A Grateful Heart

Doesn't time seem to simply fly by, friends? It does for me... in spite of my determined efforts to notice what is and truly be present in the moment at hand.

Oh, how lovely that choice has been for me, being mindful of the moment, and I am thankful it is becoming a habit. Even still, here we are at the end of another week... and another month!... and it is time for me to share snippets from my ongoing gratitude list once again. {smile}

:: A beautiful bouquet. My sweet hubby brought me flowers, aren't they wonderful? I have them on a table that is near my little fitness corner in our bedroom... I noticed how lovely they looked from below the other morning, with the early morning sunshine streaming through the window.

:: Home cooking. It would be neither frugal nor convenient for our large family to eat out frequently. I am so glad I enjoy planning our menu, cooking from scratch, and experimenting in the kitchen. It is quite a privilege and responsibility for Mama to keep all these tummies around here full and happy!

Today, I have a huge batch of cabbage soup simmering on the stove top, a batch of whole wheat sourdough buns ready to go into the oven, and plans to make a treat to have after dinner... yummy things are happening indeed.

:: My cat. She is always nearby, often at my feet... quite loyal, that Ruby. Animals make good friends, I think.

:: Deer around the homestead. Their numbers are increasing, it seems. We see several a day... the mama deer and her two youngsters are still nearby quite often. We spotted an enormous golden eagle perched upon a neighbor's fence post. Oh, he was glorious! And I saw (and heard) a few bluebirds this week, quite a surprise! I thought they were gone until spring.

:: Recent afternoons at the creek. Yesterday, the creek was beckoning to me... such a lovely autumn day it was. I left my enormous pile of whole wheat sourdough bread dough rising on the counter and we trekked down to the bottom pasture for a bit. Such a blessing it is to savor a brief get away without having to leave home.

:: The little things. Discovering a new flavor of tea (caramel... yum!). Evenings spent crocheting near the wood stove... all of us together in one place, but quietly occupied with our own endeavors. The encouragement of praise music. Ordinary days, simple pleasures. When the week was full and joyful, but you really can't say exactly why... it just was.

Do you try to find restful moments amidst the to-do lists and activities of every day life, friends? Or are you more of an on-the-go type of person, happiest when constantly bustling and busy? We are all different, indeed... beautiful in our own unique way. Just like each one of those flowers.

Wishing you much to be grateful for ~

A Testimony of Grace

I write about lots of things on my blogs... here, you will find snippets of our simple homesteading life. Crafts, recipes, thoughts, and such. Highlights of our large family's ordinary everyday happenings. My cow-friend Matilda. {smile} And if my body positive fitness endeavors interest you, I share that part of myself (and more) on Run Hoop Julie.

My blogs are meant to encourage like-minded ladies. To offer a glimpse into what a simple life looks like for this nearly 50-year-old Christian homesteading mama of eight. This homesteading blog isn't a how to homestead blog, and my Run Hoop Julie blog is more of a celebration of authenticity and learning to be myself than anything else.

And at the heart of all of it is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I want to share my Christian testimony with you. I have shared it on my past (no longer published) blogs... but I want it shared here, too. Because what I believe about God is of eternal value. And while life is ever-changing, and I have changed a lot in the past couple of years, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8, from the World English Bible)

My hubby and I were high school sweethearts. We got married when I was nineteen years old and began our family... we had a son, then a daughter, then an ectopic pregnancy loss. Our happy little family lived in town, I owned and *loved* a little home daycare, all was well, and I thought I was in control. Ha!

When we were in our late 20's, the Lord brought a series of events into our lives that truly rocked my boat. My hubby had sudden and unexpected health issues... a seizure, and then a severe reaction to the anti-seizure medication. Our car caught on fire the week after we paid off the loan and had changed to liability-only insurance coverage, so it was a total loss. It was a very stressful time indeed, and it did show me that I was not in control of anything.

