Friday, October 24, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup From Organic Marin Cookbook

I've been seeing all the pumpkins and different kinds of squash in the grocery stores lately, and it inspired me to make some Butternut Squash soup. This soup is such a great one to make on a chilly fall day, and it's also one of my favorites.

This recipe comes from a beautiful book that I bought a few years ago, Organic Marin. It's filled with delicious recipes, and inspiring photos that will make you want to go in the kitchen and start cooking.
I've also seen this at the library, so if you come across it there, be sure and check it out, I know you'll enjoy it.

I just love butternut squash, and use it in lots of recipes during the fall and winter. And it's super healthy for you.

I roasted two squashes, and will freeze the squash from one of them to make soup again in a couple of weeks. It freezes very well, and it's so handy to roast two at the same time.

Pair this with a light salad, and some crusty warm bread for a delicious fall dinner.

Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds) halved and seeded
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cloves garlic
4 thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Rub the olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and season with 1/4 of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the prepared pan. Tuck the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs under the cavity of the squash. Roast the squash for 50 to 60 minutes, until the squash is soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reserve the garlic cloves and discard the thyme. Scoop the butternut squash flesh from the skin, coarsely chop and set aside.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and shallots for 7 to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the roasted squash, the reserved garlic cloves, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Puree the soup until smooth with a hand-help blender or in a food processor. Return to the pan if necessary and stir in the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serves 6 as a first course.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Make A Halloween Craft From Martha Stewart

I love crafts, with or without the kids. It is fun to do them with the kids, but sometimes I need a grown up craft to make me feel "crafty." When I am looking for crafting ideas I like to turn to Martha Stewart. My Mom adores Martha and says she knew her way back when. Because my Mom has so much admiration for Martha Stewart, I do too. Her projects are relatively simple and always classic. I found this Bat Mobile from the Indoor Halloween Decorations page and knew it was the one for me to make this season. I love simple, black and I love things I can find for free, like the tree branch that the bats are dangling from.

Bat Mobile
Here is the original from Martha's site. 

And here is my attempt at making the "Bat Mobile"
 I found a stick off of one of our trees outside and sprayed it with black spray paint.

While the spray paint dried, I printed out the bat template provided and got some black post board out. Card stock can be expensive so I just got a piece of black poster board at 2 for a $1.00 and cut it into pieces. 
Then I cut out the template, traced them by folding the paper in half. She gives you half of the bat so that you can trace it and both sides be equal. 

Last I got my dry branch, fishing string, and hole punch. I didn't punch it all the way through the paper, just punctured it a bit so I could slide the fishing string in. I hung the bats up randomly and at different lengths.
Here is my finished product! I hung it high enough over the sliding glass door to the deck so that the children couldn't reach it. It was late by the end of the day when I got it finished so there is a shadow from the light. But I think that makes it look a little spooky!
This was originally published 10/16/12

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glazed Pumpkin Bread

If it's fall, you can bet I'm busy in the kitchen making pumpkin bread. I just adore eating it, and a cup of tea with a slice of this bread in the afternoon is my idea of heaven.
This recipe is easy to make, and adding the powdered sugar glaze makes it even more delicious. I don't roast my own pumpkin, but use the canned kind, which is just as good in my book, and so much easier. The recipe makes two loaves.
As yummy as this is to eat at home, it makes a wonderful gift for a friend, neighbor, or even a surprise gift for your child's teacher. Either way, it's delicious, and a perfect way to embrace the fall season. 
Recipe for Glazed Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 c. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
4 eggs

For glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing well.
Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 1/2 x 5 1/4-inch loaf pans.Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.
To make glaze, stir powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together in a small bowl. With a spoon, drizzle glaze over cooled loaves.
Makes 2 loaves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RSVP for #SpookySnacks Twitter Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
                     Photo Credit:

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know I do and we’re excited to host a party to chat about how Oreo, Wheat Thins, Fanta, and Dasani products are the ultimate Halloween snacking solution!  On Friday, October 24 at 2:00 pm ET, please join us for the  #SpookySnacks Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing trick or treating snacking and giving you a chance to win prizes!

One of my very favorite holidays is Halloween and the house is already decorated with pumpkins, ghosts, and skeletons. My grandchildren have their costumes, and their excitement for the day makes me excited, too. Along with dressing up, we always love enjoying some great treats and delicious beverages. That's actually one of my favorites parts of Halloween, all the food and drinks!! This will be another great Twitter party with tons of great Halloweeen ideas, and we will all walk away hungry and thirsty!

Join me and RSVP for the #SpookySnacks Twitter Party on SoFabChats!
DATE:  Friday, October 24

TIME:  2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

PRIZES:  5 – $100 Walmart Gift Cards

EARLY BIRD PRIZE: 1 – $50 Walmart Gift Card

HOSTS: @blm03, @BabytoBoomer@MsMissy62@FrugalFamTree@_Karen

RULES: #SpookySnacks Twitter Party Official Rules

RSVP & PARTY GRID: #SpookySnacks Twitter Party Page

How To Participate In A Twitter Party on SoFabChats!
TIP:  How to join a Twitter Party – sign in! Before party starts, click on the green “Sign In On Twitter” bar at the top of the page!

