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September 21, 2018 |

Archive for » September 21st, 2018«

2018 Capital Home Show offers “one-stop shopping” and expert advice for all your home remodeling needs

Vern Yip — Photo: David Land

Looking for some fresh ideas for your home? The Capital Home Show offers inspiration and advice on the “latest home and remodeling trends, as well as tips and tricks,” says show manager Lisa Gardon.

Many of those tips will be dispensed from the show’s Main Stage at the Dulles Expo Center, where local experts will present on specific topics including “Luxury Design on a Budget” per Daniels Design and Remodeling on Friday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m.; “Straight Answers to Essential Kitchen Bath Remodeling Questions” via NVS Kitchen Bath on Friday, Sept. 21, at 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m.; “How to Select Window Treatments for Your Home” by Frank Giglio of Value Blind Heirloom Draperies on Saturday, Sept. 22, and Sunday, Sept. 23, at 11 a.m.; and “Kitchens That Wow!” by Dory Clemens of Foster Remodeling Solutions on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. Marlo Furniture will sponsor a new source for soliciting one-on-one advice: the Ask An Expert station.

But the leading dispenser of knowledge and know-how this year will be the show’s national headliner, designer Vern Yip. The Atlanta-based home remodeling TV star will offer an hour-long presentation “Design Wise: Essential Elements to Make Your House a Home” on Friday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m., and again on Saturday, Sept. 22, at noon and 2 p.m. To get even more of the Yip experience, Gardon notes that “we will also have some of Vern’s fabrics and pillows in the Design Home from Calico Corners.”

That interactive, custom-built Design Home, taking up 1,400 square feet right on the show floor, is meant to highlight the latest trends and ideas in design and decor by showcasing products, features, and accessories from local purveyors including Revitalized Design, NVS Kitchen Bath, ClosetAmerica, Happy Feet International, and Blue Sky Landscaping.

Finally, Stylish Patina sponsors a series of free, hands-on workshops at the Falls Church-based company’s Make-It, Take-It DIY Station. There, attendees can sign up to make a painted picture frame or to learn how to use Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, among other scheduled craft-related activities (supplies provided).

“We have over 270 exhibitors who are the experts in their field, all in one room,” says Gardon. “It’s one-stop shopping to find great deals for your home.”

The Capital Home Show is Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, in Virginia. Tickets are $10 per day. Call 703-378-0910 or visit

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Chef’s Knives, Le Creuset Cookware, & More Deals to Score at Sur La Table’s Massive Sale

Every day, the Internet is teeming with deals, sales, discounts, and savings. But, as the Internet is a big, distracting place, said deals can be difficult to find. Plus, you don’t have time to sniff ’em all out. You have work and kids and a total of 25 minutes of free time that shouldn’t be spent looking for discounts. So, to help you out, we’ll be combing through the daily offerings and rounding up the deals we like, and think you might find useful. Today: Sur La Table is having a sale so big it’s taking over. Check out deals on knives, appliances, cookware and more.

Miyabi Kaizen II Chef’s Knife

Every chef, be they an amateur or Michelin-starred master, needs a good knife. This Japanese-made Miyabi, the layered steel blade of which is honed by hand, is a worthy entrant. It holds its blade well, is equally adept for mincing garlic as it is breaking down a full bird, and, today, is just $130.

Buy Now $130

Le Creuset Signature Deep Round Dutch Oven

Stews. Chilis. Slow Roasts. Deep Frying. A good Dutch Oven does it all. The cast iron construction, near indestructible double enamel finish, and secure lid of this Le Creuset model make it one of the most dependable. Today, it’s $125 cheaper than usual.

Buy Now $200

Instant Pot Ultra

The Instant Pot has a devoted following for a reason. There’s seemingly nothing you can cook with it, from yogurt to ribs to pasta, and its pressure cooking function can shave literal hours off of cook times. If you’ve yet to join the cult of the Instant Pot, this is a great chance to. Sur La Table is taking over half off the price of three different sizes, including the normally $240 three-quart model that’s going for $110 today.

Buy Now $110

All-Clad HA1 Nonstick Skillets, 10″ 12″ Set

We don’t need to sell you on nonstick pans. They’re easy to cook with, let you use less oil and can be cleaned with minimal elbow grease. This two-pack from All-Clad comes with 10- and 12-inch skillets and lids. Their durable, stainless steel construction is backed by a lifetime warranty; these aren’t the crappy pans you had in college. Save $75 when you buy the pair today.

Buy Now $100

AeroGarden Harvest Elite WiFi with Gourmet Herbs Seed Pod Kit

Do you need a WiFi-enabled herb garden? Probably not, but don’t you kind of want one? Fresh herbs just make things taste better, and this indoor gardening system makes it easy to grow your own. It automates the amount of light (from more than 100 LED bulbs), water and nutrients provided to the plants in order to ensure optimal growing conditions. It comes with seed pods that will grow basil, mint, thyme, Thai basil, curly parsley and dill, and more options are available. Pick one up today for 37 percent less than usual.

