Tag Archives: Collective Bias

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread; Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread! #EasterMeals #CBias

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more leftover baguette bread! Between work, school and sports, we are a busy family; frequently living life on the fly. I have always found that the best way to stay one step ahead of the game is by being super organized, which is why I meal plan like crazy. There is nothing worse than the drive of shame…….heading through the Drive-Thru! Why eat out when you can plan a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal at home?

Recently, I learned about a great line of gourmet Artisan bread, Ecce Panis Bake at Home, which can be found at Walmart. We love fresh baked bread, but it’s such a hassle to get back to the grocery store during the week just to snag a fresh loaf. With Ecce Panis Bake at Home I have the option to bake it today, tomorrow or stock pile it in the freezer for a rainy day.

We had a wonderful surprise visit from my Nick this week. Since he’s been away at school, our household just isn’t the same without him. I decided to make his favorite dinner; spaghetti and meatballs! What’s better with pasta than fresh baked bread? So I decided to try the Ecce Panis Bake at Home, and it was delicious! Ecce Panis is made by Pepperidge Farm. Check them out on Facebook and become a fan http://www.facebook.com/PepperidgeFarm

With my eyes being bigger than my stomach (perhaps one loaf per person was too much, but I am the More is More Mom® after all), we had a little bit leftover. Since I hate for anything to go to waste, I planned a wonderful Sunday morning family breakfast; Baked French Toast. What a perfect way to start the day….

While I love a Praline Topping, my Nick is allergic to tree-nuts and I would HATE for him to go into anaphylactic shock. What a way to ruin a Sunday morning! So, I decided to make two smaller French Toast recipes; one with Praline Topping and one without.

Baked French Toast

Making a tasty meal is always a treat, but mornings are usually rushed. I love anything that can be prepped in advance, which is why this one is a total winner! Assemble it all and leave in the fridge overnight.

10” x 10” Pan serves 4-6, with approximately 18 slices of baguette bread

7” x 10” Pan serves 3-4, with approximately 12 slices of baguette bread

Generously butter the pan

Bake the Ecce Panis Bake at Home and slice into 1” thick pieces

The liquid mixture recipe covers one pan, so if you are making two pans, double the recipe.

In a mixing bowl, combine;

5 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

¾ cup of milk

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Place the slices of bread snuggly in buttered pan

Pour mixture over bread

Cover and refrigerate over night

In the morning, pre-heat oven to 350°


Prepare the Topping:

1 stick softened butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

2 Tbsp corn syrup

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Spread over the 7” x 10” pan of bread

Whether with or without the topping, bake for approximately 35-45 minutes

Serve with powdered sugar, syrup and my family’s favorite….fresh sliced strawberries on the side!

This was so delicious, my family made a special request; please make this Easter morning! I can’t think of a better way to start a special day.

If you’d like to give Ecce Panis Bake at Home Bread a try, you can save $0.55 by linking to the coupon below:


To see more of my shopping trip to Walmart, please visit me at:


More homemade bread, more leftovers, more sweet breakfasts, more tasty family meals…..

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All experiences and ideas are my own.

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com


Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom

State & Randolph: Walgreens Grand Opening Party!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more fabulous grand openings! This week, I was so excited to be a guest at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Walgreens at the corner of State and Randolph in Chicago. Visiting the city always makes me wax nostalgic; I am a city girl after all. When I was a kid, we would take the Red-line downtown to shop on State Street. It really is a great street. There was Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, Charles A. Stevens and Walgreens.


At three in the afternoon, I joined my fellow bloggers from Collective Bias for a guided tour. While Walgreens can always be counted on for a fine shopping experience, this new store really is fantastic. Walking in the door was like a wonderland! Who would ever expect to find a fresh sushi bar at Walgreens, but there it was. Beautiful seafood, rice and vegetables wrapped in seaweed; all prepared for the shopper on the go. The selection of upscale delicacies was plentiful; wraps and sandwiches, salads and desserts. The red velvet cake looked absolutely Heavenly!

There was a juice bar, over flowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. For those of us chocoholics, Walgreens was kind enough to bring back the original chocolate malt that they served at their soda fountain at the turn of the century. There’s just something special about tradition.


The fun continued at the frozen yogurt bar, with all of the toppings, and of course at the coffee bar. One of the things I really loved was the inclusion of Chicago vendors like Eli’s Cheesecake. Walgreens even teamed up with a local coffee maker to develop a custom coffee blend called State & Randolph.

