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3 Tips for Using Pumpkin Seeds and Guts

October 23rd, 2014

3 Tips for Using Pumpkin Guts

Don’t you just love pumpkins!  This time of year pumpkins are everywhere – pumpkin spice latte, fall festivals and everyone’s favorite…jack-o-lanterns.  For some, carving a jack-o-lantern is a family tradition.  From elaborate designs and intricate cuts to traditional triangle eyes and noses, each jack-o-lantern has a story.

But to get to the intriguing spectacle that is the jack-o-lantern you’ve got to get through a bunch of seeds and guts first.  Our first reaction is to obviously toss the orange muck into the nearest plastic bag.  After all, what in the world can you do with a bunch of seeds and slimy goop from the innards of the pumpkin? Well…

What if we told you not to toss the goop in the trash?  What if we told you to keep it and even “upcycle” it?  Here are three out-of-the box ways to turn the jack-o-lantern seeds and guts into something really cool – in three steps.

1. Set the seeds aside for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

While kind of high in calories, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, vitamin K and phytosterols, which has been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.  So, why not give roasted pumpkin seeds a try?  You can go sweet or savory, whatever you like best.

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes

2. Set the orange goo aside for a Pumpkin Face Mask.

Pumpkin actually has loads of enzymes and vitamins that are good for your skin.  Who knew?

DIY Pumpkin Mask

3. Compost ol’ Jack after Halloween.

Plain and simple, composting is good for the environment.

Pumpkin Compost

So there you go.  The pumpkin magic doesn’t have to end with the carving.  Let us know how you “upcycled” your pumpkin this year.  Oh, and we’d love to see pictures of your jack-o-lantern too!

Fall Into Apple Delight!

October 15th, 2014

From Our Kitchen to yours by Mr. Appliance

By Hannah Haseloff

It’s fall! Leaves are changing colors and the weather is getting cooler. That means one thing – apples are ripe.  When I was young, fall meant trips to the farm to pick out our own pumpkins and apples. Those were times full of fun and nostalgia. I think that my love of apples comes from those trips. I have always loved apple pie but recently I discovered a new delicious way to enjoy apples that also satisfies my sweet tooth: apple cake! Apple cake is easy to make and it’s a perfect recipe to make with your kids!

What you will need:

6-7 apples

2 eggs

1 ¾ cups of sugar

2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon

½ cup of oil

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

Directions:

First mix the sugar, oil, cinnamon, and eggs in a large bowl to create sugar coating. Next peel and slice the apples. Add the apples to the mix as you go to keep them from browning. Mix the baking soda and flour and add this to sugar apple mixture. Mix well until all flour is absorbed. Pour mixture into greased 9×13 or two 9 inch pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until apple cake is golden brown.

Now you not only have a delicious dessert, but your house smells amazing! Grab some vanilla ice cream and enjoy your warm, gooey apple cake.

Helpful Tips:

  • Add something extra like nuts or dried fruit to spice up this recipe! I added craisins to my apple cake!
  • You can also use apple pie filling instead of apples if you are on the go.
  • For a different approach to the traditional recipe, try grating the apples instead of slicing them.
  • To sweeten the treat, add caramel to the apple mix or drizzle it on top after baking.
  • For a glutton free option, just use glutton free flour.

On a time crunch? With a few simple adjustments this recipe can be cooked in the microwave in for only 30 seconds! Just take out the eggs and add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and six tablespoons of water. Be sure and use a microwave safe dish!

Happy baking!

Take your Pizza to the Grill in 5 Easy Steps

October 10th, 2014

Did you know that approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the US each year?  That doesn’t even count the additional one billion frozen pizzas purchased.  There’s obviously something about that ooey-gooey, hot-cheesy goodness that’s simply irresistible.  A good ol’ slice of pizza gives you that kid-in-the-candy store kind of feeling.  It’s like catching a great sale at Kohl’s or winning free house cleaning for a year.  Yep, it’s just that good.

But even the most die-hard pizza fans can get a little tired of the same ol’ pepperoni pizza day in and day out.  How about spicing things up a bit by taking your pizza to the grill?  Never thought of grilling your pizza pie?  How about this…grilling your pizza you won’t heat up the kitchen; pizza on the grill = party on the patio; and grilled pizza tastes really, really good.

Grilling a pizza isn’t rocket-science, but there’s a little more to it than pulling a box out of the freezer and popping your pie in the oven.  And rest assured, your trusted friends at Mr. Appliance are here to help you.  We found a great how-two guide on thekitchn.com that completely walks you through the steps to grilling the perfect pizza.

