19 October 2018

Five useful tips to use in the kitchen


The kitchen is an area that we spend a big part of our lives, as it is the place where we prepare our daily meals. We, therefore, need all the help we can get, and that is exactly what Kitchen Guyd is here for, to provide all the tips and advice on all things kitchen related.  In addition to that, below are a few tips that can help you on the same.

1.    Use different boards for different ingredients

If you are cutting up some fruit for dessert or for a salad, then it is best to ensure that you use a specific board for that and use a different board for the other ingredients. For instance, you may have one specific board for items such as fruit and vegetables, another one for meat and another for bread and pastries. This helps to ensure that odours and tastes of various ingredients do not get mixed up and create weird tastes. For instance, garlic and onions have very strong flavours which get caught up in almost anything. It is thus best to have a variety of chopping boards.

2.    Know how to store foods in the fridge

Fridges are a great lifesaver as they enable us to store various leftovers and hence save on cooking time, for instance, after a long day. There is, however, a mechanism that should be adhered to when storing foods in the fridge. For instance, the bottom shelves are best for your meat and poultry, all of which should be kept in clean, sealed containers. Below that go your fruit and vegetables which should be sealed in clean bags for freshness. Avoid storing items such as tomatoes which easily go bad, or onions which create an odour in your entire fridge.

3.    Using olive oils properly

There are various types of olive oils, but they can all be generally categorized into the typical pure olive oils and extra virgin olive oils. The difference in the majority of these olive oils is the process used in developing them. For example, the extra virgin olive oil is unrefined and is made without any chemical processes as compared to the pure olive oil which is not refined. The extra virgin olive oil is thus much more expensive and contains a lot of flavours. While cooking, therefore, it is best to use the pure olive oil and save the extra virgin oil for dressing as it does change its flavour under a lot of heat.

4.    Save heat when boiling water

We are always in a rush while cooking to bring water quickly to the boil. One easy and fast way to do this is by covering the water after placing it on the stove. This reduces the time needed to bring it to a boil drastically and also enhances hygiene. The same works for when cooking a dish such as pasta or rice. It will reduce the cooking time and thus will save on heat.

5.    Have a meals menu

You can make a breakfast or a dinner menu which can help you avoid the stress of deciding what to cook every day. Such a list will help you avoid situations where you don’t have all the necessary ingredients required for a particular meal. It can also be really fun to make such a list with your kids.

10 October 2018

Six Preventive Maintenance Jobs in the Home That You Should be Doing

As a homeowner, you know better than anyone that things can go wrong when you least expect it. Whether through wear and tear, environmental factors, or even weather damage, home repairs are unfortunately just part of home ownership. With that said, there are a number of preventative maintenance steps and jobs that you can be taking on a regular basis that will help to cut down on the amount of issues you may experience. Not only that, but it can help you to identify possible problem areas before the issue gets too big and out of hand.

Here we’ll take a look at six preventive steps you should be taking in order to keep your home in tip top shape.

Schedule a Regular Furnace Tune-Up

Your furnace is easily one of the most important appliances in your entire home. Without the furnace, your house can become very cold, very fast during the winter months making it uncomfortable and putting the pipes at risk of freezing. Unfortunately, most people don’t tend to give their furnace much thought until there is an issue with it. At that point you are likely looking at a repair job, which can cost a fair amount of money, and possibly some downtime where you are without a furnace.

This is exactly why it’s so important to schedule regular furnace tune-ups. This is a preventative maintenance step that will help to keep your furnace chugging along smoothly. It can also identify areas of concern before they become huge problems.

The experts at Action Furnace in Calgary AB suggest scheduling an appointment during the spring or summer months, before you are using your furnace. The last thing you want to do is fire it up for the winter only to discover it's not working properly, or at all.

You should also ask about the furnace filter as part of the tune-up, as it should at the very least be inspected if not changed out completely.

Stay on Top of Leaks

One thing that can cause significant damage to the interior and exterior of your home is water. Water damage tends to cause more issues than anything else as it can lead to rot, mildew, insect issues, and mold. The sooner you spot the issue, the faster you can get it fixed and then prevent any of those more serious issues from occurring.

So, what can you do to prevent this damage? Well the best thing to do is be wary of your home. Make sure you take regular walks around the interior and exterior specifically looking for areas of water damage. Some specific areas that you should be looking at include under pipes inside your cabinets, dripping from the toilet, a toilet that seems a bit wobbly, any dark stains on ceilings, etc.

Keep Gutters Clean and Clear

It's also important that you ensure gutters are kept clean and clear. This is especially important during the fall and spring. Build-up of leaves and debris in the gutters means the water can't follow its intended run-off path, which means it will find other areas to drip and drain into. This can end up causing water damage. Also, during the summer, the dried-up leaves can act as a fire hazard.

