Friday, March 2, 2018

Sick of struggling with your kids to make them eat their veggies? Try this amazing recipe out tonight and your family will suddenly list Brussels sprouts as one of their favorite foods!

  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
  2. Blanch brussels sprouts- bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and very tender (about 10 minutes). Add brussels sprouts to ice bath to cool, drain.
  3. On a large baking sheet, toss blanched brussels sprouts with olive oil, garlic and thyme. Using the end of a small glass or mason jar, press down on the brussels sprouts to smash them into a flat patty. Season each smashed brussels sprout with salt and pepper, then sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan on top.
  4. Bake until the bottoms of the sprouts are crispy and the cheese is melted and golden (about 20 minutes)
  5. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

Prep Time: 15 mins. | Total Time: 45 mins. | Serves 6-8

Recipe originally appeared on

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Induction vs. Radiant Cooktops

Electric smooth top ranges and cooktops have become the norm for electric powered cooking. The old school coil burners with grates and drip-pans are losing popularity due to reliability and convenience of cleaning.  Just like it sounds smooth top ranges and cooktops have a flat surface that is generally made out of glass and ceramic. The cooktop is one flat piece with the burners underneath and made visible by circles typically etched in the glass or ceramic. Now something to consider is whether you want induction or radiant heat. Here are some things to consider before venturing out to the stores.


An induction burner shouldn’t even be called a burner because it functions very differently from other electric burners. An induction cooktop on a range heats up the iron in the pot or pan directly using hundreds of magnets located under the glass. It makes your cookware the heat source. Using electromagnetic energy, the element never gets hot; it just causes your cookware to heat up while the surface of the smooth top stays cool to the touch except when the pan heats up the glass.

Induction ranges are the most energy efficient because it uses your pot or pan as the heating element to cook your food which also makes it easier to achieve your desired temperature much faster than other electric cooktops. Safety is also a nice feature with induction because once contact with the pan is broken, most will automatically power off. The glass will stay hot but not as long as a radiant cooktop.

One thing to think about is that induction can only use some types of cookware. It must have iron in the pan. Fortunately, most cookware is compatible with induction cooktops.


Radiant elements are a lot like old school coils burners, except that the coils are housed under the glass and ceramic surface making it much easier to clean. But because they are glass, they show dirt and smudges much more frequently requiring you to clean more often.

Since the radiant ranges and cooktops use hot glass to heat up your pan almost any kind of pan is okay to use. They are also typically less expensive.

One thing to consider is that the radiant heat units are cast iron pans are not recommended for glass tops.  They require much more attention like constant cleaning.

You can always check out the different option on our website, but it might be better to see them in person. Stop by one of our locations to see them for yourself to determine what is best for you and your home.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Simple Life Hacks to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolution

New Year’s Day has come and gone- how’s your resolution going? Many of us bail on our New Year’s resolutions about two to four weeks into January, so don’t beat yourself up if you can count yourself among that group- you’re not alone!

However, it’s never too late to get your New Year’s resolution back on track and set your sights on achieving your goals for this year. Here are some handy tips for sticking to that resolution without any excuses!

Let’s Get Physical!

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to shed some unwanted pounds or begin a new exercise regimen. Despite our best efforts, it’s not always easy to stick to our diet or to get to the gym. Try the following simple solutions to keep your health and fitness goals in check:

  • Keep healthy snacks, such as pistachios, instant oatmeal and granola bars, in your drawer at the office. This will help you minimize cravings for sugary, fatty alternatives from the vending machine.
  • On days when you can’t make it to the gym, crank up a playlist of your favorite tunes and dance around your bedroom while you’re getting ready for work. Not only will short bursts of activity raise your heart rate and burn calories, but you can start the day feeling invigorated!
  • Trying to drink more water? Every time you get up from your desk to go to the restroom, bring your water bottle along for a refill. Associating an already-established routine with the need to drink more water will help you form a healthy habit.

