Sparks of Magic

Dennys

When Festivities Take Over Your Breakfast

FoodCamilleComment

The day after Halloween ushers in Christmas in our home. Traditionally, we don't put our tree up until after Thanksgiving, but the holiday music and scents of Christmas and winter fill the air early. I may or may not have broken that tradition of holiday music and started listening back in September. :) 

The holiday season means flavors are infused in everything and you can literally taste Christmas with every bite. We love celebrating the holidays and all the amazing flavors that come with it. In conjunction with my partnership with Denny's, I invite you to try the new buttermilk pancakes infused with seasonal flavors! If you are not a pancake fan, don't fret, because there is something for everyone! My kids enjoy the Holiday Cookie Milk Shake, and enjoy seeing their favorite friends from Rudolph ™ on the Kid's Menu.

There are four new festive pancake breakfasts that you can enjoy until January 4, 2017 (each breakfast is served with two eggs and hash browns, with a choice of two strips of bacon or sausage links):

  • Salted Caramel & Banana Cream Pancake Breakfast - GUYS! There are shortbread cookie pieces in this buttermilk pancake concoction, along with vanilla cream, fresh bananas, and salted caramel sauce!
  • Pumpkin Cream Pancake Breakfast - These pumpkin pancakes are layered and topped with pumpkin cream!
  • Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast - Imagine the flavor in these buttermilk pancakes with glazed pecans cooked inside, topped with sweet cinnamon and cream cheese icing... yum.
  • Rudolph™ Pancake Breakfast - Who doesn't love to see a familiar face in their food? Kids will be tickled to see Rudolph served hot with turkey bacon antlers, topped with vanilla cream, and chocolate eyes and nose! 
Denny's Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast (Image © Denny's)

Denny's Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast (Image © Denny's)

Not in the mood for a full pancake breakfast? Denny's has you covered to enjoy the seasonal flavors and offers Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (a favorite of my daughter!), a Turkey & Dressing Dinner, and a new Holiday Cookie Milk Shake.

  • The Red Velvet Pancake Puppies are filled with white chocolate chips and tossed in powdered sugar - don't forget the cream cheese icing for dipping!
  • The Turkey & Dressing Dinner includes carved, premium turkey breast and served with stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce with a choice of two sides and dinner bread.
  • The Holiday Cookie Milk Shake is a new vanilla ice cream shake blended with cookie butter and topped with whipped cream and shortbread pieces!
Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (Image © Denny's)

Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (Image © Denny's)

If you are not in the mood for baking, you can order and pick up a traditional Denny's Pumpkin or Pecan pie whole, or by the slice, for family gatherings. Save your energy for holiday shopping and let Denny's treat you by making the dessert! If you'll be hitting the road for the holidays, remember that Denny's is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week - even Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if you happen to dine on a Tuesday night with the kids, they eat free!

Sadly for me, I cannot try any of the items since they don't have gluten free options (even the milkshake *crying inside*), but if I could, I'd be all over that Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast! :) I'll be enjoying Denny's classic hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and my gluten free breakfast sandwich! 

Which item entices you the most this season? 

This conversation was sponsored by Denny's, as I am a member of the 2016 Denny's Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and always mine. :)

Finish off September with FREE Pancakes for the Kids & a Great Cause!

FoodCamilleComment

The season of fall has arrived! I'm always excited for cooler weather and warm drinks like hot chocolate, especially with a nice fluffy stack of pancakes. My sister swears by Denny's amazing hot chocolate so I am going to be trying it myself soon. I consider myself a hot cocoa connoisseur, so we will see about that. :) I'm always up for a challenge!

Kids are back in school, holidays are coming soon (yes, I know it's only September, but I can't help it). And every year, Denny's teams up with non-profit organization, No Kid Hungry, a company that partners with local schools and communities in helping to end child hunger in America. To date, Denny's has donated $3.3 million to the organization, assisting children throughout America. This year was the sixth year of participation on behalf of the restaurant and its team. 

With the launch of the new fluffier pancakes this summer, and for the month of September, Denny's offers free pancakes to its littlest fans every day from 4 pm - 10 pm, with the purchase of an adult entree. This gives kids (who happen to be the toughest critics) the opportunity to see how Denny's new recipe stacks up.