Test Your Smoke Alarms

This is another task that not everyone remembers but the fact is that your smoke alarm can protect your home and your family. Ideally you want to be testing your smoke alarms once a month making sure that they work. You will also want to replace the batteries in each smoke alarm twice a year just to be on the safe side. The spring and fall can be the perfect time to do this.

Check Seals on Windows and Doors

The seal on your windows and doors is what ensures that air doesn’t escape through your home and enter into it. If the seal breaks down or is damaged, you’ll need to use a lot more energy in order to keep your home cool or warm, as so much air will be escaping. Checking doors and windows a couple of times of year will help to identify if any areas need attention.

Keep the Garden Trimmed and Well Maintained When Bordering the Foundation

You will also want to be sure that you keep all your bushes and shrubs clipped and well maintained if they are bordering the foundation of your home. If there are any cracks or holes in the foundation, plants can start to grow into these areas and create a real problem. It’s wise to give things a good trimming in the spring and fall.

Simple Tasks that Can Prevent Big Issues from Occurring

By following this checklist of preventive maintenance steps around the home, you’ll be preventing some rather large and usually costly issues from happening.

03 October 2018

How To Make Your Kitchen More Glamorous

Many people want to make their home look glamorous but struggle when it comes to designing their kitchen, even woodworking artists who design their own simple furniture, need some help. Finding the right mix of practical and glamorous can be difficult but the good news is that it is possible to achieve this. You can add things like some vinyl plank flooring that will work well in your kitchen or even swap out your worktops for a newer sparkly version. In this article, we are going to give you some tips on how you can make your kitchen more glamorous. Make sure to keep reading if you’d like to find out more about turning your kitchen into the best room in your home.

Install Chandeliers

One of the best ways that you can add some glamour to your kitchen is to add some chandeliers. You will love seeing these hang above your head as they light up your room. You don’t need to have crystal chandeliers if you can’t afford it, there are plenty of other glamorous options for those with a limited budget. If you have an island in your kitchen then you should think about installing these above it as this will make it stand out even more.

Add A Sparkly Worktop

If you are trying to recreate a glamorous kitchen then you need to think about where you are going to add some sparkle. One of the best ways to add some sparkle is to get yourself one of the Black Glam sparkle laminate kitchen worktops. These worktops are easy to clean, and they will add total glamour to your kitchen. It is probably a good idea to change all of your worktops to this sparkly surface but if you want to make your island stand out then you could just make this the sparkling centerpiece. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of sparkle as this is only going to make your kitchen more glamorous.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Everyone wants to have a nice wooden floor in their kitchen for that perfect glamorous look, but it is pretty impractical to get one of these installed. This is why you should think about getting some vinyl plank flooring which will work very well and won’t be affected by the conditions that your kitchen will create. You’ll love how glamorous your kitchen looks with your brand new vinyl plank flooring.

Golden Faucets And Handles

Our next tip for those who want to make their kitchen more glamorous is to get some golden faucets installed. Think about how glam your kitchen sink would be with a nice faucet that leans over your sink and oozes class. On top of this, you should also think about changing up your handles on the cupboards and drawers and making them match the golden faucet. The more gold the better as this is the sign that something is in fact glamorous.

Open Shelving

Our final tip for transforming your kitchen into something glamorous is to add some open shelving. This is great for those who already have some nice dishes that they would like to show off to their guests. All you need to do is to install some shelving around your kitchen and place your favourite dishes on them. Make sure that you don’t fill your whole kitchen up with these shelves as you might find that having totally open shelving might make the place look a little too cluttered. You are trying to add glamour, so you need to choose the pieces that are going to stand out on your open shelves.

Final Verdict

If you want to add a bit more glamour to your kitchen then you are going to need to follow some of the tips that we have given you in this article. You should think about the different parts of your kitchen that you would like to make stand out and you can work from there when it comes to adding new features. If you have a kitchen island, then you should try to make this the focal point of the room. Think about highlighting the island using a beautiful chandelier or even changing the worktop to a sparkly one to make it stand out from the rest.

Adding glamour to your kitchen doesn’t have to stop there as you can always change the flooring to make it more aesthetically pleasing without getting rid of the practical elements that a kitchen floor requires. We think that open shelving can work really well if you do it right so make sure not to overload your kitchen with all of your things if you want to keep that glamour. Make sure that you take all of our advice on board in order to make your kitchen as glamorous as possible.

25 September 2018

Drain Clogs 101

I live in an older home and for the most part, when things are working around here I don’t pay too much attention to them. However, one of the charms of living in an older home is that the line between working quietly in the background and catastrophic failure can be a painfully thin one.

This house has been added onto at least three times in the last 50 years and with each addition, the already stretched-thin plumbing system has been stretched even thinner. When someone’s undertaking a major renovation, it’s easy to try to save money on the parts no one can see. Parts like drain lines.

