.It’s been a grey sort of day, one of those fall days where the wind and the sky let you know that it truly IS about to be winter. On days like these, if I can’t just curl up in a blanket for a nap with a good book, then I bake. The oven warms [...]
.It’s been a grey sort of day, one of those fall days where the wind and the sky let you know that it truly IS about to be winter. On days like these, if I can’t just curl up in a blanket
for a nap with a good book, then I bake. The oven warms the house, and just smelling fresh baked goods makes everyone feel cheery and well…warmer. I received a lovely box of pie fillings from Lucky Leaf, last week, to get me all stirred up and inspired for holiday baking. I loved their theme for this campaign, “Good Things Come to Those Who Bake”.
Anyway, today being the perfect day to bake something delicious, I tested out a recipe for Blueberry Crisp with Pecans. It’s the easy, can-throw-it-together-in-five-minutes-if-unexpected-company-shows-up, kind of baking. But, go for it anyway, they will never have to know that. Really. My lips are sealed!
Mmmm hmmm … and now, here’s how easy it is for you to make it for your very own, “singin’-the-blues-’cause-it’s-cold-and-dreary-and-grey” family. You’re getting BIG mom points for this one!
We’ve talked about Lucky Leaf pie fillings, before. These are not just syrup with a few pieces of broken fruit floating around. I love that Lucky Leaf pie fillings are chock full of fruit or berries and dripping with delicious fruity glaze. The quality has been consistent, every time I have opened a can and the flavor is terrific! Lucky Leaf Pie Filling comes in ELEVEN different fruit flavors, plus 2 light varieties and seven cream pie flavors. There truly is something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Your holiday baking couldn’t get any easier. Just check out all the great recipes and video tips at the Lucky Leaf website.
One lucky Busy-at-Home reader is going to get a head start on their holiday baking. Lucky Leaf will ship a seasonal kitchen towel and can of Lucky Leaf Pie Filling to the winner of our drawing, so be sure to enter.
MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Lucky Leaf and pick a recipe you would like to try. Leave a comment on this post telling me what it is. Register your entry on the Rafflecopter form below. That’s it! Happy Baking!
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I received Lucky Leaf Pie Filling and a Hot Dish Carrier to test in my own kitchen and to collect information for this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the products.
.Have you tried all of the Lipton Tea and Honey varieties? They come in premeasured single-serve (to go), or pitcher-sized packets. I am typically not a sweet tea person, but these are actually SOOOO good for making DELISH alcohol-free hot toddies — mock toddies. And here’s a secret that surprised even me. As much as [...]
.Have you tried all of the Lipton Tea and Honey varieties? They come in premeasured single-serve (to go), or pitcher-sized packets. I am typically not a sweet tea person, but these are actually SOOOO good for making DELISH alcohol-free hot toddies — mock toddies. And here’s a secret that surprised even me. As much as I am not a sweet tea person, I am even less of a GREEN tea person. I just can’t take it. I like my tea black and unsweetened. But, shocking as it sounds, I cannot get enough of Lipton’s Blackberry Pomegranate Green Tea. I know, I’m reeling from the shock of it, too. :) There’s just no way around it. Iced, or hot in a toddy, it’s the bomb!
Lipton To Go Packets come 10 to a box and in six different flavor combinations: Black Currant Raspberry Black Tea, Lemon Iced Black Tea, Peach Apricot Black Tea, Mango Pineapple Green Tea, Blackberry Pomegranate Green Tea, and Strawberry Acai Decaf Green Tea. The Pitcher Packets make a quart at a time, come 6 packets to a box and are available in four flavors: Lemon Iced Black Tea, Peach Apricot Black Tea, Mango Pineapple Green Tea and Blackberry Pomegranate Green Tea. Each flavor is sweetened with honey and there are only 5 calories in an 8 oz. serving of these flavorful teas. They are great, as they are, or used as an ingredient in a recipe.
My challenge with this new product was to create a recipe for a Tea and Honey “mocktail”. That SO works for me, since we don’t usually keep alcohol around the house. I love the idea of special drinks, in beautiful glassware, rimmed with sugar or salt or fruit! They’re so festive and perfect for holiday celebrations. But, now that cooler weather has set in, here, the cocktail that comes to mind is a hot toddy – also perfect for holiday celebrations, but equally as welcome watching a ball game, sitting around a fire or curled up with a blanket in your favorite chair. Toddies are soothing for sore throats and their warmth encourages sleep, even without the alcohol, so they’re perfect for relieving the symptoms of a nagging cold. There are so many variations in toddy recipes and it seems that everybody’s Grandma had a secret formula, but there are a few things that tend to be consistent – tea or water, some sort of citrus, honey, warm spices and alcohol (usually brandy). Whether you make a single serving, or large entire pitcher, the sense of home, warmth and comfort will wrap around anyone you serve it to.
