Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fun Recipes for Kids

Fun recipes make cooking more engaging and exciting for kids. It’s important for kids to become comfortable with cooking so they can lead healthier lifestyles as they grow up. Allow your kids to associate cooking with healthy meals and being creative. The kids in your family may also enjoy some of the 30 Minute Meals we wrote about last week.

Kid-friendly recipes are also a good strategy for getting picky eaters to eat more. Sometimes it’s just difficult to convince a kid to eat an entire meal in one sitting. Below are some fun recipes to try at home.

Hot Dogs & Spaghetti Bites

Hot dogs and spaghetti sound like a good combination, right? Those are two of the most popular food choices among kids, and this recipe brings them together in a fun way. An example is the Threaded Spaghetti Hot Dog Bites from Very Culinary. Amy broke pieces of spaghetti and threaded them into bite size pieces of hot dog before cooking the pasta al dente. You can then add your favorite sauce and enjoy.

Threaded Spaghetti Hot Dog Bites (Before and After)

Photo & Recipe from:

Tortilla Pizza

Janine, author of True Aim Parenting & Education, let’s her four kid assemble their own pizzas. It’s super easy and quick; her secret is using tortillas as the pizza crust. It creates thin pizza crust and kids have a blast making it.

According to Janine, kids are more willing to eat vegetables when you present them as pizza toppings. The kids assemble the pizzas and she puts them in the oven at 400 degrees for eight minutes.

5 second pizza crust

Photo & Recipe from:

Twisty Pretzels

Use this 30 minute recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction with whole wheat flour to get your kids excited about forming dough into pretzel shapes. The recipe calls for yeast, water, sugar, flour and an egg wash. Start with three cups of flour and as more as you need it.

Give each kid a small ball of dough so they can make their own pretzels. Form dough into hearts, stars and any other shapes you can think of. Egg wash the pretzels on both sides, top with salt and bake for ten minutes at 425 degrees.

30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels - soft, chewy, and EASY! Recipe by

Photo & Recipe from:

Fruity Popsicles

Popsicles are a fun food and an excellent trick for getting kids to eat fruit. There are also popsicle recipes out there that call for yogurt. Even if the popsicle is dipped in chocolate, at least the inside is made up of fruit smoothie or whole fruits.

Buy popsicle molds or use small cups and sticks. Try out some recipes on Artsy Fartsy Mama, where Lindsay lists 36 popsicle recipes for you to try with your family:

Enjoy these recipes, and let us know what tips and tricks you use to get your kids to cook and eat healthy.


Home Remodeling Discussion with Finecraft Contractors

Range Hoods Inc sat down with Finecraft Contractors, Inc. to discuss home remodeling trends. Finecraft Contractors is a general, independent contracting company. It has been in business for the past thirty years and renovates and builds homes in the Washington, D.C. area. Their projects have been featured in a variety of publications. Finecraft Contractors has proven their quality and service over and over in their award-winning projects.


Range Hoods Inc: What makes Finecraft stand out while being compared to other contracting companies?

Niko: “Because details matter most,” is the motto of our company and we take it very seriously. As customers become accustomed to their new homes and/or remodel, the small details become more and more noticeable.

When people sit down in their living rooms, or family rooms, and start looking closely at the space their contractor put together, if the care and dedication isn’t put into the details, then they will notice that, and they won’t feel happy with their home.

At Finecraft, we understand this; thus, we put care and attention to detail in every step of the process to ensure our customers can enjoy their new home to the fullest. We want them to think of their home as a comfortable and quality space. We don’t produce cookie cutter work; we care about the details that make people feel at home and happy with the remodel.

Range Hoods Inc: Please explain the steps of the remodeling process you use with clients?

Niko: This video explains the process:

The steps include an initial meeting with plans and an estimate, a pre-construction meeting and a schedule. We want the client to be in control and to feel free to make changes (when time allows). We want the client to be happy with the end product and to have creative control. Even beyond the project, we don’t completely disappear. We want them to know we’re here for them.

Range Hoods Inc: What does your company do to make families more comfortable during their remodel?

Niko: We put forth our best effort to keep the home livable. We don’t want to force families to leave during a remodel because we know it can be expensive to temporarily move out of the home. Other times, people don’t want to overstay their welcome if they’re staying with family. It can also be difficult to relocate with children.

During a kitchen remodel, we will often set up a temporary kitchen for the family on the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.

We also try to make the family comfortable by closing up the doorways to the kitchen. This keeps the dust from going into the rest of the house and makes it seem like we’re not there. We like them to continue living in their space without having their lives interrupted.

Range Hoods Inc: What is the kitchen trend that people ask you for the most?

Niko: It really differs from project to project, and it depends on the style of the kitchen we’re working on. However, open kitchen is a big trend we’re seeing right now. In an open kitchen, the kitchen is integrated into the rest of the house instead of being closed off. This encourages people to spend time together while preparing meals and eating.

Learn more at

30 Minute Meals

When you get home, you want to be with your family, dedicate some time to yourself and relax without thinking after a long day. That’s why today’s recipe blog theme is 30 minute meals, so you can save time and eat delicious food too.

