Monday, March 28, 2016

Plum Butter Cake Recipe

Fruit desserts have always been one of my favorites, whether I'm baking them or eating them. The arrival of spring and summer means that I'll have plenty of different kinds of fruits to pick from, and plums are always on my shopping list.

I made this delicious Plum Butter Cake the other day because I got so excited to see plums in my local grocery store. The recipe is quite easy, and the batter is a basic yellow cake batter, scented with cinnamon. The plums also give a lovely flavor to the cake, too.

Last year a friend of one of my daughter's let us pick all the yellow plums that we could carry from her trees. We turned them into tarts, muffins, and topping for French toast and waffles. And we ate plums for days, it was heaven.

I could have let the plums I bought ripen more, but I was too excited to bake the cake. Apricots, nectarines, and peaches can be substituted for the plums if you like.

Recipe for Plum Butter Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 large eggs
6 plums, pitted and thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake or deep dish pie plate. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper.
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix well, about 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Poke the plum slices into the batter, placing them close together. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar and sprinkle evenly over batter.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until the cake is golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Vanilla Cupcakes

I wanted to make something yummy for my grandchildren the other day, and since Easter is only a couple 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.
    Originally published last year, but I wanted to share it with everyone again.
    Happy Easter!!


    Monday, March 21, 2016

    Chewy S'mores Bars Recipe

    I don't know anyone who doesn't love the gooey, yummy chocolaty and marshmallow taste of s'mores. They have always been a delicious treat that we make when my family and I go camping every year at Lake Cushman in Washington State.

    I'm not really a big camper, I love the comforts of home for sure, but it's a lot of fun to get together with my kids and grandkids for a few days at the lake. I have a lot of great memories from these times, and I hope it's times that my family will always remember with warmth and happiness.

    As much as I love s'mores, I sure don't want to wait just once a year to eat them. So when I found this recipe, I was eager to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because they are so delicious!!

    Loaded with chocolate chips and marshmallows, they are all the yumminess of regular s'mores but you can have them whenever you want, and not just around the campfire. My family loved them, and this is a recipe that's a keeper for sure.

    Recipes for Chewy S'mores Bars


    3/4 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
    1 cup finally crushed graham crackers
    2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Lightly grease foil with baking spray.
    In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in oats and graham cracker crumbs.
    Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture. Spread the remaining oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle warm crust with marshmallows. Top with chocolate chips. Dot with the remaining oat mixture. Bake 20 minutes more or until top is lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut bars out of pan. But into bars.

    Makes 12 large bars.



    Friday, March 18, 2016

    BeKOOOL Fever Reducing Soft Gel Pads and Gift Pack Giveaway

    * I was sent products to review for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

    Even though its March we are still in the cold and flu season. My son thankfully does not get sick too often but this year being in kindergarten the germs are everywhere. I do not like to give him too much medication when he gets sick and found a great helper to when he does not feel well, BeKOOOL.

    BeKOOOL is a sticky gel sheet that you place on your child's forehead. At first my son was a little weary of this new cold sticky thing I was trying to put on his head but being sick he just gave in. It was nice to not have to constantly replenish his cold wash cloth on his head to keep him cool. I even saw a family at the mall with a child wearing a BeKOOOL Disney gel sheet on their child's head. I spoke with them and they wanted an alternative to medication in the early on set of their child's cold. They were pleased with how the gel sheet was cooling off their little one's head. I agree with them, it is nice to have a product you can use that is easy and external.

    A little info on BeKOOOL:

    Parents no longer have to watch their kids suffer while they wait for medicine to kick in thanks to BeKOOOL's immediate and long-lasting cooling relief. BeKOOOL's non-medicated soft gel sheets are convenient and fit in your diaper bag or purse. These adhesive and non-messy gel sheets are a wonderful alternative to the traditional messy washcloth or warm bath. Your kids will even think they're 'koool' because they have Disney characters on them.