For my “mocktail” I wanted to have a distinct, rich, fruitiness that you would normally get from a good peach brandy, without actually adding alcohol, creating warmth through the aroma of cinnamon, and maybe even cloves. I would also need honey. The tea I selected solved both the fruitiness and honey ingredients. I chose the deep, rich flavor of Lipton’s Blackberry Pomegranate Black Tea “To Go” Packets. I opted for orange as the citrus and since I didn’t have whole cloves on hand, used only cinnamon sticks as my spice. NOTE: You could use ground spices in this recipe, if you want, however, you will want to strain the finished drink through a cheesecloth before serving, since they don’t dissolve into the beverage, well, and will rise, leaving a thick layer of spice at the top of the pitcher or glass. Steeping the tea with the whole spices and then removing them before serving, provides the flavor and fragrance, without the extra work.
I found Lipton Tea & Honey packets at our local Walmart, in the tea and coffee aisle. You can see my entire shopping trip by viewing my Google+ album. You can also learn more about Lipton’s new Tea & Honey varieties by following them on Twitter and liking them on Facebook. You’ll want to keep up-to-date on any specials, coupons or new recipes they post there. With the holidays just around the corner, the possibilities for some delicious “mocktails”, for your own parties, are only limited by your imagination!
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Lipton. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product. #CBias #SocialFabric #FamilyTeaTime
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy Sunday night supper, something to take to the church potluck or a new twist on appetizers for your buffet table, you can’t help but be the hit of the party with these sliders. I have pinned several versions on my Pinterest recipe boards and, of course, it [...]
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy Sunday night supper, something to take to the church potluck or a new twist on appetizers for your buffet table, you can’t help but be the hit of the party with these sliders. I have pinned several versions on my Pinterest recipe boards and, of course, it is always my intention when I’m pinning them, to actually go ahead and make them. Last week, I finally got around to putting them together and oh gravy! These are really good! The recipe I tried comes from Janelle at Comfy in the Kitchen. I didn’t change much, other than using half white bread and half whole wheat, plus mixing up the deli meat and condiments a bit . Next time, I do think I will cut the brown sugar in half, since my crew prefers not too have to much sweet with their savory. But, sugar aside, these are fantastic! You really do have to try them. Your family will crown you Chef Extraordinaire! You know you want a crown. :) Okay, enough with illusions of grandeur. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
Over the past two years, I have begun weeding out more and more of my expensive and toxic household cleaners and replacing them with homemade substitutes that work as well, or even better. You’ve all probably seen my homemade laundry detergent recipe (20.4¢ for homemade vs. $12-$14 retail) and I’ve recently added a homemade “shout” laundry stain remover [...]
Over the past two years, I have begun weeding out more and more of my expensive and toxic household cleaners and replacing them with homemade substitutes that work as well, or even better. You’ve all probably seen my homemade laundry detergent recipe (20.4¢ for homemade vs. $12-$14 retail) and I’ve recently added a homemade “shout” laundry stain remover recipe (now tested successfully on both colors and whites, by the way.) Even our liquid hand soap has been replaced by my homemade foaming soap version. Why would I go to the time and trouble of making these products at home? Cold hard cash! They can all be made for pennies on the dollar, when compared to what you are spending to buy them at the store. Plus, they don’t actually take that long to make — some only a few minutes!
Beyond that, homemade cleaners, made with natural products, are better for the environment and exponentially better for your family’s safety and health. The chemicals and ingredients (and their fumes) in typical household cleaners can be terribly dangerous and many build up in our systems over decades of use. Even liquid hand soap, many shower gels, lotions, face soaps and dish soaps, sadly, even many toothpastes, now contain the “antibacterial” ingredient, triclosan. In my opinion, you wouldn’t need to read more than one or two articles about this pesticide, before you would refuse to expose your home and family to it, but that’s a post for another day. :) With homemade cleaners, you can be confident you are providing the safest and most economical options for your family because you know exactly what you’ve put in them. It makes sense for your health, your budget and the environment.
