easiest snack for entertaining

With the holidays here and football season upon us, entertaining is something going on in most households on a regular basis.  Or, if you’re not hosting, most likely you’re attending, and often times, asked to bring an item to contribute.  This time of year can be stressful, as fun as events are to attend, it’s just a busy time.  One less thing you need to worry about is snack food while entertaining.  What’s the easiest thing to do?  Open a can of almonds for some BIG flavor and a healthy snack.  Double win!

wasabi soy sauce

Blue Diamond is, by far and away, my favorite brand of almonds.  They have tons of different flavors, something for everyone.  Sweet, salty, savory, spicy, you name it!  Every single can I’ve opened has been absolutely fantastic.  And I’m not just saying that.  I eat almonds on a regular basis for snacks, I keep them stashed in my closet at school, I bring them on road trips, etc.  Check out all the flavors:

  • Traditional Flavors: Smokehouse, Whole Natural, Roasted Salted, Honey Roasted, Lightly Salted
  • Bold Flavors: Sriracha, Honey Dijon, Jalapeno Smokehouse, Wasabi & Soy Sauce, Habanero BBQ, Salt ‘n Vinegar
  • Oven Roasted: Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt, Cafe Mocha, Blueberry

My favorites are all the bold flavors, though I also really like honey roasted!  Honestly, these are the easiest snacks to put out while entertaining.  You don’t even have to put them in a separate dish.  Open the lid, keep them in the can so guests know the flavors, and let people munch away!

If you would like to put in a drop of extra time for some equally delicious, crowd-pleasing snacks, here are three unique recipes:

Green Apple Mint Trail Mix

trailmix4

Healthy Wasabi Soy Sauce Dip

wasabi soy sauce dip

Superfood Trail Mix

trailmix

How good do those look?  Super easy, too!

In addition to being delicious and such an easy snack for entertaining, almonds also pack an awesome nutritional punch!  Some benefits include regulation of cholesterol, good for your brain, immune system strength, bone health, anti inflammation, boosts energy, skin care, and rich in fiber.

blue diamond

What’s your easiest snack for entertaining?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Ditch the chips and grab some Game Changing Flavors this football season! Enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Football Party Prize Pack, get great savings and ideas for delicious snack hacks at GameChangingFlavors.com.

What to Put in Your Diaper Bag

I like seeing what other people carry in their bags.  Whether it’s their purse, their gym bag, or their diaper bag, I think it’s interesting to see what other women feel they “must have.”  (Maybe I’m nosy?)  Plus, magazines always do sneak peeks of celebrities’ bags which means people definitely find it interesting, right?  Either way, today I’m sharing my own version of What to Put in Your Diaper Bag.

Baby William (should I start calling him toddler William? noooooo!) is 15 months old.  That’s important because the contents of my diaper bag have definitely changed since he was a newborn.  In retrospect, this would have been a fun post series to do every few months or so and see how it changed, but clearly I missed that boat.

Diaper bags can get really heavy really fast.  All moms know that.  I’m an over-packer by nature.  My suitcase is always over the 50 pound limit.  I constantly need to reorganize my bags.  But now I’m confident that I’ve narrowed down my diaper bag just to the essentials.  What you need when you go out with your baby (or 15 month old toddler who you refuse to believe is really a toddler) is listed below:

what to put in diaper bag

Side note: I love the looks of this Kate Spade diaper bag that my sister Stephanie got me when I was pregnant.  However, to be completely honest, I don’t love the actual diaper bag so much.  It doesn’t have a long shoulder strap.  Kate Spade diaper bags now have the “stroller clips” to make it easy to attach to strollers, but I think a shoulder strap would be more useful.  Plus, the bag seems big, bulky, and gets filled quickly… despite my best efforts to only care the bare minimum.

Alright, let’s get started.