TIP: Who to follow at a Twitter Party? Follow the Party Team by clicking on the Twitter handle links on the RSVP page!

TIP: Want to win Twitter Party prizes? RSVP by clicking on RSVP button before you join the party, follow everyone on the Party Team, and tweet with the party hashtag during the party to be eligible!

TIP: How to win the Early Bird prize? Watch for chance to share a tweet when you RSVP for chance to win!

TIP: Special deals and brand coupons? Keep that option checked when you RSVP for the party!

TIP: New to Twitter parties? Watch your column and Party Team tweet columns – they are slower paced and easier to follow!

TIP: Where to find Twitter Parties? Check out the SoFabChats Twitter Party Calendar to find more fun parties to attend!

Find more helpful Twitter Party Tips on SoFabChats!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recipe For Ground Turkey Soup

The weather has officially turned fall-like, and put me into full soup making mode. There is nothing better than having a delicious pot of soup simmering on the stove on a cold day.

This soup calls for ground turkey, which I use often as a substitute for ground beef. It's healthier, and my family likes it. One of the good things about this Ground Turkey Soup is that it's loaded with veggies, and is a hearty soup, perfect for dinner.

Sometimes I have a small salad with a soup dinner, and some kind of bread, too. I do think you can skip the salad this time, as this soup is very filling. And there should be enough left over for lunch the next day, which is always so nice.

Recipe for Ground Turkey Soup


1 pound ground turkey

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth
2 cups water
1 can (28ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons dried tarragon
1tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni


In a Dutch oven, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the broth, water, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, tarragon, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Stir into soup; heat all the way through.
Serves 8.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Dermagist Hydropeutic Body Lotion Review and Giveaway

I was provided with Dermagist Products for this review. All opinions are my own. 

I've been using Dermagist products for awhile now, and I have to say that I love how they work.
I can always feel a difference in my skin when I use them, whether it's my face, hands or body. As I get older, I've begun to choose products that I feel really work for me, and have stopped experimenting as much with other brands.

This is a deep-hydrating body lotion that relaxes the skin with soothing teas, moisturizes and works on wrinkles with wrinkle fighting ingredients, and smooths rough and dry skin with therapeutic moisture adding ingredients.
It's silky texture feels great anytime, but I really love using it right after a bath or shower. Like all Dermagist products that I have used, I'm totally pleased with this body lotion, and love recommending it to my friends and family.
I'm pleased to tell you that Dermagist is giving away a bottle of Dermagist Hydropeutic Body Lotion to one of our readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts Oct. 10 2014 and ends on Oct. 24 , 2014 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.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Share Halloween Treats With Your Dog and Make Fun Doggie Trick-Or-Treat Bags

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrickOrTreatEm #CollectiveBias

Halloween is such a fun time around our house. My grandchildren love dressing up, and this year they asked if our dog could have his very own dog costume. How could I possibly say no, so off we went shopping, and our Chewie ended up with a taco costume.

We know the kids get all the treats on Halloween, but why shouldn't our doggie friends get their own fun treats?

While we were shopping at our local Fred Meyer for Chewie's costume, the kids and I thought it would be fun to make up some Halloween doggie treat bags to give to trick-or-treaters that would like to take home a treat for their own dogs.

Big Heart Brand Pet Treats come in several varieties, and Chewie really loves Pup-Peroni, Milkbone, and Milo's Kitchen. These are the treats we are using to make up our doggie treat bags, and these are really going to be some lucky dogs!!

You can have some doggie Halloween fun yourself on the Trick Or Treat Em website. Just answer a few questions and find out your pets Halloween personality, upload a picture of your pet in their Halloween costume to a fun Halloween picture frame, and get coupons to save on dog treats.

To make the treat bags, I just bought regular candy bags and filled them up with a Pup-Peroni stick, a Milo's Kitchen treat, and a few Milkbone flavor snacks.

I also made the orange tags that say 'doggie treats', and tied them on to the bags so that they wouldn't accidently be confused with regular bags of treats.

We live on a street with lots of dogs, and dog-loving owners, so I know these are going to be a big hit in our neighborhood.

I have to confess that I've never been a big dog lover, but getting Chewie changed all that. And I'm having so much fun with him, that buying him his own Halloween costume, and making his buddies treat bags is great.

I found Milo's Kitchen, Milkbone, and Pup-Peroni dog treats all at my local Fred Meyer store, located in the dog food aisle. I like the ease and convenience of picking them up here, and not having to go to a pet store, where prices are always higher.

My family and I can't wait for Halloween this year, and we're planning on taking Chewie the
Taco with us when we go trick-or-treating.

