Jan

22

Stainless Steel vs. Nonstick: Caring for Your Cookware

Stainless Steel vs. Nonstick: Caring for Your CookwarePots and pans see a lot of use and abuse in the kitchen, which is why it’s important to purchase quality cookware that won’t need to be replaced frequently. Whether you prefer the versatility of stainless steel or the ease of cleaning and cooking with nonstick pots and pans, proper care is essential to ensure that your cookware lasts for years to come. If part of your kitchen remodeling plans include a set of attractive new pots and pans, follow these tips for caring for them.

Stainless Steel Care

Stainless steel pans are a great option for cooking because they distribute heat well, meaning water boils more quickly and food cooks more evenly. Steel is also a great surface to cook on because it allows food to form a crust, leaving tasty bits behind to be used in sauces and gravies. The downside, however, is that stainless steel pans can be hard to clean. Follow these tips to make cleanup easier and keep your stainless cookware looking as bright and shiny as the day you bought it.

  • Heat up the pan before adding oil, and heat up the oil before adding food to prevent sticking.
  • Don’t preheat on high; steel is a good heat distributor, and this could lead to overheating and damage the pan.
  • Clean only with non-abrasive sponges and cleaners to avoid damaging the finish.
  • Fill soiled pans with soapy water and boil to remove stuck-on food particles.
  • Dry pots and pans immediately after cleaning to prevent water spots.
  • Only salt water after it’s boiling to help prevent pitting.
  • Do not add cold water to a hot pan; this could cause warping.

Nonstick Care

Proponents of nonstick cookware love being able to easily cook foods that normally stick, like eggs. Nonstick pans are also a breeze to clean, and can even contribute to healthier eating because they require less butter or oil to prevent sticking. However, nonstick coating is easily damaged, so follow these guidelines to keep it as good as new.

  • NEVER use cooking spray on nonstick pans; this will cause a residue to build up that will lead to uneven heating and cause food to stick.
  • Don’t wash nonstick pans in the dishwasher. Although some claim to be dishwasher-safe, the harsh detergents and high heat will wear down the pan at a much faster rate than handwashing.
  • If you need a lubricant, add a small amount of butter or oil to a cold pan to help give the nonstick surface a boost.
  • Use only plastic or wooden utensils to avoid scratching the nonstick finish.
  • Season your nonstick cookware occasionally to extend its lifespan. Simply rub a teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil over the surface of the pan, heat it over low heat for 30 seconds and wipe off the excess when it cools.

Call Callen for Expert Kitchen Remodeling

If you need an estimate for kitchen remodeling, Callen is the place to call. With free no-obligation consultations and a team of talented designers and builders on staff, we’ll help you create and execute the perfect design for your home. Call Callen today at 414-765-2585.

May

22

Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows

Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows Window cleaning is one of the essential spring chores for keeping your home looking neat and fresh. It’s especially important if you’ve had a window replacement recently to keep your new windows looking as beautiful as the day they were installed. Fortunately, cleaning windows isn’t complicated. All it takes is a few common household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease!

Phase One: The Cleaners and Supplies

Most people attack their windows with a bottle of store-bought window cleaning solution and a roll of paper towels. While many commercial sprays do an adequate job cleaning off dirt and smudges, a more effective and economical method for cleaning windows involves using common household cleaners you probably already have: alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia. Plus, ditch the paper towels, which will leave behind lint. Instead, use clean rags or coffee filters.

  • The cleaners: Alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia.
  • Other recommended supplies: Two buckets, rubber gloves, a squeegee, clean rags or coffee filters, and a ladder (if needed).

Phase Two: The Cleaning Solution

Squeaky-clean windows require a lot of hot water, so start by filling two buckets with 1-2 gallons each of hot water. Make it as hot as you can tolerate with your rubber gloves on.

To the first bucket, add one cup each of vinegar and ammonia; this will be your wash water. For your rinse water, add two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. This will give your windows that streak-free shine by helping the water evaporate more quickly.

