Chili-rubbed Spareribs

From the Kitchen…..

This is a favourite recipe for our family – one that we use for some family gatherings – especially Father’s Day.   The Dad’s in our family will be very happy to have this served this June 18th.  What are you making for your Dad?

Chili-rubbed Spareribs
4 racks pork side ribs, about 2.5 kg total
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ cup ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
6 cloves garlic, minced

  • Trim excess fat from ribs. Spareribs have a thin membrane running along bony side. It shrinks during cooking, causing ribs to curl, and remains tough and chewy. To remove, run a fork tine underneath membrane and lift fork to loosen. Grasp membrane firmly and pull. It should come off easily in one piece.
  • To tenderize ribs, fold or cut racks in half. Place in a large saucepan and completely cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. (If not using right away, wrap and refrigerate or freeze. Ribs will keep well in the refrigerator for 2 days
  • Stir oil with ketchup, Worcestershire, chili powder, sugar, cumin and garlic.
  • When ready to barbecue, oil grill and preheat barbecue. Place cooked ribs on hot grill. Barbecue 5 minutes per side. Then generously brush or spoon sauce on both sides of ribs. Continue barbecuing until coating is hot and browned, from 2 to 3 more minutes per side. Serve any remaining sauce for dipping.

Our new homes finishing touch.

Contractor of the Month

As homeowners who recently moved to a new, unlandscaped, unfinished basement, un-eavestroughed home we have been making use of lots of the local contractors in and around the Almonte area.  Every year we take on another project, as time and money permit, and our most recent “home” project was to complete a patio and walk-way to our yard.

Rick Peplinski from Everlasting Landscaping is a local contractor with many years of experience in the landscaping business.  He has a small company – one employee and himself, and we found him to be professional and wonderful to deal with.  He did one part of our landscaping job last fall – and promised to have it finished in time for my client party – which he did!  The fall weather didn’t cooperate for him to finish, so he put us at the top of his list for this spring…  and again the weather made it difficult for him to get started…

He has just completed the walkway to our back yard and we are thrilled with his work.  If you are planning a landscaping project this year (or next) and are looking for a referral, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Rick!  Let him know you got his name for me!

Everlasting Landscaping 

Rick Peplinski
Phone: (613)858-8437
Phone: (613)222-8437
Email: rick.chris@bell.net
www.everlastinglandscaping.ca

Great places to stay in Almonte this summer?

OUT AND ABOUT

We recently had guests from out of town that we couldn’t put up at our home (all the other beds were full!) so we made arrangements for them to stay at two of the local Bed and Breakfasts in Almonte.  They are both located on one of the main streets in Almonte – Queen Street – across the road from each other, and located along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Menzies House is an 1850’s home, originally constructed of stone, with a white frame house built overtop.  It was once a Merchant’s store, and had a blacksmith building at the end of the property.  The House is of Anglo-Norman design which features a long verandah entranceway and dormers.  This style was more popular in Quebec.  The hosts, Pat and Frank Vetter, are a delightful couple who have owned the B&B for many years.  Included with the delicious breakfasts that Pat serves up for you are tales of the town.  Pat and Frank are very social – and are happy to tell you all about Almonte.  This was a first B&B experience for our guests that stayed here, and they couldn’t have been more delighted.

Menzies House has 3 rooms of various sizes and prices are quite reasonable.  There aren’t any hotels or motels in Almonte, so this is an excellent option for out of town guests visiting you.

The rest of our guests were housed at The Almonte Riverside Inn.  The innkeeper, Rob Prior, has owned the Inn for about 5 years, and although it started out with a quaint little restaurant this has since closed and now just serves up breakfast to the guests.  The Inn has 6 rooms of varying sizes with comparable pricing to Menzies House.  ARI is a beautiful stone home that was previously known as the “Judge’s House”.  The grounds are simply beautiful and Rob is an equally friendly host.

If you weren’t going anywhere this summer, it might be an interesting idea to play “tourist” right in your own community…  a night way to enjoy the town as a visitor can do a lot to restore the soul….  Hmm… something to think about!

Finding the right home inspector.

Ask the Home Inspector

Steve Ott is a Registered Home Inspector and a member of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (www.oahi.com) and a full-time Home Inspector by trade. Steve is the sole owner and operator of Ottawa Valley Home Inspections Ltd (www.ovhi.ca) which provides home & septic system inspection services throughout the valley and Ottawa area.

