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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.

The Evolution of Appliances

July 25th, 2014

Graphic with title of "The Evolution of Kitchen Appliances"

“I love doing household chores,” said no one ever.  Seriously, does anyone really enjoy cooking and cleaning day in and day out?  Even though housework is often number one on to-do lists, it’s obviously near the bottom of a lot want-to lists.  Sure there’s an element of satisfaction looking at a sparkly-clean home or sitting down to a tantalizing meal, but it takes a whole lot of work to get to that point.  Erma Bombeck once said, “My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.”

If you think about it, our modern-day appliances make it so much easier to do our daily chores.  So theoretically, we shouldn’t complain.  Easier said than done, indeed.  What if we had to do chores the pioneer way?  Think Little House on the Prairie era.  Caroline Ingalls didn’t exactly have the latest and greatest appliances.

Doing Laundry: Caroline Ingalls Style

pictures of a washboard and bucket to wash clothes

picture of drying clothes on the line

Doing Laundry: Your Style

picture of a modern washing machine and dryer

Cooking: Caroline Ingalls Style

picture of a fireplace used for cooking

Cooking: Your Style

modern kitchen

Keeping Food Cold: Caroline Ingalls Style

old wooden ice box

Keeping Food Cold: Your Style

picture of a modern refrigerator

Washing Dishes: Caroline Ingalls Style

picture of water well

Washing Dishes: Your Style

modern dishwasher

OK, so yes our modern-day appliances do make it easier to do chores, but that doesn’t necessarily motivate us to get moving.  So here’s an idea.  What if we made doing chores fun?  Go out and buy a cleaning outfit complete with a fancy apron and hot-pink gloves.  And when you do your chores wear your cleaning outfit and turn up the tunes…loud.  And don’t’ forget to reward yourself for a job well done.

Oh and look on the bright side.  If our appliances stop working, we can call our local Mr. Appliance technician.  That’s something that Caroline Ingalls could never do.

How You Could Win Food Fighters – with the Right Appliances

July 18th, 2014

graphic with the title "Win Food Fighters with the Right Appliances"
July 22nd is the series premiere of NBC’s Food Fighters.  Doesn’t the mere name bring back memories of a good ol’, down-and-dirty cafeteria food fight where hotdogs are launched as missiles and pudding cups are used as booby traps to lure innocent victims to their demise?

While watching a food-tossing food fight on TV may be captivating to some, Food Fighters is actually a legit competition between novice home cooks and professional chefs.  According to the NBC website, “Every down-home cook has that one ‘signature dish’ or ‘secret family recipe’ that always gains favor with friends and family. Now, imagine going head-to-head in the kitchen against five professional chefs, who try to cook your specialty dish even better than you – in the hopes of winning over a dinner party made up of the American public. Talk about pressure!”  http://www.nbc.com/food-fighters

So, do you have a secret family recipe that you think could actually win the show?  Well, you certainly couldn’t go into a competition unprepared and empty handed, now could you?  We know that in any cooking competition there would be top-notch, state-of-the-art cooking appliances.  All of which are very cool and very useful, but what you would really need is a secret weapon — the counter –top appliances you use all of the time at home.

We at Mr. Appliance would love to see you recognized as a Food Fighters champion.  So, here’s our list of the 5 counter-top appliances you would need to out-cook the pros.

Blender

Blenders aren’t just for milkshakes and smoothies. Think salsa, hummus and nut butter.

10 Creative Ways to Use Your Blender

10 Creative Ways to Use Your Blender

Coffee Maker

Save the stovetop space and boil your hotdogs and steam your veggies in your coffee maker.

Surprising Things You Can Make With A Coffee Pot

surprising things you can do with your coffee maker

Toaster Oven

Did you know you can dehydrate fruit and bake a cake in your toaster oven?  That’ll blow your competition away!

5 Surprising Things You Can Make in Your Toaster Oven

surprising things you can make in your toaster oven
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Waffle Maker

The waffle maker isn’t just for breakfast anymore.  You can also pull it out for lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks.

12 Recipes You Didn’t Know You Could Make in a Waffle Iron

Picture of waffle tomato grilled cheese

Coffee Grinder

Need breadcrumbs in a pinch?  Grab the coffee grinder.  It’s also perfect for spices, herbs and other garnishes.

