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!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Burn 100 Calories in 10 Minutes!

If you have a hard time fitting exercise into your busy life, this workout is for you! All you need is ten minutes and you can start getting fit and seeing results in no time! You can burn 100 calories in just ten minutes’ time by circuit training with this workout that can be done anywhere including your home or on a break at work. Get ready to say goodbye to flab and start looking fab!

10-Minute, 100 Calorie Workout

     Run in place, high knees- 30 seconds
     Jumping jacks- 30 seconds
     20 pushups
     20 crunches
     Mountain climbers, 30 seconds
     Plank, 30 seconds
     Squats, 30 seconds

Repeat the circuit as many times as you can in 10 minutes for a 100-calorie burn! As you get stronger you will be able to complete the circuit more times in a ten-minute period. If you have longer than 10 minutes to devote to your workout, see if you can double up for a 20-minute workout that will burn 200 calories!

One of the biggest problems with working out is never being able to find time to exercise. Between your children, home, work and social life, it can be tough to spare a whole hour to devote to a fitness class or jogging. This workout is quick, effective, and will make your whole body feel great! Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Learn How to Make Heavenly Crab Cakes

Chef Mark is here to teach you a few tricks to make perfect sauteed crab cakes. Use your cooktop or range to cook this recipe in a skillet. There are some great techniques to help you make your patty into a cylinder looking patty. Chef Mark also goes into details about how to saute your crab cakes instead of frying them. This is a healthier option that still gets that golden brown crispness that you want.

Here are the ingredients that are used in this video:

  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Lemon
  • Sauteed Onions 
  • Sauteed Green Peppers
  • Crab Meat
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mint Parsley

What other food items do you want to learn how to cook better? Leave it in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Have you seen Black Stainless?

For two years now, black stainless has been the industry’s strongest selling alternative for buyers turned off by traditional stainless because of its inherent fingerprints and smudges.

Black stainless is stainless steel, but it’s protective coat and modern finish resists the gooey smears and eyesores that can ruin the look of traditional stainless. And like traditional stainless steel, the black stainless matches just about every cabinet type without compromising modern style or even that professional look.

In the past, various alternatives to traditional stainless have fizzled out because they lacked the wow-factor or a healthy selection of models and features. But almost overnight, black stainless is enjoying support from Samsung, LG, and Kitchen Aid- and not just on their freestanding products or entry models. Black stainless is also available on wall ovens, professional hoods, and other built-in appliances.

Its darker hue is not as reflective as traditional stainless steel or as generic. It’s not industrial. It’s modern. Black stainless can be mixed and matched with traditional stainless or black appliances, chosen for an accent piece, or used to tie in other design materials in the kitchen. The hue is open for interpretation. Some have described it as a warmer option while others have praised it as more of a statement.

Stainless steel is not going out of style- it’s the color choice for more than 70% of new appliance purchases. But a shift in style and taste is certainly occurring. Fittingly, the last time multiple brands simultaneously supported a new appliance color was when traditional stainless steel was introduced.

If you love the look, but are tired of the upkeep that comes with traditional stainless steel, don’t write off the new black stainless. It maybe the alternative you’ve been waiting for.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.