To get this patio, pizza-party rocking, we’re even helping you out with a few recipes too.  Try one or mix-and-match.  That’s the glorious thing about pizza.  There’s something for everyone from hot and savory, to sweet and delicious.

If you like it cheesy, go for the Double Cheese Pizza with Fire Roasted Tomatoes pizza.

Double Cheese Pizzas with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Photo courtesy of rachaelraymag.com

Like veggies on your pizza?  Try out a Spice-Grilled Eggplant, Feta & Spinach pizza.

Spice-Grilled Eggplant, Feta & Spinach Pizzas

Photo courtesy of rachaelraymag.com

Meat lovers need to give this Grilled Sausage and Pepper recipe a try.

Pillsbury grilled sausage and pepper pizza

Photo courtesy of pillsbury.com

But what if you’re in the mood for Mexican food?  This Black Bean Nacho pizza will knock your socks off.

Black Bean Nacho Pizza

Photo courtesy of eatingwell.com

Craving something sweet?  Bobby Flay’s Dessert pizza will tame that sweet tooth.

Bobby Flay's Dessert Pizza

Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com

They all sound so delicious.  Which pizza are you most likely to try?  Make sure to post a pic of your next grilled pizza and tell us your favorite recipe.

10 Ways to Reuse Lonely Socks

September 25th, 2014

Have you fallen victim to the mystery of the missing sock?  Two socks go into the dirty laundry pile, but somehow only one sock makes it out clean.  Where in the world is the other sock?  No need to worry.  We have 10 amazing things you can do with those lonely socks.

Make Sock Puppets

This is a classic solution: If you have a collection of unwanted socks, allow your children and their friends to make sock puppets out of them! You can turn this into a great craft project by supplying felt, google eyes, and fabric markers so the children can personalize their puppets. You will be hosting puppet shows in no time!

picture of sock puppets

Photo courtesy of spoonful.com and originally appeared in FamilyFun Magazine

Other Sock Crafts

There are many other crafts that can be done with socks other than puppets, like making plush animals or dog toys.

picture of a button sock doll

Photo courtesy of moms.popsugar.com

Display Them Until They Find Their Other Half

There are many variations on the lost sock hanger on Pinterest and Etsy, so you can buy one or take the time to make your own! Not only does it advertise the missing socks for the whole family to see, it is great decoration for a typically overlooked room.

picture of a place to hang up lost socks

Photo courtesy of shoponelove on Etsy

Clean

Lonely socks can be used as dust rags. This can be more satisfying than just throwing the socks away or keeping them and hoping you eventually find a match. You will be breathing new life into the lonely cloth, giving it a new purpose.

swiffer cleaner out of a lonely sock

Image courtesy of onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Make a Heating Pad

Fill a sock with rice, beans, or flaxseed, and warm it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds (or until it’s at a good temperature for what you need) and you will have a homemade heating pad. Click here for more detailed instructions

picture of making a heating pad out of a sock

Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

Make a Sock Bun

Does your hair need a little help? Rather than taking a sock from a pair to make your bun look better, try making a lonely sock the designated “bun sock.” See here for a instructions on how to make a sock bun

sock bun out of a lonely sock

Photo courtesy of birchbox.com

Wear Mismatched Socks!

If your outfit doesn’t show your socks, consider putting the lonely socks together to make a pair. This isn’t the best choice for office wear, but it is more than acceptable for children and teens who may not take the time to match their socks in the first place.

mismatched socks

Photo courtesy of foottraffic.com

Sock Wreath

Check out this great tutorial on making a wreath from two pairs of tube socks. If you don’t happen to have any lonely tube socks around the house but still want to do the project, you can buy some fairly inexpensively from the store

sock wreath

Photo courtesy of bluecricketdesign.com

Use as Padding When Packing

When packing breakable items—whether for moving or simply putting way seasonal decorations—use mismatched socks to cushion your breakables. Glass Christmas ornaments can be put inside of a sock and then placed into bins with the other decorations. Drinking glasses can also be slipped inside socks to ensure they won’t crack during travel.

Potpourri Holder

Old socks filled with potpourri can be used to freshen up drawers and closets. Just fill the sock about halfway and tie it closed. Moth balls could also be used.

5 Breakfast in Bed Ideas

September 5th, 2014

Graphic with title "5 Easy Breakfast in Bed Ideas"

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.  “It’s the same thing,” he said.

