Frugal Family Tree

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Fun at High Hill Ranch Apple Hill California #AppleHill #CA

To celebrate our 14 year wedding anniversary my family and I decided to take a day trip to Apple Hill CA. My husband and I had not been there for over 10 years and it was well over due. This was our son's first trip up there and he loved it.

We only had a few hours for our trip so we selected one farm/ranch of the many in Apple Hill to visit, High Hill Ranch. I selected this place since it was one my husband and I visited many years ago and there is a cute fishing pond there.

When we arrived we could smell all the delicious apples and cinnamon in the air. Its beautiful up in the mountains with huge evergreen trees among the apple orchards. Fall is in full effect in Apple Hill!

We fished for a while, did not catch anything but just relaxing by the water spending time as a family together was priceless. We walked around looking at the craft booths and eateries. We decided on getting Apple Donuts, a specialty at High Hill. The funny part was when we were looking for the donuts to buy we wandered a bit then realized we were being followed by many more people following the aroma of the sweet treats. We were first to the counter and when we turned around there were literally 15 to 20 people in line behind us in a matter of moments. The treats were reasonably priced and we were able to enjoy them on the picnic tables near the pond.

There is an area the kids could play in among hay stacks and other fall themed stuff along with grassy areas among the big trees. It was a perfect place to spend our anniversary with our son.

We would have stayed longer but we had a funny not so funny moment on the way driving up. About 40 minutes into our drive my husband looked over at me and asked, "Did you turn off the oven?" I kinda flipped out and said " Are you joking right now?!?!" We went back and forth a bit about who should have done it and turns out it was kinda on me. I was on edge of tears and wanting to go back home when we saw the Apple Hill next exits signs. My husband being the practical one reminded me he cleans the oven all the time, there is nothing in there and a few hours it on would be like Thanksgiving turkey time and we would be okay if we hurried. I agreed and we had fun but with a hurry up a bit on our minds. When we got home my husband rushed inside to see if it was on, turns out it was off! He smiled and said "Happy Anniversary".


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shop The Albertsons Stock Up Sale and A Recipe For Yogurt Carrot Muffins

                          This shop has been compensated by Albertsons. All opinions are mine alone.
                          #AStockUpSale #Albertsons #CollectiveBias

If you're anything like me, you love saving money on your family grocery bill. Somehow, our appetites seem to be getting larger, while our grocery budget feels like it just doesn't stretch as far as it used to. My family still wants to eat as healthy as possible, and enjoy our favorite brands.

So when I heard about the Albertsons Stock Up Sale, I knew I would be going and stocking up on products to fill my pantry, and saving money too!

My local Albertsons is only a few blocks away from where I live and it's so handy to go to when I've run out of milk or need something last minute for a recipe I want to try.

We shop there weekly, and take advantage of great savings when we buy the weekly products that are on sale. My grandchildren love the friendly bakers and free cookies, and I love the great produce, meat, and wine departments.

We also enjoy the convenience of our local bank branch, pharmacy, and there's even a Starbucks!

So when Albertsons runs a special sale like the Albertsons Stock Up Sale, you can bet I'm going to go and take advantage of low prices on some of their General Mills products.

Look for items on sale that include Yoplait Greek 100 Vanilla Yogurt - $0.88, Yoplait Original Strawberry Yogurt - $0.48, Honey Nut Cherrios 12oz. - $1.88, Progresso Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup - $1.28, and more.

These are my healthy and delicious Yogurt Carrot Muffins. When my grandchildren get home from school they are always very hungry, and it makes me feel happy to give them a snack that is good for them.

The muffins are made with carrots, bananas, and my favorite yogurt, Yoplait Greek 100 Vanilla Yogurt.

Yoplait Yogurts are part of the Stock Up Sale at Albertsons. I eat it out of the carton for breakfast or a snack, but also like using it for baking, too.

These muffins are easy to make, and can be kept in the refrigerator and then heated up with a little bit of butter.

While this is a favorite afterschool snack for the kids, I have to admit I love them with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon.

You just stir together the dry ingredients in one bowl, then stir together the wet ingredients in another bowl. The vanilla yogurt, carrots, and bananas are all healthy ingredients that taste great combined together.

Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together, and then stir in the carrots. Be careful not to over mix, which can make the muffins tough. Drop batter into a prepared muffin tin, and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Recipe for Yogurt Carrot Muffins


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Yoplait Greek 100 Vanilla Yogurt
1 1/2 medium bananas, mashed
1 egg
4 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
2 cups finely shredded carrots


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together banana, egg, yogurt, butter, and milk.
Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
Stir in carrots until just combined.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins.