I needed to make a quick Walmart run to restock a few ingredients to make my favorite DIY cleaning products. The most critical need was for vinegar. I was completely out. You are welcome to check out my whole shopping trip in this Google+ album.
One of the most commonly used ingredients in making your own household cleaners and even personal care products is vinegar. Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar has some incredible health benefits, that we can discuss at another time, but today, I want to talk about white vinegar. White vinegar is readily available and very inexpensive, usually around $2.50 a gallon, in our area. I was excited to see that Heinz is marketing a cleaning strength white vinegar, now, with a slightly higher acidity (6% as opposed to 5%) than standard white vinegars. This little boost in acidity, adds extra oomph and effectiveness to my homemade cleaning products without a noticeable increase in cost. Score!
If you haven’t cleaned with vinegar, before, you’re missing out on a very effective multi-purpose cleaner or cleaning ingredient. For those just getting started with natural cleaning supplies, the biggest objection to vinegar is usually that they are afraid their home will smell like vinegar. Honestly, you don’t notice the smell unless you are using it straight, and even then, that vinegar fragrance dissipates pretty quickly. But, you can try this great tip I found over at Frugal Freebies for scenting your vinegar and then you won’t have to worry about it at all!
There are literally hundreds of uses for vinegar, some pretty well known, others may be new to you. For instance, did you know that not only is vinegar good for taking the itch out of bug bites, if you put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on your skin, the smell will go away in a few minutes, but you will be protected from bug bites for the rest of the evening? Nothing could smell worse or be worse for you than the commercial bug repellents being sold, now. I’m so excited to try this, next summer! Along the same vein, pouring vinegar around the outside of your kids’ backyard pool will keep flies and pests away and if you do the same around the children’s sandbox, not only will it repel bugs, but it will keep neighborhood cats from using it as a litterbox. I hate that! This is such a good idea.
Of course, vinegar is one of the most commonly used natural cleaners for glass, mirrors and windows. My problem has always been that I still ended up with streaks when using it straight. Then I read Andrea’s post, over at Simple Organized Living. Her glass cleaner still utilizes the acidity of vinegar for super cleaning and degreasing, but with the addition of a couple other ingredients, leaves glass sparkling and streak-free!
Did you know that using a cotton ball to blot vinegar on cold sores will help dry them up? Mix one part vinegar with 10 parts water and apply it in the same way, to help clear up acne. Apparently, even warts can be treated by dotting a small drop of vinegar onto the pad of a bandage and then applying directly to the wart. Replace the bandage each evening, for 7 days, and the wart should be gone.
When it comes to cleaning your house, there are even more practical uses for vinegar:
- Use in the laundry to soften clothes and reduce static cling. Just pour it into the fabric softener dispenser in your machine. The vinegar smell has never been in our clean clothes, afterward.
- I use white vinegar to clean the tub of my washing machine, by adding vinegar to the fill line in my soap dispenser and then running the cleaning cycle.
- Vinegar is food safe, so there are many ways to use it in the kitchen, like cleaning the inside walls, shelves and drawers of your refrigerator. You can also use a solution of 1 part vinegar, to 1 part water, to safely clean the residue from fruits and vegetables.
- Use white vinegar in your dishwasher, in place of Jet Dry, to eliminate water spots and help rinse away soap residue.
- Use vinegar as one of the ingredients to make your own bathroom cleaners. These are my two most favorite recipes for cleaners that disinfect and clean like crazy in the bathroom. Love them!
Apple butter is a thick, fruity, cinnamony spread that is simple to make from just a few ingredients if you have your own apple trees. We don’t have trees and only picked up enough apples for some apple crisp baking, this year. So no canning for me. Fortunately, apple butter is readily available, year-round, in [...]
Apple butter is a thick, fruity, cinnamony spread that is simple to make from just a few ingredients if you have your own apple trees. We don’t have trees and only picked up enough apples for some apple crisp baking, this year. So no canning for me. Fortunately, apple butter is readily available, year-round, in the jam and jelly aisle of most supermarkets. It’s non-dairy, even though “butter” is part of the name. That’s just referring to its smooth, spreadable consistency. Apple butter reminds me of everything I love about fall — cooler, crisp air; lots and lots of baking and the aroma of warm spices, like cinnamon, wafting from my kitchen. It’s not just great as a spread on toast and English muffins, it’s fabulous to bake and cook with, too. I had a chance this week to create a recipe using Musselman’s Apple Butter and oh man! – it hits on every delicious count. This recipe would be great for gift-giving and for holiday buffet tables. You can serve it warm from the oven, but our family likes it, best, served cold. The rich, warm flavors of the apples and spices, and the moist texture, are magnified after a few hours in the refrigerator. Like other quick breads, you should be able to make this ahead and freeze it for several months. I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to make it into muffins, either. I hope your family enjoys Apple Butter Quick Bread as much as mine has.
