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Food & Kitchen Product Reviews Review Crew and Waffles Restaurant

by Jennifer Wieland Review Crew


I am a member of the Review Crew and I have received a gift certificate to help facilitate with this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am a member of the Review Crew. So what does this mean you ask? It means that I get to head out and try some new restaurants using gift certificates to help pay for the meal and then share my experiences and reviews of the restaurant with all of you. If you aren’t familiar with and how their gift certificates work then let me explain. You can head to and search for restaurants near you and then purchase gift certificates for that restaurant. Gift certificates can range from $5 – $100 and you only pay a portion of the value when buying the gift certificate. So if you want to buy a $25 one it will cost you $10 so you are saving $15 right off the top of your meal. Now in order for these restaurants to be able to cover the cost of food at least there is a minimum purchase amount that must be met to use the gift certificate. So if you buy a $25 gift certificate the minimum purchase may be $37.50 and then the $25 gift certificate will be deducted from that.

Using the gift certificates makes a great way to try new restaurants since you are getting a price break. This is also a great way to eat while traveling. You can look for restaurants in the city you are heading to and read reviews from people who have actually eaten there using a gift certificate and then purchase the ones you want to help you save some money on food. The other benefit I like about using the gift certificates is that sometimes when you live in a big city or the surrounding suburbs you get stuck in a rut. You only eat local and the same things. This is a great way to head to other parts of the city and suburbs and try different things.

Waffles Restaurant

For my first review I decided to ask my mom, sister and soon to be sister-in-law, Kelly to go out to brunch for a girl’s day. I decided I wanted to try Waffles restaurant in the South Loop. I had heard about it and seen the menu before and I was intrigued. My sister had also been wanting to go there and my mom and Kelly jumped on board so I bought us a $50 gift certificate and we headed there on a Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. We arrived in between two rushes which was perfect. We were quickly seated and I liked how a lot of the tables were almost like picnic tables which is great for groups. The restaurant has a pretty simple menu with a lot of waffle selections but also other breakfast choices. The menu does also have lunch items as well if you’d rather have that instead. Waffles does have fresh squeezed orange juice and you can BYOB some champagne for mimosas.

Waffles Restaurant

So what did we eat when we went? Take a look and see…

Waffles- Pancakes & Potatoes
Mascarpone Cheese Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Blueberries & Breakfast Potatoes
Waffles - Liege with Blackberries
Liege Waffle with Blackberries and Whipped Cream
Waffles - Cheddar and Short Rib
Wisconsin Cheddar Waffle with Coffee Braised Short Ribs and Scallions
Waffles - Waffle Flight
Waffle Flight – Green Tea Waffle, Mexican Chocolate, Red Velvet Waffle and Liege Waffle

So what was our opinion on Waffles? We all liked it and are planning on going back with the men folk in our lives! The staff was very nice and we had no issues at all using the gift certificate. We liked that you could get both sweet and savory options in the waffle choices. The breakfast potatoes were a big hit with all of us. I have been a second time though and it was more crowded and the potatoes were not cooked as well. The mascarpone pancakes could also do with more lemon curd. The orange juice while fresh squeezed was hit or miss with how cold it was served too. On one visit it was cold and on the other it was warm but it was busy at that time. The food was great each time but to be honest without the gift certificate I would have thought it was too expensive to eat there for breakfast or brunch. That is how most places downtown or just on the outskirts of it are though due to the higher rents. Would I go back again? Yes, and as I said I already have with another gift certificate in hand.

For more information on be sure to check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, find them on Google+ or check out their blog, The Dish.

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



Cakeballz: A Yummy Treat to Make Any Day Special

by Jennifer Wieland

FTC Disclosure

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, where things just seem to go wrong from the word go. Or wait, is it one of those days where you have the most amazing thing happen to you? Wait! Maybe it’s just one of those Mondays that everyone dreads. No matter what kind of one of those days you are having you can survive it, celebrate it or muscle your way through it with the help of Cakeballz.


What are Cakeballz you ask? Well, they are like cake pops minus the sticks. They come in three different flavors: Red Velvet, Birthday Cake and Chocolate and come in packages of three so you can have them all for yourself or share them with others. Best of all though, is that they are now being sold in select Walgreen’s stores across the country. So with so many Walgreen’s stores you can easily get your hands on some no matter the reason you need a sweet fix and if you can’t find them in store you can order them online.


The folks at Cakeballz were kind enough to send me several packages to try. I must tell you that they were a huge hit here. I kid you not, children came to blows over someone taking the last chocolate one and I thought my five year old daughter might hurt me in my sleep for eating the last birthday cake one. All three of the flavors were really good in my opinion. I like the red velvet and birthday cake the best. Chocolate Cakeballz were the the favorite flavor of the kids in my house with birthday cake a close second.