I found Yoplait Greek 100 Yogurt and Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt in the yogurt and dairy section at my local Albertsons.

Make sure to visit Albertsons from September 30th - October 13th, and stock up with sale prices on some of your favorite products.

Fall is my favorite season, and baking muffins for my family is something I really enjoy doing. And making them healthy muffins like these lets me spoil them just a little bit, which is something we all enjoy.

Do you have a favorite fall or afterschool snack that you love? Make sure you stock up on all your favorites at the Albertsons Stock Up Sale.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Recipe

Are you as happy as I am now that it's officially fall? This is absolutely my favorite time of the year, especially when it comes to cooking and baking. I love baking all things pumpkin and apple, and I'm always on the look-out for yummy new recipes.

This recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread comes from the cookbook, Sally's Baking Addiction. It's so incredibly moist and delicious. I ended up making another loaf the very next day because it was gone so quickly. The recipe is very easy to make, and I promise you will love the smell in your kitchen as it bakes in the oven.

I can't say enough about how wonderful this book is, and that I have been a big fan of Sally's blog, Sally's Baking Addiction for a very long time now.

Her recipes are always delicious and easy to follow, and her photography is simply mouth watering.

This bread would be fabulous for making two loaves at a time, one to keep at home, and one to give to a friend or share at work. Believe me, people will love this pumpkin bread, and love you for sharing with them!!

My granddaughter Ashley has turned into my little baking buddy. She adores baking with me and we have become a real team. She scoots the chair up to the counter, puts on her apron and is ready to go. She was very proud of this pumpkin bread and I'm hoping this instills a love of baking in her. You never know, she could be the next Sally!!

And excuse the messy background, that's just the real life of a blogger, right??

Here's the recipe for this yummy pumpkin bread. Just a note that the recipe calls for regular sized chocolate chips, but all I had on hand was the mini sized, so either size works.

Recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together, making sure to break up any large brown sugar lumps. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the pumpkin, vegetable oil, and orange juice, whisking until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not over mix the batter. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack before removing and cutting. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Applesauce Pecan Cake With M&M's® Pecan Pie Topping

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeInTheFun #Collective Bias

I'm so excited that fall weather has finally arrived here in the Seattle area!! After an unusually warm summer, it feels so good to pull out my cozy sweaters, start a fire in the fireplace, and do some fall baking.

Fall is my favorite season, I love everything about it. I love getting out all my old cookbooks and starting to plan what apple and pumpkin desserts and treats I'll make for my friends and family.

When I heard that M&M's® had come out with delicious M&M's® Pecan Pie, I knew they would be a part of my first cake of the season. This Applesauce Pecan Cake is moist and tender on the inside, and topped with chopped M&M's® and pecans. And I wish you could have smelled my kitchen while it was baking. Heavenly!

M&M's® has come out with some amazing new flavors the last few seasons, and I've tried pretty much every one. They have all been delicious, but I think the pecan is my favorite.

I picked up a couple of bags while I was at Walmart, along with a few things I would need to make my cake. I use Mott's® Applesauce whenever I make this cake, and frost it with Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Cream Cheese Icing.

When I got the M&M's® Pecan Pie home, of course I had to try them immediately. It's a good thing I got two bags because they sure were good!!

When I was shopping at Walmart, I also found these Snapple® Apple Singles. I've always been a huge Snapple® fan, and enjoy trying new flavors. I picked up several bottles to keep in the fridge, and their crisp apple taste reminds me of apples in the fall.

And if you love baking fall treats and desserts like I do, enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to win an awesome KitchenAid® Mixer.

MARS Bake In The Fun Sweepstakes

Baking from scratch is something I find a lot of pleasure in, and it's really not much more effort that using a mix, especially for this cake.

What I like so much about this recipe is that it not only tastes fabulous, it's very easy to make. You simply combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Divide the batter evenly into two 8" round cake pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Chop up the pecans, and use a rolling pin to crush the M&M's® Pecan Pie into pieces. Frost the layers with the Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Cream Cheese Icing. Then sprinkle the M&M's® and pecan pieces on top.

Super easy, and so delicious!!

