Monday, September 22, 2014

Easy, Versatile and Delicious: Krusteaz Flatbread Mixes {Review & Giveaway}

Krusteaz logo
While I've never considered myself the most domestic person around, lately I've had an urge to try out a variety of new recipes and provide different dinnertime meals for my family. Maybe it's the cooler fall weather or maybe it's the fact that I actually have a small amount of time to myself now that my kids are back in school... or maybe it's just that I'm bored with our regular weekly rotation.

Whatever the reason, if I come across a dish that looks tasty, doesn't involve complicated steps or ingredients that we don't have, and can be prepared without devoting an entire day to it, I'm trying it out. As for the results, we've had some hits and some misses — and as long as the former outnumbers the latter, I'll keep on cooking.

Fortunately for me, a recent dinnertime had the added bonus of being delicious as well as extremely simple thanks to the ease, convenience and taste of the nearly limitless number of delicious options available from Krusteaz!

Krusteaz products

Delighting families for generations, Krusteaz began back in 1932 with an easy-to-make pie crust and has since expanded to include pancakes, biscuits, muffins, brownies, breads, desserts and much more.

Whether you reach for one of their classic favorites or one of the new additions to their product line, you can be confident that they have included only the finest and freshest ingredients and that the result will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

So of course I was excited to hear that Krusteaz's new flatbread mix line was perfect for busy home cooks looking to mix things up but still save time!

Krusteaz flatbread mixes

A quick and easy way to create homemade meals, snacks and appetizers without all the work of homemade dough, Krusteaz Flatbread Mixes make it a snap to bring this popular restaurant menu item to your own table.

So much better than using frozen or refrigerated pizza crust, these flavorful mixes are the perfect base for creative homemade pizzas, can pair nicely with savory dips and spreads or be used for sandwiches. Simply add water, oil and yeast (included) and let rise for an artisanal flatbread that's deliciously tasty, moist and slightly crispy around the edges.

Krusteaz Flatbread Mixes

My mouth was watering before I even had the three Krusteaz flatbread varieties — Italian Herb, Whole Wheat and Garlic & Onion — out of the box. Even better, any hesitation that I had about the process or difficulty of making these flatbreads was eliminated as soon as I looked them over. They really did just take a little mixing and prepping of the dough and then popping them in the oven (or on the grill) and they were done!

Plus, can we talk about the versatility? These flatbreads can be served as-is or with a little olive oil or else they can be used in any number of delicious recipes. Krusteaz has their own collection of flatbread recipes and has also teamed up with Jennifer Sbranti, (AKA Hostess with the Mostess) who has even more ideas as to how to turn a Krusteaz Flatbread Mix into something even more amazing.

Wouldn't your family or guests be excited to find Family Friendly Flatbread Tacos, Game Day Turnovers, Thai Chicken Flatbread, Pear & Gorgonzola Flatbread or Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbread on your table?

flatbread recipes

As for us, I couldn't wait to put our Flatbread Mixes to the test and, as soon as I saw the Classic Margarita Pizza recipe on the side of the Krusteaz Italian Herb Flatbread Mix, knew that it would be a winner.

It wasn't long before I had my dough mixed, let it sit to rise, and had it rolled out and topped with sauce, tomatoes and cheese.

Margarita Flatbread

After baking for around 12 minutes, I pulled my flatbreads out of the oven, sprinkled on basil and couldn't have been more excited to dig in!

margarita flatbread recipe

And, yes! It definitely tasted as amazing as it looked!

margherita flatbread pizza

I have no doubt that I will be reaching for these boxes of Krusteaz Flatbread Mixes many more times in the future, as the variety of flavors, size and shape options, and endless possibilities in toppings make them the perfect addition to any meal!

Not to mention that at only 180 calories per serving (flatbread only, of course, not my pizza), these mixes have the added bonus of not leaving me filled with guilt. The Whole Wheat mix even includes a full serving of whole grains!

Be sure to head over to to find out more about all of their incredible products, while also connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. These tasty Flatbread Mixes have debuted at most national grocery chains this month with an approximate retail price of $2.59. Give them a try!

