How was your Halloween? Did you over do it on the candy? We did too. And that is just the start of the holiday ‘eating season’. We try to compensate for that this week with a recipe for a healthy, gluten free, appetizer you can serve your guests and a quick and easy garlic spread. We also cover some of the holiday projects you might want to tackle like remodeling your kitchen and tips for designing a room. Let the fun begin!

Al’s Fall Makeover

Time to throw out the pumpkins and make the transition to fall. After the Halloween decorations are down it is hard to find just the right décor to bring your home into thanksgiving. To get some simple and inexpensive ideas for fall decorating we stopped by Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood (503-726-1162) and talked to Amy Bigej. We started with some simple things that you can find in your own yard or garden. If you have curly willow, red twig dogwood or even ferns and other greens, they can be used to create a nice entrance to your home when grouped together in a vase or container. You can even use those pumpkins that you didn’t carve for Halloween on the front step. They should last for at least another month before they start to age. If you are looking to decorate the indoors you can use some of the same materials. If you have a pumpkin you can carve it out and use it as a vase. Amy had used a painted heather as a plant in that one. She also showed us how to use a butternut squash as a vase. If you want to try the squash just make sure that you have one that sits flat on the table or it will tip over! You can use floral foam in the middle and then use cut greens and foliage from your garden to create the display. Amy then moved to a great idea for a hostess gift. It was a container that had a grouping of indoor plants including an orchid. Finally we moved to poinsettias. Now you may be thinking that we are skipping the fall decorations when we bring poinsettias in the mix, but there are some new varieties that are in the colors of fall and can help make the transition between the seasons. ‘Electric Fire’ and ‘Cinnamon Star’ were two of the varieties that they had to fill in between the seasons. If you are looking for ideas on decorating and helping to transition from fall to winter stop by Al’s Garden Center.

Ashley Room Design

If you are like us you design a room in pieces. We started our home with one or two pieces of furniture and then designed around them. Over time we have changed a few rooms, but now we have an idea of where we want to go, design-wise’, before we start! But where do you start if you are design challenged? To get the answer we went to Ashley Furniture HomeStore (503-496-4210) and talked to designer Esther Robertson about where you can start. She said she tells people to start with getting an idea about room size. The dimensions will give you an idea of scope and scale. Next you will need to look at how the room will function. Is it a play room or a work room? Will animals be allowed in the room, etc? Another tip is to tackle one room at a time. If you try to do too much you can quickly become overwhelmed. Next, choose a color scheme or theme for the room. This will guide your decision in picking out everything else for the room. You can also start to think about fibers and textures at this point. Do you want leather furniture with a smooth surface or a fabric covering to give it more texture? Mixing it up will make the room more comfortable and give it more interest. Finally you will want to personalize the room with all your own touches. Trophies, pictures, collectable and heirloom items will help to make it feel more like home. Now, if you are getting ready to sell your home, you will want to remove these personal items to make it more sellable. Be careful about including too much in a room. You want your eyes to rest sometime. Look around the room, does it look cluttered? You will want some spaces between items that will let your eyes ‘rest’ every once in awhile. If you are looking to makeover a room, bring some pictures or a house plan with you and show them to the designer. You should maybe even bring a throw pillow to give them a rough idea about colors as well. If you are design challenged you can stop by Ashley where they have complete room sets at a great value too. Either way they can help you with all your design needs!