Recipe for Applesauce Pecan Cake


 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups Mott's® Applesauce
2 eggs
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup M&M's® Pecan Pie, crushed
container of Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Cream Cheese Icing


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until well combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until done. Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out and let them cool on wire racks before assembling and frosting.
Sprinkle with M&M's® and pecan pieces.

You can find all of these products in the aisles of your local Walmart.

Be sure to check out more Fall-inspired recipes here. I'd love to know what your favorite Fall recipe is that you enjoy baking. Leave me a comment and let me know.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffin Recipe

With summer at it's end, I'm using the last of the zucchini from the garden. For some reason we didn't have as much of it this year, which is really a shame because I've come to enjoy finding recipes to cook and bake with it.

This recipe for these muffins is so yummy that my grandchildren gobbled them up even when they knew they contained zucchini. This is a big deal because they are always wary of trying things that their mom or I try to sneak veggies into.

Enjoy these muffins with a big cup of coffee or tea. I had one that was leftover for breakfast. I warmed it up in the microwave with a little bit of butter and it was heavenly. A perfect start to my day.

Recipe for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins


1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup zucchini, coarsely grated
1 6 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla with an electric hand mixer until it is thick and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
At low speed, mix in the flour until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide equally among muffin liners and bake 25-30 minutes. Cool muffins on baking rack.

Makes 12 muffins.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Everyday Baking with Nordic Ware #MadeinUSA #BundtSquared #PrismBakeware

* I was sent Nordic Ware items for this review. All opinions in this post are my own.

I love to bake! I have been baking cookies since I was a teenager and truly love it. I now love to bake cakes and cookies for my own family. My son is old enough to help measure ingredients and stir the ingredients in a bowl, he is always eager to help with baking. I enjoy the whole process of baking from the bowls I stir in, the freshness of ingredients and the bake ware.  I even have a few favorite items. My favorite pan for baking has been a bundt cake pan but I have been wanting to have something different and special for the cakes I bake.

I have been using Nordic Ware cooking items for many years. I like that they are durable, made in the U.S.A. and BPA-free and melamine-free materials in their products. I recently had the opportunity to try a few new products from Nordic Ware and I am now obsessed with the Bundt Square Pan. It makes the most beautiful square bundt with geometric patterns. I have set aside my round bundt cake pan for now and I will be using this pan for many of my holiday baking creations to come. 

I baked a lemon blueberry cake for my first time using the Square Bundt Pan and I was wowed! The cake came out easily since I followed the directions of putting oil and flour on the pan. It made a beautiful golden crust and the peaks and valleys made from the pan perfectly held the lemon glazing icing I made. There is something about a pretty cake makes me want to share it and eat more of it. Be sure to tap the bottom of the pan a few times on the counter top before placing in the oven to get out any air bubbles. Allow for 10 minutes for cake to cool once it is done to ensure the cake does not tear, do not wait longer than that to remove cake or the sugars solidify and will make cake stuck in the pan.

For my recipe I used a premade lemon cake mix adding in lemon juice and blueberries. I made my favorite lemon glaze recipe from Martha Stewart website with 2 cups of confectioners sugar and 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The glaze should thick yet pourable. It tastes amazing on the cake.

I also love to roast veggies and make oven baked fries making the new Natural Prism bake ware perfect for me. The herringbone grid pattern of the baking sheet allows for proper air flow to make your food crispier and easier release from the sheet. The rim of the sheet pan is galvanized steel making it resistant to warping during baking. The pans are non stick made of natural uncoated aluminum like pastry chefs all over the world use.  Next on my list to try on the prism bake sheet is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I was sent some of the new Prep and Serve bowls. They are microwavable with slip free bottoms and BPA free. I love the fun lively colors they add to my baking experience. They are great for making and serving cold pasta salads and fruit salads too.

I have my eye on another baking pan by Nordic Ware, the Botanical Pumpkin Loaf Pan. It would be perfect for the fall season.

To see more of Nordic Ware items and learn more about the family owned American based company you can follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Day of Fishing with Smucker's Snackation #Smuckers #sponsored

*This is a sponsored post from Smucker's and the #Snackation campaign. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Summer is coming to end and we celebrated by taking a trip to our local lake and taking a Snackation. We were teaching our son about fishing and making our own power bait by mixing a few items and he asked the curious question, "Is there power bait for kids?" So I made my own version of power bait for kids, Flax Power Balls with flax cereal, seeds, nuts, dried fruit and Smucker's jam. You can read the recipe here.

