The times are a changing, well the clocks actually! This weekend is not only Halloween; it is the switch back from Daylight Saving Times. It is also the time that we have been trained to check out smoke alarms to make sure they are working. In today’s show we find out that we may have to do a little more than that to make sure our families stay safe. In staying with the season we also have one more pumpkin story for you! Happy Halloween!

Holiday Table Makeovers

The holiday season is upon us and it is the season of entertaining. You can make a bold statement with your dinner table and we stopped at Al’s Garden Center (503-981-1245) to learn some tricks for doing that. Earlier this year Lora from Al’s showed us how to makeover your outdoor table and now she turned her attention to the holiday table. Once again we started with just a basic white tablecloth and place settings. From here Lora showed us 3 different setting. First we went with the set-up for fall and Thanksgiving. This one had very earthy tones and was definitely a harvest theme. It also was one that included different scents. It had scented candles, potpourris, dried fruit and even some light fragrances that you could use. Next we put together a holiday theme. This one was still white as a background, but it also included the traditional greens and reds. This table was all about the details. Everything from little snow globes (which the guests can take home) to the addition of ornaments as accents. This setting also included small pictures as a place setting and ‘naughty and nice’ napkin holders. Finally we went with the more formal look for the New Year. This setting was light and white and bright. The silver color is the theme of the day and it represents a clean, new beginning. The plates don’t match, but that is ok, you are looking for structure and balance. So don’t forget to add a little whimsy to your next dinner party. Check out the Al’s Garden Centers in Woodburn and Sherwood for other great ideas for entertaining this holiday season.

Seafood Pasta

This dish can be traced back to Italy, but it is harder to put a name on it. Depending on where you are in Italy, it can be called lots of different names. Chef Frank from Masters of the Vine (503-557-9463) has called it ‘Frutte del Mare’, Fruits of the Sea, but in other areas of Italy it can be called by various different names. This recipe is really quick and easy. First you add garlic, butter and seasonings to your pan and let it sauté for a couple of seconds. Then you add your seafood mix. Cover with a marinara sauce and then cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Once the seafood is cooked you place it over your noodles and then return the sauce to the stove to reduce it down for another minute. Then pour the sauce over the whole dish and garnish and you are done. This is one you have to try!  You will find the recipe here. While you are at Masters of the Vine you can try one of their great wines. They offer their wines at the cheaper ‘grocery store’ price and not at the higher ‘restaurant’ prices. They offer small samples at a nominal fee and you can even buy a bottle to take home.

Toasted Pumpkins Seeds

It is one of the delicacies of the fall, toasted pumpkin seeds. Like sunflower seeds, once you start eating these it is hard to stop. Once you have carved your pumpkin you can clean your seeds and then let them soak overnight in a brine solution. When they have soaked for a day you can dry them, and then add a little salt and some vegetable oil. Spread them on a pan and roast them in your oven for about 20 minutes. For all the details click here.


Checking Your Gas Appliances

Gas is one of the cleanest and most efficient fuels you can use for heating and cooking in your home. It can also be one of the safest. Still it is a good idea for the homeowner to make sure that their gas appliances stay clean and efficient. We caught up with Allen from NW Natural to learn how we can check our appliances to make sure they are running correctly. First we visited the kitchen to see how the gas range was doing. When you turn it on it should start fairly quickly. If it takes more than a few seconds you might have problems with the igniter. You should look for a nice blue flame that doesn’t get any higher than the top of the grate. If you see small flickers of orange, don’t worry, it’s only small pieces of dust and dirt that is burning in the flame. If you get large orange flickers (like a candle) then you will want to call the gas company for servicing.

We then moved to the furnace. This is the most common gas appliance in the home. Here too, you will want to check out the flame and the igniter. Find the grate or window where you can observe the flame and make sure you see a nice blue flame. Of course, the number one thing you can do to check you appliance and make sure it runs perfectly is to change your furnace filter once a month. Here is a tip, if you use paper filters, mark the date you install them with a sharpee or other marker on the side of the filter. Then you will know when to change them. For more energy saving tips check out the NW Natural website.

Smoke Alarms

This week is the big change. It is the return from Daylight Saving time and from what we have learned in the past, it is also time to test our smoke alarm. But wait! That may not be enough to ensure the safety of your family. Don Porth from Portland Fire and Rescue joined us at the historic Belmont Firehouse (503-823-3615) to fill in the details of what you really should be doing! In 1998 new technology changed the way most smoke alarms operate. That year batteries changed. Now you will find long lasting batteries in your alarm and they may not even need to be changed. The newer batteries can last 10 years or longer. To see when they were new you can always check the back of your alarm where they will have a date stamp that tells you when it was produced. After 10 years you will need to replace the whole unit. Technology improves on the newer models and an older unit can lose up to 40% of its effectiveness during that time. With any unit you will always want to test it monthly (it may have gone dead while you were on vacation). When you are looking for a newer unit also look for a ‘hush’ button feature. This is a button that will silence the alarm for up to 15 minutes. You can use this for those occasions where your alarm goes off from burning food in the kitchen or steam from your shower. You will want to place them in all the living levels in your home. That includes areas like inside and outside bedrooms and living rooms, but also basements, and near laundry rooms. Also the higher the placement, the better. The smoke rises and so you want your alarm at the top of the wall to be in a position to sense the smoke and warn you.
Don then told us about the historic Belmont Firehouse. It has become an educational center that has a fire truck simulator so you can even go for a ride to an emergency. It will really help you to be more aware of the fire danger in your home and how to prevent accidents from happening. It is open by appointment and you can schedule a tour by calling their number.

Quick Tip – Curtains

Here is another quick tip that can save you some money. During these chilly fall and winter days you can still let the warmth of the sun warm your home. Just leave your curtains open during those sunny days to warm your home, but remember to close them at night to keep that heat inside. This little tip can keep you and your house warmer and save you a couple of bucks!




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This page last modified
March 06, 2010.