Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I’ve mentioned before my preferred rules for healthy eating, but something I failed to mention is that I hate wasting food in any way. One issue that’s been nagging me for a few months now came to my attention after buying a box of Quaker Oats instant oatmeal packets. Although I typically get the maple and spice type flavors, this specific time I bought the fruit and cream variety pack.

Ever since I purchased this specific box, I’ve had four packets of banana and cream instant oatmeal sitting in my kitchen cabinets. Determined, I began to do a little research to figure out the best way to prevents this perfectly good food from going to waste. That’s when I had an epiphany…

 

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Despite being a bit dense in true muffin fashion, this recipe somehow managed to be light and airy at the same time. Also, the hint of a cream flavor really makes an impact! Even my picky eater of a husband enjoyed a couple of these for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 packets banana and cream instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of your dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash your bananas and then add your wet ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. If you overmix, you’re risking your muffins becoming far too dense.
  5. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I recommend to start checking around 12 minutes if your oven cooks a bit on the hotter side.
  7. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool on wire rack.

HELP – Cleaning urine stains from hardwood

As I’ve mentioned time and time before, the house I live in is old. It’s the sort of old where it was built by my great-grandparents and the guest room was my grandpa’s bedroom as a child. (Yet no one knows why there’s that hideous carpet in there. But I digress.)

Over the years of our animal loving family living here, an accident or two hundred were bound to occur from fluffy little bladders. It certainly didn’t help that there’s evidence around the house that someone along the way didn’t do the best job of letting their dog out when it needed to go (aka, scratched up walls and doors and windowsills and carpet and so on).

Now that I’m here with my three little fluffs, I’ve come to realize that Kulu’s the worst trained cat we have.

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He has a tendency to urinate wherever he smells urine, not just in a litter box. So, between the previous animals of the house and the old hardwood floors, I’ve been going crazy with this cat. I began researching around a bit and found out that the odd dark spot in the middle of Kulu’s favorite potty party spot is old animal urine. I started taking steps trying to take out the smell by trying this tutorial but things didn’t go exactly how I’d hope.

I started by putting down paper towels and covering them with hydrogen peroxide.

But once a few hours passed and I took the paper towels off, I found that the peroxide pulled the finish from the floor. I’m not completely blaming the peroxide because the finish is on the old side and was already flaking in some places anyways. Apart from that issue, it didn’t help to take out the dark spot or get rid of the urine smell.

Take this as a cry for help.

 

Front rooms renovation, day nineteen

I’m sitting in my living room while I write this. On my couch. Without the plastic.

I have reclaimed my living space!

Which, as you can probably guess, means the painting is finally finished. It took me two days of work to get the sizable front rooms dolled up and then another day to clean up and mostly put back together. Some of the pieces don’t fit and some pieces are missing, but this puzzle looks so much better.

Here’s a quick reminder of how these two rooms, living room and dining room respectively, looked when I first moved in.

Soak that in for a moment. Hole in the ceiling. Popcorn flaking down. Bird’s nest on an already hideous ceiling fan. Bad curtains. Dirty doors and baseboards. Faded (and horribly painted) peach walls. You can’t tell in these photos, but the master bedroom door is also the peach color that I’ve come to despise.

Now time for the painting reveal. We still don’t have the light fixtures up and our furniture and decorations need some love, but it goes without saying that there’s already considerable improvement.

This paint has made all the difference in the world to this old house! Brightened baseboards and doors. Brighter rooms. Accent wall to tie the separate rooms together rather than clumping them into one. Plus, I love my simple white curtains…which are just flat sheets from Walmart. Eventually, I’ll be adding an accent color around them but I’m still working on that.

If you have any questions about my renovations so far, please leave a comment!

Front rooms renovation, day sixteen

It took me three days — three days — to finish painting the trim, windows, and doors in the front rooms. Then, it took a mere three hours or less to prime the walls.

No, the priming isn’t perfect and no, it wasn’t easy to get pictures of the rooms with everything piled up in the middle.

However, I can rest easy tonight knowing that I’ve gotten this much done and tomorrow (unless something more important comes up) I’ll finally be able to put the colors up on the walls. After all this time anxiously waiting, it’s actually going to happen. I have a bit more work to do following that before the front rooms are actually “finished”, but it’s too huge of a milestone for me not to be proud of.

The best part of what I’ve gotten done so far is repainting that old gentleman of a door. He looks so nice all dressed up, doesn’t he? It took me three coats of paint on the interior and two on the exterior. I left it at two for the outer part so it’d retain a bit of a weather-worn look, similar to the rest of the outside of the house.

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Looking ahead — far, far ahead — I found a nice little surprise while I was painting the guest room door. I lifted the edge of the carpet under the door (it was already torn from the floor a bit, presumably from the same dog who scratched up three of the doors, stained the hardwood with urine, and chewed up a windowsill) and found that there is, in fact, hardwood underneath! Time for me to begin researching how to remove carpets!

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In the meantime, I’m really hoping I can get someone in who knows how to fix the issues that have been caused by the new ceiling. I was so excited when I first realized that the Ceiling Guy was going to simply slap a new ceiling over the the old one because it would cut down on construction time by a lot. However, an issue that I didn’t expect (because I simply don’t know about this stuff and am learning as I go along) is that the vent inserts and light inserts are now so far inset into the ceiling that I’m currently stuck staring and the holes and unsure what to do. I have a few different options on how to proceed, but I’m tracking down an expert opinion first.

But Ceiling Guy, you kind of screwed me.