Monthly Archives: October 2015

Zucchini Oat Pancakes

Mmmmm….

The smell of pancakes cooking on the griddle.

I don’t know about you, but pancakes on a rainy Saturday morning seem just about the perfect thing.

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Oat Zucchini Pancakes with Apple Cider Syrup

It’s been years since I’ve had regular pancakes. I gave up eating wheat after learning that wheat is a major inflammatory food and it affects the arthritis in my knees.

So I went searching for a “gluten free” recipe. But I wanted one that uses normal and whole ingredients rather than processed, refined, high carb flours in place of the wheat.

I stumbled across this oat pancake recipe at www.mountainmamacooks.com. Orginally it called for a banana, but I am fresh out of bananas and I have quite a lot of frozen zucchini from this summer’s bounty. Besides, the Hubby likes zucchini better than banana anyway. (BTW, I think it’s so adorable that Flower Girl says banana like a Minion – BAN-nah-nah :-). The original recipe also called for almond milk, but we use regular milk.

The pancakes have a very moist and chunky texture, even with highly ground oats. I’ve never experimented with using quick/instant oats since old fashioned are all we ever buy. Maybe it wouldn’t be quite so chunky with instant oats?

As an aside, the girls helped make the pancakes this morning. Flower Girl helped add a few ingredients as is fitting for an almost-three-year-old. But Princess Girl helped with all of it. Not only did she help gather the ingredients, add them to the batter, do some of the mixing, and help with the cooking, she also did all the calculations to add a half batch to the recipe. She’s learning more complicated fraction operations in her school work, so this was perfect. She not only had to halve the recipe, she then had to add that half to the original. Natural learning for the win!

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One thing about these pancakes, they can seem take forever to cook (thus the picture above). So I usually end up cooking them at a higher temp to speed up the process and they tend to get rather dark brown. Compare the two pics below.

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If you’re looking for a gluten free pancake that is as close to traditional pancakes as possible, these aren’t them. But we all like the way these turn out. In fact, I personally like them even better. I always felt guilty eating regular pancakes. I felt that I was eating nothing but fluff and sugar – in essence, nothing more than cake. But these pancakes are filled with good quality, nourishing ingredients. And they taste phenomenal whether you use banana or zucchini!

Zucchini Oat Pancakes

2 cups oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (we use aluminum free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups shredded zucchini (or 1 large ripe banana)
1-2 Tbl honey
1tsp vanilla
1 egg

Directions:
Place oats in blender or food processor and pulse until it is chopped up fine like oat flour (I suppose you could also just use purchased oat flour as well). Add other dry ingredients and pulse to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Ladle 1/4 cup(ish) of the batter onto a medium-low(ish) skillet or griddle. Spread the batter out so it’s not all clumped up, then cook until golden brown on each side, flipping as needed (time will depend on the heat of your cooking surface.)

I usually heat the oven to as low as it will go (170° on ours), place a plate in there, and put the pancakes in there as each one is done. This keeps them warm till they are all finished cooking and we can all eat together.

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And that makes for a very good Saturday morning.

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Seamstresses in the making

Why, yes. I do let my nearly-three-year-old play with my sewing pins.

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Just as I let her sister before her when she was young. And now Princess Girl loves designing.

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Sewing is a big part of a sustainable lifestyle. When purchased thriftily, buying fabric can be much cheaper than buying ready-made items if you have the know-how. But sewing is so much more useful than making your own clothing from scratch.

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Mending a blanket.

Being able to repair those things which you already own is a first step toward living sustainably.

And you don’t need to tons of fancy gadgets and gizmos. A simple machine and a rudimentary knowledge of a few techniques will get you a long way. I myself have a rather simple machine.

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I only ever use a couple of the available settings. But it serves me well.

If you have a machine but learning to use it is a daunting task, find a friend who can help you. (It’s hard to learn sewing from the internet unless you already know how to handle your particular machine since they are all a bit different.) As stated above, you don’t need to know how to use every setting on your machine. You basically just need to know how to thread it, how to load and refill the bobbin, how to do the straight stitch and zig zag stitch, and what the length, width, and tension dials do. You can do an awful lot of sewing with those basic skills. And as you practice more and become more comfortable, you can start learning all the other things your particular machine can do.

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If you don’t have a sewing machine and can’t afford even a basic one, at least learn how to hand sew. Knowing a few easy stitches can be the difference between repairing that blanket and buying a new one, or paying someone to hem your pants or doing it yourself. And hand sewing is easy to learn from videos on the internet.

And remember, if children can learn to do it, you can, too!