30 minute meals also make it easier to eat in versus going out. Read about the potential health risks of eating out in Does Eating Out Put You at Risk of Food Poisoning?

Simple Hamburger Stroganoff by Jessica

This recipe is a fast and inexpensive version of Beef Stroganoff. Jessica used egg noodles, ground beef, dry brown gravy mix, cream cheese, mushrooms, milk, sour cream and condensed cream of mushroom soup. It’s a pretty easy recipe; you just brown the beef, cook the noodles and mix the rest of it together.

All Recipes is an online recipe community where users can submit, review and comment on recipes. People usually review and comment with their modifications and tips.

Simple Hamburger Stroganoff Recipe

Photo & Recipe from:

Honey Salmon in Foil by Chungah

Damn Delicious is a food blog by Chungah; her recipes are quick, easy recipes that are made with fresh ingredients. This salmon can be eaten along with a side of fresh vegetables or rice from your rice cooker.

This recipe should take 25 minutes and makes four portions. Just season the fish according to her instructions, place it in the foil and put it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The seasoning is made up of honey, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and thyme leaves.

Honey Salmon in Foil - A no-fuss, super easy salmon dish that's baked in foil for the most tender, most flavorful salmon ever!

Photo & Recipe from:

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup from Woman’s Day

This Mexican tortilla chicken soup from Woman’s Day can be found on the food website Delish. Delish is one of the top 10 food websites on the Internet.

This soup takes 30 minutes; you’ll need olive oil, garlic, jalapenos, ancho chile powder, fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, avocado, cilantro, shredded chicken, corn, black beans, tortilla chips, sour cream, lime and cheese.

You will use an immersion blender, or blender stick, and can choose to make it in a big pot or a Dutch oven. Garnish it with fresh ingredients before serving.

Recipe from:

Angel Hair with Shrimp and Peas from All You

This recipe, which originated on My Recipes, can be found on All You. All You is a budget-friendly online publication. All You lists the recipe as costing $2.65 per serving.

This angel hair pasta looks like a light, great meal, which includes peas, olive oil, shrimp and heavy cream.

You will also find articles on All You about DIY, health, beauty, decorating, couponing, fashion, etc.

Angel Hair with Shrimp and Peas

Photo & Recipe from:

Coconut Vegetable Curry from Budget Bytes

This homemade curry is easy to put together and budget-friendly as well. Beth at Budget Bytes posts cost-conscious recipes and meals. Her curry recipe takes 30 minutes total to make.

You’ll need garlic, curry powder, ginger, olive oil, onion, tomato paste, carrots, diced tomatoes, broccoli, light coconut milk, cilantro, cauliflower and sugar. Don’t forget rice for a side dish to soak up the sauce.

Coconut Vegetable Curry

Photo & Recipe from:

Enjoy these recipes! They should fit right into your busy schedule.

Kitchen Tech Wednesday: Fun Kitchen Gadgets

Today we didn’t want to talk about just one kitchen gadget; today we’re talking about a whole smorgasbord of kitchen appliances that make cooking fun. If you haven’t, check out our last kitchen tech blog post: Kitchen Tech Tuesday: Selia Motion-Sensing Faucet from Pfister

First on the list is an appliance that doesn’t just cook food; it will leave a message on your food for you too. What can’t a toaster do nowadays? This toaster, designed by Sasha Tseng, will toast a piece of bread and transfer a message onto it. Just write your message on the top of the device like you would on a 90s magnetic drawing board. Best of all, leave someone a reminder to get something done in the morning.

Next we have a myriad of cute tea infusers. If you aren’t a tea drinker, you may not know that a tea infuser is like a re-usable tea bag for brewing loose leaf teas. They come in all sizes and shapes, including rubber duckies, sharks, whales, robots, submarines, Death Stars, dinosaurs, etc.; you name it. Make sure to check these out so you can add some style to your next cup of tea.

If a tea infuser isn’t your thing, try a mug with a tea infuser built-in. These are great for when you want tea on the go or when you don’t want to bother with washing the infuser. This has everything all-in-one for you.

Who wants to eat boring cookies? We sure don’t. That’s why we’ve searched the Internet for these fun cookie cutters. Take a bite out of a ninja, or ironically, out of a zombie. These 3D space cookie cutters from Think Geek make cookies that you put together into a space ship. Make a space ship right before dunking that cookie into a glass of cold milk.


Are you disappointed yet again and again by your pizza cutter? Don’t worry; pizza scissors are here to make the perfect cut in your pizza pie! Avoid mess and frustration with a pair of scissors with a connected, non-stick spatula. Pretty soon you’ll be a pizza cutting guru.



If you love cooking, but you’re sick of looking up measurements every time you break out a recipe, then a cheat sheet apron may be what you need. These have common cooking conversions, substitutions and tips and tricks printed on the apron. It doesn’t get more convenient than that. It’s also printed upside down so you can flip up your apron and read it while wearing it.

Next up is a Corn Kerneler from Amco. It’s not super humorous, but it just looks cool and funny to us. It sounds really useful though; just press it straight down the ear of corn to remove the kernels. The kernels go into the holder, and it’s dishwasher safe. Grill some corn and try it out.