    BeKOOOL's easy-to-use, soft gel sheets:  
    • Stick to kids' foreheads, so little ones who are sick can comfortably rest and relax
    • Provide up to eight hours of cooling relief 
    • Safe to use with fever-reducing medicine (it’s non-medicated)

    I was also sent a pack of the Adult BeKOOOL Migraine gel sheets. I LOVED these! I suffer from migraines and they often start with a few warning signs like my forehead swells a little and my face hurts. I put on a BeKOOOL on my forehead and went to lay down in a dark room. Thankfully the cool gel reduced the swelling in my face and held off a full blown migraine. I did not have to do an ice pack like normal, the gel sheets are much less messy and I was able to take a nap with it on.


    One lucky reader will win a BeKOOL Gift Pack

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 18, 2016 and ends on March 31, 2016 at 12:01 am PST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 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.


    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    A Breakfast Favorite, Cheesy Sausage Egg Casserole

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

    I know we've always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for me and my family, that is very true. Not just to get food in our bodies, but to connect with each other before we all head out into the world for the day. Some days it's a little chaotic, life with three small kids always is, but breakfast together is a special routine that we have established and try hard to keep.

    Weekday breakfasts can be rushed, so come the weekend, I'm ready to make something special and delicious like this Cheesy Sausage Egg Casserole. It's packed with eggs, cheese, roasted red peppers, spinach, and bold and flavorful Jack Link's Wild Side Sausages.

    We're definitely meat lovers in our house, so we enjoy tasty sausages on their own, and in recipes.
    These sausages, made with premium cuts of beef and pork, and high in protein, gave my casserole just the zip of flavor it needed to be delicious.

    Casseroles are some of my favorite meals to make, whether it's for breakfast or dinner. They're usually quick and easy to put together, and often you can make substitutions if you don't have everything on hand.

    What I like about this casserole is that it looks like it took a long time to put together, but it can be done in ten minutes, plus baking time. Super easy, but impressive enough for a brunch dish for family and friends.

    In fact, I'll be making this casserole for our Easter brunch this year, and I know everyone will enjoy it. Even my three grandchildren, who grudgingly eat spinach, asked for seconds. That's a successful dish in my book!

    I found Jack Link's Wild Side Sausages while I was shopping at Walmart. They are available in different flavors, and have no fillers or artificial flavors or colors. As we're trying to be more conscious of what we eat, these benefits have become important to me and my family.

    They are also fully cooked, so I can just pop one in the microwave and put it on a bun for lunch when I want. I really like how convenient that is.

    For my casserole recipe I used the original flavor, but the Jalapeno flavor was super good too. Bold and spicy, it packs a real kick, and I love that because Jalapeno peppers are a favorite of mine.

    My recipe calls for 2 cups of thinly sliced sausages, which is about one package. Slice them up and set them aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

    Next, beat together 10 eggs, a cup of milk and salt and pepper. Stir in 2 cups of Parmesan cheese. In a pinch, you can use other kinds of cheese like cheddar, but I really like Parmesan the best for this recipe.

    Layer a lightly greased baking dish with spinach and a 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers in oil that has been drained. Then layer on the sliced sausage.

    Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the sausage, peppers, and spinach. Drizzle on a little extra virgin olive oil for added richness and flavor.

    Then pop in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until it's golden and slightly puffed up. Let it sit for ten minutes before cutting.

    Recipe for Cheesy Sausage Egg Casserole


    Olive Oil
    10 large eggs
    1 cup whole or 2% milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
    6 ounces baby spinach, about 4 cups
    1 12-ounce jar of roasted peppers in oil, drained and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
    1 package Jack Link's Wild Side Sausages Original Flavor, thinly sliced


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with olive oil.
    In a large bowl, beat the eggs together. Then whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Spread the spinach over the bottom of the baking dish, layer the roasted peppers on top, then top with the sausage.
    Pour the egg mixture evenly over this. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is slightly puffed and golden, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

    Serves 6-8.

    Look for Jack Link's Wild Side Sausages at your local Walmart in the refrigerated breakfast section.

    You'll find rollback prices on them now through Memorial Day. They're great for grilling too, so stock up and take advantage of these great prices.

    You can also check out Jack Link's Wild Side Sausages fun Instagram account here.