Shortly after all of that, I heard some Christian music on the radio and it planted seeds of faith in my heart. A family in our neighborhood reached out to us and I was encouraged to begin attending church. I went... at first I was overwhelmed by what I learned there, by the truth of the Bible.

I was (and am) a sinner. Jesus died for me. God's grace and forgiveness is a free gift... I cannot work for it or earn it or lose it, once I have it. Sometime, in my late 20's, it all sank in to my head and my heart and I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I was born again. (John 3:7) Praise the Lord!

All of my desires changed. We decided to homeschool our children. We moved to the country. Our little family of four grew to five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten! Those were lovely, cozy years... I began wearing dresses all the time, I learned to cook and bake and tend animals. I came to believe with all my heart that happiness is homemade.

Our oldest son is nearly 30 (!) now, and our youngest child is 6 years old. We still live on our homestead with lots of critters and I hope we always do. We are well into our twentieth homeschool year, with several more to go. Our life is happy-busy and good and I still believe that happiness is homemade.

And I am still a sinner, saved by grace... I am still walking with the Lord and marvel daily at His wondrous goodness and power. He is my strength, my hope and stay.

But life is ever-changing. It will always have its ups-and-downs. Things to let go of and overcome. Joys and triumphs and trials and lessons, opportunities to grow in faith and trust in the Lord.

I am thankful to have finally found the Christ-based confidence to peel away some of the layers I had put upon myself over the years and truly be my authentic self... the person God made me to be... and not care what anyone besides my dear husband and the Lord think about that.

God continues to provide our every need and gives me lots of reminders that I am not in control and He is. So many lessons, so many chances to grow in grace and truth. My heart is prone to wander... yet the Lord will never let go of me. I am so thankful for that.

I am learning to be fearless, and to walk away from things and stuff and thoughts and even difficult relationships that weigh me down... seeking to, desiring to, obey God and trusting Him with all the results and consequences He uses in my life to mold me into what He wants me to be.

I don't believe in cookie cutter Christianity... that we all have to look the same and act the same and eat the same way and like the same things. We need to follow the Lord, not other people.

I believe in Jesus and that He is the one and only way, the one and only answer to every question and need. The path is narrow indeed, but I think my freedom in Christ gives me room to be myself as I walk upon it and strive to become more like my Savior. I know I am forgiven for my every sin... past, present, and future. I know Jesus loves me.

If you read my blogs, you will quickly see that I am a work-in-progress. My life is not perfect, I am not perfect, and I am not trying to be. But I am fully assured and convinced of Christ's love, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life with Him someday.

Friends, we are all sinners. Even the best and nicest people are sinners and fall short of God's holy perfection. Jesus paid the price for our sins by willingly laying down his life for us on the cross. Then, He conquered death by rising again! When we believe, truly believe, we are born again and washed clean of our sins and eternally saved by our faith in Christ alone, by God's grace alone. Oh, how He loves us!

Do you know Him?

I Will Trust

"Behold, God is my salvation.
 I will trust,
and will not be afraid;
for Yah, Yahweh, is
 my strength and song;
and he has become
my salvation."
 Isaiah 12:2

~ * ~

A verse I have been meditating on and fall colors on our homestead.

Wishing you peace, friends ~

I use the World English Bible (WEB) for my word pictures because it is a version in the Public Domain. The name "World English Bible" is trademarked. More information can be viewed here.

Mixed Berry Snack Cake

I have been an avid baker for a very long time. Since becoming a wife and mama nearly thirty years ago, I have made countless cakes, cookies, pies, all of our bread, and had several other baking experiments and creations along the way... fun stuff, playing around in the kitchen and sharing the delicious results with my family. {smile}

Are you a home baker, too? I love it when the yummy smells start wafting through the house and the little ones... and big ones... and my dear hubby all meander toward the kitchen to see what is coming.

And I have been vegan for just over two years now. So I have been learning to adapt my familiar recipes, and finding new ways to create our favorite things without animal products, and using little to no sugar, cooking oil, soy, or salt.