Buy Now $144

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Instant Pot is launching a Walmart-exclusive cooking blender – The …

Instant Pot, the all-in-one pressure cooker that replaced many a crockpot and rice cooker in the kitchen, is now coming for your Vitamix. The Canadian company behind the cult favorite Instant Pot announced that it’s releasing a new product called the Instant Pot Ace 60 Cooking Blender, available exclusively through Walmart.

There are eight “Smart Built-in Programs,” four of which are your regular cold blending for making smoothies, almond / oat milk, ice cream, or crushing ice. The other four programs can heat food while blending, and they’re labeled for making soy milk, rice milk, purées, and soup. The blender is supposed to be made of a durable glass that can withstand extreme temperature changes, and can get hot enough to boil food while blending. The target audience for this seems to be millennials who don’t have enough counter space or time to transfer hot soups to blenders. It also comes with a mesh strainer bag to help us millennials make those alternative milks we’re so intent on making.

Instant Pot

Given that the Instant Pot achieved its cult status largely through Amazon reviews (28,000 customer reviews as of right now), it seems like an unusual choice that the blender is a Walmart exclusive. At one point, more than 90 percent of Instant Pot’s sales came through Amazon, according to this New York Times article.

Besides its line of popular pressure-cookers, Instant Pot has two other cooking gadgets so far: a multi-cooker and a sous vide stick. Instant Pot doesn’t release sales numbers, so it’s not clear if the success of the Instant Pot pressure cooker has transferred over to its other accessories, and if it’ll transfer to the Ace cooking blender. Nonetheless, the Ace Blender will be available at Walmart September 23rd for $99.

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Annieglass Celebrates 35 Years With New Dinnerware

Annieglass, led by owner Annie Morhauser and touting American-made glassware, is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a new range of glass dinnerware.

The Bali Blue line of dinnerware, inspired by Morhauser’s favorite Balinese sarong, combines cobalt blue and silver in a collection designed for spring entertaining and gift giving. Bali Blue can be used for cheese platters, as serving bowls, place settings and party trays, or displayed as a dramatic art piece. The texture on the back imitates a woven textile pattern. The new line is dishwasher safe and includes a square plate, round plate, round platter, round bowl and XL plank with price points ranging from $92 to $134.

The Icey dinnerware line mimics the broken edge of ice around the rim of each piece, including a salad plate, soup bowl and dinner plate. The line is dishwasher safe and carries price points ranging from $55 to $63.

Made of 100% recycled Annieglass, the Elements Fish line includes shapes such as whales, barracudas and kisser fish, which can be used for serving food or as trivets. Each piece carries a suggested retail price of $97.

The new launch will also include three new bowl lines: Love Love Love; Salt Oval Serving Bowl; Edgy Shallow Round; and Roman Antique Vegetable Bowl. The lines range in price from $95 to $189.

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Taking care of the kitchen that takes cares of you

The kitchen is an important room in our homes: a place of joy, solace and comfort. Yes, it can be chaotic from time to time, but more often than not, what we find there is peace in the form of the food we cook, the ingredients we cook it with, and the equipment we use. Managing Producer Sally Swift talked with Tucker Shaw, of America’s Test Kitchen, to find out some of his thoughts on taking care of the things that take care of you in the kitchen. In the comment section below, tell us know what you love most about your kitchen, and what tips you have for keeping things and comfortable and delicious.

Sally Swift: We have been thinking about what it is to take care of yourself. One of the things that I kept thinking about when I was thinking about talking to you is the rituals that we have in the kitchen, what makes you feel like you’re in control in the kitchen, and what makes you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. One thing that I’m going to use as an example is, for me, I am settled and happy and feel taken care of when I wake up in the morning and I have put out a clean dish towel for me to use. It’s such a small thing, but it makes such a difference to me. Do you have things like that that you think about in the kitchen?

Tucker Shaw: That’s a really good question, and I love your example because it really represents a moment of intention, a result that you have in your mind when you put out that dish towel. It sounds like a small thing, but if it makes you feel better when you wake up in the morning, I say go for it. I’ve been thinking about ideas that may take a little more effort. My top tip for taking better care of yourself in the kitchen is to re-evaluate your spice rack. Get rid of anything that is even remotely old and refresh it, because there is no way to make the results of your cooking more flavorful and exciting than if you use fresh spice.

Tucker Shaw
(Photo: America’s Test Kitchen)

SS: Spices go old way quicker than I think we want to admit.

TS: It’s true. When you buy them at the grocery store, although you can often get a pretty good product, you’re buying a set amount. Honestly, there’s no way you’re going to use that entire bottle of ground clove before it’s gone sour, so I think the best move is to find a specialty spice shop in your area. Failing that, look for grocery stores that cater to Latin American ingredients, or Middle Eastern ingredients, or so forth, maybe South Asian, because you will find, generally, smaller batches available to you, and also just better quality. And refresh them often.

