Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

I love holidays and birthdays.  It’s a great time to really look at your life and think about all the amazing things that have happened.  It’s also a great time to look ahead and be excited for all the things that will come your way.

A year ago, right before Christmas, I was laid off.  Even though I hated the job, I was devastated.  I’ve been raising four amazing children relatively alone for about six years now.  I have amazing support from my close friends (you know who you are) and my loving and amazing parents and family.  Nonetheless, I had no resources.  My savings were eradicated because of the divorce.  I had to file for unemployment, something I’d never even contemplated.  I felt desperate and completely alone.  I felt I had no one to turn to.  I know there are many people reading this who have felt the same way at one time or another, you may even feel that way today.  I’m sorry you’ve been through that.

While this wasn’t the lowest point of my life, it wasn’t my favorite time either.

I wrote The Formerly Destitute Diva for people like me, and people not like me.  People who had hit rough times and people who just wanted to make things easier for themselves and their families.  The entire purpose of this undertaking was to eventually reach survivors of domestic abuse.  I want to pay it forward.  I want other women to reach their fullest potential.  I hope this book and the corresponding blog (along with a few other projects I have going) can be the catalyst that helps you make the change.

It’s been hard.  I’ve hit bumps in the road, missed deadlines, cried, not slept.  But the book is shipping now.  Finally.  If you’ve ordered, hang on.  It’s coming.  The foundation will be set up tentatively by January 15, 2014.  God willing.

What I want to say to all of you is this:  Thank you, thank you, thank you for believing in this and helping me get back on my path and to the place that I can help others.  This is what I have always seen myself doing.  I love the part of you that has helped this mission and supported me through this.  I hope more good things are to come for this project and for you and your families.

So I say, as overly sentimental as I often am, thank you for being there for The Formerly Destitute Diva.  We totally appreciate you!


Ten Dollar Tuesday

I hope everyone is planning their Thanksgiving and you’ll all get time to spend with the people you love.

I wanted to try an easy dessert that people could take with them on Thanksgiving or make ahead prior to everyone coming over.  This week, we made an apple cranberry crisp, but that’s best when it comes right out of the oven.  Another good one is chocolate bread pudding.

My kids won’t eat the butts of the bread, I usually make bread crumbs with those.  I have two loaves of French bread left from a dinner I made Sunday, so that’s what I’m using.  Under normal circumstances, I’d make it with cinnamon raisin bread.  In other words, you have options.  🙂

1 Tablespoon of butter

Left over bread, the equivalent to 12 slices of bread.

2 cups of milk

3/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate (you can use semisweet chocolate)

2 eggs

1/2 sugar

1/2 teaspoon or vanilla or bourbon (whatever you like best or have on hand)

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Confectioners’ sugar to dust the top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter or spray your 11×17 inch baking dish.

If you’re using fresh bread, you’ll want to toast it.  I’m using the left over French bread so it’s pretty crunchy as it is.  Break the bread into chunks (great job for the kids).

Mix the chocolate, milk, and butter in a saucepan until the chocolate has melted.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.  SLOWLY whisk in the warm milk/ chocolate mixture to the eggs.  Pour it over the bread.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or leave it and bake it at your Thanksgiving destination. It’s amazing when it’s warm.  You can dust it with the Confectioners’ sugar before serving.  It’s also amazing with vanilla ice cream on top.

Whatever you’re doing this year for Thanksgiving, I hope you have a great time.  I want to thank you all for following the blog and supporting me.  Enjoy your families and be safe!  xoxo

Ten Dollar Tuesday

Tuesdays, I’m going to post something that costs ten dollars and under.  Here’s what I did tonight.

I picked up some hot Italian sausage at Giant (it was $2.49 per package).  I decided to make it over grits because I’ve been thinking about Georgia again.  So here it is.  It took about fifteen minutes, but it cost less than ten dollars.

1 package of hot italian sausage patties (it has no casing so it crumbles better)

One yellow onion, sliced 

2 cloves of garlic

Roasted red pepper, sliced

One chopped tomato

1 16 ounce can of peeled plum tomatoes in sauce

Salt and pepper

Oregano and basil (from my garden)

Heat the pan and add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden fork.  It takes about four minutes to brown.  Add the onion, garlic, and tomato ( you can chop these while you’re cooking the sausage.  Cook for two minutes and add the canned tomatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste, add the oregano and basil, just about a pinch each.

3 cups of water, boiling

1 pinch of salt

1 cup of corn meal

1 cup of cold water

While the sausage is cooking, start the water.  Once it boils, add the corn meal and salt.  Whisk for a few minutes until the corn meal has thickened.  Add the cold water.  Cover and cook for five minutes.


That’s it!  Super easy.  It costs a little over six dollars and takes almost no time.  I keep the tomatoes in my pantry at all times, but they’re on sale at Shop Rite this week for 88 cents this week so I stocked up.  The corn meal is only about $3 for the entire container and you could make the grits ten times over for that.Image