It is amazing how tasty whole-food plant-based vegan cooking and baking is! And while the rest of my family doesn't eat according to my preference exclusively, they are always delighted with the vegan foods that are included in their meals.

Autumn is here, and that fall feeling always puts me in the mood for baking even more than usual. So I have been making a favorite snack cake of ours quite frequently. We often have it alongside a big batch of meatless chili.

Here is the recipe ~

Mixed Berry Snack Cake

2 cups rolled oats, quick or old-fashioned
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup frozen 100% apple juice concentrate
2.5 oz prune puree*
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups water
2 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw), divided

*I buy pureed prune baby food for this recipe. Our local store carries it in a two-pack and each container contains 2.5 ounces of puree. If you cannot find prune puree, try substituting unsweetened applesauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Very lightly mist a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, if you prefer. Set the pan aside for now.

Finely grind the rolled oats in a good blender or a grain grinder. In a large bowl, combine the ground oats, ground flax seeds, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Mix well.

In the blender container (no need to rinse out the oat crumbs, if any) combine the apple juice concentrate, prune puree, lemon juice, water, and 1/2 cup of the mixed berries. Put the lid on the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the blended wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Stir until the batter is smooth, but try not to mix it up more than necessary.

Fold the remaining 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen mixed berries into the batter. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly in the pan and smoothing the top of the batter as much as possible.

Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done. Carefully remove the cake from the oven and let it cool a bit before serving.

This cake is not particularly sweet and could be frosted if desired, but my taste buds are adapted to the taste of simple, real, unsweetened whole foods, and we rather enjoy the flavor just as it is. The berries add just the right amount of sweet, I think. It is a rather moist cake, and I prefer to cover any leftovers and store them in the refrigerator.

I hope you like this plant-based cake as much as we do. Enjoy!

Weekend Goodness

It did indeed feel like autumn on our homestead over the weekend and I am happy to return to the rhythms and routines that accompany this season. We shift from summer preparings to autumn doings... we use the firewood we stacked, our critters depend more on the hay we stored, and our menu becomes more about soups and stews and less about the familiar salads of summer.

And it all makes me quite happy because as I will likely repeat over and over again, I do love this time of the year. {smile}

There were outdoor chores to be done, as usual. Hauling firewood is perhaps my favorite homestead task, and Hubby and I often work together to fill the wood box on our deck.

We had a nice bit of snow for part of the weekend, before it warmed up enough to melt the majority of it. Our younger children rolled up their first snowman of the season...

I took a short jaunt into the back pasture to check the fence and check on Matilda. We are planning to move her sleeping quarters to our larger pen and outbuilding this winter, which is where the goats usually stay. I am looking forward to the change, and it means the goats will remain in the roomy pen closer to the house.

The chickens were pecking about as I passed by, free roaming for the afternoon and scratching around the compost heap.

Our little girls wanted to make a simple treat to share with their siblings. They were quite pleased with their creation... they mixed it all up, assembled the dessert, and cleaned up their own mess in the kitchen. So proud of them, I am!

And the goats came to the yard for a bit. Every now and again we let them wander around our yard and nibble the grass and weeds. They seem to love it... they run about and munch away. Heidi loves these prickly greens, ha!

The weekend was a good mix of work and play at our place. Happy-busy and ordinary, with a lovely first taste of winter added in. And into this week we go... the outdoor temperature was 34 degrees (F) first thing this morning, and there were three deer outside the kitchen window, getting a drink at Matilda's water trough. A fantastic view to start my Monday!

Wishing you a good day where you are, friends.

A Grateful Heart

I love, love, love this time of the year. It feels so cozy, fresh, and new... I think starting another homeschool year contributes to the feeling of excitement around here. And all the baking and making that autumn tends to bring about. That, and the cool, crisp morning air. I just find it invigorating, all of it.

This morning, we awoke to snow at our place. It blankets the ground for as far as I can see. There are heavy, gray clouds above and it is 32.9 degrees (F) outdoors. A wonderful wintry start to autumn!

