measuring cup in a pot of simmering water. Place the beeswax and oil in the glass vessel and allow them to warm until the wax melts. Once it the wax has melted, be sure to give the mixture a good stir and take it off the heat. If you used a glass measuring cup for the double boiler, you’ll want to pour the wood balm into a storage container while it’s still a liquid (if you used a mason jar, you can just allow the balm to cool within that jar for easy storage).  I use a thrifted crock for my balm, adding a new batch without bothering to completely clean out remnants from the previous batch.

**It’s essential to warm both the beeswax and the oil. If you don’t warm the oil, when you mix both together the room temp oil will cause the beeswax to immediately solidify, and they won’t blend together. Of course, if this happens to you, it’s not a problem – just place the whole mixture back in the double boiler and let the wax melt again.

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Once made, using the balm is so easy. Just rub a thin layer over your wooden pieces and let them sit overnight, allowing some of the excess balm soak into the wood. I’m so lazy that I pile up my “sticky” pieces and let them sit until I have the time to polish them.

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When it’s time to polish, I use a basic cloth diaper to wipe of the excess balm and give the pieces a shine. Side note : I’ve never used the cloth diapers for actual diapering, but find them to be so helpful around the house, particularly for cleaning. I keep my polishing cloth with the crock of balm, reusing it multiple times.  The cloth covered with excess balm serves double duty as a polishing cloth for other wooden items in our house (for example, we have a few wooden buddha statues that get a quick wood balm rub once in a while). And that’s that, a super simple, completely safe balm that nourishes your wooden kitchen utensils, the same ones that you use to nourish your family! xo

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Homemade Lemonade,

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Happy Wednesday!  Making homemade lemonade is one of those super simple activities that I don’t do nearly enough.  This past Sunday I reaaaaally wanted a treat, but I’m sure you remember that I’m saving up for a travel adventure, which means NO treats! At least no treats that I have to pay for. After gazing longingly into my freezer and still not seeing any ice cream, I spun around and spotted an enormous bowl of lemons on my countertop and that’s how this homemade lemonade recipe was born.

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