Saturday, June 24, 2017

228 King Edward Ave - David Gharat (RE/MAX All Stars Inc)

Summer in Toronto: Sensational Strawberry Shortcake!

Summer in Toronto:  Sensational Strawberry Shortcake!

What is there not to love about Strawberry Shortcake?  During summer in Toronto, we indulge in a perfectly balanced sweet but not too sweet combination of fresh, red strawberries, sweet whipped heavy cream and light and flaky shortcake. It is red and white, the colours of the Canadian flag. 
This dessert evokes memories in me.  When I taste the cream it takes me back to memories of my first home: India.  I fondly remember drinking fresh cream on my grandfather’s farm near Alibag, a coastal town south of Mumbai in the Raigad district.  When I taste the cream, I think of him and the trips my family made when I was young.  The strawberries trigger memories of summer in my second home: Canada. It brings back the fun of trips to U-Picks across Southern Ontario and the start of the Canadian summer on sunny June days. 
I am told recipes for shortcake either Team Biscuit or Team Cake.  Here is the recipe from The Canadian Living Cookbook we use every time we enjoy this delightful summer dessert!

Classic Shortcake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp      granulated sugar
1 tbsp      baking powder
½ tsp       baking soda
¼ tsp       salt
½ cup       cold butter, cubed
½ cup       sour cream
¼ cup       milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in butter finely.  Combine sour cream and milk, add to dry ingredients all at once, stirring with a fork to make a slightly sticky dough.
Gather into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface, knead gently 8 times until smooth.  Roll or pat out as an 8-inch round about ¾ inch thick or cut into 6 individual rounds with a 3-inch cutter.  Place on a baking sheet.  Brush tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in 425-degree oven for 20-25 for minutes for large shortcake or 15-20 minutes for individual shortcakes or until baked through in center and golden brown.

To serve, split in half while warm.  Spoon lightly-sweetened strawberries over bottom half .  
Top with whipped cream and then top with other half.  
Top with whipped cream and more fruit.  Makes 6 servings.

Summer in Toronto.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Be Prepared and Be Safe!

Do you have the proper number of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to protect your family?  This question became a priority at our home when the carbon monoxide detectors sounded on a Sunday morning.  Wow! Are those things ever loud! After some frazzled nerves, a 911 call and a visit from Toronto’s finest firefighters, we been reminded about the importance of these detectors and learned more about the requirements.
How many smoke detectors do you need and where should they be placed?  Smoke detectors sense smoke from typically a fire.  Ionization sensing smoke detectors will even detect smolders from the beginning of a fire.  We have even had a smoke detector detect a leak in our roof but that is another story entirely! 

Every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. As smoke rises, smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling or, if necessary with a slopped ceiling, on the top 1 foot of the wall.  Also, avoiding installing smoke detectors near the kitchen or bathroom where smoke or steam can trigger a false alarm. Are you all set from a smoke detector perspective?

How many carbon monoxide detectors do you need and where should they be placed? A carbon monoxide detector is a device that detects carbon monoxide gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odorless gas.  Carbon monoxide exposure at certain levels and lengths can lead to deadly poisoning.  Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches and stomach sickness. As you sleep, you would not be aware of these symptoms. It is known as the “silent killer” as it is undetectable without technology.  Consequently, it is important to have fully functioning detectors installed.
In Ontario, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed outside bedrooms on each level where you sleep.  Having one carbon monoxide detector in a furnace room is not sufficient to wake people in the night.  Is your household protected from the “silent killer”?

Once you have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed, how do you maintain them?  There are five key steps to maintaining your detectors:
  1. Test the units and know how they work. 
  2. Replace the batteries at least once a year, less frequently for lithium batteries than can last the lifetime of the alarm.
  3. Replace units every 10 years, sooner if it isn’t working. 
  4. Regularly dust or vacuum the units. 
  5. Keep the unit free of paint, stickers, or other decorations that may prevent it from working properly.

What do you do should an alarm sound?
First, have a fire escape plan that you practice.  Identify two ways out of each room and an outdoor meeting point away from the home. In the case of a fire, once you are out of the house, call 911. For carbon monoxide alarms, if you are not feeling ill first check the battery.  If you are feeling ill and the battery is fine, leave the home and from your meeting point, call 911.  Although you want to avoid false alarms, do not hesitate to contact emergency services. Better safe than sorry.
Be prepared and Be Safe.
David Gharat

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cleaning Your Eaves trough

Now that the weather is warm, there are a few things you should do to maintain your home.  Cleaning your eaves troughs is one important task.  With the rain we have seen this spring, this is even more important.

What is eaves trough? Eavestroph is the gutter that is fixed underneath your roof. As rainwater falls, it is collected in the gutters from your roof and is drained from the gutters to the ground through downspouts.  To best protect your home’s foundation, it is best that your downspouts be disconnected.   If your downspouts are connected to your drainage system, you should have them disconnected.  Over several months, debris such as leaves and twigs will accumulate in the eaves troughs.  As this builds up in the gutter or downspouts, it will prevent proper drainage and will need to be cleaned out.  The amount of debris depends on how many deciduous trees surround your home. 

How do I clean my eaves troughs?  Cleaning eaves trough for single-storey houses is fairly easy.  If you clean them regularly in the fall and in the spring, each cleaning will be easier. To get started you will need some simple tools.  You will need a sturdy ladder, heavy-duty work gloves, a garden trowel, two buckets, a yard waste bag and a garden hose. 

There are 3 steps:
1) Setup your ladder with 2 buckets, one for your tools and one in which to collect debris.  Remember to never use the top two steps on the ladder and to not over-reach when on a ladder,
2) Remove debris from the eaves troughs and downspouts using your trowel into your debris bucket,
3) Pass water through the eaves troughs using a hose to clean remaining debris and make sure your downspouts are properly draining.  

To make completing the job easier, you may want to look at some eaves troughs or gutter cleaning tools.  You can get gutter extensions for a leaf blower or for a water pressure to help with job.  You can also find special gutter cleaning trowels. 

If you are uncomfortable climbing ladders and your home has more than a single-storey, it may be in your best interest to hire this cleaning out at a cost of approximately $100-200, depending on the size of your home.  

David Gharat