Frugal Family Tree

Friday, April 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Soup really is one of my favorite things to cook, and a dinner of soup and sandwiches, or soup and a good bread is my idea of a tasty meal. Soup also means there will be leftovers, either enough for another meal, or a couple of lunches during the week.

My daughter Samantha has made this delicious soup many times, so last night I thought I would give it a try and share it with everyone here. This soup is made in the slow cooker, which I love because it makes this recipe so easy. And because it cooks for a few hours, the flavors have a chance to really blend together to be delicious.

Any kind of chicken soup is a favorite for my family, and this hearty soup is one that will appeal to both the kids and the grown-ups. Using a rotisserie chicken saves even more time and adds so much flavor.

Recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 10.75-ounce can of Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded chicken (from a Rotisserie chicken)

  • Directions:
    1. Combine water, broth, condensed soup, uncooked rice, thyme, and pepper in a slow cooker.
    2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on the low setting for 7.5-8 hours or 3.5-4 hours on the high setting.
    3. Stir in chicken before serving.
    Makes 6-8 servings.


    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Wild Blueberry Bruschetta Recipe #wildblueberryside #momsmeet

    *I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

    Blueberries have to be my favorite fruit. When I was a kid it was grapes but as an adult I realize that blueberries are much tastier and full of nutrients. Wyman's Frozen Wild Blueberries are my favorite to buy because of the intense flavor and more nutrient value per serving than other blueberries. I like to buy frozen fruit since I do not want to lose any fruit going bad by not eating it fast enough. Plus frozen fruit is the best to use when making smoothies, which we do almost daily.

    Here are some great facts about the difference in Wild Blueberries vs regular blueberries:

    Wild Blueberries are wildly different from the regular blueberries you normally find in the produce section. Don’t be fooled by their size—they pack more into their tiny blue bodies than any other blueberry on the planet!

    • Wild Blueberries have a more intense flavor than regular blueberries. Wild Blueberry plants are more genetically diverse with thousands of interlocking plants spreading and interlocking naturally across fields over thousands of years. That diversity is what gives Wild Blueberries their complex and delicious flavor—an extraordinary mix of tart and sweet.

    • Wild Blueberries have two times the antioxidant capacity of the larger cultivated blueberries. A growing body of research shows the potential health benefits of Wild Blueberries including gut health, diabetes, cancer, and brain health.

    • 99% of the Wild Blueberry crop is frozen fresh at harvest, which locks in their nutrition and taste.

     • Wild Blueberries are called “Wild” because they are not planted— they have occurred naturally in barrens and fields in Maine and Eastern Canada for 10,000 years.

    • The retail price for a 15-ounce bag of Wild Blueberries starts at $3.59. A 3-pound bag retails for about $10.

    I have put Wild Blueberries in smoothies, salads, sauces, muffins and this time I was trying to think of something a little different. I love Bruschetta as an appetizer so I thought I would try making a Wild Blueberry Bruschetta to serve at our next get together. It turned out delicious!!

    Wild Blueberry Bruschetta Recipe:

    1 bag  Wyman's of Maine Wild Blueberries 15oz
    2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
    2 finely chopped Fresh Basil leaves
    1 Baguette French Bread
    6 oz. of Mozzarella Cheese


    Place frozen berries in bowl on counter to defrost. In separate bowl stir together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil. Slice baguette and cheese. Stir defrosted blueberries into vinaigrette. Serve bread slices topped with cheese and Wild Blueberry vinaigrette. Enjoy!

    If you want to learn more about Wild Blueberries and find more delicious recipes you can visit the website for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America as well as visit their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Northern CA Summer Camp Deals: Digital Media Academy Soccer & Technology #ad

    * I am participating in a USFamilyGuide blogger campaign and this is a sponsored post #ad

    Summer is just around the corner and it is time to start planning for where to send your child for a well rounded adventure. If you are one of our many Northern California readers I have a great deal to share with you for Digital Media Academy Soccer and Technology. This sounds like a fun program that combines sports and technology for camp.

    Founded at Stanford University, Digital Media Academy is ranked as one of the ten best summer camps in the world.

    Digital Media Academy's Soccer & Technology summer camps combine athletics and tech learning in one dynamic camp. 

    Save over $350 off Digital Media Academy Soccer & Tech Camps at @SantaClaraUniv REGISTER BY PHONE by 4/30 

    Limited time offer - Only 10 seats available in each camp

    ***In order to receive a $365 savings, you must call 866-656-3342 and mention "USFG Soccer Discount" to register by April 30, 2015*** 

    The DMA Experience from Digital Media Academy on Vimeo.

    Choose from Adventures in Soccer & Game Design for Boys or Adventures in Soccer, Photography & Graphic Design for Girls. Students develop real-world tech skills while sharpening their soccer skills as they train with Santa Clara University's Division I soccer program*.

    Students spend the mornings on the field and receive training from some of the best college soccer players in the world.In the afternoon, students head to the studio classroom, where they discover the fundamentals concepts of photography or game design. 

    Give your child a pre-collegiate experience and build their confidence through project-based learning. Campers get hands-on experience creating projects using the latest hardware and software from Apple, Canon, Adobe, and more.