Diaper Changing Essentials

diapers bag

  • Changing Pad:  If I have to use this, I wipe it down when I get home because it totally grosses me out.
  • Diapers:  Obviously.  I usually carry at least six which I know is overkill, but I never want to be without a diaper!
  • Wipes: I used to only use Water Wipes, but now use Water Wipes or Huggies.  Huggies are easier to find in stores, and I prefer the “natural” version.  Wipes are also perfect for sticky hands and dirty surfaces.
  • Disposable Diaper Bags: For the really gross diapers or if I can’t throw it out right away.  These also work for dirty outfits.  I used to carry the whole box of these, but that’s silly.  Now I just keep a few and refill my bag as needed.

Odds & Ends

what's in my dipaer bag

  • Babiators: You never know when you’ll need some sunnies!
  • Wubbanub: I don’t like William to have his binky in his mouth at all times, but when he needs it for comfort, I give it to him.  Wubbanubs are the only binkines he will take!  He loves his giraffe and elephant!
  • Burp Cloth / Bib: William rarely leaves bibs on anymore, but this aden + anais burp cloth can double as both since it has a little snap.  Though truthfully, I use it more often as either a “lovey” for William to hold on to (he’s not attached to a particular “lovey,” just his Wubbanub), or to help cover me if I need to nurse William in public.  I’ve never used or liked a true nursing cover, so this is lightweight and perfect.  It also eliminates the need for carrying a burp cloth, bib, AND nursing clover.  And it’s cute.
  • Squeeze Book: (I didn’t know what else to call it.)  A few toys are essential.  I love this one because it has a handle for easy gripping, bright-colored pictures, and it even squeaks.  William is amused.  Good for the car, too.
  • Lift the Flap Book:  Books are such a great source of entertainment!  I want William to grow up learning to be entertained by books (instead of technology).  That is probably the teacher in me.  My friend got William this book from the dollar bin at Target!  He loves it!
  • Extra Onesie: Because babies are always messy or having blowouts… When he was much younger, I would have a couple extra.  He seems to be cleaner now…

Teethers

teethers diaper bag

It seems as though William is always teething, so teethers are forever necessary.

  • Sophie Teether: The perfect travel teether, not as big as the full size Sophie.
  • Nuby Safari Loop: I bought this as a new toy for our Arizona trip and William loves it!  It’s fun to go through the animals and make noises, plus there are several different textures for him to hold, grab, and teeth on.
  • Zoli Teether Stick:  Ok truth: I bought this because William loves finding and chewing on Zoey’s rawhides.  Since that’s disgusting, I wanted to find him a stick-like teether.  He likes this!
  • Econobum Bag: This was a gift from a friend and was intended to be used as a reusable sack for dirty clothes, but I prefer it to keep William’s teethers and toys clean in this bag.  It was especially perfect while traveling to keep all his toys together!

Sippy Cup

nuby sippy cup

  • Nuby Flip n Sip with 360 Weighted Straw Cup: I received this as a Nuby Parent Blogger, but it’s PERFECT for the diaper bag!  It has a flip top which keeps the straw clean.  It doesn’t spill and it’s BPA-free.  The weight at the bottom of the straw is really cool.  It allows William to drink from any angle and reach the water even when there’s not much left.  This was especially clutch when William was learning to use sippy cups as he would always tilt the cup forward to him to try to take a drink.  Obviously, with a straw you don’t do that, so this cup was a good learning cup.

Non Toxic Essentials for Momma & Baby

nontoxic products in diaper bag for momma and baby

As you know, I’m a consultant for Ava Anderson Non Toxic.  (Email me for free shipping.)  Since my diaper bag doubles as my purse most days, I keep a few of my favorite non toxic products with us at all times.