Here are some snippets from my gratitude list this week...

:: Those wee white flowers are still thriving along my walking path. They survived the dry dry end-of-summer and are now bouncing back from the damp coolness that we have this week. So pretty and cheerful they are... the last of this year's wildflowers at our place.

:: I greeted my hubby at the door with a kiss, as usual, when he returned home the other day. Our youngest boy... 6 years old... was nearby. Our son watched us for a moment, then giggled and said in such a whisper-y, dreamy way, "How romantic!" Oh how that made us laugh!

:: A lovely piece of freshly baked apple crisp, still warm from the oven. Need I say more? {smile}

:: Our son's imagination. One of our boys had a school assignment to write a mystery story. He used new vocabulary words and his interest in Yellowstone National Park to weave quite a tale together. I must say, I was impressed! He has promised his mama that he will write a sequel.

:: The first wood stove fire of the season. There is nothing like it, the warmth that permeates the house, the peaceful flicker of the fire through the window on the door of the stove. So cozy!

:: Stars. I could not believe the clear and perfect view of the sideways Big Dipper from our window early the other morning. It was still dark outdoors, the sky was perfectly clear, and the stars sparkled like diamonds. It was quite breathtaking.

:: Simple pleasures... A new crochet project. Lovely conversation and fellowship with friends as our children played together. Popcorn and an episode of a favorite show at the end of the day. Birds on my feeder. The way one of our cats will "sit pretty" for a treat and the other one will not, yet he still gets his treat. Ha! (I think he knows this...)

I do hope your gratitude list is brimful with goodness, friends, and I thank you for coming by my blog this week. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

My Vegan Story

It started just over two years ago, my vegan story. And I wasn't looking to "go vegan" at the time, I was simply wanting to tweak our family's eating style a bit. I had grown somewhat uninspired and lackadaisical after years of cooking from scratch and meal planning, and wanted to get back on track with our real food lifestyle.

I read some books, I watched some documentaries. I gathered all kinds of motivation and methods to clean up our eating habits once again and to greatly reduce or eliminate processed foods, sugar, and artificial ingredients from our menu. I was also convinced and inspired to increase plant foods and reduce animal products... and I was thrilled when my little ones began asking for green smoothies instead of less healthy snacks!

And that's where my family landed. They now eat more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains than ever before... and have greatly reduced their consumption of processed foods, dairy, meat, eggs, sugar, and cooking oils. It makes me happy and I plan their menu accordingly. 

I began scrutinizing food labels more than ever, and purchasing far fewer foods in packaging that needed labels! I didn't feel right about discarding foods we had already bought, but as they were finished I replaced them with items that met our new standards. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but soon became quite natural.

But I knew I personally wanted to... needed to... take it a step further.

The information I had discovered convinced me to stop eating and using animal products altogether. For all of the reasons. Because of the animals. For the environment... better known as God's creation, I believe. For my health. For my cow-friend Matilda.

I decided to personally go fully vegan.

All of the reasons work together, I think. And another of my reasons for going vegan, perhaps the best reason of all for me, is simply because I wanted to. It felt right to me. It was a complete change of lifestyle and perspective, and I chose to honor myself by going for it.

So I gave up animal products immediately and as completely as possible. I was nervous to tell my hubby... but he was (and always has been) very supportive of me and my opinions.

I feel quite blessed because I found it very easy to go vegan. We rarely eat out, but I have always been able to find or request a vegan option when we do. I plan the menu for our family, I cook and bake from scratch... I can make whatever adjustments I need for my food to be free of animal products. Or, I often simply make something plant-based for everybody.

The people I have told seem more inquisitive than judgmental, and I always bring a yummy vegan dish to share when we join others for a meal. The animal products and foods I have given up have never tempted me... the thought of consuming them actually makes me rather ill.