Find Your Inner Bookworm

If you’re among the people who want to read more books this year, you may be finding yourself wondering how you’re going to fit reading into your already jam-packed schedule! Fortunately we know a few tricks for staying well-read even when you’re pressed for time:

  • Download an audiobook version of your selected book from Audible or a similar app- you’ll be able to listen on the go! Double Resolution Bonus: You can listen to your audiobook at the gym while you work to achieve your fitness goals!
  • Join a book club- having friends to talk about the book with will motivate you to read more than you may have on your own. Not only that, but there’s wine!
  • Start small. You may be ambitious enough to want to tackle all the classic novels ever written, but why not start with a quick, easy read? Trying to take on a monster of a book right out of the gates can be daunting, and cause you to give up on your resolution

Just Say “OM”

If your New Year’s resolution to find inner peace through yoga or meditation has already gone from “Namaste” to “Nah, I’ma stay in bed,” you may need to fine-tune your plan to better suit your needs. After all, not everyone finds relaxation easy, and you may need to try a different type of yoga or an alternate form of stress management to help you accomplish your goals. Try these ideas for quick de-stressing on the go:

  • Bring your yoga mat to work, and do a few poses throughout the day at times of high stress. (Note: this will work better for people who have offices with doors!)
  • Find a class that combines yoga or other relaxation techniques with something you enjoy. Plenty of yoga instructors offer offbeat classes that may appeal to your quirky nature: for example- goat yoga? Totally a thing!

Sticking to your New Year’s resolutions requires discipline and dedication, but don’t let it get you down if your first attempt falls flat. Do your best to keep your resolutions this year and you may uncover a happier, healthier you!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How To Determine The Right Range Hood For Your Kitchen

Keep in mind range hoods are usually not required by most local building codes, however cooking without them can lead to smoke and smells left in your kitchen. Check with your local county for any codes that would be required before starting your kitchen remodel. Here are a couple of measurements and tips before you start your project.

To properly calculate the amount of CFM’s (cubic feet per minute) for your range hood you’ll need the following:
 Size of your range
Gas ranges you’ll need the total BTU’s (British thermal units)
Size of your kitchen (Width Length & Height)
 Length & angles of ductwork being used

Range Size Calculation:
A basic rule used to determine your range hood would be for the hood to move a minimum of 100 CFM for every 12” of range width.
·         Example a 30” range would be 2.5’ x 100 = 250 minimum CFM range hood

Gas Range BTU Calculation:
Gas ranges produce a lot more heat than electric ranges so gas ranges will require larger CFM requirements. You’ll need to combine each of the range burners to determine the total BTU’s for your range and divide the total by 100 to determine the correct CFM for your range.
·         Example of a 5 burner range (1 x 15,000, 2 x 10,000, 2 x 5,000 = total of 45,000 BTU’s)
·         45,000 ÷ 100 = 450 CFM for the range

Kitchen Size Calculation:
Your kitchen size should also be considered when calculating CFM to help maximizing the correct amount of air flow within your kitchen. Range hoods should be able to exchange the air a minimum of 15 times per hour or once every 4 minutes.
·         Example of a kitchen 16’ wide x 12’ length x 10’ high (16 x 12 x 10 = 1920)
·         1920 cubic foot room x 15 air exchange = 28,800 cubic feet to move per hour
·         28,800 ÷ 60 = 480 CFM for your kitchen
·         Or total cubic feet of 1920 ÷ once every 4 minutes = 480 CFM

Ductwork Calculation:
Every length, turn and cap in your ductwork adds resistance in air flow, there for these things must be noted to determine the correct amount of CFM required for your project.
When using an 8” round ductwork the following additions will be added.
·         Add 1 CFM per foot of pipe length used.
·         Add 25 CFM for every elbow being used.
·         Add 40 CFM for roof caps being used.
·         Example: 10 foot pipe length + 25 elbow + 40 roof cap = 75 CFM

The final calculation is to take the largest CFM rating plus the ductwork to determine the hood for your project.
Example of the above calculation:
Range size (250 CFM) Gas range (450 CFM) Kitchen size (480 CFM) and the added ductwork (75 CFM)
The following CFM would be required. Largest CFM was (480) plus ductwork (75) = total of 555 CFM as the minimum requirements for the project.