However, my favorite feature was the wine and spirits shop. In particular, the virtual bartender concierge was extremely entertaining. All you have to do is punch in the flavors you have a hankering for, and out spits the recipe. How cool is that? They even had a generous selection of cheeses and sausages, which would be perfect to snag on your way home from work or as you head over to enjoy a concert in Millennium Park.

The best part of the night was yet to come. While we were touring the pharmacy department, we met the delightful twin sisters, Iris and Frances, from the Walgreens flu shot commercials. They were adorable! We met the beautiful Gabrielle Union, but my Amanda was much more impressed with the real life Red M&M. My evening was complete with my brush with greatness. As Mayor Rahm Emanuel was shaking hands, meeting and greeting, he paused, turned to me and said, “Nice necklace.” First Donny Osmond, now Mayor Emmanuel. I should play the lottery.


To see all of the fab photos from my visit to Walgreens, please click on the following link:



More grand openings, more star studded nights, more tasty delicacies, more Walgreens….


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com


This shop has been compensated as part of a shopper’s insight study by Collective Bias http://collectivebias.com #CBias

All thoughts and experiences are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom

One Dog’s Life; Milk Bone Treats For Everyone! #Walmart #CBias #ILoveMyk9

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more celebrations! Because more of everything is always better, we love a good party. This week, Amanda turned sweet 16. We were all up and out the door for a family outing to the Department of Motor Vehicles; everyone but Wrigley. While Chuck, Nick and I sat, awaiting Amanda’s return from the behind the wheel driving test, Nick asked, “Will all four of us come with Wrigley when he gets his license?” Ha! This guy is already on a pretty long leash.

This week, our Wrigley is turning 9 years old; that’s 63 in dog years, which makes him considerably older than his parents. Wrigley symbolizes the best parts of our family. He is fun loving, determined, a total gamer, supportive, loving and fiercely loyal. Wrigley is love. In fact, we frequently ask, “Where is Love? What is Love doing? Does Love want to go for a run?”

When Wrigley is feeling deprived, he tends to counter surf. Just before Halloween I ran out, leaving Wrigley behind. I returned to find four packages of taffy apples on the floor. One he opened like a book, eating just about everything but the sticks. Out of another, he slit a half-round hole in the plastic and extricated just one taffy apple with the precision of a surgeon. There were nuts, sprinkles and sticky stuff smeared all over the floor. I texted Nick at school telling him what Wrigley had done, and he asked if I punished Wrigley. To which I replied, “No. I took a picture.” There’s no sense in teaching an old dog new tricks.

It’s tough having a birthday right after Christmas (just ask Amanda), so I decided that I should do something a little special for Wrigley’s birthday this week. But what do you get for the pup that has everything? I headed over to Walmart to check out their Pet Care Department. We run through a lot of treats in our household (since we tend to reward bad behavior), so I like to keep a nice variety on hand. However, there were so many good choices, it was hard to decide.

My first selection was easy; Milk Bone® Beef and Filet Bites because there was a Chocolate Labrador, just like Wrigley, on the package. After much deliberation, I grabbed a bag of Pup-Peroni® Combo Bites.  When I spotted Milo’s Kitchen® Meatballs, I had to snag them. They’re one of Wrigley’s all-time favorites! After scouring the puppy toy department I made a few selections. I think Wrigley’s going to have a fantastic birthday!

More family celebrations, more dog treats, more visits to Walmart, more puppy love……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment or a Life Style consultation, please email moreismoremom@aol.com

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insight study for Collective Bias #CBias  http://collectivebias.com

All ideas and experiences shared here are my own.


Filed under More is More Mom

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream at #Target

As the More is More Mom® I’m all about……more treats at Target! While I may be an equal opportunity to shopper (I love, love, love the mall. It is my Mecca.), when it comes to choosing between groceries and gifts, shopping for gifts absolutely wins hands down. However, if I head to my favorite Super Target I can do both. There’s nothing I love more than a two-fer.

What a crazy and fantastic week; Nick’s home from college (yay!), which means big family dinners (and more laundry), and the countdown to Christmas is on! Target is my all-time favorite store. Aisle after aisle I’m sure to find inspiration for all that’s left on my list.

A visit to the toy department leaves my head spinning! With teenagers at home, I’m much more in tune with my inner DJ and fashion stylist, than what’s the latest and greatest hot pick for toddlers. My last big score was a Tickle Me Elmo, so it’s been a while. After much pondering (and consulting with mothers and their young children) I found the perfect gifts for all of my little people; nieces, nephews and cousins.