Along with the promotion, For every $1 donated, Denny's and No Kid Hungry will provide 10 healthy meals to a child in need. Not only does the organization provide meals, but they give assistance with meal planning and budgeting for families.

Image © No Kid Hungry

Image © No Kid Hungry

Specifically in California, 1 in 4 children struggle with hunger... that's 25% of children. That is not okay. However, thanks to No Kid Hungry and 18 of its partners in CA, the goal is to satisfy and fill the tummies of our state's children. Our kids' school district offers free and reduced lunch for eligible families, and free breakfast for all children. Giving kids the nutrients and energy needed to function for the day is important and benefits them, but also their classmates and teachers. It's hard to focus when you're hungry (or like my kids - hangry), so I can't even imagine a child not having the basic needs of food fulfilled just to get through a school day.

Image © No Kid Hungry

Image © No Kid Hungry

If you're not able to visit your local Denny's in September to donate, you can visit dennysnokidhungry.com and if you'd like to be part of the yearlong movement, Denny's will be donating $1 for every hashtag #ShareYourSlam on Twitter and Instagram.

Get your kids involved, too! We participated last year as well, and my boys were eager to help make sure kids were not going hungry. You can read that here.

Image © No Kid Hungry

Image © No Kid Hungry

About No Kid Hungry®

No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.

This conversation was sponsored by Denny's in an ongoing partnership to bring awareness to the needs of hungry children in America, as I am a member of Denny's Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and always mine. :)

The Fluffier, The Better!

FoodCamilleComment

Pancakes. PANCAKES. P A N C A K E S.

I love them. My kids love them. I think most people love them. 

Know what I don't love about them? Making them. Maybe it's just me, but making pancakes can be messy. I feel like I can't make them fast enough for this little army of mine. On the rare occasion that I am energized enough to wake up early to cook pancakes for a family of seven, I do enjoy it, but it has to be in the quiet of the morning. I just wish I had a pancake machine.

Since I'm gluten free, I make my pancakes from scratch, but since it takes a while longer to get my stuff together, the hubby and kids now opt to make pancakes (that "just add water" stuff) on their own. I am okay with it, as long as they clean up their messes and make sure the glutenous particles have left the building before I need to use the kitchen.

While it's special and sweet that they enjoy making a big mess in my kitchen, I really would rather them head to our #1 pancake spot, Denny's for their fill of gluten (sans the mess).

Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast - Image © Denny's

Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast - Image © Denny's

For many people, there is nostalgia in home-made breakfasts, like pancakes. With that in mind, Denny's has recreated their pancake, which is 50% fluffier and packed with a home-made cakey flavor, than ever before. Using real eggs, fresh buttermilk and a hint of vanilla, they are hand whipping the goodness into fluffy, tasty clouds for their guests. I think it's awesome, though I won't be partaking in the pancake party, I will continue to advocate for those of us that have allergies, because it just plain sucks having to watch everyone devour fluffy pancakes while you eat an English muffin. I hope Denny's hears my cries at some point and perhaps offers some gluten free cakes in the future.

Denny's has also expanded its current pancake offerings to include four limited-time Signature Builds: The Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast, Strawberries and Cream Pancake Breakfast, Double Berry Banana Pancake Breakfast, and Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfast.

While I am extremely excited to see the faces of my kids as they chow down on The Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast, I will be honest as I am equally nervous of the Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfast, due to the severe peanut allergy that my daughter has (she also happens to be the serious lover of pancakes). The nice thing is, because I frequent the same Denny's I can chat with the manager and the team regarding their kitchen practices in making sure she has a safe dining experience with this new addition to the menu. 

Strawberries and Cream Pancake Breakfast - Image © Denny's

Strawberries and Cream Pancake Breakfast - Image © Denny's

If I could eat any of these new builds, it would be Strawberries and Cream or Double Berry Banana. There's just something about fruit and whipped cream that makes me happy inside. For the first time, Denny's will be offering these Signature Builds as junior size for the kiddos. If you're looking for extra ways to save and enjoy a family meal, head to Denny's on Tuesday nights, as kids eat free. 