    Do you love sausages, and what's your favorite way to use them in a recipe? Leave me a comment below because I'm always looking for fabulous recipes.


    Monday, March 14, 2016

    Chocolate Sprinkled Donuts Recipe For Spring

    Spring is finally coming and even though it's still a few days away, I'm very excited. It's been a very cold and rainy winter in the Seattle area this year, and I'm done with it. We have had more power outages this year than I can ever recall, and it can be so frustrating to try and get things done when you have no electricity.

    So the last time we had a power outage, as soon as it came back on, my granddaughter Ashley and I decided we needed to make donuts to celebrate. She is my little baking buddy and she would have us bake everyday if I let her. But I was ready to celebrate the return of our electricity and baked donuts are something that can be made quickly and with little fuss.

    I always try to have different varieties of sprinkles on hand because they can turn something plain into something fun and festive.

    Since I love being frugal, I'm always on the hunt for a good deal and I found a good sized container of these sprinkles at Target for only a dollar. Now that's a bargain!

    A lot of baked donut recipes call for buttermilk, but since I don't keep it on hand, I always have to plan ahead and buy some before I can make donuts. I was happy to find a recipe for these cake donuts that doesn't require buttermilk, so it's perfect for whipping a batch up whenever you feel like it.

    These are rich and chocolaty, and super simple to put together. Since my granddaughter was helping to make these, I was glad the recipe was so easy.

    If you love donuts, I recommend buying a donut pan. I have the regular size pan, and recently bought the mini size, which makes cute little donuts that my family loves.

    Recipe for Chocolate Sprinkled Donuts


    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

    For glaze:

    2 cups confectioners sugar
    about 6 tablespoons milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    sprinkles of choice


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat egg to blend with milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
    Add flour mixture and stir just until all ingredients are combined. Spoon batter 2/3 full into a well greased donut pan.
    Bake 8-10 minutes. Let donuts cool on a wire rack before glazing.

    To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Dip cooled donut halfway into the glaze, place on wire rack, then decorate with sprinkles.

    Makes 12 donuts.


    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

    Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe

    Even though it's still only spring, we've been having some gorgeous warm days here in the Seattle area. Days that remind me that this is a beautiful place to live, and that I'm very lucky to call Washington state my home. And when I think of the warmer months to come, I think about outdoor grilling, and beach picnics, and our favorite foods for the season.

    My family and I are huge fans of pasta salad. We  love them as a side dish with grilled meats or chicken, or as a main meal when meats are added to them. And they are great and easy to transport for picnics or taking to someone's house for a potluck.

    What makes this pasta salad one of my favorites is that it's made with oven roasted tomatoes. I slow roast the tomatoes at a low temperature for a couple of hours, and the flavor is so intensified and delicious. They can be stored in olive oil in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I also add them to spaghetti, salads and pizza. The time spent to roast them is well worth it, especially when you consider how expensive they are at the grocery store.

    I made this pasta salad for the 4th of July last year and shared it here on the blog. It was a big hit with friends and family, so I wanted to share it with you all again. It's super easy to put together, and can be made ahead of time too.

    Here's how I slow roast tomatoes:

    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Wash, dry, and slice in-half two pounds of Roma tomatoes.
    Lay the tomatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of granulated sugar.
    Roast for 2 - 21/2  hours, or until tomatoes are lightly dried and slightly darkened. Store in the fridge in a jar with olive oil.

    Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad


    3/4 pound colored rotini pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water
    1 cup oven roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped
    1/2 cup Italian dressing
    2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper


    In a large bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing, Italian herbs, and pepper. Add the pasta and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and give it another stir.
    Serve or refrigerate.

    Makes 6 servings.

    I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait for summer to come this year. Beach days, good food shared with friends and family, and a glass of chilled wine at the end of the day sound heavenly to me right now.

    I remind myself that it will all come back, even on days like today when it's cold and windy outside and hot coffee is what I want most.


