Saving Time With My Whirlpool Duet

As a Mom who works full time outside the home, I treasure every moment with my kids and husband when I arrive home from the job.  While life’s responsibilities pull me in many directions, I have learned to reorganize my priorities and make family come first.  The last thing I want is for laundry to come between me and my little ones!

As much as I want to ignore the housework, the mountain of laundry threatens to take over my house.  The solution?  Do the laundry and do it fast!  Fortunately, I was chosen as a Whirlpool Mom and have been testing out the Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer for the last month.  Let me share with you the features that help me save time and energy:

Photobucket1.  The washer has a feature called precision dispense.  Simply fill the reservoir with your favorite detergent once every 32 loads.  The washer dispenses exactly the right amount of detergent which not only cuts back on time, but waste, too!

2.  One of my favorite features of the Duet washer is Fan Fresh.  How many times have you washed a load of laundry, forgot to transfer to the dryer, and have to re-wash the load?  With Fan Fresh, after the cycle has been completed, the washer will periodically “freshen” the load by spinning which actually can dry the load eliminating the need for re-washing.

3.  The washer not only saves time but saves energy, too.  The EcoBoost feature allows you to choose to decrease the water temperature while increasing agitation which provides the same results for less energy.  LOVE!

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4.  The dryer has some great features as well.  Because I despise my iron, the enhanced touch up feature is at the top of my list!  This is a steam cycle that touches up your clothes and gets rid of pesky wrinkles.  Any feature that allows me to bag the iron is my new BFF!

5.  The dryer also saves energy by sensing how wet your clothes are and turning off the cycle when your clothes are dry (as opposed to using timed cycles which will continue to run even after clothes are dry).

I am absolutely loving my Whirlpool Duet set so far.  Saving both time and energy are important to me and this set gets perfect scores!  I am looking forward to sharing more of my favorite features soon!

I wrote this review while participating in a test-drive campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Whirlpool and received a complimentary Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer to facilitate my review.

Bialetti Pasta Pot: Review and Giveaway

I am not a great cook.  I am not even a decent cook.  But, I have often wondered if I would be willing to put more effort into cooking if I had the right tools to make the job easier.  I troubleshoot all day in the lab at my regular job, so the last thing I want to do at home when fixing a meal for my family is improvise.

Slowly but surely, I am collecting the tools of the trade.  One of our favorite meals to cook for dinner is meat sauce and spaghetti in our pressure cooker.  It’s an easy meal and absolutely delicious, too!  So I was thrilled to test out the new Bialetti 5 quart Pasta Pot to make this dish ever easier.  About Bialetti:

“Bialetti began in Italy, but has become a leading brand around the world because our high-quality products bring simplicity, functionality and beauty to the kitchen.  Our advanced technology and distinctive styling combine to create cookware that’s simple to use and simply beautiful.”

The Bialetti 5-quart Pasta Pot features an innovative lock-on lid with built-in strainer, eliminating the need for a colander.  Simply boil your pasta in water, lock on the lid and strain directly from the pot!  The heat resistant handles made it very easy to grab and go.  Not to mention in the Trend Collection, the pasta pots are available in three hot colors: Purple Passion, Blue Cheer and Orange Spice and are available for only $34.95.

I am so in love with my new pasta pot that wanted to see what else Bialetti has to offer.  Check out this adorable stovetop coffee maker or the functional (and colorful) saute pan!  These tools would definitely help get me on the right track.

Want to learn to cook better with Bialetti?  Enter the sweepstakes over at Bialetti’s Facebook Page to win an Italian LA Getaway with Chef Fabio Viviana where you can learn to cook his favorite Italian meals!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win the Bialetti 5 quart Pasta Pot!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which color of the Bialetti Pasta Pot you love the most!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Bialetti (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Bialetti on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 17th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a differing opinion of the product. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Pressure Cooker Meat Sauce Recipe

When I got married, my mother-in-law gave us a pressure cooker as a wedding gift.  It looked completely foreign and frankly a little bit scary.  Cooking with heat and pressure and my novice ability in the kitchen was surely a recipe for disaster. But, she assured me that in time, it would become my best friend…and she was right!  Making incredibly tasty meals in a matter of minutes is very appealing given my lack of available time.  So, I thought I would share an easy recipe for delicious meatsauce and spaghetti made entirely in our now very worn pressure cooker.