Denny's pancake party isn't just in the restaurants, you can experience the fun on social media, too! Dine at Denny's and you can use the fun Snapchat filters to tell your friends and followers that you're having a pancake party, participate in Facebook Live events and you can always find entertainment on Denny's YouTube channel. Denny's also has a "Pancake Rejection Simulator" application where guests have to break the news to family members, telling them that their homemade pancakes are now second best (insert nervous emoticon here). All in all, it's in good fun and great flavor, so enjoy the limited-time tastes and experience. 

Make sure to check out the menu online and go have a pancake party at your local Denny's, with your favorite people! Remember, Denny's serves breakfast ALL DAY!

This conversation was sponsored by Denny's in an ongoing partnership to bring you the newest menus and special offerings, as I am a member of Denny's Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and mine. :)

Moments in Dining Out Together

Thoughts, Family, FoodCamilleComment

If you're anything like me, dinner time can be hit or miss. With the hustle and bustle of working full time and coming home and assuming the "homework dance," while attempting to cook dinner with your spouse, whilst having a conversation, it gets pretty overwhelming. Sometimes, it's nice to just say to cooking, "not today," and plan for a night out.

Whether we sit together at our own dinner table, or plan a special time out to eat together, there is something special about sharing a meal with your family. At the end of a long day, even if I do spend time in the kitchen, sitting down with my family brings comfort, peace and I love the interactions that ensue.

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This past week I began a new year as part of Denny's Ambassador Council, so it was a special treat to take the kids out (on a school night at that!), and share a family meal. My kids & I love our local Denny's in Lodi (I-5 and Hwy 12); the staff is always very attentive, they take great care of us, and the experience is always wonderful.

I know that I've shared before that Kids Eat Free on Tuesday nights, and with a large family, we like to take advantage of the savings! We specifically went to Denny's to try their newest menu "Red, White and Bacon!" Do you love bacon? Because my family LOOOOVES bacon (I won't lie, I'm eating a gluten free bacon breakfast sandwich as I type). My kids freaked out when I told them the menu was all about bacon. They were immediately sold and the countdown to our Tuesday night excursion began.

For all of my bacon-loving movie fans, Denny's "Red, White and Bacon" menu is a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and their new film, Independence Day: Resurgence. 

Our kids are usually little angels when we go out. All of a sudden they remember their Ps and Qs, they are cordial with each other, and they share food! I often think we should go out more often for that alone! Unfortunately, the pocket book doesn't always agree, so we get out when we can, and make it memorable with each experience. 

If your kids can eat off the kids menu, let them. We encourage it, especially when we are looking to save a bit of money and honestly they get enough food, even as little tweens. Now, we do have a couple that can eat off the adult menu, so then we add an extra side (usually 99¢) from the kids' menu.

Selecting their food is half the fun, as the kids' menu changes just like the adult menu. Our kids still love to color and do the activities in the menu. I seriously hope they always keep their love for creating and handwriting, along with their childlike spirits! They are so fun!

The kid's menu doesn't have anything "new" but the activities, and you CAN substitute the new honey jalapeño bacon for regular bacon and it is delicious!

MOMENTS NEVER FORGOTTEN

I think my favorite times when we eat out include the conversation. The kids are always entertaining, and it is sweet to see how they are growing up into little adults. We will never get these moments back. Some days are absolutely trying as a parent, but nothing brings a smile to your face more than a stranger encouraging you and telling you how wonderful it is to see a large family enjoying meal OUTSIDE the home. I think it's rare to see large families out and about, let alone confined in a restaurant. There was a time when we didn't really go out because being outnumbered by toddlers and little ones isn't always fun and games (for them it is, though). Ha. But they are growing up, and have almost mastered their inside voices that getting out is good for ALL of us, especially on those nights where my "not today" attitude is showing. Food brings us together, and it's been blessing to have more opportunities to get out and dine together as a family. So, thank you Denny's! 