Mandatory Entry: To enter the giveaway, visit the Musselman’s website and look through the delicious recipe options utilizing apple butter. Leave a comment on this post telling me which of the recipes you would most like to try. Register your entries using the Rafflecopter form, below.
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I received a jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter, recipe cards and a spurtle to test them in my own kitchen and create a recipe. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product. The recipe is a Busy-at-Home original.
Thursday night is Grandkids Night. No matter what other hubbub and chaos are happening the rest of the week, I know that Thursday night is just going to be smiles, hugs, fun and laughter and I never get tired of it. I love having this established tradition and feel so blessed to have the grandchildren [...]
Thursday night is Grandkids Night. No matter what other hubbub and chaos are happening the rest of the week, I know that Thursday night is just going to be smiles, hugs, fun and laughter and I never get tired of it. I love having this established tradition and feel so blessed to have the grandchildren living nearby. There are certain things that are a given about going to Grandma’s — playing Barbies or watching movies with Aunt Rissa, snuggling with Grandma and Grandpa, playing hide and seek around the dining room-kitchen-front room “loop” with Uncle Michael AND dessert! :) It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular to impress and dazzle, but when it IS something out of the ordinary, the oooohhhs and aaahhhs and happy giggles put Grandma’s Thursday night fun over-the-top.
Tonight, I decided to take everyday cupcakes and make them something special using the new Cool Whip Frosting I found at Walmart. You can check out my Google + album if you want to see my whole shopping trip. Cool Whip Frosting comes in three varieties: Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cream Cheese and wow! is it delicious! I discovered that it is comparably priced to other pre-made frostings, but the light, whipped cream texture, with the delicious creamy flavors is sensational and very different from others we’ve tried. You can pick it up in the freezer case, right next to Cool Whip. I let mine thaw in the fridge overnight, since I didn’t need it until the next day, but I’m sure it would thaw much more quickly on the counter. With my favorite chocolate cake recipe, Cool Whip Vanilla Frosting and a few sliced strawberries our everyday dessert for Thursday Night with the Grandkids made Grandma a rock star!
If you’d like more information about Cool Whip Frosting or ideas for making your own everyday dessert something special, be sure to check out these recipe ideas from Kraft and like Cool Whip on Facebook.
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Kraft Cool Whip. #CoolWhipFrosting #CBias #SocialFabric. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.
End of summer is a crazy time. We’re still finishing up those last fun, warm weather activities and trying to squeeze every drop of freedom and fun out of the last days of warmer weather. As we do that, though, the schedules, time crunches and added responsibilities of everything that goes with fall and back-to-school [...]
End of summer is a crazy time. We’re still finishing up those last fun, warm weather activities and trying to squeeze every drop of freedom and fun out of the last days of warmer weather. As we do that, though, the schedules, time crunches and added responsibilities of everything that goes with fall and back-to-school gets tossed into the mix and we can get overwhelmed. By the end of the day, I’m tired and if I don’t have a plan or an option for something “quick”, it won’t be long before I have succumbed to the urge to “just order in” or hit a drive-thru. This is a bad habit to fall into, for our health and for the health of our grocery budgets. There is no way around the fact that, cooking at home, we will spend a fraction of the money it takes to eat out. The trade-off is in time and sometimes, you and I both let that get the best of us. You’ll love the solution I’ve found for those occasional harried evenings. Of course it would be from a brand I know and trust – Kraft.
Kraft Fresh Takes are a brand new way to “spice up” a quick meal at home and serve food your family will love, for a lot less than a “drive-thru dinner. I got to test them, this past week and I really loved the bacon cheddar variety! You know, I mixed it up a little though, since these tasty products were designed for breading/coating chicken, fish or pork chops. Something about seeing the words bacon and cheddar made me think BURGERS! I had a 2 1/4 lb package of ground chuck and I simply mixed in the contents of both the cheese and crumb packets from two Bacon Cheddar Fresh Take packages. Then I grilled them up, along with some fresh sweet corn and we had one of the most delicious and easy suppers I’ve prepped in a long time!