These days, I usually refer to my eating style and lifestyle as plant-based vegan because lots of foods I would never eat are free of animal products... I stick with real, whole plant foods and only eat the other vegan stuff upon the rare occasion.  Honestly, though, I don't much like labels because then it feels like one has to follow rules, and I base my choice on a mixture of information I trust and my own convictions and preferences.

And it really did work out here on the homestead. Once upon a time, our animals produced a lot of food for us. Meat, milk, eggs. I made butter and cheese every week. I am thankful our animals were well-loved and cared for during those years, I have a heart for the farm animals that aren't.

Nowadays, I guess our critters could be called pets. Nothing is expected of them other than doing what they do in living out their lives. Matilda and the goats aren't bred or milked. Hens grow old whether they lay eggs or not... my family does use our homegrown eggs. I hope to one day welcome and save many more farm animals that need a place to be pampered as they grow old.

So I guess I am an odd duck... a Christian vegan mama-of-many on a homestead in Montana, with a barnyard refuge full of animals and a supportive family that still eats meat sometimes. Be yourself indeed, ha!

Do I hope my family will join me and also go fully vegan? Of course! And lots more people, too! Time will tell, but I don't force my vegan convictions onto my dear family or anyone else. "Do unto others..." No preaching, no apologizing, no explaining, no defending. Just do it and trust God with the results.

Perhaps I will never make a big difference with my choices, but I know I am doing what I can. For animals, for creation, for my health, for the confidence that comes from being myself and living according to my convictions. And I trust that God will use my efforts in whatever way He chooses.

Lord willing, I intend to stay vegan for good.

Update: Blog posts published prior to November 20, 2017 reflect the plant-based vegan lifestyle I was practicing at that time. I had a six month hiatus from it and then resumed the plant-based vegan lifestyle in May 2018 until August 1, 2018 when my vegan story came to its final end. I have great respect for the lifestyle, but I am no longer vegan.

Morning Routine

Please say good morning to our happy flock of ducks. Their laughter-like quacks greet us first thing each day as we approach their coop. After being safely tucked away from potential harm overnight, they are always ready to stretch their wings and waddle over to their spacious pen for the day!

So independent they are! We give them a ramp so they can safely make their own way to the ground. An occasional burst of energy inspires them to flap their way out and fly a short distance sometimes. And our white Pekin, Buttercup, often waits to be cuddled carried.

Safely upon the ground, they quack and stretch and gather together.

Then off toward the pen it is. They have a ten foot long waddle over to the area where they spend most days. They know the way...

Into their pen they go! Time for breakfast and a splash about and a day in the sunshine. Or rain, or snow... our ducks seem to truly enjoy whatever weather the day brings. A lesson from the barnyard indeed... celebrate each day. {smile}

And in the evening, they do it all again. In reverse, ha!

Wishing you a lovely day ~

First Snow and Another Cowl

We felt it coming. The way the sky looked, the way the air smelled, the low hanging clouds. Two days of rain with dropping temperatures. Out of the 50's, through the 40's, and finally settling at 38 degrees (F).

And on Saturday, we opened our blinds to the first snow of the season just above our mountainside homestead.

It isn't unusual at our place, snow in September. Although it will likely repeat the cycle of snow, melt, snow, melt again, before wintry weather is here to stay. It is a good reminder that the time to prepare is now for it surely is coming. Hay is here. Firewood is stacked. I am stocking the pantry and filling the freezer.

And what a blessing this weather is as our land is parched and the area's fires have been burning for some time now. Just this past week, we saw pillars of smoke from two different fires quite close to our place.

So the feeling of cozy that accompanies the first snow of the season ruled the weekend. We did accomplish a few tasks from our to-do lists...

:: Hubby and our teenage boys worked together to repair Hubby's truck.

:: All of the kids helped their dad replace our storm door.

:: I planned our two week menu, made our grocery list, and we went grocery shopping.

:: The children had some independent projects going, which gave me a chance to catch up on my ASL class and take the quiz I have been trying to get to for several days.

:: Animals were tended to, laundry was done, the piano got played by several of us.

