Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five Pasta Salads for Summer Entertaining

Guest Post by Mary Ellen Smith of Superior Woodcraft and Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Pasta Salad - it's one of those dishes you see at every summer picnic or BBQ. But pasta salad doesn't have to be boring or traditional. Over the years I have made pasta salad in many different ways as I love experimenting with different ingredients and flavors. I find it fun to make a dish that helps create a theme for my food. Once I have one menu item planned, the rest comes easily.

Below is a roundup of my favorite pasta salads. Click on the titles to see the recipes. Which one makes your mouth water?

1. Antipasto Pasta Salad

This salad is everything I love about antipasto in one dish. Meats and cheeses, your favorite fresh vegetables, and an oregano-red wine vinaigrette - this one is my favorite!

2. Caprese Pasta Salad

Tomatoes and basil taste like summer to me, so this dish is the perfect bright and fresh pasta salad. I mix the pasta with tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella and toss it all with some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.With the basil adding so much flavor you really don't need more than that for a dressing.

3. Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Once the warm weather arrives I start planning all of my meals with grilled vegetables and I grill everything, even broccoli. For this pasta dish, I used grilled asparagus, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, and even garlic that I roasted on the grill. Summer squash and zucchini, and even grilled broccoli, would be welcome additions. Again, I keep the dressing simple so as not to overpower the flavor of the vegetables.

4. South of the Border Pasta Salad

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to a Tex-Mex or Mexican inspired menu. Corn, beans, peppers (spicy or mild), tomatoes and cilantro tossed with a chili-lime dressing.

5. Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

A sundried tomato oil coats your pasta giving it a wonderfully tangy flavor, while fresh tomatoes and basil add brightness.

I hope you find something new to try for your next summer gathering. Enjoy! 

Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
Eat - Drink - Be Family

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Humidity and Your Home

Summer has finally arrived.  School is out and summer vacation time has started.  The hot humid days have started.   It is perfect swimming weather and time for summer fun.  While your family is having summer time fun, this same hot humid weather can be destroying your wooden home furnishings, including your cabinetry.

During the hot humid summer you start to see changes in your home.  Your gaps in your wooden floors get smaller and your drawers and doors on wooden furniture are bit more snug.  During the cold dry winter months you noticed wider gaps in your wood floors and maybe panels on wooden doors appeared to shrink.  You could see some unfinished wood or finishing lines.  You are wondering - what happened?

In a nutshell, the wooden products in your home are adjusting to the humidity level in the atmosphere.  During the winter months the air is “dry” because cold air retains less moisture and when we heat the air the relative humidity becomes lower.  When you have “dry air” moisture is actually being drawn out of the wooden furniture in your home until an equilibrium state is reached.  That is why you will see gaps in your wood floors, doors, cabinets and why doors and drawers aren't quite as tight. 

The opposite affect happens when that moist summer air rolls in.  Warmer air holds more moisture and the dry wood in your home will absorb that moisture until an equilibrium state is achieved.  This causes wood to swell, or become slightly larger. In technical wood geek terms, wood is hygroscopic, which refers to its property of changing to atmospheric humidity.

To control the expansion and contraction of wood, you want to establish moisture/humidity control in your home.  Moisture is controlled in homes with proper ventilation, control of air infiltration, heating, cooling and controlling humidity with either a dehumidifier or a humidifier, which adds moisture to a home.  With an inexpensive thermometer and hygrometer you can measure the temperature and humidity level in your home.  We highly suggest that everyone use a thermometer an hygrometer in your homes to monitor the indoor environment.  You can consult qualified specialists to help you design an indoor environmental control system that is appropriate for your home.

The environmental protection agency recommends that homes maintain a relative humidity level between 30% and 50%.  The EPA recommends normal indoor temperatures for winter to range between 67.5 F and 75.5 F and summer indoor temperatures range between 73 F and 80 F.  If you really want to maintain pristine environmental climate control you can look at museum quality standards.  Generally you can think of museum quality climate control as keeping  the temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity at 50% (Rh%).  Ideally, these two conditions do not change or don’t change more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit and 10%Rh within 24 hours.  

Whether you target EPA guidelines or museum quality standards one of the important points here is to try to maintain the stability of the temperature and relative humidity in your home.  Remember that the moisture content in your wood is trying to reach equilibrium.  Keeping a consistent temperature and relative humidity level will allow the wood’s moisture content to be stable and therefore your wood will be stable – no more (or a lot less) expansion and contraction.  The expansion and contraction of wood in your cabinetry and furniture can cause the wood to shrink, crack, split and it will also cause problems for the cabinetry/furniture finish. To help protect your wooden home furnishings you must control temperature and relative humidity.