  • Diaper Cream:  By far, the absolute best diaper cream ever.  It can double as lotion when needed!
  • Sunscreen:  Ava Anderson’s Non Toxic sunscreen always makes the “top ten” or whatever lists.  There are too many lists of sunscreens to avoid.  You’re safe with this one and it doesn’t make your kiddo stink like sunscreen!
  • Lip Gloss:  Because sometimes momma needs a little color on her lips!
  • Boo Boo Stick: One of my FAVORITE Ava Anderson products.  Perfect for minor scrapes, burns, or bug bites – for babies, toddlers, kids, and adults alike!  When we’re out and about, I put it on William’s little patches of eczema.  My niece Audrey uses it whenever she has a “boo boo.”  Everyone loves it!
  • Perfume:  Because nobody likes the smell of dried milk…
  • Lip Balm:  Keep those lips hydrated!

Snacks

snacks

NOBODY likes to be hungry!  This goes for babies and toddlers, too!  Always keep a couple of snacks stashed away for emergency situations!

  • Earth’s Best Pouches: William doesn’t get pouches often, but when he does, they are organic and fruits and vegetables only.  No other nonsense.
  • Puffs: I store puffs in a formula container.  I like them better than those toddler bowls where they get out the snack themselves because this is completely sealed.  William loves to play with the actual container and open and close it, so this serves as a snack and a toy!
  • Blue Diamond Almonds: Momma needs snacks, too!  Blue Diamond almonds come in the best flavors, the container is compact for a diaper bag, and the almonds pack a nice protein punch!
  • Baby Mum Mums: Another snack option for William.

Let’s go back to these Blue Diamond almonds for a minute.  William and I have had several adventures throughout the summer.  One of our favorites is definitely the park.  I got hungry and needed a snack at our last visit, so I whipped out my handy dandy package of almonds.  Problem solved, hunger satiated!

blue diamond almonds

Chasing a baby toddler around the playground can be exhausting!  Fuel is necessary!

park 715

Mommas: What are the essential items you keep in your diaper bag?

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Healthy Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Shake

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Today is my last full day of work before SUMMER BREAK!!!  We have a half day tomorrow, and have to go in for a short amount of time on Friday.  Wahoo!  Sorry, just a little excited here.  I love my kiddos, but I love my baby William more and being able to spend lots of time with him, relax in the sun, pool time, and hang out outside!  So close, I can taste it.  Speaking of tasting… let’s talk food for today’s WIAW.

// breakfast // healthy chocolate banana peanut butter shake

chocolate banana peanut butter shake

I know I posted this last week, but I can’t get enough of it.  And with the warm weather and summer right around the corner, it’s even more perfect.  The ingredients are listed on the photo, but I must give a mention about Skoop A-Game.  Basically, it’s ten servings of veggies and a whole lot more.  You can take the five-day challenge for just $10.  And don’t forget, until May 22nd, you can save 25% on all Skoop products. Enter code ‘MAY25’ at checkout to apply the 25% discount.  Stock up for the summer! Click HERE to shop.

// snack // nugo fiber d’lish bar

fiber d'lish

NuGo graciously sponsored our wellness treats at school, and my coworkers were so appreciative as this is the third year in a row they’ve done this!  Everyone LOVES these bars as the flavors are amazing (coconut macaroon is my favorite!).  Each bar has 12 grams of fiber, which is 48% of your daily needs.  They definitely don’t taste like fiber bars.  Nine of the flavors are vegan, and all of them are non GMO, don’t contain soy or artificial ingredients, and help with heart health, weight management, and regularity.

// lunch // panini

panini

A few weeks ago, my team at school began a new tradition.  We each take turns cooking lunch one day a week.  It adds a little fun something to the week, and you’re only responsible for preparing lunch for the team once every couple months.  We hope to continue this next year!  Yesterday, Katie brought in panini presses, bread, and all the fixings for us to build our own panini. What a fun idea!  I made a panini with turkey, cheese, tomato, spinach, and avocado.  Watermelon and chips on the side.  I’m actually usually more of a cold sandwich kind of gal, but I was really impressed by the panini.  Now I see what all the hype is about paninis and warm sandwiches!