While I understand the motive, I hate that I have to live with the results of someone else’s long ago decisions.

We have to have our drains cleaned professionally about once every two years. It’s expensive and disruptive while it’s happening of course but the lead up to needing it is no fun either. Our drains slow down months ahead of that point and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks over the years that help extend the time between professional cleanings.

The first thing I’ve learned is to keep things out of the drains in the first place. Buy a decent strainer and get into the habit of using it.

Keeping things out of the drain in the first place has increased the interval of our required draining cleanings from once every nine months or so to once every year and a half. But then again, I live in an older home and we have some issues related to the drain lines themselves.

Since the last time we had our drains done I’ve been using Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover on a monthly basis and it really has keep them running and draining the way they’re supposed to.

Our house has iron waste lines, they’re the actual root of our problem and for most of you, they’re something you won’t ever have to deal with. Iron waste lines aren’t used in homes anymore for a very good reason --they degrade and rust from the inside out over time. We haven’t replaced them yet because the two lines that drain this whole house meet under a slab in our den and continue under that slab through the laundry room and garage and then they run under the driveway until they meet the city sewer line in the street.

Replacing our iron drain lines will entail jackhammering them out and in that process, we’ll have to replace the floors in the bottom third of our house and we’ll have to replace a pretty long driveway. It’s not my idea of a good time and I shudder when I think about it. In the meantime, I’m keeping those lines as clean as I can and Roto-Rooter is helping me do that.

Because our drain lines are corroding on the inside and they’re too far gone to reline, ours have to be replaced eventually. You see, corroded iron pipes develop a pitted rusted interior that catches just about anything that flows over them. I actually have video of our pipes in action and they look like the aorta of someone with a cholesterol problem.

Photo credit: Blogspot.com

Acids further corrode iron so anything I put in there has to run on the opposite end of the Ph scale --I need a good alkali and Roto-Rooter is that and more. Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover has 25% more active ingredients than its competitors and it’s thick enough to stay together until it does its job.

As Roto-Rooter Gel Clog remover works its way through my iron lines it dissolves what it comes across; be it food particles, congealed oils, hair and all of the rest of the things that get hung up in drain lines.

It’s working for me and it’s saving me from the need for yet another $700 professional clean. It’s extending the life of my pipes too. I know that I’ll still need professional cleanings and I know we have to bit the bullet and replace those iron pipes eventually. But for now I can buy some time and that’s due in a large part to some extra vigilance about sink drain hygiene and my periodic use of Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover. Give it a shot!

The power of Mean Green

Mean Green has been a part of my life for nine months already and I have to say that in all honesty, it’s become one of my go to products for cleaning up around the house. It gets used all over the place but the place where it gets used more than anywhere else is my kitchen.

I’ve been baking and cooking instructor for three years now and as culinary instruction has taken over a larger portion of my professional life, so has the amount of time I spend in our kitchen.

It seems that I’m forever testing out new recipes, developing new courses of study and prepping for classes. For example, I have a class of 20 students this week and I’m teaching them the fine art of laminating pastry dough for croissants. What this means is that I’ve spent the last two days cranking out 20 batches of croissant dough my students will later use to roll out and shape croissants. It’s a lot of fun and the expression on my students’ faces when they pull off something as deceptively complicated as a croissant makes my exploits as an instructor worth it.

In the meantime, my kitchen at home just cranked out 20 batches of dough and looks like a bomb went off in it. Baking for a household generates a mess as it is but baking for multitudes while at the same time keeping Frank and me fed leaves me with a kitchen that has to be cleaned up and cleaned up properly.

Enter Mean Green. Nothing I’ve ever used gets my granite counters so clean so quickly. My stainless cooktop stays looking new(ish) and I’ve ever started using it on my floors. I add about a quarter cup to hot mop water and my travertine floors look like something you’d find in the home of someone who doesn’t cook at all.

A year ago we replaced our dying double wall ovens with a new model from Fisher Paykel Professional and honestly, it’s the best oven I’ve ever worked with. One of the features that drew me to it in the first place is its full extension oven racks. They're great and they make using my ovens a lot easier. However, they have one design flaw and they have it in common with all oven racks. They can’t be left in the oven during the self cleaning cycle. Due to their bearings they can’t be immersed in water either.

This leaves me with a great appliance but dirty oven racks and that makes me crazy.

Again, enter Mean Green. I sit my racks in the sink, spray them with Mean Green, let them sit for five minutes and then wipe them down with a paper towel. They look brand new.

This is not some half baked endorsement of a product in exchange for a sample. Although Mean Green did send me samples I have to say that the stuff works to keep my kitchen ship shape. And given the amount of mileage I put on my kitchen that’s really saying something.

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