And, thanks to the generosity of Krusteaz, one person will be even more prepared for some delicious flatbread baking this fall, because...

One lucky person will win a Krusteaz Flatbread Prize Pack*!

Krusteaz Flatbread giveaway
*Prize Pack includes (2) Italian Herb Flatbread mixes (2) Whole Wheat Flatbread mixes, (2) Garlic & Onion Flatbread mixes, recipe cards and Krusteaz Kitchen Accessories: a branded apron, kitchen timer and a pizza cutter.

A big thank you to Krusteaz for providing a prize pack for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Betty Crocker and HERSHEY'S Team Up with Delicious Dessert Results! {#NewFromBetty}

Betty Crocker logo
If Harley and Davidson had never teamed up, the world of motorcycles would never be where it is today. And how funny would Abbott have been without Costello? Would we look at ice cream the same if Ben and Jerry's paths hadn't crossed?

Along with these classic partnerships, there's a good chance that one day we'll look back and realize that our taste buds will forever be grateful that Betty Crocker and HERSHEY'S made the choice to team up and create Betty Crocker HERSHEY'S Desserts.

Betty Crocker Hershey's

A decadent collection of frosting, cupcake mixes and cookie mixes, Betty Crocker HERSHEY'S Desserts provide the perfect way to incorporate the HERSHEY'S flavors that we all know and love (e.g. Almond Joy and Health) in with the quality, ease and convenience of Betty Crocker mixes. Yes, please!

While this lineup of delectable treats has already been on the market, recently three new products were added to the lineup and we were more than ready to give two of them a try.

Betty Crocker Hershey's mixes

HERSHEY'S S'mores Dessert Bars and REESE'S Dessert Bars? Right out of the box and requiring only a few additional ingredients? Considering I was hosting a group of fellow moms over and wanted to provide a variety of items to snack on, these were the perfect addition to the menu.

First up, the HERSHEY'S S'mores Dessert Bars, which only required mixing up the graham cracker crust, layering it with the chocolate/marshmallow, and popping the entire thing in the oven.

s'mores brownies

Although it was extremely difficult for me to not dig right into the pan just from the luxurious smell, I managed to leave most of these brownie dessert bars on the plate until my guests arrived.

Hershey's S'mores Dessert Bars

While the overall appearance only resembles a gooey chocolately pile, these are definitely a delicious dessert treat that received rave reviews! I love the way that the chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker all work so well together and that these bars taste as though they took a lot of time and effort to make!

At the same time that my friends were expressing their enjoyment for the heavenly taste of the HERSHEY'S S'mores Dessert Bars, the REESE'S Dessert Bars were delighting every peanut butter lover that was there.

Similar to the s'mores, these REESE'S bars were extremely easy to make, as each layer was packaged separately and only needed to be mixed and laid right into the pan.

Reese's dessert bars

I did accidentally add a little too much milk to the chocolate layer on the top (I was probably too busy eating the S'mores Dessert Bars and not paying close enough attention) so it ended up more like chocolate sauce instead of frosting, but in terms of taste, it didn't matter. If you're a fan of REESE'S, you've got to try these yummy bars!

Reese's dessert bars

If you're looking for a decadent dessert without a lot of fuss, be on the lookout for Betty Crocker HERSHEY'S Desserts – these sweet treats are available now at Target and make bringing HERSHEY'S many varieties to your table quick and easy!

Find out more about all of the savory offerings that Betty Crocker and HERSHEY'S have teamed up on by visiting and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Laundry Made Easy with the Spring Loaded Lifter Hamper {Review}

Lifter Hamper logo
While we fully expect there to continue to be innovations and advancements in things like computers and cell phones, one product line that I would never have thought about improving is that of the clothes hamper.

After all a laundry hamper is a laundry hamper, right? While the size, shape and color may vary from house to house, what it comes down to is that it is a place to store your dirty clothes. When it is full or it has been deemed wash day, it is lifted, carried, dumped out/dug down into/emptied, and the process begins again.

