Kitchen, S&W Appliances, Uncategorized

Start a Family Dinner Tradition the Fall

Back to school season can make catching quality family time a challenge. One tried and true solution? Family dinners. Make a habit of sitting down to dinner at least once a week to catch up and have some fun. Try these themes and tips to plan a meal everyone can look forward to!

Dinner and a Movie

It’s a classic for a reason. Ideally, set things up to keep courses coming throughout the movie. Start with a light appetizer, like salad, bread and oil, or pita chips and hummus, to nosh on while you pick a movie. Leave dessert for after the credits roll. Doing this will insure you have some time to chat and discuss post-movie.

Look Ma–No Hands

A finger foods meal is fun, easy, and a little goofy. There are the old American standbys of chicken fingers, turkey legs, sliders, and their ilk–or you can try something different. Many international cuisines are more oriented toward forkless consumption, and often healthier, such as mediterranean/middle eastern staples like flat bread, tabouli, mejadra and yogurt.

Parfait Buffet

Who says the family meal has to be dinner? If you can swing it, family breakfasts are just as fun. Try creating a parfait buffet, featuring assorted yogurt flavors, a selection of fresh fruit, granola, fruit preserves, and honey.

Get Saucy

Want to get your kids involved in preparation, but dubious of their culinary creative ability? Try having a sauce “competition”. Sauces are delicious but low risk if made in small batches–everyone can pick and choose which they prefer. For pasta, offer up ingredients like fresh tomatoes, pesto, alfredo, garlic cloves, and herbs. For dipping sauces for veggies or fries, try ingredients such as peanut butter, cream cheese, hot sauce, scallions, honey sour cream (though we do suggest you actively discourage using all of these at once).

Great traditions start in great places. Get a fresh start on your family night rituals with a new kitchen featuring the latest in fingerprint proof, super sleek major appliances–click here to learn more.

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Major Appliances, Uncategorized

Dirty For A Difference Speed Queen Giveaway

Speed Queen is giving away a week long trip to Australia–and to enter, all you need to do is visit a local retailer! Better still–for every entry, the laundry machine specialist brand will donate one dollar to Futures Without Violence, an international non-profit dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. Here’s the lowdown:

 

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The Goods

The prize package includes:

  • A 7-day/6-night trip for two to Melbourne, Australia

  • Air transportation for winner and guest from the major, international, airport nearest winner’s residence to Melbourne, Australia (and back!)

  • 6 nights’ hotel accommodations

  • 7 days’ car rental

  • $3,000 cash (awarded as a check payable to winner)

  • Two tickets to attend the Mudderella event to be held in Werribee, Victoria, Australia on November 7, 2015.

 

The Good

There’s lots of great charitable stuff connected to this sweepstakes!

  • By entering, all contestants are contributing to an awesome cause.  Futures Without Violence works to promote the safety and well-being of women by supporting efforts to end human trafficking and help victims, providing health care and education to young people and adults, offering home services, and more.

  • Contest winners will have tickets to Mudderella, a grueling 5-7 mile obstacle course developed by the former CSO of Tough Mudder. Mudderella is geared toward women, and in addition to partnering with several charities, seeks to empower women by providing a showcase for the stamina and strength of female athletes.

  • Speed Queen, the brand behind the giveaway, does all sorts of great charitable work with various organizations. In other words, they use their success to give back. Learn more about their projects here.

 

How To Enter

It’s easy! Just go to a licensed Speed Queen retailer, like S&W Appliances, and pick up a unique entry code. Take that code, and enter it/submit a brief entry form here. The contest ends September 2nd, so stop by today!

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Major Appliances, Uncategorized

Laundry Pre-Treatment: Four Tips

Keeping clothes longer is a great way to save money and conserve environmental resources–less new clothes means less waste overall, and the garment industry can be incredibly wasteful. One key to successfully preserving clothes is to master pre-treatment. Pre-treatment is a way of treating stains on clothes before putting them in the laundry machine. Below, some tips to get you started.

 

Start Pre-Treatment of Stains As Soon As Possible

The earlier you begin treating a stain, the more likely you’ll be able to get it out.