// dinner // chicken, egg, and biscuit casserole

egg biscuit chicken cheese casserole

Ok, so I actually made this for breakfast over the weekend, but had so much left that I’ve been eating it for dinner, too.  No complaints there, it’s awesome.  I want to tweak the recipe before sharing it with you, but basically it’s biscuits, eggs, ground chicken, spinach, and cheese.  And it’s seriously fantastic.

// after dinner snack // dark chocolate roasted almonds

dark chocolate almonds

Oooooh my goodness, Blue Diamond has done it once again.  They have the absolute best flavors. They recently sent me a package of dark chocolate roasted almonds and sea salt roasted almonds.  They’re both great, but these dark chocolate almonds are THE BEST!  They make the perfect after-dinner snack as they’re sweet, but filling.  They are made with real cocoa and loaded with rich chocolate flavor, blended with just the right amount of sugar and naturally no-calorie stevia extract.

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And sometimes it’s fun to play with the almonds when taking pictures.  Each serving contains five grams of protein and three grams of fiber. They are cholesterol free and rich in antioxidant Vitamin E. The chocolate taste is so creamy, it’s hard to believe these are considered “healthy,” but they are!

What do you like to eat after dinner? I need something filling, otherwise I eat all night. Another reason why Blue Diamond almonds make the perfect after-dinner snack!

Healthy Banana Coconut Milkshake

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Banana is such a versatile food.  It pairs perfectly with many options.  Banana and peanut butter.  Banana and chocolate.  Banana and coconut.  Oh so many options with bananas.  When I was sent a carton of Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend, I instantly knew what I would make.  Especially with hot weather fast approaching, a cold, creamy, and refreshing beverage sounded absolutely perfect.

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Healthy Banana Coconut Milkshake

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original

Blend until smooth.

Add whatever other nutrient-rich ingredients you’d like.  Some ideas that I’ve been loving are chia seeds, flax seed, hemp seeds, cinnamon, vanilla or banana protein powder, spinach, cottage cheese, etc.  The banana and coconut flavors are pretty strong, so bulking up the milkshake to add more protein or fiber doesn’t affect the taste.

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Benefits of Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk include:

  • only 45 calories per 1 cup serving
  • made from REAL almonds & coconut
  • 50% more calcium than milk
  • contains no cholesterol
  • soy free
  • lactose free
  • contains no added sweeteners

Also, the carton can sit in your pantry until you’re ready to use it.  I hate, I mean hate running out of milk.  I always keep a carton in my pantry just in case.

This banana coconut milkshake is fantastic any time of day.  Breakfast, snack, dessert, you name it.  The only thing to make it better would be to be drinking it on a beach, in a swimsuit, under the sun, in front of the ocean…

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Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Besides banana, what pairs well with coconut?

20 of the Best Almond Milk Recipes

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Almond milk.  Some think it’s a hippy thing.  Some think it’s a vegan thing.  Some think it’s a taste thing.  Some think it’s a healthy thing.  Well, you know what?

You’re all right.  Almond milk is becoming more and more mainstream for a variety of reasons.  It is healthy.  It does taste good.  It is vegan.  And I suppose it can be considered a hippy thing. Maybe even a baby thing?

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No, no.  Just kidding.  Almond milk should not be used as baby formula.  Let’s talk what almond milk should be used for.

Benefits of Almond Milk

~ as listed on the back of blue diamond almond breeze’s almond milk ~

  • 50% more calcium than dairy milk
  • Free of: Dairy, Soy, Lactose, Cholesterol, Peanuts, Casein, Gluten, Eggs, Saturated Fat, and MSG
  • All Natural with Added Vitamins & Minerals
  • An Excellent Source of Vitamins D & E
  • Made from REAL Almonds
  • Contains No Added Sweeteners
  • Low Glycemic Index (GI)
  • Vegan

Did you know that Blue Diamond has nineteen different almond milks? It’s true.