If you prefer interior wood details that remain constant between seasons, then keeping a stable indoor climate will increase your enjoyment of your wooden home furnishings and interior wood elements.  But, keep in mind, you don't need a sophisticated moisture control system in your home to enjoy beautiful floors, cabinets and other interior wood elements, as long you understand that wood is a natural product and it will respond to the loss of or introduction of moisture from season to season.

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Guest post by Jason Fehon of Bill's Best Organic BBQ Sauces

Father’s Day is an event every year where we get to celebrate the dads in our lives. What they’ve done for us over the years, and how much they mean to us. At Bill’s Best, celebrating our father is something we do on a daily basis. 

Sadly, my dad, Bill Fehon, has never had a physical part in what we do, yet without him Bill’s Best wouldn’t exist. It’s his 25 year old recipe that is our Original flavor, the same sauce he dubbed Bill’s Best way back when and gave to friends and family as Christmas gifts. However, in the fall of 2009 Bill was diagnosed at the age of 55 with a rare form of early onset dementia called Frontotemporal Degeneration. He is now 60 and lives in a memory care unit in a local nursing home. 

After the sadness of his diagnosis settled, my family decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of Bill’s and bring his barbecue sauce to market. In May of 2011 that dream was realized with a pledge to donate 10% of our profit to the Association forFrontotemporal Degeneration, a non profit with a dedicated to finding a cure for FTD. So every Father’s Day, all of us at Bill’s Best do what we do every day here, and that is to honor Bill Fehon. To honor what he means to us as a dad and what he means to this business. Because like all dads, without him, we wouldn’t be here. 

Happy Father’s day to every dad out there and thank you for being such a strong and positive influence on those in your life!

Jason Fehon
Bill's Best Organic BBQ Sauces

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Recipe: Steamed Artichoke Hearts

The Heart is the Best Part!!

Guest post by Brigitte Rogers, author of BLifeToday

Artichokes are known to be one of the most attractive vegetables. Lucky for us they are now in season!

It might come as a surprise, but artichokes belong to the sunflower plant. The soft petal bases are edible and quite tasty. However, the absolute best part of the artichoke is the heart!

Artichokes can be steamed or baked. I typically steam mine using Martha Stewart’s method.  

4 large artichokes
1 lemon
Coarse salt

How to prepare artichokes
Cut off tough outer leaves. Cut off top 1/3 of artichoke. Snip remaining sharp or spiky tips using kitchen scissors. Cut stem so artichoke stands upright. Rub cut surfaces with lemon to prevent discoloration.

Set a steamer basket in a large pot; add enough water so it reaches just below the basket. Squeeze lemon juice into water and add 1 tablespoon salt; bring to a boil. Place artichokes in steamer basket, stem-side up.
Cover pot, and steam until heart is tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife, and inner leaves pull out easily, 35-40 minutes; add more water to pot, if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Whisk together vinegar and mustard. Slowly add olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add salt and pepper.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember, time spent with friends and family is the “HEART” of every meal. 

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Monday, June 8, 2015

June is Bee Month

Over the past several months we have heard a lot of buzz about the plight of the honey bee. This is a real concern, and the loss of bees has serious implications on our food supply. And it's not just fruits and vegetables, but meat and dairy products as well. To learn more, please read this informative article by Susan Vorwek  of the Doylestown Food Co-Op

In recognition of the importance of the plight of honey bees, the Doylestown Food Co-op has designated June as “Bee Month – In the Land of Milk and Honey”. As such, the Co-op has MANY ways to learn more about bees, beekeeping and honey. 

Tuesday, June 9th, the Doylestown Food Co-op Book Club will be discussing “The Bees” by Lalline Paul at the Doylestown Book Shop. Click here for more info about the book club. 

Thursday, June 11th, the Co-op is sponsoring The Farm Fresh Film Series presentation of “Queen of the Sun” at the County Theater. Click here for more info about the Farm Fresh Film Series presentation.

Saturday, June 13th, Bucks County Apiaries (Featured Eco-Partner) will be in-store sampling his local honey. Click here for more info about this in-store visit.

To learn more about the Doylestown Food Co-op please visit:  www.Doylestown.coop. Also be sure to visit, like and share the social media sites - FacebookTwitterPinterest and Meetup  

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Get Outside and Play!