THE MENU

Some of the new and returning things that you'll see in this limited edition menu include:

  • Red, White & Blue Slam® - It's back! In honor of "Independence Day: Resurgence" this classic entree includes two fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberries, cream cheese icing, and whipped cream. Of course, a slam isn't complete without two eggs cooked to order, hash browns, and your choice of two bacon strips or sausage links.
  • Honey Jalapeño Bacon Slam® - Everything that the Slam is known for – two eggs cooked to order, two buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, and thick-cut honey jalapeño bacon.
  • Triple Bacon Sampler - SIX strips of bacon!! Two strips each of honey jalapeño bacon, turkey bacon, and hickory smoked bacon, hash browns, two eggs cooked to order, and your choice of bread (don't forget they have gluten free).
  • Honey Jalapeño Bacon Sriracha Burger - This is a Sriracha seasoned, hand pressed 100% beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, two strips of honey jalapeño bacon and creamy Sriracha sauce, served on Denny's new brioche bun with a  side of French fries.
  • Loaded Bacon, Steak & Potato Skillet - note, this does not include honey jalapeno bacon, but it can be substituted!
  • Bacon Cheddar Tots - House-made shredded potatoes, bacon and cheddar cheese, served with sour cream for dipping! I bet this would actually taste good with ketchup. Or ranch. Or both. Just saying.
  • Maple Bacon Sundae - say WHAT?! I'll have to go to Denny's again, but on an empty stomach, because honestly by the time we got to dessert, I couldn't look at anymore bacon. :) It is on our "try next" list. This is exactly what it sounds like. Premium vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and crispy bacon.  
  • Sweet Blueberry Sensations beverages
    • Lemon Berry Smoothie
    • Berry Blue Lemonade

ENTER THE SPECIAL SWEEPSTAKES

For a limited time, Denny's and Twentieth Century Fox are inviting you to participate in a fun sweepstakes, with the grand prize being whisked away to the red carpet for the Hollywood premier of Independence Day: Resurgence!

You can enter by posting a photo of a person that you'd want fighting alongside of you, should we ever encounter an alien invasion! Use the hashtag #IDRSweepstakes on Twitter and Instagram and be entered to win an all-inclusive trip to the Hollywood premier!

Are you enticed by the deliciousness of bacon? I'm not sure how well you can fight off aliens on a full stomach, but at that point I don't think you'd care. :)

This yummy conversation was sponsored by Denny's in an ongoing partnership to bring you the newest menus and special offerings, I am a  member of Denny's Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and mine. :)

The Christmas Season Brings New Flavors

FoodCamilleComment

Well, it’s officially the Christmas season. The year has seemingly flown by and with Thanksgiving now on the back burner, people are okay with mentioning Christmas carols and seeing dancing lights amongst their neighbors homes. I’m okay with Christmas any and every day.

If you know me personally, you know that I love all the Christmas things. To be honest, I started listening to Christmas music the day after Christmas last year off and on, but the consistency picked up probably around July. One of my favorite songs is the holiday version of "it's a small world." You must also know that I love all Disney Christmas, too.

Some of my favorite pastimes of the holiday season is going to Disneyland, or viewing Christmas movies with my family, while drinking my homemade peppermint mocha. I also love Christmas shopping and holiday flavored/scented everything - from candles to cupcakes. So, naturally, it’s no surprise then if I tell you how excited I am for Denny’s Tastes of the Holidays menu! Even though I cannot eat most of it, just knowing that my family can enjoy my serious love for Christmas and I can live vicariously through them, makes me happy.

Image courtesy © Denny's

Image courtesy © Denny's

This holiday season, Denny’s is unwrapping three new festive dishes, a fun Rudolph Pancake Breakfast that was inspired by the classic and famous little red-nosed reindeer himself, which includes two pancakes with turkey-bacon antlers, whipped cream, chocolate eyes and nose, with sides of eggs and hash browns; a fluffy Pumpkin Pecan Pie Pancake Breakfast that will treat your taste buds with pumpkin pancakes decked out with pecans and pecan pie sauce, served with eggs, hash browns and either bacon or sausage; and a sizzling Holiday Harvest Skillet served up with a blend of gouda-apple chicken sausage on flavorful red-skinned potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and fire-roasted bell peppers and onions. To top that sizzle off, there’s an Italian cheese blend and your choice of two eggs. Just writing this all out is making me drool for breakfast!

In addition to the new flavors, the returning dishes include the Build Your Own Holiday Slam® returns, where you can customize your breakfast and include pumpkin pancakes and gouda-apple chicken sausage, and the traditional Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner, complete with sliced turkey breast, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce - plus two sides of dinner bread!

