>U Mom Knows Best: November 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Protein Pancakes

                  These pancakes are perfect for the holidays!

  Do you love those chocolates that are shaped like turtles? It used to be that the only time I got to enjoy one of that chocolate caramel pecan candies was at Christmas time. I fondly remember my grandma bringing a box of those delicious gooey caramel chocolates to our house on Christmas day. The box did not have that many in it so each of us kids only got to eat one. I think as a kid, I would eat around the pecan as I did not like nuts back then. Now when I get to enjoy that turtle-shaped candy, the pecan is my favorite part. I think chocolate and pecans were made for each other. So this Christmas, I am going to make some somewhat healthy pancakes that taste like that delicious chocolate pecan and caramel candy. I say somewhat healthy as these pancakes have plenty of protein in them but have plenty of sweetness in them. It is Christmas so this is a time to enjoy some sweets while also getting some nutrition. These pancakes are a perfect substitute for the donuts that Santa used to bring my kids.

These delicious pancakes have plenty of protein in them thanks to protein powder and pecans. The pancakes get the incredible caramel taste from a delicious Praline Pecan Honey Butter that I use both in the batter and the topping. I use cocoa for the chocolate flavor but if you want a more rich chocolate taste, just add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the pancake batter. I did not add any chocolate chips to my pancakes as the Praline Pecan Honey Butter adds plenty of sweetness to the pancakes.

This honey butter has a wonderful melt in your mouth taste of pecans and honey. It reminds me of pecans and caramel. This spread is ready to enjoy straight from the jar. My family loves to stir it into oatmeal and plain yogurt for a great sweet pecan flavor. You can also spread in on toast or muffins. 

The protein powder that I used in my delicious pancakes was a fermented vegan protein powder. I used vanilla as that is what I had in my pantry but it also comes in chocolate too. This protein powder is a great way to add protein to baked goods without changing the texture or taste of the item. Since the protein powder is fermented, it adds probiotics to the pancakes also. My family is getting great digestive support with their breakfast!

       Vegetarian Chocolate Protein Pancakes
Serves 2-4

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 scoop Genuine Health fermented vegan proteins
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cashew or almond milk
4 tbs Praline Pecan Honey Butter, melted
1 egg
Coconut oil for the skillet

Pancake topping
1/4 cup pecan halves 


1. Mix together the first six dry ingredients. 
2. Add the remaining three wet ingredients and stir together until combined. To melt the Praline Pecan Honey Butter, just place the spread in a microwave safe dish and microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted.
3. Place ½ Tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and pour about ¼ cup of batter for each pancake.
4. Cook each pancake about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with the melted Praline Pecan Honey Butter and pecan halves.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tips for Making Your Beauty Routine More Eco-Friendly

In recent years, a lot of efforts have been made to make it easier for everyone to be more eco-friendly, and for good reason. If you’re already taking steps to save the Earth, know you can take a few more with your beauty routine. While you don’t necessarily have to start a company dedicated to environmentalism like the experts at the Cadiz Water Project, you can start small while putting your best face forward.

Reconsider How Often You Shampoo Your Hair

You might have your shampoo routine locked down to a science, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few adjustments to make your hair even healthier. Washing your hair every day often removes healthy oils it needs for that lustrous, silky look you’re likely aiming for. Not only that but when you do wash your hair, you’re using precious water. Try using dry shampoo to see if you like how it works for you and your hair; it will most certainly work for the environment.

Use Reusable Cotton Rounds

Cotton balls are great for removing makeup from your face, but you likely hate how much space they take up in your wastebasket. Save space in landfills and trash cans by using reusable cotton rounds, which also save you money in the long run. Something else to think about is that to bleach cotton balls, potentially harmful chemicals like dioxins are commonly used.

Look for Packaging Made From Recycled Materials

When you’re walking down the aisle searching for your must-have beauty products, be sure to check the packaging to see whether it’s made from recycled materials. Because of the rise of being eco-friendly, most companies will loudly and proudly proclaim whether their packaging is made from recycled materials.