The day we went fishing it was 100 degrees outside so we did a little swimming as well as fishing. Making sure we stay hydrated I also wanted to keep our energy levels high with our Flax Power Balls. They were perfect for one handed snacking.

We were not catching any fish in the lake. We agreed maybe that it was the fact that there was only a small percentage of water than normal due to the terrible drought in CA so we changed up our bait a bit to see what would happen. My son put some of his Flax Power Ball onto the hook and cast as far as he could.

We did get a few nibbles but not enough to catch any fish. We did however capture the attention of a flock of geese. Oh my can geese be aggressive with food, especially something as tasty as a sweet flax power ball. They surrounded us and quacked at us very loudly! My son was giggling so much and I shared with him one of my stories I tell all the time, the time I was bitten by a goose as I ran from it cookie in hand when I was little. My son noticed that one of the geese had a hurt foot and hopped on one leg, he wanted to share some of his snack with another creature that was needing a Snackation. It is moments like this that are priceless and we will talk  about over and over.

It was a long hike back to the car being tired and hot but we were energized from our snacks. We finished them all and I plan to head back to Walmart to get ingredients for my next Smucker's creation for our next adventure.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

It's almost back to school time here in the Seattle area for my grandchildren. It's been a really good summer for them, their mom has kept them busy with fun activities that they have loved, but it's time to get ready for the school year ahead.

For some reason, peanut butter cookies always make me think of elementary school. It must be because my own mother packed them in my lunch on occasion, and I can still recall how wonderful they smelled, and how delicious they tasted. Good memories for sure.

This recipe for Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies is from Martha Stewart, and it's very quick and easy. They always turn out just crispy enough, but just soft enough to melt in your mouth. Pair them with a glass of milk, and they are pretty near perfect.

I know I'll be making a lot of  these cookies to tuck in lunch bags, and have on hand for afterschool snacks for my grandchildren. And if you have any leftover, they keep well in an air tight container for up to a week.

Recipe for Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture, beating to combine.
  3. Pinch off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a fork, press balls in a crisscross pattern, flattening to a 1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.


Back To School Sandwich Ideas and Nature’s Harvest® Sandwich Art Photo Contest #sponsored

*The information and coupons have been provided by Nature’s Harvest® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Nature’s Harvest® bread. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Nature’s Harvest® bread.

Back to School is here in my house! We have had our first week of school with great success. Part of that success I believe is eating a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch. Healthy food can fuel a learning mind to help kids stay focused. This is our first year packing school lunch since my son has just started kindergarten. I was so excited at the thought of making fun an tasty sandwiches to put in his lunchbox. 

I wanted to make a sandwich that had many flavors in it to give it a meal between to delicious pieces of bread taste. I started with one of my sons favorite dips I make, spinach dip with cream cheese. My spinach dip has garlic and onions in it, I find it to be a tasty way to get my son to eat them without him realizing it.

Next I added sliced tomatoes, ham and thinly sliced cucumbers. I am using Nature’s Harvest®18 Grains & Seeds whole grain bread in my sandwich. My son likes the seeds on the sides of the bread, I like that it has 8 grams of whole grains per slice.

To celebrate Back to School season Nature’s Harvest® is hosting a Nature’s Harvest® Sandwich Art Photo Contest from August 24th to September 6th parents can visit the Nature’s Harvest® Facebook Page to submit a photo of their sandwich art creations, using Nature’s Harvest® bread, for the chance to win fun prizes!  One grand prize winner will receive a “kitchen crash” from Celebrity Chef Kelsey Nixon, where she’ll cook sandwich-centric meals and provide tips to the winner’s family!

Nature’s Harvest® bread is available to consumers nationwide and come in delicious varieties including:
o   100% Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread
o   Honey Wheat Made with Whole Grain Bread
o   Butter Top Made With Whole Grain White Bread
o   Butter Top Made with Whole Grain Wheat Bread

Each variety of Nature’s Harvest® Bread is baked with at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving which will put them well on their way to consuming 32-40 grams per day which is recommended by U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

My son added his own creation of a sandwich with the ingredients I was using. He said it was his turn to be a sandwich creator! He made a sandwich using Nature’s Harvest® bread covered in cream cheese with ham and sliced grapes in it. It was actually very tasty! So proud of my little chef.

This contest is a fun way to get your kids involved with the idea of healthy eating by letting them help you create sandwich art for their school lunch. What are your ideas for a creative and tasty sandwich?