It was a quick weeknight supper that had the whole family raving and I am anxious to try some of the other varieties, soon (I have a 4 Cheese package in my fridge as we speak. :) ) And as a hint, I have another idea for “thinking outside the box” with these, because I think some of them would be fantastic in quick weeknight casseroles – blending in the cheeses and then topping with the flavorful bread crumbs, for a flavorful, crunchy topping. That means that Kraft Fresh Takes have a ton of versatility, offer some tasty alternatives to the same old, same old and can help you make a “quick supper” a powerhouse of flavor and texture. They are available in six great flavors: Italian Parmesan, Chili Lime and Panko, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Bacon, Southwest Three Cheese, and Savory Four Cheese.
One lucky Busy-at-Home reader is going to win a prize pack from Kraft that includes coupons for FREE Kraft Fresh Takes, a Quirky Porter BBQ Prep & Serve Tray (my new favorite grilling tool), and a Fox Run Mesh Food Cover!
- You must be a resident of the U.S. and at least 18 to enter.
- Mandatory entry MUST be completed before any other optional entries will be accepted.
- Winner will be chosen in a random drawing from all eligible entries.
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Have you ever eaten Red Velvet Cake? Or baked one? As a Midwestern girl, who has been baking for more than 40 years, you would think that I would have run across one. But yesterday, I baked, and tasted, my very first. I read websites and recipes that claimed Red Velvet Cake for “the south”, [...]
Have you ever eaten Red Velvet Cake? Or baked one? As a Midwestern girl, who has been baking for more than 40 years, you would think that I would have run across one. But yesterday, I baked, and tasted, my very first. I read websites and recipes that claimed Red Velvet Cake for “the south”, but then there were some northern-folk who felt that their formula was probably the original. I never did discover where the idea actually started, but after a little research, their was no question people felt very personally attached to the memories Red Velvet Cake evoked and the recipes are handed down in families like a precious heirloom. Interestingly, they all come with their variations and quirks, making each unique and a custom creation. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I took bits and pieces from the different recipes I found and baked one for myself, which I think probably turned out to be pretty traditional, other than the fruity twist.
My interest was first piqued with the idea of baking a Red Velvet Cake, because of the new air freshener scents I received from Renuzit, this week — Chocolate Covered Cherries and Red Velvet Cake. I have shared with with you, before, how strongly I feel about certain scents and fragrances, (whether it be in laundry detergent, dish soap or air fresheners), to create a mood or set the tone in a home. Memories and experiences just seem to be so vivid and fresh when they are evoked by a smell that takes you back to the moment you experienced it. In my childhood, Chocolate Covered Cherries were the ultimate delicacy and the gift my dad received for every birthday, Father’s Day and Christmas. They were one of his favorites and if we were allowed to sample one — well that was just next to heaven. :) Cakes and cookies baking were common scents in our home, growing up, and a memory that I have spent years recreating for our own kids. I so enjoy being in the kitchen and expressing my love for my family through the foods I create for them there. Nothing is so welcoming, comforting and homey as a house filled with the smells of baking. These new Renuzit fragrances capture those warm, welcoming memories in deliciously extravagant scents. Check out Renuzit’s Facebook page to hear even more about their Tempting Indulgences air fresheners. You’re going to love them! And, when you smell them, and see these pictures, you’re going to want to eat Red Velvet Cake, too! But, I want to tweak this recipe some more. You can read about it in my notes, below. I just want it to be PERFECT for you and I don’t think it’s there, yet! Not a baking-fail, per se, but not yet, special. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out what I did and these gorgeous pictures!
Since baking happens at our house on a very regular basis, I had nearly everything, on hand, that I needed to whip up a Red Velvet Cake; but, I was out of buttermilk. I decided to make a quick run to Walmart to get some and to grab a couple ingredients for some other recipes that were swirling and gelling in my brain over the last couple of days. It was going to be a quick “in and out”, so I did a very dangerous thing. (Insert crazy, sinister, oh no, not that, music here.) dun–dun–dun– I went in without a list! Please, do not try this at home! A trained professional navigated the store, without a list, and still came home with items not needed and neglected to purchase things they were planning to get. Actual dings were put in the budget in the making of this list-free shopping trip, both at the store and in the needed gas to repeat the trip for the unpurchased items. This is never a good idea for the family budget. So, don’t follow my bad example. Always shop with a list. :) If you want to see my entire shopping trip, check out my Google+ album.
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Renuzit. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product. #TemptYourSenses #CBias #SocialFabric