Month: June 2014

Good, healthy cookies

Eureka! I finally found it. A gluten-free vegan cookie recipe that actually tastes good. Just when I was starting to lose hope and give myself over to the magic powers of butter, sugar and eggs!
GF cookies www.nestinthewest.comCookies and coffee are my absolute favourite snack. I’ve been missing out while trying to stick to the 21 Day Fix eating plan. Don’t get me wrong, there are heaps of healthy recipes out there, but lots call for unusual ingredients that can cost a small fortune, or just end up flavourless. I’m so happy to have stumbled across this recipe and hope you’ll give it a try too.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(slightly adapted from The Gluten Free Vegan)

No need to pull out your mixer for this one. Just gather these ingredients and a couple of bowls.

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (whip oats in a blender to make this)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I like the mini size) (use vegan ones if you like)

GF cookies www.nestinthewest.comPreheat oven to 350 F degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix the oats, oat flour, cinnamon baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a larger bowl, combine peanut butter, melted coconut oil, honey, applesauce and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir well. Add in the chocolate chips.
Drop by teaspoons onto lined cookie sheet. These don’t spread so give them a little press down if they’re a mound. Bake for 15 minutes. The cookies are a little soft when fresh out of the oven so let them cool on the pan before removing. Store in an airtight container. Makes 20.
GF cookies www.nestinthewest.comNow excuse me while I enjoy some guilt-free cookie goodness!

Pond in a pot

Well, I got my zen going on the side patio and am here to share. As hinted, I set up a little pond, complete with a pump, fountain, plants and fish. It’s a great addition to my garden area and the soft trickle of water is so relaxing.
imageThere are two things I need you to know up front: one is that this project is actually not new to me – I had a similar set up at my previous rental. Second, this is not as budget-friendly as most DIY’s I take on but already owning the pump, fountain and pot made it do-able.
If you want a mini pond or water feature of your own, here’s what you need (with approximate costs):

  • a plant pot with no drain hole, plastic is the cheapest and easiest ($10)
  • a small pump (found at a garden centre, WalMart, Canadian Tire etc) ($15)
  • a fountain or spitter (optional) ($25)
  • your choice of water plant(s) ($10)
  • fish, food and water conditioner ($6)

Start by giving your pot, fountain and pump a thorough cleaning with mild dish soap. Be sure to rinse well, especially if you plan to add fish.
Select your location and place the pot there. Choose carefully because once full, these are too heavy to move around! Fill your pot 3/4 full with cold tap water.
I lined the bottom of my pond with rocks, partly because I like the more natural look and partly because it gives fish a place to hide out.
Set up your pump according to package instructions, they’re easy, and submerge it in your pond. If using a fountain or spitter, connect the pump to it now.
Add your plant(s). I raised mine on an upside down planter just to give it more height.
Now, plug in your pump and make any adjustments you need to direction or flow of water. Safety first, use a 3 prong outlet with proper grounding. Top up the water level if needed. You now have a little pond!
pond in a pot www.nestinthewest.comIf you’re adding fish, please do so gradually and carefully. Water conditioner needs to be added at the start and about every month of so of having fish in your pond. I picked mine up at WalMart in the pet department for $2. You’ll normally bring fish home in a plastic bag filled with water. Place the entire bag, still closed into your pond and let it sit there for at least 1/2 an hour. This allows the fish time to get climatized to the new pond and gradually change to a different water temperature if needed. Next, open the bag and leave it in the pond. It may start to sink and the water from the pond and the bag will mix. That’s good. I left mine like this overnight and by the morning my fish had made their way from the bag to their new home in the pond. They seem pretty happy there ever since.
pond in a pot www.nestinthewest.compond in a pot www.nestinthewest.comI’ve had this simple little pond going for just over a week now and it’s a bit ridiculous how much fun I’m having with it! As soon as I get home from work I plug it in to get the water flowing, then I feed my fish. I see more and more of the fish as they’re feeling safer in their pond. I find myself spending more time on this patio too. Now I just need to teach the kitty that this isn’t a new watering hole for her!