    This $365 savings is a limited time offer! With only 10 seats available for each course, this savings will not last long. Camps are filling fast, register early to save $365 off Soccer & Technology summer camps and stay off the wait list. 

    *Students must bring their own soccer gear, including a soccer ball and all required soccer equipment (shin guards, athletic clothing with no pockets, socks, cleats, and water bottle).

    MUST CALL 1(866)656-3342 and mention "USFG Soccer Discount" to register by April 30, 2015. 

    Questions? Email a Guest Service Representative at and mention "USFG Soccer Discount."

    Limited time offer - Only 10 seats available in each camp

    ***In order to receive a $365 savings, you must call 866-656-3342 and mention "USFG Soccer Discount" to register by April 30, 2015***


    GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes #GBTravelSafe #ad

    I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GB. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #ad

    Spring is here and summer just around the corner my family and I are pondering the places we want to travel this summer before my little guy starts school in the Fall. I want to get in a few travel adventures before we are in a set schedule. Keeping my son safe while we travel is top priority, next is snacks, entertainment and his stuffed animal giraffe.

    I did a lot of research on car seats before my son was born for the latest safety features. Now 5 years later my son is in his big boy seat and there are even more advanced infant car seats.  The GB Asana35 AP Car Seat is one of the latest in car seat advancements with the unique FirmFit system helps protect baby head, neck and spine. You can enter to win the GB Asana35 AP Car Seat in the GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes. I entered many great giveaways when I was pregnant with my son, won a few too. They can be fun to enter and you get to learn a little about products on the available.

       To enter the GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes and win the Grand, Second, or Third Prizes, Sweepstakesants must gain points throughout the duration of the timeframe of the Sweepstakes. Points are awarded by performing tasks found within the entry widget on the Sweepstakes website (, which consists of pre-scripted Tweets, watching a short video on the GB Asana35 AP, visiting the Asana35 AP product page on, and pinning images from Pinterest.

    o   If you have a Babies “R” Us registry, you can gain extra points by adding the GB Asana35 AP and providing us with your registry number!

    o   Performing these entry tasks will also enter participants to win weekly $50 or $100 Babies “R” Us gift cards through the GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes.

    GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes


    Thursday, April 9, 2015

    Spring Asparagus Pizza Recipe

    One of the things I enjoy about spring is when all the delicious asparagus comes to the grocery stores and farmer's markets. When I was growing up, we rarely had asparagus on our table. I think it was because my Mom only knew of one way to serve it, and that was with hollandaise sauce, which she thought of as 'fancy'.

    So I'm happy that I get to use asparagus when and how ever I want, and this pizza was a last minute meal that turned out to be something I will definitely make again soon.

    I'm a big fan of homemade pizza and I use a pizza dough recipe that is super simple. Because it is so easy, that lets me put together a pizza in very little time, and usually with the ingredients I have on hand.

    This is how this pizza came together yesterday, I had the asparagus, red onion, and mushrooms in the fridge already, and I have to say, it tasted pretty fabulous!!

    Normally, I make my pizza round, but I made this one rectangular so that the asparagus could lay on it and look nice. It did made the dough thicker for this pizza, but that turned out to be part of what made it taste so good.

    I used a white pizza sauce from a jar to make it super easy.

    Recipe for Spring Asparagus Pizza


    1/3 pound fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
    1/2 red onion, sliced thin
    3-4 large white mushrooms, sliced
    3/4 cup white pizza sauce
    1-1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

    For dough:

     2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 package all purpose yeast
    1 cup warm water
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon white sugar
    1 teaspoon salt


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
     In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Stir until smooth. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
    Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a large rectangle. Sprinkle with extra flour if the dough is sticky. Transfer crust onto a lightly greased pizza pan.
    Spread a medium layer of pizza sauce on dough, then sprinkle on Italian seasoning.  Lay on red onion, mushrooms, and asparagus. Top with cheese.
    Cook in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

    Serves 5.

    Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Vanilla Easter Cupcakes

    I wanted to make something yummy for my grandchildren the other day, and since Easter is only a few days away, I thought cupcakes would be a good idea. The kids were thrilled with these, not just by their taste, but how festive they look, too.

    These cupcakes are vanilla, and one of my favorite, basic recipes that I turn to over and over again. The buttercream frosting is a favorite too, sweet and creamy. I tinted the frosting with food coloring in pink and green, and the M&M's are Easter Pastel.

    I love being the kind of grandmother who makes treats for her grandchildren. It makes me far happier than it makes them, I think, because they have no sense of time passing and I do. They just know that it's a great afternoon because Nana made treats, but I know this is a day I will remember, and a day that I hope they will.

    Recipe for Vanilla Easter Cupcakes


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

    In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.

    Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

    Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 8 Tbs. (1 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/8 tsp. salt

  • Food colorings
    Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a hand mixer, combine the confectioners sugar, butter, the 2 1/2 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

    If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as desired, and frost and decorate cupcakes.
    Makes 12 cupcakes.


