Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Choosing Flooring for Your Home

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing the appropriate flooring for your home. With so many choices available, here are some key points outlined at Home Style Choices to consider in making the right choice:

§     Consider the room. The function of the room, as well as the location of the room, is a huge factor in your decision. For example, the kitchen is the busiest room in the house and is also prone to food and liquid spills. As a result, you want to consider a floor that will stand up to heavy trafffic, grit, etc. and easy to clean. Some popular choices for a kitchen would be Linoleum Floors, Marmoleum Flooring, Vinyl Flooring, Hardwood Flooring, and Ceramic and Stone Tiles.

§      Consider your family and lifestyle. How you and your family live makes a difference in choosing a floor type. If you have children and/or pets, take this in consideration when making your decision. Children usually mean more wear and tear from running, banging and simply more traffic. Some of the laminate products might be better in this scenario than solid wood due to the favorable wear characteristics of laminate. This is also a good choice if you have pets as it is much easier to cleanup from pets that shed whereas carpeting might retain pet hair. Claws from cats and dogs can also scratch wood.
Keep in mind also that grout seams associated with tile can be frustrating or even difficult for family members with wheeled walkers or wheelchairs. The wheels could catch or "clunk" as they pass over the grout, especially wider grout lines.
§      Consider your health. People with allergies and/or respiratory issues should be aware that carpet and other floor materials can contain higher VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that might contribute to ill health effects. Carpeting can harbor allergens that are more easily cleaned up from hard surfaces. In these situations look for products that have lower VOC emissions. As an example, Armstrong® products that meet criteria for low-VOC emissions carry their FloorScore™ certification. The Carpet and Rug Institute identifies low VOC products with their Green Label designation.

§    Consider the care and maintenance you will be putting into the floor. Some materials have higher maintenance needs than others if you want them to last and maintain their appearance. No floor will last forever if the grit isn't swept on a regular basis and kept clean but some materials are better than others in this situation. You must decide on a suitable material or commit to the upkeep required to maintain more delicate surfaces in these situations.

§    Consider your budget. Do you want a high-end expensive surface or does your budget allow a more economical choice? You might be surprised to find alternatives to your choices for less money. For example, you can find a laminate which is a close match to real wood. Be sure to research for alternatives.

§      Look at samples. It is important to visit several showrooms that sell the types of flooring materials you are considering. Looking at pictures and reading about them is one thing but actually seeing them in person and standing on them can help solidify your decision on which product is right for you. This is particularly true with laminate floors, where you can really see if the appearance is close enough to the real thing or not.

It's only natural that we want our floors to look great as it can make an entire room stand out, however, be sure to keep in mind practical aspects when making your choice.
For more information on Flooring contact Kruse Home Improvement at 860-584-8784.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Poha / Aval Upma / Flattened Rice Upma

My mom prepares aval upma very often as a snack food for us during our childhood days. But I tasted the slightly sweeter version of it, only when I joined my first job in Pune. It was served with sev and lemon wedges there. I loved the combination of crunchy sev and soft poha. From then, I started to eat Aval upma with sev.

It is also sometimes served with potato. Till now, never tasted poha with potato but I have heard the combo works out well. Here I am posting my Mom's way of preparing aval upma with my favourite sev and lemon wedges.

Basic Information:

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes



Thick Poha/ Aval/ Flattened Rice - 2 cups

Turmeric powder - a big pinch

Oil - 3 teaspoons

Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoons

Peanuts - 1/4 cup, with skin

Green chilli - 2 nos, slit

Curry leaves - 1 string

Onion - 1/4 cup, finely chopped

Salt - to taste

Fine Sev - for serving, optional

Lemon Juice - 1/2 - 1 teaspoon, optional

Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon, optional


1) Wash poha in a running water quickly. Use colander to make this job easier.

2) Completely drain the water and transfer the poha to a bowl.

3) Add turmeric powder and toss well to mix it evenly. Cover and keep it aside for 10 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, Heat oil in a frying pan.

5) Add mustard seeds when it is hot.

6) Add greenchilli, curry leaves and peanuts after all the mustard seeds splutter.

7) Fry for 3-4 minutes without burning.

8) Add onion and saute until it becomes soft and translucent. Add salt and turmeric powder. Stir well to spread the salt evenly. Add sugar if using.


9) Add poha and reduce the flame. Stir gently without breaking poha.

10) After 4 minutes turn off the stove. Squeeze out lemon juice if using.

11) Serve with fine sev.

Healthy Blueberry Oats N Almond Sandwich Cake - No Egg No Butter

I love all kinds of berries especially Strawberries and Blueberries. I saw these cute looking blueberries and just grabbed two boxes...when I looked into, they were smaller than I have usually seen. So I thought of making something really special and of course healthy. I made these and really felt very satisfied, it came out so good and perfect. Really liked the taste, not too sweet and I ate it even for breakfast. So here is the recipe... :)

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Oats (Quick Cooking)
2 cups fresh or frozen Blueberries (I prefer the fresh ones :))
1/2 cup slivered Almonds or Walnuts ( used almonds)

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 cups Buttermilk
1/2 cup Canola Oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, ground cinnamon and salt.

3. In another bowl mix the wet ingredients, unsweetened applesauce, buttermilk and canola oil.
4. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix just until blended. Make sure u don't over mix the batter.

6. Now spray a baking pan or your choice and sprinkle some flour.

7. Pour the half of the batter, spread the blueberries all over the bottom layer of batter, then pour the rest of the batter on top.
8. Sprinkle slivered almonds over the top evenly and bake it for about 50-55 mins or until the almonds are toasted and the cake top is golden brown.

You Might Also Like:
Mixed Berry Cake
Blueberry and Dates Puree/Shake in a cup
Lazy Man's Blueberry Pineapple Crumb Cake
Very Berry Banana Shake
Mixed Berry Gratin