I was watching TV the other day and I caught a popular show where they will take a week to tear down and rebuild a new home for someone who needs it.   I’m not sure I would want that.  I don’t know about you, but I kind of like my old ranch-style house.  I know every little nook and cranny and all the little quirks it has.  I also have everything I need if there is a project to be done.  There is left over paint for touch-ups in every room, extra parts for the toilet and shingles to match the ones on the roof.  So when I have a project around the house I can be sure that it is one that I can do without calling an expert…  and that’s a nice feeling!  We will be tackling some project in the next few weeks so maybe you can do your own without an ‘extreme team’.

Children’s Goodwill Frames

If you have kids you probably have a refrigerator full of art work!  To learn how to display that artwork and reclaim you appliance we stopped by to chat with Sara Tetreault from GoGingham.com about how she created a mini art gallery in her home.  The best way to get started is to start collecting frames.  She finds lots of frames at estate sales and at the local Goodwill store.  They are really cheap and they come in lots of different styles.  You don’t even have to worry about whether they match or not.  Just get a variety of different frames.  Next select some pieces of art that you would want to showcase.  You should look for a variety of pictures from your kids so that they have lots of different styles to showcase.  The key to making it look cool is the eclectic mix of your choices.  As far as placement on the wall Sara recommends using a basic symmetry of balance by placing the same number of pictures on the wall if you are creating rows and keeping the spacing uniform.  It comes out looking like a wonderful blend of colors and styles, just like a regular art gallery!  If you would like to get more decorating and décor tips you should check out her website, where her slogan is ‘frugality without the sacrifice’.   

Al’s Patio Décor

The summer is right around the corner and it is time to start thinking about outdoor entertaining.  We stopped by Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood (503-726-1162) to talk to Jeanette Boyce about how to ‘save and splurge’ in the garden.  What she means is that you can save on some décor items and splurge on others.  For example you will want to ‘splurge’ on a nice patio table and chairs.  This is a focal point to your entertaining and you will want it to last for years.  If you are replacing those cheap plastic chairs every spring you know what we mean.  By buying a quality piece of furniture you are making sure that the investment will payoff for many years to come.  A save could be using decorative plastic cups and trays which can be inexpensive and reused over and over again.  Cloth napkins are the same.  They may cost a little more to buy, but you can wash them and use them over and over again. As far as decorating you can save by bringing all your garden containers to your entertainment area and use them for your parties and then move them back to their places around the garden when you are done.  She even had a decorative door screen that was painted to create a cool mood.  She is even willing to share tips on painting the door here. Jeanette also brought up water features.  You can splurge and buy a centerpiece fountain to showoff in the garden or you can save by building your own out of a decorative pot and a pump.  We then moved inside to see another few examples of ‘save and splurge’.  The ‘deep seating’ that we saw was another splurge that becomes a save.  These chairs are produced to withstand the weather of the northwest and because they are well built they will last for years and years, making it a big save to your pocketbook.   Other savings include selecting quality artwork and by bringing your indoor plants outside to give your area a totally different feel.  At the end of the season you can move them back inside for the ‘save’.   Finally we looked at bringing fire to your outdoor entertaining.  The splurge is adding a fire pit to your area, the save is a fire column and you can even save more with an assortment of candles for your table.  As you can see, there are lots of ways to ‘save and splurge’ when you are creating a welcoming outdoor entertainment area.   Stop by Al’s for more ideas and tips for your outdoor areas.

Adult Grilled Cheese

Growing up we all loved the traditional grilled cheese sandwich, but most of us have outgrown that tasty treat.  To get a little different twist on this sandwich we stopped by Oliver’s Restaurant (503-697-1054) in Lake Oswego to talk to owner Becky Russell.  She came up with her own tasty twist to the grilled cheese.  This sandwich is made with sourdough bread, pink lady apples, gouda cheese, prosciutto, and a fig sauce.   We start by putting fig sauce on the bread, layer on some sliced apples, prosciutto and cheese.  On the stove you will butter one side of the other slice of bread and brown it.  Place this on top of your stack and then flip the sandwich over on the grill.  Make sure the grill is at a medium heat so it warms the sandwich and allows the cheese to melt.  Oliver’s is located in the Lake Grove area of Lake Oswego and Becky tries to use local, organic and sustainable meats and vegetables on her menu.  She is even planting a garden behind her business to supply her own restaurant.  The final touch is to enjoy this ‘grilled cheese’ with a red wine, for a truly adult treat. 

