Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Crock Pot Banana Bread

Now here is an easy crock pot banana bread recipe you have to try. Wondering, can you bake in your slow cooker? Why yes you can. And I am loving this way to bake in the crock pot without heating up the kitchen.

I made this banana bread in the crock pot in my smaller round crock pot so if you have a large crock pot adjust the recipe.

slow cooker banana bread, baking in the crock pot

Crock Pot Banana Bread

Recipe by Elaine Lewis

Prep time: 20 minutes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup plus a tablespoon cooking oil
  • handful chopped nuts
  • generous splash (optional) mini chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. This is for a smaller round crock pot. First, take a square of foil and press in down into the bottom of the cooker with sides extending up the sides of the slow cooker. Spray with non stick spray. Turn crock pot on high.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In medium bowl mix eggs, bananas, sugar and oil. Add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into foil lined crock pot.
  3. Cook on high for about an hour to an hour and a half. Slow cooker temperatures vary so widely that you just need to check periodically with a toothpick until it comes out clean.
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Monday, October 5, 2015

The Future Of My Blogging

Sitting here with Mr. Pumpkin Head pondering the future of blogging. 

My laptop died and because I needed a new dryer, I held off and used an old computer of my daughter's. Finally, I ordered a new laptop and it was so beautiful and shiny but lo and behold, the space bar did not work. Can you believe that? Clearly no one checks these things before shipping.

So now I will look for a computer good for blogging. I am in the range of less than $800, preferably less than $500. If you can suggest a good laptop you are happy with for a reasonable price, please let me know in the comments.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fun Vacation Ideas For Outdoor Lovers

Fun Vacation Ideas for Outdoor Lovers

Does your idea of heaven involve hiking through the wilderness and camping with the stars twinkling overhead in the sky? Though some people think a vacation isn't complete without four star restaurants and luxury accommodations, others love the idea of spending time outside. No matter how much you can afford to spend on your next vacation, you can find some great ideas that let you spend more time outdoors.

State Parks

When you have limited funds at your disposal, consider heading to a state park for your vacation. State parks offer affordable camping sites that let you bring your tent or camper. Most spots come with a fire ring, and some may feature running water and electricity. Many state parks now offer cabin rentals too, which make it even easier to plan a vacation. When you're not relaxing in your cabin or tent, you can go fishing, hiking, boating and enjoy other activities that the park offers.

Wilderness Lodges

If the idea of staying with other travelers doesn't bother you, you might enjoy staying in a wilderness lodge. Lodges are large buildings that come in a few different styles. Some have one large bunkhouses that dozens of guests share, while others feature private rooms. You might find accommodations that come with access to a hot tub with breathtaking views, a restaurant serving delicious local food and an indoor heated swimming pool. There are even lodges that plan trips and activities for guests, including nature hikes and horseback riding. 

Glamping Ideas

When you plan a trip with teenagers in tow and those who are less than enthusiastic about camping outside, you can please them and you both with a glamping excursion. Combining glamour with camping, these attractions might change the way you think about camping. Instead of sleeping outside under the stars, you might have a cabin with a skylight that offers amazing views of the night sky. Glamping lets you appeal to your sense of adventure and the rest of your group's need for something more modern and upscale.

Cabin Retreats

Renting a private cabin lets you enjoy the outdoors while still giving you a sense of privacy. Instead of sharing a lobby, bedroom or even bathroom with other guests, you can rent a cabin that is just for you and your group. Many campgrounds across the country now rent cabins that let you enjoy your privacy and still have access to amenities and features like a swimming pool, lake, miniature golf course or even gem mining. If you really want to get off the beaten path, you can rent a secluded cabin in the mountains or one close to your favorite lake. The owners often stock the cabins with bed linens and other things you might need on your trip. 

Timeshare Programs

Though many assume that timeshare programs cater to those who prefer staying indoors, you'll find plenty of programs like the Outdoor Traveler program that lets you explore the great outdoors, too. You'll have all the amenities that you need, including great views and comfortable beds, but you'll also be close to activities like skiing, swimming, hiking and horseback riding. 

No matter what you love to do outside, you can easily find some great ideas as to what to do on your next vacation.

Some great ideas here. I love any vacation outdoors. When you live in the city like we do, you yearn to escape the concrete jungle and find some peace and the beauty of the great outdoors.
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Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

simple saturdays blog hop gardening
Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop!

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How To Remove Smell From Laundry

Here is an all natural tip on how to remove smell from laundry. Getting rid of musty laundry is easy.

No more smelly laundry, laundry tips

Has anyone else ever been faced with this problem? You wash and dry your laundry and then you pull a t-shirt out of the drawer, slip it on and go, "Phew who let the dog in? And did she roll in poop?" Well, everyone in this house has. It was becoming a common problem of clothes coming out of the laundry stinky. Didn't matter if I used my homemade soap or bought soap. The result was the same. Now you can blame it on the six stinky people in our house, or the dog beds I wash weekly or my lineman's filthy work clothes, but something was causing the stink.  

 The easiest solution is to add a little vinegar to the rinse cycle. That's it. I pour about two tablespoons into the fabric softener holder and it never fails; clean smelling washer and laundry. You may smell a little vinegar in the washing machine but you do not smell vinegar in your clothing at all. Cheap and simple solution to my conundrum.

