Get a Taste of Fall at Denny’s

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Denny’s.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

Even though it’s still shorts and flip flops weather here in New Orleans, I look longingly at my favorite sweaters and boots stored in my closet.  Fall must be around the corner, right?  If the weather won’t cooperate, I will get my much needed taste of Fall in other ways.  Out comes the Halloween decorations and spiced candles as I attempt to trick my home into feeling “in the season.”

But there is one thing that always helps me get into the spirit…..PUMPKIN.  From pumpkin pie to pumpkin muffins and pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin rolls, I love it all.  As the holiday season approaches, Denny’s is celebrating some of America’s favorite festive flavors with the introduction of its limited time “Season’s Flavorites” menu. And guess what’s on it? (WARNING: You may drool on your keyboard.)

Pumpkin Pancakes! 

The new Pumpkin Pancakes Breakfast offers guests a seasonal taste with two fluffy pumpkin pancakes topped with pumpkin whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served with two eggs cooked to order, hash browns and a choice of two bacon strips or sausage links.  I might as well stop writing this article now because I am sure you are running to your nearest Denny’s.

If you are not a pumpkin fan, well I guess we can’t be friends.  But don’t worry, Denny’s has some delicious seasonal flavors on the menu including Gingerbread French Toast and a Red Velvet Milkshake.  In fact, Denny’s most iconic dish has been given a fall-inspired makeover with the Build Your Own Holiday Slam™.  But if it’s holiday traditions you crave, try the Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner which offers tasty sliced turkey breast, savory stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce served with a choice of two sides and dinner bread.

Tell me, how do you get in the “spirit” of Fall.  What are your favorite holiday foods?

Are you “Dish-Wasting” Your Time?

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. I am a member of the Cascade Kitchen Dish Council. All opinions remain 100% mine.

I find myself referring to the old saying “Time is of the Essence” on almost a daily basis.  As a Mom with two kids, a full time job, a social media consulting company, and a blog conference, I have to put my time to good use and wasting it would be disastrous.  After having the opportunity to visit the Cascade Test Kitchen last month, I learned how I can save precious minutes by skipping the pre-washing of my dishes.

You heard me right….NO PRE-WASHING.  This is not a dream.  It’s the power of Cascade Platinum.

 

Armed with the right tools of the trade and a lesson in dishwasher anatomy and loading, I am completing my kitchen duties in record time!  Are you a “dish-waster?” A new survey from Cascade Platinum and Marie Claire reveals that nearly all people are doing their dishes incorrectly with 96-percent wasting up to an hour pre-washing their dishes each week – when they should not. In order to get the most optimum clean and shine, it’s important to skip the prewash and use Cascade Platinum. This is because the special enzymes in Cascade Platinum latch onto the leftover food particles, breaking them down so they can wash away – even 24-hour stuck on food.

Other fun finding from the survey:

  • Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents believe that skipping the pre-wash will lead to dirtier dishes. When in reality, breaking this habit – and skipping pre-wash – along with using Cascade Platinum, will help them achieve the ultimate clean and sparkle every time.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents organize their dishwashers just like their closets – with everything stacked in its rightful spot.
  • Almost half (42%) of respondents have actually gone so far as to re-load the dishwasher after their family goes to bed because they did not think their family member(s) did it right the first time.
  • More than half (56%) of respondents load their dishwashers after each meal.
  • The majority of survey respondents (57%) cringe at the thought of hosting a party because of spotted wine glasses.
  • So if people stop pre-washing, how would they spend all that time they’ve saved? Almost half of those surveyed (46%) said they’d spend it shopping on line.

Are you up to the challenge? Get some Cascade Platinum and stop the pre-washing routine today!

You’re Doing It Wrong: Why Your Dishes Aren’t Immaculately Clean

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Cascade. As a member of the Kitchen Dish Council, my travel and expenses were provided. All opinions remain 100% mine.

If you asked me to list my least favorite household chores, most of them would take place in the kitchen.  Topping the list?  Washing dishes. It always has and always will be the thing I hate the most on this planet.  So when I have the opportunity to learn how to get through this chore faster and more effectively, I am all ears.

Last month, I had the honor of traveling to the Cascade Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio with my fellow Kitchen Dish Council Members.  I learned all about the history of the brand, the design of a dishwasher, and the science behind dish washing detergent.  But the best thing I learned was that I am doing it ALL wrong.  And YOU are probably doing it wrong, too.