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I love to get the kids a little midday treat, and since Denny’s offers take out, one of the things that we will take advantage of this season is ordering the Santa’s Milk & Cookie Shake. While I am secretly crying inside because it is chock-full of sugar cookies, inevitably meaning I cannot enjoy this due to my food allergy, I know that my kids will love it. It looks so cute and festive! The shake is vanilla flavored with a blend of sugar cookies topped with whip cream and sugar cookie crumbles. I might have to make my own gluten free version at home and perhaps add a dash of peppermint or candy canes! 

Image courtesy © Denny's

Image courtesy © Denny's

One of the little holiday treats that your kids will enjoy is the new menu! It’s all about the holiday, and features Rudolph and friends. You will also see the new Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer kid’s cup, which would be oh-so-cute to add to our cup collection and the kids can enjoy homemade peppermint shakes or drink their favorite cold beverage.

Image courtesy © Denny's

Image courtesy © Denny's

I’m truly grateful for my time with Denny’s this year, it has given us an opportunity to get the kids out of the house for special meals, and have new experiences in dining. We all tried new things, and found new favorites. Our local Denny’s was always warm and inviting, and they took really good care of us each visit. 

Remember, kids eat free on Tuesdays, so make it a family night!

This holiday conversation was sponsored by Denny's; all opinions and magical thoughts are 100% mine.

How a Family of Seven Can Eat At #DennysDiners for Under $25!

Family, FoodCamilleComment

When you think of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's always nice to have a night out with the family, especially when you know that you won't be spending a ton of money! I made a plan to budget some money for a family dinner night at Denny's, with a goal of spending less than $25 before the tip, for all of seven us.

Sounds impossible, doesn't it? But I'm happy to report that not only was it possible, three of us even ended up eating off the regular menu, not the $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu! Every family is different and you must take into consideration any food allergies, or picky eaters. But once you get that squared away, it's pretty easy! Here are four easy tips on making your dollar stretch when you want to eat out at Denny's.

1. Find out when your local Denny's has "Kids Eat Free" night.

Our Denny's "Kids Eat Free" night is on Tuesday nights from 4 pm - 10 pm. The requirement for kids (13 and under) eating free is that one (1) adult purchases an entree $4 or more. Their meal does not include drinks. And the adult entree order can be from of the $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu.

You should also know that one adult entree entitles ALL of the children in your party to eat for free; this is the real deal, not a one-for-one special that many other places have. Obviously, since our kids outnumber us by 3, it's really nice and budget-friendly.

2. Plan your meal ahead of time with the kids.

Because I was challenging my wallet, I wanted to make sure there were no hiccups or "add ons" when ordering. This means, our kids didn't order drinks, just had water. I know, terrible, right? They're used to it because we typically don't drink soda or juice at home. Every once in a while they'll get a Shirley Temple or hot cocoa when we eat out, but that is not often.

They also understood that they couldn't add a million extra sides to their meal because each one costs extra. Instead of each of them tacking on french fries, we just ordered one big side order for $2 and they shared it. I should have clarified with our server if their extra sides were covered, but forgot to ask. 

Having your kids be part of the challenge is also fun because they try to figure out how much they can eat, or order within that monetary amount. You help them become decision makers and understand the value of money and what it can or can't buy. Luckily, for us, we ate when they got free meals, so ultimately it didn't matter as long as they ate from the kids' menu.

3. The $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu

For the kids that don't get enough in their tummies off the kids' menu, you can order from the $2 $4 $6 $8 value menu. My eldest (14) ordered the $6 Eggs in a Basket and she had so much food, she ended up bringing her hash browns home. When we realized the kids would eat for free, my husband and I deviated from ordering from the value menu, mine for allergy reasons; him, because he really wanted the Super Bird ($9.69) sandwich, haha.

You should also note that when you order from the value menu there are no substitutions, not even for allergy reasons. I think that is something they should consider in the future, considering the price of the gluten-free english muffin is the same price as the side of toast slices they'd use for the sandwich. In the end it didn't even matter because they were out of stock on the bread (even after calling ahead of time to confirm they had some), so I just ate chicken sausage, egg whites, and hash browns.