We think that maybe Winnie the Pooh was on to something here.  What could possibly be more exciting than starting your day off with a good ol’ breakfast?  And to take it a step further, wouldn’t it be awesome to treat a parent, child or spouse to a breakfast in bed?  That’s an absolute win-win for everyone!  You get those feel good, warm fuzzies and your someone special is honored with a most delightful and exciting breakfast treat.

But breakfast in bed can definitely be a tricky.  What in the world do you prepare for a breakfast in bed?  The occasion certainly deserves more than a mere poptart, don’t you think?  So, in honor of September Better Breakfast Month, your Mr. Appliance professionals have 5 easy breakfast in bed ideas that are sure to help you and your someone special start the day with an exciting burst of sunshine and a delightfully full tummy!

Yumminess In a Bowl:

Super Simple Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast in a Bowl

Garth’s Breakfast Bowl

Fun On a Stick:

French Toast Kebabs

Pancake Pops

Sausage Pancakes on a Stick

Delight With Fruit:

Lemon Crepes

Citrus Blueberry Casserole

Blackberry Cobbler Waffles

Tastiness From a Sandwich:

Egg and Tomato Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast Biscuit

Healthy Breakfast Sandwich

Deliciousness Amid Syrup:

Creamy, Fruity Stuffed French Toast

Peanut Butter Banana French Toast

Neapolitan Pancakes

So, do you think you can pull together a breakfast-in-bed surprise?  We think you can absolutely do it.  Have fun!

5 Tips to Simplify Your Life

August 27th, 2014

Graphic with title "5 Ways to Simplify Your Life"

With the hustle and bustle of each day, our schedules seem to get crazier by the minute.  Do this, be there, meet them, pick up that… It seems like we’re on a perpetual merry-go-round that goes faster and faster the more we try to slow it down.  When did life get so busy and complicated?

And just as we appear to have it all together, the side effects of this overloaded lifestyle creep in: headaches, muscle tension, chest pains, fatigue, stomach upsets and sleep problems.  Who has time to slow down because of a headache or upset stomach?  It’s time to simplify.  Not tomorrow, not next week.  It’s time to simplify, now.

Mr. Appliance® wants you to maintain your lifestyle in a more manageable and simplified way.  So in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, here are 5 tips to help you simplify your life.

Just Say No

With time demands coming at you from every direction, you have to allow time for yourself.  Try saying no to requests and obligations that aren’t really necessary.  This will allow some free time for you to relax.

Slow Cook It

Who has time to stand in the kitchen for an hour or two preparing dinner every night?  It’s time to pull out the slow cooker and start using it.  Get everything together in the morning and just leave it.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  To get you started here’s a link to a great collection of slow cooker recipes from the Food Network.

Easy Slow Cooker Recipes from Food Network

Exercise

Did you know that physical activity increases your energy, improves your mood and helps you sleep better?  Try to allow for 30 minutes of exercise each day and see if you notice a positive change.

App It

One of the easiest ways to simply is to get organized.  And guess what?  There’s an app for that!  Maybe it’s time to do away with the post it note wall and the multiple to-do lists.  HowStuffWorks has a great article with 5 Apps to Organize Your Life.

Stop Multi-Tasking

Did you know there’s research that shows that multi tasking actually reduces productivity and increases stress?  Is it really worth it?  It may seem counterintuitive, but in reality, single tasking will help you manage your time better.  Lifehacker can help you kick the multi tasking habit.

Life doesn’t have to be complicated.  So, sit back and enjoy the simple things in life.

5 Ways to Simplify Your Morning Routine

August 25th, 2014

graphic with title "5 ways to simplify your morning routine"

Do you ever have those mornings when everything that could possibly go wrong…does?  You hit the snooze button one too many times, so you’re rushed from the get-go.  Coffee takes too long to brew, and you have to leave without your beloved cup-o-joe.  In a frazzled rush, you spill your lunch all over the kitchen counter.  You grab the closest thing in your closet and walk out of the house in an unmatched, wrinkled hot-mess.  And for the rest of the day, you have a sourly scowl that puts the infamous Grumpy Cat to shame.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simplify things?  Well, guess what!  You absolutely can simplify things and Mr. Appliance is here to help.  Here are our top 5 ways to simplify your morning routine.

1. Prepare breakfast before you go to bed.

Obviously, we don’t mean to literally let a glass of juice or milk sit out all night.  That’s just wrong.  But you can set out your eating utensils, premeasure your coffee and wash and cut your fruit.  Anything that can be done ahead of time, do it.