MYTH 1: You should pre-wash your dishes before loading the dishwasher in order to ensure immaculately clean dishes.

In a recent survey from Marie Claire and Cascade Platinum, 96% of the participants spend­ up ­to ­an ­hour­ pre-washing­ their­ dishes­ each­ week. Are you in that number? Cascade­ Platinum ­is ­specifically­ designed­ to ­work­ best­ when ­food­ is ­left­ ON ­dishes.­ Because­ the­ enzymes­ in­ Cascade Platinum­ are­ designed­ to­ attach­ themselves­ to­ food­ particles,­ breaking­ them­ down­ so­ that ­they­ can ­be­ easily­ washed ­away­ -­even­ 24-hour­stuck-on­food!­­ No­ food ­means­ the ­enzymes­ have­ nothing­ to ­latch ­on­to.­

MYTH 2:  Pre-washing dishes is necessary so you don’t clog your dishwasher and break it.

In the Marie Clarie survey, less than 11% of the respondents knew that modern dishwashers actually have a garbage disposal to chop up any left on food eliminating the need to pre-wash.

MYTH 3: Hand washing dishes saves water and energy.

Hand dishwashing consumes an average of 27 gallons and 2.5 kWh per cycle* compared to 4.25 gallons and 1.4 kWh for a dishwasher at today’s ESTAR level. Every 1% increase in the national dishwasher ownership level saves 4.4 billion gallons of water and 200 million kWh per year.

MYTH 4: It doesn’t matter how you load your dish washer.

In order to make sure your dishes are sparkling clean at the end of the cycle, you need to make sure Cascade Platinum has access to them.  Piling dishes on top of one another does not leave enough surface area for active ingredients to do their jobs.  Follow the guidelines below for a maximum clean:

Now you are armed with the information you need to get in and out of the kitchen quickly but effectively.  Simply said, don’t pre-wash and load the dishwasher correctly to ensure immaculately clean dishes the first time, every time. Check out my fellow Cascade Kitchen Dish Council Members’ blogs to get even more great information about our time spent in Cincinnati.

What are your best dish washing tips?

Lighten Up with Denny’s Fit Fare Menu

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. I am a Denny’s Ambassador however all opinions remain 100% mine.

Within the last two years, my husband has done the amazing task of losing 75 pounds.  He has now entered maintenance mode and I am so proud to say that he has kept the weight off for over a year now.  One of his secrets to success is planning.  Each week, he comes up with a meal plan and does his best to follow it.

However, life happens and we are not always able to cook meals at home.  In this case, research is his friend.  He takes to the Internet and apps on his phone to find out which restaurants have meals that will help him accomplish his goal (and not sabotage his meal plan).

As a Denny’s Ambassador, I was thrilled to learn about the Fit Fare menu and share the options with my hubby.  The family and I decided to head to Denny’s on a hot summer night and let them do the cooking for us.

Denny’s has many dish options guests can enjoy for under 550 calories, and offer delicious alternatives that don’t compromise on taste, value or variety.  An online ‘Meal Calculator’ provides guests with an interactive way to mix and match menu items and customize a meal suitable for their needs.

Perusing the menu, healthier options are noted with Fit Fare icons indicating Lean, Light, Protein or Fiber.  Hubby opted to the Fit Slam menu item which included a English Muffin, turkey bacon, egg whites with spinach and a side of seasonal fruit. We also found many other Fit Fare options such as a Cranberry Chicken Salad which looked delish.

I love that you can lighten just about any menu item by asking for a wheat bun, seasonal fruit instead of fries, or asking for a veggie patty all at no additional cost.  Of course, the kids were thrilled to eat breakfast for dinner and choose the Jr. Grand Slam option with pancakes, eggs and bacon.

If you are heading out to dinner, don’t let the selection ruin your meal plan.  Head to Denny’s and check out the items on the Fit Fare menu!

Join the Feed the Children Tweet Up and #HelpKidsBeKids

For my family and I, summer is about relaxing and taking a break from our normal routines.  You will oftentimes find us at the ice cream parlor or escaping the heat with a movie and popcorn.  But, recently I was reminded that not every kid has such an enjoyable summer.

Unfortunately, hunger is more prevalent in the summer when children are not receiving meals at school.  In fact, in Oklahoma the school lunch program that lower-income families depend on shuts down for the summer break, which means roughly 300,000 children may be left without a stable source of nutrition.  But, Feed the Children‘s pilot program called The Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program is trying to change that by testing this new initiative this summer.