11 Alternative Uses For A Coffee Grinder

ground parsley

That’s our secret weapon list.  If you have another counter-top appliance that would be in your personal arsenal make sure to let us know.  Happy food fighting!

Best Hot Dogs in the US

July 9th, 2014

Graphic of a hot dog that says Best hot dogs in the US

Happy National Hotdog Month!  So, hotdogs have kind of been a big deal for a long time now. Did you know the first hotdog-eating contest was at Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island back on July 5, 1916?   The event is still a crowd pleaser 98 years later.  As a matter of fact, Joey Chestnut just scarfed down 61 hotdogs in 10 minutes to win his eighth consecutive hotdog-eating contest this past July 4.  The occasion was even covered by ESPN.  We’re not really sure when hotdog eating became classified as a sport, but nonetheless, it apparently is a big deal.

We at Mr. Appliance® also like to indulge in a tasty hotdog every now and then.  But where do you go to find a really good hotdog?  Here’s our list of the five best hotdogs in the US (listed in no special order).

Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots: Mighty Dog

Chicago, IL
Mighty Dog – a hotdog and tamale on a bun with chili and cheese

Picture of Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots signature Mighty Dog hot dog

Rutt’s Hut: The Ripper with Relish

Clifton, NJ
The Ripper with Relish – a deep-fried pork and beef link

Picture of Rutt's Hut, Clifton, N.J The Ripper with Relish famous hot dog

Hot Doug’s: Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage

Chicago, IL
Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage – foie gras and sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli

picture of Hot Doug's, Chicago: Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage famous hot dog

Schaller’s Drive-In:  Meat Sauce, Mustard, Onions

Rochester, NY
Meat Sauce, Mustard, Onions – a hotdog made of pork, beef and veal topped with “hot sauce”, mustard and onions

picture of Schaller's Drive-In, Rochester, N.Y.: Meat Sauce, Mustard, Onions famous hot dog

Olneyville N.Y. System: NY System Dog

North Providence, RI
NY System Dog – 3 small franks topped with cumin meat sauce, yellow mustard, diced onions and celery salt

picture of Olneyville NY System Dog famous hot dog

There you have it.  Five hotdogs so different in flavor and style, you’re sure to find one to satisfy even the most finicky eater.  Let us know if there’s a hotdog you feel should have made the list.

All photos courtesy USA Today

4th of July Grilling Ideas

July 3rd, 2014

top grilling ideas for the 4th of July with a blue grill

Bobby Flay once said, “Grilling takes the formality out of entertaining. Everyone wants to get involved.” Isn’t that what summer is all about – having fun with friends and family without a lot of fancy, formal fluff? When you think of summer don’t you think of a party on the patio, with guests wearing flip-flops and bug spray while eating on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils? And in order to get that party started, you have to fire up the ol’ grill. We at Mr. Appliance love a good party on the patio – it’s part of a summer lifestyle. We also love a plate full of food right off the grill. So, here are our top grilled foods for a complete meal. We’d love to know your favorite grilled foods!

  1. Hamburger Patty

    Bobby Flay preparing his signature crunchburger
    Photo courtesy of foodnetwork.com

    No need to complicate the hamburger patty. Keep it simple with a little salt and pepper on each side. The pizazz in the burger will be in the Horseradish Mustard Mayonnaise. Mouths are sure to water.

  2. Onions

    grilled onions
    Photo courtesy of myrecipes.com

    Who wants to top a burger with an ordinary raw onion? Everyone does that. Make your burgers stand out by adding grilled onions. Grilling onions brings out a mellow sweetness that is sure to delight the taste buds of your guests. And as a side note, with grilled onions you won’t have the onion-breath issue you do with raw onions.

  3. Corn on the Cob

    grilled corn on the cobb
    Photo courtesy of iowagirleats.com

    Spread a mixture of salted butter, lime juice, honey, chili powder and a dash of cayenne powder on your corn cobs for a sweet and spicy treat that will leave your guests wanting, maybe even begging, for more.

  4. Veggie Kabobs

    grilled veggie kabobs
    Photo courtesy of food.com

    You have to admit, there’s something fun about eating a kabob. Plus kabobs are a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the local fresh produce.

  5. Pound Cake

    grilled pound cake
    Photo courtesy of rachaelraymag.com

Surprise your guests with a grilled dessert. Slice a pound cake and brush with melted butter. Grill each side for 2 minutes per side and top with a warm berry sauce. Delicious, yummy goodness fresh off the grill.