Fall Menus Warm Us Within: by Marilyn Ostermiller

When days grow shorter and leaves turn flamboyant, we gravitate toward foods that warm us within:

  • Four-alarm chili at the tailgating party.
  • Steaming mugs of apple cider at the Harvest Festival.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte to go from Starbucks.

There’s something about fall that especially makes me want to spice the air with cinnamon and simmering soup.  Here are some perfect recipes you and your kids can make to compliment the fall season.

Baked Oatmeal 

There’s nothing like starting the day with a hearty bowl of hot cereal. This Martha Stewart recipe appealed to me because it includes a generous portion of fresh berries, bananas and toasted almonds. It bakes for 35 to 40 minutes, so save this one for a leisurely morning or weekend brunch. https://www.marthastewart.com/1050163/baked-oatmeal

Butternut Squash Soup.

I make a habit of ordering butternut squash soup in restaurants to sample all the variations. For cooking at home, I like this recipe that incorporates a Granny Smith apple and doesn’t rely on heavy cream for its flavor and consistency. Instead, the ingredients are cooked and pureed.

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes  /butternut_squash_apple_soup/


Pumpkin Pie Spice

This has become  a popular flavor for a host of packaged snacks. The name refers to the mix of spices that have been used for making pumpkin pie since at least the 1890s. It’s easy to make and have on hand for pie as well as cookies or pumpkin bread.

Mix together:

  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon                 
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves

Store in a small jar to have on hand for all the fall recipes that call for it.


Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time business journalist who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.   




Easy To Make Father’s Day Treats

Whether you’ll be having a barbeque or take out pizza for Dad’s big day, homemade desserts are always a great way for kids to show dad their love.  Here is a recipe for Cream Cheese Cupcakes that will be a hit.

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese ( I used Neufchatel)
2/3 C sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
Vanilla wafers

1. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Set a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each.
2. Mix all other ingredients until smooth.
3. Fill cups and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
4. Chill overnight. You can eat them like this, or top with a variety of fruits such as crushed pineapple, strawberries, cherries.        cheesecakesAnd, speaking of strawberries, it is peak season for these delicious bits of heaven.  Make a few chocolate covered ones by: 1. Melting morsels  in a microwave-safe dish for 60 seconds.  2. Stir and repeat for 30 second intervals until smooth.  3.  Stir in 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil to make the mixture thin enough for dipping the berries into.  4.  Hold the strawberry by the green cap and dip it into the chocolate mixture.  5.  Set onto waxed paper and refrigerate until set. 

Want some NO COST gifts?  Try making some “coupons” with jobs the kids will do for dad such as, back massage, car wash, weeding flower beds, etc.  Any time your child can pitch in and help Dad  it will be appreciated.

There are also some great websites that have crafts kids can make for Dad on his special day.  Here are a few:

Parents Magazine: http://www.parents.com/holiday/fathers-day/crafts/fathers-day-crafts-kids-can-make/

Better Homes and Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/holidays/fathers-day/crafts/fathers-day-crafts-for-kids/

Martha Stewart:  http://www.marthastewart.com/274629/fathers-day-crafts-for-kids/@center/307033/spring-holidays


Celebrate Spring with Crafts

My blogging friend Gail Terp has a wonderful post full of websites that have kid friendly spring crafts and activities.  Most require everyday materials you would have around the house.  Freshen up your home or make some gifts for grandparents and loved ones that will be treasured.

 Check out these sites:

 Spring Crafts from Kaboose:  Watering cans, bonnets, Earth Day crafts

 Spring Crafts from Martha Stewart:  Flowers, umbrellas, cards…

 Spring Crafts for Kids from Busy Bee: Butterflies, flowers, birds…

 Spring Craft Ideas for Kids from DLTK: Bunnies, insects, flowers…

 Spring Crafts from Spoonful: Windchime, scarecrow, food…

 Spring Crafts from First Palette: Bean bags, puppets, hats…

 Spring Crafts for Kids from Activity Village: Candy, flowers, refrigerator magnets…

 Kids Spring Crafts from All Kids Network: Caterpillars, rainbows, flowers…