    Monday, March 30, 2015

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Blu-Ray Giveaway #TheHobbit

    I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings series and now the Hobbit movies. I find it exciting to get lost in another world of wizards, elves, rings with the common human stories of survival, love and loss. Seeing it with hobbits, elves, dwarves and other make believe creatures make it a little more fun! The landscape of New Zealand where the film is made is amazingly beautiful. We saw the movie in theaters and are excited to see it again on Blu-Ray.

    From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpieceThe Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.
    Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

    • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3• Recruiting the Five Armies• Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga• Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey• The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes• Music Video• Trailers
    Own it on Blu-ray NOW
    The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies App:
    • Are you Brave like Bilbo? Take the quiz to find out if you have the bravery it takes to journey through Middle Earth!

    • Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth.

    • Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!

    We are hosting a giveaway for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Blu-Ray, you can enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 30, 2015 and ends on April 13, 2015 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent a product to review for this post. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Brown Rice Veggie Mix Recipe

    As much as I really enjoy eating meat, especially beef and chicken, sometimes I like to make a meatless meal. It doesn't hurt to skip eating meat a few times a week, in fact it can be a nice break for me. And let's face it, meat is expensive.

    I do make and eat quite a lot of brown rice, often making it ahead and keeping it for when I want to eat it during the week. Brown rice is healthier that white rice, and I love it's nutty, earthy flavor.

    This recipe is super easy to make, and you can vary the veggies if you don't have these on hand. The bell pepper gives it a touch of color, and red bell peppers are so good for you.

    Recipe for Brown Rice Veggie Mix


    4 cups cooked brown rice
    3 tablespoons olive
    1 onion, chopped
    1 read bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1-1/2 cups broccoli florets
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


    In a large frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and broccoli. Sauté vegetables until softened, about 6-8 minutes.
    Stir in rice and heat through. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve.

    Makes 4 servings.


    Monday, March 23, 2015

    Little Caesars Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza Review and Giveaway

    Its no secret I have a love for Pizza. Even so much my 5 year old seems to know since he was "interviewing" me and asked what my favorite food was, I 
    hesitated and he said its pizza! When I asked my son what he wanted to do on my next day off he said he wanted to have a pizza picnic at the park. I thought that was an awesome idea and it is something we try to do every so often. Some people bring sandwiches and chips to a picnic we bring pizza and bread sticks

    Since Little Caesars is HOT-N-READY and affordable it is our go to pizza place for pizza at the park. We wanted to try the new Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza. Pizza and Bacon are always a delicious combo but this is the first time I have ever eaten a bacon wrapped pizza. I must say it was delicious. Its a very filling pizza like the deep dish I have eaten before just better cause there is bacon on it!! 

    Little Caesars proudly introduces their HOT-N-READY Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza, for just $12 bucks. That’s a large, 8 crunchy corner slices of Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza topped with pepperoni and bacon, then wrapped in over three and a half feet of crispy bacon. No calling ahead or waiting for your pizza, because it’s HOT-N-READY everyday between 4pm to 8pm only at Little Caesars, world’s fastest way to pizza. Available for a limited time at participating locations, $12 plus tax. 

    We had a wonderful time with our pizza picnic at the park and even had leftovers. My son was wanting seconds as soon as we returned home. You can find the nearest Little Caesars Pizza to plan your own pizza picnic or other pizza adventure by using the store locator.

    You can win a $20 Little Caesars Pizza gift card to have your own pizza adventure with the new Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 23 2015 and ends on April 6, 2015 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent gift card to review the pizza for this post.


    Friday, March 20, 2015

    Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

    Yesterday when I was in the grocery store, I couldn't help noticing all the gorgeous looking fruit available. Everything just looked so ripe and luscious, especially the pears.

    Since I love desserts made with fruit, like my Apple Cake, and my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, I decided to make this Pear Upside-Down Cake with the pears I had bought.

    It turned out delicious, and my family had a great dessert on a busy weeknight, which they really appreciated. I didn't have a lot of time to make these kinds of cakes when my five kids were growing up. So much of motherhood is just getting through the day with everyone clean and fed.

    So it's nice to be able to spend the time making a cake like this now. It's not really that food is love, or maybe it is, but taking the time to make something for the people you love.


    Of course everything tastes better with a scoop of ice cream on it, right? This cake is well worth the effort, and holds together really well, perfect for taking it to a friend's house to share it, or even on a picnic.

    Just make sure your pears are nice and ripe, and try to use Bosc or Anjou variety. And when you flip it over onto the cake plate when it's done, I let it rest for a couple of minutes like that so the cake comes out in one piece.

    Recipe for Pear Upside-Down Cake


    3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
    3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    2 firm but ripe pears (like Bosc or Anjou) peeled, cored, and sliced
    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-or-10 inch round, metal cake pan, over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter with the brown sugar. Stir until butter melts and mixture is slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Arrange pears slices, slightly overlapping, in a neat circular pattern on top of the caramel.

    In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter with flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla for 1 minute on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat 3 minutes longer. Pour batter over pears in the pan.

    Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Run a thin spatula around the edges of the cake and then invert onto a heat-proof cake plate. Let rest for 2 minutes and then remove pan.

    Serve cake warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
    Serves 6-8.