Monthly Archives: May 2017

Kitchen Trends – Roll It Out!

May 31-Manager-Erp.com

Most of us struggle to find storage space in our kitchens. Sometimes, we barely have room for an eat-in section. Well, kitchen designers have heard our cries of frustration. The latest trend is … wheels.

Yup, you read that right. Designers are putting wheels on pretty much every piece of furniture in the kitchen. It’s a great idea that gives homeowners the ability to rearrange the pieces as necessary. Imagine that you’re having a party, and you want to be able to stand behind the counter so you can cook, serve, and interact with your guests. All you’d need to do is pull the lower cabinets away from the wall and rearrange them as you’d like.

Of course, that’s not possible for any cabinetry housing the dishwasher or the stove and range hood set-up. But, it’s a great option for the remaining furniture.

Would you discard all of your existing cabinets and replace them with moving parts?

Read more about the perfect kitchen layout options: How To Layout An Efficient Kitchen

Blueberry Crumble Pie

may 29

Raise your hand if you can’t wait to head out berry picking! All those fresh fruits that are available at local farms are just waiting to be poured into pies, right? So, go to it! Remember to fire up your range hood fan so the whole neighborhood can smell the yummy aromas wafting from this delectable dessert!

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Filling

  • 5 cups blueberries
  • lemon juice squeezed from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour

Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. For the crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a 9-inch pie plate. Stir in oil, vanilla, and milk. Use your fingers or a fork to press the mixture together until it forms a moist dough. Remove 1/4 cup of the dough and set aside.
  3. Press remaining dough evenly into the pie plate. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Bake crust until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven; set aside.
  4. For the filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well and set aside.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
  6. For the crumble, stir together flour, both sugars, and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a fork to blend the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Add vanilla and the reserved pie crust dough. Blend together well with your fingers.
  7. Pour blueberries mixture into pie crust. Crumble topping overtop blueberries. Place pie on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 375°F for about 25 minutes more, until pie is golden. Cool completely.

Enjoy a slice of this blueberry crumble pie with a fun cocktail: Cocktail Recipes from Movies and TV Shows.

Refreshing Pavlova with Lemon Curd

may 25

Did you know that pavlova is the national dessert of New Zealand? It is reputed to have been created when Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova was touring New Zealand. Whether or not you believe that story is entirely up to you. Regardless of its origins, there is one that we can say about pavlova (the food). It is light, refreshing, and absolutely scrumptious! Even better, this recipe won’t heat up your kitchen!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (35%)
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese*
  • 1 cup lemon curd**
  • berries, as garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 250F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw one large (9-inch) circle on the paper. Or, if you’d like individual servings, draw 4 to 6 circles.
  3. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, beating constantly until glossy peaks form. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Fold in cornstarch, vanilla, and vinegar.
  4. Scrape mixture carefully into the circle forms on the parchment paper. Form a slight hollow in the center.
  5. Bake the meringue for 75 minutes or until crisp on the outside. Turn the oven off. Leave the oven door slightly open and leave it to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  6. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold the mascarpone into the whipped cream. Whisk until well incorporated.
  7. Spoon the lemon curd into the meringue nest. Top with cream-mascarpone mixture. Garnish with berries.

Enjoy!

Pair a slice of pavlova with one of these Summer Smoothie Recipes.

*Mascarpone cheese is a high fat, super creamy, and subtly sweet Italian cream cheese. You can find it at Italian or specialty grocery stores. Feel free to use your favorite plain cream cheese (at room temperature) in place of mascarpone.

**Lemon curd can be found already prepared alongside jams and jellies. You can also find it as a powder alongside Jello and other gelatine products.

Monthly Pick – Top Trends In Kitchen Cabinetry

May 23

I’ve flipped through so many kitchen design magazines lately that feature kitchens with minimal cabinetry. Sometimes, the entire top row of cabinets is gone in favor of a large window, an art-filled wall, or a professional-grade range hood. Sometimes, open shelving has replaced the cabinets.

That’s all well and fine, except for one thing. I like cabinets. I like upper and lower cabinets, and I like cabinets with doors that close. I’ll be the first to admit that dust settling on the items stacked artfully on those shelves is unappetizing. The thought of having to regularly dust those shelves … and the stuff stacked on them … makes me turn and run in the other direction.

As for no cabinets at all … well, that’s never going to happen in my kitchen. I like to have a lot of stuff hidden away behind those doors. I can’t imagine getting rid of the plates, glasses, mugs, and servingware that I use on a fairly regularly basis (and that are stored in those upper cabinets) just to clear a wall.

I know that the idea behind removing cabinets is to make a small kitchen seem larger and airier. But, I’ll take small and stuffy if it means keeping my storage areas.

