Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Oatmeal-Raisin Griddle Cakes July 18, 2013

Filed under: cooking,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:48 pm
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This morning, the kids were preparing to spend the day with their Grandparents.  Usually on these mornings, they are too wound up to sit and eat a hearty breakfast.  So, I tried something to get them to stop long enough to eat.  I made a batch of griddle cakes.  What are griddle cakes?  Well, put simply they are a cross between a cookie and a small pancake.

I have a basic pancake recipe that I have made for many years.  When we began eating a vegan diet, I converted the recipe to be vegan instead of using animal products.  The end result is very good.  You don’t even miss the eggs and cow’s milk from the original pancake recipe.  I will share the pancake recipe below along with the additions that I made to turn it into an Oatmeal-Raisin Cake.

Basic Homemade Vegan Pancakes

1.5 cups flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 teas. baking powder

1/2 teas. baking soda

2 Tbsp. flax seed meal + 6 Tbsp. warm water  (this replaces 2 eggs)

1.5 cups almond milk  (or use your favorite milk variation)

1 teas. vanilla

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix the flax seed meal and water into a small dish and let set.

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Form a well in the middle.  Add the flax seed mixture, almond milk, vanilla, and olive oil.  Using a wire wisp, mix the batter until smooth.

This recipe will make about 8 pancakes.

Oatmeal-Raisin Griddle Cakes

To the above recipe, add the following:

1 cup of oatmeal

handful of raisins

1 Tbsp. of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix the batter well.  It will be somewhat thick.  You can thin it with a bit more milk if desired.

Drop by spoonsful onto a hot griddle and flatten the batter to no more than about 1/4 inch thick.  Cook exactly as you would pancakes.

Makes about 16 cakes approximately 3″ diameter.


The kids loved these!  I had no problem getting them to eat breakfast while waiting for Grandma to pick them up.  You can easily adjust the spice amount to suit your own tastes.  Another option is to finely dice dried fruits to add to the recipe in place of the raisins.  If you use a tropical mixture of fruit with shredded coconut, omit the spice and add cinnamon instead.




Solar Oven Experiment July 11, 2013

Filed under: cooking,green living,off grid — ourprairiehome @ 5:12 pm
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My blog posts have been sporadic due to lack of reliable Internet.  I am working at getting that improved soon.

Last week, I decided to take the plunge and do a little experiment with solar cooking.  I had purchased one of those foil sun shades for the Jeep’s windshield.  I got to thinking about how reflective it is.  Wouldn’t it make a good “in a pinch” solar cooker?

In the yard, we have a black metal trailer for the small lawn tractor.  I set up a metal wash tub in the trailer with a small block under one end to place it on an angle towards the west.  I then formed the foil windshield shade into a cone shape.  This was placed into the washtub.

I wasn’t feeling horribly brave, so got out a small roasting pan and filled the bottom with chopped up potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and squash.  I tossed the veggies with a drizzle of olive oil to coat them and sprinkled on some sea salt.  The pan was covered with clear plastic wrap and set into the center of the foil cone.

I left the veggies roasting until they had only a slight crunch left to them.  It took about 2 hours due to the size of the veggies.  Chopped smaller, they would obviously have cooked faster.  When I removed the pan, I learned rather quickly that an oven mitt would be helpful.  Thankfully, I always have aloe vera on hand!

The results of the little experiment was that the make-shift solar cooker worked just fine.  It would be an easy option in an emergency situation.  We did have to accept that the roasted veggies do not get browned like they would in a standard oven.  That was the only real difference that we noticed.

My darling husband is planning to build a solar cooker for me when we get a chance.  He is planning to make it a combination solar oven and solar dehydrator.    When we look at plans for each, we find that it will be fairly easy to make a combination oven/dehydrator.



Loving Summer July 4, 2013

Filed under: faith,family,homesteading — ourprairiehome @ 4:30 pm
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This summer has been a very mild one.  Last year, we were already in the triple digits by June.  This year, we have only had 1 day in the triple digits.  The average temp has only be in the 80’s.  I love it!

On the home front, there are small changes happening that will bring great blessings to the family.  My Beloved husband has been truck driving throughout most of our marriage.  With this job, he is away from home a minimum of a week at a time.  Currently, he is home overnight once a week.  Not much time for family with that schedule, but it is what the company demands of him.  We have been working towards the day when he can be home more often.  In the past years, we tried twice to do this and failed.  He had found a local job each time, but they were not trucking related.  Living in a rural area as we do, you have to have a specialized job in order to make ends meet.  During one period of about 2.5 years, our family of 4 lived on a single income that was barely above minimum wage.  Our lifestyle helped to make that possible, but we still were getting behind.  Financial needs were met but we could not make any improvements to the homestead.  So, back to trucking he went.  The challenge now has been that I don’t have the ability to do all the work necessary on the homestead while tending the home, kids, homeschooling, etc.  We basically have been just taking care of essentials.  In many ways, it was no better than when he worked local.  Basic needs are met, but there is no time for expansion when my husband is home.  So, after much prayer, we were prompted to take it slower this time around.  Last week, my husband was able to get the extra endorsements on his trucking license to allow him to drive any type of truck, including those for the fuel companies.  Now, the next step is that he will be looking for a local trucking job that will allow him to be home more often, yet pay what we need.  Lord willing, he will have a new job by summer’s end.

Our children are having a lot of fun this summer.  Between trips to the zoo, vacation Bible school, and playing outdoors, they are kept busy.  In August, our baby girl will start going to Girl Scouts.  Wow!!!  The time has surely flown by.  She is so excited to start up.  We signed her up during the spring.  Our son is making headway in his development.  He has finally regained the ability to feed himself, even using utensils for the first time.  He is chattering a lot more often than previously.  He still doesn’t say any words, but jabbers like an infant learning to make letter sounds.  Cute part is that he does it in such a way that it sounds like he is singing.  He is such a happy little boy.

It has been such a wonderful time for us.  So many blessings that outweigh any challenges that we have faced.