Category Archives: Colorado

Dream Dinners – Quick, Easy and Affordable & Enter to win! #giveaway #dreamdinners

20160312_110108.jpgMy husband and I tried Dream Dinners, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, this weekend, and what a treat!  Their March introductory offer ($74.95 value)  let us pick six 3-serving meals from an expansive menu.  Then, we made an appointment to go into the kitchen and assemble all six meals.  The kitchen is very organized, clean, and all the ingredients are chopped, measured and ready for you to build and take home, freeze or eat right away.  You go from station to station to assemble your meals.  The proprietary recipe cards at each station guide you through the process and it’s quite simple to assemble.

Dream Dinners 3Travis helped us at the Wheat Ridge location.  He is such a delight to work with and learn from.  You use bags or containers, and all items come with a step by step recipe card so when you get home and choose a meal, you are ready to go!  No chopping, no buying of ingredients, no extensive prep time.  You follow very simple directions to heat up/top or cook the food, and you’re serving up dinner in no time!  This is perfect for family meals or for just two.  The introductory offer is definitely worth a shot, and I encourage you to set up your appointment on line or call them.  The staff is super friendly and helpful and on-site with you the entire time.   You are offered a drink of coffee, tea, or other beverages, and we got to sample a scone 1030 am on a Saturday – it was delish!  My husband was able to sample chicken risotto which is being offered on their April menu and loved it!

20160312_102700.jpgThe kitchen has clean bowls, measuring bowls, and utencils throughout your preparation journey, and the instructions are so simple to follow, even color-coded.  It’s super easy – we were in and out in an hour and that was including someone teaching us, and speaking with us about the offers.  I also picked up sides from 20160312_110047.jpgtheir sides and dessert freezer case, and we enjoyed potato pancakes and a dip for lunch.  Yum!  Tonight, my husband and kiddos are having cornflake crusted chicken  tenders and a side of mashed potatoes (also from Dream Dinners), while I enjoy Risotto (a side dish).   The vegetarian choices are slim to none here, but Travis told us that if you choose to leave out the protein on a 3-serving meal, you save 50% on that dish, which is a great deal.
Dream Dinners 2Then, you can pick the protein of choice at home and assemble the meal at home, and still save time and money.  For example, April’s menu includes a Creamy Chicken Risotto, and this item can be assembled without the protein, or the risotto can be made without the chicken or chicken packaged separately from the Risotto.  At home, it can be made vegetarian for both a vegetarian and meat-eater to enjoy.   My favorite was the side dishes because those for me are things the kids eat like mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, fries and garlic bread sticks.  They complement all the meals you prepare at Dream Dinners, or can complement a dish you make at home.  My husband prepared the cornflake crusted chicken tenders tonight and the house smells lovely!  He loved the meal and said the flavors were perfect.

cornflake crusted chicken tenders
cornflake crusted chicken tenders

The only cons for me of this place was menu selection for a vegetarian, but if you eat meat and your family is not picky, this place is for you!  Also, even if you are cooking for just two or three, I think the portions are perfect for one night and a left over for lunch the next day. With 3-servings, it goes a long way in our house.  The minimum order after the introductory offer(six 3-serving meals) is twelve 3-serving meals, so it may best to split with a good friend if you are interested and cannot possibly maintain 3-4 meals a week on this.  Partnering up with friends is a good idea.  You can skip a month if you want or are out of town, and there is no contract or obligation.  The best thing is about how long they will keep because they are packaged for freezing so you can thaw or take out when you are ready for them.  All the instructions are different so follow the cards’ instructions carefully.   Also, like Steve points out in the comments, this place is kid-friendly and if kids are into cooking, or mature enough to be involved in the kitchen, this place is perfect to bring him or her along to help you portion out the recipe, assemble the meal and add the ingredients of their choice.  Who knows? If they take part in the assembly, they may actually eat it?  What a concept!

20160312_112031.jpgOne of the things I learned about Dream Dinners is that they do school fundraisers and give  a size-able donation per family – each attendee pays $34.99 for THREE 3-serving meals of their choice and $10 of this goes to the school – that is 30% back of the school!  What a great idea and you get healthy, fresh meals that the family can get 6 meals or more out of – what a deal!

