Friday, July 28, 2017

5 Summer Travel Packing Tips

Whether you’re hitting the beach with the family or gearing up for a girls’ getaway in Vegas, it’s important to bring a strong suitcase game to your next vacation. With ever-increasing baggage fees, the art of packing a lot into a little bit of space is more important than ever before! Read on for some helpful hints to improve your packing strategy before you hit the road.

This is How We Roll- Ask any travel expert and they will agree- rolling clothes instead of folding them is where it’s at. Not only do tightly-rolled clothes take up less suitcase space than folded clothes do, but they also emerge from the case a lot less wrinkled than their folded counterparts.

Make a List (Check it Twice)- In this world, there are two types of people: those who fly by the seat of their pants, and those who make lists of the lists they need to make. When it comes to travel, the advantage goes to the list-makers: by creating lists of everything they’ll need to be comfortable and happy during their trip, they’re less likely to forget anything important.

Get the 3-1-1- Have you heard about the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule? If not, get in the know: you are allowed to bring a quart-sizes bag of liquids on board, and these liquids are limited to 3.4 ounces or less per item. FYI- in this case, “liquids” also applies to toothpaste, aerosol cans, gels and creams, so make sure you only have small, travel-size portions of each item.

Layer it On- Pack your bag in layers so the TSA agents can get a better picture of what’s inside. Not only does this make the security check-in process go much more quickly, but it also minimizes the need for TSA to rummage through your bag to make sure it’s safe.

Hang Onto Your Valuables- Everything of considerable value, from expensive jewelry to electronics, should never be checked in the rest of your baggage- make sure to keep it with you at all times. This also goes for items of sentimental value- TSA is not responsible for lost or stolen items, and you will be absolutely heartbroken if you arrive at your destination and can’t find something special.

Travel enthusiasts: did we forget anything? Add your tips in the Comments section!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What is an Induction Range and the Benefits

Bob is here to share with you what induction ranges are. He has tree main reasons why you should think about upgrading to an induction range.

Three Benefits of Induction Ranges Include:

  • Faster over all heating and boiling times
  • Better control over your temperature 
  • Easier to clean and up-keep

Do the benefits make you want to make the switch? Let us know in the comments section.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Toss It! Things You Should Throw Away During Spring Cleaning

We’ve all heard that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and most of the time that’s true. “Upcycling” has become downright trendy, with people turning their dumpster-diving finds into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture for their homes. Likewise, repurposed, recycled and reclaimed items are a badge of honor among the younger crowd. The “waste not, want not” mindset behind giving items a second life as something new and unique is commendable and fantastic. Most of the time.

Then there are those things you should absolutely toss in the garbage without delay- things that are so gnarly that they can’t be repurposed by even the most optimistic dumpster-diver. Here are a few household items it’s almost never a good idea to hang on to when you’re organizing your home for spring.

Old cosmetics- If you are or ever have been female, or if you have lived with a female member of society at any point in your life, chances are you are familiar with the Mascara Conundrum. Though common wisdom dictates that a tube of mascara, an eyeliner, or any other cosmetic that touches your eyes should be thrown out once every three months to avoid contamination which leads to eye infections, few women have the heart to actually go through with it. For one thing, cosmetics can be quite pricey, with even the drugstore brands of mascara costing upwards of $6 per tube. Secondly, when you are faced with the possibility of conjunctivitis or the prospect of chucking your limited-edition plum eyeliner sample you received as a free gift with purchase, a good number of women will roll the dice and opt to keep the eyeliner. Hard as it may be, you really need to purge your eye makeup at regular intervals to keep your eyes healthy and infection-free.

Expired food- There are probably no people on earth who need to be told to get rid of their spoiled dairy, meat or produce- at least we hope not! However, dry goods and spices are another story. Since you don’t have to refrigerate these items, people can mistakenly think they never go bad, or that they should be able to keep just fine for indeterminate periods of time in your cupboards or pantry. This is not accurate- there’s a reason for the “use by” dates stamped on most dry goods and non-perishable items. It may seem like a waste to toss out unused food because of an arbitrary date on the box, but you’ll be glad you did.