  • Almond Breeze Refrigerated: Original, Original Unsweetened, Original Reduced Sugar, Chocolate, Vanilla, Vanilla Unsweetened, and Vanilla Reduced Sugar
  • Almond Breeze Shelf Stable:  Original, Original Unsweetened, Chocolate, Chocolate Unsweetened, Vanilla, and Vanilla Unsweetened
  • Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend:  Original, Original Unsweetened, Vanilla, and Vanilla Unsweetened
  • Hint of Honey:  Original and Vanilla

My all time favorite almond milk is Vanilla Unsweetened.  I like the taste the best, but another perk is that it only has 30 calories per cup.  I’ve never tried the Hint of Honey; however, I’m pretty sure I would love that, too.

So now you know the benefits of drinking almond milk and the many different flavors of Blue Diamond almond milk, but what do you do with it?  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a fabulous list of twenty of the BEST almond milk recipes out there from the wonderful FitFluential Ambassadors.

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Breakfast:

Soup:

Drinks:

Dessert:

How do you use almond milk?

Easy Healthy Wasabi and Soy Sauce Dip

So there’s this big game coming up.  One where lots of people go to gatherings with friends and family to cheer on one of the teams.  Or some people may just go to the party for the food.  Good food.  Chips.  Dips.  Crackers.  Snacks.  Maybe some vegetables.  I might be one of those people who go for the food…

Dips.  Oh, the possibilities!  There are lots of dips that are super cheesy, super delicious, but super unhealthy.  Then there are dips that are healthy, and take forever to make with a million ingredients.  Boo.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Alas, there can be dips that are healthy, delicious, and are very easy to make.  Like three-ingredients easy.  Yeah, that’s my kind of dip.

blue diamond wasabi soy sauce dip

Let me introduce you to this easy healthy wasabi and soy sauce dip.  Made with just three ingredients, throw it all in the food processor, and dip away.  But you should be warned: the flavor is BOLD and may warrant multiple dips.  Like so many that the small bowl you made is gone within minutes.  Luckily, it takes about twelve seconds to make a second (or fourth) batch.

Easy Healthy Wasabi and Soy Sauce Dip

Ingredients:

Equal parts of:

  • Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Chickpeas

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached, occasionally scraping the sides.

Sharing: optional.

wasabi soysauce dip

I used a half of a cup (1/2 cup) of all the ingredients, but it made a small amount (or maybe I’m a hungry beast who consumes foods in unreasonable portion sizes).  If you’re bringing this to a party (and you should), I would use at least one cup, if not two, of all the ingredients so it makes a larger amount.

Blue Diamond is notorious for making the boldest flavored almonds.  Their Wasabi and Soy Sauce almonds are no joke.  The flavor is intense and awesome.  Other favorite bold flavors include: Honey Dijon, Lime ‘n Chili, Habanero BBQ, Jalapeno Smokehouse, and Salt ‘n Vinegar.

The dip is so versatile.  I dipped pretzels, crackers, and celery in it.  I spread it in a tortilla in one of my breakfast burritos with eggs.  I slathered it on bread for a turkey sandwich.  It adds a burst of flavor to whatever you pair it with.  Oh, I also ate it straight up with a spoon.  And licked the bowl.

wasabi soy sauce dip

What dip/dish will you be bringing to the party?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Blue Diamond Nutty Honey Vanilla Very Berry Oats

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

I’m not gonna lie… this being a full-time working mom thing is for the birds!  I’ve been back work for a week now, with kids for a couple days, and man oh man I am absolutely exhausted.  Yes, I’m grateful to have a good job and one that I love, but wow am I tired!  I’ve heard the first week as a new working mom is the hardest, so I can only hope it gets easier.  (Stay at home moms, I know you have your own challenges, too!  All moms rock.)

Mornings feel rushed, to say the least.  I do as much as I can the night before, but there’s still so much to do in the morning that can’t be done the night before. (Getting dressed, makeup, nursing, pumping, eating.)  All of those are non-negotiable, but I can prep my breakfast the night before which has helped.  I loooove my breakfasts and always need something substantial.

honey vanilla overnight oats1

I became obsessed with overnight oats this summer.  Not only are they healthy, but there are a million different combinations and they can be prepped the night (or the hour) before to make for a quick, easy, tasty breakfast.  Plus, itz believed that oatmeal is good for breastfeeding mommas.  Well, folks, I’ve found a new favorite.

