Brrr… I was outside walking around the house, assessing it for the coming winter months (check out our story below) and I was chilled! The mornings and late evenings are showing the signs of the changing seasons. With that change comes the realization that my home may not be as efficient as it could be. If you feel your home is the same way, check out the two stories we have on energy efficient windows and the home energy audit. They could save you hundreds of dollars a month!

Cascade Window Coverings

We visited Cascade Flooring America (800-942-0376) in Vancouver to learn about… window coverings! That’s right; Cascade had so many requests from customers that they hired a Hunter-Douglas window expert, Jim, to help customers make the right choices in picking out window coverings. Choosing a new window covering can be a daunting task, because there are so many choices. Some of those choices can now save you lots of money too. Jim showed us how you can get up to a $1,500 tax credit on certain styles of window coverings. Not only can you enjoy great energy savings you can also pick window treatments that can compliment any décor. Jim also showed us how you can enjoy other benefits such as light control and privacy. If you are looking to make a change to your window coverings you need to make the short trip to Vancouver and visit Jim, Sunny and all the Cascade staff for help.

Gluten Free Salad Roll

Food sensitivity has become more and more common in our society and so have the number of cookbooks that address those issues. Recently we received a copy of a new cookbook called ‘The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen’. What surprised us about this cookbook is that it didn’t talk about doing ‘without’. What we mean is that it talked about enjoying your meals and making them with great flavors and textures. Most of these types of cookbooks have recipes that become bland because they take away the flavor when they remove the gluten. Laura B. Russell wanted her cookbook to be different and it is! Laura is a local author and so we decided to try out one of her recipes. Robin got to tackle this one and gave Chef David the day off. Robin decided on the Salad Rolls with shrimp and David volunteered to do a couple of the sauces. The ingredients included shredded carrots, cilantro, a daikon radish, red bell pepper, chopped lettuce, mint and a sauce made from fish sauce and lime juice. Finally you will need Chinese vermicelli rice noodles (no gluten). The main warning to keep it gluten free is to read all the labels carefully. Gluten can be found in some of the most unusual products. Don’t assume that just because you think it doesn’t have gluten that it is good, we found a bunch of products that still contained it. It also helps to ask at your local market when you are buying it too. Then you just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and top it off with the fish sauce. Let that sit while you mix up your dipping sauce. David decided to do a mango sauce, but you can also make (or buy) a peanut sauce as well. You will find both recipes here.

Finally roll your salad mixture in a rice paper wrapper and drizzle on a little of the mango sauce and enjoy. This is one of those cookbooks that you will enjoy for years to come. In fact we all have a copy now and are enjoying these tasty dishes!

Fall Table Dressing

The fall is here and it is time to dress things up for the season. We made our way back to visit with Kim Foren at Geranium Lake (503-228-1920) to check out her latest design for the fall table. Kim decided to harvest some of the bounty from her garden to help make a splash on her fall table. She cut some of the veggies from her garden and some stuff she picked up from the local farmers market and then worked them into her design. She made a centerpiece which included kale, red peppers, sunflowers, basil, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes and colorful cabbage. She had made the arrangement in a clear glass vase and lined the inside with asparagus spears. It looked fantastic! She also placed sunflowers around her table, with out the petals! They still look great and they will last longer. On each of the plates she had made place card holders with bell peppers that had been carved out and filled with flowers. Since most of the peppers have a round shape they had been shaved off at the base so they could sit up-right on the plate. Kim also used a lot of different textures on the table to make it visually interesting. A burlap table runner was paired with log slab chargers to make an interesting statement. She also brought up to the entertainment area a lot of plants from her garden that were showing off their fall colors. Add a bunch of small candles for ambience and it looks ready for company! For more decorating ideas you can check out her blog at her website, http://geraniumlake.com. She also has new classes happening all the time, check out her website for a list of current topics.

Home Energy Audit

With the recent downturn in the economy a lot of people are looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient. We recently met with Chad Ruhoff from Neil Kelly (866-691-2719). Neil Kelly has been a leader in home remodeling and recently established a new part of the business, Neil Kelly Home Performance. Chad told us how their crews can come in and assess every aspect of your home and how it may be wasting your energy and money. They can also recommend steps you can take to improve the efficiency of your home. He also recommends a few tips that you can do if you don’t want to have major work done. First of all turn your thermostat down a few degrees; wearing a sweater can help you save money. He also recommended getting a digital electronic thermostat. These can be programmed to lower the heat during the nights when you are asleep and during the day when you are gone. Weather stripping doors and windows can be a big help as well.

If you want to really save some money then the audit is for you. Neil Kelly will come in and test your home to see where you can make improvements and they will also make sure your furnace and other appliances are working efficiently and safely. A poorly performing furnace or water heater can produce carbon monoxide which can endanger your family. They will even make sure that there are no small gas leaks. Then they can make recommendations for improvements. Now you might be thinking that all this testing could get costly, but the audit can be free! Clean Energy Works Oregon is helping to underwrite this audit. Just go to their website and click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and then enter the Neil Kelly rebate code ‘CNNLK’. They will tell you if your home qualifies. Once the audit is done you can also work with Neil Kelly to see if you qualify for an instant rebate up to $2,000. Any remaining costs can be financed through a low-interest loan, with monthly payments that appear right on your utility bill. Your home’s improved energy efficiency will partially or fully offset these costs, making a more comfortable home an affordable reality.

Fall Home Checklist

The change in the seasons is a good time to check to see if your home is ready for the cold wet weather yet to come. David and Robin received some tips from our friend Linda Gemal about things you should check on your home to get it ready for the season. We started at the top of the list and the home. The roof is where Robin started. Get at eye level with your roof. Look for loose shingles or flashing (the metal areas around vents and chimneys). Check for cracks in your chimney and repair the mortar if needed. Call a chimney sweep and get the inside of the chimney checked out as well. Clean out your gutters and make sure they are not loose or have cracks that would cause any leakage.

On the ground David was checking out the doors and windows with weather stripping and caulking. Make sure that they don’t have cracks or gaps. Re-strip or re-caulk if needed. Then check out your siding. If it is cracked repair or replace it (next week on Fusion we will show you how to do this). Finally remove and drain your hoses and cover the hose bibs to prevent frost damage. For a complete list of tips check out this list. To receive Linda’s newsletter you can sign up at her website, www.rejuvenateyourhome.com.


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This page last modified
October 07, 2011.