Let’s hear you chime in. Do you think that sewing is an important skill to know? Do you know how? Wanting to learn?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Christmas sewing

Alright, alright! I’ll admit it.

I’m a fabric junky.

There’s a picture floating around Facebook of fabric being stored oh-so-neatly in a filing cabinet drawer.

Here’s what I said about it.

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Yes, I actually chuckled when I saw that picture. There’s no way my stash of fabric could ever be that neatly organized. I have too much. It would take 5 whole filing cabinets! The yardages I have are too big. Some of my fabric pieces would nearly fill their own drawer by themselves. Or they are too small.

And yet, I WISH my stash could look like that.

Oh wait. That’s right.

I don’t HAVE a stash!

At least, not here in Oregon.

And not really in Nevada either.

When we moved into our trailer on the homestead last year, I downsized drastically. My “stash” consists of three boxes (albeit two big ones and a medium one). And you know where those three are?

That’s right. They are in Nevada. Awaiting the day when our house is built and I have a sewing area again.

In the mean time, I have a million ideas running around my head of things I want to sew, especially Christmas gifts.

So, I went shopping. I went with one project in mind.

Here’s what I ended up with:

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I couldn’t help myself. All this fabric was only $15!

Yep, though they are all sheets, it turned out to be about $1 per yard. Pretty good deal, I’d say.

How, you ask?

Thrift store.

And not the overpriced big name ones either. A small, locally owned store in our neighborhood. The type of store where the proprietor is willing to give you a deal on things because she knows that money earned is better than items sitting on the shelf.

So what am I going to make with all that fabric? Well, I can’t tell you. Most of it is for Christmas gifts, afterall. And I know the intended recipients read this blog.

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However, I can say that the purple fleece will become three matching pairs of pajama pants for the girls and I, to be given on Christmas eve. I’ve been wanting matching jammies for us for a long time and almost bought a set online the other day. But couldn’t quite shell out the $32 + shipping it would have cost. And buying fabric from a traditional fabric store wouldn’t cost much less.

So, $5 and a little work, and I’ve got them.

Thrifting for the win!

What about you? How do you save money when it comes to Christmas gifts? Do you make your own?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Garden Journal

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I keep a garden journal.

It’s a journal which helps me remember when I planted, how long it took for things to germinate and produce, how well things did, etc.
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I started my first journal in 2009 and finished it in 2013 (I didn’t garden in 2014 since we moved twice that summer). I started a new book in February of this year. I usually use whatever blank journal I have on hand. (And since I’m a journaler by nature, I always have extras laying around.)
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I don’t like pre-printed journals which have questions for you to answer since I find them too confining. I want to write about what I want to write about. Or more than likely, they don’t leave me enough space to write. I like to use a conversational voice when I write and tend to write a lot (have you noticed? 😉
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So even though I just started a new joirnal this year and it will take me a while to fill it, I bought a new one yesterday at Michaels craft store.

I just couldn’t pass it up.

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Look how incredibly perfect it is for gardening and farming and all sorts of homesteaderly stuff! (Yes, I just made up a new word!) In fact, I’m wondering how I can use it sooner, because I don’t want to wait till my current journal is finished. 🙂

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I know a couple of homesteading friends who might just end up with one for Christmas.

And I have a 50% off coupon!

I’m thinking I see a trip to Michaels in my near future.

How about you? How do you keep track of all your homesteading endeavors?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Garden update

While we were in Nevada, Dad decided that the big garden was done for the season. This is good news for the chickens.

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They are happily roaming the backyard again.

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Scaredy thinks the garden is her personal dust bath.

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Our small garden is going pretty well. The kale is finally taking off. I’m thinking I might still plant some spinach in the spot that the lettuce was in this spring. But I don’t know.

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The carrots have done well. We have really enjoyed eating those straight out of the garden this year (after a washing, of course!). I don’t think my squash is going to do anything. But you never know. We still have a month or so left of growing season (I know, right?!) Yes, it’s fall season, but on average, we won’t get our first frost for another month or so.

My container garden did not do so well this year. At least not nearly as well as I would have liked.

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The tomato plants were tall and scraggly and only produced a few tomatoes each.

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Nearly all the bean plants and flowers have struggled or flat out died.

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Really, the only thing I can say did half way decent was the jalapeno plant.

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And even then, the only reason I think it did well is because I don’t use jalapenos very often, so it has produced more than enough.

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Oh, and the garlic actually survived. I was shocked to see it growing back after not being watered all summer.

So, nothing did very well in the containers. I’ve been trying to figure out why and I think I have it nailed down.