Here's a glimpse at the menu, there is a lot that you can choose from and even if your entire family at from the value menu you can still save!

4. Use coupons!

Denny's often does advertising through coupons in the paper or daily mail. Additionally, make sure to sign up at Dennys.com for rewards and you get a 20% off coupon. Since we recently participated in the Denny's No Kid Hungry initiative, we had a $5 off $20 coupon which came in handy for this trip.

Okay, so our grand total (not including the tip) was $24.04! That's pretty awesome for feeding all seven of us!

The kids are excited about the new holiday menu, including a holiday spirited milkshake and Rudolph pancakes! Stay tuned for our next adventure! :)


This is a sponsored conversation through my partnership with Denny's. All opinions shared are mine and hopefully added some magic to your day!

A Conversation About Charity, Over Ice Cream Shakes

Family, FoodCamilleComment

It's the last week of school before my kids will have their first quarter, two-week break. During this final week, my boys have 1/2 day sessions all week. In an effort to spice things up, and keep my sanity, I thought it would be a fun surprise to take them out on a little dessert date before we started homework. I met with both of their teachers in the morning for parent conferences, and I'm happy to report that they are both doing well. So, I whisked them away and we went on a Mommy/Sons date to Denny's! As brand ambassador, I make it a point to visit my local Denny's and chat with them about any promotions. In this case, I was prepared to discuss Denny's joint effort with No Kid Hungry. 


The minute we walked into Denny's they stood in amazement at all of the campaign fliers posted, signs on the table, and walls full of people's names. What simply started out as a fun dessert date with my boys turned into much more, as I shared with them the campaign I was working on with Denny's and No Kid Hungry.

They colored and ordered their Oreo blaster shakes. They also had fun testing out the Dreamworks COLOR app with the new HOME, Dinotrux, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman kids' menu. We talked a lot about food, and after all of their questions, I shared my part in the No Kids Hungry campaign. Sometimes I forget that inquiring minds want to know what I'm up to, and it was actually a proud moment for me because they understood the importance of the campaign.

For our family, we've been blessed to have huge support system with family members that lend a helping hand if we ever need it. I told them that not all kids have that luxury, and as a family that is blessed to receive help when we need it, we should pay it forward and do what we can to help others in need. I broke down the donation monetary amounts for them (it was a fun little math lesson), and told them that $1 provides up to 10 meals, and $10 provided up to 100! They thought that was pretty awesome, and immediately asked if we could participate... because, "kids are hungry and it's not right for them to be if everyone just helps." My eldest son had a sad look on his face and said he wished he didn't spend all his birthday money (way back in April) because he would give $10 to donate for 100 meals. I reassured him that we can't go backwards in time, only forward. So they can be mindful and grateful for all that they get to eat, and be willing to share what they have with others.

As I shared in my previous post for this initial campaign, my kids thankfully have never gone hungry for lack of food. The many times they are hungry, is usually due to a picky palate, not because they don't have anything to eat. This campaign really reminded me of the luxuries afforded to us that so many don't have. 

Did you know that if you dine in the restaurant and donate $3, you'll get coupons in return, well over the amount of your donation, for future dining? My boys were most excited to write their names on the wall, knowing we helped to give 30 meals to other kids today. They are both very tender hearted and simply can't imagine the thought of not being able to eat when they need it most.

Kids are so active, and the lack of nutrition truly affects their moods, retaining information and is a determining factor in their behavior. This cause is so important for that reason alone. We are talking about the future of our country – the minds of our children. 

If you're not able to get to a Denny's location, you're always welcome to donate directly through my fundraising link; there's still time to support the cause in ending child hunger in America. I hope you'll join me and my family, Denny's and No Kid Hungry as we work to bring awareness to this nationwide issue of child hunger.

This conversation was sponsored by Denny's. While I have been compensated to share my thoughts and help bring awareness to the No Kid Hungry campaign, All thoughts and opinions shared are mine.