Gluten Free Holidays

In the last month we have had a couple of recipes from a new cookbook ‘The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen’ on the show. The author, Laura B Russell, lives in the Portland area and we have had the wonderful opportunity of having her make some of her recipes from the book. This week she joined us again to talk about the upcoming holidays and how you can make and serve delicious and healthy alternatives for your holiday parties. The holidays are a minefield of good tasting, but not so good for you, foods. This is especially true if you are gluten intolerant. She showed how to make a simple ‘roasted pork meatball’ that was incredible! She started by having David chop up about 8 minced scallions. While he was doing that Laura mixed a pound and a half of ground pork, a tablespoon and a half of sugar, around a teaspoon of salt, some gluten free fish sauce, 7 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and about a quarter cup of chopped lemon grass. David added the chopped scallions and then Laura mixed it all together. Once mixed it needs to sit for about 4 hours so the flavors can marinate the pork. Once the mixture was done ‘resting’ Laura made little meat balls and placed them on a cookie sheet that had parchment paper, but you can also lightly oil it instead. If you want to get ahead of the game you can freeze the meatballs and then just bake them before you need them. If you are cooking them fresh, you will need to put them in a 425 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes. You can serve them with a spicy mango sauce that is also in the book. Laura also made two other gluten free dishes that she showed us. These included a sweet potato and shrimp tempura pancake and a minced Thai chicken salad in lettuce cups. All these were labeled with little signs that had a GF in the lower corner. The GF meant they are gluten free, so your guest can tell the difference between the gluten free and the other appetizers you have at your party. You'll find the recipe here. For more great ideas check out Laura’s cookbook.

Sara’s Garlic Spread

We enjoy visiting with Sara Tetreault our ‘Stylishly frugal living expert’. She always has great ideas for decorating and entertaining while remaining within a budget. She recently called to share a great recipe with us. This week she showed us how to make a simple and delicious roasted garlic spread. She starts with already peeled garlic. You can usually get a large container of this at your local warehouse store. She roasts the entire container in the oven with canola oil, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of roasted red pepper flakes. Then she stores this roasted garlic in 1 cup measurements in her freezer in storage bags. When she needs it she just has to pull out one bag and add it to the recipe she’s working on. For the ‘Roasted Garlic’ spread she just needs one cup of the garlic, one cup of fat free cottage cheese and one cup of light mayonnaise. Add a little salt and pepper and blend it until it is smooth. Once it is blended you can serve it with muffins, bagel or as a dip with vegetables. If you would like to get the recipe you can check out Sara’s website at www.GoGingham.com where she has tons of great ‘stylishly frugal’ tips!

Neil Kelly Kitchens

The kitchen is one of the most popular places in the home for a remodel. Since we spend so much time in the kitchen (cooking, visiting, etc.) we want it to be comfortable and functional at the same time. It is also one of the places in a home where a remodel can increase the value of your home as well. But where do you start when you are planning a remodel? To get the answer to that question we stopped by the Neil Kelly Design Center (866-691-2719) in North Portland to talk to Karen. Karen is a designer and she has helped hundreds of people design and remodel kitchens without all the pain and mistakes of doing it themselves. The first thing she recommends is to make a list of priorities and goals you want to accomplish. What do you want the kitchen to be? If you are an entertainer you will need a different space than if you are a foodie and spend a lot of time cooking. You should also have a time frame, knowing when you want the project to be completed, and an idea of a budget, what you would like to spend on the remodel. The budget may be the most difficult. You have to look at the sum of the parts from the large appliances down to the knobs on the cabinets. A designer can be a big help here! The designer will help you figure out your goals and they can give you an idea of price because they know the different materials and costs for installation. Karen told us about some of the major remodeling styles that they consult on. Your project can be a ‘cosmetic’ remodel where you are just re-facing cabinets and countertops. Or you could be doing a ‘pull and replace’ type of remodel where you are pulling out the appliances and cabinets and putting in new. The most intensive remodel is the ‘custom’ remodel where you are moving walls or changing the structure of the room itself. You can help your designer by bringing in some pictures of what you want from magazines and pictures of your current kitchen taken from different angles so they can get an idea of your tastes and the scope of the work. If you are interested in learning more, without committing to a designer, Neil Kelly has seminars happening all the time. Check out their website for a complete schedule. You can attend and get all your questions answered before you get started and avoid some of the pitfalls that others had.


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This page last modified
November 11, 2011.