Celebrate Your Independents: It’s not a typo; it’s a movement

I’ve already received two messages since we started running commercials encouraging viewers to “Celebrate Your Independents.”

That is — of course — because the Fourth of July is Independence Day, not Independents Day.

(God love these people; these are my people. I commonly contact businesses to bring their attention to possible errors [though I generally do it with a large dose of sensitivity as I am keenly aware that fellow local businesses squeak by on fewer resources than their national counterparts].)

But we aren’t asking you to buy from us because it’s July 4 on Monday. We want you to understand the value of independent businesses, so we’re participating in the Celebrate Your Independents promotion.

During the month of July, select local, independent retailers and restaurants have teamed up to provide money-saving offers and a chance to win $1,250 in gift cards in exchange for your support and your ear. We want you to know the importance of buying local!

Multiple studies have shown that dollars spent at local, independent businesses generates at least three times more direct local economic benefit a dollars spent at absentee-owned chain businesses. Plus, these are the retailers, restaurants and service providers that lend support to your childrens’ schools, your places of worship and our neediest nonprofits because it’s their communities, too.

So among all the picnics and patriotism of this holiday weekend, take care to Celebrate Your Independents, as well.

Appliance Holiday Gift Ideas

Wondering what to buy for a special someone at this most wonderful time of year? Look no further than your local appliance store. With inventory such as kegerators, grills, grill accessories and smart home products, and brands literally from A (Amana) to Z (Zephyr), you are sure to find something for everyone on your list at Warners’ Stellian

Gifts For Wine Lovers:

kitchen with an under-island wine cooler
Frigidaire Gallery 52-bottle wine cooler

It’s wine-o-clock somewhere. Check out this freestanding wine chiller from Avanti that can hold up to 12 bottles, or any of our freestanding or integrated wine storage options. 

Gifts For Grill Masters:

Traeger grill

Perfect for that grill master who likes to take his or her show on the road, the Traeger Tailgater weighs 62 pounds and comes with folding legs. The portable grill packs a powerful punch. And just think, Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Find other grill gifts here. 

Gifts For New Homeowners

Miele vacuum on blue rug
Miele vacuum

Miele vacuums, rated to last 20 years, make a great gift for someone just starting out in a new home. The Dynamic U1 Model works wonders for homes with furry friends. Even better, all our vacuums ship for free nationwide. 

Not sure if they need a vacuum? Wrap a Warners’ Stellian gift card under the tree, so the new homeowner in your life can spend it how they wish. 

Gifts For Beer Drinkers

True 15-inch beverage dispenser

Ideal for the beer connoisseur, this draft beer dispenser uses True’s exclusive airflow technology to ensure flavorful beer on tap. A beverage center to keep brews cold is also a good option, especially for people who like to entertain.

Gift For The Cigar Aficionado:

The Liebherr humidor XS-200 is definitely one of those big, spendy holiday gifts, at $2,139. But it’s completely distinctive, with European-style stainless steel and glass. Cigars are protected from humidity and temperature with premium preservation elements.

We hope you gift local this year and choose Warners’ Stellian. Happy holidays!

Tune up your grill for Memorial Weekend barbecuing

If Memorial Day weekend finds you dragging your gas grill out for the first time this summer, make sure you have it party-ready in time for the dinner bell with these maintenance tips.

Clean the interior using a putty knife to scrape off burnt-on food particles inside your grill. This isn’t just aesthetic. Build-up prevents your grill from heating correctly.

To clean your grates, Weber Grill suggests putting them in a dark-colored plastic bag with a cup of ammonia into the bag. After a day in the sun, residue should easily hose off (hat tip Shelterpop).

If you have a grease drain, make sure it’s unclogged by running a coat hanger down it. Just keep your hands away from the grease bucket, because the grease will drain out fast and could burn you.

Season the grill. Use nonstick cooking spray to oil the grates, drip pans and inside of the grill. This helps keep food from sticking to the surfaces and speeds cleaning. Light the grill and let it burn empty with the lid closed for 30 minutes to burn off the preservatives.

Level the grill. If one side of your grill burns burgers while the other leaves them raw, it’s probably not level. Check both side-to-side and front-to-back.

Check for leaks by inspecting connections for tightness and hoses for cracks. Another good way to scope out leaks is by brushing non-ammonia soapy water around the fitting with an old toothbrush. Turn the gas on and watch for bubbles.