While the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps fill that gap over the summer, in Oklahoma – Feed the Children’s home state –very few agencies are involved with the summer meals program making another effort necessary to end child hunger. The Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program will:

  • Provide Better Access to More Meals — Feed the Children will provide 115,000 meals, many of which will be purchased with private funds, that can be brought home.
  • Nourish Bodies and Minds At 11 USDA FNS-approved feeding sites, Feed the Children will provide books and educational resources for children, as well as backpacks and supplies for the school year.
  • Provide Results– Results from the pilot will be offered as evidence-based research to Feed the Children partners to identify ways to better solve summer food insecurity that have impact, are far-reaching and cost-effective.

Learn More about Feed the Children’s new vision at the upcoming Tweet-Up to be held Wednesday, July 9th at 1pm EST.  Hunger hurts 1 out of every 7 children, and is deeply rooted in larger, uncovered issues. But you can learn how Feed the Children plans to lead the charge to end child hunger by simply RSVPing and participating in the #HelpKidsBeKids Twitter Party.

Need more incentive? The Motherhood, your host, will be giving away five $25 VISA gift cards throughout the Tweet-up, based on correct responses to trivia questions. No purchase necessary; winners must be residents of the United States and 18 years of age or older.

Hope to see you there!

I Hate Dishes But Dawn Makes it Bearable #MyDawnSummer

Dawn has provided product and compensation for this post.  All opinions stated are my own.

I love to clean. Just kidding. I hate it…a lot. In fact, the worst part of my weekly chores is washing dishes.  I just don’t like to touch yucky greasy dishes.  And I am guessing that my Mom feels the same because from a very early age, washing dishes was on the top of my chore list. So, I am feeling a lot of love from Dawn Hand Renewal, since they recently sent me over a pack to “Simplify My Summer” and take a little me time with an oatmeal face mask.

I already knew that Dawn was a great product and my first choice for washing dishes, but I didn’t know that it would help soften my hands while powering
away grease and leave my dishes sparkling clean.  Yes, you read that right, it would be like giving yourself a moisturizing hand treatment every time you wash your dishes.  And, this mama will take my spa treatments anywhere I can get them!

My Dawn Hand Renewal Kit included:

  • Dawn Hand Renewal samples
  • Hand towel
  • Headband
  • Mixing bowl
  • Muddlers
  • Oatmeal
  • Oatmeal face mask recipe

After using the following recipe, I made myself a relaxing Oatmeal Face Mask to gear up for washing the dishes later. Be sure to have the following ingredients on hand.

  • 1 TBL Ground Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Banana sliced
  • 1/2 tsp milk

Mash all of your ingredients together in a bowl, be sure to grind the oatmeal before you start, and apply to your clean and dry face. Apply using a circular motion with your fingertips. Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Splash with cold water, pat dry and enjoy your beautiful skin.

What a quick and easy way to refresh and hydrate your skin, all while relaxing!  Another way to hydrate is by using Dawn Hand Renewal to wash your dishes.  This soap still fights grease, just like the original Dawn, all while moisturizing your hands.  And, it will give you noticeably softer hands after just three uses, which is just like having a mini spa in your sink! (or close enough for me) This is without me even going into the fantastic scent of this dish soap, which comes in the following varieties:  Cucumber Melon, Pomegranate Splash, Lavender Silk, Eucalyptus & Orchid, Peach & Almond, Cool Springs, and Tropical Shea Butter.

Be sure to stay connected with Dawn, by checking out their site or following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Our SIMPLE Service Project with Jennie-O and #Fiesta4Kids

I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

Last month, my daughters were counting down the days/hours/minutes until the last bell sounded and summer vacation began.  But for millions of kids in the United States, the end of school means the end of regular meals.  These children lose access to the school breakfasts, lunches and after-school snacks they receive during the regular school year.

With demand high and slowing donations to food banks such as Second Harvest in the summer months, a real need is created and helping does not have to be difficult or stressful.  Champions for Kids makes it simple to give children in local communities the resources they need to thrive.  Along with my family, we decided to coordinate a SIMPLE Service Project to make a difference in our own community.

From June 1 to June 30, Champions for Kids is partnering with Jennie-O Turkey to encourage community projects across the country benefiting children in need of a nutritious meals this summer.  For our SIMPLE Service Project, my family and I hosted a Fiesta to Feed Families party!

