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• Top Five Picks for “Green” Home Upgrades:
Install a Tankless Water Heater (Estimated Cost: $800 - $2,000). Many homeowners are discovering that tankless water heaters can meet their needs for an endless hot water supply. Compact and efficient, tankless water heaters do not store hot water, as traditional heaters do, but heat the water upon demand. This can result in a large energy savings, since up to 80 percent of the energy used by a traditional heater is used to reheat the stored water. Tankless heaters also conserve space and will last 20 years or more, compared to 10-15 years for a traditional heater.
Replace Your Showerhead (Estimated cost: $50-$250). Just by replacing your showerhead you can save up to 2,300 gallons of water annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You also don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your shower and deal with water that trickles out. Technology has come a long way within the past year and brands like Grohe, Jaclo and Brizo have created mist systems and air-infused showerheads that give the perception of more water and high-pressure.
Add an Aerator to Your Faucet (Estimated cost: $2-$10). You can save another 500 gallons of water annually simply by replacing a standard aerator. Low-flow aerators cut water and energy usage while maintaining adequate water pressure.
Opt for an extreme Low Flow Toilet (Estimated cost: $150-$500). Don’t let your potential for savings go down the drain. The EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces a home's older toilets with WaterSense-labeled models will, on average, save more than $90 annually on their water bill and $2,000 over the toilet's lifetime. Toilets account for the major amount of water used in the home, between 30 and 50 percent of the daily water consumption. All toilets manufactured and sold in the US are now required to use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush, compared to 3-5 gallons needed for older models. Even better, Niagara brand toilets offer 0.8 gallons of water per flush and pay for themselves in two years.
Switch to CFLs in your Light Fixtures (Estimated Cost: $2.50-$10). By far the easiest way to go green and save money is to switch out your light bulbs. CFLs, or compact fluorescent bulbs, use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You can save more than $65 annually. Now that’s a bright idea!
Central Arizona Supply
10 Arizona Locations
Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust
1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 Lb cream cheese, room temperature
1 Lb Gina's Homemade mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil.
3. Finely grind the almonds, cracker crumbs, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not on the sides of the pan). 4. Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
1. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, Gina's Homemade mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
2. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
3. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
4. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
5. Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
1. Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl.
2. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.
3. Cut the cake into wedges. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the wedges and serve.