Broken toys- As your kids get older, it’s natural to want to keep some of their toys as keepsakes or mementos, or even put them away in case they want to pass them onto their own children someday. Additionally, any toys that are still in good shape can be donated to charity so they can be enjoyed by other kids. But there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to keeping toys that are broken. Dolls without heads, trucks without wheels, or puzzles that are missing pieces all need to find their way out of your attic and into a garbage truck ASAP.

If you have any spring cleaning tips, including suggestions for where to toss unwanted items, let us know in the comments below.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Recipe- Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Black-eyed peas have long been a traditional New Year’s favorite. This hearty and delicious soup is a great way to warm up this winter!

  • 1/2  pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 15-oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers (like RO*TEL), undrained
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 4-oz. Can chopped green chilies
  • 4 tsp. Molasses
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • ¼ tsp. Ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

In a large Dutch oven, cook and stir the pork sausage and ground beef with the onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes; drain off excess fat. Pour in the water, and stir in black-eyed peas, diced tomatoes, tomatoes with green chili, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, salt, canned green chilies, molasses, beef bouillon cubes, black pepper, and cumin until thoroughly mixed.

Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 1 hr. Serves 8.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Self-Cleaning Ovens VS Steam Cleaning Ovens

These two types of cleaning options are the most popular methods for cleaning ovens today.
According to most reports, less than half of the consumers who own a self-cleaning oven actually utilize the self-cleaning feature.

Self-Cleaning Ovens:
This type of oven utilized extreme heat to clean the oven; temperatures can reach up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This extreme heat allows the residue in the oven to be carbonized and literally turn to ash. The ovens smooth enamel coating makes it very easy to wipe away the left over ash created from the self cleaning cycle. While in the self-cleaning mode the range will become very hot to the touch and you need to make sure to keep kids away. The amount of energy required for this type of cleaning is extremely high and time consuming because the cleaning cycle will last around 4 hours where the oven is unusable until the oven temperature drops to a safe temperature. This cleaning method also gives off a very strong smell that many consumers dislike.

  • This is a very effective cleaning process that leaves the oven very clean.

  • Utilizes high energy to clean
  • Extreme heat required for the job
  • Long processing times
  • Undesirable odors / smell from the process

 Steam Cleaning Ovens:
Like self-cleaning ovens a steam cleaning oven also utilizes heat to clean but only requires around 250 degrees Fahrenheit to do the job. This type of oven adds water to create steam that helps release the residue from the oven surface. This oven also uses a smooth enamel coating that makes removal of the leftover residue easy to wipe away. The cleaning cycle for this type of oven is usually around 1 hour making it easy to clean with more frequency. 

  • Very short time required for the cleaning (usually less than 30 minutes)
  • No odor / smell
  • More energy efficient due to utilizing lower temperature to clean
  • This is a very effective cleaning process that leaves the oven very clean

  • Effectively cleans the bottom of the oven but struggles with the walls and back of the oven.
  • My preference is the steam option but depending on your desires both have their pros and cons because who really wants to get on their hands and knees and scrub the inside of an oven with toxic chemicals?  

Here is a detailed checklist about the proper way to use the Steam Clean feature:

  • Do not use oven cleaners with Steam Clean.
  • Use the Steam Clean feature as soon as possible after spills occur. The longer you wait the more difficult it may be to remove.
  • Always allow the oven to cool before using the Steam Clean feature
  • Do not open the oven door during the cleaning cycle because the water in the bottom is hot.
  • Once the Steam cycle is complete, remove all remaining water and debris in the bottom of the oven.
  • Wipe any remaining moisture from the oven door interior, oven cavity interior sides.
  • For harder stains use a soft brush or nylon scrubber to wipe the oven interior.