2. Pick out your clothes before you go to bed.

This alleviates the whole ‘what am I going to wear’ drama that can eat up your morning schedule.  This also prevents grabbing something that’s wrinkled, too tight or not the right color.  Ideally, it would be great if you picked out your wardrobe for the entire week, but we’ll start with one-day-at-a-time, baby steps.

3. Pack lunch the night before at dinnertime.

Gather everything for your lunch as you clean up from dinner.  Set aside one designated spot in the fridge just for lunches.  That way, you can grab your lunch, pop it in your cooler and go.  A side benefit is preplanning your lunches will help you eat healthier and avoid a starvation induced mad dash to the vending machine or drive thru.

4. Do not hit the snooze button!

Set your alarm for the time you need to get up – no exceptions.  To get you out of the snoozing habit, place your alarm clock across the room so you are forced to get out of bed as soon as the dreaded beeping ensues. There’s just something about oversleeping that sets an uneasy tone for the entire day.

5. Follow a distraction-free breakfast policy.

No, television, cell phone or newspapers are allowed at breakfast.  How many times have you scurried away from the breakfast table in a frazzled mess just because you wanted to watch one more news segment, read one more article or LIKE one more status update.  Just say no.

You’ve got a plan now.  Simplify your morning routine and say goodbye to the Grumpy Cat scowl…forever!

The Dwyer Group, Inc. Acquired by The Riverside Company

August 18th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact:
Monica Feid, BizCom Associates
(972) 490-8053, MonicaFeid@BizComPR.com

WACO, Texas (August 18, 2014) – The Dwyer Group®, Inc., one of the world’s largest franchising companies of trades service brands, today announced it has been acquired for the second time by The Riverside Company, a private equity fund with locations in North America, Europe and Asia. The deal with the global investment firm renews a collaboration between two growing and successful organizations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Dwyer Group, based in Waco, Texas, serves as a holding company for seven residential and commercial franchise service brands. The franchise network includes more than 1,600 franchisees operating in the United States and seven other countries. In addition to its franchise concepts, The Dwyer Group also owns and operates 35 full-service glass stores in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Combined, the service brands account for almost $1 billion in annual system-wide revenues.

Riverside first purchased The Dwyer Group in 2003, taking the company private and working with company management to accelerate growth through acquisitions of new brands, expanding facilities at corporate headquarters, and aggressive development of existing franchise brands. After seven years of growth, the firm sold The Dwyer Group to TZP Group LLC in 2010 where the franchise network and its revenues continued to thrive along with the respected profile of the service brands across the U.S. and around the world.

The Riverside purchase transfers majority ownership from TZP back to Riverside along with a significant reinvestment from The Dwyer Group executive team, and an investment from each brand president within The Dwyer Group companies.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome The Dwyer Group back to The Riverside Company and to become involved once again with franchisees and associates dedicated to a strong Code of Values,” said Sarah Roth, a partner based at The Riverside Company’s Dallas office. “The executive team remains fully committed to the business, and The Dwyer Group service brands are well positioned for more expansion.”

“The Dwyer transaction has been a very successful one for TZP reflecting the very essence of our firm’s strategy of being the Partner of Choice for management teams,” said Sam Katz, managing partner for TZP. “We are very proud of our joint achievements in enhancing the franchisee value proposition and initiating exciting online and offline marketing initiatives. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Dina and the Dwyer team and watching them continue to succeed at building this special company.”

Calling TZP a tremendous partner for The Dwyer Group over the past three-and-a-half years, Dina Dwyer-Owens, Executive Chairwoman of The Dwyer Group, said the successful relationship set the stage for the next bold step forward. “I commend our talented and dedicated team members and their commitment to The Dwyer Group Code of Values that has served as our roadmap as we’ve traveled a journey of unprecedented growth.”

Mike Bidwell, CEO and President of The Dwyer Group, added, “By focusing on our core brands and service to our franchisees, we have enjoyed incredible success that continues to this very day, and that success has been noticed for all the right reasons.”

The entire executive team at The Dwyer Group will remain in place and will work with Riverside to advance the organization to the next level.

About The Riverside Company:

The Riverside Company is a global private equity firms investing in growing businesses valued at up to $250 million. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 340 transactions. The firm’s international portfolio includes more than 70 companies. For more information, please visit www.riversidecompany.com.