Neglect.

Yep, that’s right. When a person travels at least one week out of nearly every month, things at home tend to get neglected. Especially since for me, all the days in between are filled with catching up or preparing for next time. Somehow, making sure the plants had the right nutrients, enough water, the proper sunlight as the season change, etc wasn’t high on my list.

Though I was glad to see that the crushed egg shells I put on the tomato plants stopped any more blossom end rot. And I did give them all a compost tea at some point. But it just wasn’t enough, I don’t think. That and maybe I didn’t have big enough containers. Or maybe they got too much sun. Or not enough.

And now here it is, the beginning of October and I really haven’t gotten much out of my plants.

But. They still have fruit on them, and I’m reluctant to give up on them when I know they can survive a while longer.

However, where they were on the deck was getting too shady with the waning season. So I moved them down to a corner of the otherwise barren big garden.

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They still look forlorn and scraggly, but I’m hoping that at least this was they’ll get the sunlight they need to survive for a while longer. Hopefully long enough to get me a few more tomatoes.

Well that’s it for now. How did your garden do this year?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121

Another day on the homestead

I can’t believe it. I spent an hour last night writing this post (while being distracted by the homesteading videos Hubby was watching on Youtube) and when I went to publish it, it was just gone! Grrr…technology sometimes!

At any rate, I wanted to share about our last couple days on the homestead before we came back to Oregon.

Oh, it was simply wonderful to be back in the wide open spaces, with only the sounds of nature around us. To sit for hours with the Hubs and just talk and dream of our plans for the house and homestead.

We’re hoping that when we go back in December, that we’ll be able to stay in the trailer again. But then again, we’re hoping that Nevada has so much snow that we can’t even get up our driveway. They need moisture so horribly. I guess we’ll see.

Oh, before I forget, let me introduce you to our new/old membet of the family.

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This is Obsidian (ie Sid). He’s a 6 year old black lab whom we’ve had since he was just 7 weeks old. But, for the last year, he’s been staying with friends in Nevada. When we had to move so unexpectedly, it was just too much to try to figure out how to bring him with us. But we have some wonderful friends who offered to take him for us.

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Well, a couple months ago, their circumstances changed and they could no longer keep him for us. So, the Hubby and I talked it over with Mom and Dad and we decided that we were in a position to bring him to Oregon to live with us.

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And so now we have a very large dog living in our small back yard. But we play ball with him. And take him for walks. And so far, he’s adjusted well. Scooter is not sure what to think of him, and the cat just avoids him. But eventually they’ll all be friends.
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So, that’s Sid. We can’t wait till we are all back on the homestead and he can roam free again.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program (yes, I’m aware I don’t actually post regularly :-). Here’s how we kept ourselves busy our last couple days at Castle Rock:

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Cooking in the outdoor kitchen. Because even though we did hook up the propane to the trailer, who wants to be cooped up inside on a beautiful day?

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Playing. Our girls LOVE swings! And I love that our carport frame is sturdy enough they can play on it.

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More playing. We call this area next to the driveway “the Sandbox”. The sand there is only a bit more coarse than beach sand.

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Taking some time to just relax and take in the view.

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Playing with bugs…well, their casings at least.

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This is the shell of a cicada. At some point in their lifecycle, they shed their exoskeleton.

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Do they remind anyone else of aliens? And they are everywhere! The more you look for their shells, the more you find. On branches. In bushes. On the ground. It must have been a noisy summer on the homestead!

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As an aside, for those of you who might be wondering, this is our bathroom while we’re at the property. Not looking forward to using that in the middle of December if we are able to stay in the trailer while we’re there.

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The Hubby decided to repurpose an old gas grill. After gutting it and cleaning it, he made it into…

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…a GRILL! yeah, yeah, it still functions with the same purpose. So not really REpurposing. But now it is a charcoal, rather than a gas, grill.

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And it worked great. Look at all that meat! Good thing we had a bunch a family over to help us eat that.

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That night we had a spectacular sunset.

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Signs of fall on the homestead. Our apple trees have survived the summer. Here’s hoping we get a super winter to keep them hydrated.

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Princess Girl is such a good helper. I can’t believe she’s almost 10.

It was a great several days on the homestead. A time to dream, a time to rest, and a time to plan.

And now we’re back in Oregon. Now it’s time to concentrate on schooling for the girls. And working on some canning projects I’ve needed to do fo a while now.

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Ahhh…fall. I’m looking forward to cooler weather, soups, canning, and baking.

*sigh*

I love this time of year.

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Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121