Did you know that unlike a plumber or electrician, the home inspection industry in Ontario is not regulated? So, what does this mean to the consumer? It means that anyone can go out with a flashlight and a business card and say that they’re a home inspector. Thus, to ensure that one is getting an HI that is a professional, they should check up on their credentials before hiring them. What one should check is that the HI is a member of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors because the OAHI is the only professional association recognized by the provincial government. And the OAHI requires all members to keep up their education and to maintain their professional standings annually.

Ask questions such as how long have they been in business? Is it their sole occupation or do they do other work (quite common)? How long does a typical home inspection take? It should be around 3 hours. What kind of report will they receive? It should be electronic or written, not verbal. Ask questions and be comfortable with who you are hiring. In addition, any OAHI inspector can be looked up on www.oahi.com to see if they are a current member in good standing.

If you have any questions please feel free to email them to Steve Ott at steve@ovhi.ca.

I have personally used Steve on many of our investment property home inspections, and many of my clients have also used him, with great satisfaction.  He isn’t a “Mike Holmes Drama Queen” who tells you that the light bulb is burned so you are going to have to rewire the entire house (OK – a dramatic example, but those HGTV Home Inspection shows are also dramatic)!  He offers sound, practical advice, and is often able to offer suggestions of how to remedy a situation or who to turn to for advice.  If you decide to engage the services of Steve, let him know I sent you!

 

Why do you need a home inspection?

Why Do You Need a Home Inspection?

A home is the single largest investment most individuals will ever make. Oftentimes a Buyer will look for ways to save costs on their purchase; however, home inspections have proven to be a positive and educational experience for prospective home buyers. An impartial inspection by a professional will provide a large measure of protection from unpleasant surprises and allow you to make an informed decision about your purchase.

Having a professional home inspection may also reveal serious issues with a property you intend on purchasing. Is the homes electrical wiring up to code? Is there evidence of water leaks in the basement? Would you know what to look for? These are all issues that a professional home inspector will make you aware of during your home inspection. Miss them, and your family’s health and safety may be at risk, not to mention what it may cost to resolve the issues.

The purpose of an inspection is to determine the condition of a property at the time of purchase. Knowledge is power so why wouldn’t you want to know everything possible before making your final decision.

Typically a home inspection will take between 3 and 4 hours, occasionally longer, and includes an examination of all the major areas of a home such as roofing, structural, exterior and interior finishes, electrical, heating/air conditioning, insulation, and plumbing.

A professional home inspector does not provide appraisals, quotes for repairs, noncompliance with building code requirements, and does not provide guarantees or warranties.  Well water analysis and septic inspections are not part of a standard home inspection, but they are very important and your favourite Realtor will often help with these. Air Conditioners cannot be inspected except during the summer months. Pools and spas are not included as inspection items. Wood burning appliances such as fireplaces and wood stoves require a separate inspection by a WETT certified inspector (Wood Energy Technology Transfer), and if you choose the right Inspector, they can do this for you at the same time as the home inspection.

Knowing what to expect will help you make an informed decision about the value of the home as well as the costs of future upkeep.  Depending on how old your home is, or how long you have lived in it, you may even want to consider having a pre-home inspection done before you list your home!  It can help you determine things that need to be repaired and can prevent that “we need to ask for a price reduction based on the home inspection” call that all Sellers hate to receive.

From Joanne’s Kitchen

From the Kitchen…..

QUINOA & CHICKPEA TABBOULEH SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1½ cups chickpeas (if using canned, drain and rinse them first)
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped small
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (2 large or 3 medium lemons)
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, cucumbers, minced garlic, cherry tomatoes, green onion, parsley and mint. Toss well to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Pour the dressing over the quinoa & chickpea mixture and mix well. Adjust seasonings again, if necessary.
  4. Serve cold or at room temperature. *

NOTES
*This dish lasts 2-3 days in the refrigerator, so feel free to make it ahead of time to save even more time in the kitchen.

Getting the best bang for your renovation buck.

HOUSE IT GOING…

Spring is the time of year when people turn their thoughts to new beginnings  – and often times a new beginning might include their home.  Just because you may have decided that a move is in your future, it doesn’t mean your home is ready!