Guest Post by Kathryn Robbins of Kat Robbins Interiors

Having lived through the last two brutal winters, we are all eager to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Outdoor spaces can extend your living area considerably in the months between April and October.  

Whether you are sprucing up existing patio or pool areas, or planning a major outdoor renovation, consider these notable and important factors:

Fire and Water
Outdoor space needs a focal point just like inside your home. Think about how you spend your time and what really brings you joy. For some, it is watching kids have a blast in the pool, for others, playing guitar or listening to music around a fire is contemplative and reviving. Do you entertain big groups and love to cook?  

Create seating areas that will surround your focal point.   


You may only need an old-fashioned Weber grill, or want to invest in some serious built in appliances; either way, cooking is going to happen on your patio. Be sure to assess your real needs, your budget and how long you will be in your home. Luxury outdoor kitchens can add real value to your homes value, but overdo it and you risk losing much of your investment. It’s tempting to splurge on a massive grill, but be honest with yourself and choose accordingly. 

The technology has come so far. There are options for TVs that remain outside year round, and disappear into a panel when not in use. Other models must be brought inside in colder months. Speakers for outdoor music have never been better - they are beautiful and functional, hidden among your plantings and in tress.  

Make sure you contact a professional AV company for installation, not your regular electrician.


When setting up seating areas, take some time to remember past occasions at your home and how the inside and outside spaces are integrated. Making sure there are convenient paths to the powder room and food prep areas can make entertaining much more fun and protect your indoor spaces from wet kids and dripping bags of ice. 

Now get outside and play!

This article was submitted by Kathryn Robbins of Kat Robbins Interiors

610 291 4220
Wayne, PA 19087

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Superior Woodcraft Celebrates 48 Years!

This June, Superior Woodcraft celebrates 48 years of bringing beauty, utility, and harmony into our clients' homes and lives. Superior Woodcraft accomplishes this goal by designing and handcrafting custom made cabinetry for the entire home. 

While June 2015 marks an anniversary date for Superior Woodcraft, it is really a multifaceted celebration. When you are a Superior Woodcraft client you become part of the Superior Woodcraft Family. So, thank you for being a part of our family and giving us an occasion to celebrate 48 years of:

  • Having the privilege to be a trusted resource for our clients
  • Servicing second generation clients.  It is an honor to have our clients' children commission Superior Woodcraft for custom cabinetry in their own homes.
  • Long standing professional relationships with many quality architects, builders,designers and other allied professionals - all of whom increase our knowledge and enrich our lives.
  • Having the privilege to work with many talented cabinetry designers and craftsmen. We give thanks to the many men and women who have been part of the Superior Woodcraft team over the past 48 years. These team members have contributed a great deal to the success of Superior Woodcraft. Every cabinet handcrafted by Superior Woodcraft's artisans embodies a part of the designers and craftsmen that brought the vision to fruition.
Thanks to all of you for being part of the Superior Woodcraft family and for enriching our lives for the past 48 years.  We couldn't have reached this point without you.  Thank you.

Superior Woodcraft Facts
  • Karl Geiger founded Superior Woodcraft, Inc in June 1967
    • Immigrated from Europe where he trained as a cabinetmaker
    • Served in the U.S. Army
    • Enjoyed classical music, fine food, singing, soccer, ice hockey
    • Devoted father and husband who pursued the American Dream of a better life for his family
  • Michelle Geiger Kennedy follows in her father's footsteps and leads Superior Woodcraft today.
  • Currently Superior Woodcraft has 36 team members on its staff
  • Of our 36 team members, an impressive 14 have more than 10 years service, 8 of which have 20 or more years of service. 
  • Our top 3 longest term team members have a combined tenure of 78 years! 
  • Superior Woodcraft's cabinetry can be found in every time zone within the continental United States
  • Approximately 98% of our generated waste is recycled.
  • Approximately 95% of the wood utilized at Superior Woodcraft is harvested within 250 miles.
  • Superior Woodcraft has been a supporter of local businesses and the community.  Involvement and Support has included:  Habitat For Humanity, Bucks Women's Fund, Doylestown Hospital, Central Bucks YMCA, Locavore~Buy Local, The Mann Center for Performing Arts, The Michener Museum, The Mercer Museum, The Hardwood Forestry Foundation and many other community groups.
  • Superior Woodcraft is proud to be a local family-owned company that plays a small part in supporting our local economy and community.

Superior Woodcraft is a local custom cabinet maker located in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.