Lavishmint Mojito

During the warmer days of spring and summer people often enjoy the traditional mojito made from rum, but we found one that is much more refreshing!!  This one is a mojito made with Lavishmint; a vodka that is combined with Northwest grown mint oil.   We spoke with Meghan, the vodka baroness, and the owner of Northwest Distillery (along with her husband) and she filled us in on the booming craft distillery market that is growing in Oregon.  There are over 20 craft distilleries currently in Oregon and they are making some really wonderful spirits.  In fact the main product in her line of spirits, Liquid Vodka, recently won a silver medal at the World Spirits Competition.  Lavishmint won a bronze!  The local Oregon Distillers Guild website has a list of all the local companies and a listing of their addresses.  For Northwest Distillery they operate out of a huge building on their property and it is pretty much a family affair when it comes to making their wonderful spirits. 

Now on to the mojito!   We met up with Bradley at Bluehour to have him make one for us.  Bluehour (503-226-3394) is known for their great cocktails.  They use the best in spirits and even work with the local distillers to make sure they are represented well in the restaurant.  They pride themselves on producing a consistent product so every drink is delicious.  Bradley started with one and a half ounces of Lavishmint Vodka, one ounce of lime juice, ¾ ounces of simple syrup and you shake that with ice, add two ounces of soda and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice and garnish with fresh mint and a slice of lime.  It is very refreshing!  Try it at home or stop by Bluehour and have Bradley make one for you.

Now You're Cooking – Cioppino

For this week’s ‘Now You're Cooking’ segment, we are visited once again by Chef Josh Gibler from Salty’s on the Columbia (503-288-4444).  He decided to share a recipe for a quick and easy cioppino.   For most people they know a cioppino as a blend of fish and seafood in a red sauce.  The key is to make sure that everything is done in the right order so it all comes together at the end in a delicious mix!  Chef Josh started with a pan on the Dacor range that he added a little olive oil to over high heat, about 350-400 degrees.  To the pan he added prawns, clams, halibut and salmon.  The high heat allows him to sauté the seafood and give it some wonderful color before he moves to next step.   After a couple of minutes the prawns will start to show some of that color and then you add some salt and pepper.  Then he added a pepper mix of spicy and flavorful peppers and some garlic.  A few minutes later you add a cream sherry and let it deglaze.  Then you add the San Marzano tomato sauce made from a very flavorful Italian tomato.  You turn the heat down to a simmer and let all the flavors combine.  The Dacor has a special double burner system that allows for the very low heat you need for simmering.  We were using the one we found at the Northwest Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362).  After a few minutes you can add some garlic herb butter and let that slowly melt into the mixture.  This recipe is one of the great dishes you can find at Salty’s.  Chef Josh has been making some wonderful changes to the menu and if you haven’t been to the restaurant in awhile you should stop by and check them out.  If you would like to try this in your own home you can check out the recipe on the NW Natural website.

Energy Efficient Appliances

We have lots of appliances in the modern home and when they are brand new, most of them are pretty energy efficient.  But when does it become more cost effective to replace them?  To learn more about that we stopped by Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500) and talked with our old friend Tony Gayaldo.  Tony had done some research and came up with a list of the appliances that use the most energy in your home.  In order, they are refrigerators, washers, freezers, and dishwashers.  Refrigerators are the biggest energy users by far in your house and Consumer Reports says that if it is over 8 years old you need to replace it.  If your refrigerator needs a repair and is old, the cost of the parts and the service call (plus the extra energy it uses in the first place) may dictate your need for a new appliance.  The next appliances we checked out were washers.  With the new front load varieties the amount of energy you need drops because they need less water to do a load, up to a swimming pool sized amount that you will save.  Newer models also have a better design and  can save a normal family of 4 up to $135 dollars a year.  We even learned how you can use your dryer to clean lightly soiled clothes! Your cost can be further reduced if you get a high efficiency model of washer and dryer.  Energy Trust of Oregon will give you up to $100 dollars back on your purchase of selected models and the State of Oregon will give you a tax credit of up to $180 dollars.  Other rebates may even come from your local water company and special city and county programs.  Be sure to check with your providers to see what you qualify for.  If you have an older appliance and you want to know how much you can save with a newer model, stop by Standard TV and Appliance and see what they can do for you.


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This page last modified
May 20, 2011.