Lastly, we have the Banana Handle! Whoever thought of this may be our favorite person. This silicone banana will keep your hands safe from hot pan handles. It’s made for both humans and chimpanzees.

At Range Hoods Inc, we believe cooking should be fun. Enjoy life in the kitchen.

5 Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram

The following five interior designers are active and popular on Instagram. All of these design professionals offer something unique and significant through their skilled designs, craftsmanship and their effective social media presence. Before reading on, don’t forget to check out our last blog post in this series: 5 Interior Designers to Follow.

Insidestylehome (@insidestyle) – Inside Style is a design firm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Jill Abelman, the principal designer of the team, “Your quality of life and happiness go hand-in-hand with a well-designed space. When you are comfortable in your environment, you feel better equipped to meet life’s challenges.” We love the sentiment in Jill’s words.

Jonathan Adler (@jonathanadler) – Today, Jonathan Adler is a design company that offers home décor for every room, including designer furniture. In the past, Jonathan was a guy with a dream of making pottery. Now, he has 1,000 stores and is known for his signature aesthetic and use of color in his luxurious home designs. The company motto is, “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it.”

Corey Klassen (@coreyklassen) – Corey Klassen is a well-known bathroom and kitchen designer of the Vancouver boutique Corey Klassen. He is a Certified Kitchen Designer and a Certified Bath Designer. The boutique has been offering Residential Interior Design since 2005. The firm offers a three-in-one design approach, including kitchen design, bath design and interior decorating. Corey Klassen handles custom homes, renovations and creates cohesive designs.

kitspoint_kitchen overall_sm

Life in Sketch (@lifeinsketch) – Life in Sketch is an interior design blog where editor Tina Ramchandani shares her design ideas, information on products and tips for decorating. Tina has a BA in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and has worked in commercial and residential design. She is the owner of Tina Ramchandani Creative in New York, New York. Check out her blog for her weekly/monthly columns.


CLOTH & KIND Curated Interiors (@clothandkind & @tamiramsay) – CLOTH & KIND is an interior design decorating team made up of Krista Nye Schwartz (@clothandkind) and Tami Ramsay (@tamiramsay). CLOTH & KIND offers one of a kind pieces within classic interior designs with a modern influence. The two also collaborate on their popular blog, CLOTH & KIND, and the column PROUST ON DESIGN. The residential and commercial interior designers from this team are, “renowned for their ability to create spaces with history and heart, with story and substance.”

Krista Nye Schwartz of CLOTH & KIND in Ann Arbor | Remodelista

You can follow these five on their Instagram profiles; their Instagram usernames are next to their names in the parenthesis. Check them out for design ideas, inspiration and tips.

Relieving Stress in the Kitchen

We all get stressed out when things aren’t going our way, and we’ve all been there when a recipe isn’t going as planned. Sometimes you were mistaken and you don’t actually have that one ingredient you needed. Here are some tips and tricks for reducing cooking stress and stress we get in the kitchen. Follow these tips for a more peaceful experience. Also, don’t forget to run the range hood while you’re cooking to avoid pesky smoke, smell and grease.

-Read the entire recipe before you start cooking. It’s stressful to work on a recipe when you get halfway through and you figure out you don’t have everything you need to bring it to completion. Skimming the recipe ahead of time can help you avoid problems like these.

-Set out all of the ingredients before you before getting started. This helps ensure you have all of the necessary ingredients before you get elbow deep in the recipe. It also helps to measure out everything ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling to sauté something while chopping something while stirring a pot of food while…well, you get the picture.

-Use a smart phone or tablet app, like Tastebud, that will tell you what you can make with what’s already in the fridge. That means no more last minute runs to the grocery store to finish that recipe you’re working on and no more spending money when you have food at home that is going to go bad if you don’t use it.

-Keep your kitchen clean and organized for stress-free cooking, Keep your knives sharpened and have a place for everything so you always know where it is. Also, clean as you go so there isn’t a stressful clean up at the end of the meal when everyone disappears and you’re left with a sink full of dirty dishes.

-Delegate! Ask someone to chop up the salad, set the table, run the dishwasher, etc. Don’t leave it all up to one person, especially if he or she is doing all of the cooking.

-Learn some slow cooker recipes so you can make a big batch of food for the next couple of days. You can prepare slow cooker recipe ingredients ahead of time and freeze them all together in a bag; when you’re ready to leave the house, just dump the bag into the slow cooker and dinner will be ready when you get home.

-When you bring home food from the grocery store, prepare it so it’s easy to cook when you’re hungry. For example, divide meat and chicken and freeze it in easy to manage portions. With produce, go ahead and wash it; separate it so it’s ready to be thrown in the pot or into the salad bowl.

-Lastly, eat foods that relieve stress. Avocados and bananas contain potassium, which lowers blood pressure; fish contains omega-3 fats, which calms the mind; carrots are fun to munch on without containing lots of calories; and chocolate releases serotonin and improves mood.

Good luck cooking in the kitchen , and remember, don’t stress out!