And Mama had time to crochet... yay!

In fact, I finished a simple project so it's time for a show-and-tell. I had one skein of this cute and cheerful yarn in my bin and decided to make another cowl with it. It is just half-double crochet, worked the short way, and when I was almost out of yarn I crocheted the ends together to make a cowl.

I love making cowls, they come together so quickly!  This one will coordinate wonderfully with a sleeveless floral dress that I have. {smile} A perfect way to wear that favorite thrifted dress of mine as summer's end becomes a currently chilly beginning of autumn.

First snow and a finished crochet project. Those are the highlights from the ordinary happy-busy weekend at our place.

Wishing you a lovely start to your week ~

A Grateful Heart

It was a bit surreal, the view from our deck the other night. We stood watching a beautiful sunset while hearing the sirens of emergency vehicles as they raced up our country road toward a plume of smoke rising from the trees.

Beauty and danger, all at the same time.

Thankfully, the fire did not spread and soon the smoke dwindled. What a relief. There are already so many fires burning... the haze of smoke over our homestead (and area) remains.

Here are some things from my gratitude list this week ~

:: Our oldest son is safe after Hurricane Irma. He has been without electricity for several days, but that is the only issue he is dealing with after the storm.

:: Walks to the creek. We have enjoyed several spontaneous jaunts to the creek this week. It is a short walk from the house and always a refreshing break from the ongoing to-do list.

:: Rain! It has been rainy for two days at our place, and this morning's outdoor temperature was a mere 38 degrees (F) when I first checked. Lovely, wonderful, and much needed... and I wouldn't be surprised nor would I complain if there is a skiff of snow on the mountain above us when these clouds lift.

:: Homemade dance hoops, made for me with love by my hubby. Happiness.

:: Ordinary days. Homeschooling our children... learning along with them as I study ASL, piano, and Hebrew... an upcoming poetry class I will take with our daughter. Our youngest boy reading to me as I make supper. Baking cookies. Enjoying a Broadway musical on the television. Moving the furniture to give the carpets a thorough washing. Good things, simple things, the little things that make up our days.

And on this cozy, rainy, ordinary day I hope to get some baking done and make a batch of favorite homemade pasta sauce to have at the ready in the refrigerator.

Thanks for coming by my blog this week, friends. Have a wonderful weekend where you are!

Twisted Orange Cowl

Ooo... I have a finished crochet project to show-and-tell you about today, friends. I love it because it is orange, which is my favorite color. And it is cozy comfy perfect for autumn, which is my favorite season.

Would you like to see? (I will imagine you said yes!) *smile*

I used two skeins of acrylic yarn in terracotta from my yarn bin. The shade reminds me of pumpkins, making it even more perfect for autumn. The pattern was just a simple half-double crochet, such a lovely look for such a simple pattern!

Best of all, this cowl contains memories of favorite places, sermons amongst friends, and evenings with my family... all the places I had it with me when I added a few stitches.

Such a simple cozy cowl for autumn!

Be Still

"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10 

~ * ~

God's Word and a beautiful waterfall from a recent hike.
Wishing you peace, friends ~

I use the World English Bible (WEB) for my word pictures because it is a version in the Public Domain. The name "World English Bible" is trademarked. More information can be viewed here.

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Autumn is in the air, friends. Ahhhh-tum, my favorite season of all. Such a time of cozy as we prepare for winter. A time of fun as we squeeze all we can from the remaining summer-like days. A time of beauty as the trees don their brilliant shades of gold.

And autumn is *the* time for pumpkin recipes, of course. {smile}

I want to share with you one of our favorite easy, frugal, and delicious (my whole family agrees!) plant-based breakfasts. Perfect for autumn, or any time of the year. It mixes up quickly in the pan it is baked in. There is no sugar, cooking oil, or salt to be found. *And* it tastes like pumpkin pie... I am in love!

Here is the recipe...

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

4 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup water
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 cups "quick" rolled oats
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

In a small bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and the water. Set aside.