I am often asked to look at homes and offer up suggestions of what a homeowner can do to improve the value of their home, or at the very least, get a better market value on the sale of their home.  There are lots of sources to get this information from including Homes and Garden Television (HGTV), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and, of course, from your favourite Realtor!

Renovations can be expensive and it’s important to spend your money where you will see the best return on your home.  Consumers often get confused about all the advice available, and it makes me sad to see a client who has installed granite countertop in their row-house, for instance.  Granite countertop will not be appreciated in an entry- level, starter home.  Well, it may be appreciated, but the Buyer will not be willing to pay $5,000 more for this feature.
According to NAR these are the top home improvements that help you realize the most on your renovation dollars.

Please remember that these are a National Average and I would highly recommend that you consult with an expert in YOUR area before you undertake any of these renovations. Oftentimes you can get the best return on your investment with lower cost projects!  It’s also important to remember that curb appeal speaks volumes. You only get 1 chance to make a first impression – and if you can’t get anyone in your door to see the work you have done, your renovations and improvements won’t be worth anything!

Please don’t hesitate to call me for a free consultation. I would be happy to walk through your home and offer my experience on how you can get more value for your home.

Tom’s tips from Comfort Pro

 

Trade Tips from Tom

It might feel like an early end to winter but we can count on more cold weather to come. If your furnace stops you might be faced with an Emergency No Heat Call. Here’s a simple way to help prevent this from happening.

“How often should I change my air filter?” A question we get asked a lot and plugged filters are still a common reason for a no heat call. The short answer is to replace your air filter every 90 days, but not every home is going to be the same.

Some of the factors that will affect the frequency you need to replace your air filter:
⁃ pets
⁃ age of home
⁃ wood burning appliances
⁃ occupant allergies
⁃ time since last duct cleaning
⁃ unit operation
⁃ cold air return location
⁃ type of air filter
⁃ system efficiency

The best way to ensure you and your family are breathing the healthiest of air is to create your own schedule. Install a new filter and check it after 30 days. If after the 30 days your filter looks clean then put it back in and set a reminder for another 30 days. Repeat this process until you notice a light grey build up on the air filter, you now have a schedule for your home.

TIP: Have a clean filter and flashlight to compare the old filter.

If you any further questions visit out website for a complete detailed article about this topic. www.comfortpro.ca/howoftenshouldIreplacemyairfilter

Give us a call and mention this article to save $25.00 off your next service.

Tom Dlugosz
Owner and HVAC enthusiast
Comfort Pro Ltd.
84 Mill Street – Unit 2
Carleton Place, ON
K7C 1T5

613-253-4277

 

 

To clean or not to clean

‘To Clean or Not To Clean’

Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple. The real question is ‘do I clean myself or do I hire a cleaning company’. I will ask a few questions and offer my solutions.
1) Do you LOVE housework and does it helps you unwind from a busy day?
2) Do you DETEST housework and try to avoid it at all costs?
3) Are you somewhere in the middle? Most of us are in the middle.

When I hear women, say that they don’t have time for activities they enjoy, I say hire a cleaning company and ‘try it you might like it’. Get about 3 cleanings done before deciding if it is right for you or not because you go through a few different emotions over that time. At first it is a little hard because they don’t clean exactly like you do, but stick with it for a couple of more and 1) you will love it and wonder why you waited so long or 2) you hate it and want to keep the job for yourself. At least then you are making a decision based on your experience. Imagine having more time for family and friends.

When hiring a cleaning company always ask for and check references. Also ask if they are Bonded & Insured so that if they break or damage your ‘Ming Vase’ it is covered. Require that they be covered by W.S.I.B., in the event of an accident in your home they are covered and it is not your homeowner’s policy at risk. The other item of importance would be a valid police check.

Communicate with the company and you are more likely to get the service you want. With all this in place you will feel more secure.

Cleaning Tip: Cleaning or refreshing your microwave- place a wet sponge or wet dish cloth into the microwave and run it on high for 2 minutes, leave it inside for about 5 to 10 minutes, this creates a sauna like condition and when you open the door it is a breeze to clean.

I am the owner of Green Clean Plus in Almonte. Call me to see how I can be of service.
www.GreenCleanPlus.ca

Maria Murphy is the Owner of a local cleaning company – Green Clean Plus.  She has a team of cleaners that she manages – and can be reached at 613- 461-0093 OR murphymariag@gmail.com.  She is very entrepreneurial, personable and trustworthy! Green Clean Plus