    Monday, March 7, 2016

    Pineapple, Ham and Cream Cheese Sandwich with Reformulated Oroweat® Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat Bread & Giveaway #ad

    *The coupons for free product, information, and gift card have been provided by Oroweat® so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Oroweat® Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat Bread. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Oroweat®

    Sandwiches are a weekly dinner item in my house and each day I work I take a sandwich in my lunch. We definitely go through a lot of bread in my house. I buy a few brands of bread and change the brand depending on sales, coupons and the type of bread I am looking for. For sandwiches Oroweat® is a great option and they have many varieties. It's a great brand for pre-sliced bread to have in the cupboard.

    When I make my son one of his lunchtime favorite's,  Pineapple, Ham and Cream Cheese Sandwich I like to use a whole grain and whole wheat bread. Oroweat® has recently reformulated their recipe making it tastier and healthier for you. I am all in for changes in recipes when it is for the better. Oroweat® Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat sliced bread is premium bread with a whopping 21g of whole grains per slice! Oroweat® Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat sliced bread is 90 calories and has no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavoring. 

    Since I work 5 days a week and always take a sandwich to work I often make them ahead of time. I made a few of these Pineapple, Ham and Cream Cheese Sandwiches and put them in the fridge. I love being prepared with my lunch already made so I can savor a few more moments with my son before I head our the door.

    What is your favorite easy to make sandwich in your family?


    Three (3) coupons, each valid for $5.00 off the purchase of any Oroweat® Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread

    a Rafflecopter giveaway 

    *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 7, 2016 and ends on March 14, 2016 at 12:01 am PST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 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. 


    Saturday, March 5, 2016

    Brown Sugar Butterscotch Chip Cookie Recipe


    One of the things I love about blogging is that it forces you to be creative. In a good way of course.
    It's kind of like the chicken and the egg situation. Do I do things to blog about them, or am I already going to be doing something, so I blog about it?

    It turns out to be a little of both. Take these fabulous cookies, for instance. Since I live with my daughter and her family, my granddaughter Ashley loves to bake with me. And it's pretty hard to resist that sweet little four year old and her bag of butterscotch chips who begs you to make cookies with her.

    So that's exactly what we did yesterday, we made these yummy Brown Sugar Butterscotch Chip Cookies. And I get to blog about it, which of course Ashley suggested I do. She is absolutely a blogger in the making, and I predict she will probably have her first blog by the time she turns five.

    These cookies are super duper yummy. They are crunchy and soft at the same time, and they are rolled in brown sugar which gives them the best flavor. The butterscotch chips go perfectly with the brown sugar, and these cookies are sure to become a favorite.

    Pair them with a glass of milk and you have a little bit of heaven. I plan to make them again for a book club meeting, and I totally expect to bring home an empty plate.

    Recipe for Brown Sugar Butterscotch Chip Cookies


    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/4 cups light or dark brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup butterscotch chips
     extra brown sugar for rolling cookies, about 3/4 cup


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, put in butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed with a hand held mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beat on medium speed until combined.
    Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until all ingredients are just combined. Stir in butterscotch chips.
    Use a tablespoons worth of dough to form a ball. Roll balls in extra brown sugar and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
    Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool cookies on baking rack.

    Makes 24 cookies.


    Thursday, March 3, 2016

    Carrot Tea Cake From Martha Stewart's Cakes Book

    I have to say that carrot cake is one of my all time favorite cakes. But the thing is, they can vary so much in quality. And they are rather time-consuming to make.

    I came across this easy recipe for whenever I need a quick carrot cake fix. It's moist and delicious, and the cream cheese frosting is simply fabulous. It's baked in a loaf pan, and the perfect size for snacking, or having a slice with a cup of tea or coffee.

    It is from the book Martha Stewart's Cakes. I just love this book, and it includes over a 150 cake recipes, including ones for bundts, loaves, layers, coffee cakes, and more.

    Recipe for Carrot Tea Cake


    1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup packed grated carrots (from about 2 carrots

    For Frosting:

    8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, room temperature
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Make the cake:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan, dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

    With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
    Beat in carrots. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beat until just combined.

    Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto wire rack to cool completely.

    Make the frosting:
    With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Spread frosting over top of cake.

    I published this last March, and it's so good I wanted to share it again. Enjoy!

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