What you Need:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet basil
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce

How to Make It:

Brown ground beef and drain.  Add all ingredients (except tomato paste).  Close cover and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes after the pressure cooker regulator starts rocking.  Remove cooker from heat and cool under cold water for 30 seconds to one minute.  When pressure decreases, open cooker and add tomato paste.  Simmer uncovered to desired thickness.

Serves 6.

We love making this recipe because it is a great way to sneak extra vegetables and fiber into the diet of my two picky eaters.  One way is to use the new Piccolini Rich in Fiber-White pasta.  It looks and tastes just like regular pasta but is packed with three times the fiber and provides 30% of your daily whole grains per serving!  You can find Piccolini in mini penne, mini rotini and mini conchigle-shells.  Get more great tips by following Piccolini on Twitter!

piccolini

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barilla Piccolini.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Helping to #FightHunger as a Hunger Action Month Blogger

For those of you who regularly read this blog, you know that I am a proud native New Orleanian.  I was born here, survived Katrina, and am so happy to help in any effort to help rebuild and renew my City.

New Orleans is part of my Soul and I am so happy to be giving back to my community as a Hunger Action Month Blogger!  Because September is Hunger Action Month, a national movement to raise awareness and take action to help the 50 million Americans who experience hunger, I am helping encourage citizens to take action! 

I am fortunate.  I cannot remember a day where food was not on the table.  My kids do not worry where their next meal is coming from, but so many do. I was shocked to learn that 1 in every 8 of my fellow Louisianians suffer from hunger and 1 of every 5  of Louisiana’s children are at risk of going hungry.  Hunger not only impacts child development, but health and wellness, education, workforce development – our general welfare as a nation. It is an issue in every community – and food banks work tirelessly to combat hunger and aid those living with the everyday disaster of hunger.

Throughout the month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, including my local Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, is working to get everyone involved in the fight against hunger.  Here in New Orleans, September and October is your opportunity to get involved! 

How can you help?

Host a food drive, volunteer at your local food bank, share hunger facts through social media, prepare food for an elderly neighbor or visit the 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar for more ideas on daily ways you can take action.

Throughout the month of September follow the hashtag #fighthunger to hear how members of our community are taking action and to hear about other ways you can help Second Harvest Food Bank. 

If you are local to New Orleans, you can attend the “Harvest the Music” free concert series every Wednesday through November 2nd in Lafayette Square from 5:00pm to 7:30pm.  Come out and enjoy great music, food and friends!  For more information on the Power to Fight Hunger campaign visit www.no-hunger.org.

Snack on the go with Tontino’s! Review and Giveaway!

I often joke that I could make a meal out of snack remnants in my car.  Sounds gross I know…but I know I am not alone!  According to a recent survey by Totino’s Pizza Stuffers, most moms (78%) have found a lost French fry in their cars while cleaning, and two-thirds (66%) have also found crackers or chips hiding during their car clean outs.

Totino’s Pizza Stuffers are here to save the day!  Because of the hectic schedule we keep, it means sometimes the kids have a quick snack on the way to soccer practice, gymnastics, or doctor’s appointment.  Totino’s has introduced pizza stuffers, a new on-the-go snack designed to make kids happy while creating less mess.

Totino’s Pizza Stuffers are available in three flavors kids love – pepperoni, cheese, and combination.  They can either be zapped for a few minutes in your microwave or baked in the oven.  The outside crust is made to hold all the filling neatly and is in a kid-friendly shape to hold.  Best of all, there is virtually no mess!  My kids loved them for a recent quick lunch and they are easy to store in the freezer for a quick bite when hunger calls.  We tried the cheese and pepperoni and both kids agreed they loved them!

