The heat of summer has arrived. It has been really hard to get some projects done around the house. In fact, it has become uncomfortable just being outside during most of the week. Still the mornings are cool and pleasant and a great time to get things done before the day heats up. Once the day does get a little warm you can head to your local watering hole. We found a great one at Oswego Grill for their wonderful happy hour! Happy Hour is a great way to test the menu from a restaurant and not put a big dent in your wallet!

Kim's Flower Garden

A few weeks ago we visited Kim from Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) to learn how to build a centerpiece from materials in your own backyard. This week we walked the garden with Kim to learn what to plant in that garden. A cutting garden is the goal of a lot of people. If you have the right flowers in the right combinations, you can create beautiful bouquets all season long. Kim has the additional requirements of needing a garden that is low maintenance. She relies on garden roses, foxglove, smoke bush, peonies and yarrow just to name a few. These flowers can handle minimal care and are pretty tolerant of the conditions. Other plants in her garden include valerian, dahlias and lavender. You will want to also include foliage plants. Colorful flowers can overpower each other if you are not careful. Including foliage softens those colors and adds texture to your arrangements. Kim also used mint in her garden, but she is careful about placing it in a container so it won't take over. Mint will go crazy if left unchecked! Finally look to adding plants that you would not normally consider as 'cutting' plants. Kim uses green cherry tomatoes and blueberries to add texture and different colors to her arrangements. For more ideas you can check out Kim's blog on her website or stop by her shop in downtown Portland.

Organic Mattresses

Last week we stopped by Eclectic Home (503-224-0551) to learn how to pick out a perfect pillow. Dennis Rose showed us how to pick the pillow with comfort in mind before you consider anything else. This week we wanted to learn about organic mattresses. What makes an organic mattress is the quality of the materials. The core of most organic mattresses is composed of natural latex. This natural material is made into a foam that responds well to average wear and tear and that can make your mattress last 20 to 30 years. Plus, once they have reached the end of their productive life these mattresses can be put in a landfill where they will decompose naturally. Once again Dennis told us about the number one consideration for picking a mattress, comfort! One of the ingredients that adds to the comfort and to the fire safety of the mattress is a layer of wool. The lanolin in the wool is a natural flame retardant. The lanolin also reduces the occurrence of dust mites. If you are interested in learning more about organic mattresses or any other organic furniture stop by Eclectic Home.

Lemon Lavender Martini

Once again we are joined by Kathy Gehrt, author of 'Discover Cooking with Lavender'. She has shared some great recipes with us in the past few weeks and now we are making one of the more interesting recipes she has; a lavender cocktail, more specifically a lavender martini. Lavender is a great herb. It is beautiful, fragrant and it tastes good too. First we made a simple syrup that was infused with lavender. It was one cup of sugar, one cup of water and a tablespoon of culinary lavender. The syrup has a pinkish color and a wonderful delicate lavender flavor. To make the drink, Kathy started with 4 ounces of vodka, added 2 ounces of lemon juice and 2 ounces of the simple syrup. This was shaken with ice and strained into martini glasses. It makes two drinks and is very refreshing on those warm summer days. Find the recipe here. For more recipes for using lavender in your cooking, check out Kathy's book. You can also learn more about lavender at the up-coming Oregon Lavender Festival happening at over 30 lavender farms around the state on July 10th and 11th.

Apple Pear Salad

We love visiting great restaurants. Our latest favorite is Oswego Grill (503-352-4750) in Lake Oswego at the junction of I-5 and 217. Owner Dave Burnett invited us into the kitchen to meet his chef, Genardo Zurita. We also got to see their custom wood fired grill. Dave worked over 20 years at another restaurant and decided to open his own place. It is wonderful. The grill itself is 1400 pounds of cooking magic. They cook their steaks, burgers, seafood and even a salad over mesquite, apple and cherry wood. Chef Zurita decided to show us an apple pear salad with grilled chicken. Chef started with a couple of chicken breasts that were covered in olive oil, salt and pepper. After about 3 minutes per side the chicken was ready. Next we moved to the assembly area where we were going to put our salad together. We used arugula as the base of our salad. The ingredients included sliced apples and pears, and lemon vinaigrette. To make the vinaigrette we used lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, honey, salt and pepper. We mixed olive oil into the mixture slowly to make sure it combines well. We then tossed the ingredients together and garnished with grapes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and a couple of hardwood grilled asparagus spears. To try making this recipe at home you can check out the recipe here. We're not sure anyone can reproduce this masterpiece, unless you want to build your own hardwood grill! Stop by the Oswego Grill to taste it yourself.

Shower Water Saving

This week we are back in the bathroom to save you some water and some money. Jim from the Regional Water Providers Consortium joined us again to show us how to save while we are in the shower. The first thing he recommended was the 5 minute shower. Most showers use 2 to 2.5 gallons of water per minute. He showed us a small hourglass timer that can be attached to the wall of your shower to help you keep track of the time. Jim also showed us a water efficient shower head. The new models will save you up to a gallon of water per minute if you use one. For more water saving tips you can check out the RWPC website, www.ConserveH2O.org.

Pet Doors

Pets just love to be outside. The problem is letting them out and getting them back in. To learn how to do that easily we stopped by Champion Windows (503-624-2678) to talk to John about a new type of doggy door that they install. This new type of door is in your sliding glass door. These doggy (or kitty) doors have double flaps to you can save energy by not having it leak outside through the door. It also comes with a locking plate for security while you are away. These doors come in all sizes and can even be built for larger dogs. The only drawback is that they can not be retrofitted to an existing slider. Still, once you replace your old slider, you will get the doggy door and a new, more energy efficient door all in one package. To learn more about these doors, give the people at Champion a call.



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This page last modified
October 24, 2018.