Tuesday, September 30, 2014

GF Vegan Pizza Crackers

My kids love pizza (who doesn't?) but I hate the extra questionable ingredients in pizza flavored snacks. I set out to make some of my own. The end result - they're tasty AND nutritious!

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Before I get started though, I have to tell a funny story about my 6 year old. The other day he had some peanut butter sandwich crackers that someone had given him. He was eating them in the car and clearly thinking about something. He finally piped up with, "I know how to make these crackers."  I think to myself, "Sure, take two crackers and stick them together with peanut butter." Thankfully I kept my mouth shut because his idea was even better. "First you make the crackers. Then you make the peanut butter. Then you spread your peanut butter on one side of a cracker and stick the other cracker to it." I had a proud moment when I realized my 6 year old thinks crackers and peanut butter come from my kitchen, not just containers at the store.

And on to the recipe . . .

GF Vegan Pizza Crackers
Yields:   crackers / Time: 10 active minutes, 15 minutes bake time
For a printable version, click here.

  • 1/4 cup Tomato Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Flax Meal
  • 1 cup GF Oat Flour (you can grind your own by putting GF oats in a blender and blending until floury)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix first 4 ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Stir liquid ingredients then pour into dry ingredients and mix. I find that a rubber scraper mixes this best.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Press out on a piece of parchment.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Cover with another piece and roll to 1/4 inch thick. (I use the foil backed parchment, just personal choice)

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Remove top parchment paper and lightly tap in the edges so they aren't significantly thinner than the rest of the dough.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Score into cracker sizes with a pizza cutter. Transfer bottom parchment paper and cracker dough to a baking sheet.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and either flip the crackers individually or turn the whole parchment paper with crackers over and release the crackers upside down on the baking sheet and separate them.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Discard the parchment and bake the crackers for another 9-10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.

Cool on a cooling rack and enjoy.

Pizza Crackers GF and Vegan

Have you ever made crackers? I have several go-to recipes that we really enjoy. I love knowing what goes into my kids' snacks and they get pretty excited when I offer to make them.

Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Catio

As you may know by now, we have new kittens. We adopted them from MEOW Cat Rescue and they're absolutely fabulous. I'm having fun spoiling them rotten (see my post on the Bookshelf Cat Climber for an example). Once I knew they were happy inside the house, I decided to build them a cat patio or catio so they could get some fresh air without actually being able to wander off and get in trouble. As an added bonus, the catio is placed not too far from the chicken yard. It is far enough that the chickens won't feel threatened but close enough for the cats to spend hours staring in wonder at what they'd like to think is their next meal (fat chance kitties).

Wanna know about this?

The Catio

Please allow me to take you on a little tour....

This is our dining room. (That's the pantry I built.)

The Catio

Down just above the baseboards, below that arrow, there's a cat door.

The Catio

Through that cat door is the outside but it is a safe outside. Safe for my kitties and safe for the local wildlife.

The Catio

But wait, it isn't just a little box. It's a full on CATIO!!


The catio features pass-through shelves, just like the bookcase cat climber.

The Catio

It also has a loft with a hammock (special request by the 6 year old) and cat head shaped windows.

The Catio

At first I thought I had made a mistake by putting the loft on this side (I underestimated how tall it would be) but at night, that light attracts bugs and the cats LOVE bugs so it's fun for them.

I added not one but two locks on our outdoor access door. The top lock is out of the children's reach and is a tighter lock just to ensure the door stays closed.

The Catio

This is the top lock:

The Catio

Teddy figured out he can watch the chickens from his new perch.

The Catio

I think he likes it.

The Catio

Do you have a special outdoor place for your pet? Please link to your post or a photo if you'd like to share. I'd love to see what you've done.

Thank you for reading,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mailboxes to Store Garden Tools

This year I got tired of wandering from one end of our property to the other only to realize I needed a pair of garden gloves and a tool or two that were back where I started. We have multiples of just about every handheld outdoor tool so I picked up a couple of old mail boxes from my local buy-nothing Facebook group and installed them where I needed them most.

The first one is by the main garden, in the side yard. I also love how it works with the other decor I've acquired.

Garden Mailbox

This one is in the back garden, near the corn plot (aka squirrel food), zucchini, cucumbers, blueberries, quinoa, some pumpkins, apple and cherry trees, potatoes, edamame, and raspberries. See how I might like some tools over there? It was just a coincidence that this awesome volunteer Foxglove was the same color as the mailbox. I painted the box before the flowers emerged.

Garden Mailbox

I love how they turned out.

Thank you for reading,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bookcase Cat Climber

Did I tell you we got kittens this summer. O-M-G they're so adorable and sweet. A friend was fostering their litter when I first fell in love. Having lost our 19 year old cat back in the spring, I was really missing having a fur baby (or two) around the house. We were able to adopt our babies through Meow Cat Rescue and I got to pick out the babies I liked best from the litter while they were still staying with my friend. I picked good ones too.

I knew before they came home that they'd need a cat climber. I wanted something they could climb quickly to get away from the kiddos but also something with some scratching space on it. I wanted it to be in a location where they could watch us moving about the house.

Well, the location was easy but it would mean displacing a bookcase. This bookcase:


I'm going to be honest here, I don't miss that AT ALL!!! The thing was though, that bookcase matches one across the room and I like it. Our house is small so matching furniture does wonders for keeping it from looking too crowded. I also didn't want some carpeted monstrosity right there so I hit Pinterest looking for attractive cat climbers I could build.

I found nothing I loved. Nothing I wanted as a focal point in our living space. This is easily viewable from the dining room, kitchen, living room and hallway.

Then it hit me! Get rid of the clutter and make THIS the climber.

I cleared off the clutter and cut a hole in each shelf.


I used the hole guide on my Dremel Trio tool.

Then I stepped back to assess what I'd done.


I loaded it back up with just a few books and games as well as a scrap of carpet I got from a friend.


Oh, I was very happy with where this was going. I found a photo of book spines, printed them out on photo paper, mounted them to cardboard then taped on an "L" bracket and put them (as well as a real book) on the top shelf to give the kitties a pass-through to the top of the shelf. I also put a cool basket up top. Don't worry, it's on some no slip padding so it doesn't slide off.




Teddy investigated and approved it. (Nom nom nom)


Eating Books

Amelia tested it out too.


I also added a carpet-covered strip of wood to one side so they can sharpen their claws on it.


I see one or the other (or both) up there every single day. The carpeted layer is just high enough that they can escape the 2.5 year old's reach and they can scale the climber really fast when they need to. They also like to play on it.

And now, a few final pictures:

Snuggles 2


Thank you for reading,

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