Let's Share Our Strength with Denny's and No Kid Hungry

Thoughts, FoodCamilleComment

Throughout life there are times where we sit back and reflect on what we have, the privileges afforded to us, and blessings received. As I have partnered with Denny's recently, one of the organizations that they are connected to is No Kid Hungry. When I was asked to participate in this awareness campaign, I knew it would be one that I'd be proud of. The numbers don't lie. In fact it's unsettling when you realize just how many kids are going without food in America.

photo courtesy No Kid Hungry

photo courtesy No Kid Hungry

Did you know that 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year? Here –yes, in America. I know that we know there are poverty-stricken areas, but even the middle class is hit with these scenarios. If we get a little more detailed, here in California, 1 in 4 kids will struggle or have struggled this year. Only 53% of kids that qualify or free/reduced lunch also get school breakfast. Sadly, only 20% of kids that qualify for free/reduced lunches will have summer meals. 

In our local school district, all kids are able to get free breakfast, and over the summer, they did free breakfast and lunch for any child under 18. Man, that's a lot of kids without basic meals. Having a system in place like this allows for every child to get extra nutrients before putting their little minds to work.

Learning and growing is dependent on nutrition, and when a person (myself included) is hungry, we know it is hard to focus and concentrate. I appreciate the many teachers and administrators that notice this and help those children in need, sometimes even out of their own pockets! I've heard countless stories of children not having enough food, and it affects their education, on top of everything else.

photo courtesy No Kid Hungry

photo courtesy No Kid Hungry

I can't imagine the thought of my children having to miss meals due to lack of food. But that is the reality for many families. We do our best to teach our children to be grateful, and appreciative of all that they have; to learn to eat food, even if it isn't their favorite, and to not waste food that they are given. We teach our children to give, and the help others.

While I am a paid member of Denny's Diner Ambassador Council, I am so proud to be part of the No Kid Hungry campaign. I would love for you to please help me and our Ambassador team as we raise funds for this important cause.

Please check out my fundraising page – all proceeds will go directly to No Kid Hungry.

About No Kid Hungry

A non-profit organization dedicated to helping to feed children across America. The campaign itself connects kids with nutritious foods, and teaches their families how to cook healthy meals. For more information on the No Kid Hungry campaign initiative visit their website.

I'm grateful for each and every one of you that took the time to read, those that will donate, and if you feel inclined, please share this message!  

Disclaimer: I am a member of Denny's Ambassador Council, and while this post has been sponsored, all thoughts and opinions are mine. 

Eating Healthy & #GlutenFree at Denny's

Reviews, FoodCamilleComment

One of the downfalls of having a food allergy is that in smaller towns, usually there are less options for dining out. For our family, though, we typically don't eat out, so this doesn't affect me as much as it does for others. Thankfully, I have found ways to eat semi-healthy and remain pain free when eating out. One restaurant that has been really accommodating is our local Denny's. 

When I first started this ambassadorship with Denny's, I knew it would be a great opportunity to take the kids out as a family or on special dates to experience America's beloved diner. Little did I know that I'd actually have quite a bit of options myself, being allergic to gluten and attempting to have a fairly healthy eating lifestyle. 

The Fit Fare Menu

One of my favorite features of Denny's healthier eating initiative is the Fit Fare menu.

Did you know that there are over 250 ways to Build-Your-Own Grand Slam®? Plus, there are four special categories (and you'll see cute little colored heart symbols for each) on the Fit Fare® menu:

  • Lean - 15g of fat or less
  • Light - 550 calories or less
  • Protein - 20g or more
  • Fiber -  8g or more

If you're watching your fat intake or wanting to increase your protein and/or fiber intake, having these options are necessary and convenient. Some menu items will have a couple of symbols attached to its nutritional value, others will have

Typically, I order just sides instead of entrees, or I will eat something before we go out as a family or on a date. But with the array of menu items, I am happy to say that I now eat full entrees when we hit the town. 

FitSlam.jpg

I'm really looking forward to my next Denny's date because I will be ordering the Fit Slam® from the Fit Fare® menu. The Fit Slam® consists of scrambled egg whites, spinach and grape tomatoes, bacon, seasonal fruit, and English muffins. I'm extremely excited to announce that some Denny's diners do offer gluten-free English muffins and they'll pair perfectly with the Fit Slam®!

We know that Denny's offers breakfast all day, which is awesome, and on days that I don't necessarily want to eat a heavy dinner, I think having the option for a light breakfast-type meal for dinner is not only versatile, but my body feels so much better after eating.