Blue Diamond recently sent me two containers of their newest flavors: Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle.  Be still my heart.  I love honey.  Like, I can (and do) eat it by the spoonful.  Honey + vanilla was made for me, I’m pretty sure.  Vanilla is one of my most favorite flavors ever, so the combination is totally killer.  Honey roasted chipotle is also fantastic, but I’m just such a sucker for vanilla!

honey roasted vanilla almonds

I’m going to need more honey roasted vanilla almonds because those guys didn’t last long.  Alright, are you ready for the best overnight oats recipe ever?  Seriously.  And not technically a recipe because I really throw it all together, stir, chill, and eat.  And I don’t measure all the ingredients.  But here’s what I got:

Blue Diamond Nutty Honey Vanilla Very Berry Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • drizzle of honey (more or less depending on desired sweetness)
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
  • berries
  • chia seeds
  • Blue Diamond honey roasted vanilla almonds, some crushed and some whole

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except berries and whole almonds.
  2. Chill overnight.
  3. Add more milk if needed in the morning.
  4. Stir in berries and whole almonds.

I’ve been using dairy milk because I really need a good amount of protein in the morning to help keep me full, but I do think vanilla almond milk would be great, as well!  The almonds add a wonderful crunch among the creamy, mushy oats.  Mmm, itz so good!

honey vanilla overnight oats

Honey roasted vanilla or honey roasted chipotle?

Foodie Pen Pals: January

You know how much I love receiving packages in the mail, right?  Well, I do, especially when it involves food.  This month I received a lovely box from Leigh-Ann.  She emailed me asking for my food choices, and I left it pretty open, but indicated that I do, in general, prefer healthy snacks and foods.  Everything she sent was new-to-me items or flavors which is precisely why I love participating in Foodie Pen Pals.  First up:

kashi & ryvita

Kashi Dark Mocha Almond Chewy Granola Bars:  While I don’t typically tend to buy mocha flavored foods, I was pleasantly impressed with the flavor of these.  It could be the fact that Kashi makes great products or that you can’t really ever go wrong with dark chocolate!  These snacks have come in handy when I’ve been hungry on the go.

Ryvita is a brand that I’m unfamiliar with.  The rye crackers were a bit dry, but I did like the mild hint of sweetness that the fruit provided.

bluediamond vitwater pioneer

I very rarely buy pancake or waffles mix, but this Pioneer Brand Oatmeal Pancake & Waffle mix will be nice when I’m in a pinch or don’t feel like making breakfast from scratch.  They have four grams each of fiber and protein per serving which certainly isn’t terrible for a pancake/waffle mix.

Blue Diamond – now this is a company I’m familiar with who always makes incredible products.  While I’ve tasted some of their flavored almonds before, I’ve never had their Bold Jalapeno Smokehouse almonds.  Jonny and I both love spicy foods, so we finished this small can in no time!

The Vitamin Water Zero Mega-C with grape and raspberry flavors was especially tasty on a morning where I felt a tad dehydrated.  I don’t drink these types of drinks all too often, but every once in awhile they definitely quench my thirst.

The Lean Green Bean

Thank you, Leigh-Ann, for a great package!  I sent a box of goodies to Carissa at Lillies and Silk so check out her blog if you’d like to see what I packed.  As always, a big thank you goes to The Lean Green Bean for hosting Foodie Pen Pals.  Remember, anyone can participate in FPP!  (Both readers and bloggers!)  You get matched up with someone, and spend $15 on putting together goodies based on their preferences.  If you’d like to participate next month (you should) CLICK HERE to sign up and for additional details.

Favorite flavor of almonds?  Are you a fan of pancake and waffle mixes?