Proper Maintenance of Hardwood Floors

Knowing how to clean wood flooring properly helps you to protect and maintain your attractive investment. As much as cleaning your hardwood flooring might seem tricky, you will most likely find it easy once you establish a routine. Listed below is a detailed maintenance guideline.

Daily
Using a microfiber mop to give your wood floor a good dusting every single day is the best way to avoid scratches and surface damage. While a broom merely pushes the dirt around, microfiber cleaning pads use static electricity to trap household allergens, dirt, and dust particles. The electrostatic action works by attracting micro-particles. You should, however, refrain from lifting the microfiber mop off your hardwood floor when cleaning to ensure the dirt stays trapped on the pad, minimizing the chances of damage.

Weekly
Although some areas can be hard to reach when dusting your hardwood flooring on a daily basis, a weekly maintenance plan helps you to deal with such areas. Wet mops and vacuums are ideal for removing dirt from hard to reach areas such as corners and the spaces between every piece of hardwood. However, using wet mops and vacuums requires extra caution to ensure you do not damage your wood flooring.

When using a wet mop, you should refrain from putting excess amounts of liquid on your hardwood floor since water and wood do not mix well. Lightly misting the floor with a wood floor cleaning product is usually sufficient. If on the other hand, your vacuum features a beater bar, ensure it does not hit the bar floor. Additionally, the wheels on vacuum cleaners can damage hardwood floors.

Advanced Tips
You should not use wax or steam cleaners, vinegar, and soap-based cleaners on wood floors. While water and vinegar dull the finish of hardwood floors over time, wax and soap leave a residue. The heat and excessive water associated with using steam cleaners often lead to cupping and long-term damage.

Although dusting and cleaning regularly help to ensure hardwood floors look new, protective mats will also extend the floor’s life. Use natural rubber rug underlayment featuring a waffle pattern in high-traffic areas such as entryways, and felt floor protectors on your furniture. When it comes to proper maintenance, using the correct tools to clean your wood flooring is also important.

Monthly
Most wood floors feature a protective finish, which is what gets the most attention whenever you clean. Depending on the amount of traffic, polishing hardwood floors every 2-3 months is an excellent cleaning and maintenance technique since it renews the protective finish of your wood floor. Polishing fills in microscopic scratches, evening out your floor’s protective surface.

Yearly
Considering the abuse hardwood floors undergo, deep cleaning every 3-5 years is recommended. Sanding and refinishing your hardwood floor removes the old protective finish completely and replaces it with a fresh layer. As such, sanding and refinishing works to repair deep scratches and gouges, leaving you with a beautiful and immaculately clean hardwood floor. You can learn additional information at Relative Space.

For Great Catering Services, Look No Further Than Your Local Deli

When it comes to finding a good caterer these days, there are lots of different options to choose from. For truly excellent catering services, you need to look no further than your local delicatessen.

Events of all sizes are now usually catered by local delis. Because most delis generally stock and sell a wide variety of food items, there’s sure to be something to please every palate. When you have your special event catered by a local deli, you should be able to talk over any details personally with a staff member, and maybe see their facilities up-close.

Sandwiches and Salads
Most people like eating sandwiches, and the sandwiches that are made at a deli just can’t be beat. There’s nothing quite like a nice corned beef or pastrami sandwich from a good delicatessen. Whether it be on an onion roll, rye bread, or a bagel, these sandwiches are usually well-received at catered affairs.

If you would prefer to let your guests build their own sandwiches, you can ask your delicatessen to provide a platter of sliced meats, cheeses and breads. Of course, you’ll need some spicy mustard, mayo, and authentic half-sour and/or dill deli pickles to go with the sandwiches.

Platters
Delis are often known for the great soups, salads and cold dishes that they prepare and sell. These include tuna salad, chicken salad, seafood salad, and chopped chicken liver spread. When your local deli is providing catering services for your event, they can also present large containers of potato salad, tossed cole slaw, and macaroni salad.

Your delicatessen caterer will probably have other types of platters available. These often include fresh vegetables and dips, crackers and cheeses, breads and spreads, seafood specialties, and fresh fruit platters. A very popular platter features cold smoked salmon with bagels, cream cheese, red onions, capers, cucumber and tomato.