Opt for Chemical-Free Products

While some of your favorite beauty products and brands might make you look and feel your best, they could contain ingredients that are harmful to you. Take out some time to research those brands to learn what kind of ingredients they add to their products so you know for a fact what you’re putting on your skin and potentially into your body. You might be surprised at just how much better your skin looks and feels when you opt for chemical-free and eco-friendly beauty products.

Buy a Safety Razor

Rather than keep buying disposable razors, switch to a safety razor instead. Not only do safety razors work just as well as disposable razors, they also result in less waste over time.

Look in Your Kitchen for Natural Beauty Ingredients

Should you ever find yourself in pinch and out of your favorite cream, mask or cleanser, look in your kitchen to see if you’ve already got something that can help you out. For instance, honey is great for moisturizing your skin, and it also makes for a great face cleanser when combined with green tea. Scrub away dead skin with an exfoliator made from coconut oil and sugar, and you can give your skin a taunt, youthful appearance while getting rid of blackheads with a bit of lemon juice.

Use Bar Soap

Rather than a body wash, it’s better to use bar soap, mainly because there’s less packaging (and less waste) to worry about taking up space in a landfill. You also have to think about the fact that some of the ingredients commonly found in body washes can be consumed by aquatic wildlife, and not all those ingredients are biodegradable.

Just because you want to do more to protect the environment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your looks to do so. Think outside the box and the bottle when it comes to your beauty routine to do your part to save the world.

Throwing a Party Is Simple With HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays

I received free product in exchange for my honest review

Throwing a last minute party has never been so simple!

  I love having people over for parties and enjoy making the food for the party. The other weekend my husband wanted to have some people over for a game day gathering. I was hesitant to say yes as my week was super busy and I just did not have time for any party planning. My husband said don't worry about making lots of fancy food as I could just pick up some appetizers at the store. I agreed and hoped that I could find some easy appetizers at the store that were ready-made as I was in no mood to cook. When I got to the store, I decided to look in the deli section of the store and I saw some HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays that looked like an easy appetizer that could give me a stress-free party.

I really like that everything was included in the party tray, even the tray looked nice. So I grabbed two of the HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays, some carrots, and some chocolate. Every party needs chocolate! The party trays were so simple to serve. All I had to do was open up the packages of meat, cheese, and crackers. There were even compartments to place all the food in. I loved that I did not have to search my kitchen for any platters! All the meat and cheese were fresh and the crackers were crisp. My favorite part of the game day tray was the olives.

These party trays looked so delicious and it took me less than 15 minutes to set up everything for my gathering. I used paper plates and plastic silverware so I would not have to dishes later. Hosting this gathering for the game was so easy. My table was ready and I could now relax and enjoy hosting a party for my friends at my home.

If there were any leftovers, the party trays came with lids so it would be so easy to cover and place back in the fridge. I am thinking the next time I get invited to a party that I will be bringing a HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays with me.

My boys sure did enjoy being able to choose their favorites from the party trays. The food was so easy for people to grab and enjoy while watching the game.

                          Find out more about HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Trays


                                                     Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Youtube

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Silk Plants Are A Bloggers Best Friend

                                      A beautiful silk plant has many uses for this blogger.

   I love my new silk Areca Palm Tree and it looks so real. The best part is that I do not have to water it. I am not a plant person and I tend to kill plants. I either over water my plants or forget about them. That is one reason why I have drought resistant plants outside. I have tried many times to grow other plants either indoors or outside and have not succeeded. So I love that I can have silk plants that look so real! My favorite plants are tropical plants but I live in the desert so I can not have the real thing inside my house as they will not survive. So when I saw this palm tree, I just knew that I had to have this beautiful plant.

This plant looks great outside my house. It is the perfect size to place by my front door. I love that it comes in a pot but I can "replant" it to another pot if I want. The palm tree gives my front door a tropical touch. This plant would also look great in my backyard. 

I received a silk palm tree to facilitate this post.

 I added some rocks to my tree to give it a special touch as I did not care for the green moss look of the base of the tree.

 The size of the palm tree is perfect to bring indoors too. Now that winter is on its way, I can enjoy my tropical paradise plant inside. This plant is also great for taking photos. I like to include plants in the background of my photos so I tend to take a lot of my product photos outside. Now that the weather is cooler, I am not able to take those plant photos. So I love that I can use this palm tree in my photos. As you can see in the below photo, this is one of my backgrounds that I use to take photos. This silk tropical palm is perfect for my set-up. The next photo shows how the tree gives my photo a perfect amount of green to make the other items stand out.