SS: If you’re going to cook, you might as well really cook, right?

TS: Go for it. You put in the effort, you want it to taste good.

SS: What else do you have?

TS: This one is a little bit more indulgent, because I am slightly obsessed with butter. I mean, I just can’t get enough of butter. The thing about butter is there is a huge variation in quality, even of the stuff that you buy at the grocery stores. So, for a little sort of gift to yourself, next time you’re at the grocery store, buy a higher-quality butter. What I’m talking about is a European-style or cultured butter. You can find these, often in the little island in the grocery store that has the specialty cheeses or meats and things like that; that’s usually where it’s merchandised. It will generally have a higher fat content and may have a slightly tangier flavor, but when you slather it onto a piece of toast or a muffin in the morning, or a dinner roll at night, you will not believe how much better it is. Honestly, if you’re going to eat butter, you might as well eat good butter. It’s going to cost you a few bucks more, but it’s worth it.

SS: That’s a good tip, too. Anything around equipment or tools?

TS: Yeah, and this one is really personal to me because I just did this. I have been frustrated with the kind of lackluster performance of my nonstick skillet recently. I realized that I probably had it for four or five years, and honestly, nonstick surfaces really don’t last forever. You can’t look at this as you would like a cast-iron skillet or something like that. You’ve got to replace your non-stick skillet every year, maybe two years – depending on how heavily you use it – if you want the best performance. Our tasting and testing group chastised me for hanging onto my old one for so long – because I’m such a cheapskate – they said to go out and buy their new favorite, a 12-inch nonstick skillet by OXO Good Grips. Honestly, Sally, it has changed everything about my evening routine. I barely have to clean it anymore. It’s completely worth it. Do it every year or two.

SS: I hate that they are disposable, but they really are. That coating goes because most of us aren’t very careful when we work with our nonstick skillets. We overheat and scratch them up, right?

TS: We do. And there’s really no way to fix it yourself. You’ve just got to bite the bullet.

SS: Anything else?

TS: Here’s another one that goes into the self-indulgent category. You’ve heard this before, but I just want to reemphasize it for everybody: Build a relationship with somebody at a local wine shop. I’m telling you it will change your mind about how thoughtfully you consume wine; it will expand your knowledge and understanding of what wine can offer. I look at wine shops as kind of like libraries, in the sense that when you walk into a public library there’s no way that you know the collection as well as the librarians there. So, you need to make the most of that library, you’ve got to have a little consultation. Same goes for the wine shop – especially small, local wine shops. The people who are working there will almost certainly have tasted everything on the shelves. They probably kept notes and they can help you make a decision. Of course, they can steer you wrong – that’s the gamble – but honestly, how bad could it be? It’s wine. You’re going to drink it.

SS: Do you have any thoughts about recipes or cooking for yourself?

TS: This one is a little bittersweet on my side. My grandmother died about two years ago. She lived a very long and full life. Before she died she entrusted me with her box of recipes. They weren’t all her own original recipes. They were sometimes scrawled down on a notecard, borrowed from a neighbor, occasionally even clipped off the back of a cereal box or something like that. Going through those old recipes brought back a lot of memories; it also opened my eyes about some mysteries about her kind of cooking behaviors and the foods and ways that she cooked. The best was when she’d have an index card that said something like “Mrs. Johnson’s Mocha Brownies” and then Gram’s little notation would be like, “They were so-so.” Really honest. Cooking these recipes are not nearly as well-communicated as most recipes that you’ll find in magazines or cookbooks and so forth. They’re really sort of like, “Cook until done” and that kind of thing. It can also be a gamble, but it’s so worth taking. Honestly, if you’re able to create something that gets you close – even if it doesn’t match what your beloved family member was able to achieve – it really feels good.

SS: Tucker, I love that one. You know what? That’s your grandmother taking care of you.

TS: I think about her every day.

SS: I love that. Thanks, Tucker.

TS: Thank you, Sally.

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Calling all foodies:budget supermarket Aldi is latest retailer to launch a cast-iron cookware range

A whole range of cast iron cookware is every foodie’s dream. However, a full set for your kitchen could leave your purse feeling several hundred pounds lighter. 

Joining the rest of the high street, budget supermarket Aldi is launching their very own range of cast-iron pots and pans, introducing their own range in cream, grey and red.

Starting from £3.49 for a mini ramekin with a lid, the non-stick collection is suitable for all heat sources including gas, electric, induction hobs and solid fuel cookers.

Other products in the range include a skillet, frying pan, grill tray, silicon oven glove and a roaster. 

But Aldi isn’t the only high street retailer offering cast-iron cookware.

Starting at £20 for a griddle pan, Sainsbury’s offer a varied selection in a vibrant orange or a neutral cream.

Denby round casserole dishes retail for £95 and you can choose from a baby blue, bright red, charcoal grey or natural white. 

Scroll through our gallery above to see how to cook like the professionals…

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