Some hot items that may be offered when your local deli is catering an affair include latkes, matzoh ball soup, chicken noodle soup, reuben sandwiches, hot open roast beef or turkey sandwiches, blintzes, and tuna melts.

Breakfast and Dessert
At some delis, breakfast is served all day. If the customer so desires, perhaps your local delicatessen can arrange to serve a platter filled with French toast, poutine, or miniature quiches.

Dessert is also often available from your local delicatessen when they are providing catering services. From cookies and fruit, to cannolis and Danish pastries, your local deli should have lots of sweet endings to your meals. For additional resources, you may be able to learn more at the Greensville Gourmet website.

List of Restaurant Equipment Needed To Open a Bistro Restaurant

Bistro Restaurant

You are about to open a bistro and want to be absolutely certain that you have everything you need in place. On the flip side, restaurant supplies are costly and you don’t want to stock up on items that are not needed.

Your restaurant equipment supplier can be a great source of information as you seek to appropriate everything that will be needed for opening day. The items that will have to be purchased include:

Furnishings

Furniture should be very simple. The tables and chairs should have a European look, and a visible bar is not necessary. If there is outdoor space available, make every attempt to add more patio tables outside.

Decor Items

European accents and art would be a nice touch. Anything to do with wine, especially French wine, would also be appropriate. An operational or decorative wine dispensing system would be a great fit in this type of venue.

Service Requirements

You will want your servers to be casual so supplying them with a long bistro style apron may be an option. Supply them with restaurant equipment such as serving trays, bus tubs, pitchers, coffee equipment, iced tea machines, and carts for more efficient and expedient service.

Dishes, Glassware, and Flatware

Dishes should be very basic. An ivory stoneware would be perfect. The emphasis should be on the food and garnish, and what it is served on should be secondary. Heavy flatware with a very simple pattern would be appropriate. One sturdy glass style that can be used for tea, lemonade, and water would also help keep your inventories and costs down.

Kitchen Equipment

The foods supplied at this type of establishment are usually simple and fresh. Sandwiches are a staple as are salads and casseroles. A broiler will be a must, as are coolers, ovens, ice machines, and grills. You may or may not need a fryer, depending on your menu. Other small wares are too numerous to mention but would include cutting boards, pots and pans, utensils, baking supplies, and storage containers.

Wine or Bar Supplies

Bistros are famous for their wines. They are also wonderful locations to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with a friend or associate. It is not necessary to have hard liquor and beer in stock. A stemmed crystal wine glass that can be used for all types of wine would be a nice touch for loyal customers and would keep costs down. A large inventory of wine glasses would not be necessary.

Cleaning Supplies

As with other businesses, cleaning supplies are a necessity. Mop buckets, brooms, trash cans, and an assortment of cleaning chemicals will keep your bistro fresh and ready for the day. A dishwashing unit with all of the accompanying racks and chemicals will also be necessary.

The requirements for opening such a business are many, but the pride and satisfaction received from owning or operating such an interesting venue will make it all well worth the expense and energy put forth.

Homemade Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

Apple sauce…..really easy to make, super difficult to photograph. Pre-editing, my apple sauce looked like chunky gravy. Now that you have that image in your head, I bet you really want to make this! Of course it didn’t help that I was taking these pictures at oh about 10pm at night. I really envy food bloggers who can take pictures of their food during daylight. Unfortunately that only really works for me on the weekend because I a. have a full time job and b. live almost at the 49th parallel. I just don’t have enough spare time during daylight hours. This will improve quite a bit in the summer when the day is much much longer but for now I’m relying on Adobe Lightroom. I like the way these pics turned out anyways….kind of moody.

 

So why make apple sauce when it is easy to find in the grocery store? Well it’s super easy and this recipe makes quite a lot. You don’t have to sweeten it with sugar and it will still taste sweet. And you know exactly what goes in there, which isn’t much. Plus it makes your house smell fantastic while it’s cooking away. Really, the only special piece of equipment you need is the slow cooker. You just have to peel and roughly chop the apples like I did above, wait a few hours and you are done.