Another meal I'm looking forward to trying is the Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad. << YUM>> A delicious breakfast alternative, this will be a delightful lunch or dinner date meal. I don't really make salads at home, my kids don't eat them as much as they do other veggie dishes, so I usually reserve salads for when I eat out. 

There are eight (8) menu items, plus an additional one for the senior population, on the Fit Fare® menu. When you add in the many ways to enjoy your own Grand Slam®, you really can't go wrong! I'm excited to be a partner with an organization that is making steps to increase a healthier eating style for those that want it. Having options is always better, and in the end it does increase consumer loyalty because I know that when I am out of town, I can count on Denny's to have food items that fit within my family's food lifestyle.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and twitter, that's where I share all of my eating fun, on-the-go!

I am a member of Denny's Ambassador Council, and while this post has been sponsored and I have been compensated, all thoughts and opinions are mine. I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences with my family at Denny's! 

Something 'Slamtastic' is Happening at Denny's!

Food, EntertainmentCamilleComment
Slamtastic-Four-Menu.png

Super heroes are all the rage, so it's no wonder that Denny's is tapping into their power source and teaming up with 20th Century Fox to showcase the upcoming adventure, Fantastic Four! This week, as of June 23rd, Denny's launched a "Slamtastic 4" specialty menu at its restaurants that includes meals like The Thing Burger, a sizzling Human Torch Skillet, a delicious Fantastic Four-Cheese Omelette, and the Invisible Woman Slam®. 

The new Slamtastic 4 Menu / Fantastic Four © 20th Century Fox/MARVEL

My husband and I took two of our kids on a fun little date to Denny's this week for shakes & treats, and my daughter ordered the Strawberry Pancake Puppies® which she devoured!! The "Puppies" came with a delicious cream cheese icing and powdered sugar. She had a full tummy from her spaghetti so she ordered them "to-go" and I told her, okay, Mommy needs a picture for my blog, so don't eat them yet! Needless to say, they didn't make it home! Yikes! Guess we'll have to go back so we can share pics on social media. :) 

The kids loved seeing the Fantastic Four characters on the menus and signage throughout Denny's. They're excited to see the film this summer! Since we only had treats, I enjoyed half of a chocolate shake and fries, I am anxious to return and try out the Human Torch Skillet or the Fantastic Four-Cheese Omelette! My other daughters love fruit with their pancakes so the Invisible Woman Slam will be calling their names. 

In addition to the main meals, there is a new Fantastic Four-Fruit Smoothie & the Dr. Doom Lava Cake. They all look amazing, and the smoothie will be a great healthy option when you're not feeling super hungry. The portion sizes are always very adequate, and the adult meals are big enough to share between the kids.  

Menu Update

They've revamped our Denny's menus and labeled items as gluten-free! Oh, and get this – I spotted options for gluten-free English muffins! I will be checking those out on my text trip and will give a full report for my gluten-free readers. It's so awesome to see changes being made to accommodate allergies. Remember that if you do have an allergy, let them know so that appropriate measures will be taken to prevent cross-contact issues.

Enter the Sweepstakes!

Not only will the restaurant be showcasing stellar menu imagery and new meals & desserts, but now through July 19th, you can enter to win the ultimate FAN trip for two, to the Fantastic Four movie premiere on August 4th!! All you need to do is visit www.dennysfantastic4.com and enter to win! 

Fantastic Four will hit theaters nationwide on August 7, 2015. The film is a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team. The film centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. – 20th Century Fox
Enter to Win! / © Denny's / 20th Century Fox / MARVEL

Enter to Win! / © Denny's / 20th Century Fox / MARVEL

I don't know about you, but I am excited to see this film in August. I'm also interested to see a new story and rendition of this age-old classic hero film. But we don't have to wait until the film releases before we can get a taste of the movie. You'll see TV spots the week of July 6th and if you follow Denny's Diner on Instagram (@DennysDiner), you can check out exclusive clips of the film!

Have you tried out the new menu items? What did you think?!
Disclaimer: I am a Denny's Diner ambassador and am dedicated to sharing the latest and greatest Denny's news with you. While I have been compensated for this post, all opinions are 100% mine and always magical.