For more information on Cakeballz you can head on over to their website, Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.




Big Slice Pouch Review

by Jennifer Wieland
Big Slice

I was supplied with a product for the purpose of review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

FTC Disclosure

I recently heard about a new product and was delighted when I found out I would be getting a chance to review it. I am an apple girl. I love whole apples, applesauce, apples baked into goodies and I even like the kiddie applesauce pouches you can get. So, how fun is it that Grandma Hoerner’s came out with Big Slice Pouches, kettle cooked apples ready to eat & go. These are nice big pouches with so much apple goodness (slices, chunks & sauce) and variety that there is sure to be one for every adult or little kid with good taste.

Big Slice

The pouches come in 16 truly amazing flavors and each of those flavors falls into one of the 3 collections. Each one is non-GMO (except for Pineapple Passion Fruit) & naturally gluten-free. Every flavor is low-calorie too. So what are the categories and flavors? Well, take a look below. You will be amazed at both the traditional and unique flavor pairings.

Pure Collection

The Pure Collection is simple and light with pure and wholesome ingredients.

Natural (simplicity)

Orange Ginger (zesty)

Apricot (tangy)

Blueberry Pomegranate (revive)

Lemon Berry (refresh)

Chai (comfort)

Cherry Vanilla (happy)

Fit Collection

The Fit Collection promotes energy, power, beauty & balance.

Raspberry Hibiscus & Green Coffee Extract (energy)

Banana Mango & Hemp Seed (power)

Peach Green Tea & Aloe (beauty)

Pineapple Passion Fruit & Fiber (balance)

Luxe Collection

The Luxe Collection was designed to be both decadent and healthy.

Peach Bellini (sassy)

Cinnamon Candy (playful)

Boysenberry Chocolate (decadent)

Cinnamon French Toast (classic)

Caramel (luscious)

I have tried the five pictured above and I am planning to get more the next time I’m at Super Target. That’s where you’ll find them. Every flavor I have tried so far has been great! These have been my afternoon snack and they are perfect because they are healthy but get me past my sugar cravings without sweets adding to many calories. I also like that it’s not just a sauce but that there are big chunks and slices too. I would like to share with you what the kids and hubby thought of each flavor but I shared one bite form the first pouch and kept the rest for just me.




Gorton’s Real Fabulous Review & Giveaway

by Jennifer Wieland
Gorton's Signature Tilapia Piccata Recipe

I received products from Gorton’s to facilitate this review but all thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

FTC Disclosure

Gorton's Logo

I have a long and sordid past of being a picky eater and not trying foods just because the texture of it looked wrong to me. I know it’s strange but it is something I have spent decades trying to get past. One of the areas that I still had not gotten fully past was seafood.

I had not tried seafood until about 12 years ago. The idea of it was so disturbing to me for some reason. One day though I tried baked clams and oysters and I thought they were pretty good. I then tried calamari and it was okay to me but hey, I tried it. Finally, my husband got me to try shrimp and I fell in love with that. It is a favorite of mine but I use it as a treat rather than a diet staple. I still though could not bring myself to try actual fish. The flakiness and texture of it was hard for me to handle. For the last few years though people have been telling me to try tilapia. That the texture was different and that I would like it. I was not buying it though.


Then I got accepted to be a part of the Gorton’s Review Crew and I knew I would have to review one of their 11 grilled fillet products. Since they have three different grilled tilapia choices I thought, okay here we go, I need to add fish to my diet anyway. I went with the Gorton’s Signature Grilled Tilapia and decided to try the Signature Tilapia Piccata recipe from their website since I know nothing about cooking fish. The recipe was very easy to follow and all of the ingredients are pantry staples in my house. I really liked that the recipe was quick. When it was done the kitchen smelled yummy and I when I plated it up it looked yummy too.

Gorton's Signature Tilapia Piccata Recipe

The real test came though when it was time for all of us to eat. I knew my hubby would like it as he grew up on the east coast and is a huge seafood fan but the kids and I were going to be the tough critics. So we tried it and oh boy, it was good! The fish was really good and worked so well with the orzo.

So now I can add fish to my diet to help me eat healthier! Not only did I get a nice dose of omega-3 eating my Gorton’s Grilled Tilapia but it is gluten-free and comes in at 80 calories. There is also no MSG, no fillers and no artificial flavors or colors. When you are trying to eat healthy you can’t get much better than that and it’s filling.

Right now you can enter Gorton’s Real Fabulous Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will win a $1000 makeover and there are also weekly prizes. Be sure to head on over to the Gorton’s site and enter for your chance. 