 

There are so many great uses for apple sauce as well. It tastes great plain, but can also be used with pork, pancakes and oatmeal. It can also be used as a fat substitutes in recipes. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil or melted butter, try substituting half of that with half a cup of apple sauce. You may find you can even replace it all and this will drastically reduce the amount of fat in a recipe and make it healthier.

One other note, don’t leave this recipe completely unattended….you might find that your apples will cook a lot faster than you think. Cooking time will depend on your apples and your slow cooker.

CREAMY TOMATO AND BASIL SOUP

Mr. Ketchup is currently undergoing training for the air force in a city that is about 4 hours away from our home. He always complains about the food on the base and is so excited to eat real food when he comes home on the weekend so I try to make it good. He really enjoyed this recipe, which always makes me really happy to hear. I’m already planning on what to make him for next weekend….maybe stromboli? Not sure yet.
I must admit I’m not a huge fan of soup, although I’m beginning to realize that I’m not a huge fan of canned soup. My favourite soup has to be tomato soup, and when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light I knew I had to make it. I can’t wait until summer roles around so I can make this with fresh tomato and basil.
You might be wondering what that little piece of bread is sitting next to my soup bowl.
THAT my friends is some incredibly delicious Italian Cheese Bread made from a Little Caesar’s Pizza Kit. Now, I purchased this kit because a. it’s delicious, b. it’s for a fundraiser and c. did I mention it’s delicious? I’ve been thinking about it for some time though…..the ingredients contain a lot of unhealthy preservatives in it yet the kit itself is actually rather simple. I’ve decided to make my own copycat recipe for this kit because I think I can make it a homemade version that tastes just as good, or better. So look for it in upcoming posts!
I think this recipe also falls under the surprisingly-easy-to-make category as well. My husband said it was wayyyyy better than store bought soup. I think it would also go well with grilled cheese croutons.

Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

Makes enough for 4 (or 8 smaller servings as an appetizer)
4 cups chopped, seeded, peeled tomatoes (about 4 large)
4 cups low-sodium tomato juice
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup (4 ounces or half a block) cream cheese, softened
Basil leaves, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
Bring tomato and juice to a boil in a large sauce pan (the one I used was a bit too large). Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender (or food processor or regular blender) to process until smooth. Stir in milk, salt, and pepper.
Add cream cheese, stirring well with a whisk and cook over medium heat until thick.
Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with sliced basil, if desired.
PS- I am attempting to make macarons for the first time tonight. Wish me luck!

Work it Off Wednesday (WOW): Tomato and Pepper Salad

It’s rather hard to take a picture of such a basic salad but I would have to say that this one turned out the best. This recipe came from Nonna Ketchup (my husband’s nonna). There is really not much to this recipe but it’s delicious in it’s simplicity. Nonna Ketchup never measures anything of course but I played around with measurements and this is what I came up with.

Turkey Pot Pie

Probably my new favourite use for leftover turkey is turkey pot pie. Yes you can eat the leftovers as you normally, or make a hot turkey sandwich with them, which is also good. But if you want something that completely mixes the leftovers up in a brand new way and tastes fantastic, you can’t go wrong with turkey pot pie. It’s also a great idea to freeze the leftover turkey for a month or two and then pull it out later to use because by that time you are no longer totally overwhelmed with turkey.  Don’t get me wrong, I like turkey…..but sometimes too much of a good thing, really isn’t good.

 

Pie can be quite intimidating to make. It’s the crust that tends to get people of course. I’ve made several different recipes for pie crusts now and while there is no foolproof method, all I can say is that they aren’t that easy to screw up. It’s true, they don’t have to be perfect and they will still taste fantastic, AND they will still taste better than the store bought version. Why, just take a look at my pie. The edges aren’t all that pretty but it still taste amazing. Also, I find that the easiest method for rolling out the dough is between layers of plastic wrap, as originally mentioned in my butter tarts recipe. It helps keep the dough together, and prevents it from sticking to the counter.

 

Oh and if you want proof of how much we loved this recipe, just take a look at the leftovers. Only two people ate that much! One other thing to note. is that this recipe can very easily be doubled. I made two pies and froze one for later. OR you can double the recipe and bake it in a casserole. It’s very flexible.

