Nutella Brioche Bread Pudding

Nutella was first introduced to my family a few years ago when we had a German exchange student.  Prior to that, we had NEVER had it in our house.  Crazy, isn’t it?  I’d like to say it was a life changing experience and we eat gobs of it all the time, alas that isn’t that case.  Although Nutella hasn’t been introduced as a permanent fixture in our house, it has been a nice treat addition.

Nutella Brioche Bread Pudding

When I was checking out my box a while ago I noticed that they were offering a Nutella Brioche Bread Pudding as a dessert option.  Um, yes please!  Although I’ve never tried my hand at it personally, I absolutely love bread pudding.  Throw a little Nutella in it and I’m in heaven!

Weekly Menu – Week of July 17th

weekly menu planning

Yay – It’s vacation week!  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this week.  Unfortunately it’s not going to be quite as relaxing as I would like it to be, but it’s great nonetheless to be off of work.

So far I’ve gone to a couple of my mom’s doctors appointments, we’ve kayaked (we’re going again this afternoon), took a long walk through a new nature trail (OK – I only walked a portion of it before I needed to sit on a bench due to poor shoe choice but Mike and Belle had a good time!) We’ve also completed planting a new flower bed.

Last week was another fail week in terms of following our menu planning, I made the gyros and the brats and that was about it.  I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with a migraine and haven’t been feeling well.  Plus, I’ve spent a lot of time with my mom either at the doctor’s office or on the phone with the doctor’s office.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there are times in your life when you need to be kind to yourself and this is one of them.  If grabbing take-out for my family is what I need to do to get through, that’s just what we’re going to do.

With that being said, we definitely have some food to use up!  Vacation week by definition (for us at least) means a little bit of eating out, however given that there are more opportunities for us to eat together it also means a bit more cooking.  Yesterday I ended up grilling out twice.  The grill will be getting a bit of a workout this week!

Who Wants to Try a Free Week of Plated?

Grilled Steak Tostadas

I have a few free weeks of Plated to giveaway.  If you PROMISE to use them, send me an email via my contact page and I’ll have a link sent to you.

You’ll get three different meals, two plates for each meal at no charge.  You will need to put in your credit card so be sure and cancel before the next box would be mailed out otherwise you will be charged.

First come first served – I’ll let you guys know when I run out.



Weekly Menu – Week of July 10th

weekly menu planning

Hello!  I hope everyone had a fabulous week.  Here’s to a new one!

Last week was less than stellar for me in executing my menu plan.  I had a migraine most of the week that resulted in me being in bed for most of Saturday so there was A LOT of eating out as I only made half of what I had planned and one of those meals we did as a lunch.  The Manchego burgers were a huge hit so I’ll be adding those into our rotation and will be sharing the recipe with you sometime in the near future.

The big news for the week is that we finally bought Mike a new truck.  I don’t think I’ve said to much here because the whole situation has been a bit stressful as his old truck, with 85,000 miles needed to be junked due to the engine not receiving oil.  I guess it’s a known problem on that year of Ford’s but nothing was done about it and WE certainly didn’t know until it was to late to do anything about it.  Losing the entire value of the truck was a bit depressing.  With Mike’s schedule we didn’t have time to look right away so we’ve been limping along with his motorcycle and mine and Belle’s cars.  We’ve made it work but it’s been a bit of a pain.  However, the shopping is done and the dealer is driving the new one down this week.  One more thing I can cross off my list!

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Happy 4th of July!  I love this day – parades, flag waving, barbecues, fireworks (unless it’s midnight the night before and M80’s are going out underneath my window…….) and just celebrating this fabulous country of ours.

Today we are going to a parade and then a cookout, we’re probably going to skip the fireworks as I think I had enough of those last night!  I’m trying a new recipe today, Ceviche, for the cook-out.  It’s basically cooking your shrimp in citrus juice and then serving it with tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  It’s a bit like salsa.

Yesterday we went to see Independence Day, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the original came out.  It was kind of fun to see how the original characters ended up.  Not a bad movie but definitely not as good as the original.

The grocery bill came in at $171 for our main shopping and $37 for our extra trip to pick up the stuff for the Ceviche.  Under budget – yay!

6 Ways to Help a Sick Friend


How do you help a sick friend or a friend that’s overwhelmed with life?  When I’m deciding what kind of posts to write, I usually try to get them upbeat.  After all, who really wants to hear me whine about my problems?  However, my mother has been dealing with a pretty serious health issue for the last couple of months and it’s been a little stressful and at times quite emotional for me.  My current situation got me thinking about the stress that a family is under when someone is going through a health crisis and what we can do to help a sick friend or family member.

help a sick friend

Long term I’m sure my mother will be fine.  However, the process has been pretty overwhelming as there have been many hospital stays, multiple doctor appointments every week (sometimes daily) and just a lot to do in general. 

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Can you believe we are already in the home stretch of June? Where is the summer going? It seems like it’s barely started and it’s already half over.

You wouldn’t believe how much I accomplished this weekend. Well, at least on Saturday. Sunday I was a bit of a slug 🙂  I found a great sale at one of my favorite stores (Chico’s) and ended up buying 5 pieces for $93 (that included shipping and tax).  That was a GREAT deal.  Of course, since I bought everything online we’ll have to see how it fits.  One of the benefits of keeping to one store though is you have a pretty good idea as to their sizing.

In addition to mega shopping, I also tried a few new recipes.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a new dessert recipe and I have to say.  I LOVE bread  pudding.  I can’t wait to share that recipe with you guys.

As part of my mega shopping, a while ago I saw an idea for organizing the pantry that I absolutely loved. This weekend I decided to implement it and I have to say that although I’m not 100% complete (Hobby Lobby didn’t have enough of the supplies that I needed) it looks totally awesome! Mike isn’t totally digging it (yet) but Belle really likes it. I can’t wait to finish it up and share it with you. It’s the simple things in life that make me happy!

I also splurged on some new dishes this weekend. My current dishes are/were over 10 years old, and quite frankly, neither Mike nor I really liked them. Mike bought them for me for Christmas one year ( I know – dishes for Christmas!) and he was so pleased with them I didn’t have the heart to tell him I didn’t love them. Fast forward all these years and Mike admitted his didn’t like our dishes because of all the grooves in them. Hmmm, sounds like a perfect excuse to spend money! These are the plates I bought; they were on sale at Shopko. I absolutely love them and they match our kitchen perfectly. An (almost) organized pantry and new dishes. I’m in heaven!



Gibson Soho Lounge Stoneware Square 16 Piece Red Dinnerware Set

This past weekend I spend $221 on groceries, which was under budget. The total would have actually been smaller except that this was re-fill week on household essentials. I needed to buy dog food, laundry stuff, body wash for both Mike and I and the list continues. Conservatively,  $50 of the total amount went to non-food. Oh well, toilet paper is definitely an essential!

The menu was put together based on what we had in the house. When trying to keep our budget under control, I find that putting together meals based on what’s in the freezer/pantry is one of the easiest ways to do so.

Pineapple Strawberry Basil Chiffonade

I recently tried my hand at making Pineapple Strawberry Basil Chiffonade.  When I first saw the name of this “recipe” (it’s in quotes because it’s so easy I don’t know that I can really classify this as a recipe) I thought it would be something fluffy or creamy due to the word chiffonade. I really didn’t know what a “chiffonade” was so I guess my mind went along the lines of chiffon. You know, that soft fluffy fabric. Yeah, I was way off!

Pineapple Strawberry Basil Chiffonade

It turns out that chiffonade is a French word for a chopping technique (thanks Wikipedia!). Basically you stack a bunch of basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up and then cut them so that you have ribbons of basil. Who knew?

So, they served this in our cafeteria at work and it was so yummy (an easy!) that I decided that this would make a good snack or side dish for the summer.

Weekly Menu – Week of June 19, 2016

weekly menu planning

Welcome to another week!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and got to spend it with the most important men in your life. Mike worked so we are putting off our celebration for him until later this week.

My weekend went way to fast!  We had a graduation party on Saturday and I had my dad over for a cook-out on Sunday.  My mom has been pretty sick lately the last coupe of months and is currently in the hospital so I thought a low-key dinner on the patio would be good for him.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to start sharing my grocery budget info with you, that may have been a mistake!  When I decided to do that, I had been doing a pretty good job coming in under budget.  Not so the last coupe of weeks!

To help control our spend (and because that menu choices haven’t been that fantastic) I haven’t been ordering from  However, this week the menu had some things I wanted to try so we are getting a box.  To help put us over budget, I broke down and bought one of the “chef” items which is always more expensive and dessert.  But hey, who can fault me for caving over Nutella Brioche Bread Pudding?

When I decided to order from, I didn’t realize that Michael’s present to his dad would be New York Strips from his favorite meat market.  Normally we don’t do two steaks in a row but no one in the family is complaining!

Grocery Budget Details

  • – $100
  • Main Grocery Trip – $136
  • Odds and Ends – $61
  • Total – $297

We are obviously over our budget of $250, however we won’t be eating out at all this week (that’s the plan at least) and we will have quite a bit of food left over that I can use when I’m planning next week’s meal.  There were two things that contributed to my going over.  1) I did a quick inventory but not a very thorough one.  I bought a number of things we had and 2) I didn’t insist that Mike give me a list.  I bought a few things he didn’t need and I didn’t buy a few things he did (that would be the odds and ends).  Next week I’ll have to do better about following my Rules for Grocery Shopping.

No travel for me this  (knock on wood) this should be a relatively quiet week for us.

Summer Salads – An Easy Dinner Idea

This is a guest post from my friend Jenny:  Summer is full upon us and fresh summer salads are great to prepare in advance to have for an easy go-to side dish for several meals.  I usually make several at a time to give some variety, including broccoli salad, potato salad,shrimp salad, and macaroni salad.  When visiting my parents a few weeks ago, my mom made this fruit salad – it reminds me of a combination of apple salad and broccoli salad – and it’s wonderful.  It didn’t last even two days!

Summer Salads