That’s all from me. Anyone else have good tips to add?

Thanks to Holland Grill for the info. Flickr photo credit: mccun934

10 Kitchen Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving cooking can be confusing, especially for those who don’t use the kitchen much otherwise. Check out these tips to make your Thanksgiving cooking a breeze (or just a little bit easier).

1. Calibrate the Oven

Your oven’s temperature could be off, causing you to over- or undercook. If you still have it, check your manual for specific instructions on making sure that your oven’s 350 degrees is really 350 degrees.

2. Use Convection Oven

Many people buy a convection oven with holiday cooking in mind, and then forget to use it! If you have true convection or settings that allow multi-rack cooking (the bake and broil element shut off after the preheat), you can put a dish on each rack without having to rotate them.

Just remember to set the temperature 25 degrees below what’s recommended for normal baking.

3. Use Convection Microwave

If you have a convection microwave, you have a second oven. The 25-degrees-below-normal-bake-temp rule applies here, too.

4. Use Sensor Cooking

Many microwaves come with a sensor you can use to automatically adjust cooking power and temperature based on the amount of moisture in the food. Try it on meat, potatoes and vegetables to save time and ensure a perfect dish. Again, check your manual for instructions of how to use your model’s specific features.

5. Make Extra Ice

Empty out your icemaker bin into a large, plastic bag and keep it in the freezer 24 hours before your guests arrive. By the time they do, you’ll have a bin full of ice and a cheap refill once that’s gone.

6. Use Oven Light

The temptation to open the oven and check on your goodies is high, but the temperature won’t be if you do. The oven temperature can drop 25 degrees in just seconds, increasing cooking times and wasting energy. So keep that door shut, already!

7. Use Meat Probe and Warming Drawer

Hopefully just reading this jogs the memory of that stuff you have but never remember to use. Many ranges now come with metal probes to stick into a turkey or ham to monitor the temperature, which should hit 180 degrees.

(Note: The probes usually come packaged next to the manual, so they’re probably waiting for you in that same junk drawer filing system where you left them.)

And, are you sure that drawer under the oven you use to store pots is only for storage? Some range models include warming drawers, which work great to keep early bird guests’ dishes ready while you finish up the bird.

8. Match Cookware to Burners

Having a tiny pot on a large burner wastes energy and a big post on a tiny burner slows cooking time. Cook smart on the stovetop to shorten cooking times and save energy/money.

9. Fire Up the Grill

Grilled turkey tastes great and frees up your oven for everything else. Get creative and use your grill for potatoes, biscuits and pie.

(Bonus tip: We all know those who don’t cook, but only grill. Now there’s no excuse to not help!)

10. Adjust Refrigerator Shelves

Remember that shelves can be moved up and down to fit tall items like 2-liter bottles and frozen turkeys. And consider making a short shelf for platters that can’t be stacked. That way you won’t be wasting all that space above the trays.

Do you have any other tips to make the most of your kitchen? We’d love to read them in the comments.

Sweeten Your Valentine’s Day with Induction Cooking from Electrolux

Nothing ushers in the beginnings of spring quite like the season of love. Even in these times of apparent doom and gloom, Americans are planning to spend $15 billion dollars on their sweethearts this Valentine’s Day. That’s a whole lot of teddy bears, flowers, jewelry, and chocolate to show our affections!

If the selection at your local baker leaves something to be desired, nothing sends that personal touch like preparing your own chocolate delicacies. This year, preparing treats has never been easier with the Electrolux induction cooktop.

Induction Cooktop Speed

Induction’s rapid heat feature can bring water from room temperature to boiling in as little as 90 seconds, preparing the noodles for your chicken parmigiana quickly and with ease. Electrolux induction cooktop combines power with finesse! The induction burners can reach medium and low temperatures instantaneously, providing a delicate simmer for your chocolate ganache.

Induction Cooktop Cleaning

Not only does Electrolux make preparing your Valentine’s Day treats a breeze, but cleanup is a snap as well. Because induction only reacts with ferrous iron, any chocolate accidentally spilled over won’t burn onto the surface, resulting in an easy cleanup. Furthermore, pets, small children, and even careless cooks won’t burn themselves as induction elements are cool to the touch!

If you’re really looking to wow your beloved this Valentine’s day, and your cooktop just isn’t up to the task, you owe it to yourself to check out the Electrolux induction cooktop. Make this Valentine’s Day the sweetest ever!