This is my close-up shot of the palm tree and it looks so real in my photo.

For now, this wonderful maintenance-free palm tree will add a wonderful touch to my living room/workspace. When I need it for photos, it is light enough for me to move. Once the weather warms up, I may move the palm tree outdoors. I think it would look great in my patio area. I may just have to order some more silk plants.

Here is a photo that shows more of the room that my tree is in. Please excuse the mess as this is also my office. This palm tree brightens up my dull living room. Since this room is at the back of the house it does not get much light and a real plant would never survive. I just love that I don't have to remember to water this plant! 

I received this plant from http://www.museumtrees.com/ and I love their selection of silk plants. This place is a great place to order maintenance-free plants from. They also carry flowers, containers, home decor, and so much more. I have a wish list of plants that I shared with my husband so he knows what to get me for Christmas and my birthday.

                              What plant would you like to have in your house?

Use code BLOGGER10 and save 10% on your order.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Blood Orange Brioche Grilled Cheese Sandwich

             This sandwich combines both sweet and savory with an incredible taste!

 This sweet and savory Brioche grilled cheese sandwich is served warm which makes it crisp and gooey- the ultimate of flavor and texture combinations. The sandwich starts with a sweet melt in your mouth French Brioche bread that gets topped with a Gourmet Blood Orange Whipped Honey and a savory mild, semi-soft, part skim cheese that has a mild, sweet, and nutty taste. The sandwich then gets grilled with a savory butter that is made with rosemary and black truffle salt. It is a sandwich that is perfect for a gourmet lunch or as an appetizer for a party.

  If you have ever had Brioche bread, you know that it is a wonderful bread that has a sweet taste to it and it is perfect for toast, French toast, and sandwiches. While I prefer to use homemade Brioche bread, I sometimes just don't have the time to bake. So that is when I use the next best thing, a hand-braided Bakerly Brioche that I received the other day along with some other baked goods.

       I just knew that I had to make a sandwich with this bread and a sweet cheese sandwich was what I had in mind. I knew that my jar of Queen’s Harvest Blood Orange Whipped Honey would combine perfectly with the hunk of Jarlsberg® that I hid in my fridge the other day. I told my family that my Jarlsberg cheese was too good for just snacking, although I love it that way, as I wanted to create with it. I knew the moment my boys tasted this cheese, it would be gone in a heartbeat, so that is why I had to hide it from them.

My sweet, savory gooey cheese sandwich only needed a light spread of the blood orange honey as this stuff has a wonderful fruity sweet taste. Once my sandwich was assembled, I sent my youngest outside to pick some fresh rosemary. I love the taste of rosemary and knew that this sandwich needed some of it. So I finely chopped up the rosemary and blended it into some soft butter with a pinch of black truffle salt. I then spread the butter on the outside of my sandwich as I wanted my bread to have that crispy buttery texture that a grilled cheese sandwich should have. 

The only way to make a grilled cheese sandwich is on the stove in a hot pan. This is a sandwich fit for a queen! I shared this sandwich with my boys and they loved it. They requested it the next day for lunch.

Blood Orange Brioche Grilled Cheese Sandwich
makes one sandwich

2 thick slices Bakerly Brioche bread
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
a pinch of black truffle salt

Lightly spread the Blood Orange honey on each slice of brioche bread. Place the Jarlsberg cheese on top of a slice of bread and then place the other slice on top, making sure the honey spread is on the inside. Mix the rosemary and salt into the butter and spread on the outside pieces of the bread. Heat a pan over medium and place the sandwich on it once heated. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the desired color of brown is achieved. Turn the sandwich over and cook until the cheese is melted.

Buy the Queen's Harvest honey here

The Kitchen Essentials Giveaway

The Kitchen Essentials Giveaway ~ Ends 12/25 @SMGurusNetwork

Welcome to the Kitchen Essentials Giveaway!

1 winner will win a wonderful collection of kitchen items. The prize package is valued at $222!

This giveaway is part of our Holiday Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Host that put together this giveaway is Deliciously Savvy
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.