Dream Dinners 1My husband and I enjoyed our dream dinners experience and I would highly recommend you try the introductory offer.  After that, you can figure out how to sign up because for us, twelve 3-serving meals is a lot considering how differently we all eat in our family, but if we can split it with a family, or two, I think it could work out.  Also, make some room in your freezer because you are gonna need it.  Dream Dinners has the four Colorado locations to choose from so you can go an try out their introductory offer.  Also, if you are not in Colorado and you’d like to go in and try your Dream Dinners, you can see if there is one near you.    Happy cooking and eating!

Giveaway:  To enter to win, please comment below with what you’d do with one free 3-serving meal from Dream Dinners? Make sure you include your name and email when you comment- only I see your email.   For this event, you can bring up to 9 friends (10 total including you) to build a meal and learn more about Dream Dinners while you enjoy provided appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks, and the opportunity to catch up with friends or colleagues.  Also, for an additional $24.95 (normally $50 value), you can  take three additional 3-serving meals home with you, ready to thaw and/or cook.  The night out is a great deal and worth over $130 (depending on dish) and it’s yours for free.  Just sign up and I randomly choose a winner using a plug in on wordpress.  Finally, I hope you will invite me along as one of your party of 10.  ūüôā You will be notified by 3/19/2016 if you win and winner posted here.   Comments/entries close at 8pm MDT 3/19/2016.  *Note: Contest only applies to Wheat Ridge, Colorado location

NOTE: We have a winner! Congrats, Heather – I will connect you with Dream Dinners & write you separately.

Your Winner

(confirmed)Author: Heather (email removed)

Comment: permalink

How fun!

 

 

 

 

Required Disclosure: I was offered a free introductory offer from Dream Dinners in exchange for a honest review.  The giveaway is also part of the compensation for readers who enter to win.  The opinion expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Denver Art Museum Samurai Exhibit – Now through June 5th #SamuraiDAM

20160306_131418*warning: some of the images appear strange or rotated using Chrome.  Sorry about that.  It is a Chrome issue.

We visited the¬†Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit today, on opening day, and it was a treat! ¬†The Art Museum is iconic in Denver, and showcases some of the most amazing works of art you will see. ¬†Do not miss this special, limited engagement exhibit while it is in town. ¬†Now through June 5, DAM is featuring the Samurai Exhibit.

DAM 1 The Exhibit: The exhibition Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection tells the iconic story of Japanese samurai through 140 objects from one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of samurai armor and accoutrements in the world.
Surrounded by murals and war regalia, visitors will be immersed in the life, culture, and pageantry of samurai in the 1100s through the 1800s. Exquisitely decorated suits of armor, helmets, weapons, horse trappings, and additional battle gear will be on display, demonstrating masterful craftsmanship.Samurai will highlight the artistic inspiration for these elaborate suits of armor.

The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum and The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, Dallas. An exhibition catalog, Art of Armor: Samurai Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, will be available in The Shops and online.

DAM 2DAM 3

Once you exit through the gift shop, the kids receive a¬†sticker to make a seal. ¬† Cross over 14th using the bridge (level 2) where you will arrive at the North Wing and the Samurai-themed kids activity area called the “Just for Fun Family Center.” ¬†Parents can relax here and the kids can dress up as Samurai, make hats with their family crest/seal, and practice building sculptures with soft, large, hand-sculpted wooden rocks made by Sam Mobley. ¬†In this area, kids can play games, draw, and cut loose. ¬†The mural backdrop by artist Jena Siedler transforms you to Japan while you relax and play. ¬†We had a blast today at the Denver Art Museum!

DAM 4Logistics & Information: ¬† The exhibit is family-friendly, but I recommend kids ages 5 and up will enjoy this, and not so much the younger kids. ¬†The museum¬†provides you an audio guide at the entrance, and there is a separate number series for families versus adults to hear. ¬† For the family guide, a “tengu” speaks to you about the pieces and trains you and the kids how to be a Samurai. ¬† In folklore, the Tengu is a half bird, half man, and you meet him at the end of your audio tour. ¬†The experience was fun for my kids, and they stayed engaged throughout the exhibit. ¬†It is quite an extensive collection, and we were very impressed with how well it was displayed, explained, and laid out. ¬† The exhibit is handicap accessible, and easy to push wheelchairs and strollers throughout the museum.