I have also read that the vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener. Also, if you happen to forget a load of wet laundry in the washing machine and you have smelly laundry, just add some vinegar and run through just a rinse cycle and that is how you quickly deal with smelly laundry.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How To Clean The Chicken Coop

I have a list of my must have tools for cleaning chicken runs and coops. Frugal chicken cleaning supplies are a must for the budget minded chicken owner. It does not have to cost a lot to clean and maintain a chicken coop and a clean coop produces healthier chickens and more eggs.

Chicken Coop, cleaning a coop, backyard chickens

Let's go over how to clean your chicken coop. It does not cost a lot to gather a few supplies to maintain chicken pens and runs. Some of my supplies are from the dollar stores. 
When you have a small chicken coop, but especially a small coop in a SMALL backyard, you need to keep things clean. I believe maintaining a clean coop is one of the primary responsibilities to keeping  an urban chicken coop but especially to preserve our rights to keep chickens in city backyards and out of respect for our neighbors.

Now onto my favorite supplies for cleaning my chicken coop.

Coop supplies, backyard chickens, urban chickens

Rakes and shovels: I have a large, small and a hand held rake for cleaning up the coop and run. I use them almost daily. I use the shovel to move dirt as needed and fill holes the chickens have created.

Litter scoop: I use a metal kitty litter scoop to clean the litter from the coop daily. It takes minutes but keeps the coop nice and clean. I scoop up droppings a couple times a day when I pop into the coop to collect eggs or bring treats. I prefer to toss right in my compost which sits right next to the coop. I do not use a deep litter method because when you are keeping chickens in small yards I really do believe you do not have the luxury of putting the coop way out back. Many have to keep it away from the property line and controlling the flies and odor is important.

A small plastic bin: I use one to collect debris for the compost bin and when I rake out straw from the hen house portion of the coop. I bought mine at the dollar store.

Cleaning brush: I use this to clean webs and dirt off the coop.

Gloves and mask: Of course my health is important too, so I use these when needed. Rubber gloves are used for scrubbing the coop and daily I use gardening gloves for cleaning up.

Long handled scrub brush: I use this when I do my twice yearly scrubbing of the coop. It reaches into the coop and is nice and sturdy.

Short handled scrub brush: I use this to clean waterers and on occaison I clean them with hot water and dish soap. I do not use bleach as the plastic tends to absorb the bleach odor. 

Vinegar is great in hot water too with a bit of dish soap and I use this when I do my twice annual complete chicken coop scrubbing. In March and October we literally move the coop and I clean every inch of it and lay new sand on just the coop floor. The sides are swept of webs and then scrubbed and I pick a sunny warm day so I can hose it down if needed and it dries quickly.

Two to three times a year, we amend the soil in the coop by adding a bag of peat moss and a couple bags of organic planter mix or soil. Next a generous sprinkle of diatemaceous earth around the entire coop and run.
You can see how I use sand and straw in our own coop and hen house. There are benefits to both. I have yet to ever have an issue with any infestations or mites so I believe my system works.

When we looked at how to build a chicken coop and if you can have chickens in city limits, I knew keeping the space the chickens live, extra clean would have to be a priority. I make it a point to spend a few minutes every morning scooping up and putting fresh bedding down for the chickens. Keeping chicken droppings scooped up also helps to not step in it and then track that around when you leave the chicken coop. Our yard is small so I do not want to have chicken poop spread where we walk and play for health reasons.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Best Homemade Pancake Mix Recipe

I wanted to share the best homemade pancake mix recipe I have found. Over the years I tested many a scratch pancake mix recipe but this is by far the best. And don't forget the secret to the fluffiest pancakes ever.

Best Homemade Pancake Mix

Recipe by Elaine Lewis

This recipe is a perfect homemade pancake mix to store. Just mix together and store your dry ingredients and add the wet when you are ready to make a batch of pancakes. I keep a copy of the recipe taped inside my kitchen cabinet so we always know what wet ingredients to add. You can easily halve this recipe for 2-3 people.
Prep time: 15 minutes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In medium bowl combine wet ingredients and add to dry. Stir mix until just blended. Leaving some lumps is fine and helps make a fluffier pancake.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Simple Saturdays

simple saturdays blog hop gardening

Join us for ideas on living a Simple Lifestyle and being Self Sufficient!

Welcome to Simple Saturdays Blog Hop!

This blog hop is brought to you by a group of wonderful co-hosts committed to the Simple way of Life and learning to be Self Reliant in all they do.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to be more Self Reliant in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!
Please join us, submit YOUR Self-Reliant post (maybe even 2 or 3), browse around, visit a site or two and learn some new Simple tips or Self Reliant How'To's!

 This Blog Hop is being hosted by:

  What Can I Post?

Anything and everything related to a more Simple way of life OR Self Reliance....
Homesteading, Prepping, Gardening, Cooking/recipes/food, Livestock of all varieties, Off-grid, Natural Living, Wellness/wholeness and Healthcare, Herbal, DIY & MYO!
1. Text link Or ADD the blog hop button below & link back to the Blog Hop.
Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

 How Can I Be a Featured Blogger?

Our featured blogger is chosen each week by YOU our readers...and we hope to have YOU as our next featured blogger!
If you are selected as "Featured", make sure and grab your button!:
simple saturdays featured button
**Please note: By linking to this Blog Hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include 1 photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way. **

Congratulations to our Featured Blogger this week:

104 homestead

Ready to get to the hop? Add your link below:

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