The holidays are looming in front of us… Stores are decorated with Christmas, kids are counting the days, and it is time to start thinking about entertaining. It is also getting colder and that means heat and how to keep it inside. We tackle both topics on today’s show.

Geranium Lake Table

It is time to dress the table. Kim from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) gave David the low-down on how to create a stunning visual display that will impress all your guests! We started with the table color by picking a nice salmon color, one of David’s favorites! You can pick a neutral color if you want your food to make the statement or something more lively if you want to have the table brighten the room. Next she showed us how to fold napkins. You can fold them many different ways but the way we learned allows us to use the pocket to place flowers and other decorations in the napkin. Then we started to set the table. We used some slightly contrasting chargers under our dinner plates. A charger is merely for decoration and is not meant for food. We also used a natural centerpiece in the center of the table. This one was a white pumpkin that was filled with cut flowers and branches from the garden. We also had a variety of gourds and small pumpkins as added table decorations. Kim also had place cards made for each setting and they were pinned to small hand-made velvet pumpkins. We also saw how you can create a charger from anything. Kim had even taken cut rounds of wood from a large Christmas tree and made table chargers from them! If you are looking for creative ideas for holiday decorating you can stop by and see Kim at Geranium Lake Flowers in the US Bank Tower in Downtown Portland.

Bungalow Bread

With the colder days of fall at our doorstep we stopped by Bungalow Bread (503-524-2500) in Beaverton to learn how to make a fresh loaf of Challah bread. This bread is considered a traditional Jewish braided bread, but it is impressive on any holiday table. First Matt made the loaf and then created a ‘rounded’ loaf. After rounding it he placed it on a sheet pan and let it have a break so it doesn’t get too hard. After a short breather he took the loaf and cut it into 4 quarters. He then took each quarter and made 4 long strands of bread to get ready for braiding. This really takes a technique and Robin had a hard time keeping up with Matt, but that really doesn’t matter, the key is to have fun doing it! Next he pinched the 4 pieces together at one end and then began braiding. Once he was done braiding he tucked the ends under the loaf and placed it on a cookie sheet. If you need a detailed recipe, click here.

Bungalow Bread makes lots of fresh breads daily. It is a great little bakery that also delivers to certain areas in Beaverton and Tigard. If you are near Washington Square you have to stop. The Fusion crew recommends the Cinnamon Chip loaf! WOW.


Chef David whipped us up a simple recipe for hummus today to help you make a splash at your next holiday get-together. This hummus is one with a twist, it has red peppers! This one also uses garbanzo beans as its base. It also has garlic and lemon juice. To get all the ingredients and instructions click here. Then whip up a batch and impress your friends!


Attic Insulation

With the cold weather upon us we decided to learn how to keep things warm by talking with a local expert about insulation. Eric from Owens Corning took David up in an attic in North Portland to show us how to save a little money and heat with the AttiCat Blown-in insulation system. How do you know if you need more insulation? Eric showed us how you can use a simple tape-measure to check the depth of the insulation. The US Department of Energy recommends up to R-60 which can mean a depth of 22 inches of insulation. Current code in some areas is R-30 for newer homes and even that is not enough if you are looking for the maximum savings. The home we visited only had around 5-6 inches of insulation and that is very low! Even after a quick insulation up to the R-49 level this homeowner will see significant savings in the future. This increased insulation is great no matter what time of year. Your costs will be much lower in the summer as well as in the winter. Check out the Owens Corning website to learn more () and to learn about the tax incentives being offered right now. Always remember to wear your safety gear!

Quick Tip - Fireplace Flue

Our quick tip this week is one for those homes with a fireplace. Shawn with Energy Trust of Oregon showed us how easy it is to shut the damper to your fireplace when you are not burning a fire to save your heat from rising up your chimney. The flue can rob your home of warmth if you leave the damper open, so close it when you are not using the fireplace. For more tips on saving energy check out their website.


Energy Audit

We all want to create a more energy efficient home, but sometimes we don’t know where to start. Shawn from Energy Trust of Oregon joined us to tell us about a couple of program they offer to help the homeowner. Shawn told us that for a large percentage of homes you could save 50-60 percent on your energy bill by looking for areas to become more efficient. Energy Trust of Oregon has a free service called the Home Energy Review and all you have to do is go to their website and sign up. A field representative will come out and do a free 1-hour audit of your home and give you a few recommendations on improving the efficiency of your home. They will work from the top down, checking the insulation in your attic, wall and under the floor. They check windows and also look for leaks in this comprehensive check. If you want to do it on your own, they also have a self-diagnostic check-list on their web-site. For those that are looking for a more in depth evaluation, Energy Trust offers a much larger audit for a small fee.



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This page last modified
March 06, 2010.