Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pear Coffee-Cake Muffins Recipe From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Sometimes I think it's the little things that make up a happy life. It's true that big life events can be wonderful, but they just don't happen often enough for me. So, I'm finding ways to increase my everyday happiness, and that includes these pear muffins.

A cup of coffee and a warm, delicious muffin with butter inside makes my morning start out happy. It's an easy way to start the day, and these muffins let you use your favorite fruit in them, whether that's pears, apples, plums, or berries.

This recipe is from one of my favorite baking books, Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. The recipe calls for plums, which I love, but when I saw these gorgeous red pears at the market, I decided to use them instead of the plums.

Peel and chop the pears. I love the fragrance and taste of pears, and it's one of my favorite fruits to use in my fall and winter baking.

After you have mixed the batter, fill the muffin tin half full, and distribute the pear pieces evenly over the batter. Top with remaining batter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

These smell wonderful as they are baking in the oven. And they keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator. I just popped them, with a little butter, into the microwave and heated them up, and they were still delicious.

I gave some of these muffins to our neighbors, and they just loved them. That's also one of the things I enjoy about baking, is being able to share something I made with others, and making that lovely connection with them.

These muffins are very much worth the effort of making them, and perfect for a morning of baking on a chilly fall morning.

Recipe For Pear Coffee-Cake Muffins


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
3 ripe pears, peeled and cut into small chunks (other fruits may be used, plums, apples, or berries)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or use paper liners, set aside.
Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Whisk in the melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Dividing evenly, fill each of the muffin cups halfway with batter. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula.

Distribute the pear pieces evenly among the cups, scattering them over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter on top, dividing evenly. Sprinkle tops with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the muffins are puffed and golden brown, and a cake tester inserted of one muffin comes out clean, 16-18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand 5-10 minutes. Turn out the muffins onto the rack to cool a few minutes, serve warm.

*Note: the recipe says it only makes 10 muffins, but I easily made 12.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Love Letters From God Book Review

Love Letters From God is a very beautiful and unique book filled with bible stories for children. Written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, it's a wonderful way to introduce these stories to children ages four to eight.

But this book is different than other children's bibles, because after each story, there is a loving and encouraging letter for the child to open, each letter tucked away in it's own lift-the-flap envelope. This letter is from God, and offers encouragement, and hope, and lets each child feel very special and loved.

Love Letters From God includes eighteen of the most popular Bible stories, and each story is written in a way that children can understand and learn from them.

Following each story, the child will find their own letter from God, and each letter elaborates and is relevant to the story being told. Parents will love the way these ideas are introduced to their children, and the unique letters filled with God's love.

The illustrations in this book are so beautiful, and it will take awhile to look through the book so that you can appreciate all the details in the pictures. The colors are bold and eye catching, and will certainly be fascinating for children.

After your child has listened to all the loving letters sent to him or her, they then have the chance to write their own letter to God. At the end of the book is a special blank letter where a child can express his own feelings to God, and know that it will be read by him.

It's a wonderful way to express back their own loving feelings to God, and is sure to make parents smile when they hear what their child would like to say.

I think this book is absolutely lovely, and I especially like how it only portrays God as a loving figure. one who offers love and comfort to all children.

It's also a wonderful book to introduce bible stories to young children in a way that they can understand, and encourage them to form the questions that they are bound to ask. Children will love the letters from God, and will feel that they are written just for them.

This book would make a wonderful gift for any child in your life that you want to introduce Bible stories to, with the added letters that make it so very special.

I was given a copy of this book for review, and am expressing my own personal feelings and opinions here.


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?

© Frugal Family Tree | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig