Review – Ever Plate

In the past year or so, meal delivery services have been on the rise. From HelloFresh to Dinnerly to Blue Apron, there’s a plan out there for everyone. I had looked into these services before but none seemed to fit our budget. (My weekly budget for groceries is $50.00 and I stock up on meats at least once a month.

Last week, a co-worker of mine was telling me about Ever Plate and that her sister just switched to them and sent her a free week. I looked into it and at $4.99/serving per meal. I’m a horrible cook and I figured it was worth a try.

Since it was the first time ordering, I was able to get my first week at $2.99/serving per meal (3 meals) so my total including shipping ($8.99) was $26.93. My delivery date was set for Wednesday (today).

Plan

I choose the plan for 2 people with 3 meals per week. They offer the option of adding additional meals and also offer premium meals that are an additional $2.99/serving per meal.

Each week, Every Plate offers 9 different meals options. Depending on your plan, you choose what meals you want for the week. This week, for our meals, I choose the Crispy Caesar Chicken, Smothered & Stuffed Meatloaves and Umami-Glazed Pork Meatballs.

I can’t speak for other meal delivery services, but Every Plate offers two different type of add-on options: additional meals or additional servings. For example, if I know I’m going to have a crazy week and need to order 4 meals instead of my set plan of 3, I can just add the additional meal on without having to switch my plan around. The other option allows you to add additional servings to meals you already have in your box.

Changing your plan, skipping a week or even cancelling your plan is extremely easy to navigate on their page. Just a click of a button and you are done. No need to go searching on sub-pages or having it impossible to figure out how to cancel.

Delivery

My delivery days were set for Wednesday and today was our first delivery. I received an e-mail yesterday that our box was shipped and we would receive any time between 8:00am and 8:00pm.

As I was getting in the shower this morning at 7:45 Ember began barking as if someone was at the door. I was waiting for an Amazon package as well so I didn’t think anything of it. Sure enough, when I took Ember outside before I left for work, there was the box.

I brought the box in and unpacked it. It was nicely packaged with ice and thermal wrapping to keep it cold all day long, especially since winter has been a tad warmer here in South Jersey. I wish I had taken a picture of it but it didn’t even cross my mind.

Meal Preparation & Cooking

I told Edward that if the box was here by the time I got home, I would make one tonight. I asked which one he would want to try first and (SHOCKER!) he wanted the meatloaf…

On top of all the ingredients being sent to you, you also receive a recipe card. It tells you which ingredients need to be refrigerated as well as any additional ingredients needed. (These are things you should already have in your fridge or pantry. Example: vegetable oil, ketchup, sugar, salt, pepper, etc.).

On the recipe card, they also give you the prep time and cook time. The meatloaf said the prep time is 5 minutes. It definitely was closer to a 15 to 20 minute prep time but I didn’t mind. I had time before Ed got home from work.

The instructions were easy to follow and they included pictures along the way. I was taking everything out of the oven as Ed was walking in the door from work. Most of the meals take about 30 minutes to cook.

Most Importantly… Taste!

Of course, we can’t forget the most important part… the taste!

I roasted potatoes were good, but had a little kick to me that I had to put ketchup on them. Ed, on the other hand, absolutely loved them and said they didn’t need anything else on them. For someone who usually gives me a response of “ah, it’s okay”, I was floored that he enjoyed it that much!

The mini meatloaves melted in your mouth and the taste was out of this world. I was a little nervous that they would be a little spicy with the pepper jack cheese, but it was perfect with the “glaze” they have your make for the top that was made of ketchup, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar.

Overview

Not going to lie… I have high expectations for the remaining two meals I plan on cooking tomorrow and Friday.

The weekly cost eats up majority of my budget, but I think it is well worth the price. I’m not wasting left over ingredients. The portion controls are perfect for just the two of us that I’m not making too much and having so much left overs that they go bad before we can finish eating them.

For me being a not so good of a cook, I think I did a pretty darn good job tonight. Especially with Ed’s reaction. I should have gotten that on video.

The only downside I found with Every Plate is that the recipe cards don’t have the exact measurements for the ingredients provided. For example, I should have written down the amount of meat that was written on the package when I opened it. That way, if I go to make it again, I’ll have the right measurements.

My plan is get 3 meals a week for a month and re-evaluate my in store grocery shopping budget.

If you are interested in Every Plate, check it out here!

Well folks, that’s the Icing on the Cake!

Until next time!

Pina Colada Chicken

52 Week Recipe Challenge – Week 2

I made this recipe back on January 8th, but didn’t get to post until now.

Pina Colada Chicken

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Author: Jennifer Smith – Instant Pot Cookbook

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup coconut cream full fat
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks frozen, fresh, or canned
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • tsp salt
  • ½ cup green onions chopped
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients, except green onion, in the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  • Close and lock the lid. Select the POULTRY setting and set the cooking time for 15 minutes.
  • Once timer goes off, allow to Natural Release1 for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure manually. Carefully open the lid.
  • Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl.
  • In a cup, combine the arrowroot starch and water. Mix well.
  • Add the mixture to the instant pot, press the SAUTE button and continue to cook, stir occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Service the chicken with green onion and sauce.
    1Natural Release – after the cooking time is over and your Instant Pot switches to Keep Warm, the pressure will begin to drop without doing anything.

Notes

For Christmas, I gave my mom an Instant Pot Recipe book which I stole a couple recipes out of to try. This being one of them.
I served with brown rice and steamed broccoli. Ed & I both enjoyed it except I felt as though the cinnamon flavor overpowered the meal. I hope the coconut flavor will come on more once I decrease the amount of cinnamon in the recipe. If not, I will have to figure out what I can do or add to make the coconut flavor come out more.

Bourbon Mushrooms

52 Week Recipe Challenge – Week 1

Bourbon Mushrooms

Stephanie got this recipe from a Southern Living Magazine in 2012
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time21 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: bourbon, mushrooms, side dishes, steak
Author: Stephanie – Plain Chicken

Equipment

  • frying pan

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs assorted fresh mushrooms chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp parsley dried
  • 2 tsp French thyme dried

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook 12-15 minutes, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add bourbon and cook 2-3 more minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, parsley and thyme. Cook 2-3 more minutes.

Notes

HOLY BOURBON OVERLOAD!
I made this side on New Years Day with a nice steak that I made with a coffee and brown sugar rub for and then marinated in bourbon and Worcestershire sauce. As much as I love bourbon, it was way to much!
I would love to try this recipe again and possibly cut the bourbon in half.
Lesson learned… Looks good in the picture, but never marinate your steak in bourbon!

2020 52 Week Recipe Challenge

I think I’m a pretty phenomenal baker, but it comes to cooking, I’m wretched beyond belief! I try new recipes all the time, but most of the time I get a “It’s okay, I guess” from the hubs.

For 2020, I wanted to try to challenge myself to make 52 new recipes and blog about it. I can’t guarantee I will make one a week (since there are 52 weeks in the year), but I can guarantee that I will make 52 new recipes by the end of the year.

I’m not like your typical blogger who will give you a entire 10 page back story of the recipe. I will get right to the point! Post the recipe, where I found it and then give notes at the end of what we thought about it and if making again, what I would want to do differently since cooking isn’t an exact science like baking is.

With that being said, onto the first!

Happy New Year

I have been trying to get this blog up and running for 2 years now. My downfall… Creating and devoting the time needed for each blog entry. I consider myself an organized person, but that’s only at work. I feel like Work Heather and Home Heather are two completely different people.

It’s a new decade and I have so many things I would like to accomplish this year. My blog and my collar business (Two Dogs and Company) being in my top 5.

20 things for me to accomplish in 2020…

  1. Buy our 1st Home
  2. Payoff Debt
  3. Stick to the Budget
  4. Spend Less
  5. Launch Blog
  6. Launch eShop for Two Dogs and Company
  7. Read 50 Books
  8. Try 52 New Recipes
  9. Finish Started Craft Projects
  10. Declutter
  11. Snowboard for the 1st time
  12. Manage Time Better
  13. Get Home Heather more Organized
  14. More Gym Time (isn’t that everyone’s goal?)
  15. Buy New Furniture
  16. Use reusable shopping bags more
  17. Learn 10 New Skills
  18. Create a Nightly Routine
  19. Meal Plan/Meal Prep
  20. More Family Time

Follow me along this year to see what I accomplish and what I struggle with. I will be blogging about my adventures along the way!

Happy Birthday to Me!

I’m officially another year closer to 40! Where has the time gone? The years seem to be slipping by faster and faster!

Oh Taxi…

My birthday festivities started at 12:30 this morning…

It is now becoming a birthday tradition and joke, that I taxi my brothers and his two best friends, Mikey and Michael around on my birthday. Last year, it was to rescue them from U-Haul to try to find my dad when they were moving Glenn into his new house. This year, as my dad’s co-pilot, we dropped them off at JFK airport in New York.

As we speak, they are currently taking off from LAX and on their way to Japan for four days. After that, they are on their way to the Philippines for their other best friend, Patrick’s wedding.  Patrick is in the military and will meet up with them closer to the wedding next week. His family owns a rice farm there and is now getting married to his childhood friend, Kay.

Very excited for them and even though they got me a card and gave me $25.00 for going with my dad, I told them they still needed to buy me something from each country, and not anything I can buy at H-Mart which is a huge Asian food store not far from where we live.

After getting home at 4:30 this morning, Ed let me sleep until 9:30. He didn’t want me to sleep too late so I could go to bed at a decent time tonight which I totally get. He went out and got me a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Dunkin and a few Munchkins.

Officially on Vacation…

As of Friday, at 5:00pm, I was officially on vacation. We had pizza and wings at my parents that night since they came home from Disney that day. My mom brought me home an apple from Disney which are my absolute favorite. I don’t know what they do to them that makes them better than any other caramel/chocolate covered apple I’ve ever had.

Saturday morning didn’t go as planned. Ed and I stopped at the place where I donate my plasma. He was unable to donate since he is on injectables for diabetes and I was the 3rd person in line to go next when I started to get a really bad headache and feel a little light-headed.

I went to the receptionist and asked her if she could remove me from the queue since I wasn’t feeling so well. She was thankful I came to her and was honest and didn’t donate since I started to not feel well. I told her that I think I just wasn’t good at donating first thing in the morning and was better towards the end of the day when I had more food and drink in my system. Plus, Ed and I were on our way to Cape May and I didn’t want to pass out in the heat.

On the way to Cape May…

After arriving in Cape May around noon, we ended up paying for parking at a bed and breakfast near Washington Street. It was the first place we saw that had open parking and was cheaper than a few of the other lots that were probably already full.

I love Washington Street! There are so many cute little shops and restaurants along and behind it.  My two favorite bath places are there, Bath Time Cape May and A Place on Earth. A Place on Earth is owned by the Allen Family, who’s granddaughter, Danielle, was one of the three people who introduced me to Ed. Sadly, we lost Danielle a few years ago in a car accident.

The last time Ed and I were in Cape May, I found the main store for the Cape May Peanut Butter Co. behind Washington Street. They have a tiny shop in Smithville which is so small and so hard to get into some days. It was true for this shop on Saturday. It was so packed in there and I don’t handle crowded places very well. Especially when it involved ignorant, annoying people.

It was so bad in there that Ed ended up waiting outside. I knew exactly what I wanted and knew where everything was located. Some woman must have thought she was the queen of the store. I needed to grab something off the shelf and said “Excuse Me” a few times and when I finally reached over her to grab the gift pack I wanted, she threw her arm in my face to give her friend a sample of peanut butter.

It felt like as I made my way through the store to the register, she followed me and became even more obnoxious as I got closer and closer. She didn’t even end up buying anything and I could tell the employees were annoyed with her as well. She was so loud yelling to everyone in her party and even saying something along the lines of passing the baby she had with her off to anyone, she didn’t care, even if it was a stranger.

By that point, it was towards the end of our day and I was beyond ready to get out of there. Besides, we were going to my parents again for that night for dinner and still needed to get home and get Ember. I got our peanut butter cannoli’s, paid for my stuff and high tailed it out of there. Ed and I found a bench in the shade on the little pathway back to Washington Street and sat and ate our cannoli’s before we headed back to the car.

I don’t know which was worse, the woman in the peanut butter store or the drivers on the Parkway and Expressway.  We were in the fast lane a little above the speed limit… okay, well above the speed limit but at a safe pace. I lost count of how many people were tailgating us and would fly past us. Then some jerk wouldn’t let us get passed him and almost caused an accident as we were trying to get off our exit. My blood was boiling. All I wanted to do was go home.

Icing on the Cake…

Before I left work on Friday, Ed had called me and asked if I could pick up his medications at the food store on my way home. He called me a few hours later and said that he wanted to surprise me, but he wasn’t going to make it in time to pick up my cake from my favorite bakery so if I didn’t mind, go and pick up my cake before they closed.

The bakery is called Sweet Eats and they are well known throughout South Jersey. Their main bakery is in Voorhees and they have an “express” shop in Marlton. No matter what you purchase there, you will never be disappointed. They are always so busy that you have to take a number and wait to be called, even if you are picking up an order. It’s well worth the wait!

My two favorite cakes from there are the white chocolate, chocolate chip with white chocolate shavings or the carrot cake with coconut. My aunt also got me the M&M’s cake from there a few years ago and that probably ranks at my 3rd favorite.

Their icing is so much different than any other bakery around. It’s smooth and doesn’t have that crunchy, sugary texture. The number of flavors and fillings they have are unreal. There are so many different combinations of cakes, icings, and fillings you can come up with.  

Well, I’m off to get cleaned up and enjoy the rest of my day. Need to prep for what I have prepared for the rest of the week!

Make sure to check back to see what I have been up to!

And that been, The Icing on the Cake! (How fitting!)

Icing on the Cake – A Crash Test Dummy Blog


Throughout my preteen and teenage life, I kept a journal or diary of some sorts. Writing was something I’ve always enjoyed throughout the years. Starting a blog has always been a dream of mine. I spent the majority of 2019 trying to figure out what my “niche” would be.

Hours upon hours and days upon days, were spent researching different “niches”. Coming to a conclusion on what my “niche” would be was a daunting task and I often found myself frustrated and annoyed. The following seemed to be popular among bloggers. Which would I choose?

Finances?

Would I like to write about my goals for my finances and take people along my journey towards a debt-free in 2020? The answer is YES! Unlike some bloggers I follow or have followed, I do not imagine devoting a whole blog to it. Would I love to try what other bloggers have blogged about it and then blog about my experience and what worked for me? Absolutely!

Baking and Cooking?

I love baking! Cooking, not so much… Whenever I try something new, all I get from my husband is an, “Ah, it’s okay.” That’s even after I try to follow a recipe. How does my baking turn out so good then? You have to follow the recipe exactly or it won’t turn out. You have more wiggle room with cooking and even when I follow the recipe to the “T”, it never turns out good. He thinks I pick weird recipes too. Blogging about different recipes I’ve tried and what worked and what didn’t could be an idea… Hmm…

Motherhood?

NEXT!

My husband and I do not have children together and do not plan on having children. He does have a son from a previous marriage that is now 25. Andrew will call me Mom even though I’m 11 years his senior. Vice versa, I refer to him as my son. Of course, I don’t mind at all. Not to toot my own horn, but I have done more for him in the past 10 years than she has his whole life. Cindy would beg to differ, I’m sure.

My other Mommy role is that of a dog mom…. Ember is our 5-year-old German Shepherd and my world. Don’t get me wrong, Andrew and my husband, Edward, are my world as well. There is just something special about being a dog mom, but I would probably bore you with how much I talk about Ember…

Health and Beauty?

Health… I had a major health change in 2018… Long story short… I struggled with my weight all my life. I’ve tried anything and everything and the weight would never come off. I knew my nurse practitioner years before I switched to her in early 2017. During a regular visit with her in October 2017, she asked me if I ever considered weight-loss surgery. I said yes, but my old doctor never brought it up and I guess I never thought about asking him. That was on a Monday. By Friday I was in the surgeon’s office and by March 27, 2018, I was in the hospital having a gastric sleeve. I would write about that, but there is only so much you can write about and I’m no expert on it. Trust me…. I’m learning, even with my mom by my side who is 18 years post-op and works in the medical field, so she knows a thing or two.

Beauty… Ha! Having been overweight for so long and already had my husband snagged, I didn’t care much about beauty. Trends have changed and I chose not to keep up with them. Recently I have tried what I see on Facebook videos and on YouTube and I end up looking like clown…. I HATE CLOWNS! They scare me!

Fitness ?

Haha. Haha. That’s funny!

Crafting?

I love to craft! Sewing, crocheting, cross-stitch, and making Vinyl decals with my Silhouette Cameo is what you will most likely find me doing. I’ve dabbled in other crafts as well. Before they were all the craze, I made bath bombs. (I could kick myself for not continuing!) I’ve also tried chainmail, beading, drawing, painting, etc. You see where I’m going with this, right? If it is a craft, you can guarantee I have tried it. Some have been successful, and some have failed. Ah, could that be my “niche”?

How to make money blogging?

How does a new blogger blog about how to make money blogging if I’ve never blogged before? Assuming this is for experienced bloggers… I don’t expect to make money off this blog, but if I do, added bonus, right? Maybe I’ll try a few pointers these other top bloggers try to see if they do work and I will let you know, truthfully! I don’t expect to make $10,000 a day blogging.

By the way, the numerous amounts of ads on blogs is getting to be too much! From what I have read, you don’t make much by someone clicking on the ad. Some of the blogs I try to read on my phone have way too many ads that I give up reading and move on to the next.

Overwhelming

From reading other bloggers’ posts about starting a blog, you have to figure out what you are passionate about. There’s just too much I’m passionate about to just choose one thing. Sorry, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want! Does that make me a rebel blogger?

One pin I found on Pinterest, “101 Blog Niches”, gives you a full list of 95 Niches… Where’s the other 6? After reading through them all, I realize there are so many of these niches that I would love to write about and so many I know nothing about! What is SEO? Luxury watches? Hello, I’m poor! Online jobs? I’ve tried the whole survey thing… you cannot make $250 in a day… Maybe they are just paid $250 a day to say that?

If I wanted to get my blog up and running by the beginning of the new year, I had to act fast. I tried to search for different ideas on Pinterest and even consulted my best friend, Google and came up short.

Then one night, while lying in bed trying to go to sleep and pinning on Pinterest like I do every night, I came across a pin from Alex and Lauren over at Create and Go. It was entitled “What Kind of Blog Should I Start?”. I clicked “Click Here” and off I went through the questions and after adding my e-mail address, the result was “Crash-Test Dummy”! The description that follows described exactly what I was looking to do and write about…. A little bit of everything, especially trying new things and what worked for me and what doesn’t. It all made sense! I FOUND MY NICHE!

The tough part came next… Trying to figure out what I wanted to call my blog, buy the domain name, the hosting and all that fun stuff that comes along next…. Fun… eh…. Figuring out a name was the 2nd hardest thing to do after finding my “niche”. Alex and Lauren had some suggestions for adding “Experience” or “Adventures” to the name of the blog. I had nothing… I tried… I wrote down ideas, and nothing stuck. I thought long and hard about all the different topics I wanted to write about and what I wanted my blog to be about.

I don’t know where it came from, but Icing on the Cake came to mind and I took it and ran. My cousin, Kelly is pretty creative. (My guess is from all the years she’s read my journals/diaries.) Since her opinion matters so much to me, I asked her what she thought and she loved it! I got online like they tell you to do in all the starting a blog post and bought my domain name. The .com name was already taken and a suggestion for .life came up. SOLD! This blog is about my life as well as the things I’ve tried, I want to try, reviews, experience. You get the idea!

I would love to hear your feedback on what you think I should try! Leave an idea for me below and tell me what you think!

And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is The Icing on the Cake!