Tailor Your Approach to the Stain

Your strategy should be based on what kind of stain you’re treating. You can find a super detailed guide covering everything from cosmetics to tar here.

Use A White Cloth

For blotting pre-treatments, use a white cloth. This way, you’ll avoid any potential dye transfer.

 

Chose A Machine Designed for Pre-Treatment

Behold! The new ActiveWash machine features a built in sink that makes pre-treament a cinch.

Have any pre-treatment tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Major Appliances, Uncategorized

Four Reasons to Replace Your Washer/Dryer

Your washing machine and dryer may not be the flashiest major appliances in the house, tucked about in some hidden pantry or dark cellar to which you make your weekly pilgrimage, reluctant and dutiful, weighed down by detergent and baskets of soiled cloth. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a partner or spouse who does the deed for you, and it’s a mysterious process you heed only when it takes too long to return a favorite set of trousers, or leaves a shirt still stained and damp. Either way, chances are that your washer and dryer are due for an upgrade, and you don’t even know it yet. Here are our top four reasons why you should replace these humble–but invaluable-appliances:

 

Save Money, and the Earth: Over the past five years, manufacturers have competed fiercely to provide models that are more efficient. What does this mean for you? Today’s washers and dryers use less water and less electricity than ever before. This in turn means they’re better for your utility bill and more eco friendly.

Fresh Clothes, Fast: The latest Electrolux models wash clothes in fifteen minutes, and dry them in fourteen. For the aforementioned readers unfamiliar with the domestic arts: this is CRAZY fast. Obviously, it varies according to model, but one to two hours is fairly standard for time to wash and dry clothes with older machines. An hour to two hours is obnoxious when, as a laundry-doer, you want to leave the house; crushing when you have multiple loads of laundry to get to on a weekend; and infuriating when you need a particular item cleaned in time to leave the house for a meeting or event. Basically, faster machines mean more time, less frustration, and more freedom.

Kinder to Clothes: Laundry tips like these can help keep your clothes looking better longer. However, even the best detergent and most masterful use of the various machine settings can only do so much if you’re working with an older unit. More modern units get clothes cleaner more gently. This means outfits look new longer.

More Aesthetically Pleasing: As previously described, many laundry units are hidden away, but not all. Either way– newer washers and dryers are considerably easier on the eyes. Newer models come in shades and styles more suited to contemporary tastes. They’re easier on the ears, too, with less of that intense “roaring” possessors of older units may experience, and more charming sound design applied to the alarms.

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Major Appliances, S&W Appliances

The All American Guide to Grills

In this land of plenty, there is an abundance of choices when it comes to grills. Gas, charcoal, electric–it can all start to feel a little overwhelming. That’s why we’re proud to serve up this guide to the pros and unique benefits of different grill types. So dig in, and get ready to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave with some BBQ, done just the way you like it. It’s practically your patriotic duty!

The Charcoal Grill 

The Flavor Master

How it Works: These grills burn charcoal briquettes, wood chips, or a combination of both.

Pros:

  • Gives an intense, smoky flavor to food. If you are serious about that authentic, rich, smoky taste, go with a charcoal grill.

  • Many models can double as smokers.

  • Cooking with charcoal products causes fewer fire flare ups which can burn food.

Cons:

  • The bottom of a charcoal grill needs to be cleared of ashes regularly.

  • Cooking with charcoal takes longer than other methods, such as gas or electric. After lighting the charcoals, you should be able to grill within 15 to 20 minutes.

 

The Natural Gas Grill

The Backyard Standard

How it Works: Natural gas fuels this grill.

Pros:

  • Great bang for your buck; these grills are easier to control–and more user friendly–than other models, making them one of the more popular options.

  • Can be hooked up to your house’s gas line.

  • Ignite quickly and heat up fast.

Cons:

  • May be pricier than charcoal models, given the extra features.

  • You should use a drip pan to prevent flare ups.

 

The Propane Grill

The Goldilocks Grill 

How it works: This grill runs on propane, which is purchased in a refillable tank.

Pros:

  • We’re dubbing this the “Goldilocks Grill” because it offers many of the benefits of other models. It heats up fast and offers temperature control, and no need for hook up to electric or natural gas lines means it’s portable.