DAM 5Denver Art Museum does a great job with crowd control by doing timed entry for the special exhibit.  This ensures everyone enjoys the exhibit without being trampled, or overcrowded.  I wish other museums in the area would learn from this and follow suit.  It is so pleasant to walk around, read placards and enjoy the exhibit, rather than being shoved and so crowded-in that you cannot see a thing.  I absolutely love the Denver Art Museum for this reason, and this exhibit and the entire museum is enjoyable as a result.

You may buy your tickets on site, or online (by time), and it is not included with the general admission, so plan accordingly.  Members get a special rate, and there are senior, military and other discounts available.  Youth under age 18 are FREE at the Denver Art Museum but there is a $5 fee for them for this exhibit.   Photography is permitted in this area, but no FLASH photography is permitted.  The audio guides are well worth it!

The Museum is located near Civic Center Park, and there is ample garage open, but on Sundays, street parking is free.  Check the events calendar.  You can also park at the post office/federal building for $5, and walk a few blocks.  There are plenty of private paid lots as well.

Required Disclosure: ¬†My family and I attended the Denver Art Museum’s Samurai Exhibit for free in exchange for an honest review and posting information about this special exhibit. ¬†The opinions expressed here are my own.

Don’t miss this Groupon Deal (active now) for The Museum of Art in Denver or click below, and search for other great deals:
Once you click here, search for Denver Museum of Art. There is an amazing membership deal right now, you can try clicking here too.

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Colorado Garden & Home Show, Feb 13-21, 2016- Attend for Free!

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If you’d like two free tickets to the Colorado Garden & Home Show, post your name (first name) in the comments below, and I will pick a winner tomorrow evening. The Colorado Garden and Home Show is an amazing show case of vendors across the front range and the vendors are offering special discounts to attendees. ¬†Lots of swag, and lots to explore. ¬†The show started Saturday, Feb 13, and goes through the 21st, but beat the crowds and attend on a weekday. ¬†You can either park on the street around the Convention Center (2-hr limit) or at the Convention Center itself, and explore as long as you wish. ¬†I am going back later this week to get a few deals I wanted to do research on first. ¬†Don’t miss this show, and if you want free tickets, comment below for your chance to win. ¬†Kids are free, so only adults need tickets.

Disclaimer:  In exchange for free tickets to giveaway here, I was compensated with free attendance for two adults.

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N’awlins gal in Colorado – Parade of Mardi Gras King Cakes

New Orleans Tasty Donuts' McKenzie cake
New Orleans Tasty Donuts’ McKenzie cake

I grew up outside of New Orleans. ¬†I moved to Colorado in 2002, and since then, have always searched for comparable king cakes for Mardi Gras. Nothing compares to New Orleans king cakes, so far, especially my favorite from New Orleans: McKenzie’s or Tastee Donuts, but here are some options you can try if you miss the Big Easy in the Mile High City.

 

Note: If you come across other options, please share them in the comments.  We want to hear from you!  

1)  Rheinlander Bakery-  I posted about Rheinlander king cakes and they even improved their recipe.  Below are my two previous posts on Rheinlander King Cakes.  Rheinlander is an amazing bakery located in Old Town Arvada, Colorado.  They have amazing pastries, coffee, and made to order cakes.  Their king cakes are good, and freshly made, and they have improved their recipe a lot.

Rheinlander King Cakes for Katrina Mardi Gras
Rheinlander

The bread has just enough cinnamon, and the icing and sugar are not overwhelming. King cakes vary in price based on size, and come in several different filling and flavor options.  I still tend to go with cinnamon but there is apple and pecan.  I do not like all the extra filling and things.  i like the idea of sweet cake with light icing and sugar.  I like how Rheinlander provides a baby and some beads and a history on the King Cake and the cheapest is generally about $24.99 (goes up every year).  I find this is a bit pricey for king cake, considering you can have one shipped with all the fixings for $30 (includes overnight FedEx).