A strategic shopper, I hit all of my favorite departments. I snagged wrapping paper and bows, thermal shirts for the boys, and of course, no visit to Target would ever be complete without cruising through home décor. As always, I loved it all and couldn’t keep myself from artfully rearranging a few things, creating beautiful vignettes. I’m sure Security must have been tailing me on their surveillance tapes!

When it came time to do my actual grocery shopping, I had a brilliant idea. My pals love treats, particularly of the chocolate variety. In fact, most nights, Amanda scoops herself a bowl of ice cream as a just dessert. As I made my way to the freezer section, I noticed the Nestlé’s break and bake cookies. I decided to make my very own ice cream sandwiches!

Once home, while I popped the cookies into the oven, I left the ice cream out on the counter to soften. As soon as the cookies were cool, I scooped a healthy serving of Edy’s chocolate ice cream onto a cookie, then topped it with another cookie to make a sandwich. I wrapped each in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer to firm up until it was time for dessert.

Amanda and her life-long gal pal, Mrs. McGoobles, were starving when they got back to our house after a run and a work out. What better way to reward yourself than with a homemade ice cream sandwich (oh, to be young with a great metabolism)? To make their snack a little more special, I whipped out the darling snowflake paper plates and Santa napkins that I picked up at Target for just such an occasion. The girls said their frozen treat was delicious!

More Christmas inspiration, more homemade frozen treats, more making dessert special, more fun at Target…….

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insight study for Collective Bias #CBias  http://collectivebias.com

All ideas and experiences shared here are my own.

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom

Decorating it Forward…Christmas Tree Trimming at the DuPage Animal Shelter #Kmart #CBias

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more “Decorating it Forward”. Last month I was thrilled when I was asked to head over to my local Kmart, with a budget of $150.00, to buy Christmas decorations for my home. The vignettes I was able to create were fantastic! Now, Kmart has entrusted me with the opportunity to decorate it forward. They sent me a great big box full of Christmas tree trimmings, from the Country Living Collection, to spread some holiday cheer in any way that I saw fit.

 Before my package arrived, I was considering all of the worthwhile organizations that could benefit from making Christmas a little bit brighter. However, as soon as I opened the box, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

The ornaments were darling! There were birdcages trimmed in Christmas plaid, cardinals, gold candles, shiny metallic balls, glittery pinecones and puppy dogs and kitty cats wearing Christmas hats.

Ever since we adopted our furry son Wrigley, our 92lb Chocolate Lab, I have been a total animal lover. The intended recipient was obvious to me immediately; the DuPage County Animal Shelter. What a wonderful organization! In addition to all of their other services, they focus on adopting animals into responsible and loving homes.


Last month alone, the DuPage Animal Shelter placed 100 animals with families whose lives are now complete with the addition of a furry friend. I decided that the best way to spread Christmas cheer was to create care packages, for individual families, with ornaments they could hang on their tree to celebrate the first Christmas with their newest family member.


My mom helped me gather the rest of the supplies we would need. It was easy; we headed down to my basement storage room and found gift bags, tissue paper, ribbon and scrapbooking paper.


We divided up the ornaments for each care package; two metallic balls, one bird house, one cardinal, pinecones or a gold candle, and a puppy dog or kitten. After wrapping the ornaments in tissue paper, we placed the collection in a gift bag.

Next, we made gift tags which said;

Thank you for adopting a dog (some said cat) from the DuPage County Animal Shelter

Then we tied the tags onto the bags with red and green ribbon. They were adorable. What a nice keepsake for a few lucky families!


After loading the 15 care packages into my car, we headed over to the DuPage Animal Shelter.


We were nearly moved to tears as we were greeted by the most lovely and giving people; employees, volunteers and visitors alike. As we explained that we were there to contribute to the adoption experience by spreading a little Christmas cheer with the help of Kmart, they were clearly touched by such a thoughtful gesture. We were overwhelmed by the experience, the facility, the people and the sweetest animals in need of a good home. In fact, I was tempted to bring home two 10 week old puppies, but decided it was best not to give my own furry, nearly 9 year old son, a heart attack.

To see all of the photographs from our experience, please visit me at:


More beautiful Christmas tree trimmings, more worthy causes, more furry friends, more help from Kmart…….

To learn more about the DuPage Animal Shelter, please visit:


To schedule an Interior Design appointment or life style consultation, or for questions or comments please send me an email to moreismoremom@aol.com

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All ideas, opinions and experiences are my own.


Filed under More is More Mom