Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oatmeal: The Original Superfood

In today’s health-conscious society, “superfood” is a buzzword that gets bandied about a lot. By definition, a superfood is a food that has an abundance of astounding health properties and is good for you in a number of ways. Oatmeal, once looked upon as a bland, somewhat boring breakfast choice, is actually a powerful superfood in its own right, and should be given the respect it deserves. Here are some ways that unassuming, quiet oatmeal is actually a superfood in disguise. Be sure to incorporate some oatmeal into your diet today!


Heart-Healthy
Oats have long been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. This is because of avenanthramide, a bio-active antioxidant compound that is as beneficial as it is hard to pronounce. Researchers have found that avenanthramide can keep arteries clean, prevent fatty buildup and reduce your overall risk of heart disease and cancer, and it can be found right in your morning bowl of oatmeal!


Nutrient-Rich
In addition to an impressive 6 grams of protein per cup, oatmeal is packed with important nutrients such as folic acid,  vitamin B, manganese and magnesium. These nutrients are all beneficial to your overall health and wellness.


Obesity-Battling
If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll be interested to know that oatmeal helps stave off those hunger pangs for much longer than another type of breakfast food. Because oats are considered “low-glycemic carbohydrates,” it takes your body a while to fully digest and absorb them, which means that you will not feel hungry again for a while after eating a 150-calorie bowl of oatmeal. Additionally, children who eat oatmeal every morning were found to be 50 percent less likely to be obese than children who ate other breakfast foods, according to a study in the National Post.


High-Fiber
Packed with 4 grams of fiber per cup, oats contain enough fiber to reduce cholesterol by as much as 23 percent. The fiber found in oatmeal, beta-glucan, works as a cleaning agent for your intestines, scrubbing them out and reducing constipation. Not only is fiber important for maintaining a healthy cholesterol level and digestive tract, but it is also able to reduce heartburn in people who suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Now that you know how oatmeal can work for you, all you have to do is figure out how you like to eat it best. Have a delicious oatmeal-based recipe? Share it in the comments.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Let's Hear it for Hummus!


Over the past decade or so, hummus, a once-obscure Middle Eastern garbanzo bean dip, has become one of the most popular dishes in the United States. Whether you are at a backyard barbecue, a baby shower, or an upscale eatery, you are almost certain to come into contact with at least one hummus-inspired appetizer or entree. It’s no wonder- not only is hummus relatively simple to make at home, but it also has a surprisingly high number of health benefits. Here are a few facts you should know before you make hummus a staple in your diet.


It’s a great source of protein. People who prefer plant-based protein in their diet will be happy to know that hummus is a particularly protein-rich food. Vegetarians and vegans can use hummus as one of their primary sources of protein and rest assured that they are getting enough of the essential building block that improves the overall health of our skin, bone, muscle and blood.

It can help lower cholesterol. If you are on a low-cholesterol diet, or if you simply wish to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, hummus can be the key. Since hummus’ primary ingredient is garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, it is a food that can help keep your heart healthy, as all beans contain nutrients that can help lower cholesterol. However, make sure to avoid store brands of hummus that are high in sodium if you are really looking to keep your heart as healthy as possible.



It can improve bone strength. Since garbanzo beans and tahini, the two main ingredients in hummus, contain calcium, hummus is a particularly good food choice for post-menopausal women looking to maintain their bone density and avoid osteoporosis.

It’s loaded with iron. Chickpeas and tahini (a sesame seed paste) are good sources of iron, which helps oxygenate red blood cells. Anyone with an iron deficiency will be happy to know that eating hummus can help combat their anemia and get the boost in their iron intake that they need.


Have any other fun health facts about hummus? Please share in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cooking with Chef Mark: How to Julienne Fine Cut Carrots

Ever wonder how to get super thin vegetables? It is actually easier to cut yourself than you think. Chef Mark is here to demonstrate how to get the Julienne (super thin) Cut carrots. Care about your food and have great knife skills for food preparation for an amazing meal for your family and friends.



 With a little practice and patience, you can make your vegetables super thin just as though you were a famous restaurant chef.

What special knife skills do you have that make your meals at home special? Share it with us in the comment section.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What the Heck is Hygge?

Quick: are you into hygge? Chances are, most of you are staring at your screen trying to figure out what we just asked you. Is it a style of yoga? A new yogurt-based diet trend? A hip new dance? The answer is far simpler than you think: hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga” is a Danish concept based on the principle of finding happiness and comfort in everyday life. Hygge can be roughly translated to “cozy contentment,” and those who are inspired by the Danes to embrace hygge in their lives report a sense of enjoyment, happiness and wellbeing in even the smallest things in life.

Perhaps the best thing about hygge is that it can literally be anywhere you look for it, as long as something brings you joy. Being mindful and appreciative of people and things that matter to you can help you find your sense of hygge and lead a stronger, more purposeful life. Here are some tips on how to achieve hygge within your everyday life:


Get comfy- In order to achieve the warm, fuzzy feeling associated with hygge, it is essential to make your home and surroundings as comfortable as possible. Cashmere socks, snuggly throw blankets and warm sweaters with plush textures can all contribute to your sense of hygge.



Keep it simple- Hygge is all about finding beauty in simplicity. Whether you choose to embrace the simple life by inviting a couple of friends over for a no-frills, home-cooked dinner or by spending a relaxing evening in an overstuffed armchair with a glass of red wine and one of your most beloved books is up to you. Find the joy in the simple things in life and you’ll have hygge locked down!