This recipe is mixed and baked in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Do these steps in the pan you will be baking the oatmeal in.
  1. Peel, then mash the bananas until no banana chunks remain.
  2. Stir the pumpkin puree into the mashed bananas.
  3. Add the flax and water mixture and stir well.
  4. Add the baking powder and cinnamon and stir well.
  5. Add the rolled oats and the almond milk. Mix everything together and spread evenly in the baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 30 minutes, until the oatmeal is firm and lightly brown on top.
  7. Carefully remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit before serving.
  8. Enjoy! We like to eat it with sliced bananas and plant-based milk poured over.

Let me answer some questions I have been asked when sharing this recipe with friends ~

Should I use cooking spray on the pan?
I don't, as I prefer not to for this recipe, but you surely may if it is your preference. I find the pan easy enough to wash without it, sometimes it needs a bit of a soak to soften any stuck-on oatmeal bits.

Can I add sugar?
Of course, if it is your preference (but do try it without first, you may be surprised!). Add it to taste, either before or after baking.

Do I have to use quick oats?
No, but it turns out best with that kind, I think. Old-fashioned oats can be chopped a bit in a blender if that kind is all you have available.

Can I substitute another kind of "milk?"
Yes, every plant-based milk I have tried has worked just fine. I especially like cashew milk. I always use unsweetened.

This makes a lot...
It does, but my large family always eats it up! Refrigerate leftovers if you have them, and use them within a few days.

I hope you like this recipe as much as we do! It is a great introduction to plant-based cooking, I think... or perhaps simply a tasty option for a morning when a non-vegan cook is out of eggs to bake with.

Happy Pumpkin Time of the Year to you, friends.

Our Weekend

Happy Monday to you, friends. It was quite a weekend at our place... we accomplished some tasks around the homestead, watched the smoke rise from a new fire across the way, and kept a close eye on the coverage of Hurricane Irma (our adult son lives within the path of that storm).

So I feel a bit scattered in my thoughts today, and quite looking forward to the comfortable rhythm of an ordinary day at our place.

Here are some moments from our weekend...

This lovely hen spent a portion of her day perched on the rim of a bucket that she discovered in the duck pen. Chickens are a wonderful source of entertainment, I think.

Pretty yellow wildflowers along my walking path. Tenacious they are to survive the parched conditions around here. But I don't like to think of them as weeds... in my opinion, they are simply flowers that God planted.

Our boys helped their dad sturdy up the deck that is in front of our house. They raised it a wee bit, and leveled it, and put some nice supports in place. No more squeaky boards!

My teen daughter and I gave each other haircuts while the deck repairs were underway. We always cut our own hair around here and have gotten quite good at it over the years, if I do say so myself. She also put some pretty red color in her hair and it is adorable, I think. I don't color my hair, I love my natural brown-going-gray.

I like home hair cuts because they are convenient and we like how they look. I suppose we have saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars through the years, too.

Late Saturday afternoon we noticed an ominous cloud of smoke rising across the way.

Soon, we heard helicopters in the area and saw a few small airplanes fly over. It was interesting to watch the firefighters with their orange parachutes as they jumped to fight the fire. It is out now, the firefighters handled it quickly!

And here is my beautiful cow-friend Matilda, coming to me after I called her name. Yes, she got a carrot for her effort. {smile} You can see the haze of smoke against the mountains and the dry, dry pasture...

So I can't say it was a quiet weekend for us, but life on the homestead is often unpredictable. Life everywhere, really... you just never know what might happen next.

But here we are on a Monday, beginning a new week. It looks as though the hurricane has lost its strength and I can see some blue sky above the smoke around here. Onward we go!

Do check back here this week... Lord willing, I have a recipe to share with you and a finished crochet project to show-and-tell. Good things, those!

I hope all is well today where you are ~

Good News

Dear friends, I do hope you had a lovely Christmas! Ours was simple and quiet... we exchanged gifts, enjoyed family time, watched a few Chri...

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