And then I was introduced to the next generation laundry hamper and my days of washing clothes have forever been changed. The perfect definition of the "once you've tried it, you'll never go back" phrase, I never want to do laundry again without my Lifter Hamper.

Lifter Hamper clothes hamper

Invented by former NFL player Marvin Phillip, the Lifter Hamper was created after Marvin experienced a career-ending back injury and was looking for a way to make everyday household chores less painful on his back.

After some tinkering and trial-and-error, Marvin engineered the components to create Lifter Hamper, the first bungee spring loaded laundry hamper. This innovative product's patented lifting bag allows it to drop down with the weight of the laundry and rise to the top as laundry is removed.

Lifter Hamper laundry hamperDid you catch that last part? It's genius! With virtually every other laundry hamper, individuals must bend over to retrieve their laundry from the bottom of the hamper (something that bothers me more and more as I do laundry so often). Instead, when you place laundry in the Lifter Hamper the weight of the clothes causes the bag to lower itself.

Then, as you pull your items from the Lifter Hamper, the bottom rises up as you go so that you do not have to reach way down to the bottom to retrieve the last of your laundry! No bending, straightening, bending, straightening over and over again, day after day. Like I said, genius!

Considering that the concept of the Lifter Hamper already had me amazed, I couldn't wait to see this one-of-a-kind laundry hamper in person to give it a try.

Lifter Hamper assembly

Although the assembly instructions could have been a little bit more clear, it didn't take more than 5-10 minutes before I had my Lifter Hamper constructed and ready for use.

Lifter Hamper review

Standing 36" tall and 16" wide (or folded to 2½" wide when not in use), the Lifter Hamper holds 2-3 loads of laundry and is quite similar in size to my previous clothes hamper.

But the similarities end there, as the Lifter Hamper has immediately proven to be so much better!

First, the addition of the wheels is fantastic, as now when I want to move my dirty clothes to the washing machine or go room-to-room to collect the family's clothes, I simply give it a push and it glides across carpet or hard floor with ease. No finagling to carry a mound of dirty things (and having to go back and pick up everything that dropped) and no lifting and lugging a heavy basket, just roll it right where it is needed!

Lifter Hamper wheels

Second, it lifts the laundry up for me! When the Lifter Hamper is empty, it is hard to believe that it will hold more than a few items, as the space appears quite minimal...

Lifter Hamper space

...but as soon as you begin to add clothes and give them a light push down once in a while, the hamper itself extends and extends to make more room.

Lifter Hamper laundry hamper review

The bungee cords work in reverse when emptying the Lifter Hamper, as it gently retracts itself as you remove items to sort them or place them in the washing machine.

No need to put a strain on your back or risk injuring yourself if you are pregnant or elderly (or just in your 30's with a bad back, like me), the Lifter Hamper makes retrieving your laundry bend-free!

Lifter Hamper in use

Other than giving it the ability to actually do my laundry for me, I can't think of anything that I would add or change to the Lifter Hamper — I LOVE it! Easy to use, easy to move and easy to see why I'll never go back to our old hamper again.

The Lifter Hamper is available now in black or white with a retail price of $49.99 directly from or on Amazon. You can also stay up-to-date with Lifter Hamper by connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Other than the Lifter Hamper that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this product, which I LOVE.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inspiring Girls to be Engineers with GoldieBlox {Review & Giveaway}

GoldieBlox logo
Although times have changed from when little girls were only encouraged to play with dolls, wear dainty dresses and white gloves, and host tea parties, there is still a clear gender gap when it comes to toys. A simple stroll through the toy section in any box store reveals the "girl aisle" that is pink, pretty and passive, while the "boy aisle" is blue, active and action-packed.

Why are we not encouraging the next generation of girls to continue on in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as much as we do for boys? Sure, we let them play with blocks and construction toys, but those have long been classified as for boys, so is it really any wonder that girls tend to lose interest in STEM subjects by the age of 8?