There are lots of ways to achieve a modern, fresh, and spacious look without ripping out have the cabinetry. Getting that look relies entirely on properly designed cabinets. So, to that end, let’s take a look at the top kitchen cabinet trends!

Light. Bright. Minimal.

Paint cabinets with light or bright colors and keep the ornamental fill to a minimum.

Photo: House Beautiful

Dark works, too!

Use light colored accents on walls, and a light colored countertop to counteract the heavy feeling of the dark cabinets.

Photo: hgtv.com

Mixed designs.

Don’t feel you have to go all traditional or all modern. The most stunning kitchens are often those that deftly melt diverse elements into a workable whole.

Photo: superiorcabinets.ca

What style of cabinets do you love?

Gourmet Grilled Fish!

grilled fish - may19

Now that the weekend has finally arrived, it’s time to break out the BBQ and grill up some healthy and delicious fare. Are you one of the lucky ones who has an outdoor kitchen all decked out with a full stove and range hood? If not, but you’re thinking of building one, check out these tips: Design Your Own Outdoor Kitchen.

Whether you’re prepared to grill indoors or outdoors, you’re going to love this simple and flavorful fish dish!

Gourmet Grilled Fish

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 lbs plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce

Fish

  • 4 fish fillets (salmon, pickerel, cod, etc)
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chives, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Add all the sauce ingredients to a pot. Simmer until plums are soft, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Pour plum mixture into blender and process until the mixture is slightly chunky.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  3. Score skin side of fish.
  4. Combine mustard, fish sauce, honey, parsley, and chives. Stir in oil. Brush mixture over the fish.
  5. Grill fish skin side down for about 5 minutes with lid closed. Skin should crisp up. Carefully flip fish over. Grill for another 5 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flaky. Serve with sauce.

Enjoy!

The Curious Case Of The “Just In Cases”

Photo: House Beautiful

Just take a moment to admire that organized kitchen in the photo above. Is that not the height of art and beauty and stress-free living? Ok, fine. I’m exaggerating … but only a little.

We live in our kitchens. Most of us spend a huge part of our home time in that very room. We’re either feeding ourselves and family, preparing to feed ourselves and family, cleaning, crafting, baking, cooking … maybe even reading or watching a lot of cat videos.

Cats … dogs … pets …rats. Today is National Pack Rat Day! Did you know that was a thing? I admit that I did not. It is, however, appropriate, especially in terms of our kitchens. If you’re anything like me, you collect appliances, gadgets, cookie sheets, plates, coffee mugs, glasses … yeah, you get the idea.

Eventually, everything threatens to topple onto you if you open a cupboard door too quickly. So, today, in honor of National Pack Rat Day, we are going to declutter. Yes, you, too.

Here’s what I realized:

  1. I have a lot more stuff than I think I do.
  2. I have a lot more stuff that I never use than I think I do.
  3. I am through thinking that I should keep things “just in case”!

Once I began decluttering, repurposing, recycling, and discarding that stuff, I found I had so much more room. Good thing, too, because I just picked up a used bread machine!

If your kitchen needs a bit of a refresher, follow these steps. You won’t feel overwhelmed. You will feel happier at the end of it all.

  • Clear the countertops first. Put away anything that needs to be put away. Wash anything that needs to be washed. Then put those items away. You’re free to take a short break now, if you need to.
  • Always. Sometimes. Never. Start at the top of a cabinet and clear out anything you haven’t used in a while. Consider each item. Is it something you used recently? Is it something you can only use periodically (like holiday-themed muffin cups). Get rid of everything else. Keep going until you need a break. It’s ok to treat yourself.
  • Size matters. Cupboards, drawers, fridges, freezers … none of these are stretchable in any way imaginable. So, if you open up any of them and find items piled on top of each other, you’ve got to make a decision. See point above. How many of those items are essential to your everyday or holiday food prep? Anything that hasn’t been used in a while or is damaged should just go.

Have you been bitten by the decluttering bug? Share your tips!

Monthly Pick – Are Professional Range Hoods Worth The Cost?

Photo: Schweigen

Have you been drooling over that professional-grade range hood your local home hardware store has out on display? Oh yeah. I do that all the time. How can you not? They’re absolutely gorgeous! And no doubt it would look absolutely amazing in your kitchen.

The question though is whether spending the extra money on a professional-grade range hood is really worth it. I mean, when was the last time you cooked a sit-down meal for 50?

Professional-grade range hoods are definitely more expensive than regular home range hoods, so how you use it must be an important consideration. But, before you cross that beauty off your list forever, let’s look at some other criteria you might use to convince yourself to buy it.