Be sure and give your own dogs a treat this year on Halloween, for all the love, affection and laughter they provide us all-year round.

How about you, do you have a Halloween costume for your dog, and do you take them trick-or-treating?


Monday, October 6, 2014

Veggies Lover's White Sauce Pizza

The thing that is so great about making your own pizzas is that you can pick anything you want to go on top of them. That's certainly not true when you buy them ready-made. Lately, I've been making some meatless meals, and not even missing the meat at all, because the recipe tastes so great.

That is the case with this Veggie Lover's White Sauce Pizza, made with a delicious buttermilk based pizza sauce. I loaded on some of my favorite veggies like orange bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and spinach.

This is my favorite pizza crust recipe. It's quick and easy to make, and tastes great with any kinds of toppings. It makes a 12" round pizza, and the recipe can easily be doubled to make two pizzas.

And of course, you can put on whatever veggies you like, to make a veggie pizza, but these are some of my favorites. I especially like how healthy the spinach and orange bell peppers are for you.

Recipe for Veggie Lover's White Sauce Pizza


For White Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Ranch Dressing
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


1 small onion, chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, cut in thin slices
1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Pizza 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


Melt butter in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and whisk in buttermilk and remaining ingredients. Let cool before using on pizza.
 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 12" round. 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, and lay on spinach, and remaining vegetables. Top with cheese.
Cook in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

Makes a large size pizza. Extra sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

RSVP For The #GoodbyeWorry Twitter Party

RSVP for the #GoodbyeWorry Twitter Party
#Twitter Party Disclosure - 2014.jpg

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about Mohawk SmartStrand® Carpeting and saving yourself the hassle of stains!  On Monday, October 6th at 3-4pm ET, please join us for the #GoodbyeWorry Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing stains, carpeting and an anniversary sale, plus giving you a chance to win prizes!

When my five children were growing up, you can bet we had lots of spills and mini disasters on our carpets. Whenever we installed new carpets, they didn't remain clean very long, and I just figured it was part of life with children. Today's families are lucky because they have the option of choosing places like Mohawk Flooring where they can purchase SmartStrand® carpeting and not have to worry about constantly trying to keep those carpets clean. I hope you'll come join us for this great party, where we'll be sharing great carpet tips, and where you have a chance to win some great prizes.

Join me and RSVP for the #GoodbyeWorry Twitter Party on SoFabChats!

DATE: Monday, October 6th
TIME:  3:00 - 4:00 pm ET
PRIZES: 2- (1) $50 Visa Gift Cards
BONUS PRIZES: 2 - (1) $50 Visa Gift Card & (1) Pink Spa Gift Bag*
GRAND PRIZES: 2 - (1) $150 Visa Gift Card & Pink Spa Gift Bag*
EARLY BIRD PRIZE: 1 - $50 Visa Gift Card
SPECIAL GUEST: @MohawkFlooring

How To Participate In A Twitter Party on SoFabChats!

TIP:  How to join a Twitter Party - sign in! Before party starts, click on the green “Sign In On Twitter” bar at the top of the page!

TIP: Who to follow at a Twitter Party? Follow the Party Team by clicking on the Twitter handle links on the RSVP page!

TIP: Want to win Twitter Party prizes? RSVP by clicking on RSVP button before you join the party, follow everyone on the Party Team, and tweet with the party hashtag during the party to be eligible!

TIP: How to win the Early Bird prize? Watch for chance to share a tweet when you RSVP for chance to win!

TIP: Special deals and brand coupons? Keep that option checked when you RSVP for the party!  

TIP: New to Twitter parties? Watch your column and Party Team tweet columns - they are slower paced and easier to follow!

TIP: Where to find Twitter Parties? Check out the SoFabChats Twitter Party Calendar to find more fun parties to attend!

Find more helpful Twitter Party Tips on SoFabChats!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

I enjoy eating vegetable soup, and it's great for using up the veggies that you have on hand. It's also less expensive to make soup without meat in it, and with today's meat prices, sometimes it's nice to save a few dollars.

This recipe for Cheesy Vegetable Soup has a rich creamy base, made with heavy cream and two cups of cheddar cheese. It's definitely hearty and filling, and paired with a salad and crackers, makes a delicious meal.

Making soup is such a nice thing to do for yourself, or your family, and a pot simmering on the stove is one of my very favorites things about fall.

Recipe for Cheesy Vegetable Soup


3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cans (14-1/2 ounce each) chicken broth
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


In a heavy 4-quart soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, remove from heat. Gradually blend in broth.
Add broccoli, carrots, celery, onion and seasonings. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
In a small bowl, blend egg yolk and cream. Gradually stir in several tablespoonsful hot soup. Then return the egg-cream mixture to the pot, stirring until slightly thickened. Simmer 15-20 minutes.
Stir in cheese and cook over medium heat until melted.

Serves 6.