Fortunately, there is one award-winning company that has been striving to change the toy world by working to inspire the future of female innovators and engineers. It is time to think beyond the pink toy aisle and revolutionize the way that we encourage and motivate girls to look at the world with the one and only GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox mission

Created in 2012, GoldieBlox's interactive book series + construction toys for girls have rocketed from a prototype to the 2014 Toy of the Year, featured everywhere from the Today Show to Good Morning America, Elle, and the New York Times. Engineering is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the United States and men continue to largely outnumber women (only 14% worldwide), so I love that GoldieBlox is determined to change that equation!

The company currently offers three award-winning products (with three more that have just debuted and are available for pre-sale!) that help young girls to learn and enjoy basic engineering principles. Each GoldieBlox product features a fun story about a girl named Goldie, who has to solve a problem by building a simple machine.

The products come with pieces to build the same simple machines that Goldie builds, so kids can construct right along with her. After finishing the stories, they can then take the pieces and use their creativity to create a limitless amount of other simple machines while making up their own tales!

GoldieBlox products

As GoldieBlox products are suggested for ages 4-9, I wasn't surprised when my 5-year-old and nearly-8-year-old daughters were both extremely excited to get started exploring the world of engineering with Goldie.

GoldieBlox toys

As they began removing items from GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank, it was already easy to see how this kit would help encourage my girls' STEM knowledge. First, the pieces themselves are based on the Seven Simple Machines (wheel and axis, lever, pulley, etc.), which are the basic building blocks of every physical thing.

Second, the "Bill of Materials" lays out the correct names for each of the pieces, so kids are already learning and using the engineering vocabulary and terms before they've even begun building!

GoldieBlox materials

This kit begins with a storybook, telling the tale about Goldie needing to wash her dirty dog, Nacho, who doesn't like water. The result is a structure based on the concept of hinges and levers that causes an unsuspecting Nacho to fall into the dunk tank (or, in this case, a glass of water) when the target is hit!

GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank review

My girls not only loved the finished product — in particular getting to throw the ball at the target to see Nacho fall — but were extremely intrigued by the building process as well. Turn each of the individual pieces into a structure that then drops Nacho into a glass of water when the hinge is hit with the ball? How cool!

GoldieBlox review
This set has the added bonus of the back of the storybook turning into a carnival background!

After the fun of our first GoldieBlox experience, it wasn't long before we opened the GoldieBlox and the Parade Float kit to find out what educational adventure would happen next. In this set, Goldie and her friend Ruby are competing in a pageant and users are able to build a parade float to take part in the tale.

As with construction of the dunk tank, my daughters were excited to build the parade float and beamed with pride when they had the piece completed!

GoldieBlox and the Parade Float review

I love that GoldieBlox, as well as introducing and teaching engineering skills, promotes such confidence in building and the importance of not giving up.

Research has shown that girls are less likely to pursue an activity if they don't know they will be amazing at it, so simply being exposed to the terms and concepts when they are young is going to stay with them for long into the future!

GoldieBlox Parade toys

What we discovered as the icing on the cake for GoldieBlox is the way that all of the pieces can easily be taken apart and used for just about any sort of other creation.

Girls simply have to use their imagination (they can also be inspired by the additional design ideas that come with the kits) and, as all of the parts are compatible between all of the kits, the sky is the limit in building and constructing!

GoldieBlox engineering toys

With a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators and help girls think beyond the pink toys, GoldieBlox is the perfect way to encourage kids to see their world in a different way. Head over to today to find out even more!

The first three kits (GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float and GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank) can be purchased in stores, from GoldieBlox or on Amazon, while the new additions (GoldieBlox and the Builder's Survival Kit, GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine and GoldieBlox Zipline Action Figure) can be pre-ordered for future delivery.

Are you ready to encourage and motivate the girls in your life to stay interested in math and science? Visit GoldieBlox online, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, and, thanks to their generosity, one person will be able to see how much creativity and STEM-based fun these kits provide, because...

One lucky person will win (1) GoldieBlox and the Parade Float and (1) GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank kit!

GoldieBlox giveaway

This post is part of a campaign with GoldieBlox and The Motherhood, who sent me products, compensated me for my time, and provided the giveaway prizes. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.