Easy Shmeezy Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

The name easy shmeezy quick and delicious clam chowder explains this recipe perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cans (6 1/2 ounces each) minced clams, drained
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.

Yield: 5 Servings

These Fumes Could Be Deadly

Making the switch from cooling to heating creates cozy environments inside for chilly temps outside.  This change could also create a very serious problem that you can’t hear, see smell or taste.  And it answers to the description “invisible killer.”

No, this is not a crime drama to stream for entertainment.  It’s a poisonous and deadly gas that can stream into your home through faulty heating equipment.

Carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas – is the cause of hundreds of deaths each year in the United States.  It’s found in fumes whenever fuel is burned in cars or trucks, generators, stoves, gas ranges or furnaces.  If the equipment is incorrectly vented, improperly used or in need of repair, CO can build up indoors and poison people and pets.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers several recommendations in order to keep your home safe from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.  These directions included:

  • Have your home heating systems inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.  Ask us about our Maintenance Agreement program to save time, money and peace of mind.
  • Never use portable generators inside home or garages, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Don’t use a charcoal grill inside the house or in the garage.
  • Install CO alarms near sleeping areas in your home.
  • If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, then call 911.  Symptoms include: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion.CO Detector

Have You Checked Your Duct Performance?

No need to duck this question as if it’s only something the pros know.  As a homeowner, you’ve got a clear view of how your ducts are doing.

Heating and cooling systems rely on ducts to move heated or cooled air among the rooms in your home.  When everything’s working, you’ll be nice and comfortable wherever you are.  But if your ducts are falling down on the job, it’ll create comfort inconsistencies that no amount of thermostat fiddling can fix.

In a typical home, leaks, holes or poorly connected ducts are trouble spots that waste about 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through duct systems.  Though you might not spot the holes on your own, you’ll sure notice when all that air-loss adds up to higher energy costs.

The first signs you see will look something like the following:

  • High winter and summer utility bills
  • Rooms that are difficult to heat and cool
  • Rooms that are stuffy and never feel comfortable
  • Ducts located in an attic, crawlspace or garage
  • Flexible ducts that are tangled or kinked

A well-designed and properly sealed duct system resolves these issues, improving comfort and energy efficiency, as well as indoor air quality and safety.  If dust, insulation particles and chemical fumes enter leaky ducts and recirculate through your home, allergies and asthma symptoms may worsen.  Similarly, leaky ducts could enable “back drafting” from gas appliances, drawing gases like carbon monoxide back into the living space instead of ventilating outdoors.

Duct work that hasn't been sealed yet.

Duct work that hasn’t been sealed yet.

iComfort Wi-Fi Flex Thermostat

IMG_1872Remote-control of any home system with the iComfort Wi-Fi Flex Thermostat.  The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex thermostat extends smart remote control capabilities to non-communicating equipment from virtually any manufacturer.  “Because it’s Wi-Fi enabled, the user can manage the temperature inside the home from anywhere using their smartphone,” says Anubhav Ranjan, product management director.  Homeowners can use the iComfort app to:

  • Activate energy-saving Away Mode if they’re gone for an extended period.
  • Adjust the temperature when they’re on their way home.
  • Make real-time temperature adjustments from inside the home.
  • Set up a seven-day schedule for automatic energy savings and comfort.

The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex also provides peace of mind through the system diagnostics.  It sends alerts to the homeowner – and the dealer, if the homeowner chooses – when an issue needs attention.  “The dealer can monitor the system remotely and catch issues before they become problems.  That can help the homeowner avoid being stuck without cooling in the summer.”

The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex introduces homeowners to the benefits of Lennox’ smart equipment and saves them money by extending the life and increasing the efficiency of their current equipment.  “It’s a good choice if their old system still has some life in it, and they can upgrade the other equipment later on.”

Article from “The Lennox News: The Official Newsletter from Lennox Residential” (Volume 72 Number 02 Summer 2016)

Smooth Planning for Get-Togethers

Fall is a wonderful season for gathering with friends and family.  Just don’t let the “get-togethers” leave you falling apart!  What can you do to make your events stress-free and fun?  Whether your parties are for three or thirty, the three top tips to follow are:

  1. Relax.  Forget perfection in your planning and execution.  Unless you’re preparing a meal for the food critic at a fine dining magazine, your focus should probably not be totally on the meal but also on the purpose: having fun together.  Large gatherings do require a lot of details, but if you encounter a bump in the road, just recognize it’ll make a great story for the next party.
  2. Delegate.  You don’t have to do it all.  You’ll save on your budget and reduce your own stress when you say “yes” to offers of help.  Practice like so: “Would you like for me to bring ice?” Yes.  “Can I bring a dessert?”  Sure.  “How about I bring an appetizer?” Super.  See how easy that is?
  3. Enjoy.  Do the main work in advance, and don’t plan a menu that keeps you in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying themselves.  Remember: It’s your party.  Make sure you take part!

Apples Plus Caramels Equals Delicious

Sweets and fall afternoons go together like caramel on apples.  What’s the best way to indulge your sweet tooth this season?

One time-honored favorite is the traditional caramel apple recipe.  Simply slide craft sticks into apples and dip them in a mixture of melted caramel candies (about 14 ounces) and milk (2 tablespoons).  Place the apples on a buttered baking sheet, set and enjoy.

For a fun twist on tradition, make your caramel sauce as usual.  Then scoop out the center of the apples (brush with lemon juice to prevent browning). Fill the hole with melted caramel.  Let it set, then slice.

If you’re looking for a truly decadent brunch treat, whip of a batch of french toast and then top it off with warmed apples, caramel sauce and even some walnuts.