Now let’s get to the sponsors!


Capresso H2O Glass Rapid-Boil Kettle ($60 RV)

Check Out My Review HERE.


Frieling CASO VC10 Vacuum Sealer ($90 RV)

Available On Amazon

Check Out My Review HERE.

Formaggio Raclette Set ($20 RV)

Available On Amazon

Check Out My Review HERE.


CDN Digital Glass Scale ($25 RV)

Available On Amazon

Check Out My Review HERE.


ZOKU 12oz Stainless Steel Bottle ($27 RV)

Available On Amazon

Check Out My Review HERE.

1 Lucky Winner Will Win All Of The Kitchen Essentials Pictured Above With A Total Value of $222!



This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 12/25/17. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsor is responsible for shipping of the above prize. No blog associated with this contest is responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor of a giveaway like this please email Melissa Cushing at mcushing7 (at)hotmail(dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Holiday Gifts For The Bedroom & Home

Check out some of my favorite gifts for the bedroom and home!

Rem-Fit 300 Memory Foam Mattress

Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress Built for Support and Comfort

The no-flip REM-Fit Sleep 300 mattress combines superior conformity and comfort. Featuring a top layer of Adaptive Foam, it provides gel-infused flexible support that’s cool and responsive, while a Cradle Foam layer conforms to your shape, providing positive pressure under the curve of your back, along your sides and down your legs. Built on a 6.5-inch foundation of support foam, the Sleep 300 prevents deep sinking, making it perfect for stomach, back, side and larger sleepers.

Designed to deliver the optimum sleep environment, this memory foam mattress is covered in Re-Ax Unleashed Fiber™ combined in the Hi-Flow Knit™ pattern. This combination allows it to not only transfer heat and rapidly respond to moisture, but increases airflow to reduce sleep temperature and increase comfort. The REM-Fit Sleep 300 also features Contour Fit, a unique structure that delivers 4-way stretch, leading to a more responsive, flexible sleep surface. Tested through 250,000 cycles with a 350 lbs. load, the REM-Fit 300 is proven to deliver consistent support and comfort.
See my review

                                             Zefiro Innerspring Memory Foam Pillow

The Zefiro Hybrid Memory Foam Pillow WIth Comfort Springs delivers form-fitting loft, providing head and neck support for proper spinal alignment
The pocketed coil system at the heart of the pillow features 60 buoyant springs encased in foam that responds to your weight, shape, and movement
Like a cool breeze, compression and expansion encourages air circulation throughout the pillow
Select from soft, medium or firm density memory foam pillow fill, perfect for a variety of sleep positions
Soft, breathable jacquard knit pillow cover
Hand-crafted in Italy
5-year manufacturer's warranty


Dreampad Pillow

We all know that quality sleep = health and Dreampad is making it easier
than ever to get quality snooze time. The Dreampad is a revolutionary
smart pillow designed specifically to help you shut off your brain and fall
asleep quickly. Available in Memory, Medium, Firm, and Slim.

More than a pillow, each Dreampad prompts your body to relax, converting
specially-treated music into gentle vibrations only you can hear.
Everybody needs sleep – and most of us wish we got more of it. So this year, why
not give someone that very thing?


Avea Flare and Bulb

 App-enabled Bluetooth dynamic mood light available as a standalone lamp or light bulb that will transform your home with beautiful hues right from your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

Avea Bulb

Turn any luminaire into the perfect mood lamp with Avea Bulb. Simply replace your current light source with the energy efficient LED light bulb, and create the perfect atmosphere with colorful, dynamic light moods.

Avea Flare

Bring dynamic light moods anywhere with Avea Flare. The battery-powered, wirelessly charged LED lamp illuminates any place for more than 8 hours on a single charge, and with IP65 water resistance, your home atmosphere can now extend to the outside, too.


Nectar Sleep Memory Foam Mattress

You spend 1/3rd of your life in bed. NECTAR is healthier to sleep on, firmer for support, softer for rest, and a touch bouncier than other premium memory foam mattresses.
 Layers are what makes this memory foam mattress so soft. The top layer even promotes air circulation, heat wicking and is bed bug resistant. In fact, each layer has a different function that adds up to make this mattress so comfortable. You need to go to Nectar's website to read about each layer of the memory foam mattress.
The 365 Night Home Trial is too good to pass up.