Professional hoods tend to be larger than regular home hoods – typically 18 inches tall and up to 27 inches deep. So, the first thing you should do is measure the existing space above your stove. The worst thing that could happen is that you buy that pro hood only to discover that you’d have to rip out a line of cabinetry in order to make it fit.

So, let’s assume that professional hood you’ve been admiring will fit. (Or that you’re willing to renovate to make it fit!) Next, consider the hood style. Given that it’s going to be large, you don’t want it to be the only thing people see. Choose a material (stainless steel, copper, mixed steel and glass, wood) that matches your decor.

How about accessories? Every home range hood comes with a fan and lights. But some professional hoods come equipped with warming heat lamps. These are a great option if you find you’re often keeping food warm for family. Instead of turning on the oven to its lowest setting (which also ends up drying out the food), I’d love to be able to just turn on the heat lamps.

Some professional range hoods take extra steps to remove the guess work from cooking. While you’re in the midst of preparing a dish, how often do you think about which speed your range hood should be set to? Is the pan generating a lot of smoke, steam, grease, or odor, or just a little? Do you set the fan to high, medium, or low? Do you remember to change that setting on the fly? Some professional hoods function on automatic. You turn on the fan, then as you cook, the hood determines what speed to run at depending on how much smoke, steam, grease, or odor it sense.

If you’re still not sure whether you should splurge on that great professional hood, consider how well your existing range hood functions. Do you find yourself wiping down the ceiling or countertops after cooking because so much of that smoke, steam, and grease has evaded the fans? If that’s the case, then you should probably start shopping for a better and bigger range hood.

 

 

Pamper Mom With A Treat And A Treatment

Photo: Shyma {AllNatural28}

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Celebrating your mom doesn’t have to be big and fancy, but it does have to be special. Make today all about her.

“Make” is the operative word here. I really do mean make something for her from scratch … you know, with your hands. It doesn’t matter how perfectly it turns out. The very fact that you went to the trouble to make her something yourself will mean the world to her.

You can book a spa treatment for the two of you, of course. That would be fabulous! But, what if you whipped up your own bottle of special spa treatment along with a delicious snack that you could share? That would make for a great day. Yup, there’s that word again. Make.

Ok, let’s get to it. It’s time to step into the kitchen and turn on those appliances!

I came across this fabulous Citrus Nail-Growth Soak that you can stir up quickly and easily in your kitchen for an insanely small fraction of the cost of a treatment with a nail care specialist. As we age, our nails become more brittle and less shiny. A natural nail treatment should help to bring your mom’s nails back to tip top shape.

As for food … sure, you can go with healthy, light fare. Or you can pull out all the stops and drool over this super delicious Over-the-Top Savoury Bread Pudding. Enjoy with a glass of bubbly, of course!

Check out more of our recipes here!

What are your plans?

Monthly Pick – Unique Range Hood Designs – Metal

Photo: Creative Steel Work Inc

Metal is such an amazing material! There’s a very good reason why so many range hoods are constructed out of metal whether it’s steel, copper, or iron. Check out these gorgeous examples.

Talk about antique style. The rounded effect of this range hood is stunning. It catches the eye without overwhelming the rest of the kitchen decor.

Photo: stovee.info

How about a jewel-toned steel range hood? If you could customize the shape and color of your range hood, would you?

Photo: prizerhoods.com

Just because it’s metal, doesn’t mean it can’t bend! What do you think of this innovative range hood design.

Photo: Livinator.com

Have you seen a metal range hood that you absolutely love? Send us a pic!

 

Cinco de Mayo Party Favorites!

Photo: Party City

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Mexicans hold celebrations on this day to remember their country’s victory over the French in 1862. Beyond the Mexican border, Cinco de Mayo has become a beacon for anyone and everyone who loves Mexican food and culture. So, let’s join in, shall we?!

I must admit, I’m always a little ambivalent when it comes to hosting a party. On the one hand, I love spending time and sharing great food with family and friends. On the other hand, I dread the fact that my small kitchen is going to be stretching at the seams in its effort to hold in all the food, serving bowls, prepping materials … not to mention people who wander in!

If your kitchen is a little on the small side like mine, and a renovation and new appliances aren’t quite in the cards right now, check out my tips below.

Entertaining in a small kitchen

How To Host A Party In a Small Kitchen

How To Make a Small Kitchen Seem Bigger

Tips for Organizing a Small Kitchen

Cinco de Mayo party tips

  • Whip up your favorite margarita recipe and hand one to your guests as soon as they arrive.
  • Put out a DIY main course: bowls of pulled pork, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and tortillas.
  • Have fun with servingware: hunt down some palm leaves or hollowed-out watermelon and canteloupe shells.
  • Try this yummy dessert: How to Make Paletas and more: Pineapple Habanero Paleta

What’s your favorite Mexican treat?