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Archive for June 2010

Homeowners have until the end of the year to make improvements that qualify for a federal energy-efficiency tax credit, including insulation upgrades and purchases of heating and air-conditioning equipment. That isn't to say incentives for home energy efficiency will go away for good. There are efforts under way in Washington to extend the credit, and a separate bill slowly working through Congress would provide similar and possibly bigger breaks. More

From tools to get charcoals started to an iPhone application for recipes, grill accessories provide solutions from the basic to the techno. "Grilling has moved to a whole new level," says Sherry Bale from Weber, a maker of outdoor grills and the tools that go with them. With Father's Day weekend leading into the first day of summer, grill season is heating up. As charcoals have become more controllable and propane-fired grills have become more sophisticated, accessories for grills have lifted backyard dinners far from the days when a hot dog was the common main course. More

Summer barbecues are tough on self-described foodie Zarifa Andani. Originally from East Africa, she and her family brought their love of meat, including great chunks of cubed and skewered animal fat, to Canada. And meat is what they expect off the grill: chicken dripping with hot peri peri sauce; beef ribs smothered in garlic and chilies; and grilled fish with tamarind sauce, lemon juice, and spices. At barbecues, Andani grills for her vegetarian husband, but it's a problem. Though succulent home cooking is her specialty, she just hasn't found a way to transform eggplant over a grill in the same toothsome way she can, say, a rack of ribs. "He doesn't get it," Andani told the Georgia Straight in an interview at an East Vancouver park. As a vegetarian, she explained, "Barbecues are just not the same kind of fun for him." More

We are already half way through BBQ season, and by now, your grill probably does not look so hot. Get it? A horrible pun, right? All that grease and ash certainly is not appealing, although some might say it actually helps improve the taste, it is not helping keep your grill working efficiently. To get started, you will need to get some newspaper, latex gloves, soap, water, a hose, sponge, barbecue scraper, oven cleaner and a scouring pad. More

We all love warm evenings on the patio barbecuing with family and friends, but that is no excuse to sabotage your healthy diet. Following are some quick tips for making the most of summer barbecues without sacrificing your wellness, waistline and enjoyment. More

Europe seems hell-bent on burning the world's forests for bioenergy, even as it offers billions of euros to save them, critics say.The dirty secret of Europe's vaunted green energy revolution is the fact that 68.5 percent of its renewable energy portfolio comes from biofuels and burning wood for energy, according to a report released in Brussels recently. Modern technologies like wind and solar get all the press, but burning wood is well, prehistoric. More

Gas or charcoal? Steaks or veggies? You'll need to make some choices if you want to reduce your carbon footprint as you cook outdoors . For many patio partyers, summer is all about smoky, succulent meats and vegetables, lightly charred over an outdoor fire. But with concern over global warming, oil spills, dwindling resources and ever-expanding landfills, this is a good time to make your grilling greener. As you gather family and friends for backyard barbecues and cookouts, here are some simple, easy ways to raise your consciousness and feel better about yourself, and the planet. More

Outdoor rooms, a feature found only in luxury homes not so many years ago, are finding their way into more modest settings. Increasingly, owners of smaller homes are reclaiming their under-used gardens and transforming them into outdoor living and entertainment areas. The tiny patio with cheap lawn chairs or a picnic table has grown to spacious outdoor "rooms" as designers create living and entertaining areas that mirror and rival the home's interior. More

From Memorial to Labor days, butchers double as grilling coaches, helping customers avoid disasters and the boredom that can set in after one hot dog too many. They teach how to char without burning, and they introduce grillers to less-familiar cuts, such as hanger steaks. Americans are projected to grill in record numbers this summer. According to a 2010 survey from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 81 percent of Americans say grilled food tastes better than restaurant- or oven-cooked food. Nearly 90 percent plan on firing up the grill this summer. Why? Because grilling keeps the kitchen cool while satisfying our he-man cravings for food cooked over an open fire. More

The author of this article commented "A lovely insert for my fireplace. I have never seen more romantic activity then looking at the fire dancing in the wood burning stove. Off course this dancing fire can also be seen in the country when you are on hiking in the evening. But no matter where you are making a fire now. The main thing is that people always consider the fire to be rather a transcendental thing. As for me I also like watching dancing flames. It's a really good medicine for somebody's irritated nerves. I think that there's something magic in the fire. This substance has been attracting people from very ancient times. To my mind the fire has a powerful hypnotic impact on almost every person. I'm fond of feeling this hypnotic effect on my nerves. I like dreaming about my future when looking at dancing flames." More

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