Mardi Gras King Cakes for Katrina- Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada, Colorado

Happy Mardi Gras- follow up review King Cakes for Katrina & Rheinlander Bakery in Arvada

2) Whole Whole Foods carries king cakesFoods is the latest (just since 2014 for us) to start selling Mardi Gras king cakes and they sell these for about $14.99 Рthey go up each year.  You can choose from filled, generally raspberry, apple or plain cinnamon.
The sugar is a bit coarser and definitely different than the sugar on a traditional New Orleans king cake but these are not very sweet, and I like that.  The bread is fine, and the toppings are not overwhelming.  You can pick them up and they tend to be fresh, but as with all things baked in Colorado, you have about 3 days to enjoy, freeze or toss.  Things just get dry here quicker, especially bread and pastries.  Of course, you can always make your own, which Whole Foods encourages you to do.  Here is a recipe to make your own delicious knock off King Cake.  Will it come to close my favorite from New Orleans?  Probably not, but worth a shot!

3) King Sooper’s or Kroger’s –¬†King soopers just introduced, this year (if they had them in the past, I never found it at my local shops), the Mardi Gras King Cake. ¬†It is about $6.99 with the card, and is a round, flat (not risen very well) Cinnamon roll with icing on it and sugar. ¬†The sugar is like the one from Rheinlander, but this cake is super sweet. ¬†You can’t have a lot, but it is flavorful and basically a giant cinnamon roll with icing on it. ¬†Add in the purple, yellow and green and some beads, and voila! King Soopers Mardi Gras King cakes¬†It is a Mardi Gras king cake. ¬†It’s okay, but the price can’t be beat for sure if you are having a Mardi Gras party in the Mile High City. ¬†Since the Broncos were in the superbowl this year, I got myself a Blue, Orange, and White one this year in hope they do not get crushed like last time. ¬†Don’t forget y’all, Peyton Manning is a hometown New Orleanean, even though he is QB for the Denver Broncos.

I plan to review more if you can share where I can get more King Cakes, but ’til then, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler and have a very Happy Mardi Gras!

 


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Santa HQ is at FlatIron Crossing Mall #SantaHQ #loveHGTV

SantaHQA magical journey awaits you and your little ones at FlatIrons Crossing Mall, now through Christmas Eve.¬† Don’t miss it!¬† HGTV has set up a Santa Headquarters at Flatiron Crossing Mall.¬† The journey starts as you are all transported to the North Pole.¬† When you enter, your children and even you (if you want) are scanned by the digital “Naughty or Nice O’Meter.”¬† It’s quite fun to see the kids’ faces as they get tagged one or the other.¬† You can sense how nervous they are as the scan meter lights up. wpid-20151114_121608.jpg wpid-20151114_121635.jpgwpid-20151114_121649.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you get a glimpse of Santa’s Command and Control Center, and Elf-Ray Vision in a 3D environment. You can see everything in this room in 3D!¬† Santa’s elves help guide you through this magical area, and the anticipation builds.wpid-20151114_121749.jpg

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wpid-20151114_122724.jpgBut, the journey doesn’t end there, you then take a picture with your entire group, before meeting the big man in red!¬† Get dressed up or go casual, but get ready to have fun with Santa, his elves, and all his cool equipment wpid-20151114_122816.jpgtransported temporarily from the North Pole to Flatirons Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colorado.¬† Some things to note: Strollers can go through Santa HQ, little ones (under 2) may not enjoy the control center as much as older kids.¬† But hopefully you can save your energy and get them to smile for the most important part- SANTA!¬† There is waiting as you go through, so best to make a reservation so there is less waiting.¬† Also, the photo package is very reasonable and for $29.99 (with some deals online if you book in advance), you can get several different poses, and sizes in a package with some bonuses thrown in.¬† There are other great things to buy if you are interested to make great stocking stuffers and presents for the grandparents.¬† I thought it was great fun for my kiddos but they are older, and more aware of what is going on.¬†¬† Check out this website and see if there is a Santa HQ near you.¬† Besides Colorado, there are other Santa HQ locations too!

Disclaimer: I was compensated by HGTV and Santa HQ for this post, but all opinions expressed here are honest and my own. 

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