We hope that these measurements will help you figure out what you need. After reading this and you feel lost, please give us a call and we can help you with the specs and make sure that you are getting the right hood and appliances for your kitchen. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

5 Tips to De-Stress Your Holidays

The holiday season can be a magical time full of fun and excitement- the music, lights and infectious excitement can all add up to a beautiful season that is truly the most wonderful time of the year! However, with all the events, food, parties and gift-giving, the winter holidays can also take their toll on your emotional and physical well-being. Here are some tips for taking the stress out of your festivities so you can be free to deck the halls and light the lights while hanging onto your own inner joy,

Take Time for Yourself- The holiday season is all about spending time with cherished friends and loved ones: family gatherings, big parties and outings with the kids all make the season bright. But in all the hustle and bustle, it can be hard to find time to connect with the most important person- yourself! Taking a little “me-time” out of each day can go a long way towards keeping you centered and free of stress or anxiety as the holidays hit a fever pitch. Whether you choose to unwind with a relaxing bubble bath, cozy up by the fire with a good book, or make it to your morning yoga class, make sure to do something just for you each day so you can combat the delightful chaos of the holidays.

Healthy Holidays- Fun and festive treats are a big part of what makes the holiday season so special. Homemade pumpkin pie, iced sugar cookies and gingerbread are everywhere during this time of year, and candy is literally hanging from the trees, so you can’t blame yourself for indulging in yummy baked goods and sweets a little more than usual. However, if too many visions of sugarplums are dancing in your head, it could be detrimental to your health. Try to space out the sweet treats and stick to a healthy diet in order to feel your best during the holidays. Heavy, sugar- and butter-filled holiday recipes can leave you feeling sluggish, tired and bloated if you overdo it. Try to even it out with fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats, and drink plenty of water- you’ll be amazed by how much more energetic you’ll feel!

Plan Ahead- We all have that one relative whose holiday shopping begins in August, and that other relative who starts buying gifts for loved ones at around 8 PM on Christmas Eve. You can save yourself a lot of stress and hassle by splitting the difference, planning ahead for what you need to do and pacing yourself in the weeks leading up to the big day. Try to begin checking items off of your holiday to-do list earlier than you normally do, so you aren’t overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks that await you as the season ramps up.

Say “No”- With the holidays comes a truckload of events, activities, parties and other commitments that you will be tempted to try to fit in, even if that means having to sacrifice all your free time. Just remember, it’s OK to say no to some of these events! In fact, turning down a party invite here and skipping a holiday craft fair there may end up being more rewarding by allowing you to truly enjoy yourself at the events you do attend. As long as you make sure to make it to the most important holiday events, like your kids’ Christmas program or your best friend’s annual bash, you’ll be able to find the balance that will give you the most cheer!

Stick to the Budget- When you’re in the middle of a beautifully-decorated department store at the mall, or when your favorite shopping site is offering 50% off of everything during their Black Friday sale, it’s hard not to whip out the credit card and start checking off your gift-giving list. However, you’ll feel a lot less merry when you get hit with that credit card bill in January! By creating a holiday shopping budget and sticking to it, you can make sure you don’t overspend and end up in debt, which will lessen your stress considerably!

What’s your favorite way to take the stress out of the holiday season? Please share with us in the comments section.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Give for Good: 3 Charity-Based Gift Ideas You'll Love

Can you believe it’s almost holiday season? While you’re sitting there trying to figure out where the year has gone, allow us to remind you that it’s almost time to start thinking of holiday gift ideas for your family, friends and other important people in your life. But before you log onto Amazon or hit the gift card kiosk at the grocery store, why not take a moment to think outside the (gift) box and consider a gift that quite literally gives back? Giving your loved ones charity-based gifts for the holidays is not only a great way to spread the season’s tidings of warmth, peace and joy, but will delight the recipients to know that they are helping support a great cause. Here are a few fun ideas for charity-based gifts that are tailor-made for the do-gooders in your life.