Want a coupon for a FREE box of Totino’s Pizza Stuffers? Watch the video below and then click on FREE!  Fill out the form to get one of the 15 VIP coupons available here at Experimental Mommy.  Don’t forget to share the love with your friends by clicking the SHARE button!

GIVEAWAY

Need more pizza stuffers? One winner will receive FIVE coupons for a free box of Totino’s Pizza Stuffers!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which variety of Totino’s Pizza Stuffers your kids would like best!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Totino’s on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 14th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of Jennifer of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a differing opinion of the product. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Genie SilentMax 1000: Review and Giveaway

When an appliance/electronic device in your house is older than you are, I guess it is time to bite the bullet and upgrade.    My husband and I have discussed getting a new garage door opener for about a year now, but it was one of those things that keep getting pushed farther and farther down on the list of things to buy for our house.  We were thrilled when we  received the Genie SilentMax 1000 and the closed confirm/network adapter combo.  From the website:

“The SilentMax® 1000 provides intelligent design for the homeowner that wants quiet performance with superior design and conveniences that fit their busy lifestyle.  The SilentMax® comes with two 3 button remotes, a wall console, and a wireless keypad.

Power: ¾ HPc* 140 Volt DC motor provides power to operate almost any residential garage door.
Quiet operation: The DC motor and belt drive allow for quiet, smooth operation and soft start and soft stop.
Two-Bulb Lighting System: Two 100 Watt bulb lighting system provides added convenience and safety.
SmartSet™ programming: Push button programming makes set up fast and easy.
Auto Seek Dual Frequency: System will automatically seek either the 315 or 390 MHz frequency produced by a remote, helping to ensure the opener will respond regardless of nearby frequency interference.
GenieSense™ Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology: Delivers the power needed at every movement of the garage door and continuously monitors the operation of the door, stopping operation when significant changes occur. GenieSense™ minimizes noise, wear and tear on the door, and improves overall safety.
Safety: Comprehensive Safe-T-Beam® system meets or exceeds all UL, state, federal and CSA regulations, and incorporates an auto reversing system and diagnostics.
Security: Genie® Intellicode® 2 technology, a new generation of superior encryption, prevents unauthorized persons from opening your garage door by automatically changing the access code every time you use it.

For starters, this new garage door opener is about half the size and a quarter of the weight of our old opener.  With step by step instructions the installation was quite simple for my dad and husband. After an afternoon and evening the Genie was fully installed and ready to be used.  We opened the garage and were absolutely amazed at how quiet it was, in fact the Genie didn’t make any at all, only the garage door itself creaked as it rose.  My husband works late hours and it never fails that one of the children are sleeping when he arrives but as soon as the garage door would start to open they would be woken up with the loud noises.   This is no longer a problem, in fact my husband has scared me on a few occasions because I couldn’t hear him coming in.

The Genie also has the Safe-T-Beam system which is a wonderful feature.  We decided to give it a try the first time we closed it,  as soon as my foot hit the beam the garage reversed and started going up.  Never again will I have to worry that the door will come down on one of the children.   Another great feature that can be added to the Genie is the closed confirm/network adapter.  Never again will you need to wonder if you closed the garage, I know it never fails that I get 5 blocks from my house and start to wonder if I left it wide open.  The closed confirm accessory will beep three times and blinks green for thirty seconds to confirm that your garage is fully closed.  If there is a problem and the door doesn’t close the opener turns red.

The Genie also works with homelink. This is definitely a plus for us, no need to carry around the three button opener. Programing the homelink system was a little tricky, but was easily figured out with the use of the Genie instructions and the manual for my van.

There are several videos that will help with the installation and programing of your Genie SilentMax 1000.  They can be found on Genie’s YouTube Page.  Please note that the SilentMax 1000 is the dealer equivalent of IntelliG 1000.  If you purchase this garage door opener from a dealer it would be called the IntelliG 1000 as reflected in the videos.  You can also go on Genie website and find a  dealer locater in your area if you need help installing your new Genie.

