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Well, I am back at it! I posted my first Friday Chitchat and I just LOVED and appreciated all of your comments so much. Thank you for reading it…and for coming back again. 🙂

Things I am doing:

Life has been busy, busy!! Why is May always so crazy? It is the end of the year celebrations and we are adding on a high school graduation, PROM, my daughter’s 16th birthday, a work trip, and lots of family members coming in and out of town. We love hosting family and friends!

Let’s start with PROM because that just happened last weekend. Carson is a Senior and Sadie is a Sophomore and both attended. They had such a great time! I can’t even think too much about my kids hitting these big milestones and growing up because it all GOES BY WAY TOO FAST!

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday and I just want to wish all of the wonderful women out there a beautiful, relaxing, and special Mother’s Day.

I just want to take this opportunity to talk about my own Mother. I grew up with five brothers and I was the only girl.

I watched and admired my Mother and how she loved and nurtured us children. She seemed to always be in the kitchen and I was her little partner, her sidekick. I remember like it was yesterday running home from school to the smells of warm, freshly baked bread baking in the kitchen. She somehow made ordinary days extra special.

When my Mom was cooking or baking, I was usually right beside her, watching and learning everything she was doing. I learned a lot…but more than anything…I observed her joy from making food for her family. It was a selfless act of service, an act of love, and her way to bring the family together.

I wanted to be just like her. To create a home full of love, with a door always open and welcome to visitors, friends, and family.

(Ok this picture may look like it was from the 1950’s, but it was smack dab in the 80’s! I had the quintessential sky high bangs and permed hair).

If you know my Mom in real life, you know she is a real life angel. I refer to her as the Energizer Bunny because at 81 years young, she doesn’t stop! She is always helping and serving others. She is always baking bread for others or taking a meal in. Whenever she comes to my test kitchen to help test recipes, she always takes containers home to bring to others.

If you were to ask me to describe my Mom in a few words I would say she is…kind, giving, wise, empathetic, funny, selfless, classy, talented, beautiful, and a peacemaker. I am so beyond thankful for her beautiful example!

What is something that you learned from your Mom?

Things I am loving:

We just picked our first fresh garden tomatoes of the season! We get so excited when foods grow in our garden because as you know, we live in Arizona and it is ridiculously HOT here.

I made an appetizer yesterday and tossed the tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, fresh basil, and a touch of balsamic glaze and paired it with creamy burrata. I toasted some French bread with butter and served it alongside the burrata. It is such an easy summer appetizer!


If basil isn’t growing in my garden at the time, I love to pick up a large basil plant at Trader Joe’s. It is so much less expensive than buying the tiny packages of basil at the grocery store. I also love their balsamic glaze!

I do have a post about some of my favorite things from Trader Joe’s — Best things to buy at Trader Joe’s.

I have been trying to focus on getting more protein in my body! I went to a naturopath this week and she asked me what I typically eat in a day. I just started laughing because it all depends on what I am recipe testing that day! I could be trying a cookie at 6:30 am or eating a steak by 7:30 am!

So I shared my favorite protein powder with you and now I will share my favorite collagen. This Marine Collagen is what I have been adding to my smoothies, protein shakes, smoothie bowls, yogurt, cottage cheese, or even my Zipfizz drink. I love that it uses marine collagen!

I did reach out to them and they gave me a 20% off code for you to use if you want to give it a try. VITAL BODY COUPON CODE

This was a long one! I am heading off to Nice, France next week with some foodie friends so be on the lookout for so many instagram stories and a post next Friday! I am bringing extra luggage just to bring home French butter and foods. I know…I am ridiculous. Hahaha!

Any book recommendations? It is going to be a very long flight. 🙂

I am so grateful for you! Have a wonderful weekend!

— Melissa

Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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