Happy Fourth of July! It is hard to believe that we are in the month of July already. Wow! Just over a year ago we were finishing our spring 13-week season of Fusion. We were taking a break until last fall. Now we are giving you great home information every week. We hope you enjoy all the
tips and recipes we share.

The Fusion crew wishes you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Must-Have Appliances

If you have a wedding or graduation in your family this spring you may be at a loss to pick the perfect gift for those lucky recipients.  Robin talked with Chase Voelker at Bed Bath and Beyond (503-624-9242) to see what the best gifts to get for these people are.  He first showed us the Keurig K-cup coffee maker.  This is a single use coffee maker that is all the rage right now.  All you do is put in the coffee close the lid and push the button, you get your coffee and you donít ever waste a full pot.  It also has lots of different choices when it comes to coffees, hot chocolate and even teas.    Next we looked at the Krups electric kettle.  This is great for heating water for noodles, drinks or soups; a perfect appliance for the college student.  A reminder, some colleges have restrictions on electric cooking and heating items.  You can check with your college or stop by Bed, Bath and Beyond to check their list of colleges and see what is allowed, there is no guessing!  We then moved to the Magic Bullet.  We all thought this was just a TV gimmick, but Chase told us this is a great gift for anyone.  It chops, blends, and grinds all kinds of different foods and takes very little space on your countertop.  The next item was the Kitchen Aid mixer.  This one is a must have for new couples and comes with lots of different attachments so you will never need to buy multiple kitchen tools to get the job done.  Finally, the one fun item that Chase brought out was the Margaritaville Fiji Frozen concoction maker.  This party machine grinds the ice, blends the drink and is a lot of fun!  To find more great gifts for couples and grads stop by Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Pull it All Together

If you are looking at redoing a room you may be overwhelmed with the project and you may not know where to start. Amy Troute from Ďdesign for homeí (503-805-0811) put up a display to help us get over the hump of design inertia. She told us about some of the things she recommends to get her client started. The first tip is to take stock of the room you are working in and evaluate the area. How are you going to use the space? What is the main purpose or use of the room, what kind of furniture do you want to use? Next, figure out the style you want the room to be. Find what you like in magazines and cut out pictures. This Ďborrowingí of ideas will help you and your designer make style decisions down the road. You may also look for your own inspiration. If there is a piece that you Ďmust haveí in the room, design around that or use it to your benefit. Then use the colors or motif of that piece to help you design the rest of the room. Finally, pay attention to the lighting in the room. Look to light areas according to their use. Use stronger light in areas where you work or play and more subdued lighting in areas where you are going to relax. Dimmers are always good for creating a mood. Remember that when you decorate you want to make the space your own. Look to create a style, maybe take a chance and donít be afraid to ask for help!


4th of July Grilling

It is almost the 4th of July and that means it is time to fire up the grill!  Jerry Yost from Gartnerís Meats (503-252-7801) invited us to his backyard to show us how easy it is to organize a holiday cookout.  Jerry pulled out the chicken and steak kabobs, and some twice baked potatoes to heat up on the grill.  While they were cooking he showed us the assortments of salads and breads that they also have for sale at the store.  And donít forget the wide array of other meats you can try on the grill.  If you are looking to be the king of the party this coming holiday, stop by Gartnerís and let them do all the work!

Preparing an Artichoke

Most people have seen an artichoke and some have experienced one at a meal or as an appetizer, but most people have never prepared one themselves. Chef David Musial joined us once again to show us how easy it is to prepare one at home. First you will want to pull off all the smaller leaves at the base of the artichoke. Then you can also cut off the sharp points with a scissors. You will then cut it in half. Add a little oil to a non-aluminum pot full of water. The aluminum will cause discoloration. You will want to let it simmer for about 20 minutes, checking every once in a while to see if they are ready. Once they are soft, but not too soft, you can pull off the leaves and enjoy with melted butter or mayonnaise. Click here for full instructions.

Knife Tips

Chef Woody Bailey from Oregon Culinary Institute (1-888-OCI-CHEF) joined us to fill us in on knives.  Chef Woody is also the owner of Zen Blades so he knows his knives!  His first and most important tip for finding the right knife, get the one that FEELS right.  The second question, what WORKS best for you?  If you take these two factors into consideration you will have almost won the battle!  The first knife you should look at buying is a chefís knife.  Donít worry about the cost, as Woody said, this knife should last you a lifetime and it will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Some other knives to consider; a bread knife, a boning knife, a cleaver and a paring knife.  Remember, donít buy knives in a set, buy them individually, you will get a better set of knives that way.  If you have any more questions, give Zen Blades a call.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Fix it or replace it? If you have an appliance that is on the fritz, that may be your most important question. In these tough economic times it is a tougher decision. Tony Gayaldo from Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500) tried to help us make the decision. If the repair is easy and cheap it may be a no-brainer. If it a more expensive repair it may make sense to buy a new energy efficient appliance. If your appliance is over 10 years old it may be cheaper to get a newer model. For example, a newer dishwasher may use one third the amount of water of your older dishwasher. Many newer models do a great job cleaning with just 5 gallons of water; hand washing could use up to 27 gallons of water. The most important factor in deciding what type of appliance to choose comes down to your families needs. Pick the appliance that works well for your situation. Donít just get one because it looks cool. To find out if a newer appliance will save you money you can check with the experts at Standard TV and Appliance or you can check out the Energy Star website at www.EnergyStar.gov.

Washer Water Saving Tips

Water use in the house is hard to track and even harder to cut back on. One of the areas that use the most water is the laundry room, specifically the washer. The only way to cut back on water is to do less loads of laundry, right? Wrong. There are new water efficient front-loading washers available on the market. With these new models you can cut your water usage in half, from over 40 gallons a load to about 20 gallons. A few other benefits to the front load models. They get your clothes cleaner by mixing the detergent, clothes and water better. They are also easier on the fabrics, so your clothes will last longer. And finally, you will use less energy in your dryer as well, since these front loaders spin more water out of the clothing! You can also save money by taking advantage of energy credits and rebates. For more information and water saving tips check out the Regional Water Providers Consortium website at www.ConserveH2O.org.



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This page last modified
August 13, 2010.