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive Genie SilentMax 1000 and the closed confirm/network adapter add-on accessory! (ARV $249)

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which feature of the Genie SilentMax 1000 you are most excited about!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Genie (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @TheGenieCompany on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and The Genie Company Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 20th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of Beth of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a differing opinion of the product. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

Brine with Holland House Cooking Wine {Recipe}

My kids love chicken, and I make it often….but it gets boring.  I am always looking for ways to liven up this dinner staple.  Recently I had the chance to review Holland House Cooking Wine and we loved it!

Holland House wines can be used for a variety of purposes in the kitchen, from enriching the flavor of soups and side dishes to adding flavor to rice, stir fries, and vegetables.  Recently, a friend asked me if I had tried brining turkey or chicken as her family discovered how much they liked it.  I decided to try Holland House’s recipe for Grilled Brined Chicken with Garlic and Thyme.

What’s brining and why do it?  From the Holland House website: “Brining is a process of osmosis and protein denaturing via a high-salt liquid solution. Meat and poultry is submerged in the solution and chilled for a period of time. Brining makes lean meat and poultry absorb liquid and become juicier.”

Grilled Brined Chicken with Garlic and Thyme

INGREDIENTS
1 bottle (16 oz.) HOLLAND HOUSE White Cooking Wine with Lemon
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 rounded Tbsp. dried thyme, crushed
2 large cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 oz. each)

DIRECTIONS
Pour about 2/3 cup cooking wine into a glass. Stir in thyme and garlic. Microwave on high 1 minute. Cool to room temperature — at least 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. (Or, place glass in an ice water bath to chill faster; stir occasionally.) Meanwhile, in a large glass bowl, stir salt into remaining cooking wine until completely dissolved. When cooled, stir flavor infusion and add to remaining cooking wine; stir.

Place chicken in a sealable plastic bag or non-metallic bowl. Pour brine over chicken so it is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour if chicken is thin, 2 hours if it is thick (1-inch or more).

Preheat grill to medium heat. Drain chicken and discard brine; do not rinse chicken. Grill thin chicken breasts 6 minutes (8 minutes for 1” thick breasts) over direct heat with cover closed. Turn chicken, close cover, and grill 2-4 minutes more (about 4 minutes more for thick breasts). Serve immediately.

My kids loved this dish and brining the chicken was easy!  The meat and flavors were delicious.  I plan to try some of Holland House’s other recipes as well.  Check out the website for coupons and great ideas for your kitchen!
This post is the opinion of Jennifer of Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are 100% honest.

Nestle Family New School Year Resolution {Nook Giveaway}

We are well into the new school year and I am happy to report that things are going well!  My youngest is finally adjusted to her new school and my oldest is bring home excellent grades.  So, how’s Mom doing?

Last month, Nestle Family challenged me to create and stick to a Happy New School Year Resolution.  I decided that I would do my best to “provide my family with well planned and balanced brain-food.“  My grade?

A-

Not too shabby.  My youngest has been loving her new snacks (especially the yogurt covered raisins) and she has even tried eggplant….major breakthrough!  I still need to get better at planning a variety of lunchtime foods, but I am working on it.  How are you doing with your resolution?

Looking for fun ideas for the New School Year?  Nestle Family has some great suggestions for school year activities including how to make math fun!  And don’t forget to enter the New School Year Sweepstakes through October 15th for your chance to win $5,000 for Back to School essentials or a $2,000 literacy grant for your child’s school!

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate all of your New School Year accomplishments, Nestle Family is offering an amazing prize pack!  One winner will receive a mix of free coupons from STOUFFER’S, TOLL HOUSE Refrigerated Cookie Dough and Morsels, JUICY JUICE, NESQUIK, TOMBSTONE, OVALTINE, product from WONKA, a $3 off coupon from BOOST Kid Essentials, a CARNATION BREAKFAST ESSENTIALS $1 off coupon, an OVALTINE straw dispenser, coupon book and…..