Using Jennie-O Ground Turkey, I prepared a fun “Make Your Own Nachos” Bar.  For my kids, they are far more likely to clean their plate if they have a say in what goes on it.  I was a bit worried my daughters would notice the ground turkey switch (we normally used ground beef), but they loved it.  During the event, my daughters helped to collect non-perishable foods to donate to Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.

In our donation, we included items so that the recipient could create their own fiesta!  On the way to the food bank, we talked to our own kids about child hunger and why it is important to help the less fortunate.  The Staff at the food bank ensured that every donation makes a difference and my daughters felt really good about being part of the solution.

Want to help? Learn how to create your own SIMPLE Start Project in your community and join the #Fiesta4Kids Twitter Party. The Motherhood is honored to join Champions for Kids along with Jennie-O to share just how simple it is to help local families in need.

  • When: Thursday, June 24, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT
  • Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Fiesta4Kids hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/fiesta4kids
  • Hashtag: #Fiesta4Kids
  • Prizes: Five prizes will be given to five randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $25 Walmart gift card and two $5 Jennie-O product coupons.
  • Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
  • Sponsor: @Champions4Kids

Breakfast for Dinner at JJ’s Diner #ReviewCrew

You know what’s better than having pancakes for breakfast? Having pancakes for dinner! My entire family is a huge fan of having breakfast foods for dinner but there aren’t too many places around town that continue to serve pancakes the size of my head past 10am.

But thanks to Restaurant.com, we found one!  By simply typing in my zip code and “breakfast” I found a brand new diner with breakfast on the menu all day long.  Craving pancakes, I opted to purchase a $15 Gift Card to JJ’s Diner through Restaurant.com for only $6.  Pancakes + Savings= Score! About Restaurant.com:

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal.  Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go.  Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”

When we arrived, the interior was decorated just like a 50′s diner and was very clean.  The Staff was friendly and was prompt in greeting my family and taking our order.  The menu had all of my favorite breakfast items and a nice selection of non-breakfast foods, too.  In order to use our $15 Gift Card, we had to order $30 worth of food which is not difficult for a family of 4. The food was served quickly and the breakfast items were delish!

Have you searched Restaurant.com for a new place to eat near you? What is your favorite place to find breakfast for dinner?

Let Your Summer Shine with Dasani Sparkling Water {Giveaway}

This prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company.  The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this program.

It’s hot. Living in New Orleans, this should come as no surprise.  I am doing much better with my water intake but I will admit that I am getting bored.  Sometimes you just need flavor and crave the fizz of a soda!

Now, you can change up your routine while staying hydrated with DASANI Sparkling Water Beverage.  Available in 4 refreshing flavors (berry, lemon, lime and apple), this unsweetened, zero-calorie, lightly carbonated beverage infused with natural flavors gives me the diversity I have been looking for.

After sampling all of the flavors, I have to say that berry was my favorite.  I got the satisfaction of a bubbly soda without the calories or artificial sweeteners of my usual pop choice.  DASANI Sparkling Water Beverage offers a crisp, clean way to drink more water and get the hydration I need without the boredom!

Want to get your bubbly on? Enter the DASANI Sparkling giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy Summer at Dickey’s Barbeque Pit #ReviewCrew

It’s summer here in New Orleans and that means lots of family gatherings, pool parties and time to relax.  One of my favorite summertime meals consists of everything barbeque but with a hectic activity schedule, there isn’t always time to fire up the grill.  But coming home from work, I noticed a new barbeque restaurant open in town and as luck would have it, they were listed on Restaurant.com.

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal.  Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go.  Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”

After purchasing a gift card, my family and I decided to try out Dickie’s Barbeque Pit.  I love having Restaurant.com gift cards because you can use it to purchase a certificate to any of the listed establishments.  I wasn’t expecting a walk up counter instead of a sit down restaurant, but we all found something on the menu that was mouth watering.  The decor was very Hubby and I opted for sandwiches (beef brisket and chicken, respectively).  The meat was very tender and the sauce was sweet and tangy.  My favorite side was the onion tangles! I was also thrilled to learn that they cater!

My kids opted for pulled pork with mac and cheese which they both loved.  And the best surprise of all is the free soft serve ice cream for dessert! When comparing Dickie’s to our favorite barbeque joint, the kids thought Dickie’s took first place.

Restaurant.com is a great way to try new places to eat with little risk! Have you discovered a new favorite lately?