Work it Off Wednesdays: Vanilla Berry Smoothy

Smoothies are really easy to make. Really easy….this one took me about 10 minutes tops and that was because I was writing down calorie info. What makes it even quicker is if you have frozen berries like in the picture. Frozen berries are just as healthy as fresh berries yet they are often cheaper and they last quite a long time in your freezer.
It’s also really easy to mix up the flavours of your smoothie. Through in some fresh bananas, or pineapple. For a great post-workout smoothie you can also add peanut butter or you can even add whey protein powder which you can get at health or bulk food stores. The possibilities huge but you of course always want to keep in mind that the more you add, the more calories you add and if you want to make a healthy smoothie you should always just add healthy ingredients. This smoothie is only 100 calories per serving!
For today’s WOW topic I’d like to take a step back and talk about how is it you actually lose weight. In the end it’s all about calorie in, calorie out. You have to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.
So lets do the math. 1 lb of fat consists of 3500 calories. So if you would like to lose 1 lb of fat per week you would have to have a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day.
For a more detailed description of this process you can view this article here.

Vanilla Berry Smoothies

Makes enough for 2
1 cup skim milk
1 cup frozen berries
1 cup 0% plain yogurt
seeds from half a vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp honey
Place all of the above ingredients in a blender. Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved, being careful not to over blend.  Enjoy (yes, that’s really it!).

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, A COCKTAIL

midnightexpress-1556

So as you might remember, I recently switched hosts to something cheaper that also has excellent support. Let me tell you, it was a pain in my behind. If you ever have to do this by yourself, don’t leave it until nearly the last minute. It is always a bad idea. For some reason the mobile service providers (eg. Rogers and Telus here in Canada) decided to update their DNS entries (eg. if my blog was a person, it would be it’s address) much slower than than the regular ISPs and so my blog didn’t show up on mobile devices for several days. Now, if I had planned ahead, I could have redirected to my new host (eg. forwarded the mail in the address example) but I didn’t. Lesson learned. At any rate, we are back up and running now and I can finally share with you some new recipes! Huzzah!

So THIS. I recently tried a cocktail similar to this at a bar with a friend and the first thing I did was take a picture so I could recreate it at home. Do you ever want to drink with friends but are kind of pooped and need a pick-me-up but want to get your drinkin’ on? Well then the Midnight Express is for you. My aunt (love you!) would argue that the caffeine cancels out the booze but they both pack quite the punch when combined in this manner. Espresso, Bailey’s and Kahlua make a fantastic combination. What’s that? You want to see a picture of Mr. Ketchup drinking this?

midnightexpress-

Sorry he’s a little shy. This is as good as it’s going to get right now. I was tempted to turn his whole head into a tomato like he really is a Mr. Ketchup but I decided that that would be weird. Also, I still suck at photoshop.

Steel Cut Oats

So a while ago I posted on my private Facebook about how much I loved steel cut oats. Some people asked me how that’s even possible….they aren’t that good! Well I totally disagree. They do take some getting used to. Steel cut oats are chewier than regular rolled oats and have a very different texture to them. The first time I made them in the slowcooker I thought I had screwed it up and threw it out! Not to worry guys…..if your steel cut oats taste chewy, they are made right!

So then why steel cut oats over regular rolled oats? Why are they better? Well the two have similar nutritional values although rolled oats are more processed. Instant oats on the other hand can have added, undesirable ingredients. Bottom line is that both steel cut oats and rolled oats are very beneficial to your diet. They both have a lot of healthy fibre that will keep you feeling hungry longer and will help get things moving down there. They are also beneficial to lowering your cholesterol.

Another complaint about oats in general is that they take too long to cook. Not to worry, the recipe I am about to show you can be made ahead of time, divided up and reheated in the morning. You will just need to at minimum add a bit of milk and then reheat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Done.

But aren’t steel cut oats rather bland? How can they actually taste that delicious? It’s all about how you prepare them really. When I make my oats I add milk, vanilla and cinnamon for added flavour. Below are some examples of what I add when I eat it in the morning. My favourite is 0% Vanilla Greek Yogurt and a banana but I have also added ground chia or flax seeds, unsweetened apple sauce, apple, fresh or frozen berries and nut butters. Add whatever you want!

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