 Airospa Pillow


The new AiroSpa™ Pillow, www.airospapillow.com, is a unique, simple to use, affordable, multi-purpose stress reliever and aromatherapy pillow that can be used at home and travel anywhere. With it's built-in and patented fan, air-flow vents, and face-down angled construction, the AiroSpa™ Pillow can be used as a home/office/travel massage experience enhanced with a partner or all on its own for a calming and relaxing experience. This relaxing pillow comes with six essential oils!

The AiroSpa™ Pillow and its patented fan disperses a relaxing aroma from each of the inclusive pure-essential oils that gives one  A healthful and relaxing aromatherapy session.

Holiday Gifts For Foodies

Graeter's Ice Cream

Graeter’s Ice Cream is a nationally recognized and awarded ice cream brand that was founded over 146 years ago in Cincinnati, OH. The fourth-generation family owned and operated company has perfected the art of using the French Pot, a traditional, small-batch artisanal process of making ice cream. Known for their indulgent, premium flavors and ingredients, they’re also widely recognized for their gargantuan gourmet chocolate chips.

You can find indulgent flavors like Black Cherry Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Coconut Chocolate Chip, and many other unique flavors.

You can find Graeter’s Ice Cream at stores like Smith's, Kroger, Target, Jewel, and many others. You can also order this yummy ice cream online and have several pints delivered to that special person.

Dripo 2-in-1 iced-drip coffee maker

Love cold-brew coffee?

Dripo is a 2-in-1 iced-drip coffee maker that works as your cold-brew coffee maker and as a portable tumbler so you can enjoy your fresh cold brew on the go. It's perfect for use at home or on-the-go with its simple design and incredible ease of use. This is my favorite new coffee maker!


Loop & Tie

Loop & Tie is the ultimate gift-giving service that takes the stress out of holiday shopping! Everyone wants to give the perfect gift but with so many options available today it's difficult to choose. The pressure is high to find something unique and fun, or practical and customized - not to mention the added chaos that comes with holiday shopping. But thanks to Loop & Tie, the pressure is off and the holidays can be fun again

Through Loop & Tie, gifters can send the fun of choice in a personalized online experience. Gifters choose a collection (like this coffee or Black Truffle salt from the food collection or from many more collections) to send, personalize an online card with their own pictures, video and message, and the recipient gets to select anything they'd like, without ever seeing prices.

It takes gifting to a whole new level and has allowed people to master the art of gift-giving with just a few clicks. Loop & Tie Is the 2017 equivalent of walking into a store with someone and telling them "Pick out whatever you'd like."

Contigo AUTOSEAL® West Loop travel mug


West Loop is made for the modern movers, shakers, commuters, travelers – and for the urban explorer in all of us. Whether you’re traveling via car, train, horse-drawn carriage, rickshaw or penny farthing (it’s cool, you can Google it) this mug is the ultimate in convenience. This larger capacity mug is spill-proof, will stay piping hot for hours and it’s easy to use with just one hand.



 ICEMULE™was born on a hot day when founder James Collie was taking a day-long hike, unable to find a good waterproof portable cooler, he created a makeshift cooler out of a backpack lined it with plastic trash bags. A wet hiker, warm drinks, and soggy food started the wheels of innovation; turning to design a soft-sided, waterproof and portable cooler that could carry ice comfortably enough for long hikes as well as, relaxing days at the beach. After several months, dozens of prototypes and many days of field testing, IceMule ™ is here to help keep all of your adventures cool!

The  ICEMULE™Cooler has 5 patented cutting-edge technologies; including:

  • TriFold DriTop System™, a foolproof seal to keep ice in and air out
  • ComfortCarryIMPT System ™, reinforced back-straps, and ventilated pads provide ultimate comfort
  • MuleSkinEV™, a tough Inner and Outer layers; 2X thicker than most soft coolers  
  • PolarLayer Insulation™, that keeps contents “IceMule Cold” for up to 24 hours
  • IM AirValve™, that adds air enhancing insulation; and releases it to be easily compacted for travel & storage

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Mom knows best