Love your friends and family- Of course you already do this, but to gain true hygge perspective, try spending more quality time with your loved ones. Simply chatting around a warm log fire or relaxing on a big comfy couch and telling stories of good times past can deepen your connection to one another and give all of your an immense sense of inner peace and well-being.


Bring nature in (or bring yourself out!)- Connecting with nature is one of the foundations of the concept of hygge. There’s nothing quite as uplifting for the soul as a walk through the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air and feeling your heart pump in your chest while you think your thoughts. If you can’t get outdoors at the moment, do the next best thing and bring the best of nature inside the house with you: a well-placed bowl of pinecones, an antique vase filled with wildflowers, or a collection of pressed fall leaves will boost the hygge factor each time you look at them.

For more about hygge and what it can do for your life, read this interesting article from House Beautiful, and please let us know how hygge is going for you in the comments section.  


Friday, March 24, 2017

Recipe- Blueberry Pecan Pancake Breakfast Casserole

Be the star of brunch with this surprisingly easy, mind-blowingly delicious casserole.

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 5 large eggs, divided
  • Unsalted butter, for griddle
  • 1 6-oz. package fresh blueberries, divided
  • 2 c. half-and-half
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Honey Sour Cream
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • Kosher salt

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Whip together milk, sour cream, and 1 egg in a second bowl. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just blended and smooth.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet or a griddle over medium heat; butter. Pour ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto griddle. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until plump and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Slice each pancake in half and arrange, flat side down, in two snug rows in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Scatter half of blueberries over pancakes, tucking a few between pancakes. Whisk together half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, remaining 4 eggs, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Pour egg mixture over pancakes. Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  • Bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with remaining blueberries and drizzle with Honey Sour Cream. Serve warm.
  • Honey Sour Cream: Whisk together sour cream, half-and-half, honey, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Makes 1/2 cup.
  • Serves 6

Monday, February 6, 2017

Measure Before You Buy (Dishwasher)

Often when consumers purchase a dishwasher they assume they are all the same size.  For the most part this is a true assumption; there is however, one dimension that you must be careful of and a few other things to be aware of:

The Height
  • This is the dimension that snags up most people.  Always measure this and take it with you when making your purchase
  • Measure from the floor to the bottom of you counter top.
  • If your dishwasher sits down from the floor, and there a lip created by your flooring make sure to let your sales person know this because it can create problems.
    • Measure both from the lowest part of the recess and the top of the flooring to the bottom of you counter top.  This is two height measurements.

 The Width
  • You should have either 24” for standard or 18” for compact

 Depth
  • Not something you can measure without installing; for the most part depth is standard
  • Sometimes in rare occasion plumbing can create some issue if someone plumbed a line behind the unit.

 Counter Top
  • Make sure you know what your counter-tops are made of, this determines if you can have a standard install or if they will have to side mount (For granite, stone, concrete, etc..).

 Things to ask
  • Install costs can vary depending on were in the country you live.
  • Ask your sales person what to expect with install.
  • What parts will most likely be necessary.
    • Parts may vary depending on model, local code, and your specific situation.

The most important thing to have is your height and if you can take a picture with you in today’s modern world that can really help make sure there are no surprises in your purchase. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Must-Have Smart Appliances from CES 2017

CES (Consumer Technology Association) 2017 Conference- the biggest, most highly-anticipated tech convention of the year- just wrapped up in Las Vegas, with smart appliances making a big splash with merchants, reviewers and consumers alike. Here are some of this year’s highlights- which ones fit best in the high-tech smart home of your dreams?

LG Smart InstaView Refrigerator
Move over, Samsung Smart Hub refrigerator- there’s a new kid on the block! Last year’s most talked-about appliance, the Smart Hub drew large amounts of praise from both consumer reviewers and tech critics, completely overshadowing LG’s InstaView offering on its latest, greatest fridge model. What a difference a year makes! LG came back swinging with the Smart InstaView Refrigerator (LFXS30796D), complete with a 29” touchscreen that is 7.5 inches bigger than the Samsung fridge display. Not only that, but this smart fridge has the amazing InstaView technology which allows the user to simply knock on the refrigerator door to have it turn clear, making the contents visible without the energy-wasting habit of letting the door hang open. Superior also to the Samsung smart fridge are the voice controls- LG’s model comes equipped with Alexa voice controls, making it compatible with the Amazon Echo and all other smart-home devices that use Alexa as their primary AI voice assistant.

Samsung FlexWash and FlexDry Laundry System
Finally, an answer to the prayers of people everywhere with tight living quarters and lots of laundry. The wizards at Samsung have engineered a two-in-one washer with a second, smaller compartment over the main one, allowing the user to wash two loads at once. The dryer, which is a separate machine, follows the same thought process, with two compartments to allow for drying two loads simultaneously. This could be the beginning of a whole new era in laundry technology! Follow our blog, and we will keep you updated when we will offer these products.


Whirlpool’s new Alexa Skill
Whirlpool used CES 2017 as the stage upon which to demonstrate its new Alexa skill, set to become available in early 2017. This skill will enable users of the Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap to ask Alexa to control several different Whirlpool smart appliances, performing tasks such as preheating the oven, setting a wash/dry cycle or timer, and many more practical applications. We will let you know when this is available.


If you are a tech enthusiast who is dreaming of creating your very own Home of Tomorrow, this is a great time to be alive! Share your favorite smart-appliance innovations in the comments section below.