……A Nook e-reader!!

How to Enter:

1. What is your New School Year Resolution and are you sticking to it?

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Nestle Family (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Nestle Family on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 18th.  Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

I am a Nestle Family Blogger.  While this post has been compensated, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Get a Load of This: Gain Detergent Giveaway!

As a wedding gift, my in-laws gave us a brand new washer and dryer.  As you can imagine, we were elated!  The set served us well for eleven years even making it through Hurricane Katrina.  However, over time, a less than pleasurable odor rose from the washer even after several attempts to clean it from top to bottom.

You can imagine my excitement when I was recently chosen as a Whirlpool Mom!  I received the Whirlpool Duet set which has tons of great features to test on my mountains of laundry.  Because this is my very first High Efficiency washer, I needed to check out the detergents appropriate to use in my new machine.

Now that my kids are no longer infants, I admit to looking for the detergent that not only cleans my clothes but leaves a nice, fresh scent.  I have never bought Gain before, but have heard from friends that the scent was amazing and long lasting.  I figured because I had a new washer, I should branch out and try a new HE detergent!

We received the one bottle of Gain laundry detergent, one bottle of Gain fabric softener and a box of Gain dryer sheets in Original Scent.  I immediately opened the detergent and confirmed what my friends had professed!  I quickly learned that HE machines use much less detergent (and water), so it is imperative that HE detergent is used in HE machines.  One of the features I love about my new Whirlpool is the precision dispenser which allows me to pour enough detergent into a reservoir for up to 32 loads of laundry.  With each cycle, the proper amount of detergent is released into the load which eliminates waste. There is even a reservoir for fabric softener!

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After my very first load of laundry, I opened the door to remove the clothes from the washer and was greeted by the lovely smell of Gain.  I definitely love the Original Scent, but did you know that there are many more scents (lavender, island fresh and apple mango tango, to name a few).  Not a fan of scents?  Try the Ocean Escape which is the

lightest of all the Gain varieties.  While I am now officially in love with the HE Liquid Original Scent, there is an impressive lineup of Gain products including powder detergent, Gain with Febreeze and even Gain Dishwashing liquid. Not sure of your laundry personality?  Take the “Get a Sniff of Me” Quiz!  Already know you love Gain?  Join the Fan Club to get insider info and exclusive offers.

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win one bottle of Gain laundry detergent, one bottle of Gain fabric softener and a box of Gain dryer sheets (ARV $30)!

How to Enter:

1. Tell me which Gain scent is your favorite!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog and Gain (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Limited to 10 a day, please. (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Gain on Facebook.

5. Place my blog button on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on October 11th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a differing opinion of the product. While a sample product was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

More Reasons to Love Friday with Visa Signature Perks!

I am not sure that I know a Mom that doesn’t look forward to Friday!  Between working all week, taking care of the kids, cleaning house, cooking dinner and writing for the blog, I am spent by Wednesday….and somehow hang on till Friday.

Fortunately, Visa Signature is giving you yet another reason to look forward to Friday!  In order to kick off their new Twitter account, Visa Signature is thanking their followers by starting #PerksFriday.  Every Friday through September 30th, @VisaSignature is giving away five fun Friday perks packages including:
• One night stay at any Hilton property
• $150 Restaurant.com gift certificate
• $50 Fandango bucks

How do you win this prize pack worth over $500?  Follow @VisaSignature and check back every Friday to get the featured Friday question.  Simply tweet your reply including the hashtag #PerksFriday or retweet the original tweet for a chance to win one of five perks packages. One entry per twitter account per drawing.  No purchase is necessary and you can find the official rules here.

Make sure you follow Visa Signature on Twitter so you don’t miss any updates!

Good Luck!

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While the post is sponsored, all opinions remain 100% mine.