Did you notice the heat?  Of course you did.  Another thing I noticed… when you plug in the portable air conditioner it takes a few minutes to ‘warm’ up.  When you leave an appliance setting for awhile it is going to take a bit for all the parts to get moving again.  The air conditioner is a perfect example.  Once it was out of the closet and plugged in, it made some low rumbling noises for a few minutes.  But in my haste for cold air I was pushing all the buttons I could find and, of course, I got nothing but warm air.  After a minute of letting it sit and clear its throat it started pushing out the glorious chilled air I was waiting for.  As we get closer to the cold air of fall, now is a good time to make sure the old heater will fire up when needed.  Be sure to check with a qualified contractor to make sure everything is working well before your furnace catches a ‘cold’.

Bed Makeover

Like a lot of things in your home your bed can really benefit from a makeover!  To help us make a seasonal change in the bedroom we stopped by Ste. Maine (503-232-1880) in the Westmoreland/Sellwood area.  Elizabeth joined Robin to show her how to do it, but before we got started she needed a little education about the bed linens and what they are there for.  We started with the headboard.  It is great to have so your pillows and other decorations don’t slide off the top of the bed.  As a bed-covering we had a quilt which will work for most of the year here in the Northwest.  If you need a little more coverage you can add a duvet.  Usually this stays folded at the bottom of the bed.  At the bottom is the ‘dust ruffle’, this covers the box springs and the metal frame of the bed and makes a nice accent to the look of your bed.  There were numerous pillows on the bed and they were covered by shams and Euro Shams.  The Euro shams are large coverings that protect the larger decorative pillows.  These can be used for sleeping but generally they are just decoration.  The regular bed pillows also have a sham (covering).  These protect the pillows and like most of the coverings, they can be changed to match the season.  The bed we saw was a classic white bed that looked light and summery.  Then Elizabeth and Erin took over and with a few changes of covers and the duvet, they created a more ‘earthy’ appearance.  They kept the ‘white’ look which is more neutral than other colors, but added a splash of color to really change the look.

Buffalo Shepherd Pie

What’s for Dinner!?!  That s probably one of the most heard phrases in the home when it gets close to dinner time.  To help answer that question we checked in with Mr. Mom, Dave Lilja.  Dave is a stay-at-home dad who had to deal with that question all the time and so he came up with a bunch of easy, nutritious recipes that he recently published in a great cookbook, ‘Mr. Mom’s Favorite Family Meals’.  His recipes are really interesting… in fact the one he did for us is a Buffalo Shepherd Pie.   The reasons for the buffalo instead of beef, it is lean, it is cheaper, and the flavor is outstanding.  Dave started by browning the buffalo, then he steamed some cauliflower which was mashed to look and feel like mashed potatoes.  Once the buffalo is browned, it is added to a casserole dish and mixed with chopped carrots.  The mashed cauliflower was spread over the top and grated cheese was sprinkled over that.  It was baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and it was done.  If you would like to try this recipe, you can click here or you can get a copy of Mr. Mom’s cookbook at his website (303-800-1603).      

Now You're Cooking – Cioppino

For this week’s ‘Now Your Cooking’ segment, we were 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. He added a little olive oil to the pan and heated it to about 350-400 degrees.  He added prawns, clams, halibut and salmon to the pan.  The high heat allows him to sauté the seafood and gives it some wonderful color before he moves to next step.   After a couple of minutes the prawns started to show some of that color and then he added some salt and pepper.  He then added a pepper mix of spicy and flavorful peppers and some garlic.  A few minutes later he added a cream sherry and let it deglaze.  Then he added the San Marzano tomato sauce made from a very flavorful Italian tomato.  He turned 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 he added 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.

Kaboodle Ice Treats

The last days of warm weather for the kids are here.  Soon school will be starting up again and this heat will be a distant memory.  While it is still summer you can create those wonderful memories of homemade popsicles with a new item we found at Kitchen Kaboodle (503-643-5491).  Maryann Samsa met with us to show us the Zoku Quick Pop Maker.  This unit doesn’t need power or batteries to work and is safe for any age.  You simply chill the unit in your freezer for 6-8 hours before you need it.  The basic unit is a freezer mold that makes up to 3 pops in 7-9 minutes.  You can reuse it up to 3 time (for a total of 9 pops) before you have to recharge the unit in your freezer.  In the basic kit you also get enough sticks to make 6 pops.  With an optional ‘tool’ kit you can get additional sticks for more pops, some decorating tools and some measuring cups.  All these tools will let you make ice cream filled pops, interesting patterns & shapes and even add decorative fruit shapes to the pops.   The best part is that you can use any type of juice in it, so you can offer your family a healthier choice in summer treats instead of the traditional ‘sugary’ options.  To see more, stop by any of the local Kitchen Kaboodle locations and ask to see the Zoku Quick Pop Maker.

Kid Sized Snacks

‘I’m hungry!’  How many times have we heard that as parents?  It is the number one complaint in the house during the summer time.  Today we shared some ideas to make snacking fun and keep it healthy, without getting a lot of complaints!  One of the most important things to keeping your child happy is to give them choices.  Our first example does just that.  We simply took a regular muffin tin and filled each hole with different snack choices.  We had raisins, cut up pieces of fruit, healthy whole grain crackers, cheese cubes and lightly salted mixed nuts.  Any child will find something they like in all that.  The next example featured ‘dipping’.  A lot of kids love to dip!  We had various vegetables cut up and choices of ‘light’ ranch dressing, yogurt and peanut butter for dipping.  They can mix and match their dips and still eat healthy!  We then moved to mini-pizzas.  We used a toasted English muffin and put on a tomato sauce mixture (you can even use a canned pizza sauce) covered that with sliced meats and cheeses and then broiled them in the oven for a couple of minutes to brown out the tops and ‘presto’, mini-pizzas!  The portable snackables are very popular as well with the school lunch crowd.  You can cut down on the sodium and fats by making your own, just let your kids chose what they would like to have from a list of healthy choices and cut them into small pieces that they can assemble when they get to school and you will save money as well!  The final choice was a wrap.  These can be healthy if you use the right ingredients.  Healthy cheeses and meats with a simple spread will do the trick.  Of course you need to pair these snacks with a healthy drink option.  Look for the smaller containers of low fat milk, almond milk or just water to make it complete.  Chocolate milk and energy drinks may not be your best options even though your kids love them.  If you don’t have them as a choice they will have to choose a healthier option.   Take a couple of these tips, pay a little more attention to the choices you are presenting and in the end your kids will be healthier and happier.


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This page last modified
September 10, 2011.