About TZP Group LLC:

Founded in 2007, TZP Group is a private equity firm with assets under management of over $500 million focused on investments in North American-based business and consumer services companies. TZP targets companies with solid historical profitability and sustainable value propositions, and aims to be a “partner of choice” for business owners and management teams. TZP seeks to invest primarily in closely held, private companies where the owners desire to retain a significant stake and partner with an investor with complementary operating and financial skills to accelerate company growth, increase profitability and maximize the value of their retained stake. TZP leverages its investment professionals’ operating and transaction experience to provide strategic and operational guidance, and is dedicated to long-term value creation. For more information, please visit www.tzpgroup.com.

About The Dwyer Group, Inc.®:

The Dwyer Group, Inc., based in Waco, Texas, is a holding company of seven franchise businesses, each selling and supporting a different franchise under the following service marks: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, The Grounds Guys™, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter® (Drain Doctor in the UK and Portugal), and Rainbow International®. Collectively, these independent franchise concepts offer customers world-wide a broad base of residential and commercial services. In addition, Dwyer operates glass shops in New England under the Portland Glass brand name. For more information on The Dwyer Group, or its franchise concepts, visit the company’s website at www.dwyergroup.com.

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5 Outside of the Box S’mores Ideas

August 8th, 2014

Graphic with title "5 Outside of the Box S'mores Recipes"

Happy National S’mores Day!  Did you know that s’mores were literally named when people repeatedly asked for “some more” of the ooey, gooey goodness?

And when you think about it, who doesn’t want some more of a good ol’ s’more?  There’s just something about the chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker concoction that grabs you.  The creamy, warm chocolate mingled to perfection with soft, fluffy marshmallow encased together in a crispy graham cracker blanket.  It’s, without a doubt, a s’more bliss that keeps getting better and better with each messy bite.  And if you don’t end up with a lone string of velvety marshmallow on your chin, you’re just not eating your s’more right.

The good news is you don’t have to wait until the next bon fire or camp out to have a s’more!  Your trusted Mr. Appliance technicians love a tasty s’more just like you.  So, we’ve come up with 5 outside-of- the-box ways to make s’mores right at home.

Quick, Need-It-Now S’mores

Same three ingredients, same enjoyable sandwich-like dessert:
Broiler S’mores
Microwave S’mores

Party on the Patio S’mores

Smokiness reminiscent of a campfire, but with the convenience of your patio.
Grilled S’mores

Ooh-La-La S’mores

Traditional ooey, gooey goodness that you eat with a spoon.
Skillet S’mores

Another Slice, Please S’mores

Dessert Pizza S’mores

There you have it.  Five decadent s’more-esque desserts that don’t require a campfire.  No need to thank us.  Your chocolaty smile says it all.

Be a Laundry Ninja

August 6th, 2014

graphic with title "Be a laundry ninja"

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a fascinating group, wouldn’t you say?  Their home is below ground in the New York sewer – certainly nothing impressive about that.  But just in the nick of time, they always seem to show up ready and willing to battle criminals, overlords and aliens. They simply appear out of nowhere, get the job done and then disappear again.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a laundry ninja?  You show up when needed, get the job done and then go back to what you were doing.  Instead you spend time gathering, sorting, pretreating, checking, hanging and drying.  The amount of time it takes to do all of the laundry is almost criminal.

Have no fear! Your Mr. Appliance® technicians believe there is indeed an inner laundry ninja in you and we’re going to help you bring that ninja out front and center.  Here are our Mr. Appliance tips to help you be a powerful, invincible and unbeatable laundry ninja.

Sort Like Leonardo

Radical!  Label three hampers or baskets with dark, light and white.  And as dirty clothes are taken off each night, simply toss into the appropriate bin.  No more laborious laundry sorting for you!  An embarrassing blow to the laundry-sorting time bandit.

Pre-Treat Like Donatello

Uh, mega!  Pre-treating is key for stain removal.  But each stain has it’s own super power.  So, you have to know what weapon to use to defeat the relentless stain villain.

30 Squeaky Clean Laundry Hacks from Buzzfeed

Wash Like Michelangelo

Bodacious! Keep a dry erase marker nearby and make notes on the washer with special after-wash instructions like don’t dry red shirt or check stain on white dress.  You’ll kick that menacing after-wash-mishap scoundrel to the curb.

Dry Like Raphael

Totally tubular, dude!  Suspend an old ladder from the ceiling of your laundry room.  Paint it and dress it up however you like.  This makes a fabulous out-of-the-way drying rack.  Knock out the space thief once and for all.

Cowabunga, Dude!  You are so ready for your bandana.  You are officially a Laundry Ninja.  You can now battle dirty laundry like nobody’s business.