Gorton's Real Fabulous Sweepstakes

After you enter the sweepstakes make sure to connect with Gorton’s to download coupons, find recipes and explore products. You can also find more information about Gorton’s and  all of their products on their Facebook page, on Twitter and on Pinterest.

If you are trying to eat healthier this year or if you are just a fan of seafood then do I have a fun and easy giveaway for you. Gorton’s has been kind enough to offer one of my U.S. readers a chance to win two full-value product coupons, 1 pair of Gorton’s-branded oven mitts, a Gorton’s spatula and an assortment of Gorton’s recipe cards.

Gorton's Giveaway


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Farm Rich Review and Giveaway

by Jennifer Wieland
Farm Rich Products

 I received coupons for free products for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions on the products are completely my own.

This week we were able to try some of Farm Rich’s products. I had heard of them before and even seen them in the store but I had never purchased them. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical to try them. I have tried some appetizer/snack foods and some of them have been rather sad, disappointing or flat-out gross. So when I got home with them I decided to wait for the kids to get home from school and the hubby from work and serve them some as an after school and work treat.

Farm Rich

The snacks were all really easy to make and I liked the fact that the meatballs could be microwaved and that the toasted ravioli and breaded mushrooms could be baked instead of fried. I also really like that the quality, taste and convenience of the products was really good. My husband really liked the mushrooms. He does not get them often as I am not a fan of them and neither are the kids. My two youngest and my oldest all really liked the meatballs. My four-year old daughter’s new favorite food is now toasted ravioli. They keep asking me to make them more and luckily they come in nice big family sized packages so I can.

Farm Rich Product Review

These are definitely a snack that is going to remain on my grocery shopping list. We are a late dinner family so having something filling between the kids early lunches and our late dinners really helps the kids a lot. Plus having super picky eaters due to sensory issues I always jump on a food when they want to eat it.

I did also make some fun holiday appetizers using the Farm Rich products and you can view the video for that here.

To learn more about the products available from Farm Rich to make your life easier check out their website or facebook page.

Would you like to try Farm Rich Products to help with your holiday entertaining? To win two coupons for free Farm Rich Products enter the giveaway below.

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Coffee-Mate Thin Mint Review & Thin Mint Brownies

by Jennifer Wieland
Thin Mint Brownies

Coffee-mate asked me if I would be interested in doing a review of their new Girl Scout line. I let them know that I am not a coffee drinker at all but that I would be more than happy to try them as a baker and come up with a recipe for them. The Girl Scout line comes in two flavors, Thin Mint and Caramel & Coconut.

Coffee-mate Girl Scouts Line

When you open them up they smell just like the cookies do. So in other words, you will start salivating and trying to hunt down a girl scout and her cookies. Both flavors do taste good but, being a huge Thin Mint fan I decided that I had to come up with a recipe for those first and foremost.

I decided to go with a quick and easy recipe that any level baker could follow along and bake. This means that I decided to adapt a box mix. I went with brownies and added a few other things to really amp up the Thin Mint taste and the end result was all kinds of good. I mean these Thin Mint Brownies are the kind of good where if you do not find someone to share it with, you will eat it all on your own good. If you are a fan of mint I highly recommend this creamer for your coffee and/or baking and if caramel & coconut is your thing then you should try it. If you are a fan of both cookies then buy both flavors and let your creativity run wild.

Thin Mint Brownies

Thin Mint Brownies
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5646 calories
623 g
386 g
344 g
63 g
81 g
1155 g
2219 g
87 g
1 g
241 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 5646
Calories from Fat 3040
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 344g
Saturated Fat 81g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 71g
Monounsaturated Fat 170g
Cholesterol 386mg
Sodium 2219mg
Total Carbohydrates 623g
Dietary Fiber 37g
Sugars 87g
Protein 63g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 box of 13x9 Family Size Fudge Brownies Mix
  2. 1/3 c. Coffee-Mate Thin Mint Creamer
  3. 2/3 c. oil
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 c. Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
  6. 2 c. Jet-Puffed Chocolate Mint Mallow Bites
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9x13 pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper that hangs over the sides if you want to be able to lift out the whole thing before cutting.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the first four ingredients and mix by hand until almost completely lump free. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and follow the baking instructions on the back of the box. It should be about 24-26 minutes. About 5 minutes prior to finish open up the oven and take the pan out and sprinkle the top with the marshmallows and then the chocolate & mint morsels. Place back into the oven and finish baking the last few minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
  1. The marshmallows will be gooey and stick to the knife as soon as you try to cut the brownies. In order to avoid this use a sharp knife. Dip the knife into ice water and shake off excess water and then cut. Do this for each cut and you should have no problem.
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