(Metaphorically) Adopt a Walrus- The animal lover in your life will be delighted by a donation in their name to the World Wildlife Foundation, not to mention the adorable certificate of adoption and darling plush walrus that accompanies this one-of-a-kind charitable gift. In addition to the mighty walrus, a wide variety of species are available for adoption, each with a corresponding plush toy. This may be the cutest way to give back ever!
Perfect for: Animal-loving kids, stuffed toy collectors

Give Someone Half a Llama- Heifer International is a global nonprofit organization focused on ending world hunger and helping those in impoverished developing nations. Of the organization’s many charitable programs, the most popular by far is the donation of animals. The donor can choose from a variety of farm animals including cows, goats, and our favorite, llamas, and donate the cost of one to a family in need. But what to do if a whole $150 llama isn’t in your gift budget? No need to worry- Heifer International allows you to donate shares of an animal like a llama for as little as $20. Not only is your gift helping someone’s life improve, but your friend can say they once received part of a llama for Christmas!
Perfect for: Friends who love funny gifts, world travelers, llama enthusiasts

Adopt a Book- The Smithsonian Libraries’ Adopt-A-Book Program allows book lovers of all ages to help support the conservation and digitization of important literary works dating back hundreds of years. By adopting a book in your loved one’s name, you are giving them the gift of knowing they helped preserve and protect the written word. Heavy!
Perfect for: The bookworm on your list, your aunt the librarian, your kid’s fourth-grade teacher

Any other charity ideas that are as fun to give as they are rewarding? Please let us know in the Comments section.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pros and Cons of Double Oven Ranges

One of the most popular trends in the appliance world today is the double oven range. Its rise in popularity can be attributed to the desire for cooking multiple dishes at separate temperatures. But, does the hype live up to its functionality? Let us look at several pro's and con's of this category of ranges.

1. Big oven with "quick use" secondary oven 

Most double oven ranges include one large cavity oven, with a capacity ranging from 3 cu. ft. to 5 cu. ft. This large oven is capable of handling large dishes such as roasts. Ranges with this size of oven also include what I call a "quick use" oven. The reason I have given it such a name, is because of its small size it allows you to cook everyday items quicker. The size of these secondary ovens range from 1 cu. ft. to 2.6 cu. ft. Don’t let the size scare you as they will accommodate most casserole dishes. 

2. Cook your whole meal at the same time!

With these dual ovens you now have the luxury of cooking all your items at the same time. When my lovely wife and I cooked (without our double oven, of course) our biggest complaint was having to wait for the lasagna to finish, before we could cook the rolls! With 4 boys screaming and fighting, being able to have the food ready 15 minutes earlier saved us a few headaches. Not to mention, our rolls came out amazing because we could cook them at a higher temperature.


1. Side effects may include the need to see a chiropractor!

One down side to the big lower oven is its proximity to the floor. With the secondary oven typically on top, the lower oven is forced lower to the ground. We have found that larger items, which are typically only in the bottom oven, are burdensome to pick up. By consequence you may be left with a few backaches! I recommend using proper lifting techniques with this style of oven (bend your knees).

2. Upper oven requires some getting used to. 

The upper oven is much smaller and closer to the heating elements inside the oven, therefore making the way it cooks very distinct compared with single oven ranges. We burnt the first half-dozen frozen pizzas as a result.  However, there is an easy fix by lowering your cooking time by about 10%. 

These are only a few pros and cons I have experienced firsthand with the double oven ranges. Manufactures have released many different options that may solve these issues. My best advice is to try before you buy, bring in your heavy dishes and play with the features. Best of luck!

Let us know if you have any follow-up questions about double oven ranges. Give us a call today!