  • Bucket 1 (wash water): 1-2 gallons hot water, one cup vinegar, one cup ammonia
  • Bucket 2 (rinse water): 1-2 gallons hot water, two tablespoons rubbing alcohol

Phase Three: The Cleaning Process

Now it’s time for the real work to begin. Dip a clean rag in the wash water. Starting at the top and working your way down, use circular motions to clean the whole window. If you encounter sticky spots or dried-on materials that don’t want to come off, try using a synthetic scraper (metal ones will scratch your glass).

Quickly rinse down the window with your rinse water, then immediately use a squeegee to clear off the water, using solid vertical strokes. Be sure to clean off the squeegee between each pass to avoid leaving behind drips and water lines. Finally, use a dry coffee filter or rag to catch any water left in the corners or on the sill.

If you need a full service window replacement company, Callen would be happy to take care of that for you. Just call 414-765-2585 and we’ll have your new Infinity® from Marvin fiberglass windows installed and ready to enjoy in no time!

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Mar

20

Four Simple Ideas for Cleaning and Organizing Your Home

Four Simple Ideas for Cleaning and Organizing Your HomeWe all struggle with keeping our homes tidy from time to time. As a premier remodeling company, Callen Construction loves working with clients to make their homes as comfortable as possible. We’re happy to share these tips to help make your home a little neater and a little cleaner.

  • Hold off on buying storage bins and containers. Before heading for the store, take stock of the areas you want to clean up and organize, then sort through and decide what to keep and what to pitch. Once you have familiarized yourself with what is left, you’ll know which organizing products will work best, and as you shop, you will be able to picture exactly what will be going in them.
  • Don’t overload your space. Whether it’s books on the bookshelf, knick-knacks scattered around the room, or family pictures, too much of anything will make your rooms seem disorganized and over-crowded. When it comes to organizing and displaying your personal items, less is more. And the nice thing about having fewer belongings is that it’s easier to clean around them.
  • Incorporate mini cleaning sessions. What’s the best way to keep a room clean? Don’t let it get dirty in the first place! For example, take a few minutes each morning or evening to wipe down the bathroom mirror and do a once-over of the sink and counter. The same can be done in the kitchen for the sink, countertops, and table. A few minutes of cleaning every day can save you from heavy scrubbing later.
  • Move your message center. Nothing makes a kitchen look messier than a refrigerator buried under invitations, school papers, sticky notes, and photos, so clear off the fridge and instead hang a bulletin board in your kitchen that can be used to corral all those items. The best option could be a dry-erase/bulletin board combo that is designated as the message center of the house, where everyone knows to check for important reminders and messages.

From kitchen upgrades to basement refinishing, Callen staff the skills and training to tackle any size project within our realm of expertise. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585 and let’s get started on your next remodeling project.

Feb

27

4 Ways to Love the Home You’re In

Embellish the Front DoorDo you ever get bored with your home or overwhelmed by the endless tasks required to maintain it? If you have, you’re not alone. Dwelling on the less-than-perfect aspects of our home, however, can lead us to feel unhappy with our situation. To combat this, Callen Construction, the leading remodeling company in the Milwaukee area, recommends a few ideas that might help you better enjoy and appreciate your home.

Embellish the Front Door

Paint your door an attractive color and add some kind of decorative element to suit your taste, whether it be a wreath or a seasonal decoration. A pretty front door will give you a little boost every time you walk through it, and remind you how nice it is to have a place to come home to.

Start the Day Off Right

The bedroom is one place in the home that often gets neglected. Even if you don’t have time to clean the entire room, try to at least make the bed every morning. A neatly made bed is a great motivator to tackle the rest of the mess, and it will help you feel more prepared to face the day.

Clean in Spurts

Rather than getting discouraged by all that needs done in your home, try breaking your cleaning up into 15-minute sessions here and there as you have the time. Just turn on your favorite music, set the timer and get going. In the end, your home will be cleaner and you’ll be surprised by how much you accomplished.

Dress Up Your Table

Instead of saving your nicest dishes and flatware for company, use them for your own family. If you don’t have a separate set for company, mix and match what you do have and add your own special touch. Whether it be a new serving dish, a brightly patterned runner or tablecloth, or elegant tapers to light your meal, you can learn to love the home you’re in by making your dinner table a special place.

If your home is long overdue for some kitchen remodeling, give Callen a call at 414-765-2585. We can help make your home into a place you will love for many years to come.