  • Propane is a relatively benign fuel, environmentally speaking. It’s efficient and burns cleaner than coal.

Cons:

  • You’ll need to remember to fill up your propane tanks, and bring backups if you’re camping or headed to a remote location.

  • While this is a great all-round option, it lacks the “standout” attributes of other versions.

 

The Electric Grill

Your Compact Companion

How it Works: Electricity is used to power this type of grill.

Pros:

  • Tend to be more compact than gas or charcoal grills, which makes them great for small outdoor spaces like balconies.

  • Some models are designed for indoor use.

  • Easier to clean.

Cons:

  • For most models, you’ll need an electrical outlet,

  • You may need extension cords if a power source isn’t nearby.

 

 

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Major Appliances

Yes, You Do Need A Deep Fryer

Look: it’s only human to crave a deep fryer. The variety of flavors and sheer decadence conspire to make irresistible delights of every kind. Read on for some dynamite applications of this timeless classic.

French Fries

Call this Fryer 101. Lesson one: French fries were invented in Belgium, not France! Lesson two: the actual frying part is easy: carve up your tubers, carefully submerge them in your oil, strain, and salt as desired. Take it to the next level with a killer sauce– ginger sesame, sriracha mayo,  curried catsup, garlic chive greek yogurt, spicy beer mustard, or any variation your heart/stomach desires.

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Beignets

The French Quarter classic is within reach with a deep fryer. You can find a quick and easy recipe here, among other places. Serve with strong Cafe Du Monde coffee and blow your next book club away. And don’t forget the powdered sugar!

Watermelon

Yes, watermelon! Sweet and salty, rich and light: this is a best-of-all-worlds delicacy. Serve it this summer for a unique batter-dipped twist on a beloved summer flavor! You can find a great recipe here.

Poached Eggs

Deep fried poached eggs make an unusual–and sophisticated–addition to many meals. This recipe recommends pairing with creamed spinach and serrano ham, but we’re sure that there are many other options–just imagine this as part of an eggs benedict recipe!

Hungry yet? Check out this state of the art fryer from Miele!

 

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Uncategorized

She-Shed Essentials: Appliances For Your Lady Lair

Move over, man-cave: the she-shed has landed! She-sheds are women’s answer to the man-cave, a designated place for women to entertain, relax and engage in “the domestic arts” (or video games, beer, and mechanics–whatever floats your boat!). Need a clearer visual? Browse these then check out our top picks for furnishing your lady lair.

 

 

Climate Control

Your she-shed should be the apex of comfort. Keep the climate to your liking with a portable A/C unit for hot summer days, and a space heater for chilly evenings.

 

 

A Mini Fridge

Stock your she-cave with your favorite treats, secure in the knowledge that no pesky kids or men will devour them.

 

 

Wine Cooler or Cellar

Obviously. With models starting as low as $120, SW Appliances offers an enormous range of price points and sizes for your personal wine cooler or cellar. We suggest something small and compact, with a clear window to show off your taste in vintages.

 

Food Preparation Equipment

If cooking or baking is essential to your she-cave activities, you can integrate a full kitchen (just make sure the ventilation is there, wiring is good, etc.). If you’re more of a popcorn and pizza rolls kinda gal, a simple microwave should do just fine.

Television

Movie buff, or just prefer to enjoy your favorite shows sans distractions? Then incorporate a TV into your she-cave!

 

 

Speakers

For listening to your favorite music or podcasts, at any volume you please. Or try ambient noises, for a spa-serene experience.

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Major Appliances

Summer Laundry Tips

Tis the season of swimsuits, barbeque sauce, popsicles, and gauzy garments–and with them, a unique set of laundry challenges. Unfortunately, sometimes washing machines and dryers can do more harm than good when used incorrectly to clean delicate summer clothes. Follow these tips to face some common summer laundry challenges.

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 When to Machine Wash A Swimsuit

Swimsuits, especially those made of cotton or nylon, are not the most durable of garments. For this reason, they should normally be hand rinsed after each use. However, most suits can–and should–take a spin in the machine every 4 or 5 wears to remove more ingrained dirt, chemicals, salt, etc. Suits should always be washed in cold water on a delicate cycle. Preferably, they should be wrapped in a mesh bag to prevent too much damage, and at the very least should be in with other soft delicates, like hand towels. One exception to the washing machine rules? Suits with sequins or other embellishments, which should always be hand washed. Swimwear should always be air dried.

 

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How to Machine Wash Linen Clothing

There’s something so light and luxurious about the feel of cool, clean linen on a hot summer day. However, linen garments can be notoriously vulnerable to the ravages of a machine wash. Linen garments should always be washed on your machine’s gentlest cycle, in lukewarm or cool water (not hot or cold). If possible, the water level should be set to high so that the garments move as freely as possible. Always wash linens with like colors and materials (no zippers or buttons, which can tear the delicate cloth) and use a mild deterge

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Machine Washing Dark Clothing

The preservation of dark clothing often gets overlooked in summer, but little black dresses or navy polos can quickly fade in the intense summer sun. Cheer and similar brands offer detergent specifically formulated to keep your clothes “mysteriously dark and dramatic” (Cheer’s words, not ours), and can help mitigate UV damage.

These tips work best with a quality washing machine.Ready for an upgrade? Check out our full line of state of the art models here.

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Air Conditioners, Energy Star, Major Appliances

Summer’s Almost Here! Four Tips For Buying an Air Conditioner

12625685_lSpring has sprung. That means sunshine, flowers, and relief from another brutal winter! But it also means the sweltering days of summer are just around the corner. Follow these tips to ensure your home is comfortable for all seasons.

Don’t wait until summer, when prices are highest. Right now, S&W Appliances offers some great sales and rebates on portable, window, and wall fit air conditioners. Besides–no one likes to do heavy lifting when it’s 80 degrees!

 

Bigger is not always better. Experts recommend one ton of refrigeration for every 320-400 square feet, depending on the efficiency of your unit. Oversize AC units tend to start and stop more often, which can raise your electric bill. Ask an associate to help you pick an air conditioner that meets your needs without going overboard. (http://archive.azcentral.com/style/hfe/diy/articles/20120611buying-air-conditioner-8-smart-strategies.html)

 

Check EPA ratings to save the earth (and money!). Units with an Energy Star rating have been approved by the EPA as being significantly more efficient that the federal minimum standard. These units will also have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) between 13-21. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.

Look into warranty options. Anyone who’s been stuck in a hot home with a broken AC knows that it’s not a fun situation to be in. A good warranty ensures that if you have any issues with your unit they’ll be addressed, so be sure to check what options are available with your unit before you buy.

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S&W Appliances, Uncategorized

Think Outside The Bun and Try Grilling These

At summer cookouts, brats and burgers may reign supreme– but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options! Try grilling these at your next outdoor shindig and see if you can find some new faves!

 

5891465574_fa2e8c73c6_oGrilled Peaches  

What’s sweeter than a peach? A grilled peach, halved and served with whipped cream!

 

Pineapple Slices

The heat of the flame helps caramelize this sweet fruit, giving it a nice bit of added texture. Serve with ice cream and brown sugar.

 

Portobello Mushroom Caps

Portobellos are super versatile– try marinating them in a vinaigrette pre-grill. They can make a great substitute for burgers for any vegetarian or health conscious guests!

 Mexican Grilled Corn

Just toss a husked cob on the grill and cook until slightly charred. Then, top with mayo, sour cream, cilantro, and parmesan cheese. Serve with lime.

Citrus Garnish

Add some complexity to sweet summer cocktails by grilling your lemon or lime garnish.

Flatbread Pizzas

Making your own flatbreads on the grill is surprisingly simple. Just flatten some premade dough, spread lightly with olive oil, grill, flip, add your desired toppings and ta da! It’s a fun new spin on pizza night.

 

Watermelon

For a sweet and salty treat, try grilling watermelon then sprinkling with sea salt.

 

Ready to throw a delicious cookout? Now’s a better time than ever! Check out our Chill and Grill special to learn how you can get a $500 rebate and the purchase of Viking grills, cabinets, carts, and ice machines. You can download the flyer at http://www.swappliances.com/flyers.html.

 

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